Thursday, January 27, 2011

Writing Uphill

Writing is easy. Well, at least that sentence was.

But I've never felt as uphill as I do now, writing the play that is to be performed for the first time this spring by my drama class. I've been studying form, structure, plot, inciting incidents, curtain lines, and length guidelines. Writing, editing, and rewriting.

So to clear my head, I went out for a mild jog with my daughter. It was the equivalent of what the bunny hill is to the skier. But exhilarating nonetheless, heart pounding, and skin tingling. Perhaps I'm a little out of shape??? And right in the middle of our walk, unexpectedly, it came. The climax of the event. My dog pulled herself off the leash and ran up to a very tall fence where a very vicious looking lab was heads up almost over the fence.

Then, my heart pounded faster. My perspiration rate accelerated. We reprimanded, we grabbed her leash again and walked on. And finally, without further incident, we resumed our walk.

And that's the experience I want our audience to have.

So, it's back to the keys...I'm gonna make you sweat!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reading Cahill is Like Watching a Movie!

 How The Irish Saved Civilization

In cinematic-like prose Thomas Cahill presents images of history breathtaking, absorbing, and sometimes disturbing. While culling from a wide variety of sources, and presenting it in a way that tempts the literary palette for more, this work spans the history of more than a millennium to tell the story of the link from ancient Greece to the twentieth century. 

I suppose being Irish aids my fascination with the subject matter, and being a contemplative type Christian doesn’t hurt either. Still, Cahill’s description of life in the early centuries provides illumination into what have been termed the Dark Ages for more reasons than one. The reader feels as if he had sat by an ancient fireside, complete with smells and sounds. 

It remains to be seen what we will do with this illumination. I’d love to read Cahill’s thoughts on modern culture. 

Seldom have I read a contemporary work of this magnitude and complexity, with such ability to engage. Happily, it is one of five in a series titled Hinges of History. I’ll be going back for more!

Finding Our Way Illuminates

A Review of:
Finding Our Way Again
by Brian McLaren

Like the aging actor, fumbling lines he has long ago committed to memory, America’s sense of faith seems to have forgotten the lines. We’re in danger of being lost in a watered down soup that could only be described as postchristendom.

Brian McLaren sounds a warning that is at once heartening comfort food for the wandering spiritual traveler, and a gentle wakeup call for sleeping souls.

Finding our way is about integrating ancient liturgical practices of the Catholic and Anglican tradition with the individualized spontaneity of Protestantism. The broken marriage between Catholics and the Reformers has divided the church for centuries and produced a spiritual disorientation that McLaren believes can be made whole by a return to practices that have only been preserved in certain denominations. Far from a book about reviving dead ritual, the book sparkles with meaningful suggestions about transforming each day into a new worshipful experience with God. 

One fly in the ointment for the average Christian is McLaren’s inclusion of Islam as one of the three Abrahamic religions. While he doesn’t develop this idea, it stands out as an odd grouping to a westerner. 

Questions at the end of each chapter provide opportunity to interact with the book. 

I received  a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through the booksneeze program in return for my honest opinion.