A Cultural Friday Five

Goodness – I haven’t played the Friday Five at RevGals in ages. This week’s Friday Five looks to be one that could be casual and easy, or could be deep and fertile ground. I’m not sure yet what it will be for me, so we’ll have to see how that happens as I write this post. 🙂

I have spent the week at Summer School studying the Gospel and Western culture, we have looked at art, literature, music, film and popular culture in their myriad expressions. With that in mind I bring you the cultural Friday 5.Name a
1. Book
2. Piece of music
3. Work of art
4. Film
5. Unusual engagement with popular culture
That have helped/ challenged you on your spiritual journey.

Bonus: Is engagement essential to your Christian faith, how and why?

1. Book
Well, the Book of Common Prayer has most shaped my journey. Some others that have made a mark on me include Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God by Mary Doria Russell, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and the Homecoming books of Orson Scott Card. You can see from this list that narrative is very powerful for me; I become more deeply engaged in story than I do in exposition. And I believe I’ve preached the point of view before that our stories – as individuals, as families, as congregations, as communities of whatever kind – shape us in very deep, very powerful, and very meaningful ways, more than perhaps anything else.

2. Piece of Music
Hmm… is it a copout to choose a specifically sacred piece of music? 🙂 It continues to amaze me how deeply Handel’s Messiah speaks to me. And, of course, when one of the readings appointed for a Sunday is one of the texts in Messiah, I’m earwormed with the music for the rest of the day. Just about anything by Aaron Copland resonates for me on a deep level, as does Dvorak‘s Ninth Symphony, From the New World. Having listened to this one many times, and played it in the youth symphony, I find it deeply moving and compelling.

3. Work of Art
You know, I just don’t know on this one. I have sadly not exposed myself to a whole lot of visual art. At first, I thought something was wrong with me, because so many of the “great” works didn’t speak to me. But I came to learn that “great” works of whatever form don’t speak to everybody. I’m terribly impressed by Rodin, and I’m fond of the beauty in Impressionistic work, though ironically I don’t tend to enjoy Impressionistic music. Go figure.

4. Film
Well, duh! The Princess Bride, of course!

5. Unusual engagement with popular culture
This sounds a little naughty, and I’m not entirely sure how to answer it. 🙂 I don’t know what unusual engagements I have with popular culture… I don’t go to many movies, don’t watch much TV. My magazine subscriptions are to New Scientist and Creative NonFiction – not terrifically mainstream. I do listen to a LOT of different music, though I generally eschew country, rap, and hip-hop. So am I unusual in that I’m not unusually engaged in pop culture? Or is there something else I’m missing because it’s just so natural to me?

Bonus: Is engagement essential to your Christian faith, how and why?
Well, yeah! Duh! 🙂 Faith is a choice – a deliberate, intentional choice – and our engagement in our faith is our response to God. Now, that said, the level and depth of the engagement will necessarily vary over time. To be completely engaged in Christianity one-hundred-percent of the time would be exhausting… and we’d never eat, either. And it may feel as though we’re completely disengaged for a time, though I rather doubt that any person of faith is ever as completely disengaged as he or she might feel. I think that at those times, there is still a very deep part of us that continues to reach out for God.

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9 thoughts on “A Cultural Friday Five

  1. Welcome back to F5, Hedwyg–you were so brave to list more than once of each! Aaron Copland is one of my very most favorites of all-time. Thanks for playing!

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  2. I’m w/you on the not in mainstream pop culture thing… I don’t go to movies or buy music (gasp)… but will listen to whatever is on the radio when I drive… and for not being much of an art person… Rodin indeed… can’t go wrong with Rodin!

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  3. INCONCEIVABLE! How could I have forgotten The Princess Bride!??? I must be aging or something…

    enjoyed your answers… glad you played!
    LOVE
    d

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  4. “… our stories – as individuals, as families, as congregations, as communities of whatever kind – shape us in very deep, very powerful, and very meaningful ways, more than perhaps anything else.” Amen. And, I’m with you and HC on the mainstream pop culture response.

    Glad you are back and playing too.

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  5. I’m an Episcopalian as well; I had a hard time deciding whether to write about it. I didn’t know if it was too obvious an answer! Now I see that I should’ve gone for it. 🙂 Since I don’t know if it’s stored in my google profile, my url is http://www.clevertitle.net

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