Thursday, July 30, 2009

food on film

from ryan...i heard this beautiful story on NPR.

listen to the seven minute story here

And while there have been a few other magical cinematic meals, none has ever been more magical than the 19th-century banquet lovingly prepared and exquisitely served in the Danish film Babette's Feast.

A scene from 'Babette's Feast'

Pleasure and palates: When Babette's Feast premiered 20 years ago, French restaurants in select cities prepared the meal for critics. But though the food was delicious, the feast was more powerful on screen, where redemption has a seat at the table.Kobal Collection

It's a French cook's extravagant "thank you" to a tiny church congregation that has sheltered her as a refugee in frigid Denmark for years. The problem is, the elderly congregation believes in self-denial — believes that pleasure must be reserved for the hereafter. So while they agree to eat the meal so as not to hurt Babette's feelings, they vow to each other that they will not enjoy the meal, or even talk about it.

This is much to the astonishment of a visitor, who can't believe what he's tasting — genuine turtle soup, great wine, and all around him, the congregation is silent. From the embarrassment in their expressions it's clear the others, despite their best efforts, are enjoying the meal, but no one in the congregation will admit it.

I was actually served Babette's Feast 20 years ago, when the film premiered. The studio arranged with French restaurants in a few major cities to prepare the meal for critics. Nothing mock about the turtle soup, quail in puff pastry with fois gras and truffle sauce. Astonishing French cheeses. Film criticism is its own reward, of course, but the rewards that day were a little more savory than usual.

Still, the feast did not top the movie. In the French restaurant where I ate it, the food was delicious, but was still just a meal. In Babette's Feast, it's more, all tied up in the spiritual: food as a gift, specifically Eucharistic in nature, for a religious community that has denied itself pleasure for decades.

And it is transformative: Old loves are rekindled, long-simmering feuds are forgotten, redemption has a seat at the table.

Fabulous. And — whatever the virtues of self-denial on-screen — probably not something you want to see on an empty stomach.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

traveling mercies

sean and i made it safely from houston to lexington - thanks for your prayers.  two days and one thousand miles with a HUGE truck and trailer.  one blown tire and one hot-and-bothered radiator.  an englishman and an australian at home in the united states eating interstate fast food along the way.  it was a relief to complete the journey and a joy to have the truck unpacked (thanks to the generous and tireless helpers of communality).  sean returns to texas where he and the family with finalize their departure with a farewell feast at mercy street - their beloved community for 7 years.  here are some pictures to go with these words...

gladdings move

gladdings move

gladdings move

gladdings move

gladdings move

Sunday, July 19, 2009

lyric groundbreaking

a wonderful occasion in our neighborhood this week.  finally the lyric theatre is being renewed and it is good news for lexington and the east end.  great to see so many people there.

lyric theatre groundbreaking

lyric theatre groundbreaking

lyric theatre groundbreaking

lyric theatre groundbreaking

lyric theatre groundbreaking

lyric theatre groundbreaking

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cousins sharing a meal together!

Thanks to Geoff for taking this picture of my niece Jessica and my daughter Miranda last night at little Jordan's first birthday party. I'm really thankful to Geoff for his talent as a photographer and the way in which he helps bless us all by recording these kinds of memories. I really like the image of the two of them eating together in the background with the Cucumber? plant creeping up the porch in the foreground. It is a cool mix of images.

I wanted to ask everyone to pray for Jessica and our family. Jessica is going to be living with us for the next couple of months as she prepares for her licensing exam in massage therapy. She's getting ready for the exam and looking to try to get herself established long-term here in Lexington. I'd appreciate your prayers for her and your words of encouragement and enagagement if you see her around. And thanks to Wes and Angela for welcoming all of us last night and allowing us to share in this very special family occasion.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Jim Brown's largely anonymous fight.....

Thought this article was interesting in many ways.....Jason Whitlock is my favorite sports columnist, and I think that he does a great job provoking thought about the intersection of American sports and the wider culture...thought others might find it interesting as we think about social change and the responsibilities it entails.

I figured out years ago it's a good thing everyone doesn't act like me.

Strip clubs would be overcrowded. You'd literally have to call ahead to reserve a champagne room.

Strip-club hostess: "We can get you in with Mercedes on Tuesday at 5 p.m. or there's a 2 a.m. slot on Sunday with Athena. Mr. Whitlock, what would you prefer?"

Selfishly, I'd prefer things stay exactly as they are. The hypocrites can secretly surf the Internet for porn, shop Craiglist for hookers and pretend their twice-a-year sex life with their spouse of five years is satisfying and a one-way ticket to Heaven's gates.

Jesus walked with prostitutes. Jason walks with strippers.

OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration. But the analogy came to mind as I watched Jim Brown slice into Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan about their alleged lack of social conscience on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

For too long, the media has ignored Jim Brown's social agenda.

Jim Brown is the most important athlete in American history. Everything we foolishly credit Muhammad Ali for standing for Jim Brown actually did and does. The reverence we shower on the self-serving, draft-dodging, Joe Frazier-is-a-monkey Muhammad Ali more appropriately belongs at Jim Brown's feet.

His work in Los Angeles and across the country with street gangs, felons and prison inmates is truly Christ-like. That sentence is not an exaggeration. Through his Amer-I-Can program, Jim has chosen to associate with America's underclass in hopes of changing a destructive culture.

My respect for Jim Brown couldn't be any higher. I consider him a good friend.

He's wrong about Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, though.

Brown wants Woods and Jordan to do what they're incapable of: duplicate their athletic courage in the social arena.

"(Tiger) is a killer, he will run over you, he will kick your ass," Brown said during his interview on Real Sports. "But as an individual for social change? Terrible. Terrible ... He can get away with teaching kids to play golf, and that's his contribution. In the real world, I can't teach kids to play golf and that's my contribution, if I've got that kind of power."

Translation: Brown wants Tiger and Michael to act like Jim Brown.

It's never going to happen. It's a naive request. It's the equivalent of asking Whoopi to be as seductive as Beyonce. Whoopi would make a fool out of herself trying.

The era of professional athletes being the leaders of social change has come and gone. Integration and money disconnected most modern athletes from the plight of the underclass four decades ago.

When you earn the kind of money Woods and Jordan rake in, you become a member of the establishment. It's difficult to fight the power when you are trying to hold onto it.

In my opinion, Woods and Jordan are not the problem. The media are.

We spent the better part of four decades convincing the public that Muhammad Ali was the ultimate black athlete, and now we wonder why Chad Johnson and a multitude of assclowns have perfected an Ali imitation.

Remember, I figured out years ago it's a good thing everyone doesn't act like me.

Think about it. Don Imus was vilified and demonized for uttering "nappy-headed hos" and Ali was celebrated for repeatedly calling Joe Frazier a gorilla as white reporters laughed and fought back tears of joy.

Ali was a pawn of the anti-Vietnam War movement, a cash cow for the Nation of Islam and a symbol of how bigots wanted high-profile black athletes to behave.

You've been hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray.

Imagine if the media had spent 40 years extolling Brown's authentic commitment to and representation of the underclass rather than speculating about and interpreting domestic disputes. Imagine if Jim Brown had lit the Olympic torch in Atlanta rather than the Louisville Lip.

Imagine if Jim Brown was universally praised as the ultimate black athlete rather than as the angry black man in the funny hat.

Maybe then there would be fewer hey-look-at-me bojanglers and more Baron Davises trying to positively influence the communities that produced them.

This is America, home of capitalism. We're conditioned to follow the money. The media made Ali's buffoonery marketable and profitable. We made Brown's legitimate social conscience dangerous and scary.

There's no mystery as to why Woods and Jordan fall short of Brown's dedication to advancing social change. They've personally experienced little or no injustice. Beyond funding educational opportunities for the poor and carrying themselves in a dignified manner, they have no real clue how they can give back without being exploited.

And, more important, they realize they'd be treated as pariahs if they followed in Brown's footsteps.

When you choose to walk with prostitutes (as Jesus did) and strippers (as I have) and gang members (as Brown has), it's a very lonely stroll.

Jim Brown pretty much walked alone in the 1960s and 1970s. His courage dragged along a few tokens. Where are they now? They're not in the trenches with Jim. They're on the golf course with Tiger and Michael.

Nothing has really changed. Perhaps one day there will be a new Jim Brown. I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. I've been waiting 40 years for the next Martin Luther King Jr.

The lesson is an old one: Jim Brown and everyone else just need to continue being the change they want to see. It's the best we can do.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gardening Toward the Two Greatest Commandments

Hello family! I just wanted to share this post with you all. It comes from some thoughts on a sermon I heard on Sunday, and it reminds me of the work of Communality in so many different ways! Love and miss you all. Dan

"The getting dirty of our hands is a mutual action between us and Christ, for as we respond to the invitation to dig ourselves deep into the soil of his love, he also responds to our invitation to dig his hands deep into the smelly, dirty spaces of the soil of our own hearts. And as he models for us, in our lives, the turning over of the soil of our hearts, then we, too, learn how to respond to the invitations of others when they need folk to help them till the soil of their heart. It is in the mutual digging in the dirt between us and Jesus and others that we start (hopefully) to understand what it means to love God with everything that we are and to love our neighbors as ourself."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

pop cross

i was enjoying 3rd st stuff the other day (wonderful store) and, because i have been reading and thinking about contextual theology, these jumped out at me.  i think i will get one of these crosses for our home.   love it.

3rd st stuff art

3rd st stuff art

park gathering

once a month during the summer we are shifting our sunday communality gathering to a downtown park.  here's a few pics from the most recent one...

june gathering

june gathering

june gathering