Mardi Gras in New Orleans explodes with vivid colors and vibrant sounds. These sensory aspects are what most people associate with the parades ... and those are some of my favorite aspects as well. But Mardi Gras is also about community and people from various backgrounds coming together -- something that wasn't always the case. … Continue reading Mardi Gras in Black & White
I heard music the very first moment I set foot in New Orleans. It was the breathy sound of a steam calliope atop a paddleboat on the Mississippi River. The sounds of the city (one that I would later call home) made a great first impression. New Orleans is a city with a soundtrack, and … Continue reading A City with a Soundtrack
I laughed. I cried. I worshipped. That’s my response to “Jesus is King” – the Gospel album that Kanye West released last week. After listening to previews of each song, we bought the album last Saturday and listened to it as a family. And we enjoyed it. The album is funny, serious, honest, heartfelt, and … Continue reading ‘Jesus is King:’ Kanye’s simple confession
I really enjoy old things – I guess that’s a prerequisite for an archaeologist. I own a group of fun, old things that could be properly categorized as "obsolete tech." I have a Victrola record player from 1915, a Smith-Corona typewriter from the late 1940s, two Canon cameras (a 1950s model and a 1970s model), … Continue reading Don’t Treat the Bible Like It’s Obsolete
People rarely have neutral feelings about cities – they tend to love cities or hate them. It is easy to see why. Cities bring out the best of us and expose the worst of us. The energy and vibrancy of cities stir creativity, music, art, design, entrepreneurial spirit, and even community – things of true … Continue reading In Defense of Cities: A Christian Perspective
As a self-proclaimed cultural observer, I keep an eye and an ear open to art and music. You can learn much about a culture by its art, especially from popular music. Sadly, in recent years, popular music has become an arid wasteland, especially on the lyrical front. I won’t name names because that would probably … Continue reading You’ll Be Just Fine … Just Don’t Believe the Hype
Bear with me on this one … I am wrestling with a challenging idea – productive pessimism. I know, pessimism is a negative word and it may be too strong, but I am trying it out. Could pessimism every be a good thing? Perhaps “redemptive realism” would capture what I am trying to say. However, … Continue reading Productive Pessimism/Redemptive Realism: Art with Purpose
Paul Simon wrote and recorded “Mrs. Robinson,” during a time of social upheaval in the United States. The Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War had divided American. Protests were common. Images of anger and injustice were commonplace on newspaper pages and TV screens. You can almost hear Simon longing for a simpler time as … Continue reading Where have you gone, Mr. Rogers?
When I moved to the South in 1994 I experienced many new cultural expressions. One the most interesting was the unique use of honorific titles plus a first name (Miss Margaret, Mr. George, etc.) for adults with whom you have a close relationship. I often hear people from Oklahoma say that they are from the … Continue reading What may I call you? A cultural dilemma
Culture is a curious thing. Ask anyone to describe the ideal human culture and, chances are, the person will describe a culture very similar to his or her own. Some may point to subtle differences between the ideal and their own, but people tend to believe their own culture is not only "good" but "best." Can … Continue reading Is ‘my’ culture is better than ‘your’ culture?