The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 1, 2020
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Picture of the week…
Rest in peace until you rise to see justice and shalom reign, John Lewis.
Quotes from the week…
“And someday, when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union, whether it’s years from now or decades or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.” (Barack Obama, Eulogy for John Lewis)
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.” (Sen. Mitch McConnell)
“Jesus was white. Did he have ‘white privilege’ even though he was entirely without sin? Is the United Methodist Church covering that? I think it could be important.” (Eric Metaxas)
“I have considered my seventeen years as pastor here to be the greatest joy I’ve had in ministry. But this has been a difficult time for parents, volunteers, staff, and others, and I believe that the unity needed for Menlo to flourish will be best served by my leaving.” (Pastor John Ortberg)
“Churches in coastal cities during World War Two accommodated evening black-out requirements in case enemy planes hit the coasts. Those churches didn’t insist the government had no right to ‘restrict our worship.’” (Jonathan Leeman)
“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come.” (WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus)
“From everything we’ve seen now — in the animal data, as well as the human data — we feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021. I don’t think it’s dreaming.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci)
Understatement of the week…
MLB play of the week…
Cartoons of the week…
Fake news/hoax/conspiracy theory of the week…
Doctors Snake-Oil Salesmen”
Response of the week to social media “researchers”…
Memory of the Week: Pastor Dan & Chaplain Mike back in seminary days…
How hot has it been? Engineering feat of the week…
Coolest art of the week…
Jaw-dropping landscape photo of the week…
Album of the week (and of the year, so far)…
Taylor Swift’s new album folklore has generated a lot of conversation. It may be the perfect pandemic/quarantine album. At Vulture, Craig Jenkins asks, “…is she, like the rest of us, just missing a life where we could go and behave as we pleased, responding to the jarring shift in the mechanics of friendships, relationships, work life, and nightlife by sliding under her covers and playing sad songs until the outside world fades from view?”
The pandemic has enabled the 30-year-old singer-songwriter to downsize, shut out the outside world, hook up with indie-rock royalty (The National’s guitarist Aaron Dessner) and pour her experiences and passions into a stripped-down, doleful and intelligent new indie-folk style that accommodates multiple character studies as well as her trademark first-person confessional yarns.
I admit it. I’m helpless to resist moody, singer-songwriter storytelling tunes saturated with ambience and emotion — something I never would have expected from a pop icon like Taylor Swift. But that’s what she has delivered here. Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield calls these “the most head-spinning, heartbreaking, emotionally ambitious songs of her life.” Made in collaboration with the National’s Aaron Dessner, she also teams up with her long time collaborator Jack Antonoff and does a duet, fittingly, with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, to deliver an atmospheric, reflective collection that establishes her as a songwriter to be reckoned with.
Here is Taylor Swift’s own prologue to folklore…
Stars drawn around scars. A cardigan that still bears the scent of loss twenty years later. Battleships sinking into the ocean, down, down, down. The tree swing in the woods of my childhood. Hushed tones of “let’s run away” and never doing it. The sun drenched month of August, sipped away like a bottle of wine. A mirrored disco ball hovering above a dance floor. A whiskey bottle beckoning. Hands held through plastic. A single thread that, for better or for worse, ties you to your fate.
Pretty soon these images in my head grew faces or names and became characters. I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t. An exiled man walking the bluffs of a land that isn’t his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. An embittered tormentor showing up at the funeral of his fallen object of obsession. A seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning to apologize. Lovestruck kids wandering up and down the evergreen High Line. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. A misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out.
A tale that becomes folklore is one that is passed down and whispered around. Sometimes even sung about. The lines between fantasy and reality blur and the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible. Speculation, over time, becomes fact. Myths, ghost stories, and fables. Fairytales and parables. Gossip and legend. Someone’s secrets written in the sky for all to behold.
In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness. Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve.
Now it’s up to you to pass them down.