We are pleased to announce that Dr. Lauren Smelser White will guest co-host our upcoming episode “Dylan. Jesus. America.”
I happen to like Alabamians with Ph.D.’s in theology. (There is not a great host of us. But it’s a classic example of breaking down false dichotomies. I mean, Yankees don’t know what to do with smart people with southern accents who care about social justice and intellectual rigor. It creates a sort of existentialist crisis for many of them.) Lauren is a recently minted Ph.D. in theology from Vanderbilt University, and more importantly, she is an Alabama native, with roots and relations in the northern reaches of the state, where the swampers would do their magic in the Muscle Shoals music scene, and indeed, where Bob Dylan recorded his 1979 album Slow Train Coming.
Lauren also happens to be a new colleague of mine in the academic scene, and a delightful one at that. She has also blogged on occasion on the Tokens Show blog (with a stellar post on Mother’s Day, a few weeks ago), been a good friend for a good while, and we welcome her in joining us for our 2018 season opener on June 7.
Don’t miss the show June 7. Joining Lauren will be U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, celebrated novelist Tobias Wolff, folk-rock band The New Respects, Matthew Perryman Jones, and our Most Outstanding Horeb Mountain Boys. Get tickets now by clicking here.
To celebrate our "Dylan. Jesus. America." Season Opener on June 7th, we are giving away Most Outstanding phone backgrounds with some key Bob Dylan quotes. Get yours here:
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If joy could be bought,
what would I pay?
If, as advertising peddles,
joy could be mine today
would I buy it?
I say all this on Ash Wednesday so that we will make sure to get the whole point of it right: when we reflect upon calls to repentance, we must remember that repentance is simply a word that means to change, to turn the whole of ourselves toward true joy…
I have even, at times, despaired of God’s existence. My interpretation of the Scriptures with which I used to console myself that God was “in control” or watching over us all pale in the face of chemical bombs dropping on Syria’s children.
An Avett Brothers show is a party, but without all the partying. It’s not that they are unaware of the trappings that accompany being professional musicians, but these things are in their rear view mirror. The passion of their performance…
I was a classic white moderate. I was never openly racist. I was generally nice. I did not make a habit of using the n-word. And it’s true that “one of my best friends was black.” I sat behind him in first grade, and...
You did not come as presidents or prime ministers or kings come;
But swaddled in a manger, vulnerable, enfleshed,
Thence as a man of sorrows.
I discovered a woman far more complicated than the mythos that generally surrounds her and abstracts bits of her life into sermonic quips and sentimental memes. I encountered a “saint of darkness,” indeed: not only one who willingly struck out into the unknown…
Saint Thomas Aquinas insisted that life was ultimately about happiness. This is an odd assertion, perhaps…. To be happy?! Such an assertion sounds suspiciously like indulgent self-centeredness.
The early Christians were undoubtedly “liberal” in important senses: after all, the ancient world held certain strict categories of hierarchy. These early Christians were shockingly liberal in refusing to impose such categories and moralisms. But these Christians held to an orthodoxy that led to a particular form of liberalism. They were liberal in these ways not in spite of their orthodoxy; they were liberal in these ways because of their orthodoxy.
“My phone would ring, and it’d be Motown wanting me to start working and I’d say, ‘Have you seen the paper today? Have you read about these kids who were killed at Kent State?’ The murders at Kent State made me sick. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop crying. The notion of singing three-minute songs about the moon and June didn’t interest me. Neither did instant-message songs.”
We let all sorts of melodies and lyrics roll over us, inviting us to participate in the sorts of beautiful human communities of which Moltmann speaks…