Friday, February 25, 2011

Sacred Harp

On the spur of the moment, I went to a "shape note" or "Sacred Harp" sing-along last night. I can't really read music, but can carry a tune. I'm fascinated by how these singers pick the starting note (I don't really get it). And then - Kaboom - everybody is singing, and somehow following the music. They sing LOUD! It sounds strange and amazing at the same time.

If you've never heard of Sacred Harp, you can check either wikipedia or this documentary movie site for Awake My Soul. Take a listen to the music and be amazed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Religious Art?

A dear friend shared these images from a blog review of Mary Sibande, a South African artist's work. When I look at these two images, I see religious art.

In the image on the left, she's holding a staff that in iconography represents a martyr. On the right, I see a "Madonna:" the blue robe, the crown-like halo, and the hands in a blessing pose.

Do you see what I see?

Saturday, February 5, 2011


click for image:

I saw this photo by accident. I actually can't recall how I saw it in the first place. Maybe it was when I opened my Twitter account for the first time in like, a long time. [Hey, I'm 40, what an I say?] But it, and its caption, brought tears to my eyes and blew me away:

A pic I took yesterday of Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers #jan25
posted by @NevineZaki

At first I wasn't sure that that was really what the picture was of. I wondered, could I trust this to be true? I read some more of NevineZaki's feed, and 'checked it out.' But then I thought, Does it really matter if this photo is staged or not? Isn't the beautiful thing the idea behind the caption? That one group of people would make a human chain to protect another group of people while they pray? And the answer I came up with is, No, it doesn't matter if the photo was staged, it's the message that counts: we are all G!d's people, and we need to pray.

Maybe it's a coincidence, but I watched Defiance last night. It's a great action movie (with the very talented actors, Liev Schreiber & Daniel Craig in the lead roles, [sigh]) about Eastern European Jews hiding out in the BelaRussian forests. At one point, Craig's character says, "If we should die trying to live, at least we live like human beings." The protesters in Egypt are doing something huge, just like the Bielski brothers. They are peacefully demonstrating for something they believe in and are willing to die for. It is scary to watch - scary because I fear for their safety, but also amazing, heartening, and hopeful.

This week, as Nicholas Kristof said, ‎"A quick lesson in colloquial Egyptian Arabic: Innaharda, ehna kullina Misryeen! Today, we are all Egyptians!" or in written form:

النهارده احنا كلنا مصريين :)