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Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

Sweet and low

I can’t get enough of the strings under N”K”C’s vocals on this.

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Christmas Special

I got nuthin. Here’s a redacted rerun.

This will only help with those of you who forgot to already buy Christmas gifts. I’ve been trying to build a collection of alternative shopping resources, and would love to get your additions to the list.

Benefitting the poor in 2/3 world countries (generally an “in honor of” gift):
TEAR Australia
Heifer International
World Vision
Kiva (small loans)
Save the Children

Fair Trade/Alt Economics
a greater gift
Ten Thousand Villages
Heartbeats
No Sweat Apparel
People Not Profit
Women’s Bean Project
Eternal Threads

Handmade things and Productive Monastics
(The Handmade Pledge)
Etsy
Mystic Monk Coffee
Monastery Creations (soaps, candles)
The Abbey of New Clairvaux (vineyard)
Chimay (Trappist beers and cheeses)

Sacred Art & Artists
Trinity Stores
Hymnscript
Janet McKenzie
Michael O’Neill McGrath

Also, Advent Conspiracy (I’ve mentioned them before) has a great list of relational gift ideas.

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This will only help with those of you who forgot to already buy Christmas gifts, but I’ve been trying to build a collection of alternative shopping resources the last few weeks.* Here are a few, and if you’re familiar with others, I’d be interested to know about them:

Benefitting the poor in 2/3 world countries (generally an “in honor of” gift):
TEAR Australia
Heifer International
World Vision
Kiva (small loans)
Save the Children

Fair Trade/Alt Economics
a greater gift
Ten Thousand Villages
Heartbeats
No Sweat Apparel
People Not Profit
(more…)

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Batman Begins:

As idealistic DA Rachel Dawes receives a kiss her lawyer boyfriend, former child sweetheart Bruce Wayne observes from sidewalk, dressed in dingy hooded sweatshirt.

Viewer banter:*

J: That’s so sexy when a billionaire dresses like a homeless person. If I was super wealthy that’s what I would do. It’s. . . it’s like an expression of true freedom.

D: Is incarnation is an expression of freedom?

J: Yeah, maybe. Right. I like that about Jesus. I don’t buy the romance of “giving up his divinity.” I trust him more because he still is God. I like that he knows something I don’t. He’s choosing this human form, but he still has this divine identity.

D: Like, the romance cheapens the choice being made or the restraint required?

J: Right. Whodathunkit: Batman is a Christ figure.**

Batman Begins:

Wayne squats at the bottom of a cave as the sound of hundreds of bats rushes towards him. Facing his fear and accepting his fate, embracing the symbol whose form will give him his power, Wayne slowly rises as the bats circle and immerse him in a whirling black cloud.

*As best I recall. Actual speakers had more believable conversational tone.
**Actual movie did not interpret itself thus. Maybe.

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1) Hey, Grinches, check this out: “Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by worshipping Jesus through compassion, not consumption.” You can join this movement as an individual or as a congregation. Wouldn’t that be somethin’?

2) Current consumption: new Sara Groves. It’s not the immediate soul flood the last one was for me, but, dang, she’s good. I’ll try to write more about her some time. I tried once before. I have difficulty committing.

3) When our major grocery store chains had an extended strike a few years ago, a lot of people discovered Trader Joe’s and similar options for shopping, and many never came back. Two thoughts today about the WGA strike: on one hand, the numbers of people who might go online for entertainment could support the writers’ claim to more residual pay. On the other hand, what if people get in the habit of consuming more material not dependent on WGA talent?

4) On the third hand, we know a woman whose husband works “in the industry” who gave me a closer picture of the effect this will have. Her husband is neither a studio exec nor a writer, but they will lose their income and family insurance in a matter of days or weeks. Even if you don’t like TV, this is why it matters. And even if you don’t like TV, once reality television takes over everything, and our cities are burning and society crumbles, then we’ll really be sorry. Or maybe we’ll finally be real Christians.

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I’ve been getting this catalog for a while, but hadn’t paid attention to it: Heartbeats, a ministry of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, “Networking women, developing world and minority artists.” There are a number of good opportunities to spend well, and some unique, creative, and interesting products, including Christmas cards and fair-trade gifts that don’t make you feel so bah-humbuggish.

Anybody have other alternative shopping leads in this vein? I know there are lots of others.

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Every Christmas there are a few songs that I’d never noticed before, but suddenly I can’t escape. I usually discover (or finally pay attention to) at least a few unfamiliar gems. Last year, I was mercilessly persued by the infinitely creepy “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (most scarring moment: “Say, what’s in this drink?”) and the schmaltzy charm of the “Christmas Waltz” (line burned in my brain: “And this song of mine/in three-quarter time/wishes you and yours/the same thing, too”). Oh yeah, and the catchiest absurdity of the season, Nat King Cole’s “I’m the Happiest Christmas Tree.”

This year was a good year. Thank you, Sufjan, Sarah McLachlan, and assorted cast. I was the beneficiary of three sweet and low carols that kept the incarnation in ear’s reach for the last several weeks: “In the Bleak Mid-Winter,” “Once in David’s Royal City,” and “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”
(more…)

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