Tag Archives: interview

A clue to the existence of Heaven?

From a New York Times interview with Brian Greene, physicist at Columbia University:

In your forthcoming book, “The Hidden Reality,” you ponder the possibility of a “multiverse” composed of many universes. But what kind of worlds are we talking about? Clumps of subatomic particles in space? Or universes with restaurants and museums?

Some might have museums and restaurants. Some might have copies of you and me having a conversation similar to this one. Yet other universes would be vastly different. They could involve a gigantic expansive space that might be filled with other forms of matter governed by other kinds of physical laws. In one such universe, when the apple is released by a tree, it might go up instead of down.


A physicist defines intelligence

From a New York Times interview with Brian Greene, physicist at Columbia University:

Do you think SAT scores define intelligence?
No. They define the capacity to answer questions on an SAT test.

How would you define intelligence?
Intelligence is the ability to take in information from the world and to find patterns in that information that allow you to organize your perceptions and understand the external world.

Americana & Gospel singer Mike Farris talks addiction, music, faith & Myrtle Beach

My friend and former colleague Christina Lee Knauss just published an interview with Mike Farris, formerly of the rock ‘n’ roll outfit the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, now a critically acclaimed Americana and Gospel singer. Farris talks about his last show in Myrtle Beach, as well as tonight’s, and his friendship with the late Jeff Roberts. Read ‘Salvation in Lights’ here or, if you’re in the Myrtle Beach area, pick up the current edition of the Weekly Surge.

An email exchange with D. Anthony Storm: Kierkegaard, the Gospel, and spiritual formation

Could a long-dead existentialist philosopher really help today’s Christians express the Gospel and grow spiritually?

D. Anthony Storm thinks so.

Storm has built a fascinating, searchable Web site devoted to the works of the 19th-Century Danish existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. Storm has written extensive commentaries on Kierkegaard’s books for his Web site.

I recently emailed a couple of questions to Storm regarding Kierkegaard’s value to Christians in our time.

Colin Foote Burch: How can Kierkegaard’s works help contemporary Christians express the Gospel? Are some of his writings better suited for that task than others?

D. Anthony Storm: Some of the same issues prevail today, especially collectivism versus individualism. His work on the Single Individual is still important. There is much talk within and without the church about “community” and not a lot of talk about standing upon one’s convictions even if they are wildly unpopular in society or the church. The Gospel at heart is an offense, which I see very well expressed in Practice in Christianity. In striving to reach the world we have accommodated ourselves to the world so that we can say, as Kierkegaard said, that we are no longer teaching the Christianity of the New Testament. I consider Practice in Christianity to be perhaps his most important. Obviously such a work is a lot more important than Prefaces. I also think the Attack Upon Christendom is a needed corrective.

CFB: Do you find value in Kierkegaard from the standpoint of devotional reading or spiritual formation? Which works would be easier for an average reader, let’s say someone with only a bachelor’s degree, to read for the purposes of devotional time or spiritual formation?

DAS: Yes. Christian Discourses is my favorite, though you would not know that from my site. It is also an easy enough work to read, as all his devotional works are, with the possible exception of Works of Love.

Visit Storm’s Web site at www.sorenkierkegaard.org

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‘Good Book’ author on Colbert Report

(If you don’t see the full screen and “play” button, click the “David Plotz” link below.)

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
David Plotz
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest

Creativity and prayer: An interview with author Ellen Morris Prewitt

Ellen Morris Prewitt‘s work has appeared in several literary magazines, including Image, North Dakota Quarterly, Texas Review, Brevity, and Relief. Her book, Making Crosses: A Creative Connection to God, will be released by Paraclete Press on April 1.

LiturgicalCredo recently emailed Prewitt a few questions, and she graciously replied.

You started this new practice of making crosses after 9/11. How did you arrive at the idea to make that first cross, what was it made of, and what did it look like?

Earlier, before September 11, when I’d found my personal life in disarray, I’d picked up the pieces – literally – and begun making vignettes from the scattered debris. I used whatever was at hand to tell small stories, and the frame on which the pieces were glued was an integral part of the story. When I needed something more after 9/11, the cross was the “frame” I turned to. One of my earliest crosses was made from the louvres of a shutter I had used as a dog gate, with fabric glued onto the crossbeams. My first “outdoor” cross was a three-pointed stick I found in my driveway. To adorn it, I threaded straight pins through tiny fake pearls and added leftover silver trim to make a scepter for what I named a “Royal Diedam” cross. It is hard to adequately describe how halting these early crosses were. They were very complicated, with many things stuck and glued onto them. Interestingly, over time, as the practice has deepened, the crosses have grown simpler. The principle of using whatever I find discarded in the world is stronger than ever.

You say that Making Crosses teaches the reader how to make a personal cross. What kinds of things can a personal cross represent?

A personal cross can represent whatever the person brings to God while making the cross. My motto is that these are not “Nicene Creed Crosses: I belive in God the Father, God the Son, . . .” but are “Lord’s Prayer Crosses: Give us this day our daily bread.” As a result, we’ve seen in the workshops pain, celebration, delight, deep insight – so many, many things. One of my most personal crosses was entitled, “It may be the Trinity, but Only Jesus had to Die,” a cross embedded with nails and staple “tombstones” which came out of my grief at the fully human sacrifice Jesus made for us. I love the description below of a cross one my workshop participants made, “Dancing in the Wind”:

My relationship with God is never static; it is like dancing with the wind: sometimes gentle and warm, or breezy, playful and impish. At other times – when I try to lead the dance myself – I struggle just to hang on under the cold, fast wind. Then God coaxes me back into the rhythm of life.

– Evelyn Baker, workshop participant

I am setting up a website, http://www.makingcrosses.com, that offers a “cross making community” where you can become a member and share your cross making experiences. I am hoping that folks will join in the community, and we will see even more fully what a personal cross can represent.

How is making a cross similar to praying? How do you think understanding comes from doing?

I think of cross making as a type of prayer, if you define prayer as spending time with God, which I do. It is very interactive prayer, to me, because you are asking and asking and God is answering and answering. Many of the questions are along the lines of, what am I supposed to do with this? When God tells you, there usually comes with it the “why.” “Because I want you to celebrate gratitude.” “Because the beauty is always tempered with the sacrifice that brought it.” The understanding is very much wrapped up with the physical thing you are creating; much of the explanation lies in the visual. Sometimes the understanding doesn’t come in the two-hour workshop; but participants have stopped me later to say, now I know why.

Also, it’s interesting to me how my focus on thrown-away material that the world considers worthless has affected the rest of my life. I’m not sure I would have been so taken with the “sustainability theology” if I hadn’t been practicing seeing all the world as God’s creation in making crosses. That is a level of “understanding from doing” that I could not have predicted, but for which I am grateful.

Have you witnessed others being transformed by this process of making a personal cross? What kind of transformations took place?

I have seen people quietly amazed at the difference in where they began in the cross making experience, and where they ended up, the road between being paved with the workings of the Holy Spirit. I’ve seen the most wonderfully creative crosses made by those who consider themselves uncreative people. I had one woman tell me if she’d understood exactly what we were doing, she wouldn’t have come, and how much the experience meant to her. I also had one woman for whom the cross making just didn’t take; interestingly, she was from the arts community. In general, this is my favorite part of the cross making workshops: when people tell the story of their crosses, looking with wonder at the crosses they have created, rejoicing in something that they didn’t know about themselves.

I also have to say that, for me, the most basic transformation is that I am here, talking about God in public. For most of my life, that would not have happened. Because of this, I warn readers that cross making may affect your life!

How does the process of making crosses relate to your work as a writer?

Someone once told me that all writers should have a creative outlet that doesn’t involve words. In a way, the cross making is that for me, an alternative process of creating that doesn’t depend on linear, analytic thinking. More profoundly, it is a practice I go to when I need quality time with God. When I’m making crosses, I get away from what has become my work – writing – and I go to something that has so little worldly purpose. I guess you could look at the cross making as a “taking in,” where writing is a “letting out.” The similarity is that, in both instances I rely on God to navigate. I can do this in cross making, I can do it in writing; I hope one day to be better able to do it in all aspects of my life.

Visit Prewitt’s Web site or view the Making Crosses page at the Paraclete Press site.

Bishop N.T. Wright on The Colbert Report

Must see!