- C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, John F. Kennedy, Los Lobos, Roller Derby, Lou Reed, Teo Bishop, Wesleyan Theology, Noah, Todd Christenson, and Dr. Who
- Flannery O’Connor, Christian Martyrs, Honesty Makes a Comeback, Sister Antonia Brenner, Christendom, Surfing Madonna, Screwtape Letters
- Iconic Norman Rockwell paintings to be auctioned
- Robert Randolph and Sacred Steel
- Johnny Was A Punk Rocker: Johnny Ramone, R.I.P.
Bono on Focus on the Family, Atheist Prayers, C. S. Lewis, Willie Nelson, Lillian Daniel, Paula Deen, Praying for Others
* Bono – Husband, Father, Advocate (Focus on the Family)
* Bono: David sang the blues and Jesus did some punk rock (RNS)
* The Meaning of Life with Bono (interview with Irish journalist Gay Byrne)
* Atheist Prayer: Religious activity not uncommon amongst non-believers (Huffington Post)
* C. S. Lewis, Evangelical Rock Star by T. M. Luhrmann (NY Times)
* Willie Nelson: Holy man of the honky tonks (Rolling Stone, 1978)
* Lillian Daniel amongst the Unitarian Universalists (Patheos)
* Church without god by design (CNN)
* Saying Grace: Paula Deen, Progressives, and Race by Maria Dixon (Patheos)
* More than a platitude, praying for others promotes hope, optimism by David Briggs (Huffington Post)
By Steve Beard
Photos by Bob Stevens
The first time that Pauley Perrette excused herself from the room during our interview, she said: “The best thing to do is sit her on my chair. As long as you don’t stand up while I am gone, you’ll be fine.”
She was talking about her Chihuahua, Cece. I had been warned. When we were arranging a time and place to talk, she told me that she would be bringing her two dogs along. “One of them bites,” she said. “I just wanted to let you know.”
Thankfully, Pauley is passionate about rescuing Chihuahuas and not Rottweilers. When she excused herself from the room, she looked in my direction and gently whispered in Cece’s ear, “Friend, friend.” While she was gone from the room, I even found myself sheepishly repeating the refrain. I survived. At one point later on, Cece even sat next to me on the couch. After three and a half hours, I was on Cece’s VIP list. Well, that may be a stretch, but at least there were no flesh wounds.
Pauley goes everywhere with her dogs. Our time together was spent in a bungalow at the Chateau Marmont, the Sunset Strip hideaway in Hollywood where Jim Morrison lived temporarily, and John Belushi died tragically.
“Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God,” wrote Victor Hugo, French poet and author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1802-1885). Below are two of my fave quotes on love from his elegant pen.
“When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.”
“Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.”
– The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
“I would say to young people a number of things. Let them remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do — every one — our share to redeem the world despite of all absurdities and all the frustration and all disappointments. And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to live life as it if were a work of art. You’re not a machine. When you are young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence.”
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)
I’m addicted to “Chopped,” the Food Network cooking competition where chefs battle with culinary wits and creativity. Contestants are given a scandalously brief amount of time to concoct a three course gourmet meal with mystery ingredients such as Swiss chard, red snapper, bubble gum, and Provolone cheese. Somehow, incongruity has to end up being tasty. After each course, dishes are evaluated by celebrity chefs and one contestant is chopped.
Aside from the $10,000 prize, contestants want to become Chopped Champion for the bragging rights or simply to garner the approval of their parents. The competition is fierce and cutthroat. Trash talking is encouraged and bloated egos are on display.
My favorite episode ended up being a cook-off between Lance Nitahara, the chef at Camp of the Woods Resort in the Adirondacks, and Yoanne Magris, a lovely French woman who wanted to win in order to visit her dying grandmother in France.
Being cut by the Green Bay Packers was not part of the plan. Neither was returning to Cedar Falls, Iowa, and working the nightshift at the Hy-Vee supermarket for $5.50 an hour. Needless to say, playing Arena Football League for the Iowa Barnstormers and then doing a stint in front of Dutch fans in Amsterdam is not exactly the career path for star quarterbacks in the National Football League.
However, that was all part of the zany agony-and-ecstasy trek of quarterback Kurt Warner, a real-deal quarterback who went from stocking shelves in a supermarket to hurling passes in three Super Bowls with two different teams.
The recently retired record-holding, MVP quarterback is going to be hosting a new TV show about second chances, premiering on April 11 on the USA Network. Steve Beard spoke to Warner about the show, his faith, and leadership in the huddle.
Your new show is called The Moment. Seems like you are the perfect host for a show about deferred dreams and second chances.
I was the guy chasing my dream for a long time and then a number of things brought me to a screeching halt and forced me to work in a grocery store and to travel overseas to make my dream happen. It took somebody giving me a second chance for me to be able to get back in the NFL.
When Albert Einstein first introduced his theory of relativity dealing with space and time, it was widely joked that there were only three people in the world who comprehended it. During a question and answer time after a lecture, the acclaimed British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington was asked if he was one of the three. After a lengthy pause, Eddington replied, “I’m trying to think who the third person is.”
Although the story may be apocryphal, it still grants a sigh of relief to all those who struggled with science in school. It is not as though most of us sit around and chat about energy equaling mass multiplied by the speed of light squared, more commonly known as E=mc2.
As a cultural icon, Einstein was the ultimate caricature of an absentminded professor. When he was young, the family maid referred to him as the “dopey one.” As an adult, his moustache was too bushy, his hair untamable, and his clothing unfashionable. His most famous portrait is of him sticking out his tongue. You gotta love a physicist who knows the pose that even makes a kid laugh.
Unbeknownst to him, Professor Thomas C. Oden was the prime agitator to the agony and ecstasy of my seminary experience. It was wading through 1,400 pages of his three volume systematic text books that introduced me to his dear friends Athanasius, Basil, John Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen, as well as Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine –– that’s just to name a few.
To be honest, sometimes it felt like fraternity hazing and at other times it read devotionally, healing the wounds of my worn-out and stretched mind.
Looking back on it, I would not have had it any other way.
There are a few notable reasons I have always trusted Oden.
First, he is steadfastly committed to the historic teachings of Jesus. He’s made a professional vow to be theologically “unoriginal,” a counterintuitive move for a brilliant mind within a culture where newer is always considered better and theologians huff and puff to “keep pace with each new ripple of the ideological river.” Oden is sold out to the witness of the martyrs, saints, and prophets –– the faith that has been “everywhere and always and by everyone believed” to be the truth of Christianity.
Second, he has a past. For some reason, I trust those whose skeletons have already been laid bare. He wasn’t always a bleeding heart for orthodoxy. As a “movement theologian,” he dabbled in theoretical Marxism, existentialism, demythologization, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt therapy, humanistic psychology, and parapsychology. Oden liked the bandwagons and everyone winked and nodded. Everyone, that is, except the late Jewish scholar Will Herberg, a brilliant colleague at Drew University who hounded Oden to rediscover his Christian roots.
Despite being a monumental influence on contemporary music, most people outside the small fraternity of blues aficionados have never even heard of Robert Johnson (1911-1938). As a matter of fact, it was not until 70 years after his death that he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.
His mark on the history of rock ‘n’ roll, however, is undeniable. “Robert Johnson is the most important blues musician who ever lived,” says legendary guitarist Eric Clapton. “I have never found anything more deeply soulful. His music remains the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice.”