Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekend Links: a day late!

Some of the stories need working on before I can see whether they’re interesting enough to finish; some of them stall when they need some heavy-duty research that I don’t have time to do; and there are a few that I started and then realized I didn’t have the chops to do justice to. So those are all partials sitting on my hard drive, and I revisit them occasionally between books to see if any of them are ready to get written the rest of the way yet. If one of them is, I have a big jump on getting the next thing started.
"Annunciation Gap":
One thing almost all the painters agree about: in this scene, the annunciation, they put Mary on one side of the painting and Gabriel on the other, with a gap between them. Sometimes it’s a large gap, as if Gabriel is shouting from across the room. Sometimes there is architecture between them, like posts or columns or half-walls. And sometimes, if it’s installed in a church, the scene will be depicted on two separate paintings, with the angel on one wall and Mary on another, and actual empty space between the two. The angel’s message has to jump from one two-dimensional plane to another, through a gulf of three-dimensional space.
"Let the Children Come":
All this being so, the thing about church is to just go and be there. Not to have any kind of agenda about it. Leave aside the hymn learning. Leave aside the needing to sit still. Leave aside the getting to know of your church family. You want to just be there, yourself, and for your children to be there, even though it is a wretched and horrific hassle. As you're dancing in the back with your baby, or hauling out your toddler for banging on the pew, missing the singing, missing the sermon, missing the announcements, missing everything, and you're bone tired, you back aches, and you're just angry, you just want to go hide in a hole, you stand there, and that's where Jesus is. That is where he is. That's where he was on the cross.

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