Heroes and Holy Places

Recently some friends of mine were discussing the misapplication of the word “heroic” to denote efforts which people ought to make simply as a matter of course. Staying married, for example, is not an act of heroism, at least in most cases, yet you read in the tabloids — that is, . . . . Continue Reading »

Het Geluid van Muziek

I missed the news last week that a firm in the Netherlands had purchased the rights to the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook. Funny to think, isn’t it, that the Dutch now own these musicals? “Amsterdam, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the dikes.” Or that great musical North . . . . Continue Reading »

I’ll Fly Away

What do you think, Sally? Would the younger kids in your house enjoy or employ NEW! Feather and Marabou Angel Wings?“Get ready for Christmas plays and other plays in your church group with these adorable Angel Wings,” the advertising copy at the crafts store says. But looking at these, . . . . Continue Reading »

J. S. Bach in Japan

Twenty-five years ago when there was still a Communist East Germany, I interviewed several boys from Leipzig’s Thomanerchor, the choir once led by Johann Sebastian Bach. Many of those children came from atheistic homes. “Is it possible to sing Bach without faith?” I asked them. “Probably . . . . Continue Reading »

Apostles of Rock

Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music by jay r. howard and john m. streck university press of kentucky, 304 pages, $29.95 “Redemption.” The banner headline in the May 6, 1999 Nashville Tennessean wasn’t about religion. It was about commerce. . . . . Continue Reading »

Do You Believe What You Sing?

Why Catholics Can’t Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste by thomas day crossroad, 177 pages, $19.95 In a moment of exasperation, the novelist Flannery O'Connor wrote to a friend that the motto of the Catholic Church could be: We Guarantee to Corrupt Nothing But Your . . . . Continue Reading »

David Byrne and the Curse of “Lifestyle”

Lately I’ve been noting an interesting linguistic phenomenon: the all-purpose word. You come across it most often in slang, especially the slang of children and adolescents. Take “narly,” for instance—a word which, in my limited acquaintance, seems capable of an almost infinite range of . . . . Continue Reading »