Friday Five: Cultural Edition

Sally has given us this week's Fabulous Friday Five.

I have spent the week at Summer School studying the Gospel and Western culture, we have looked at art, literature, music, film and popular culture in their myriad expressions. With that in mind I bring you the cultural Friday Five. Name a

1. Book
John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany. Also Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass-- it's what I read to remember how exuberantly God loves us. Oh, wait-- also the poetry of e.e. cummings, for the same reason...and Anne Bradstreet's... just about all of the transcendentalists, except Thoreau, who I think was really a wuss. (Does anyone realize how foolish it is to give this question to someone with a Lit degree and an eye toward seminary?)

2. Piece of music Shubert's Ave Maria is very simply the most stunning piece of music in the world. End of story. (But done well, people. There are lots of... disappointing... renditions.)

3. Work of art I'm sorry to say I don't have anything for this one. There's a lot of art that I find interesting or attractive, but I haven't yet been struck by anything soul-stirring.

4. Film Some of you will not be surprized to see that instead of a film, I'm going to name... YES! AN EPISODE OF WEST WING!!! Honestly, though, the finale of Season 2 is called "Two Cathedrals," and it's one of the most honest, brave, and inspiring things I've seen filmed. It's incredibly smart and very powerful. (Everybody come on over to my place; I'll make popcorn and pop in the DVD.)

5. Unusual engagement with popular culture Oh! Yes-- the annual V-Day performances of the Vagina Monologues. I performed in them in college, and have gone to see them almost every year since (got snowed out one year). Again, I find the greatest power is in honesty.

That have helped/ challenged you on your spiritual journey.
Bonus: Is engagement essential to your Christian faith, how and why?



  1. yes, A Prayer for Owen Meany was eye opening for me too. I never saw West Wing, and I guess it's my loss (I'm frequently unavailable on Wednesday nights).

  2. That episode of West Wing was truly great.

  3. Great play--and I'll be over to watch that West Wing episode. Thanks for the invitation!

  4. fab play. i totally concur with your take on honesty.

  5. if i have to sit thru an episode of The West Wing i am so bringing my art history books & maybe even some slides too...so you can sit thru them. Mountain Dew anyone?? or shall I bring the coffee too?

  6. since I haven't seen any West Wing, I'm hoping to get over for the episode and popcorn...

  7. That episode of West Wing was awesome .. I'd love to see again with all of you ... such a great show almost every week! And I too concur with your take on honesty. Great play. Thanks.

  8. I used that West Wing episode in a class on Job last year - it was a great hit. Very powerful.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins