The Tao of Cow
Trent Gilliss, online editor
Sometimes the most delightful surprises and promises of insight come in the form of a Facebook status update:
"So, Mom called. The cows broke out again. Two separate locations, and Dad had just repaired the fences. Hunters everywhere (makes them stampede). Hopefully they can get all the repairs done in time to make our family concert in Fergus Falls tomorrow… I know Hindus revere the cow, but Buddhists should as well, because they are really good at teaching impermanence and letting go."
The author? Andra Suchy-Pierzina, a friend and regular performer on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, who grew up on a farm outside of Mandan, North Dakota.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but feel lighter and be reminded of Matthieu Ricard’s story (next week’s program, “The Happiest Man in the World”) about two women navigating muddy Himalayan roads. One kvetched; the other smiled and embraced. Andra reminds me to be the latter.
(Photos: cows on the Suchy farm before jailbreak, courtesy of Andra Suchy-Pierzina)
Rossini’s “Meow!” by “The Little Singers of Paris”
Trent Gilliss, online editor
Ilona, our first Web intern, posted this video on my Facebook wall with the comment: “I know you’re all dog lovers at SoF but here is some cat love for ya.” For the first minute, I thought this was one person’s attempt at some humor-filled dubbing of a concert given in Seoul, Korea in 1996. But, when the boys and the pianist cracked smiles, doubt disappeared.
Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois (also known as “The Little Singers of Paris”) is a century-old boarding school based in the outskirts of Paris. The Catholic institution admits boys from ages 9 to 15 and integrates traditional studies with arts and the humanities. A core component of the the school is social action in which they are “sensitive to people and populations in need” and “maintain the right to education, fight against discrimination and help the weak and the victims.”
Although similar in spirit to a previous video we posted of Les Freres de St Francis de la Sissies, this choir is a legit. The boys sing both sacred and popular music, often performing little-known French folk music. They tour throughout France and the world as part of their mission. I’d dig being able to hear them live.
I don’t read French, and the translations I pulled up about the school are pretty spotty. If you know more about the school’s efforts, please post a comment and share your knowledge.
Animating the Word, with LEGOs
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer
Back in February we produced a radio/web package on the manuscript preservation work of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at Saint John’s Abbey in central Minnesota. The Abbey is also responsible for commissioning The Saint John’s Bible, a new hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible using the tools of vellum, quills, pigments, gold leaf, and time-honored processes that declined after the advent of the printing press. The hope of the project’s champions is to illuminate “the Word of God for a new millennium.”
Another approach to that end is that of Reverend (he’s not really a preacher) Brendan Powell Smith — an actor, author, musician, and past theology student who has chosen a staggering collection of LEGOs, a hobby knife, permanent marker, and a camera to “animate” the Word and bring it to life in books and online. Smith’s Brick Testament has seen a lot of press worldwide and so you may have come across this before, but if not, I thought you might enjoy seeing just a handful of the highly imaginative and resourceful uses of LEGOs that Smith snaps together to retell Scripture.
You may notice that some of the dialogue in the images is black and some is grey. The black is actual Scripture and the grey, well, the grey might be called apocryphal or simply playful, or what Smith imagined what might have also been said at the time. His translation of choice is the New Jerusalem Bible, with some things updated in Smith’s wording to avoid copyright issues. Please note: some of the images and “playful” language of The Brick Testament may not be suitable for all audiences, but there is a content code to point out sections that some may find objectionable.
Illustrations courtesy of The Brick Testament.
God Has a Sense of Humor, Too
Krista Tippett, Host
In our interview for next week’s show, the very thoughtful scientist/author Jon Kabat-Zinn has intriguing and provocative things to say about the pressures and possibilities of aligning our “Stone Age minds” with 21st-century digital realities. But he also says: “This is far too serious to take too seriously.”
The most godly people I know have a sense of humor even about the most important things, and I’m convinced God does too. And that is my far too serious justification for posting two very funny Facebook takes on Passover and Easter, the holiest of holidays being observed simultaneously this week. Be blessed — and enjoy.