Saturday, May 01, 2021
Friday, April 30, 2021
some general thoughts and observations about Igor Rekhin's 24 Preludes and Fugues for solo guitar--I'm afraid I have to say I respect it more than I enjoy it
Warren Throckmorton on the elderless church of Mark Driscoll in AZ parts 2 and 3 (also 4), revisiting how neither a board of directors nor a board of advisors & accountability seemed to have restrained consolidation of powers in the Mars Hill years
Alan Jacobs on the Substackification of the net, folks that are on Substack and some thoughts on how the platform differs but the vetting process hasn't (and probably shouldn't) with a side-riff on watchdog blogs
Well, yes, Ted Gioia, Freddie deBoer and now John McWhorter all have Substack platforms. Even though I think Gioia is embarrassingly wrong about a variety of things I look forward to reading his Substack posts. As Bryan Townsend and I discussed over at The Music Salon, Gioia could be, where we disagree with him, someone who could be considered, in Townsend's phrasing "a good faith opponent".
I'm a bit behind on stuff I've meant to blog about so for this post this much will have to do.
Monday, April 26, 2021
Warren Throckmorton has an update on the elderless The Trinity Church that Mark Driscoll is President and CEO of; revisiting the post-MHC resignation role of some board members of TTC and Driscoll on governance as "throne down not pew up"
During the past couple of weeks, several former members of The Trinity Church in Scottsdale have contacted me to talk about about aspects of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. They contacted me due to my coverage of Mars Hill from late 2013 until 2015. They tell stories remarkably similar to those I heard from former Mars Hill members during that span of time. There is one major difference. In the current church, there are no elders who are putting on any brakes. There are no elders to whom appeals can be made. Several former members and staffers have told me that The Trinity Church does not have elders.
Some things do sound the same. Non-disclosure agreements are again being used. Money is again conditioned on silence. People are describing abrupt decisions about membership without due process. Friends and family who are considered disloyal to the church are being shunned. At some point, these stories may be told. For now, according to former members and staff, the pastors who are there in addition to Driscoll are not elders in the decision making sense of the office. If elders hold you accountable in one place, eliminate them in the next place.
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Links for the weekend: Terry Mattingly on vaccination hesitation in the American South across racial lines and declining church membership in U.S.; Eastern Orthodox DO affirm penal substitutionary atonement for the U.S. folks who would say otherwise, apparently; and Crawford Gribben's book on PNW survivalism and Christian reconstructionism is out
Also by Terry Mattingly, a piece looking at thoughts from Thomas Kidd and Russell Moore on how U.S. church membership has fallen to all-time lows.
Kidd highlights a trend in American religious life where lack of formal church membership is not prima facie evidence of being secular or secularist. In other words eve among the “none” or “done” categories of people who won’t attend churches this is not necessarily a sign of being irreligious. Not being an evangelical Christian with a church membership contract doesn’t mean a person couldn’t be one in doctrinal terms, or a deist or a pantheist or have some form of belief in the divine.
Norman Lebrecht reviews a CD of violin/piano sonatas by Copland, Poulenc and Prokofiev who, he says, wrote works in 1942 that were escapism related to the war
In the year 1942, while millions were being slaughtered on battlefields and in German extermination camps, three composers in different countries wrote sonatas for violin and piano. Nothing connects these works to contemporary events or to each other. They are acts of escapism by expert musicians who chose not to engage with the worst time in human history.…
[reviews violin sonatas composed by Copland, Poulenc and Prokofiev]
We expect oracles from composers in ominous times. Here are three composers who preferred to bury their heads in scores. It is the interpreters, Benjamin Baker and Daniel Lebhardt, who bring out the terrors and anxieties that rumble beneath these works. Both are brilliant artists of independent mind and prodigious technique, one a New Zealander, the other Hungarian. Their Edinburgh recital was recorded last summer in the thick of the COVID pandemic. Different time, different crisis. This is a wonderfully timely album.
So musical acts of escapism are great if you're Aaron Copland, Francis Poulenc or Sergei Prokofiev? I'm not really a Copland fan. His whole Americana thing always sounded contrived to me. Poulenc, on the other hand, I love his penitential motet settings and his Mass is one of the better 20th century masses I've heard. I also enjoy Prokofiev (Piano Sonata No. 5, for instance)
But escapism? Maybe Lebrecht holds to some idea that artistic output is supposed to be both a reflection of the times and the psychological journey of the composers but not everyone has thought or composed in such a way. One of my music teachers said that if Beethoven was in a bad mood you saw it in his scores whereas if Haydn or Mozart were ever in a bad mood you could not glean that from studying their scores.
John Dowland was always sad and said so. He was probably one of the goth/emo dudes of Renaissance music and also, of course, a legendarily skilled lutenist and songwriter. But ... Lebrecht's surmise that "we expect oracles from composers in ominous times" sounds like something,
If we need escapism now and then could that be why Godzilla vs Kong is doing okay at the box office? What kind of escapism does Lebrecht really have in mind? Probably not Godzilla vs Kong the movie and most definitely not the send-up via trailer that is "Godzilla vs Cat (Owlkitty Parody)"
If Lebrecht likes the music already then the escapism he hears in it is "just what we need".