On the same day that Christians are called to enter a time of waiting and anticipation, Amazon suggested with Prime Air that we should never have to wait. The iGods (Bezos, Jobs, Zuckerberg, et. al.) have made waiting a sin, a thing of the past that we can and should avoid at all cost. Yet, Advent is a waiting game, a season to prepare for the arrival of a life changing baby. He isn’t delivered via stork or drone, but through a teen mother. Mary had time to consider the promise growing within her. She came to welcome her calling and her baby. At Advent, we are invited to sing the Magnificat recorded in the Gospel of Luke with her.
2. Welcoming Kickstarter into the clubhouse
The winter issue of Comment (which will arrive soon, I hope!) is all about patronage, a theme that probably doesn’t keep many of us up at night—but maybe it should! Lukas Naugle’s article considers whether Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms—which use the language of patronage unabashedly—can truly bear the weight of deep patronage:
Deep patronage requires relationships of trust between patron and creator that can withstand the rigours of transparency and accountability. We are each better off when we are supported by healthy relationships and partnerships. Deep patronage requires time, intentionality, and not least, presence. Online platforms and networks are at their best when they enhance actual face-to-face conversations and experiences. They lead us astray when they begin to replace relationships in the flesh. But embodied relationships are messy, and they entail hefty doses of the unexpected and the unpredictable. Because resources can be squandered or lost, such relationships are risky. They are also, of course, infinitely more rewarding.
3. Christianity, the media, and the politics of austerity
Theos, a UK-based Christian think tank focused on religion, politics, and society, hosted its annual lecture last week. The lecture was delivered by Marilynne Robinson, on religion in contemporary America. There’s a write-up in Intelligent Life, and the full audio is here. Those who have read Gilead or her other books will find this especially interesting.
4. The beauty and tension of Advent
The folks at the Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts at Biola University has produced a stunning multimedia Advent calendar. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll want to make a bookmark and revisit it each day until Christmas.
5. Advent to Christmas
I’ve been loving the seasonal collection of songs from Page CXVI on their new album Advent to Christmas.