1. The first Thanksgiving
Next week we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, which brings together the strands of “national identity, religious heritage and historical memory,” in the words of Robert Tracy McKenzie, author of The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History. William Thomas Mari reviews it for Books & Culture:
The temptation to look only at the positive parts of history, especially where Christian heroes are concerned, is very strong, but ultimately unwise, he says. The Pilgrims were not “proto” Americans, and definitely not property-rights loving, compact-creating, “first” citizens of the future United States. They were an odd lot, at least to us, not celebrating Christmas, preferring civil marriage to marriage in church, rejecting the King James Bible, loving bright clothes and much preferring beer over water. With all these reminders, McKenzie helpfully calls us away from the use of “revisionist” as a pejorative for history we do not like. History is not received like Scripture.
2. Like a Rolling Stone
Two years ago, Rolling Stone published a list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and topping the list was Bob Dylan’s 1965 song, “Like a Rolling Stone.” Incidentally, the number two song was by a band that happened to be called The Rolling Stones (hmm… see a pattern here?). Regardless, Dylan’s song is a masterpiece; there’s no way around it. And now, nearly 50 years later, it gets an official music video—an interactive one that, as Wired puts it, “is probably the most newfangled thing Dylan has ever done.”
3. Apple’s new HQ
Let’s be honest. We’ve all oohed and aahed over renderings of Apple’s new “Spaceship” campus, haven’t we? Well, architect David Greusel, who specializes in creating spaces where people gather, is not impressed—“for reasons both philosophical and practical”—as he writes for Think Christian:
Philosophically, like a walled medieval city, it denies the existence of anything outside of itself. Lacking any geometric relation to Cupertino’s grid of streets, Apple’s new home becomes inwardly focused, a Fortress of Solitude that denies its membership in Cupertino or any other community except the community of Apple. Some large churches have done the same thing (though not at this scale) with campuses that deny their connection to a community that includes non-members. It is difficult to imagine Apple ever hosting a public event at this citadel, even something as curated and safe as a charity cocktail party. On a more practical level, Apple’s headquarters, through its lack of urban integration, is exclusively car-centric, although token bike parking will be provided to ensure the building’s green cred. Perfectly round and set way back from streets, it’s as welcoming to pedestrians as an airport. It will have a gym, of course, to sort of compensate for the fact that no one who works there can walk there.
Certainly, there is no disconnecting the language of rights from that of responsibilities, but… a principled pluralist perspective helps us to see that, rightly used, rights-language can actually enhance a concern for public justice for the common good, especially when your own rights are not improperly privileged over your fellow citizen’s.
5. Hovering Above Threshold
For a place I’ve yet to visit, I sure do love Laity Lodge and what the good folks behind it are up to. Case in point: Threshold, the site-specific sculpture featured below, was recently completed by Roger Feldman, an art professor at Seattle Pacific University (more on Threshold, among other things, in this essay). While this video doesn’t even show the main lodge or the Frio River, doesn’t it make you want to visit?
[Image: Threshold via laitylodge.org]