It is of the new things that men tire -- of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. There is no worshiper of change who does not feel upon his neck the vast weight of the weariness of the universe. But we who do the old things are fed by nature with a perpetual infancy. --GK Chesterton
There are three streams of Good Counsel that explore the related realms of:
- Faith @notWWJD, which -- after initial forays into why Pew Research shouldn't be surprised that Americans prefer mixing religion and politics, a more humorous finding that CNN's Belief Blog tells readers who click on "Faith Now" that "what you are looking for is not here", and that the biggest takeaway from the Vatican's extraordinary synod on the family is one everybody seems to have missed -- then dedicated five weeks to remember 25 years of Boston's recently closed AIDS Care Project: the place and community that taught me more than any other how to get out of your own way so God can use you.
- Childhood @YellowHat, which -- after initial forays into childhood vaccinations and (re-)learning the game of LIFE from a seven year old -- dedicated six weeks to the unnamed categories into which children awaiting adoption find themselves shelved, and the answer to such languishing: learning to call those children by name.
- Music @RebelYell, which began with George Harrison's recent retrospective and an attempt to find faithful punk to then lead us on a journey through the shared sentiments of Indonesian gamelan and Eastern Orthodox chant, finally ending with a proposed marriage of Dagbon drumming, Morrocan Gnawa and Taizé, perhaps most closely heard in a proffered "primitivized" Bach -- nothing exactly popping of the charts or even au courant.
Arguably, during this same time period, particularly when the two series on the AIDS Care Project and adoption were running, there were more "time is of the essence" topics that could have been selected for each of these arenas: Obama's executive action on immigration for @YellowHat, outbreaks of religious violence in the Middle East for @notWWJD, and the chanted responses ("I can't breathe!") to alleged police brutality clearly an apropos @RebelYell.
However, all I have to write is the paragraph above and you have already composed in your mind articles that fit those topics to each of our blogs' themes.
That's the nature of what is au courant -- everyone has an opinion, but almost none of us have enjoyed the requisite time necessary to gain perspective.
But there are wise perspectives: the immigrant's story is not new, alleged "religious" violence is not new, arguments over use of force in civil society are not new. In fact, each of these themes are integral to the stories of the season: our recently finished Ramadan, the Hanukkah that is upon us and the Advent to Christmas that is already underway.
What is more, these faiths' treatment of those themes, once countercultural and controversial, are now so commonplace and accepted as to have entered into even the most popular of entertainments; which is ironic, considering their continued abrogation that makes the headlines here in the final months of 2015.
So let's look at one of those popular entertainments in light of our post 9/11 world, and as we watch the opening sequence to this alleged light-fare action-comedy, reflect on our visceral reaction to its surrealistic presentation of economic posing as ideological violence, abusive authority against society's most marginalized members, and why the best of Rebel Yells (e.g., We Shall Overcome, the Temples' and Mosques' calls to prayer, the most ancient airs of Christmas) retain their power and never seem simplistic or simple-minded despite sharing all the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic attributes of a children's song:
The problems of this world are perpetual, but so are their solutions perennial: ever alive, only dormant even when apparently dead, always awaiting their and asking for our revival.
And so we come back to our opening quote, and an old way to begin a New Year:
"It is of the new things that men tire -- of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. There is no worshiper of change who does not feel upon his neck the vast weight of the weariness of the universe. But we who do the old things are fed by nature with a perpetual infancy."
To learn more, follow me on Twitter (@notWWJDjswgc, @YellowHatJSWGC & @RebelYellJSWGC) or visit the "Read Me" page at goodcounsel.squarespace.com