The Warren & the World is Story Warren's weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We're glad you're here!
Around the Web:
Addict, Informant, Mother
This is a long read, but it's supremely well written. It's about drug addiction in a small town. This stuff is a real part of the way the world around us is struggling right now.
One day last summer, Ann and her husband, Tom, walked two and a half hours to reach Hazleton, a onetime mining town in eastern Pennsylvania. They had lived there until July, when they were evicted and moved in with Ann’s mother in Sugarloaf, a more affluent township nearby. There was not much to miss about Hazleton, with its decaying downtown and its fading homes spotted with satellite dishes, but to Ann and Tom the town held a shimmering appeal: It had heroin, a lot of it. They had called the usual friends for a ride, with no luck, and their own car had been repossessed. So at midday, the two left Ann’s mother’s condominium by foot and followed the asphalt out of the valley all the way to Hazleton.
Heart breaking. Hard. Read more.
The Christian Imagination
Gene Veith gives a wide-ranging interview to Matthew Block. It's a super good read.
A big reason why so many people today have no religious beliefs at all is, I think, a failure of the contemporary imagination. People cannot even conceive of God. They are closed off from spiritual things because their imaginations have been shaped by a narrow, materialist understanding of the universe—that what we see is all there is. That’s very limiting and it’s stultifying to the imagination. People today in our post-modern world are not open to religion, but it isn’t a matter that they think Christianity has been disproven or that they can’t believe it intellectually—the same people who are skeptical of Christianity are also skeptical of reason! They’re just trapped in their imaginations.
Art can help awaken the imagination to transcendence and to mystery—to open people up to the idea that there’s something more than just their little lives. J.R.R. Tolkien was once defending fantasy from the charge that it’s escapist. He answered by saying, ‘If you’re in prison, it’s healthy to want to escape.’ His point was that people today are imprisoned by their narrow materialistic worldviews.
Our kind of people, for sure. Read more.
The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Means
Matthew Westerholm talks about a shift in understanding he's been through.
- As a brand new worship leader, I loved choosing songs. I loved finding a new song that pounded my heart and changed my world. I loved arranging that new song so that the big key change would bring the shekinah glory. And when I placed five of these beloved songs in the perfect order, I was sure the heavens would rend, Christ would return, and the eschaton would arrive.
So, when the heavens didn’t rend on Sunday morning, I didn’t understand. Did I need volunteers who were more committed, or more talented, or more committed to talent? Did I need a pastor who was even more supportive? Was it the equipment? Or the sanctuary? And why couldn’t my congregation be more like those conference attenders I saw on that worship video?
Really healthy perspective, I think. Read more.
The Real Dirt
Melissa Inglis talks about the challenge of hospitality.
- I wonder, do you know that moment?
That moment when some one unexpectedly shows up at your door… and you look like a deer caught in the headlights?
You're wondering if you've even brushed your teeth yet today, while your eyes frantically comb the room for any signs of disorder that may appall your guest? You've just lost your temper with the kids and everyone – including yourself – is about ready to wail again.
You're not feeling very hospitable.
You're feeling horrible.
We need a dose of this sort of thinking in our churches. Read more.
Around the Warren:
Measure by Measure
Julie Silander recounts a story that repeats in her life.
- My youngest came into the world dancing, twirling, and humming a cheerful tune. The baby of five, she plays her role in the family flawlessly. From the moment we brought her home, we not only loved her, but we loved all that came with her – reams of pink, hair bows, bloomers, baby dolls, and ballet dresses. As a toddler, she woke up smiling with open arms waiting for hugs. She spent her days both dancing with poise and grace (as much as a 2 yr old can have) AND chasing her big brothers with a pink cowboy gun. I’ve learned much from her. She soaks in every ounce of life and lives each moment to the fullest. Nothing is boring. She notices the newest bird that has takes residency in our yard, writes elaborate stories for hours (phonetically – reading them can become a game in itself) and has vision for any scrap of yarn or paper. She’s a living craft tornado, sucking up remnants in her path and leaving a trail of destruction, along with a mighty creative craft project, behind.
A beautiful tale and a beautiful reminder of some life truth. Read more.
Part of Your Child's Creative Nature
Beautiful imagery from Paul Boekell, beautiful words from Clay Clarkson:
Get a closer look!
Doug TenNapel and Cardboard-Dinosaur-Ghost-Thigns
Laura Peterson reviews Doug TenNapel's graphic novels.
- If I was in charge of collection development for my local library system, I’d be considering ordering 2-3 more copies of every graphic novel by Doug TenNapel, since earlier this year it took me two months to get my hands on even one copy for a graduate school assignment. Those things just won’t stay on the shelves! Graphic novels are a genre that I don’t have much experience with or knowledge about, but when several friends recommended TenNapel’s books to me, I thought it was high time I dove in and saw what all the fuss was about. Verdict = the fuss was entirely merited.
Go read some more and then maybe order some books. Read more.
Tumbleweed Thompson and the Popping Pepper
Glenn McCarty writes and Joe Sutphin illustrates a fun tale:
- “Eugene Cornelius Teitsworth, stop staring out the windows and pass me the Louisa May Alcott! This library isn’t going to organize itself.”
I jumped, sending my wellthumbed copy of DeadEye Dan Spends a Night in Coyote Canyon tumbling onto the floor. “Sorry, Ma,” I mumbled, sweeping the book behind the counter with my foot.
She scowled. “It you spent a little less time on those dime novels of yours, you might see yourself make some advances in Mrs. Gilmore’s schoolroom.”
It's great! Read more.
Something to Do with Your Kids:
This great idea comes from Aleisha at She Calls Me MamaLeisha. Art in the yard. What a great idea! Read more.
And Something Fun to Watch
A very fuzzy guaranteed laugh. In only seven seconds.
Thank you for reading. We're on your side.