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Moving to a Small Island

Moving to a Small Island

Check out Dick Staub’s new bookThe Culturally Savvy Christian.

Also, click here to listen to our latest daily podcast of “The Kindlings Muse”. “The Kindlings Muse” rekindling our spiritual, intellectual and creative potential.”

Moving to a Small Island
(This column first appeared as an RNS syndicated column in September 2007).

I have moved to a small island, in part to pursue the un-frantic life.

For twenty years we’ve vacationed in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. Each year for a few weeks we bask in the sunshine, pass the time away in the lazy pace of “island time” and rehumanize ourselves before heading back to our fast-paced cosmopolitan lives.

Yesterday we joined friends for coffee at the ferry landing as they bid Orcas Island farewell. Around us we could overhear mainlanders hatching dreams that would one day allow them to make this paradise home. They feel the draw of a smaller place (Orcas has a year around population of 4500), a slower pace and an unspoiled environment, where bald eagles are plentiful and pods of Orca whales make their home.

This year we are the envied ones. We are staying. Call it an experiment in rediscovering what it means to be fully human in a dehumanizing age.

For some time I’ve believed America’s spiritual impoverishment and human angst is directly related to today’s frantic pace, where completing our daily tasks is a higher priority than human interaction. As a result Americans are the most productive workers on the planet and according to many psychologists, we are also the least connected relationally.

A few years ago I heard an expert on CS Lewis describe the secret of Lewis’s productivity. He said: “Lewis style of spirituality was a rhythm of worship, work, reading, and leisure. This is an un-frantic response to God who is, as Lewis insisted, always a courteous Lord. Life-style is revealed by the use of time: what is given place and space; what is included and what, therefore, is excluded. What we see in Lewis is the steady place of his parish church; the quiet regularity of his Bible-reading and prayers; the natural large place for his main work of study and writing; the large blocks of time for leisurely conversations with special friends; and the importance of letter writing, especially with those who sought his help in the matter of Christian pilgrimage For all of his immense output of literary work, his life is marked by a spacious, un-frantic rhythm of worship, work, conversation, availability and intimacy.”

A lot of people ask me how to manage their way through the craziness of today’s popular culture–how to make discerning choices about film, TV, music and entertainment.

Nothing is more important than knowing what should be given place and space; what should be included and what, therefore, will be excluded.

I ask myself how much time and space CS Lewis would allocate for television or movies?

I ask myself which letter he wouldn’t have answered or which conversation with Tolkien would he have missed at their favorite hangout, the Eagle and Child Pub.

I ask myself which book wouldn’t have been written if Lewis had gotten hooked on 24 or American Idol or Survivor? Ooops there goes Mere Christianity¢â‚¬¦Ooops there goes Screwtape Letters¢â‚¬¦No time to write Lord, I’m watchin’ TV!

In today’s fast-paced world if you want to live an un-frantic life, you have to make some tough decisions about the use of your time. If you want more space for things that matter you have to make less space for media and entertainment.

You don’t have to move to an island to do this, but so far I am learning some interesting lessons.

Newspapers, books and electronic media are not absent on the island–this place has the highest per capita educational level of any county in Washington State, but media does seem to take a back seat to walking on the beach, sitting on the deck with a glass of wine, getting out the binoculars to get a closer look at the local wildlife out on their show.

Island people definitely aren’t in a hurry. They stop by to say hello. When our moving van unloaded we had literally dozens of drop in visitors. Virtually everyday I reach 5 pm having accomplished few of my goals, but also realizing that my people time has been ample and rich.

What if people aren’t interruptions in our day, but are the purpose of our day?

This seemed to be Jesus’ view. Most of what he accomplished involved people who stopped him while he was on his way somewhere else.

I’ve embarked on my year around island life with two primary questions: What will I learn about being fully human? How transferable is it to life on the mainland?

I’m embarking on a journey towards a more fully human life and so far the word “un-frantic” living and time for people seem to be recurring themes.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    ‚©CRS Communications 2007

    Posted in Staublog in February 5, 2008 by | No Comments »

    Spirit Of Sundance 2008

    Spirit Of Sundance 2008

    Check out Dick Staub’s new bookThe Culturally Savvy Christian.

    Also, click here to listen to our latest daily podcast of “The Kindlings Muse”. “The Kindlings Muse” rekindling our spiritual, intellectual and creative potential.”

    Spirit Of Sundance 2008

    I am home on snowbound Orcas Island after an exhausting but productive week at Sundance film festival.

    I began my adventure at the wonderfully vibrant Mountain Life Church in Park City, where I spoke at two morning services. In the audience was Richard Souther, four time Grammy nominee whose “Illumination: musical treatments in the spirit of Hildegard von Bingen,” is one of my favorite CD’s.

    After lunch with Matson Duncan, arts advocate, and a new friend Dan Johnstone, I headed down to to Salt Lake City for the premiere of Craig Detweiler’s “Purple State of Mind.”

    The final Saturday found me at Stein-Eriksen ski resort at a gathering hosted by Gabe Lyons of Relevate. I shared some reflections about my journey of trying to understand faith and culture and communicate each to the other since the 1960’s.

    Sundance was a whirlwind of movies, personal reunions and the investment of time at the Windrider Forum, where students from Fuller Seminary, Biola University and Taylor University met for a week of screenings at Sundance. The WindRider Forum is an immersive, experiential class, combined with visits from filmmakers from the Sundance Film Festival, who join us for in-depth conversations following their film premieres.

    I’d summarize the three themes that emerged as I watched films and listened to their makers this way: “messed up people, searching for meaning and hope are in need of grace.

    Messed up People

    Clark Gregg’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke starts at a support group for sexual addicts, follows their deviant exploits, but then gets into their back stories which help us understand how they have arrived at their fallen state. Like the books, these bizarre characters become endearing as you watch their uphill battle towards improvement. The key characters move in the right direction, which is about the best Palahniuk hopes for in his novels.

    Looking for Meaning and Hope

    Among the hi-lights of Windriderwere interviews was one with Geoffrey Haley writer/director of “The Last Word.” Evan (Wes Bentley) makes his living by writing suicide notes. He bonds with the sister (Winona Rider) of one of his clients and with Abel (Ray Romano) and this leads to a reexamination of his whole enterprise. In the process each character looks for a deeper reasons to live. Geoffrey Haley shared very personally about his own life journey and how these themes emerged from it.

    Thomas McCarthy’s “The Visitor” is a magnificent study in a widowed man who finds meaning through two immigrants whose lives become intertwined with his. Richard Jenkins (the dad from “Six Feet Under”) is Walter Vale, a widower waiting out the rest of his life in comfortable isolation in Connecticut, sleepwalking his way through the same econ class he’s taught for years and hiding behind the excuse of a book he’s supposedly close to completing. When he’s forced to go to New York to present a paper at a conference, he discovers that a couple has been living in the apartment he still keeps there, a Syrian man named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend, Zainab (Danai Jekesai Gurira), who’ve been scammed into subletting the place by someone who didn’t actually have a right to do so. McCarthy unfolds this story with such grace and hope–it is a must see.

    Needing Grace

    Best Drama winner “The Frozen River” was produced by this year’s Spirit of Windrider recipient, Heather Ray. Frozen River won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature. Submitted by first-time filmmaker Courtney Hunt, Frozen River is a remarkable drama about a desperate trailer mom and a Mohawk girl who team up to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Canadian border into the United States. Set just before Christmas, one grace filled moment occurs Christmas Eve with a “homeless” Pakistani baby, who “dies” but comes back to life miraculously.

    My favorite film of the festival was “Young at Heart,” the true story of Senior Citizens in Northampton Massachussetts whose Choral adaptations of contemporary hits (Sonic Youth, Radiohead, James Brown) bring the house down. Movingly, we go behind the scenes to meet these brave singers who face the death of two of their members, struggle with their own health issues and then summons up their strength to go onstage. These folks display a heroic sense of community, incredible personal grit and articulate their personal hopes often rooted in faith in God—the result is a warm love fest tinge with grace.

    The final night of Windrider we hosted filmmaker Hilla Medalia, whose“To Die in Jerusalem” puts a human face on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through two mothers, who struggle to cope with an event (the Palestian daughter’s suicide expedition led to her death and the death of the Israeli teen as well) that put them in the center of an intractable geopolitical conflict.

    It is impossible to get the sense of Sundance/Windrider, but the next best thing is to listen to the podcasts¢â‚¬¦.they’ll help you get a sense of what goes on at Sundance.

    Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

    PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    If you have comments regarding this column please contact us at:

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  • This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    ‚©CRS Communications 2007

    Posted in Staublog in January 29, 2008 by | No Comments »

    Art the Language of the Soul: Sundance 08

    Art the Language of the Soul: Sundance 08

    Check out Dick Staub’s new bookThe Culturally Savvy Christian.

    Also, click here to listen to our latest daily podcast of “The Kindlings Muse”. “The Kindlings Muse” rekindling our spiritual, intellectual and creative potential.”

    Art the Language of the Soul: Sundance 08

    If you haven’t listened to our “The Kindlings Muse Podcasts”, this would be a great time to start!

    Every day we are producing fresh new podcasts from Sundance Film Festival in collaboration with the Windrider Forum.

    Robert Redford opened Sundance 2008 by saying “Art is the language of the soul¢â‚¬¦.”

    We experienced a brilliant example of this as in a Windrider interview with Geoffrey Haley (photo above and right) whose film The Last Word explores, among other things, the issue of suicide. (Listen to the Geoffrey Haley podcast”.)

    Geoffrey revealed personal insights into how this subject emerged from issues originating with friends and family and explained how his childhood upbringing as a Lutheran in Germany affected his own departure from organized religion.

    This discussion showed just how explicitly how an artist’s work sometimes reveals glimpses of their own soul.

    At day’s end we viewed Baghead, which is described in Sundance materials as “deep, engaging brilliance–that is if you can call a film brilliant when it is basically about a group of dumb actors, a bag and a head.”

    This film is a searing satirical deconstruction of the pretentiousness of many indie films. It was as cinematically distanced from “The Last Word” as it could be, yet again revealed insights about the filmmaker’s Mark & Jay Duplass.

    A spirited discussion of art and soul followed, with comments from our students and panelists: Craig Detweiler, (author and director of Reel Spirituality @ the Brehm center), Michelle Steffes, (formerly Director of Development at Larger than Life, the production company of Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, she is now pursuing her writing and directing goals full-time in films like Driftwood and Scott Young, founder & director emeritus of City of Angels Festival.

    Few places offer insights into the state of the artist’s soul, and Windrider is emerging as the place serious filmmakers go to talk about their films.

    Geoffrey Haley described Windrider as the most important stop in his Sundance media circuit because it is a place where thoughtful people are actually interested in what a film means!

    Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

    PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

    PS 2. If you haven’t yet done so, register for our daily updates. You won’t regret it!

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  • PS 3.

    If you have comments regarding this column please contact us at:

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  • This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    ‚©CRS Communications 2007

    Posted in Staublog in January 23, 2008 by | No Comments »

    Christians @ Sundance

    Christians @ Sundance

    Check out Dick Staub’s new bookThe Culturally Savvy Christian.

    Also, click here to listen to our latest daily podcast of “The Kindlings Muse”. “The Kindlings Muse” rekindling our spiritual, intellectual and creative potential.”

    Christians @ Sundance

    Opening night @ Sundance offered something for the disparate Christian approaches to popular culture.

    “The combatants,” Christians who bemoan the deterioration of American civilization as reflected in today’s films, saw Sundance open with the dark comedy IN BRUGES, described by Geoffrey Gilmore, the director of the Sundance Festival as follows: “In many ways IN BRUGES is a quintessential Sundance film it’s brutal, philosophical, funny, and totally original¢â‚¬¦” and then added, “”It’s about killing people, but it’s funny.”

    For “the communicators,” those who see film as a useful listening post, Robert Redford offered a rationale for why our violent society produces “dark comedies” about violence.

    “It’s a reflection of our time. I think you’ll see more humor in films in general this year, even if it’s dark humor, because how long can you sit here and be frustrated and despairing that you can’t do anything about it. The world is so insane right now, it’s so dark and crazy … the stories seem to be a way for filmmakers to get a grip on what they can do about things. It’s a form of survival.”

    The Windrider Forum, now in it’s fourth year, is a gathering of young theologians and filmmakers who watch Sundance films specifically because they want to become more adept at understanding and interpreting film. They dialogue with independent (indie) filmmakers who welcome the opportunities to discuss the central themes of their movies.

    Because two-thirds of indie films will never be seen on the big screen, these filmmakers have usually taken immense personal risks in making their movie–mortgaging their homes, borrowing money, working on the film without pay–all with little hope of regaining their investment.

    Why do it?

    Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” These indie filmmakers have seen aspects of the human condition they want others to see and they have something to say about it.

    Jesus demonstrated that sharing good news starts with understanding the person to whom you are announcing it. His followers know communication starts with listening. Sundance is a good place to start.

    Just today (Tuesday) @ Windrider, filmmaker Geoffrey Long (famous for filming the bag in American Beauty) explained some of the personal roots of his film The Last Word, which deals with the issues of suicide.

    The “creatives,” are Christians, especially in the younger generation, who are not content to criticize or communicate about the work of other artists–they want to create the art.

    They stand in the tradition of Michelangelo, who when asked about his generation’s inferior art, reportedly said, “my art is my critique.”

    Robert Redford opened Sundance 2008 with hopeful words for these visionaries. “Art is the language of the soul,” he said, “and the true artist is an agent of change.”

    Sundance attracts combatants, communicators and creatives and one suspects Jesus would have something to say to each of them, because by his example Jesus shows his followers that to obey him means to enter the world as a loving, transforming presence.

    This week, Sundance is the world they are called to enter in ways that reflect both truth and love.

    Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

    PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

    PS 2. If you haven’t yet done so, register for our daily updates. You won’t regret it!

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    If you have comments regarding this column please contact us at:

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  • This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    ‚©CRS Communications 2007

    Posted in Staublog in January 22, 2008 by | No Comments »

    When I Was a Child

    When I Was a Child

    Check out Dick Staub’s new bookThe Culturally Savvy Christian.

    Also, click here to listen to our latest daily podcast of “The Kindlings Muse”. “The Kindlings Muse” rekindling our spiritual, intellectual and creative potential.”

    When I Was a Child

    I am a child of the 60’s who knows his place–at least I think I do.

    When it comes to one’s aspirations about changing the world something happens when you get older and I’m going to take a stab at explaining how it looks from my standpoint.

    For most of my adult life I’ve challenged the status quo. I’ve tried to do so intelligently, imaginatively and hospitably–I’ve been a subversive.

    I think when properly understood Christianity is radically countercultural. I think a lot of what passes for Christianity in America is a fraud. I think without the loving, transforming presence of Jesus enfleshed in Christians & the church, the world is doomed.

    My professional choices have been made with the pursuit of God and God’s kingdom in mind and as a result my journey has been, and I expect will continue to be, an excellent adventure.

    My thoughts today are triggered by an upcoming conference being organized by younger generation “change agents” who want to transform church and culture–I’ve been getting a stream of emails asking what I know about it (not a lot)–whether I am involved in it (I am not)– why I am NOT involved (wasn’t asked and because of my schedule probably couldn’t have participated even had I been asked).

    I am excited that the next generation is taking up the cause and I am glad to share what I’ve learned if asked–BUT I really think it is time for the next generation to step up and expend in their youth the same intensity and energy I did in my youth! It is their turn.

    It is important that those of us who’ve got a lot of mileage on us let the next generation make their contributions and learn from their mistakes just like my generation did.

    Andrew Grove, the co-founder of Intel, told an interviewer from Fortune, “When everybody knows that something is so, it means that nobody knows nothin’.” (Click Here to read an extremely important article about the young, the old and creativity). The bad news is that in the picture accompanying today’s staublog, as the older guy I am seeing only the black balloons and the young are seeing all the colors! (My taste buds are shot too!)

    Older people like me have inevitably concluded that certain things are so¢â‚¬¦so it takes the energy and enthusiasm of the inexperienced to move in the directions we no longer think are possible, probable or even productive.

    I am grateful to be involved in the work of understanding faith and culture and interpreting each to the other, but I do so as an older man. This means I have some seasoning and insight, but it also means it is difficult for me to see things except through the lenses I’ve been wearing for a long time.

    I’m not as energetic as I once was and as I said in The Culturally Savvy Christian, “like any child of the 1960s, there was a time when I wanted to change the world; now, I am content to simply ask God to change me.”

    I have less confidence in conferences, new ideas and strategies and more awareness that what is needed more than anything and in every generation is a deeper pursuit of and knowledge of God in a local company of friends for the benefit of the world.

    But I am generally not a curmudgeon or hand wringer about the multitude of new experiments going on out there (emergent church, missional church etc), because I think this generation will see things and must try things that may or may not make sense to me. (I may from time to time quip something I’ve heard like “the missional church is a theology in search of an experience and the emergent church is an experience in search of a theology,” but in my best moments I’ll be a kinder, gentler quasi-sage).

    I must say when I was young I was eager to get feedback from certain few older leaders because it seemed clear to me that our faith is passed on generation to generation and we make our biggest mistakes when we don’t avail ourselves of the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us.

    That is why I make myself available for conversations with younger leaders, but do not impose myself on them. I am investing my life more in a local church because God led me to do so and it too is an adventure. Among the best part of my role in a local church is investing in my younger co-workers so they can become all God wants them to be.

    And so I am an older man and I suppose I am reaching some point of contentment, but not without an awareness of the gap between what should be and is. My role on this planet on behalf of advancing God’s kingdom will be as big or small as God desires and I am glad to spend most of my time on a small island while big strategic conferences are being held miles away–sometimes with me involved, most times not.

    Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

    PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

    PS 2. If you haven’t yet done so, register for our daily updates. You won’t regret it!

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  • PS 3.

    If you have comments regarding this column please contact us at:

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  • This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    ‚©CRS Communications 2007

    Posted in Staublog in January 15, 2008 by | No Comments »

    Glimmers Of Artistic Hope

    Glimmers Of Artistic Hope

    Check out Dick Staub’s new bookThe Culturally Savvy Christian.

    Also, click here to listen to our latest daily podcast of “The Kindlings Muse”. “The Kindlings Muse” rekindling our spiritual, intellectual and creative potential.”

    Glimmers Of Artistic Hope

    I see faint glimmers of hope on the artistic front.

    Classical Music Listen to what Aaron Jay Kernis, composer of “Newly Drawn Sky, said to Gerard Strauss about his aspirations. “I want to write music that is visceral, that is moving, and that is impeccably put together. I don’t want classical music to be a passive experience. I want it to have as much of an impact as the best rock concerts.”

    This is consistent with a piece in the NYT by Anthony TOMMASINI. “Reports about the diminishing relevance of classical music to new generations of Americans addled by pop culture keep coming. Yet in my experience classical music seems in the midst of an unmistakable rebound. Most of the concerts and operas I attended this year drew large, eager and appreciative audiences.”

    Ethan Coen Playwright What to do after some extraordinarily thought-provoking films? Ethan Coen decided to turn his attention to writing a play and Carter Burwell, his musical collaborator, describes what makes Coen’s writing work. “It should start with some philosophical premise,” Mr. Burwell said. “Then you move on to contrast that with silly, and occasionally cruel, behavior, and end with a punch line. Ethan loves a philosophical paradox, which he usually inflicts on a character ill-prepared intellectually to deal with it. Yet that’s also the human condition, and exploring it is a valid form of art.”

    Exploring the human condition
 a valid form of art—hmmm Shakespeare and other seem to have understand that; glad a contemporary writer does.


    Acting on Braodway Charles Isherwood comments on the current levels of superior performances and collaborative excellence on stage right now in NYC. “Good acting is not contagious, as far as I know. But a visitor sampling the best of Broadway over the holiday season might almost imagine it is, and that it has swept through the city like a virulent flu, infecting people in packs. Everywhere you look, a particular kind of theatrical magic is taking place, as ensemble performances of a rare order are glowing brightly on stages across the theater district.”

    Keira Knightley This British actress is only 22 years old, yet her performances reflect not only talent, but a dedication to learning her craft. As we learn in a recent interview this passion was fueled by her parents example and their vision of theatre as “world-changing.” [“Ms. Knightley, who has been acting more or less steadily since she was 7, has been around for what seems like forever and has already amassed the résumé of a much older star¢â‚¬¦. the other thing that makes Ms. Knightley seem older than her years is that she is unusually smart and voluble when talking about acting. That’s probably because she’s been around it all her life. She grew up in the London suburbs, in lefty bohemian circumstances. Her mother is a playwright and novelist; her father, Will Knightley, is a television and theater actor. They were part of the political theater movement in London in the ’70s, and they had a sense, she recalled, “that with theater you could change the world.” “I suppose that’s quite a powerful thing to grow up with,” she said. “It was an intoxicating thing to see your father up on stage, and I think as a child you’re either going to absolutely take against something like that or completely love it. I always loved it.”

    For a while her parents resisted the idea of her getting into the family business as a child, but they gave in on the advice of a teacher who felt that Keira, who was struggling with dyslexia, needed a carrot dangled in front of her if she was ever going to learn to read. “So that was how it started,” Ms. Knightley said. “¢â‚¬ËœIf she doesn’t read, or if the grades don’t go up, then she’s not going to work.’ That was the prize, if you like: At the end of the year I got to audition. And if something starts like that, it becomes such a special thing that you’re bound to get obsessed by it.”]

    Exploiting Silence. Exploring Sound. These two combine forces in the minimalist “No Country for Old Men.”

    Artists For Whom God is of Central Importance While the work above reflects a cultural commitment to excellence, I am most excited about artists work that grows from deep faith.

    In the preface of “The Pursuit of God” A.W. Tozer said, “In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.”

    This is what I see across the country in grassroots little movements of artists who are single-minded about pursuing God and then making art that that tells the truth unflinchingly and beautifully.

    Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

    PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

    PS 2. If you haven’t yet done so, register for our daily updates. You won’t regret it!

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  • PS 3.

    If you have comments regarding this column please contact us at:

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  • This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    ‚©CRS Communications 2007

    Posted in Staublog in January 7, 2008 by | No Comments »

    For Your Best In 2008

    For Your Best In 2008

    Check out Dick Staub’s new bookThe Culturally Savvy Christian.

    Also, click here to listen to our latest daily podcast of “The Kindlings Muse”. “The Kindlings Muse” rekindling our spiritual, intellectual and creative potential.”

    For Your Best In 2008

    If you’re anything like me, just writing the 8 in 2008 gives me the shivers..

    Can we really be in a New Year? Is it true that this year I’ll have a milestone birthday that means I’m not just getting older, but I am actually getting OLD?

    Over the Holidays I heard from friends old and new–lot’s of changes afoot! New jobs, relocations, filmmakers working on new films, authors writing new books, moms and dads dealing with new kids¢â‚¬¦but all of this alongside the old.

    Thoughts about those past places and projects bring a mix of wistfulness, joy and some regrets.

    Forgetting what is behind, I press forward, so said the Apostle Paul.

    Sharon, sent me this from ABRAHAM KUYPER on New Year’s Eve¢â‚¬¦

    “When presently the 12th stroke of the clock shall have sounded,
    we will stand again at the opening of a new year. For that year
    also God appoints the beginning. He plants it.
    His divine hand commits the germ of it to the life of the world.

    But likewise, his is the knowledge of what the end of the year shall bring us.
    The cup of bitterness and of suffering that this year shall put to our lips.
    All blessings that shall come to us, all the abundance that shall be our portion.
    All the blessed comfortings that shall refresh our hearts.

    And therefore, we do not fear and neither be afraid,
    but now, at the change of years, in childlike confidence
    grasp the faithful hand of that Father who is in heaven;
    and with that Father who is in heaven, this year will be to our good and to our benefit.”

    And George MacDonald’s January 1st reading from Diary of an Old Soul goes as follows:

    Lord, what I once had done with youthful might, 

    Had I been from the first true to the truth, 

    Grant me, now old, to do with better sight, 

    And humbler heart, if not the brain of youth; 

    So wilt thou, in thy gentleness and ruth, 

    Lead back thy old soul, by the path of pain, 

    Round to his best young eyes and heart and brain.

    Since I am surrounded by such a wondrous cloud of friends and witnesses to hopefulness and dreams–
    let us proceed one and all into 2008 with eyes wide open,
    hearts preparing God room and heads orbiting around the good, true and beautiful.

    Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

    (Sunrise art by Natasha McCrory – Mount’s Bay Sunrise #2)

    PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

    PS 2. If you haven’t yet done so, register for our daily updates. You won’t regret it!

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    If you have comments regarding this column please contact us at:

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  • This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    ‚©CRS Communications 2007

    Posted in Staublog in January 2, 2008 by | No Comments »

    Staublogs 2007

    Staublogs 2007

    FALL 2007(September-December

    Dick Staub: Year-End Update

    The Joy and Camaraderie of Work Well Done

    Ben Stein Christmas Commentary (2005)

    The Golden Compass & Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials Trilogy”

    Diary of an Old Soul. November 16 2007

    The Quote Collector

    Understanding Your Life Through Today’s Movies

    Norman Mailer Is Dead

    Where is Dick Staub?

    Halo Church

    Create Culture

    Lost, Into The Wild & Your Spiritual Journey

    Missing Madeleine L’ Engle

    Music Savior Rick Rubin

    Summer 2007 (June-August)
    Music Savior Rick Rubin

    The Artist as Creator Who Brings Order out of Chaos

    Dublin to Normandy: A Few Reflections of a Seafaring Man!

    Our Circuitous Route

    Doug Marlette: Prophetic Cartoonist

    The God Who Is Absent In Movies

    Confessions of a Former Talk Show Host

    A Daily Reader

    Evan Almighty: God is Cute?

    What is a Culturally Savvy Christian?

    June 14: Lewis Trip-Two Berths Still Available!

    Christopher Hitchens & The Diversionary Atheists

    Spring 2007 (April-May)

    Lindsay Lohan. Truth. Love & Celebrity.

    On The Necessity of Music

    The Caring Christian: A Culture War Casualty?

    The Spiderman Dilemma

    God: in a Build Your Own Deity Age

    Your Invitation on a Trip Of A Lifetime: “On CS Lewis”: Staub. Gresham, Root. Hooper.

    Transformation. Personal. Cultural. Church.

    Lost. The Metaphor.

    Johnny Hart. B.C.

    Reading Cartoons

    Order “The Culturally Savvy Christian” now!

    Click here to listen to “The Kindlings Muse,” a podcast where thoughtful creatives explore ideas that matter in contemporary life.

    This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    Posted in Staublog in December 31, 2007 by | No Comments »

    WMBI: Culturally Savvy Christian Editorials

    WMBI: Culturally Savvy Christian Editorials

    For more information about Dick’s new book, The Culturally Savvy Christian, visit The Culturally Savvy Christian Home Page OR, the book is now available. Get your copy at Barnes ansd Noble, Borders, most Christian bookstores order it online!

    My good friend Mark Elfstrand hosts a very popular AM drive time show on Chicago’s historic WMBI radio station. Every week I produce an editoral for his show. I’ve decided to post the scripts (with no rewriting or editing) so Mark’s listeners can use them for reminders of what they heard on the air and the rest of you can see these jottings as well!

    CSC #48 Create Culture

    CSC #47 Lost

    CSC #46 Test The Spirits

    CSC #45 The God Who Is Absent In Movies

    CSC #44 Religion In The News

    CSC #43 A Daily Reader

    CSC #42 Evan Almighty: God is Cute?

    CSC #41 What is a Culturally Savvy Christian?

    CSC #40 Christopher Hitchens & The Diversionary Atheists

    CSC #39 Truth. Love & Celebrity.

    CSC #38 On Needing Music

    CSC #37 Caring.

    CSC #36 Spiderman

    CSC #35 God: in a Build Your Own Deity Age

    CSC #34 The Real Lost

    CSC #33 CSC Takes Evil Seriously

    CSC #32 Cartoonist Johnny Hart

    CSC #31: Preach Without Words

    CSC #30: Read Cartoons

    CSC # 29. Ask Why?

    CSC #28: Un-frantic Response to God

    CSC # 27 Discernment

    CSC # 26: Popular Culture. A Theological Place.

    CSC # 25 Celebrating Film: Amazing Grace & Pan’s Labyrinth

    CSC #24 Transformation.

    CSC #23 Love The World Without Falling For It

    CSC #22 Celebrate Thoughtful Creatives

    CSC # 21: American Idol (atry?)

    CSC # 20: 24. Fact. Fiction.

    CSC #17 An Artist Is LIke God

    CSC #16 The Story We Are In

    CSC #15 Seeing Is Believing

    CSC #14 See The Film: Open Your Eyes

    CSC #13 Taking A Stand

    CSC #12 The CSC Prays for Hollywood (Disney)

    CSC #11 Celebrity

    CSC #10 The Culturally Savvy Grandma

    CSC #9 The Mantis Parable: Earning the Right to be Heard

    CSC #8 One Night With The King

    CSC # 7 Evangelicals fear Loss of Teenagers

    CSC #6 God Loves Art

    CSC #5: When Christians Disagree About Art

    CSC #4 Facing the Giants

    CSC #3 Serious About Faith

    CSC #2 Savvy About Culture

    CSC #1 What is a Culturally Savvy Christian

    Posted in Staublog, Thoughts in December 31, 2007 by | No Comments »

    Poems for Reflection at Christmas

    Poems for Reflection at Christmas

    (Originally posted on Christmas Eve 2003)

    Saturday I picked up a copy of “A Widening Light-Poems of The Incarnation,” (‚© 1984 Luci Shaw) a magnificent collection edited by Luci Shaw. At church the next day our pastor read a poem written to her mother by Lisa Santroch, an elementary school girl from our church. As you prepare for Christmas I thought you might enjoy some poetic reflections.

    ¢â‚¬¢ After Annunciation by Madeleine L’Engle

    This is the irrational season
    When love blooms bright and wild.
    Had Mary been filled with reason
    There’d have been no room for the child.

    ¢â‚¬¢ The Nativity by C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis

    Among the oxen (like an ox I’m slow)
    I see a glory in the stable grow
    Which, with the ox’s dullness might at length
    Give me an ox’s strength.

    Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
    I see my Saviour where I looked for hay;
    So may my beast like folly learn at least
    The patience of a beast.

    Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
    I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
    Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence
    Some woolly innocence!

    ¢â‚¬¢ Christmas Dream by Eugene Peterson

    An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.” Matthew 1:20

    Amiably at home with virtue and evil
    The righteousness of Joseph and Herod’s
    Wickedness I’m ever and always a stranger to grace.
    I need this annual angel visitation

    –this sudden dive by dream into reality
    to know the virgin conceives and God is with us.
    The dream powers its way through winter weather
    And gives me vision to see the Jesus gift.

    Light from the dream lasts a year. Through
    Equinox and solstice I am given twelve months

    of daylight by which to build the crĬche where my
    Redeemer lives. The fetus of praise grows

    deep in my spirit. As autumn wanes I count
    The days until I bear the dream again.

    ¢â‚¬¢ Made Flesh by Luci Shaw

    After the bright beam of hot annunciation
    fused heaven with dark earth
    his searing sharply-focused light

    went out for a while
    eclipsed in amniotic gloom:
    his cool immensity of splendor
    his universal grace
    small-folded in a warm dim
    female space
    the Word stern-sentenced
    to be nine months dumb
    infinity walled in a womb
    until the next enormity the Mighty,
    after submission to a woman’s pains
    helpless on the barn-bare floor
    first-tasting bitter earth.

    Now, I in him surrender
    to the crush and cry of birth.
    Because eternity
    was closeted in time
    he is my open door
    to forever.
    From his imprisonment my freedoms grow,
    find wings.
    Part of his body, I transcend this flesh.
    From his sweet silence my mouth sings.
    Out of his dark, I glow.
    My life, as his,
    slips through death’s mesh,
    time’s bars,
    joins hands with heaven,
    speaks with stars.

    ¢â‚¬¢ Christmas by Lisa Santroch (‚© 2003 Lisa Santroch (Written 2002, edited 2003, written at the age of 11 for her mother)

    It was during that Christmas season Ceaser told them to go
    But Mary was pregnant, so they had to go very slow
    Joseph had planned to divorce Mary quietly
    “Don’t do that” said God, and said it emphatically
    Bethlehem was crowded, the streets were full
    They had to settle in a place even then considered dull
    Mary was tired and her heart was thumping
    But baby Jesus kept kicking and bumping
    Jesus was coming, and he was coming soon
    And the shepherds would be amazed by the star near the moon
    An angel appeared to the shepherds, and said “I bring you great news”
    “And if you listen, you’ll win in the end, not lose”
    “But where is this babe of such renown?”
    The angel replied “You’ll find him in Bethlehem town
    So they started off and said “let’s go”
    They went to find the greatest treasure they’d ever know
    The shepherds walked, hiked, then started to run
    And so did a boy with only his drum
    Then the wisemen appeared in a clearing
    Along with the camel that they were steering
    The shepherds and wisemen bowed down to Jesus
    They knew in the end that he would free us
    The wisemen knew the babe was special for sure
    So they brought him gold, incense and myrrh
    As they bowed down and worshipped, and sat there staring
    Herod sat in his throne, cussing and swearing
    Jesus lay in the stable as the night got colder
    But as every minute went by he grew older
    He lived through his childhood and in his adulthood
    He preached about God and did people good
    He healed the deaf, and made blind people see
    He made the sad smile with glee
    If you’re still wondering what Christmas is for
    Just read Matthew and Luke one time more
    Sorry to tell you, but this is the end
    But ask me later and I’ll read it again!

    Posted in Staublog in December 24, 2007 by | No Comments »