Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday Good Reads


One can’t turn on the news, read the newspaper, or look at social media without seeing yet another revelation about a Hollywood producer or actor, a Senator, a state legislator, a broadcaster, a reporter, an editor, a political candidate, Presidents, or a congressman being called out for sexual harassment. What I’m waiting for – because it doesn’t stop with Hollywood, the media, or politics – is the start of reports from the corporate world, because harassment is there, too. I had my own experience. David Rupert says that, when it comes to women, the culture can’t have it both ways.

With each new report, it becomes clearer that what’s on display here is a culture where some, perhaps many, people in power and authority believe they can abuse and take advantage of others. I’m surprised with each new story, but I shouldn’t be. The culture has been sick for a long time, and it’s a sickness that can’t be cured by a new ethics law, or a new training program, or even by exposure to public knowledge.

As awful and dehumanizing as it is, sexual harassment needs the exposure it’s getting, and more. It’s a reminder of our fallen human nature, and why we shouldn’t put our faith in Hollywood, the media, politics, business, or a leader. And I keep thinking about the people who didn’t have the inner resources – or the physical strength – to resist the predators.

On a more positive and encouraging note, the rest of us are still finding beauty in the world. Sandra Heska King is back to memorizing poetry. Emily Lund reads the college journals of Flannery O’Connor. Tim Good and Susan Etole continue to photograph the beauty of the natural world. Scott Slayton talks about the beauty of living in the Psalms. And a cellist plays Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

British Stuff

Petherick’s London Characters – Spitalfields Life.

American Stuff

George Washington & the Patience of Power – David Hein at The Imaginative Conservative.

Poetry

Current Status – January 20 – W.L. Winter at Abstract Magazine.

Commit Poetry: It Can Be Done by Edgar Guest – recited by Sandra Heska King.

History

The Sea Peoples: An Analysis of Cultural Pathology – Jacoby Sommer at The Imaginative Conservative.

Writing and Literature

The Trials and Triumph of Trollope – Dwight Longenecker at The Imaginative Conservative.

The Night I Read Flannery O’Connor’s Journal – Emily Lund at Image Journal.


Art and Photography

Bee Photo – Tim Good at National Geographic / Your Shot.

Winter’s Cloak – Susan Etole.

The Florentine Pieta – Catesby Leigh at First Things Magazine.

Faith

The Early Christians Were Odd, Too – Michael Kruger at The Gospel Coalition.

7 Thoughts from the News Cycle – Samuel James at Inklingations.

Salvator Mundi went for $450m. But you can have the real thing for free – Giles Fraser at The Guardian (Hat Tip: J of India).

Why You Should Live in the Psalms – Scott Slayton at One Degree to Another.

Thanksgiving: A Cultural “Ebenezer” We Can Be Thankful For – Hugh Whelchel at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.

The Christian’s Job Description – Irv Busenitz at The Master’s Seminary.

Life and Culture


Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by Cellist Sheku Kennah-Mason



Painting: Man Reading, oil on canvas by Roger de la Fresnaye, circa 1910-1921.

Friday, November 24, 2017

It is a good work


After Philippians 1:9-11

It is a good work
he began, a seed
he planted, a spirit
he placed in you,
your heart and mind
and soul, and he waters
it and he feeds it,
he shines the sun upon it,
he cares for it, his own
personal garden, designed
to grow and bloom, part
of the other gardens,
reconstructing another garden,
the first, created to bring
beauty, to amaze with wonder,
until the time it is completed,
a finished work.
To be confident in this
is to confer a blessing.


Photograph by Matt Benson via Unsplash. Used with permission.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

“Murder in the Morning Edition” by Peter Bartram


Reporter Colin Crampton of the Brighton Chronicle has the afternoon off. He and his girlfriend are sitting in a tea shop, facing the beach, and playing a rather silly game. They’re inventing a story about another customer in the shop, a man with a briefcase. He has an envelope that he clearly wants to put into the briefcase, but he doesn’t want to open it in the shop. And then they see a young man, a James Dean lookalike (this is 1963), who seems to be watching the man with the briefcase.

In an instant, they look back, and the man with the briefcase is gone. And so is the James Dean lookalike. By this time, they’re so caught up in their game that it’s become real. They hurry to the nearby train station, and see briefcase man ready to board. And soon the James Dean lookalike shows up, knocks the man to the ground, and makes off with the briefcase. Crampton runs after him, chases him into car traffic, where the young man is struck and rather gruesomely killed. Crampton picks up the suitcase. Inside is about $20,000 in 100-dollar bills. $20,000 in US money at the beach in Brighton?

Returning to the station, Crampton finds the robbery victim has disappeared. His would-be robber has no identification except for two tattoos (both sayings by James Dean). The reporter will write a crackerjack crime and mystery story for tomorrow’s paper – only to find out his crime has been superseded by one of the biggest crimes in British history – the Great Train Robbery of 1963. But that story is in London, and Crampton is in Brighton. So he begins the slog-work it takes to try to solve what happened at the train station.

Peter Bartram
Murder in the Morning Edition by British author Peter Bartram is the first part of a three-part novella series linked with a common story, the other two being Murder in the Afternoon Extra and Murder in the Night Final. Each is self-contained, but with an overall mystery story serving as the common thread.

Bartram has had a long career in journalism, including being a reporter on a weekly newspaper, an editor for newspapers and magazines in London, and freelance journalism. He’s a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association. Bartram has also published a collection of Colin Crampton stories, Murder from the Newsdesk, and three other Colin Crampton mystery novels.

And he knows the business he’s writing about in these stories. Murder in the Morning Edition has all the hallmarks of an intriguing story about journalism, a dash of noir, and a solid mystery to solve.


Top photograph by Thomas Charters via Unsplash. Used with permission.