Silent Raves and Hell

…not that these two things go together, per se, but just a combination of two interesting concepts I’ve read about over the past few days.  NPR did a story on the concept of silent raves, in which people organize, usually via Facebook, to a public area, each person armed with their personal Ipod.  At the end of a small countdown, the ravers all turn on their Ipods and…dance.  Here’s the weird thing, of course: any one observing sees people dancing like maniacs, but there is no music to be heard.  Here’s an example I pulled off of Youtube:

And then there’s Hell, or rather the Inferno, of which I need to organize a lesson plan to present to my students.  They will not be covering the whole thing, rather just a few cantos (3 and 38) to give them a taste of the medieval mindset, with much help coming from C.S. Lewis’s essays from Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature and Carolly Erickson’s The Medieval Vision. Then onto Chaucer.  Or Malory.  Gotta take Saturday to figure that one out.

Torture is Wrong

Saw this as my wife and I walked down Newbury St., Boston, on a recent trip to visit family in New England. I don’t remember what church this was, but I am pleased to see the Christian community speaking out against all forms of violence done in the name of God or State.

It wasn’t long ago that the Church was the proponent of ugly methods of torture, as these examples from Medievality.com show. Thankfully, we have (mostly) emerged from this sense of physical power and domination over others, but it is also our duty as Christians to speak out against the torture we see in the world, which we as Americans unfortunately find right in our backyard. Phillipe Sands’ book Torture Team details the Bush administration’s torture policies. Sands is interviewed about the book on Fresh Air- the revealing interview can be found here– check out the book review of Jesuit priest Uwem Akpan’s short story collection as well.

William T. Cavanaugh addresses the relationship between Church and State with regards to torture in his bookTorture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ. He focuses on the role the Church played in Chile under the brutal regime of Pinochet.

More than books, Christians, particulary young evangelicals, are actively engaging in social action and peace movements around the globe. I stumbled across the Sojourners magazine at Borders, and was happy to see profiles of numerous young Christians engaging in this very issue.

Hieronymus Bosch

At Barnes and Noble the other day and picked up a copy of BBC History Magazine, (March) which had an amazing cover that I initially thought was Salvador Dali, but turned out to be an excerpt from Tondal’s Vision by Hieronymus Bosch

Needless to say, quite enamored of this twisted medieval proto-surrealist. Especially remembering that for most medievals, the kinds of creatures he created were right outside your door at night…

Here’s a little taste of Bosch: a detail from his Garden of Earthly Delight