Posts Tagged ‘media’

The Pleasure of the Text

Friday, March 24th, 2017

The noted French literary critic, Roland Barthes once wrote a book entitled, The Pleasure of the Text (Le plaisir du texte.) As the title indicates, the book describes the many joys of reading.

Our new Incarnation Book Club has been experiencing some of these joys. Our most recent meeting featured a spirited discussion of Muriel Burbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

One of the protagonists of the novel is a concierge in an upper-class Paris apartment building. Unbeknownst to the tenants of the building, she is an autodidact who is far better-read than any of the people she is subservient to. Happily, in the end, the concierge emerges from her shell and becomes the real and happy public self she was meant to be.

Most of us have a tendency to retreat into our private selves from time to time. Burbery’s book reminds us that the public selves God gives us can also bring us pleasure. —J. Douglas Ousley

The View from Madison Avenue

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Since Incarnation has been located on the legendary street of advertisers since 1852, we naturally think in terms of how we as a church are perceived by potential “customers.”

What does the Episcopal Church brand say to people who pass by our churches? In the eyes of the average American, what do we stand for? How does our organization differ in values and purpose from, say, the Girl Scouts or the YMCA? And what can we as individuals do to promote our brand?

I have no easy answers to these questions. But I do think that promoting the brand has to begin at the top. In the Church of England, there are many new initiatives intended to promote the growth of parishes: Fresh Expressions, Messy Church, and leadership training, for example.

Granted, the C of E is much more centrally governed than the Episcopal Church. Still, it would be nice to see some new programs from the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council that put our name out to the public and make people want to come through our doors. —J. Douglas Ousley

Is The Christian Century Christian?

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

I am a long-time subscriber to The Christian Century; I even published a couple of pieces in the magazine. For decades, it has been the leading chronicle of liberal Christian opinion. Some of the biggest names in mainline Protestant circles regularly write for the Century.

I won’t deny the possibility of prejudice on my part, but I find the journal increasingly aggravating. Its politics reflect without exception the left-wing of the U.S. Democratic Party. Its theology reflects the most recent victim ideologies of the day.

Even though many writers give nods to tradition, they invariably tend to go beyond what Christians used to believe in order to offer an improved version. The problem is, their version is always blowing in the PC wind, and it is always an attenuated rendition of the ancient Christian faith. The only explanation I can think of would be that the editors and writers are trying to impress their agnostic intellectual friends in secular political circles with their progressive views.

The long time editor (and former Democratic Congressman) John Buchanan is finally retiring. Perhaps his successor will be more independent and imaginative in his opinions. —J. Douglas Ousley

A Flood of Controversy

Monday, March 31st, 2014

In a delayed reaction to the amazing success of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, Hollywood is producing its own politically-corrected Bible movies. While Noah in the eponymous recent film remains firmly patriarchal (he is played by Russell Crowe, after all), he is determined to abort his own grandchildren so that the human race will no longer pollute the earth. The movie features unintentionally hilarious animated rocks called, “Watchers,” who are supposedly keeping tabs on the fallen human race.

Noah refers to the Biblical deity only as the Creator, but as you can imagine, some people of faith have been upset by the extravagant liberties taken with the sacred text.While people of faith should be as uncomfortable in the presence of this aesthetic mess as Crowe seems to be in acting in it, they may be confident that the faith of our fathers and mothers will remain unscathed. —J. Douglas Ousley


Quoted in the NY Times

Monday, December 19th, 2011

I achieved a tiny measure of fame/notoriety over the weekend by being quoted in the Times. I referred to Trinity Church’s accommodation of “the marginal group of protestors” of Occupy Wall Street.

The word, “marginal” seems what is most likely to get me in trouble. The issue for church people: does this movement express the prophetic Gospel and speak truth to power or is it merely the media inflation of a ragtag collection of malcontents and publicity seekers?

As I have said before, there are many bad guys in the financial industry who have gotten away with high crimes and who should be punished. OWS, however, seems to have done little to bring them to justice. —J. Douglas Ousley