Browser: Of Billboards, Brando, and the Best of 2008 (Updated 10:25AM)
NPR has the story of Rev. Gloria White Hammond, who brings a “ministry of healing” to those who are suffering in Darfur.
Today, as I read this story of faith, love, and compassion, I’m reminded that Washington State’s Governor Gregoire has allowed the following statement to be posted beside a Nativity Scene in the State Capitol”
“There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
Then why do the hopeless turn to the churches… not just for a message of hope, but for an outpouring of generosity and care during hard times? Why did America’s slaves express their hopes and dreams most poignantly through gospel music, rather than through expressions of casting off all belief in God?
The truth will set you free. The music of freedom is gospel music. The holiday of freedom is Christmas, in which we celebrate the birth of one who would suffer persecution, rejection, and an excruciating death, in order to demonstrate once and for all that death has been defeated, and that we can all be free of fear and slavery.
I think that display in the Capitol makes its point very powerfully: One is a defiant statement of contempt for the choices of others. (Ahhh… Washington… the state of “tolerance.”) The other is a work of art, full of mystery, which draws people of all ages all around the world and kindles questions of hope in their hearts.
Which path appeals to you?
Merry Christmas, everybody.
- Jeffrey Wells asks, “If — I say if — a Brando biopic were to happen, is there a better actor to fill the role?” Which actor is he talking about? Find out. Me, I heartily agree with him.
- Stereogum provides the Top 20 albums according to Uncut, then the Top 50 albums according to Mojo. They’ve also got the Top 50 of 2008 according to Q.
- Meanwhile, here’s Metacritic’s highest-rated albums of 2008.
- The Times Online has London’s Top 100 movies of the year.
- One of my favorite lists: The New York Times‘ Best Book Covers of the Year And here, their Top 10 Best Books.
- And then there are the year’s Best Science Images chosen by National Geographic.