For the Catholic News Agency interview, click here!
To listen to a chapter of Bonhoeffer, click here!
Eric Metaxas — Kingmaker and cultural observer — gets solidly behind Skip Bowlinski’s failed bid for the Presidency in 2008!
I’ve written about thirty children’s books and have written for VeggieTales — so you can imagine that every now and again people ask me to recommend children’s books. The little-known “Tim” books, written and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone (1900-1979) have to be among the best children’s picture books in existence, and they are the first books I would recommend to anyone, and now recommend to you. Ardizzone’s illustrations have a Victorian feel to them, as do his stories.
There are eleven “Tim” books, which Ardizzone wrote between 1936 and 1977. All of them are available here, at Amazon.com. There is so much to like about these books. There is an innocence and a wit to them that puts them at the top of my list. Ardizzone was the first winner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for children’s book illustration in 1956. A terrific 1966 Maurice Sendak review of Ardizzone’s Tim and Ginger, can be read here.
I’m also a big fan of Robert McCloskey’s first book, the incredibly charming Lentil. McCloskey wrote and illustrated it in 1940,
years before his Caldecott-winner, Make Way for Ducklings or his other more popular books, like Blueberries for Sal, which I also love. McCloskey’s early-19th century American town and the characters that inhabit Lentil are a delight.
My favorite line: “There sat Old Sneep, sucking on a lemon.” SHLURP! Click here to order Lentil.
Last night my chickens came home to roost when I somehow found myself moderating a dialogue between the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Barack Obama’s friend and pastor of 20 years) and the inimitable Rev. John Rankin of the Theological Educational Institute. The title of the forum was “The Bible, Race, and American History: What Are the Issues?” There were lots of media there, of course, fishing for controversy. But the only controversy was the lack of controversy. It was all scandalously civil.
My small contribution was duly noted in both newspaper accounts. The Connecticut Post‘ said my moderating was “humorous”. The full story is here. The New Haven Register said I “set a tone of civility.” Their story is here. The local Fox News tv report is here. I’m behind Dr. Wright, shuffling my papers…
I doff my hat to my dear friend, the Rev. John Rankin, for creating a place for civil debate and bona fide conversation on important subjects — and with people who are usually ideologically far from his positions on things. Rankin’s other Mars Hill Forums are absolutely must-see material. The second-half of this conversation between Wright and Rankin will be on December 5th in the Greater Hartford Area. Stay tuned.
It’s been quite a few days, folks… We had another absolutely extraordinary Socrates in the City event on Oct. 22nd, with Dr. Gerald Schroeder — Israeli physicist, Talmud scholar and author of Genesis and the Big Bang. He was everything we had hoped — a kind of Professor Irwin Corey with substance, if such can be imagined. Before Dr. Schroeder launched into his talk he regaled the audience by offering yours truly a gift of skin lotion made near the Dead Sea. A good time was had by all. Of course you may order a cd of the evening from socratesinthecity.com. They make great Christmas and Hannukah presents, as do Professor Schroeder’s fantastic books.
On Saturday I spoke about William Wilberforce at a benefit for the Wilberforce School in Princeton, NJ, and on Sunday I spoke about Mr. Wilberforce at the august Jonathan Edwards Forum in Wethersfield, Connecticut. The event took place at the venerable First Church of Christ there; the history in that building is enough to scare anyone off. The steeple is about as gorgeous and quintessential a New England church steeple as you are likely to find in existence, and the interior of the 1761 church has been gloriously restored. The pulpit, from which I dared speak, is so far above the congregation that one feels one had better have something important to say. Ahem.
On Wednesday I moderated a luncheon panel on publishing at the Dillon Art Gallery in SoHo, which exhibits the virtuoso works of Mako Fujimura, who — along with the supermodel Kim Alexis and the incomparable belletrist and polymathic mathematician David Berlinksi — was in attendance. It was, like, a scene, man.
On Thursday night I was the emcee at a First Annual Young Supporters event for the MPSC (Midtown Pregnancy Support Center) of Manhattan, an exceedingly worthy organization whose capable executive director turns out to be related to me by marriage, and rather directly, too. Because the youngish crowd was at one point slightly unruly I struck back by singing — The Mills Brothers’ “Dinah” and Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” — to the inestimable accompaniment of Matt Veligdan and his Band. Yowza yowza yowza…
On Friday morning I had sinus surgery and am now in mending mode, prone and prone to crankiness. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, you’ve been a terrific readership.
I was all stuffed up and found it hard to think straight, and yet the extraordinary Will Hinton at times somehow made me sound almost coherent… Good Will Hinton!
Void where prohibited.