Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Latest Radio Spots

Here is the latest radio spot I did for my Church, David A Dean from STAR 99.1 did a great job of producing it. I've been tasked with trying to produce humerous spots, most of what we've used on air up till now has been fairly serious, we thought it good to remind ourselves and the world that we are capable of laughing at ourselves.

this is an audio post - click to play

The concept behind this one is a recovery group for classic tv junkies.

this is an audio post - click to play

April is National Poetry Month!

The Man Who Was Thursday

A web address resurfaced today, and I was delighted to hear Orson Wells and the famous Mercury Radio Theatre telling the Wonder(filled) story of GK. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday". This is one of my favorit of Chesterton's work, am still waiting for the day when I see a stage version of the book. This radio production was originally aired in 1938. Radio is a great vehicle for this story...oh for the glorious days of radio theatre!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Gospel of Mark over NYC

Mark airs over NYC! I was given the privilege of performing Mark's Gospel on Easter Sunday at our Church. Our services are broadcast on WAWZ on the following Sunday, so today the Gospel of Mark went out over the air in to the Big Apple!

It's a Wrap!

My girls were eager to be in their schools spring musical Oliver! So I figured I would use the oportunity to spend some time with our girls by volunteering to direct the show. We had our final performance last night, and after all was said and done the girls had a great time and the folks who came to out seemed to enjoy the show. I was struck again through the whole process how important telling stories are for children and their families, they become an important affirmation of much of what we value, and hope to express to our kids, and the community involvment that emerges from these events become an important expression of our responsibility to one another. I've attached my director's note from the play program below, they express some of these sentinments

Director’s Note:

My three girls (two of whom are in the cast of Oliver) and I have been reading through Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince these last weeks of rehearsal. During these times, I have been struck by a similarity of thought expressed in Antoine’s tale of the Little Prince who fell to earth with that of Dickens orphaned Oliver. Both tales seem to suggest to the world that Love is something to be sought after and nurtured when found.

The Little Prince comes from a tiny star where he tended three volcanoes and a single rose, and the flower becomes an intimate and loving friend to the boy. Eventually the Prince leaves his little planet and his own rose and finds his way to earth, where thousands of roses can be found in peoples gardens. Yet amidst the Little Prince’s travels and amidst all the flowers on earth, the young boy felt a loss of meaning for his life. People where you live the little prince said to his pilot friend, grow five thousand roses in one garden yet they don’t find what they’re looking for and yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, and he added But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.

Of course Jesus reminds us that finding Love is more than just a matter of looking with the heart. For the heart to see rightly, the hand needs to give generously. That’s the deeper wisdom the Little Prince goes on to reveal when he responds to the rose’s simple request, “Would you be so kind as to tend to me?” This gift of Love by the Prince made his rose the only one in the whole world. It’s the time you spend on your rose that makes your rose so important, the wise fox told him. Take that gift away, and the one special flower blends into 100,000 other roses. In the same way, the character Oliver, one of thousands of orphans littering the streets of Dickens London, was looking for someone to be so kind as to tend to him. Roaming the markets, he questions the world as he sings out the memorable song Where is Love?

For many of you tonight, your attendance at this play is an answer to Oliver’s question. You are tending to your rose tonight and - through many, and late rehearsals, through the sewing of costumes, running sound, giving up work time, free time, missing weekends and spring break, driving, waiting, and more driving - all for the sake of spending time and caring for your rose. The more you tend, the more important they become to you; and the more alive you, we and they are!. The production team thanks you for this gesture. We know that it comes from a heart that is learning such things from Him who loved first I Jn 3:16.

In His Grace,

Hunter Barnes

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Black History Month

My sixth grade teacher Mr. Paterson at Parkside Elementary School in San Bernardino California was a black man teaching in a white neighborhood in 1977, a pretty rare thing even then. He also was a Pastor, preaching on weekends. He had our class memorize Dr. King's "I Have A Dream Speech". Dr. King's life and words have no doubt changed our world for the better, and has even impacted my life. But my sixth grade teacher did more for my sense of justice and the need for all peoples to be treated with dignity then Martin Luther King, Jr. I had a giant of justice in my classroom everyday.

"Artists as Reconcilers"

International Arts Movement is hosting its 2006 15th Anniversary Conference next week in New York City. I'm really looking forward to what should be a very interesting conference. The keynote line-up is impressive, and the organizers must be applauded for selecting the like of Miroslav Volf author of "Exclusion and Embrace" and professor of Theology at Yale Divinity. I picked up "Exclusion & Embrace a couple of years ago, and continue to go back to it. Volf's theology is a deeply personal exploration into the call and costs of a Gospel of reconcillation. I'm eager to hear what he has to say to artists and the role we play in the Gospel as reconcilers. Other guest include; poet & chairperson of the national endowment of the arts, Dana Gioia; two time emmy winning actress Patricia Heaton from "Everybody Loves Raymond" and founder of IAM, painter, and member of the National Council of the Arts; Makoto Fujimura! There is still time to register to the conference.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pennyroyal Caxton Edition of the Holy Bible

Stepped in to borders books the other day to pick up a book on Adobe's "Audition" software for sound recording, and found a book on the clearance rack for $9 dollars, a paperback version of the Pennyroyal Caxton Edition of the Bible! I first heard of this Bible back in early December when I went into Manhattan to pick up our visas for India. We had a few hours to wait till we could pick them up, so on a whim I called the American Bible Society offices which are located on 61st and Broadway right off Columbus Circle, to see if we could get a tour of their rare books collection, and low and behold they said yes! Pastor Nash and myself were given a personal tour of the second largest historic Bible collection in the world, second only to the collection held at Cambridge. And one of the Bibles that caught my was the Pennyroyal Caxton, illustrated and designed by the artist Berry Moser. This was a recent publication, the newest in their collection of rare Bibles, and the price tag of the copy they showed us was a $30,000 edition one of fifty copies, on handmade paper with original drawings a book that took over four years to create, done in the same tradition of those who created the illuminated Bible's in the middle ages, with true craftsmanship and artistry. And what artistry there is in Moser's work. Catharine Madsen described it in her article in Crosscurents entitled A Terrible Beauty by saying:"No artist since Rembrandt has handled biblical subjects with such intimate confidence and such trust in the unbeautified human face; no illustrated Bible has so rooted itself in the modern sensibility." And I would whole heartedly agree. I've often hoped for an illustrated bible to share with my children, that would awaken their imagination to the wonders of the text, and away from the cheap plasticization of disney like sensibilities. Something that will stir their souls, even haunt them, anything but trivialize. Moser has taken the risk and through his illustration made the Bible both utterly strange and more strangely familiar. And I found my large paperback (10x17in) on clearance for $9.00 bucks! Something very disturbing about that which I wont get into now. You can purchase a Trade Edition of the Caxton edition for $250.(first edition) or a second edition Trade for $120 here or individual prints. or keep your eyes on the clearance racks, you never know what you'll find.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Screwtape Letters

Went in to the City to see Max Maclean perform in an adaptation of C.S Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters". The performance was at theatre 315, a new space owned and operated by the Salvation Army. it's located between 44th and 7th Ave. right off of time square. The city is always a charge, we drove in this time and parked right outside the Lincoln tunnel, and walked our way through the theatre district on a rainy night, ended up buying little black umbrellas from some Nigerian folks on the street corner. You can always count on being able to get your incliment weather essentials on the street if ever you forget to bring your own. Things were still clipping along even with the weather. We actually ushered for the show, the director is an aquaintence of mine, and we got an email mentioning the need, and we were happy to oblige. Enjoyed the show, the material is deeply layered but, the ideas, the arguments great reading, theatrically challenging. Bringing the monologues to some type of physical life proved tough, but for the initiate, lovers of Lewis were no doubt pleased with the offering. And Max Maclean seemed entirley suited for the role. Great voice.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Tommy Lee Jones & Flannery O' Conner

In December, Barry Pepper talked about the influence of the Bible and the works of Flannery O'Connor on The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, written and directed by Tommy Lee Jones. Now Jones himself discusses the subject in the Boston Globe:

Flannery O'Connor matters to this movie first because Jones wrote his cum laude thesis at Harvard on her. Second, family members of the film's coproducer, Michael Fitzgerald, are executors of O'Connor's literary estate. ''So we both knew our O'Connor rather well, and it was just a natural approach for me."

''O'Connor is important to the way this movie is constructed," he continues. ''What you do is you consider some so-called religious thinking without the didacticism of the classical approach. You look for the allegorical intentions of what we're taught in the Bible, and then find some way to have it revealed or expressed by common experience. You'll find this happening over and over again in O'Connor, who was a rather classical Catholic thinker who wrote about nothing but backwoods north Georgia rednecks."

''Ecclesiastes is essential to the movie as well," he says. ''It has to do with the passage of time. You want to start thinking as an actor that the past, the present, and the future are occurring simultaneously, and God requires an accounting of all three."

And on this NPR interview Jones says:

People ask me to describe Huey Calloway, the character you just heard, and I've found it convenient to describe him as a Buddhist soul in a Calvinist world, and I haven't yet thought up a catch phrase for Three Burials, but it has something to do with the consideration of the mechanics of faith.

And from there he starts talking about Flannery O'Connor again.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

kids, cricket and trains through the night

Attended the dedication of a new prayer hall in the village of Nandigama. About 120 kids and 8 widows and their children live here. Most of the children’s parents are poor farmers, some only have one parent and can’t afford to raise them, some have no parents at all, orphans. This is a great place, the widows each have their own little apartment, and are allowed to live here till there children are all in school. There was quite the celebration, once again we were ushered in to the complex with showers of flowers petals. And the highlight of the day was the baptism of 38 people. While here we took photos and biographical information from each child and compiled them into a database with a sponsorship card. After two weeks back at Zarephath we were able to have over 60 kids sponsored from the home. Also got to play a hybrid game of baseball/cricket with the boys, they had a much easier time hitting my baseball pitches than I had hitting their cricket bowling. That night we left Khammam for a two day trip to Chennai, formerly known as Madras. Took an overnight train departing at 12:30am and we arrived around 11:00am. What a trip, ended up getting after the steward in our train car, he sold our reserved beds before we boarded the train. Our group of 11 were standing in the little isles of the train, in the dark with our luggage, wondering where we were going to sit, let alone sleep for the night. I chased the steward down and demand that he evict those who were occupying our bunks, we went back and forth with one another, but he eventually found bunks for all of us. My guess is that double selling bunks is a common practice on these trains. The train was quite an experience, now I feel like I’ve really been to India.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Mission

Heather had a present for me when I returned from India, something I've wanted for a long time: Ennio Morricone's soundtrack for the film "The Mission". "Gabriel's Oboe" is an all time favorite. If you havent heard it, you can buy the song for a buck on itunes. well worth the dollar.

Back to my journal entries from India

Today a church dedication in the most rural setting to date. Farmers out threshing and winnowing the rice crop in the field, the same way they have for thousands of years. The church we are visiting is made of Indian Gypsies. They have vibrant costumes, and are known for being charismatic followers of Jesus. When we arrived they processed us in with trumpet, drum, clarinet and folk dancing, showering us with flower petals all the way. The Pastor is known as a faith healer. Not sure what to think though, he wanted to show me his abilities by laying his hand on a young boy who seemed to swoon backwards in an almost rehearsed way, then fell to the ground, then the boy rose to his feet to repeat the gesture. Then the Pastor slapped the boy across the face as he swooned backwards, lifted him to his feet by his hair and repeated this again. I grimaced, tried to embrace the boy which probably confused everyone. I was confused and found myself getting angry and a bit of an attitude toward the pastor.

Ended the day with another church dedication outside of Khammam. Here over 200 people waited till dark for our arrival. The Pastor was moved to tears expressing his gratitude to God for sustaining him through two heart attacks, one year of Bible College and the construction of his small church. Amazing service, amazing people. Mosquitoes bout killed me.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Email from Mako Fujimura

I just recieved this email from Mako Fujimora, the founder of IAM (International Arts Movement). I'm looking forward to the upcoming conference in New York. Listen to what is on Mako's heart
"I have a fifty year vision for the church that I will be sharing with artists at the conference. Today, if you interview anyone on the street with a question: "What do you think of when you think of the Christian church?" you can imagine what the answer would be...

"political extremism..."
"It's where I find the most segregated group of people..."
"It's where people boycott stuff they don't agree with..."

Or maybe for a few...

"It's where I found salvation..."

I am praying for that in fifty years, people would say:

"It's the source of my creativity, and it's where I experience beauty both in art and in my life." and for the blessed, "and I found the True and only Life through her in Jesus."

Now, my eldest son is 17, and in fifty years he will be 67 (and I will be,if I am still around, 95)! So this is certainly beyond our immediate influence. Which is why I like praying for something beyond our time. This means that we will have to train future leaders to think and teach this way,and that their off spring will be the one to see it happen. Would you join me in praying for that to happen? Yes, this is certainly God sized and we will not be able to make this happen except for God's power. Let us know what you decided to do, or how we can serve you in any way.

And, while you are at it,...pray for our 500 year vision! I'll be sending our more about that in the future...

Blessings upon your faithful service,"

Mako Fujimura

Saturday, January 28, 2006

How Do Actors Remember Their Lines? or "I could have told you that"

This is an article I pulled off of boingboing. Interesting and well...obvious really.

How do actors remember pages and pages of lines? Apparently, it's usually not through rote memorization. Cognitive psychologist Helga Noice (Elmhurst College) and her actor/director husband Tony Noice (Indiana State University) have spent twenty years studying the psychology of actors and their techniques. What they found could potentially be used by elderly individuals whose cognitive abilities are declining. The Noices report their latest results in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. From an Association for Psychological Science news release:

According to the researchers, the secret of actors' memories is, well, acting. An actor acquires lines readily by focusing not on the words of the script, but on those words' meaning -- the moment-to-moment motivations of the character saying them -- as well as on the physical and emotional dimensions of their performance.

To get inside the character, an actor will break a script down into a series of logically connected "beats" or intentions. Good actors don't think about their lines, but feel their character's intention in reaction to what the other actors do, causing their lines to come spontaneously and naturally. The researchers quote the great British actor Michael Caine: "You must be able to stand there not thinking of that line. You take it off the other actor's face."

The key, the researchers have found, is a process called active experiencing, which they say uses "all physical, mental, and emotional channels to communicate the meaning of material to another person." It is a principle that can be applied off-stage as well as on. For example, students who studied material by imagining conveying its meaning to somebody else who needed the information showed higher retention than those who tried to memorize the material by rote.

Tree at My Window -- Robert Frost

The tullip tree out my window, the girls refer to it as "Godzilla".
this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, January 27, 2006

Jan 2nd

Started things off with a visit to a school our Church funds, About 150 kids all together at the school all very thrilled and appreciative to have us there. After this we went to a day school for children with special needs, mostly mental, some with physical needs too. Then at about 4pm. The big event…driving back to Hyderabad to pick up Gladwyn who was arriving late, from the airport. This involved another hair raising ride, for four plus hours, IN THE DARK! The roads truly are treacherous here. Carcasses of vehicles litter the road all the way back. I prayed, then after a few minutes assumed a kind of strange fatalism toward the whole thing, began wondering how they would get my dead body back to the states, would they freeze me in a sitting position and purchase a seat for me on an airline, ship me back on ice in the cargo hold, or just cremate me here and send my ashes. Well the trip was thankfully uneventful, and my driver Ravi and I had a bit of an English class along the way. We arrived back in Khammam at around 3:00am. Roads all but empty as we hit the town, lots of dust, people sitting by open fires along the road, monkeys scavenging. Good to have Gladwyne with us.


Joseph was afraid to return to Israel even after an angel appeared to him in Egypt telling him to return. Hearing that Archelaus, Herod's son was now the king, he instead went to Nazareth. God even uses our fear for his purposes, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that the move to Nazareth was a fulfillment of prophecy "he will be from Nazareth.."

Jan 1st 2006

Had water buffalo milk with my cornflakes this morning. then made a two hr. drive to a little church outside of Khammmam in a rural village. Monkeys, mongoose, water buffalo, rice patties, cotton, palm trees and harvest time filled our windows on the way out. 400 people sat on the ground outside the Church under a colorful cabana, listening to their children recite scripture and sing. The ladies all arrived in their most colorful saris, it looked like a beautiful quilt, something Heather would love to see and make.

Driving in India

I thought Taiwan and Mexico City would be good preparation for driving in India, both are frightful in their own right, but nothing can really compare, India tops them all. 5hrs. of white knuckle, nail biting, on the verge of disaster driving. Our drivers seemed to enjoy this immensely. We arrived in Khammam around 2:30 in the afternoon, we were served a meal then taken to our first visit to a leprosy colony. Nothing prepares you for this, even if we had been given some rest from our trip (which we had not). Around 100 were sitting when we arrived; they were waiting patiently on the ground outside. With apprehension I reached out and touched them, thinking all the while of one of my favorite stories in Mark, "Jesus full of compassion reached out and touched" the leper.
Azariah had each of us say a few words. I tried to convey part of this passage to them. I mentioned my girls inability to keep a secret from their mother at Christmas, and what a joy it is to watch them try and yet fail to keep that secret, and wondered whether Jesus felt the same way, the same joy, when he asked this leper who had just received healing from Jesus, NOT to "tell any anyone about this", and instead he "went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news!
Never a new years like this!

New Years Day India 2006

Arrived in Hyderabad yesterday morning after over 24hrs of travel from London. Our route took us over Baghdad, Afghanistan and Iran to Delhi, from there we flew to Bombay, now officially referred to as Mumbai. We had a 5hr lay over before catching our last flight to Hyderabad. While wainting in Mumbai, I finally got the courage to ask a man who was part of an enormous group of (Muslim) pilgrims, all dressed in white, traveling together where they were going. A gentleman about my age, he politely told me that he and his family were making a "haj" to Mecca & Medina. They asked me where I was from and I had a brief moment of hesitation before I told them America. There was a noticeable hesitation in this man's face, but the simplicity of the gesture, two travelers simply curious about one another’s destination, quickly overtook our apprehensions, and we shook hands and wished each other well.
Arrived in Hyderabad around 9am. Moved from a small baggage claim area directly on to the streets where you are summarily overwrought with people moving in and on you; first the noise, then the heat, then the beggars; children, women draped in black, filthy, reaching out, "sir, please sir" placing their bony fingers to their mouths, a gesture of their need for food. The children riding on the hips of their mothers or sisters, seemed thrilled, enjoying a kind of game it seemed. Tom almost immediacy stepped in to a pile of human excrement. The beggars followed us to our car continuing their plea for money. I knew that the moment I offered one child money I'd be overwhelmed from all of them. My plans was to empty my pockets right before we left. Things work slower in India however, even things as simple as driving away, so after I pulled the money from my pockets, we had to endure the interminable tapping of our rolled up windows of women holding children, pleading for more. We were all still dressed for London, sweaters etc. noise, heat, smog, filth, excrement, beggars tapping...sealed up in our oven like car waiting to get out of there. welcome to India!

Retro Blog (Dec 29th)

I'm trying to go back to my written journal of my recent trip to England and India and enter it here. Here goes:
Today went Downtown London, enjoyed the sights, dined in the West End at an Opera themed restaurant off of Covent Garden. Had Lamb for Diner. Rode the "London Eye", amazing vistas of the city, can't believe I was on and above the Thames today. Found the Cormorant fishing from above the river as magnificent as the city skyline below. I've heard the Chinese will domesticate these birds, tying a string around their throats, so they cant swallow, then sending them down to go fish, when they surface back to the boats they pull the fish out of their mouth. Smart way to fish! We walked by the Museum at County Hall, where Salvatore Dali is on display. Took a few photos of some larger sculpture on the river Thames, accessorized the skyline in quite a dreamy way. Was asked to perform parts of Mark's Gospel in the little old Chapel in Hendon, what a treat, the space is an old Anglican monastery which our church has owned since the 1930's. We leave for India tomorrow at 5:30 am.

Birches - Robert Frost

A few years ago a student friend of mine Josva Halseide read this poem for me, and it kneaded it's way into my imagination.
this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, January 25, 2006