Book review: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman


The DovekeepersThe Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the most mesmerizing reads ever. What an amazing story lines and how they come together. The characters are full of depth, the way they relate to God and the plots are simply beautiful! When some men like to think they are the stronger gender: think again as it is not that clear cut actually. One of my favorite books of all times. Other than the Bible, this was the first book that made me cry ever.

More info can be found at the author’s website>>>

View all my reviews

Martin Luther King Jr on Jazz


Painting by Bruni Sablan an amazing and highly productive painter.

While surfing the net I came across these words written by the late Martin Luther King Jr on the subject of Jazz. They were for the foreword of the program of the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival:

On the Importance of Jazz

God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.
Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life’s difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.
This is triumphant music.
Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.
It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.
Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith.
In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.

An interesting article concerning the origins of this “speech” can be found here >>>. As it turns out, even though these words were written by Martin Luther King Jr, they were never an opening speech for the Berlin Jazz Festival 1964 as is claimed all over the internet. Martin Luther King Jr was never there. This is the foreword for the program.

A series of printed products is available at my zazzle shop: www.zazzle.co.nz/johndierckx

(picture by John Dierckx: several prints available here >>> and here >>>)

Beautiful words that capture the essence, spirit and history of jazz. Blues and jazz as “triumphant music” that turns our harsh realities into something beautiful. Jazz is about life and hearing the greats play, one can only conclude that no matter how harsh our existence may be at a certain point in our lives, no matter how big the challenges the Lord is putting on our path, they all form part of this beautiful thing called life.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Podcasts


 

 

Randy Weston

Audio (12:56)

Randy Weston has seen a lot people and places in his life. Born in Brooklyn in 1926 and served in the US Army during World War II. But it was jazz that exposed him to the most diverse travels. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ken Druker unearths a live interview with Randy Weston about the people and places that he’s seen in his life — from Langston Hughes and Candido — to Brooklyn and the woods of the Berkshires and back again.

Published 12/13/10

Jazz at Lincoln Center Podcasts.

 

COMMENT
What a beautiful story. Randy Weston being told “he will never play the piano.”

Confessions of St Augustine, a free download


I was alerted by email that Project Gutenberg has made available as a download “Confessions” by St Augustine.  In Confessions, Augustine shares his story of conversion from sinful living to following Christ whole-heartedly. The book has served as a model for many Christian writers throughout the centuries.

A more detailed outline of the book can be found at Wikipedia here >>>.

Billy Graham: Back for more? – Religion – CNN.com Blogs


He’s already shared the Gospel with more than 215 million people in 185 countries, according to the evangelistic association bearing his name, but it seems the Rev. Billy Graham – who’s slowed down in recent years – may have one more message to deliver.

While appearing in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month for the reopening of the Billy Graham Library, the Baptist preacher indicated that he’d like to give another sermon, said Graham’s spokesman A. Larry Ross.“Despite diminished energy and strength, at 91 years of age, Billy Graham continues to have the heart of an evangelist and has expressed a desire to preach a Gospel message one more time,” Ross said. “While it is yet to be seen whether that vision will become a reality, it is encouraging that he remains healthy, alert and committed to his life-long calling.”No firm plans are in place at this time, but Ross said Graham’s son, Franklin, has suggested the message may come in the form of a video “so that more people could be reached with the transformational message of faith in Christ that he has preached for more than six decades.”How’s that for proof that you just can’t keep a good preacher down?

via Billy Graham: Back for more? – Religion – CNN.com Blogs.

Remembering St Francis and St Clare of Assisi


When hearing Francis preaching in the church of San Rufino in Assisi in 1209, Clare of Assisi became deeply touched by his message and she realized her calling. Today exactly 799 years ago Francis received Clare at the Porziuncola and hereby established the Order of Poor Ladies, later called Poor Clares.

Saint Clare of Assisi, born Chiara Offreduccio (July 16, 1194 – August 11, 1253) is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honor as the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares.

The Prayer of St Francis

I remember well how I first read this prayer and not knowing it was already a well established hymn I created my own musical version of it. I will spare you the sound of my singing endeavors but once it is recorded by someone than actually has a voice to sing with I will get back to that. If you truly insist on hearing me sing my version of this ‘classic’ than by all means leave a comment to that effect. For now I will leave this with the text of the prayer which is so inspiring in itself:

Lord, Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me bring your love,
Where there is injury your pardon Lord,
And where there’s doubt true faith in you.
Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.
O Master grant that I may never seek,
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial: donate by seaching the net


The clock started ticking in the planned 20 month construction process of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. Those running the nonprofit in charge of raising money and building plan to open the four-acre site in late summer or early fall next year. The monument sits between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials on the Tidal Basin.

Alphi Phi Alphi, the fraternity to which King belonged, took responsibility for raising the projected $120 million to plan and build the memorial. It created the nonprofit Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation.The foundation’s website can be found at http://www.buildthedream.org.

About

Dr. Martin Luther King is remembered as a great orator whose impact on the nation came from the eloquence and inspirational quality of his words. His speeches, sermons and public addresses melded themes of democracy deeply embedded in the American conscience, and reinvigorated these messages with clear and insightful reflections on the true meaning of justice and equality. The entire memorial is meant to invoke the memory and spiritual presence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the visual experience of place, reinforced by the full range of sensory perception, the metaphorical use of water, stone and other landscape elements, the powerful display of passages from his sermons and speeches and the appearance of his physical image in the “Stone of Hope”.

Some quotes:

“There are two types of laws: there are just laws and there are unjust laws…What is the difference between the two?…An unjust law is a man-made code that is out of harmony with the moral law…Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Isn’t segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separtion, an expression of his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?”


– Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963

World peace through nonviolent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Nonviolence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity, and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred, and emotion. We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built.

– Martin Luther King, Jr. December 1964

I Have a Dream

This historic speech could of course not be left out in this post.

Help Raising Funds, by searching the internet

Raising funds to this cause has been made very easy for anyone who doesn’t have the desire or means to make a (tax deductible) donation. You can help raise funds to build Dr. King’s Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC simply by searching everyday using your IE or Firefox web browser and the MLK Memorial toolbar. For every search you perform using the toolbar $.05 will be donated to the Washington DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation to begin construction on the Memorial in Washington, DC.

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