I’ve never been to Italy — two weeks in Scotland and England many years ago being my only experience of Europe —but Elizabeth Prata has been, specifically to Tuscany.
As you may know, there is something about the light in Tuscany. It’s different, somehow. Prata looks at the light in Tuscany and from there to the light of life itself, Jesus Christ.
It’s an interesting meditation and a good one with which to launch a new week, so I commend it to you:
“During this Pandemic time, I’ve had opportunity to go through and look at and scan some of my old 35mm photos. I went to Italy a few times in the ’90s. I’d always heard that the light in the region of Italy called Tuscany was unique. My grandmother was from Lucca. Tuscany is deemed by Italians to be the ‘best’ region. One reason is that it’s considered the cradle of Italy, since the Etrucscan Civilization was founded there in 900 BC.”
It’s a stirring moment that invariably brings a smile and a tingle whenever we see the replay of those epic last 10 seconds of the USA Olympic Hockey Team’s victory over the Soviet Union, punctuated so perfectly by Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles?”
Even for those who aren’t particularly enamored of Canada’s national sport, ice hockey can be a fascinating game to watch. My son has played hockey since high school and to this day he plays in a men’s league in Richmond as a 40-year-old who can still skate circles around younger guys.
Mark Johnson was one of the stars of that 1980 USA Olympic Gold Medal hockey team, going on to an 11-year career in the NHL that included being named to the all-star lineup at one point.
Johnson loves to talk about the miracle of 1980, but he delights even more so to talk about the other miracle that followed. I guarantee you this video will thrill you and maybe even change the course of your life:
By the way, the victory over the Soviets, who had won the Olympic gold medal four consecutive times, was not the medal winner for Mark Johnson and his teammates. They had to then play Finland, which was no slouch of a team, either, for the gold medal and won it, 4-2.
Comic books never did much for me but there is no doubt that they are among the most influential kinds of literature and have been for decades. But did you know they go all the way back cave art? Me either.
Leave it to biochemist Fazale Rana to lay this out in a fascinating post on Reasons to Believe, the apologetics web site founded by astronomer Hugh Ross. Rana describes the history of comics:
“In America, comics burst onto the scene in the 1930s, but the oldest comics (at least in Europe) trace their genesis to Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846). Considered by many to be “the father of comics,” Töpffer was a Swiss teacher, artist, and author who became well-known for his illustrated books—works that bore similarity to modern-day comics.
“Despite his renown, Töpffer wasn’t the first comic book writer and artist. That claim to fame belongs to long forgotten artists from prehistory. In fact, recent work by Australian and Indonesian researchers indicates that comics as a storytelling device dates to earlier than 44,000 years ago. Seriously!”
Go here for the rest of the story, which I guarantee you will find fascinating.
A major new survey of nearly 16,000 young adults aged 18 to 35 years old living in 25 countries around the world turned up numerous positive trends but it revealed some genuinely worrisome news as well.
The survey — entitled “The Connected Generation” — was conducted collaboratively by World Vision, the Washington-based “global Christian humanitarian organization” for sponsoring a child, and The Barna Group, the California-based demographic research firm, and was released last month.
Two new surveys highlight findings that, if accurate and durable, provide some potentially distressing insights about millions of Americans born after 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States.
These findings should be of great interest in the nation’s capital because most of the people now working on Capitol Hill for individual senators or representatives, or for congressional committees, are members of either the Millennial Generation (people born between the years 1981-1996) or its successor generation, Gen Z. (those born in 1997 and forward).
If the question posed in the headline above strikes you as curious or confusing, you aren’t alone. I was initially puzzled by the headline on the essay that prompted this post, too.
Fr. Dwight Longnecker was in Italy recently where he paused to look around at the throng of people and noticed how “the universal ubiquity of the smart phone hit home. Everybody has one. Chinese tourists, American sightseers, Muslim women in burkhas, children and old women, beautiful Italian teens, thugs with tattoos, and charming African nuns.
“Everybody has an iPhone and everybody has their nose stuck to the screen. Not only are their noses stuck to the screen, but there seems to be an odd obsession with taking photographs of everything all the time. (Remember when you only had 24 or 36 shots in a roll of film?)” Continue reading “Have You Bowed Down To Your Smartphone Yet Today?”