Archives For Robert Hudson

 

A Soundtrack for Self-Immolation
 
A review of

The Monk’s Record Player:
Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan, and the Perilous Summer of 1966
Robert Hudson

Hardback: Eerdmans, 2018
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Review by Sam Edgin

 
 

In the window seat of an airplane above the vast American West I am alone, seeking familiarity outside my window. Mountains with snowy shoulders stretch below, their size giving the illusion of closeness. The white horizon they break into zigs and zags eases upwards into blue sky, and dilutes the sharpness of the most distant peaks. Just as the landscape is wrapping me into itself, blocky cartoon letters painted on the wingtip of my plane snap me back behind the three-paned glass and molded grey plastic of my window. “HOWDY,” it says in a yellow found mainly on toy dump trucks. I don’t reply.

There are few places I feel more alone than in the window seat of a crowded airplane. There, in a lumpy seat, stuck between a mass of disgruntled strangers and the vast unfamiliar landscape far below, I fold in on myself. As someone who builds energy in alone time, this is enjoyable. For those strangers next to me, I’m sure I come across, unfortunately, as less than amicable.

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Giving Us Words
 
A Review of

Four Birds of Noah’s Ark:
A Prayerbook From the Time Of Shakespeare
Thomas Dekker

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

 

Reviewed by Colin Chan Redemer
 
 
Recently a young mother said she wanted to start praying with her kids but didn’t know how, or what to say. Had I known then about the new edition of Thomas Dekker’s Four Birds of Noah’s Ark: A Prayerbook From the Time Of Shakespeare edited by Robert Hudson I perhaps would have been more helpful to her. It is easy for folks who’ve spent roughly a seventh of their life in a church pew to say “well just speak to God.” But prayer isn’t quite the same as chatting with a friend over coffee; it is spiritual food. I can image Jesus looking down at us and, echoing Mark 6:37, saying “you, give them [words to say].” Well this prayer book from the 1600’s offers many such words which, hundreds of years later, are fitting. The day I started reading the book was in my son’s first season of kindergarten. There I read the first prayer titled “For A Child Going to School” and I realized the value of being instructed in prayer even as my son was heading off to class. “Be my Schoolmaster to instruct me,/ that I may repeat the rules of true wisdom.” It is a striking prayer, that God would be the one who instructs us. If he uses the teacher in my son’s public school, so be it. And if that teacher fails in her cosmic duty: have faith, God will make a way. That alone is worth the price on the back.  

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