Monday, February 21, 2005

loitering/life is a journey

From this morning's Charlotte Observer: Vida Covington, who is with the Charlotte Area Transit System, was interviewed about an innovative program in place to reduce loitering at the uptown transportation center. Muzak is played, with the hope that crowds will disperse. Some 7-11 convenience stores have implemented this strategy, playing Barry Manilow on loudspeakers, attempting to drive the teenagers away.

This part of the interview was too good not to pass along:

"Q. What sort of muzak do you play?
A. Initially we played a combination of mostly classical and smooth jazz. However, we realized that some people were enjoying the jazz a little too much and started loitering, so now we play only classical music".

***

Ralph Wood of Baylor University, author of The Gospel According To Tolkien and Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South, will be with us at Providence on March 6 and 7. Ralph is one of our very closest friends, and if you are in the area, you are encouraged and invited to hear him. He will lecture on Tolkien and the Seven Deadly Sins (on Sunday and Monday evenings).

A taste of Wood's reflection on Tolkien: "Tolkien's work is imbued with a mystical sense of life as a journey or quest that carries us beyond the walls of the world. To get out of bed, to answer the phone, to respond to a knock on the door, to open a letter--such everyday deeds are freighted, willy-nilly, with eternal consequence. From the greatest to the smallest acts of either courage or cowardice, we travel irresistibly on the path toward ultimate joy or final ruin. According to Bilbo, we can "keep our feet"---i.e., we can avoid being swept away to the permanent death that comes from having failed our mission---only so long as we have a sure sense of where we are supposed to be going and how we might rightly arrive there" (The Gospel According To Tolkien, page 49). See the link to Ralph Wood on the right, and click the Providence UMC icon to learn more about times and places for the lectures, which are open to the public.

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