Trying to read, think and talk about things in small, good ways.
Trying to read, think and talk about things in small, good ways.
#125 - Six Memorable Movies of the Decade with Greg Emilio
My friend Greg Emilio joins me once again to talk about movies. This time though we remember three movies that stood out for each of us during the last decade, from 2010 to the end of 2019, just a few days ago. My three selections are what you would call mainline, Hollywood type movies that use conventional storytelling techniques, while Greg’s picks offer a nice contrast as he reviews three beautiful films that tell their stories in more poetic mode.
// “Little Idea” by Scott Holmes
// “The Mighty Rio Grande” by This Will Destroy You. Everywhere on the internet.
#124 - Welcoming Wonder: John Bucher, Mythologist and Storyteller
John Bucher is a strategist, communicator, and cultural mythologist based out of Hollywood, California. Last week (Dec 8.2019) he wrote a piece for the Joseph Campbell Foundation, called “Reawakening Wonder.” Since it’s Christmas, I thought I’d talk to him about wonder, and about mythology, and what those things have to do with each other.
John is the author of six books, has worked with companies including HBO, DC Comics, The History Channel, A24 Films, and served as a consultant and writer for numerous film, television, and Virtual Reality projects. He has spoken around the world about using the power of story to reframe how individuals, organizations, cultures, and nations are viewed.
ARTICLE : “Reawaking Wonder,” by John Bucher. https://www.jcf.org/mythblast-reawakening-wonder/
++ JOHN BUCHER at tellingabetterstory.com Follow him on Twitter @johnkbucher
++ MUSIC: Saint-Saëns - The Carnival of the Animals - VII. Aquarium, can be found everywhere on the internet. ++ O Little Town of Bethlehem. Kevin MacLeod. https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100307
++ WRITE ME: asmallgoodthing.org
#123 - The Political Lonliness of Devout American Muslims
Independent journalist Paul Rowan Brian wrote a short article in the journal First Things last year entitled “Muslims in American Politics.” (Link below). In it, Brian claims that due to anti-Muslim rhetoric pervasive in the Republican party and among conservative Evangelical Christians as well, American Muslims “have no choice” but to align themselves politically with the liberal left, even though many of the left’s platform values – “gay marriage, abortion, drug legalization and infringements on the rights of religious organizations and individuals,” for example – are at odds with Islamic teaching. This tension, says Brian, puts Muslims in America “in a precarious position – caught in a dilemma between a false friend and an open opponent. Islam, at heart,” says Brian, “aligns with neither right nor left in an American political context. It is unique and comprehensive, based on a specific view of the human being, rights, and the purpose of life informed by God rather than men. Only the future will tell to what extent American Muslims define a place for themselves in American political culture.”
In this episode I talk to a former student of mine, a young, devout, seminary-educated Muslim. I wanted to find out if his own experience in the Muslim communities he is part of rang true to Brian’s claims. I would tell you his name, but I won’t. He seeks a career in a sensitive field and because of the flammable nature of social media today, we agreed it would be best to keep his identity vague. But this I will tell you: it was a most refreshing and enlightening conversation for me, and I hope will be for you, too.
Muslims in American Politics: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/11/muslims-in-american-politics
// MUSIC: Sami Yusuf - Asma Allah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhwdEtO5fJE&feature=youtu.be
// Maula Ya Salli Wa Sallim (with English Subtitles)
// WRITE ME: firstname.lastname@example.org
#122 - Thanksgiving and The Pilgrims: Choosing People Over Prosperity, with Dr. Liam Corley.
“The Pilgrims valued people more than prosperity, and let themselves be taken advantage of – at times, and in moderation – as if caring for individuals was necessary for their physical or spiritual survival. That's definitely a Christian perspective, but it's also an economic claim about the value of individuals and a healthy community. If we could exchange money for good friends, stable families, and a clean conscience, would we?” This is one of the insights from Dr. Liam Corley, professor of Early & 19th Century American Literature at Cal Poly Pomona, on what we can learn from the Pilgrim’s story today.
// MUSIC: Mark Isham. “Coalwood” and “Dreams of Boys.” Soundtrack from October Sky.
// CONTACT: asmallgoodthing.org
#121- ROMA: Beauty, and The Hero Who Serves. A movie review with Greg Emilio.
Roma, is the extraordinary movie made by Mexican filmmaker and Academy Award winner, Alfonso Cuarón. It came out last November in 2018. But you can watch it now any time, or many times, on Netflix streaming. To help me talk about it I called my friend Greg Emilio in Atlanta. He was with me on Episode 107 where we talked about Patterson, another remarkable movie.
// MUSIC from the official Roma trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BS27ngZtxg
// For more episodes you can go to: asmallgoodthing.org
#120 - Towards a Thicker Universe
This episode is a kind of continuation or further exploration of an earlier episode I did called, Praying to Andres Dubus, Episode 114. There, I talked about the plausibility of praying to the saints, people who are dead but not dead. My friend and one of my former guests, Donna Burns, wrote me a nice little email after that saying that she would like to talk to me more about that some day, and so, I’ve invited her back, this time to be my interviewer and conversation partner. Donna is perfect for the job because she is a Protestant Christian, so she can be suspicious of anything that sounds too Catholic. Yet she definitely is NOT anti-Catholic and also shows an intellectual openness to different ideas than her own tradition.
// MUSIC: “Clear Progress” by Scott Holmes. https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes
// I mentioned Dallas Willard a couple of times. Dr. Willard was the chair of the Philosophy Department at USC. You can find his books wherever books are sold.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Episode on Paterson
I took a chance on the movie you recommended, Paterson, and wow--such a great film! Thanks for bringing it to light.
The Life Giving Power of Stories
Much of my reading has to do with my particular field of expertise or specifically, how can I do what I do better. It's not always fun but I work through it. Actually, your podcast elicited the feelings I had as a boy, filling out my book purchase form in school and gleefully anticipating the day that they would arrive and the teacher would pass out the books we had ordered...A Wrinkle in Time, Charlottes Web, Tarzan, Kon-tiki, Black Beauty, Island of the Blue Dolphins, etc. I anticipated entering another world with jitters in my tummy (a child's adrenaline rush :- ) as my world would expand, and I would feel more free. Thanks for helping me refocus, and to better prepare for my time with my grandchildren. Lar
A Small Good Thing = A great new podcast
This is a welcome break from the divisiveness of the usual political talk. A Small Good Thing promises to provide a few moments of intellectual discussion of perhaps unlikely, yet worthy topics, with interviews, reading suggestions and wisdom of a life well lived. I very much enjoyed the first episode and am looking forward to regular offerings here. My only hope is the episodes get a little longer and more frequent (weekly would be better). Keep up the “Good” work, Mr. Zelt.