January 2007 Archives

Regardless of the historical era or geographical location, mystical experiences have fascinated men and caused them to ponder their existence and universe. Not only did such experiences claim some kind of knowledge of the Divine or Absolute, but they also implied by their very existence that such experiences are available to humanity. Entire philosophical schools and religious sects grew up around the possibility of attaining some kind of insight or experience of Highest Reality. And those who claimed to have had an original mystical experience hitherto unknown soon found themselves with disciples searching for the same experience.

The Baby Killers at Dream Theater Company

POWERFUL, MOVING AND HAUNTING!!

Despite its disturbing name, this is without doubt one of the most meaningful plays I have attended in a long while. Though a fictional tale, this engaging drama effectively combines a hearkening back to the tragic outcomes of an era prior to child labor laws with the more modern social norms of contemporary China and its prescribed views toward female infants. This comes across strongly as a historical piece, set perhaps in a quasi-European locale, and seems as if it could easily pass for recollection rather than fiction. Historical elements such as the era-bound songs played throughout and the torn white patch on Annabelle's jacket, which can only remind audiences of the similar patches sewn on the Jews' clothing during Nazi Germany's rule as a sign of degraded identity, all lend a sad realism to this moral tale.

Author/Play write Jeremy Menekseoghu creates an all too familiar yet terrifying world in which parents must choose only one amongst their children to become the "chosen". The others, they are told, will fall smilingly into the kind arms of the Orphanages who will care, protect and provide for them.

But whereas Capitalism mercilessly trumps the good will of Charity, so will the machinery of child labor inevitably envelope the welfare and lives of those fated children cast aside by their parents. This tale, above all, brings to a boil the confrontation between our desire for a life of comfort and luxury and the inhuman price we are willing to pay for it.

This play was simply astounding and wholly lived up to the stated philosophy of the Side Project Theater. Baby Killers is performed by Dream Theater Company whom I shall now diligently follow due to their gritty content and excellent performance here.

Three Foutz Boyz

Three handsome young dudes prowling the wintry streets of Grand Haven.
From left to right: Scott Foutz, Steve Foutz and Jeff Foutz.
(The only one missing here is my younger brother Noel.)

A Response to Augustine's De Mendacio [On Lying]

The question which requires exposition is whether one can use deception for a noble purpose without reaping the Scriptural condemnation of liars. Can one deceive another with the intent (and perhaps consequence) of achieving good such that the deception deserves acceptance or even praise? Many believe so, and Augustine offers many examples given in demonstration of such a position.

Death of a Matriarch

I received word on Wednesday, January 17th that my Grandmother Foutz had passed away sometime in the afternoon. Amazingly, my father had traveled from California that day and was at the doorstep of the nursing home when she died. She was living in Rest Haven Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a home supported and run by the Plymouth Brethren denomination to which she belonged and raised her children in.

This paper will examine David Kelsey's "Uses of Scripture in Recent Theology" (1975) as representative of neo-Protestant trends toward a functional understanding of scriptural authority and compare his proposal to the position outlined by Carl F. Henry in the eleventh thesis of "God, Revelation and Authority" (1979). Thesis Eleven of GRA states: The Bible is the resevoir and conduit of divine truth, the authoritative written record and exposition of God's nature and will.

Putnam County Spelling Bee at Drury Lane Theater

This evening my cousin Marie and I went to the Drury Lane Theater on the north side of Water Tower Place to see the play Putnam County Spelling Bee. As the title suggests, the storyline revolves around a spelling bee of elementary children set in the Chicago area. It is a musical comedy involving a handful of goofy/geeky child stereotypes and their inner struggles, inquiries and triumphs.

This is the first play Ive attended which lacked an intentional message other than its entertainment value. Being entertained is nice, but Ive become accustomed to walking away from a theater with at least a modicum of contemplation regarding the play I had just seen. But not here. This is akin to watching an episode of Gilligan's Island with a song about a boner thrown in. The characters are well defined and play effectively against each other. The storyline is entertaining and coherent, yet honestly shallow. And the final result is somewhere between clowns in a little car and adults acting like children.

One major part of the play is its audience participation which is determined beforehand, apparently while I was still working my martini, based on volunteers' spelling capacity. The three "winners" of the preliminary spelling contest are then whisked away to reappear on stage as cast members.... and then publicly humiliated during the course of the evening. Glad I stuck with my martini.

There are to my knowledge three versions of this play, depending on the time/evening attended. There is the G-rated childrens version. The Standard version, and the Raunchy version, where spelling bee words include anatomical parts and libidinous activities. I went to the 2pm weekend show and thus wound up in the Standard show, though the Erection Song was quite memorable, particularly its explosive conclusion.