American Idol Adam Lambert “Ring of Fire”

All I can say about Adam Lambert’s rendition of “Ring of Fire” is that it should be written into the sequel for “Twilight”: “New Moon”. This is such an original interpretation of one of Johnny Cash’s trademark songs. Very … Goth!

Do I think Adam Lambert will win American Idol this year? Yes, if he keeps going the way he is. I think there are five outstanding artists in the final “ten”, but my vote goes for Lambert.

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American Idol David Cook “Come Back to Me”

David Cook’s performance last night on American Idol was amazing – just to prove that I was right (along with millions of others) that he deserved to win last year’s competition. “Come Back to Me”  is probably one of the most meaningful love songs I have ever heard: the transcendent, complete, all there, nothing lacking, unconditional, meaning of love. (This is from YouTube rather than the performance. For the performance, click here: American Idol: Come Back to Me)

I wonder what it would sound like if a woman sang it?

I was talking about it to one of the sisters in my community and she said that it reminded her of how God relates to us, that loving relationship that holds on and never lets go. God is always right there, waiting for us to come back. “You find you then come back to me….” Another of the sisters said it reminded her of Gomer and Hosea in the Old Testament, or the Prodigal Son in the Gospel.

This reflection and song made me think of Francis’ Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven” about God’s ever-loving pursuit of the soul; that God will never let us go. Sister Mary Paula made us memorize a big piece of the poem when for our senior English final – and it has stayed with me always:

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears …”
The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson

(Francis Thompson was a Catholic poet from England, 1859-1907; someone should make a movie. He studied to be a doctor, a Jesuit and ended up a drug addict, homeless, until the publishers George and Alice Meynell took him in. This couple was part of England’s “Second Spring” when many people entered the Church and there was a boon in Catholic literature.)


To Fall in Love with the World


In 1995 I made my annual retreat (silent/directed) at  Craighead Retreat House neat Glasgow, Scotland. I had taken my final exams and turned in my dissertation for an MA in Education in Media Studies at the University of London’s Institute of Education and was awaiting the results before returning to the USA.

One day I found a green pamphlet at the retreat house from the series of Jesuit writings published by The Institute for Jesuit Studies in St. Louis:

 To Fall in Love with the World: Individualism and Self-Transcendance in American Life

by John Staudenmaier, SJ, a professor at Detroit-Mercy University.

John Staudenmaier, SJ

John Staudenmaier\’s Home Page

The essay explored individualism in the US, individualism and technologies, and capitalism and individualism.

I have been wanting to write about media and capitalism  in this economic crisis, but when I found John’s essay online, I thought it would be useful to share it with you. I may write something later…

In this day of economic distress, Staudenmaier’s piece still has something to say about how we will continue, as believers, to be present in and to the world as the economic situation changes us… and how we can change. He does this by considering the Christian way-of-being in a consumer society  in the mid-1990’s and assessing this through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

(I wrote an article using Staudenmaier’s premise published in Today’s Catholic Teacher Jan/Feb 2008: Cinema Divina: Spiritual Development through Contemporary Film)