The Rumor of Good News

The Potato Eaters – 1885, Vincent van Gogh

What is it about Vincent Van Gogh that continues to inspire artists? Painters mimic techniques he perfected. Scores of filmmakers, songwriters, and poets have created their own works of art with Van Gogh as their subject. What is it about this artist that so inspires other artists? A definitive answer to that question may not be possible, but as a songwriter who has himself written a song about Van Gogh, I can at least speak to what inspires me.

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Looking You in the Eye

We’re still excited at the success of Echo Hill, our latest venture, and we thought we’d take the time to look into what we’re doing here at Foundling House in the first place, and why we would put together a dinner and concert in which people look each other in the eye, taste delectable food, and drink in well-crafted, truth-bearing art. Also, here’s a great chance for those of you who missed our evening to get a glimpse of what transpired:

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A Big Day of Small Things

Last Friday night, we held our first Foundling House brick-and-mortar event—a dinner and concert called Echo Hill, featuring the talents of Eric Peters, Janna Barber, Palmer Gregg, Ben Bannister, Bill Wolf, and Lorraine Furtner, plus an excellent feast by Sullivan’s.

This project had been more than six months in the making. The idea always seemed to be floating around in the back of my mind that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to virtual reception of art, to interaction by proxy. That kind of distance relationship, at least where art is concerned, suffers from a fan-based mentality. Good poems, stories, and songs drift into the territory of hagiography—that glowing writing full of miracles and merit that surrounds the saints of old. If we add the personal context of presence, our work takes on different and perhaps more holistic meaning*. I had mentioned the possibility of an event to our writers’ group multiple times, trying to gauge interest and, on a more subliminal level, hoping that if I talked about it enough, I would figure out how to pull it off.

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God in the Process

St. Augustine once wrote that he carried a “question” with him at all times: “My question was the attention I gave to the world, and its reply was its beauty.”

Beauty—no matter our taste—demands our attention.

This past summer I began looking again at my new surroundings: the city of Nashville. In hopes of recording some beautiful “answers” with my paintbrush, I’d get up early and catch the morning light as it woke up the world. One such morning I sat down on a curb across the street from a hilariously pink Mexican grocery, and began to paint. That hot pink screamed for my attention!

Following my habit I started working quickly to capture the essence of the scene, when steadily—one by one—construction workers began setting up on the street not five feet in front of me. Workers. Cones. A truck. Another truck. Boom! Construction blocked!

“I can’t go anywhere in this town without running into construction,” I huffed, packing up my supplies. That’s when the lightning bolt struck:

Construction is everywhere.

From roads to skyscrapers and traffic cones to tower cranes, the multicolored landscape of construction had one thing in common: my attention.

But could it be beautiful?

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The Night of First Christmas

Chad Sparks, Teaching Pastor of Providence Church in Knoxville, TN, takes a poetic look at the night before Christmas, but from God’s side of the curtain.

Full text found here.

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River and Rail Theatre Co. Debuts New Musical


From Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to Jesus Christ Superstar and The Cotton Patch Gospel, stage writers and musicians alike seem to enjoy the challenge of re-imagining Bible stories. It’s quite a task to bring new depth and color to a familiar narrative without taking any meaning away from the original story, and The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby achieves this goal with great success.

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