I was outside the Quick-Split in Avondale to get some breakfast one morning this week when I looked across the street and saw a blonde mop and I would have sworn it was an infamous country girl I know in the flesh. I crossed the street and the woman got in her car, no doubt wondering who is this guy, much like the country girl herself. But it was someone else who was picking up art from an artist studio next door that I had not discovered heretofore.
I parlayed this chance encounter into a trip upstairs into the coolest studio I have seen yet. In fact, it is the old lodge of the Odd Fellows secret society, and you can see their crest on one of the high windows on our cover. Thank you, country girl, you were of some service.
I took some photos for our Instudio section, which opens the world of artist studios to our readers, and then I had to run out like a chicken with its head cut off to get to the event in Avondale Park.
There is much going on in the neighborhood, as you can read in the article in Get Out! about goings on in Avondale.
I left my camera bag in my hurry and had to go back that afternoon, and that is when I had a chance to hear the whole story that goes with Instudio, that could as easily have gone in Inspire.
Because the story was full of the strange strings of seeming coincidences that beg questions of serendipity, metaphysics and even theology--these are the province of the new section we have added to the Bham Weekly, Inspire.
You can read more about it in Instudio, but let me just say that Deepak Chopra and Carlos Castaneda could not have conspired in a more new age mirage of hope turned fantastically into reality: complete with a hawk that carried the spirit of creativity.
But back to Inspire, the way things connect up in my usual dyslexic ADHD "multitasking" (as I call it euphemistically), you have read the upbeat Haley before, and this week she updates the still ongoing Alabama tornado story.
And to the mix we add a scholar who is working to be more popular. Mark Gignilliat is Associate Professor of Theology at the Beeson Divinity School at Samford who talks about his edelweiss journey when his personal experience was invaded by the banality of evil, carried out by regular people who are not exceptional but have the capacity to mess you up in pretty serious ways, and the mophead´s doppelganger certainly qualifies in every category. It is true that the most immoral acts by person I ever actually knew were committed by a simple, thoughtless country girl who needed attention.
Gignilliat quotes another scholar to say that many Nazi war criminals were like that, too. And it gave me a chance to use a photo of a church sign I saw that struck me as funny because of the same idea. We expect churches to bring us messages of the redemption we all need. You don´t think of a church sending out the message: some people you just need to write off. Check out Mark´s column on Dachau, but don´t miss that note of levity combined in his message.
As my grandmother used to say, everyone thinks (since we are talking) that nobody´s perfect except me and thee--and sometimes even thee. So if we ever get self-righteous in trying to create this section called Inspire, you have my permission--just shoot me. But we will wrestle with the usual questions such as why good things happen to bad people, so just bear with us.
The day after my encounter at the studio, I went to Sunday school class, which was about forgiveness, and it raised the question: Jesus told Peter to forgive those who trespass against him seventy times seven times. But can we just keep letting evil people commit evil deeds and not step in, or just continue to absorb their abuses. And can we help them, redeem them--and, in the best of worlds, even reconcile with those who wrong us. These are some of the hard questions with which both scholars and ordinary civilians will try to stimulate your thinking in Inspire.
Let´s hope that those who can´t be trusted will be outweighed in the ledger by the fantastic beauty sometimes wrought even from their intended destruction. And that is the Tres Taylor story. Read all about it in Instudio and Inspire.
Even the Odd Fellows get in on the act:
Do you believe that Friendship, Love and Truth should be the basic guidelines to live by?
Do you believe in a supreme being, the creator and preserver of the universe?
Do you want to make a difference? That is the credo of the Odd Fellows.
And their insignia is found on the cover of the paper, photographed as it is emblazoned on the window of Tres Taylor´s studio.