Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My Idea Of the Perfect Power Couple

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

My heart pounds with admiration. I am reading this terrific book on ritual (Liberating Rites: The Transformative Power of Ritual) by Tom Driver, an emeritus professor at Union Theological Seminary, and thinking how cool he is for blending his faith-based peace activism with his anthropological studies.

I read his Acknowledgements and see that he thanks Anne L. Barstow, his wife and oh my gosh, wow, could it be? -- (total religious geek version of a rock star crush) -- could it be ANNE LLEWELLYN BARSTOW, Xena Warrior of medieval studies, who wrote Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts? The very finest book on the subject that saved me from getting a Ph.D. in religious studies (because why should I bother if she wrote my idea of the perfect thesis on the subject?)?

By golly it is, and I'm left wondering where they live and if I write them a really extra special fan letter, will they have coffee with me sometime?

Wow. I bet they didn't meet on Match.com, either. Or e-Harmony.

It turns out that in addition for being really amazing academics, they're both intensely committed peace activists and were recently arrested at Fort Benning.

Gush, gush, gush. I haven't had a thrill like this since I found out that Annie Dillard was Bob Richardson's spouse (he wrote the marvelous Emerson biography, The Mind on Fire* and she wrote... well, all those extraordinary things like Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Holy the Firm and my favorite, For the Time Being).

I ask you, is this not absolutely the most gripping opening chapter of a biography you have ever read in your life? Follow Amazon's link and get a gander:



Blogger Chalicechick said...

If Elaine Pagels exchanged some emails with me and eventually sent me a book, I'm sure these folks would have lunch with you some time.

Oh to be a fly on the wall...


Blogger PeaceBang said...

I talked with Elaine Pagels at a reception once, and she was so nice I actually didn't feel like an enormous tongue-tied doofus. That also happened when I met Mary Oliver, who had just given a reading at Trinity Church in Copley Square and when the teeming throngs crammed into the vestibule for lemonade and "meet the author" she just kind of melted into a chair in the corner and everyone totally ignored her.
I told her I'd be her bodyguard and sat quietly next to her for about a half an hour, just people watching and talking a little bit.
It's a very happy memory.


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