29 November, 2005

We decided to add the aunt and the grandma for one fabulous pic in my mom's room...cute from age 8-73, right? Posted by Picasa

Happy Thanksgiving...from the Suttons

So, my aunt was wanting to take some pics of the fam creatively...she thought it would be cute if we piled in my bed...I thought it'd be cute to show you all my new yellow room, my new purple bed, and that amazing picture of Pike's Peak and the Garden of the Gods. :-) Posted by Picasa

My Thoughts on "Rent"

With the opening of the film-version of the wildly popular stage musical “Rent” occurring the day before Thanksgiving, many happy go-lucky Americans are being exposed this holiday season to themes, ideas, and life situations that they have never before weighed or experienced. VH-1’s tongue-in-cheek “Best Week Ever” which reviews the weekly happenings of popular culture joked that “Rent” trailers and commercials make the movie appear to be a colorfully fun, exhilarating, song and dance to lure naive audiences to a movie that deals primarily with heavy topics such as drug abuse, poverty, and AIDS. Whoo. Merry Christmas, right?
While an easy answer to the question: “should Christians go see this film?” would be a simple “no” I want to delve deeper into the themes and content of this film. Though there is certainly content that I would quickly label trashy, unnecessary, and sinful, I wonder if the best answer is always to simply not view the material. Perhaps it is better for thinking Christians to observe the lifestyles of the lost, in order to gain perspective, and begin to grasp how those outside of the Christian subculture live. As I sat and watched this film, there was no doubt, quite a few times that I squirmed in my seat while I was watching a screen full of proud, flamboyant homosexuals. But moments later, I was confronted with the heartbreaking image of a support group of people slowly dying of AIDS, none of which professed to have hope or “peace that passes understanding.” More than leaving me offended at the sinful ways of the world, the film broke me and reminded me that there is a world out there that desperately needs to know the hope of Jesus Christ, a world that is searching for any grain of fulfillment. It is no coincidence that those who make life choices that are directly contrary to the guidance offered in scripture often end up in poverty, or die young. I am reminded that God did not give us “rules” to simply boss us around, but just as loving parents tell their children not to play in the street for their own safety, our Heavenly Father encourages us to live in purity and with integrity because sin does ultimately lead to destruction, whether it’s emotional or physical.
I want my readers to understand that I am neither condoning nor recommending this film to anyone. I know for some people viewing sin can do much more harm than good. But for me, viewing “Rent” was simply a reminder that Jesus Christ died for the world. Those who would choose to embrace Him and those who would choose to deny Him. And who’s to say that if the characters of Rent: Collins, Maureen, Mimi, Joanne, Roger, Mark, Angel and Benny had a genuine encounter with Jesus Christ, that they would not accept Him. Simply put, this film did not make me feel good. It did not leave me walking out of the theater with a smile on my face or an uplifted spirit. But rather, it reaffirmed in me, the passion to be a vessel for Christ to use to pour out His love. When I was 12 years old, my uncle died of AIDS. I have another family member living with HIV. It is real and it is painful for everyone connected to those people. “Rent” reminded me to love. Simply because I may be the only Jesus some people ever encounter.

24 November, 2005

Five Lessons to Learn from Mr. Darcy

This was the title of the small article I just came across while looking through my mom's "Real Simple" magazine. It is of particular interest to me because this past weekend I finished reading my new favorite book, "Pride and Prejudice." I thought these tips on salvaging a bad first impression were worth noting...

"The original title of Jane Austen's classic 'Pride and Prejudice' was 'First Impressions.' That's because practically every character in the book makes a bad one--none more so than Mr. Darcy, who spends the rest of the tale trying to overcome his. Some of his lessons along the way to a happy ending apply to nonfiction life as well.
1) Don't be rude--you never know who might be listening. Arriving at the ball where he first meets Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Darcy is in a foul mood. When he complains that none of the women are fit to dance with, Elizabeth overhears--and is, of course, offended. Had Darcy kept his ill humor to himself, he wouldn't have prejudiced Elizabeth against him. Then again, Jane Austen wouldn't have had much of a book.
2) Beware of your body language. While Darcy is forever coming off as stodgy and snooty, he is, in fact, uncomfortable. Paying a little attention to that scowl would have done him a world of good. Nota bene: When you're quiet, your body language speaks for you.
3) Be honest about your feelings. The more Darcy tries to cover his up, the worse things get. Though a first attempt at complete honesty goes disastrously wrong (delivery does count), it is the truth--along with a few behavioral modifications--that mends his relationship with Elizabeth. People appreciate honestly and can sense deceit. Come clean.
4) If you have trouble explaining yourself, write it down. Following his blow-up (and an ill-considered speech delivered in the heat of passion), Darcy writes Elizabeth a polite, carefully thought-out letter that clears up the misunderstandings that have stood between them. An e-mail, though less elegant, may work, too.
5) Persevere. Time can tip the scales. It takes a year, but eventually Darcy manages to win Elizabeth over. If it's important, keep trying. Invite the person to coffee, a cocktail party. What have you got to lose?"

19 November, 2005

I'm So Excited (And I Just Can't Hide It)

I feel I must shout this from the rooftops...or, ya know, from this blog...

I'm going to see the national tour of "Little Women" tonight at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center!!!

This is potentially the best option for Saturday night entertainment that my mind can even come up with.

I haven't seen any national tours or Broadway shows since I've been doing college theater. I'm so excited to not only be swept up in a story, but to view it from a new perspective. Ohhh I'm so excited!!

I used some music from "Little Women" to audition at the Virginia Theater Association. I guess they liked it, because they passed me through.
Here's what I sung:

Here I go
And there's no turning back
My great adventure has begun
I may be small
But I've got giant plans
To shine as brightly as the sun

In other news...I've just been hired for my first writing job! Like, not just a one time thing...like a year long commitment! I'll be a paid blogger for a new LU site called libertyu.com...I'm so pumped...sitting around doing THIS and getting paid? SIGN. ME. UP.
Oh beginning of the rest of my life, here I come...

18 November, 2005


This has been the best year of my life.

No comparison.

I'll expound later.

For now I need to finish packing in order to make the trek to Nashville this afternoon/evening.

OH how I'm excited...fires...big comfy couches...newly decorated bedroom...mom...dad...bonnie...eleven:01...pf chang's...church family...thanksgiving meal...days off of school...green hills mall...fido's...bring. it. on.

16 November, 2005

Latest Champion Article

Reconciling Christianity and Art
By Hilary Sutton

Christianity and art are two of the most difficult concepts to intertwine. Questions often arise out of the ambiguous fog of Christian art regarding appropriate concepts to express, display, and portray. The idea that “Christian art” can also be considered “good art” is foreign to many people who equate the concept of “Christian art” with bad movies and trite bumper sticker slogans. Seemingly conflicting ideas are often embraced by Christian communities: art should be done with “excellence” yet should not “offend”; art should depict “truth” yet not paint Christianity or the Church in a “bad light.” These contradictions can leave the Christian artist in a state of confusion, wondering how to go about producing credible art. Christian artists must first recognize that according to the scriptures anything they produce must be done with excellence.

Excellent art begins with the artist consistently using his or her God-given talents. Just as the farmer is displeased with his servant who hides the talent entrusted to him in Luke 19, God is displeased when He has entrusted His people with abilities to glorify Him in creative ways, and we choose to let them lie dormant. Rather than ignore our gifts, artists should cultivate their creative yearnings to point more people to the beauty of a life in Christ.

The scriptures admonish in Colossians chapter three, verse seventeen that we (Christians) are to do everything we put our hand to as unto the Lord and not to men. Not only does this mean that Christians should live a life that is honoring to God, but everything we do, namely the art we produce, should also be completed as if it is a gift to the Lord. Regarding why mediocre art is so prevalent today, Francis Schaeffer Jr. answers, “Simply because man, Christian or non-Christian, is created in the image of God, and a vacuum, formed in his soul by denying the God-given arts their proper place, has to be filled with something. But without the proper base, man fills the void with only twisted, pale shadows of what art could be.” Though producing truly excellent work takes discipline and effort, bringing glory to God through obediently giving talents back to Him is not only deeply satisfying, it is of eternal value and well worth the labor.
A foundational aspect of creating excellent art is familiarizing one’s self with contemporary standards of excellence. Interestingly, the importance of being relevant to the current age is not a concept that originated with recent postmodern discussion. In 1966, Hans Rookmaaker, professor of art history at the Free University of Amsterdam, Holland expounded on artistic relevance: “He [the artist] has to make art that is relevant to our day[…]And, in order to gain from all that is good and fine today and yet avoid being caught by the spirit of our age and its false principles, he must study modern art in all its different aspects deeply and widely.” For art to make any sort of impact on society, it must be respectfully done with excellence.

Christians who are involved in the arts must remember that the only way for art to be produced in a God-honoring way is to continually give Him the credit for what is produced. Mixing Christianity and art has long been an arduous task. Because of the frailty of humans, both the Christian name and art have been corrupted. Thankfully the Scriptures offer insight and guidelines into living a life that brings people to Christ. Excellence, humility, purpose, and authenticity, are vital in approaching art. Madeleine L’Engle comments, “to be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” Our lives and our art proclaim the glory of God when things are done with such humility and authenticity that there is no explanation other than a life transformed by an encounter with Christ. Christian art is about much more than attempting to pacify people and giving certain artists empty recognition. It is about using the creative gifts and talents God has blessed us with to live a life of worship.

The Girl In the Shadows

I wrote these lyrics months and months ago...found them today...may try to write them into a song over Thanksgiving break...

Please don’t love me
I don’t want you to compare me
To this new girl your girl
I can’t take this confusion
This swirl of emotions
Right and wrong blending together
Confusing perplexing me still

Cause I had things figured out
I knew what I wanted
I knew where I was going
I know where I’m going
And you’re alright
You’re great a great man
But you’re not mine
And you can’t ever be
Your someone else’s

She’s so perfect
Adored by so many
I’m the girl in the shadows
But you stand and face me still
I can’t understand this
When I know I’m not the one for you no
You belong with someone else
I belong with someone else too

You can’t see me perfectly
Yet you gaze all the while
You sit focused trying to see me
Have your idealizations filled

Lord knows we’ve been through this
Trying to put these pieces together
Why do we connect
Why do we seem to fit
But wind up clashing still

You should try to make it work with her
You never know what you’d be missing
I’m your friend and I’ll always be
You need to learn this lesson

11 November, 2005

A Friendly Update...

(The following post was begun Friday morning, November 11...but was cut off quickly due to getting kicked out of the computer lab for convo...it shall be resumed on the next one...)

Hello all, I hope that your autumn is going well. Things are busy here (who's surprised...) but good. One week from today I'll be making the long journey home for a relaxing 10-day Thanksgiving Break. I'm definitely looking forward to it. So what's been going on in life here lately? I'm glad you asked....

Tonight is Opening Night of "Guys & Dolls" here at Liberty. In this show I'm a part of the ensemble and I'm loving it. It's a less stressful thing alternating between principle roles and ensemble roles...If that's the way things go for me the rest of my time here at LU I definitely won't mind. As fun and exciting as being a lead is, there's a lot of pressure that comes with it. Looking back on "Once On This Island" I've definitely resolved to make sure I take the time to have fun with roles in the future. It's a shame to let yourself get worked up about measuring up to others and doing "a good enough" job. Theater is supposed to be fun! So anyway, in "Guys & Dolls" I'm a hotbox dancer. 90% of the show I sport a blonde-Marilyn-Monroe-esque wig and for one scene I have a long dark brunette wig. Surprisingly I've been told I can pull off the blonde wig pretty well...people aren't quite as big a fan of the dark...Oh well...though it is my dream to be a mysteriously exotic brunette, I guess I wasn't made for it...