Three by Seven

Listen, kids, when Mr. Collins went away to paint a house, he left us in charge. What’s that? You miss Mr. Collins? So do we. When will he be back? When he’s finished painting, that’s when. Until that time, you’re stuck with us. Let’s not have any more whining, or Mr. Collins will be angry with you when he gets back.

Now, Mr. Collins told us you like to have a Five by Eight every day, and on Mondays you’ve gotten used to a Monday Morning Rouser too. Well, well, well. Is that all? Perhaps you’d like a pedicure, as well?

A Five by Eight is not going to happen. We can’t really see how Mr. Collins manages to pull that off, day after day. We’re lucky to get five by five – p.m., that is. Until Mr. Collins comes back, we’ll all just have to make do. Here’s a Three by Seven.

1. First up: A Monday Morning Rouser.

That’s Susan Tedeschi, who’s playing at the Minnesota Zoo later this summer. She may be the missing link between Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt.

2. News Cut almost never gets into deep theological questions, but here’s one: The story of the mysterious blood-red communion wafer at a Catholic Church in St. Paul. An article last week in the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, carefully, on the story of the wafer, which was accidentally dropped on the ground and then disposed of according to a precise procedure. One step of that procedure involved the wafer being left to dissolve in water. It didn’t dissolve; instead it … it … well, according to the Rev. John Echert of St. Augustine Church, it came to resemble bloody tissue. “It appeared to be like the blood red of tissue,” he said in the Pioneer Press story. “If I had not known what it was, I would have thought that there was maybe a small bloody piece of tissue.”

The story quotes Catholic officials saying prudent and cautious things, reportedly because they don’t want to risk hitting the “miracle” button prematurely. There is some conjecture, for example, that bacteria might be involved, as supposedly happened in a similar case in Texas. “The Church does not presume supernatural causes for things that can have a natural explanation,” said Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the archdiocese.

So here’s the theological question: If a priest finds a communion wafer that even appears to have become bloody, why isn’t that a miracle right there? So what if bacteria are involved – didn’t God create the bacteria too? If we start limiting our understanding of miracles to things science can’t explain, then the supply of miracles will shrink as scientific knowledge expands. That can’t be right. And if a scientist looks through a microscope to discover the bacteria – well, didn’t God make the scientist? Discuss.

RainnWilson.jpg3. “This theater, right here, is a treasure in your midst,” Rainn Wilson said to a friendly crowd Sunday afternoon at the Guthrie. For more than an hour, he had proved the point. Wilson, who has come to terms with the likelihood that his obituary will say, “best known for his portrayal of Dwight Schrute on the TV sitcom, ‘The Office,’ ” performed in several Guthrie productions early in his career. He appeared on stage with Artistic Director Joe Dowling yesterday as part of the Guthrie’s “In Conversation” series.

From the moment Wilson emerged from a hatch on the “H.M.S. Pinafore” set, he and Dowling were engaged in a witty, charming dialogue that seemed once or twice to be entirely free of forethought. It may have been the first time on a public stage that anyone, for example, dared compare the Irish-born Dowling to the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

“You’re on very thin ice,” Dowling observed.

“I really like this theater,” replied Wilson. “In fact, I’m thinking of buying it.”