Dude, look into the Dude(s)

OK, it's official for me now: Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times is essential reading for keeping up with the intersection of religion and pop culture. (Her blog, The Dude Abides, provides a helpful archive back to December 2003.) This week she writes about MTV's "Spiritual Windows" spots that promote a distinctly Eastern approach to spirituality, and she visits one of the creative minds behind the spots.

"We wanted to create little, short moments, almost breaths of peace, for the channel," Kevin Mackall, the ponytailed 37-year-old senior vice president of on-air promos for MTV, explained as we sat in his 24th-floor corner office, a pair of electric bass guitars standing at attention near his cluttered desk. "There's a genuine appetite for spirituality these days. And that was the mission."

. . . "I don't belong to any organized religion, but I consider myself an incredibly spiritual person," said Mackall, who grew up in a "very Catholic" community in Pittsburgh, but he says the most spiritually influential person in his childhood was his grandmother, who was Protestant. "A lot of my own spirituality relates directly to her. And she used to say to me, 'To thine own self be true.'

"I sort of need to feel that call-and-response in my life, whether it be art, or music, or doing the marketing and promo work for MTV. You have to help hold the thread. That's kind of my spirituality," he said.

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