Thursday, October 30, 2008

Uncle Ernie at Uncle Harry's

I don't want to come off as an
Uncle Ernie (my generation will pick up the reference)
at Uncle Harry's..

But when the young female employee of Uncle Harry's leaned back in the couch-chair uncomfortably next to me
and cascaded her hair to within inches of my arm..

(don't worry, this is NOT a photo I took of her, but a pic I googled up for this post so you can imagine the scene with me!)

a few thoughts hit me.

One, "what's up with this...she is breaking so many rules about personal-private space."


Or was she?

I was at Uncle Harry's... local bagelry/coffee shop; waiting on Keltic Ken from our ekklesia-thing. So I sat down in the corner in one of two overstuffed chairs around a small round table; obviously a table for two.

I set my water bottle and a book on the table stategically in front of the other chair;
and noted there was also a newspaper on the chair.

It was obvious to me I was saving the seat.

But not to Charity (not her real name).

To my surprise, without even acknowledging me (I was reading...of course), she simply moved the newspaper and sprawled out to relax a bit.

I didn't bother to tell her the seat was saved;

..But in a few minutes I was almost wondering if I was.

I had been praying about opportunities to talk to people in the marketplace and coffee shops;
truly wanting to meet and accept people where they are...

..but not often taking the initiative to actually do it.



I simply prayed and wondered what was up.

When I told this story to our Thursday afternoon group, a sister was convinced the young lady was flirting with me.

I don't believe it..and besides, I am old guy!

Another sister in her twenties agreed with me...a bit too readily(:

But she got the point that Creps has made well about the younger/postmodern natives:

They have completely different culture and worldview about private/public space.

Especially regarding cell phones, which is what she pulled out next..

And left a message with her name, number, and personal details about her life for the voicemail she got.

I felt a little embarrassed.

She did not.

I do not even know that she knew I was there..

..even though her hair was now almost in my face, and I felt like a stalker.

In my day, that would have definitely have been a come-on.
Even in the zero percent chance that it was (see "Sexual energy drives the engines at church")...

I was praying that if I was called to say something to her before this was all over:

"Hi, The Lord told me your name is _____, and your phone number is ______, and...."

(:

More likely something inocuous and pre-evangelistic like:

"How do you enjoy working here?"

or

"You pagan dork, can't you tell I am saving that seat? Besides, I now know your phone number and will crank-call you!"

(:

But I also


realized that she was taking a break from work in her workspace instead of the back room.
That, too, is typical of the new generations..especially if they work in a Third Place.
We would have never done that at Sambo's back in the day; huge separation of work and break.



She even called out help to customers who were looking for cups while she was on the cell phone talking about..

Anyway..

the vignette was a reminder to me that I really was called to bless and minister in this type of setting, not just blog about it.



I might have said something to her, but just then my bud came in, and she got up to get back to work..

And i am back to work, knowing I must press on in "planting my bench outside the box," living missiomally, making myself missionally available with a ready compassion to real people and real places..

Even if "all I do" is pray..
(and talk to strange people at Jack in the Box)

I have been praying for you, Charity.


..or praying to pray for you.

Maybe Ken and I will just set up a bench outside my house and offer free coffee..

There is good biblical precedent for going after sheep/goats and not waiting for them to come to us, so we can get their butts in a pew.








Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Voice is out

I am a big fan of The Voice.

..also The Voice New Testament, now out:





www.hearthevoice.com

stick to New Testament Cigarettes

from the movie "Bananas" (Woody Allen):


more from that flick:

honestly..i only watch ZooTV, Colbert & SpongeBob





see also:

Seducing Sinners

Contrary to what beloved Saint Steve may think (he has already stalk-read this post and groaned),
the farthest thing from my mind and intent is to trip people up sexually..

I just know that the church's failure to be honest..even mention and address/redress...sexuality is one reason for "oh, the shape we're in."

I do admit choosing provocative post titles to shameless attract sex-addict googlers over to this site..partly as a parody, but partly because it works.

I joked with Ryan on this post:

Lindsay, Britney and Amy go into a bar ...



about tricking surfers into visiting Christian sites.

I have no intent of tracking ISPs..

But I was surprised that my experiment (click title above for details) produced NO results that I noticed..

but the two recent posts that seem to bringing in surfers and stealthers from all over the world
are the one that promised:


and that addressed:


It's the economic times that brought on the latter;
and the sexonomic times that brought in the former.

Or are they both the same phenomenon/obsexxion?

Even though I rebel against "attractional church,"

whatever gets 'em in the door.
(a safe click above, he he..)

of course prayer is erotic...until elevated

:

Because of the common origin of our creation and redemption, an examination of our sex life leads to an examination of our prayer life and vice versa. -Eugene Peterson
link



Excerpt from my article several years ago:


To my amazement and delight, I stumbled upon a stunningly insightful commentary on U2’s song (and therefore prayer about, and theology of) "Elevation." I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, as theological analysis of U2 is all over the world and web. (Even as scholarly papers at the business meetings of the "I guess they’re not so square and stodgy after all" Evangelical Theological Society…Baptist PhD’s contemplating the theological catalog of Bono!) . But this particular piece grasped and grappled so well with what U2 are (in Bono’s phrase) "on about" in "Elevation," and in general, I cannot anymore hear or pray the song without this review at hand. It has rocked my world, theology and prayer life. I had always intuitively felt the song was about, indeed was, prayer (Bono often says or sings "Turn each song into prayers"). But to definitively second that motion it took these words, which should be read slowly, and with "Elevation" playing softly (!) in the background:


Prayer is not something the pray-er just recites...it is an
experience he enters into. There is no room for inhibition; singing and dancing are essential means by which he expresses his emotional cleaving to God….but such ardor/desire for God has to be so overwhelming that any extraneous thoughts
are excluded…If distractions are erotic in nature…and the prayer-er faces up to the predominance of the sexual urge at both conscious and subconscious levels, and
its capacity to intrude even during prayer...then he



has learned to take
measures…by introducing the (ancient) doctrine of the "elevation of strange thoughts." This is a Chasidic Jewish technique not of sublimation, but of thought conversion, whereby the beauty or desirability of the woman is latched
upon and used not as a sexual but rather as a mental and spiritual stimulus. We are taught to "elevate" these thoughts by substituting the beauty of God for the
physical beauty that is currently

bewitching us. The pray-er has learned to immediately contrast the pale reflection of beauty that humans are endowed with,
on the one hand, and the supreme Divine source of authentic and enduring beauty, on the other…This is not sublimation; This is elevation
.
Wow! Surely anyone who re-reads the lyrics to "Elevation"...

High, higher than the sun
You shoot me from a gun
I need you to elevate me here,
At the corner of your lips
As the orbit of your hips
Eclipse, you elevate my soul

I've lost all self-control
Been living like a mole

 going down, excavation
I and I in the sky
You make me feel like I can fly
So high, elevation

A star lit up like a cigar
Strung out like a guitar
Maybe you could educate my mind
Explain all these controls
I can't sing but I've got soul
The goal is elevation

A mole, living in a hole
Digging up my soul
Going down, excavation
I and I in the sky
You make me feel like I can fly
So high, elevation

Love (sometimes "Lord"), lift me out of these blues
Won't you tell me something true
I believe in You


A mole, living in a hole
Digging up my soul
Going down, excavation
I and I in the sky
You make me feel like I can fly
So high, elevation
Elevation...
Elevation...
Elevation...

Jubilation!.

 (or ventures and voyeurs a watching as Bono sings/prays/dances/incarnates it on concert DVD), will surely fall at the feet and conclusions of the reviewer, admitting that he  is astoundingly accurate. And I (seminary grad!) didn’t even know until I found this review that "elevation" was the official name for an ancient and established style and form of prayer. Surely this is exactly what Bono is fundamentally "on about" in this song; even in wider life and mission.   He has said it is a song about transcendence ("The song  is fun and frolics but the goal is soul.  It is about sexuality and transcendence" ). Just for starters, lets interlace the lyrics to the song "Elevation" itself, and the review thereof:


Prayer is not something (Bono) just recites...it is an
experience he enters into. There is no room for inhibition; singing and dancing are essential means by which he expresses his emotional cleaving to God….but
such ardor/desire for God has to be so overwhelming("You make me feel like I could fly") that any extraneous thoughts are excluded…If distractions are erotic in nature…and (Bono) faces up to the predominance of the sexual urge ("I’ve lost
all self-contol"
)at both conscious and subconscious("Digging up my soul/Going down/Excavation") levels, and its capacity to intrude even during prayer( "Tell me something true/I believe in You"")...then he has learned to take measures…by
introducing the ancient doctrine of the "elevation of strange thoughts." This is
a Chasidic Jewish technique not of sublimation, but of thought conversion, whereby the beauty or desirability of the woman(the corner of your lips/the
orbit of your hips")is latched upon and used not as a sexual  ("orbit of your hips..eclipse") but rather as a mental ("I need you to elevate my mind") and spiritual("you elevate my soul")
stimulus. We are taught to "elevate" these thoughts by substituting the beauty of God for the physical beauty that is currently bewitching us. (Bono) has
learned to immediately contrast the pale reflection of beauty that humans are endowed with, on the one hand, and the supreme Divine source of authentic and enduring beauty, on the other. This is not sublimation ('a mole..going down"), but elevation.


Because it so convincing, I hope Bono read the review I quoted, and I’m guessing he may well have. Not because I found it in Rolling Stone, or another obvious publication that Mr. Vox has been known to frequent, but because it’s in a classic book called "Blessed are You: A Comprehensive Guide to Jewish Prayer," by Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, copyright 1993.

That’s right, a
commentary on U2’s "Elevation" written long before the song. (And of course, "elevation" as the name of a prayer-vehicle has been around for centuries).  No, I didn’t truly trick you; though I did keep that card up my sleeve (All I did to the text was insert Bono’s name where the author had "the praying person" and the like). But surely this passage is a  radically relevant review..uh, preview..of the record. As much as we can often find more God in the lyrics than Bono (or God) intended; this would be a case where, even if the song is about different things on different levels, it at heart revolves around this technique of prayer. It is too close a match that it’s precisely "the orbit of the hips" that catapult elevated (versus sublimated, in the rabbi’s terms; "excavated and going down" in Bono’s) prayer into action. Whether or not Bono has the "Blessed are You" book in the mad stack by his bedside or not; there can be no divorcing this song’s inspiration from its interpretation by the rabbis; or from...continued:The Bomb Part 1: And Elevation Begat Vertigo
---
"Prayer never asks for anything for oneself; strictly speaking, it makes no demands at all, but is an elevation of the soul. This describes true prayer."-Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kuk: Prayer as the Elevation of Desire--

--
More:

"Sexual energy drives the engines at church"

The negative spin on sex is that it is "easier than love":

"Sex is currency
She sells cars,
She sells magazines
Addictive bittersweet, clap your hands,
with the hopeless nicotines..

Sex is industry,

The CEO, of corporate policy
Skin-deep ministry,
Suburban youth, hail



your so-called liberty"


-Switchfoot. "Easier than Love"



But in taking my leadership class through the "Personality Type and Religious Leadership" book the other night, a passing phrase hit me (emphasis mine):

"this need not be viewed as negative. Sexual energy is often the gasoline that drives the engines at church."

"Why do some men and women spend long hours in church meetings? For many reasons, to be sure, but one unconscious motivation may be sexual energy generated. When, however, people begin acting out their sexual fantasies this energy gets dissipated. Possibly that is one reason for sexual taboos in religious systems. We want this sexual energy to be working for the Kingdom, not being disippated intercourse. The spiritual discipie of tantric yoga works with sexual energy, raising it from..genitals to..heart...In church systems, we beed to learn more about using and managing sexual energy without being explosive or abusive. (130)



I have written on, and wrestled with, the shepherd sexualixing/fleecing the flock (especially when the church has "22 pews" here:

The Reduction of Seduction: Part 2



But often the vice is versa..the sheep (via projection, transference) can easily sexualize the shepherd.

Yet if we start by admitting all this (actually being honest in church...see: "Stones,Starfish, and Wolfgangs Cry Out: 'a life full of s*&^"), accepting it as it is, but intentionally thwarting, subverting...nay, prayer-elevating it ..

as the rabbis and Bono of course have recommended.

Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen:

Prayer is not something one just recites...it is an experience he enters into. There is no room for inhibition; ,, emotional cleaving to God….but such ardor/desire for God has to be so overwhelming that any extraneous thoughts are excluded…If distractions are erotic in nature…and the pray-er faces up to the predominance of the sexual urge at both conscious and subconscious...then he has learned to take measures…by
introducing the ancient doctrine of the "elevation of strange thoughts." This is
a Chasidic Jewish technique not of sublimation, but of thought conversion, whereby the beauty or desirability of the woman is latched upon and used not as a sexual but rather as a mental and spiritual stimulus. We are taught to "elevate" these thoughts by substituting the beauty of God for the physical beauty that is currently bewitching us. The pray-er has
learned to immediately contrast the pale reflection of beauty that humans are endowed with, on the one hand, and the supreme Divine source of authentic and enduring beauty, on the other. This is not sublimation, but
elevation.

(This is a must read).


If we could only activate and embrace elevation-prayer, maybe we could even speak on the
oral sex passages in Song of Solomon that everyone knows are there, but we deny at great expense.

Maybe it will take a few forerunners talking as candidly and coarsely as Bono recently did:

"You see, rock stars, we have two urges -- really, just two."

Bono also confessed the inevitable (and eventually elevated) sexual energy and electricty in the room, when in that same speech...to a room of 14, 000 women!...he begged:

Please, please, please don't tell the band that I'm actually here because they could get cross. They actually formed the band so they could play in front of 14,000 women. And I am here to raise my voice for Maria Shriver. What a mother, what a babe, what a warrior, what a lioness..

...And I said to Tim Shriver earlier, we were talking abut faith. I said, "Tim, I believe in God, but God knows I have an eye for the



goddesses." And I say that in the presence of my wife Ali and my daughter Eve; they're here this evening. (looks for them in the audience) I get the goddess thing
..


Now (gives an exaggerated cough) -- I can see your expressions. "Oh Bono, I bet you say that to all the girls."
link




If we refuse to sexualize history and people,
and instead allow Holy Spirit, history, heilsgeshichte to gently and appropriately "sexualize" us:

This is the sound of the world coming down
this is the sex of history
this is the sound of the big house caving in
this is the fiction of joy and misery
-"Murder in the Big House," Chagall Guevara
May that friction and fallenness of our humanity, and our bentness toward baseness
elevate us into real, relational and redeeming church in the real world.



Rob Bell and have Carmen Berry (a woman) have both recently written good books on the sexuality/spirituality connection. Bell's is provocatively titled "Sex. God.":


"Sex. God. They're connected. And they can't be separated.


Where the one is, you'll always find the other."
(15)


We can only start where we are.




See also:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

emotional music from a creative future

Bono once told Ed Bradley on 6o Minutes that their songs "occupy an emotional terrain that didn't exist before our music did." Elsewhere he has commented,
"there are colours and feelings and emotional terrain that we occupy that is ours and ours alone."
More specifically, it's all about the Edge's guitar. There's a reason TIME Mgaazine likened it to "swirling epiphanies."

As Bono says of Edge in the clip below:

"he has crated a whole diiferenet spectrum of feelings anbc colors..."(00:10ff);
"there is a color we have seen through Edges guitar playing that didn't exist before he played" (6:14ff)



That music actually creates emotions that didn't even exist previously;
or that we didn't know existed:
or didn't know we felt;
or didn't know we could feel..

of course: it's at heart time travel ("Music is time travel") and an eschatological inbreaking of the age to come.

Creation and Endtimes...But its arrow and emotion is a gift from the future.

Which is why Bono introduces Edge as "from the future" and found us via a "time travelling device":




"Part of the magic of music for me is that it can evoke emotions that you can't even have otherwise,emotion there isn't even a word for .."

-a musician quoted in "Blue Notes The life-giving link between mood and musical expression"
Utne Reader, 11-12/08

Friday, October 24, 2008

NirvanaMan, Righteous Mischief, SuperChurch, Supreme Synagogue





In an intriguing lecture last night on election reform,
self-described (mellow) activist Krist Novoselic...

oh, by the way he is also former bass player for Nirvana...and that is actually him at left)..and him throwing his bass in the air only to have it land on his head at the close of this vintage
(and not so mellow) MTV Awards performance..



characterized his mission as

"righteous mischief."

Now that phrase is a keeper; if not my mission motto and new nickname.
It's commentary/targum on Matthew 10:16.

But the phrase that brought delight to us three pastor-types in the back pew..uh, row..was
"superchurch."

He meant megachurches, and soon switched to that more standard term...but I'll hang onto "superchurch"...(suprachurch works well, too).

And I shouldn't have been surprised at the return findings when I googled that phrase!

The context was a suggestion that when superchurches host their own daycare or addiction recovery center, such is good for the culture, economy, democracy....in fact, it is kind of a "anarchic socialism."

That phrase sounds like church to me, too. Book of Acts, baby.
Who is this guy?

But one negative vibe of some superchurches us they might be selected by Jesus as a site for one of his temple tantrums...remembering of course that the cleansing of the temple wasn't so much (or at all) about "selling stuff in church" as it was a righteous mischief against the racism of the dovesleller and moneychangers who set up their table on the only place/pew of the Gentile races...Thus, 'My house shall be a huse of prayer foir all nations/ethnicities.."
More on this here..even a poem here.
But it wasn't good for the anarchic democracy of the Kingdom.

All that to say, superchurches/McChurches can often default to bounded sets, including only folks the same color, style or size as the head pastor dude. Or as a visiting seminary professor once told us, "the homogenous unit principle of church growth is from hell."

Oskar Skarsaune, in his masterwork , "In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity," also coins a delightful phrase in the line of "superchurch": the temple was a "supreme synagogue." By that he doesn't necessarily mean a worship set where The Supremes sing (though we might be down with that), but temple as supreme-synagogue by its primary purpose of prayer and teaching gatherings...and decidedly NOT sacrifices anymore...even in Jesus day.


Skarsaune suggests that




The earliest community were in the temple "day by day" (Acts 2:46). But what did they do there? First we should note that with one exception, we never read that they brought sacrifices......What we do read is that they went up to the temple to teach and pray (Acts 3:1). We have already seen the significance of their teaching in the temple. Their praying there should probably be seen in the light of Jesus' words when he "cleansed" the temple: "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a den of robbers" (Mt 21:13).

It seems as if the early believers purposefully ignored the sacrificial cult going on in the temple. To put it a little more pointedly, they treated the the temple as if it were the supreme synagogue. In the synagogue you teach and pray, but you do not sacrifice. While the cessation of the atoning sacrifices posed a problem for the rabbis after AD 70, there is no trace in early Christian literature that this situation was ever considered a problem.On the contrary, in Recognitions 1.33-71 it is rather the continuation of the sacrifices between AD 30 and 70 which is seen as a grave sin...

The early Jerusalem community seems to have regarded the temple as the supreme synagogue, the ultimate place for teaching and praying The remission of sins was no longer obtained by the sacrifices offered there, but by the supreme sacrifice of Christ.."

-"
In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity," 160, 167
entire book searchable
here


Thus, Jesus' temple tantrum, targeted at racism and denial of Gentiles space to pray, was also "righteous mischief" and a rant against the dovesellers and moneychangers supporting the sacrificial program at all! Skaraune namechecks early sources that attributed the destruction of the temple in 7o as, in part, a final dismantling of the sacrificial system. The den of robbers were those who robbed the worshippers of the new wine and way by perpetuating a pre-Jesus worship-worldview.

That a shift in the primary purpose of a sacred space is hard is understandable.
But even Isaiah (56:6-8) spelled out the original intent:
not a house of sacrifice; not a house of preaching as we have made it today;
but a house of prayer for absolutely all.

Any real estate than our real ESTATE is suceptible to the idolotary of place.
"Church buildings are sacred..," Mark Driscoll procliams, "...like everything else."
(See "Holy Hamburgers" for more).

Now that we the Corporate Body (not individual belivers or their bodies, as evangelicals often misqoute 1 Cor) are the temple, the Place, the holy ground..

Rob Bell and Don Golden note that revelation happening "not in the midst of a nation or city or province where someone could make ownership claims, it was for all the people of the world..

God needs a body so that..all of humanity will know this is how God acts in the world."
"Jesus Came to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile," p. 29.






Bell and Golden:
"there is blood on the doorposts of the universe."

And that includes me.

"I'm worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end "
-Nirvana lyrics, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Bono and Jim Kerr on preaching

I love Matt's answer to my question "What can the church learn from U2; even though/especially because in humility he felt unqualified to answer
(read his answer here; then buy his book).

And Chris has delightfully drawn out from Bono's interview with Assayas (buy the book) hugely helpful lessons about "what the preacher can learn from U2/Bono"
(buy the book);

And of course we have an amazing resource for "preaching the U2 catalog" (buy the book).



But I was thrilled to find in this 1983 joint interview of Bono and Jim Kerr of the Simple Minds (another group that has breathed on my preaching for decades now) that Bono himself speaks a timely word for us preacher types twenty five years, and a whole new world later..especially related to church shift.
Just replace a few words ("flowered shirts" for "leather pants" etc.):

"Satin pants have been replaced by leather pants, but it's the same old tripe [?] that they're giving the audience:

'Here WE are, and there YOU {condesending point of finger} are;

now you look at us, and we're going to give you what you need..

and that's wrong."

Or:

"a lot of rock and roll looks to the past...while myself and Jim, our music looks to the future...

It's a whole new generation; a whole new blood. And for too long, there was a tourniquet applied to the music which wasn't allowing the new blood through..but it burst the dams.."


Off with the dam(n) tourniquets.
Is this stuff eerily relevant to our day, or not?
Right down to the opening comments about gay weddings (:
..followed by the phenomenon of fainting at concerts (Wesley,Cane Ridge, Brownsville..."slaying in the Spirit"?)..
...and the "monster which can become a dinosaur" of communicating to large crowds.

"It scares the wallet out of preachers.."

"It scares the wallet out of preachers when they see their people joyously and wholeheartedly fellowshiping with anyone who belongs to the opposition."
-Gene Edwards, "Church Unity," p. 110

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"To begin with, the church has a youth group.."

I don't know what it might mean for many friends who are officially (or organically) youth pastors of some sort....but Rob Bell and Don Golden have earned the right to be wrestled with:

"Imagine the average youth group in the average church on the average Sunday.
Imagine visiting his youth group and having the pastor say to you, 
'I just can't get my kids interested in Jesus.  Do you have any suggestions?'

How do you respond?

To begin with, the church has a youth group.

This is a brand new idea in church history.  A luxury.  Everybody in the church doesn't meet all together?  All of the babies and older folks and men and women and widows and students aren't in the same room, but they've gone to separate rooms?

And there are resources for this?  People and organizational structures and a budget?  Let's imagine that in this case, this pastor. this youth pastor, is paid a salary for his or her work.
A church with enough resources to pay someone to oversee the students?  Once again, this is brand new, almost unheard of in most of the churches in the world, and in church history, a brand new invention..

..And so each week they gather to hear a talk by the pastor.

The pastor tells them about the Jesus revolution.

About Jesus resisting the system.

About the blood of the cross.

About many of the first Christians getting arrested.

...How do children of the empire understand the Savior who was killed by an empire?
..How do they fathom that half the world is too poor to feed its kids when their church just spent two years raising money to build an addition to their building?

They gather, they sing, they hear a talk from the pastor, and then they get back in the car with their parent and they go home; the garage door opens up, the car goes in, and the garage door goes down.

This is the revolution?

How do you respond?

Your only hope, of course, would be to remind him or her that there is blood on the doorposts of the universe."

(Rob Bell and Don Golden, Jesus Came to Save Christians, pp.137-8)



Monday, October 20, 2008

God Parts 1-1V

U2's "God Part 2" is (among other things) a sermon on Romans 7:


What was Lennon's text for "God" (part 1)?:




Something about Lennon's litany of what he doesn't believe in reminds me of Brian McLaren's
list in his music video (bottom of this post...it may be God Part 3...or 3.o)...

and thank God...literally.... Lennon seems to have come to terms with Jesus...Could it be that Pat Robertson lead Lennon to Jesus...the story is legit, folks who know will tell you..

can't wait for Part IV..

quantum bananas

Our friend Brennon introduced our church to "Quantum Roses" (here)

I guess the next logical step is to explore "quantum bananas" (here)

Don't forget Leonard Sweet's "Quantum Spirituality" while eating..

"Beauty is the new punk"

"Beauty is the new punk"
-Joan as Policewoman

That goes for church, too..

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"I guess I need a new truck"

I am speechless.


That's probably good,


and maybe even a sign from God..


as it's Sunday morning, two hours from "church"...


and i'm the pastor.





Ever since i first heard them on WPLR New Haven in 1980; God has used U2 in some way nearly every day to realign me.


It looks like today he is using them to redefine me.





And as tough as it would be to make the cut; a fairly obscure cut that U2 was never even able to come to terms with live (see most of their attempts here) would have to make my "Limited to Ten Songs Desert Island U2 mix CD".





It's "Hawkmoon 269,".....and until now, I have not read or heard anyone describe how God has used that song..








All I can say is read John Tuohy's (John's U2 connection here) amazing article on this song here.





He not only weaves in Kierkegaard and Lewis, but more importantly his own vulnerability.

Even U2's live versions don't do as much justice to the song as John's essay does.



One of the reasons to love John:

When I met my wife in 2001, I was politely correcting her about her own CD
collection. I was telling her, "just because your dad bought you all of these U2
"live import" CD's from Germany, doesn't mean that they're "official releases."
And by the way, can I borrow them for about a week?"-
John Tuohy




I'll meet you back here...but not for long; I gotta get ready for church..





"like a preacher needs pain...i need Your love."





Heck, i need John to preach for me this morning!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"How big is your chenis?"

"How big is your chenis?"

"...it happens at every conference and luncheon: the chenis competition:"


(Yes, it's a safe...and prophetic...click)

New Creation video

Below, Dex of Fellowship Church performing "New Creation."

It's not quite Michael Pritzl in the old days tossing red paint at the audience/congregation,
but it beats the rain machine of "Taylor Swift gets non-nude and sloshed on stage."
Might even remind of "Blue Man Group Goes to Church"

..and the drummer is in the crowd..22nd pew..where she belongs

Hat Tip to Mark @ Denver in Translation, where I found this:



New Creation from FC Post on Vimeo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"This is going to be really helpful for people two thousand years from now"

“Imagine how dangerous it would be if there were Christians who skipped over the first century meaning of John’s Letter [i.e. Revelation] and focused only on whatever it might be saying about future events, years and years away. There is always the chance that in missing the point, they may in the process be participating in and supporting and funding various kinds of systems that the letter warns against participating in, supporting and funding. That would be tragic. That wouldn’t be what Jesus had in mind. That would be anti-Jesus. That would be anti-Christ. Were the people in John’s church reading his letter for the first time, with Roman soldiers right outside their door thinking, ‘This is going to be really helpful for people two thousand years from now who don’t want to get left behind.”? (p. 135, "Jesus Wants to Save Christians," by Rob Bell and Don Golden )

..as usual, Ben Witherington ( a GOOD machine)has posted a detailed and helpful summary/review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Danielson Family

I had never heard of them (theirs website , Myspace and wiki article ) until I learned I missed a showing of their movie at a church here in town (Kudis to our friends at Tower Mosaic).
Imagine me reading this ad, and then realizing the date had already past:

Danielson: A Family Movie

(Or, Make a Joyful Noise)
A Documentary about heeding your Vision.

creativity vs. accessibility
christian faith vs. popular culture
family vs. individuality

Join us as all these questions and more are NOT answered.

A documentary that explores these issues in this ongoing conversation.

Starring:

Danielson Famile & Sufjan Stevens

link





All I can say is it looks like they must be experienced.
I did wonder of it was too much an Arcade Fire (and Polyphonic Spree) derivative until I saw the date on some of these clips:
1999.

Been around since 1995.

It all started a art school project for a senior thesis.

All I should say know, before you try some of these clips is:
They aren't the Partridge Family...

or are they? The frontman lists his musical influences as:

"T.Rex, Rapeman, B.A.L.L., Syd Barrett, Bob Dylan, Bongwater, My Bloody Valentine, Beat Happening, Cypress Hill, Ween, Donovan, Sonic Youth, Royal Trux, Beatles, Half Japanese, A Tribe Called Quest, Bowie, Can, Pixies, Minutemen, James Brown, Tom Waits, Daniel Johnston, Brian Eno, Larry Norman, Captain Beefheart "

But none of that will prepare you for this:








Sunday, October 12, 2008

"rules made by religion and not by You"


Sinead O'Connor: "Out of the Depths":

Out of the depths I cry to you oh Lord
don't let my cries for mercy be ignored
If you keep account of sins oh who would stand?
But you have forgiveness in your hands

And I've heard religion say you're to be feared
But I don't buy into everything I hear
And it seems to me you're




hostage to those rules
That were made by religion and not by you

And I'm wondering will u ever get yourself free
Is it bad to think you might like help from me?
Is there anything my little heart can do
To help religion share us with you?

For oh you're like a ghost in your own home
Nobody hears you crying all alone
Oh you are the one true really voiceless one
They have their backs turned to you for worship of gold and stone

And to see you prisoner oh makes me weep
Nobody hears you screaming in the streets
And it's sad but true how the old saying goes
If God lived on earth people would break his windows

I long for you as watchmen long for the end of night.
I long for you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Exile=good


>Between Len's post and Jonny's (below),

and my recent experiences teaching and preaching
(or whatever I call what I do on Sunday in wikichurch...probably haven't 'preached' for years)..

...I can find a place of encouragement that finally we entering into a season where folks that didn't "get" the church/culture shift we are in are forced to get it..

Maybe it's because
(per Jonny below, read his full post) we are at "the end of the beginning" of the shift/Great Emergence, and it cannot be as easily dismissed as "oh, it's just a fad" (some of it has been);



there has been a lot of discussion and blogging around emerging church recently. is it over? is the term a problem? is it just a phase? i confess to being pretty bemused by the whole discussion...phyllis tickle in her new book the great emergence says that we are looking at the biggest cultural change for 500 years. it's not just a generational shift, it's much bigger than that. when these kinds of shifts take place it can take 50-100 years to know what we are looking at. and in the meantime it can feel very chaotic and uncertain. i referred recently to the bell curve of change. if anything is over, maybe it is the end of the pioneering phase for some people who are restless and want to do something new (or at least use a different label) and maybe generally there is much wider acceptance of the need to change - i.e. we're in phase two of the curve in some places
jonnybaker


or (read Len's link, excerpted below) the place we are in economically..


...Given the meltdown in the US economy, and the reverberations throughout the world, one wonders at our current location. This morning on CBC on the way to breakfast I caught part of an interview with Margaret Atwood on her new book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth. Margaret is a respected Canadian author who has always had a fascination with debt. It began, she relates, when she prayed the Lord’s Prayer as a child. She noticed that some versions of the prayer asked for forgiveness from sin, others from debt. It turns out that this theme is common in the great faiths. What great faith could really claim to be comprehensive in human affairs that says nothing about economics in human communities?

What really caught me today, however, was how we are all in the same boat. On the one hand a millionaire may stare in the face of the credit crunch and wonder if he can access the resources he needs for his business; on the other hand those of us with ordinary mortgages wonder if they will be sustainable by 2009.

The result of all this uncertainty: fear. And that is where the resources of the Gospel become relevant.
Len Hjalmarson


and
our western world at last being poised to realize exile (In addition to being the pits) is a wonderful and strategic place to be (the following flow out of Frost's "Exiles"):

a)Yay! Finally, we can embrace and celebrate "dislocation, uncertainty and irrelevance!" (p.8)

Shouldn't that elict a Yaconelli "Whooo Hoo!"!?

b)Finally, even folk embedded in modernity are realizing the bankruptcy of simulcra and inauthenticity , the "substituting the signs for the real" (84) .

c)Finally , we can be known for a critique of Empire which speaks to all injustice and not just those that everyone has heard we are against...we have been obsexxed (203ff) and coopted by the culture wars..

d)Finally, we can get out of the church and buzzard-meetings and into the Third Places (they are limimal wardrobes) ...and especially the bars where we belong (see 63-65)!
NOW I hear the whooo hooos..