Saturday, May 30, 2009

Secular Sanctus

I remember reading that Future of Forestry found this song, "Sanctitatis," very well received in "secular" venues...even though/because it is

Sanctitatis (Twilight Album Version) - Future Of Forestry

straight-up liturgy.

The lyrics:

"Vere Sanctus es
Domine Fons omnis sanctitatis
Domine, Domine "

Or in English:
"Truly You are holy
Lord, the fountain of all holiness
Lord, Lord"

Is worship music still a part of what you do as a band?

Owyoung Yes, we do lead worship in traditional settings. However, what I think is special and unique about what we do is taking the essence of worship into a non-church environment and letting go.A song like "Sanctitatis"—which has only a few phrases of singing and is a liturgical phrase in Latin—is a worship song at the core, but most people wouldn't perceive it that way because it doesn't fit the traditional mold of a worship song. We can let that song rock out in any secular environment, and that's something I'm passionate about—seeing God's presence touch people in a non-religious environment.-link

That response reminds me of watching the worship of The Violet Burning's "Elaste" emerge
in a SoCal club.. (or of course watching another Latin liturgy,U2's "Gloria on MTV.."This is about a girl named Gloria..")

Note: the 2nd video suggests worship songs might also fit in church gatherings, of all places:


Friday, May 29, 2009

Chrysostom on pastoral care: deceive the sheep, but not against their will

Chrysostom, the early church father, is amazing;

but must be read carefully and carefully.
He often uses rhetorical devices/satire/diatribe/first order discourse/prosopeion/role playing (as Paul in Romans 7) to make a point.
In "On the Priesthood," for example, in the context of advice on pastoral care, he seems to be recommending "deceit"......(no, he is not a televangelista) and then seemingly contradicting himself by encouraging gentle the context of soul care.

For one, all teaching is in a sense holy deceit. We all use techniques (story telling, non-sequiturs, syllogisms) to encourage people into the temporary disequilibrium that will cause them to stretch and grow.

Eugene Peterson suggests that Jesus told truth literally lying (the very definition of a parable).
But parables are metaphor-truths designed to hijack us into new levels of understanding.
And he flat out said they were told so that the stubborn would NOT believe.

And how true it is
"For the (pastor) does not exist who can compulsion cure someone against their will."

For if deception is under all 'circumstances wrong, and it is never lawful to use it when it be needed, then I am ready to submit myself to any court you wish.. ...
A timely deception used with a right purpose isattended by such profit that many men have often been brought to account through being straightforward. If you will examine famous generals from beginning of time you will find that I most of their triumphs are successes due to deceit...For Saul's daughter could not have rescued her own husband by any other device from her father's hands except by misleading him...Why, my good and dear friend, this is the very reason why I myself said before that it is right to use deceit not in war alone, nor towards enemies alone..

He may justly be called a deceiver who performs the act for unjust ends, since oftentimes it is needful to deceive and to gain great advantage..

Great is the power of deceit, provided only that it be not applied with guileful intent ; or rather it is not right to call such action deceit..

I COULD have explained at greater length that it is possible to use the power of deception for a good end, or rather that it is not right to call such an ..

Shepherds have full power to compel the sheep to submit to the art of healing when they do not endure it of their own accord. It is easy to bind them when ...

But in this case it is needful to make such an one better not by compulsion, but by persuasion. 105. We neither have had authority granted to us by law to to restrain sinners, nor, had they given it to us, should we know how to use it.... For the man does not exist who can by compulsion cure someone against their will.

-Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, Book 2, section 3

Naked suggestions for a small group

The orginal Naked Pastor (well, besides Jesus), David Hayward, posts
"some suggestions.. for a healthy small group":

  1. Create an atmosphere where judgment is never given or experienced… ever!
  2. The leader, if there is one, must be just as vulnerable as the rest.
  3. Encourage everyone to come with the intention of comforting another.
  4. Remember: no struggle is too small. Pain is pain by the one experiencing it.
  5. Remember: no struggle is too big. Friends can alleviate the load.
  6. If stuff stops, just end it. Don’t keep something going just for the sake of it.
  7. Resist giving answers or solutions. Just listen and empathize.
  8. Be bold enough to prevent domination by anyone, including yourself.
  9. Never, ever express shock, dismay, or surprise.
  10. Practice #1 (this is the key to everything)
-Naked Pastor, link: Small Groups Community Glue

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Smallcreep's Day

Noel McCalla,. now "officially" returned to his roots, and singing Christianish music, was the vocalist on Mike Rutherford (Of Genesis)'s overlooked classic 1980 album, "Smallcreep's Day."

It was based on the book by that title:

Smallcreep's Day is Peter Currell Brown's only novel and was first published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1965. The story is a surreal satire on modern industrial life. The central character Pinquean Smallcreep works in the slotting section of a vast and labyrinthine factory and has done so for years. He becomes curious about the purpose of the pulley that he puts the slots in and one day, having become obsessed by an idea, leaves his machine and goes exploring through the strange world of his factory. On a quest to find meaning in his monotonous existence, Smallcreep experiences many surreal and disturbing situations. Each scene explores some of the author’s ideas about human relationships, freedom and the value of human life. Some of the scenes are hilarious, some depressing and some macabre. The final two pages are taken up with a powerful vision of the futility of factory work and a passionate cry for the lost dignity of the craftsman.

..and holds prophetic implications for readers of a blog like this...facing the machine(see: "You only love me for my machine."/system/matrix's futilty, etc..

  1. Smallcreep's Day (album) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia's_Day_(album)
    Smallcreep's Day is the first solo album by Genesis bassist and guitarist Mike Rutherford. It was released in 1980, and reached number 13 in the UK Albums ...
  2. Smallcreep's Day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia's_Day
    Smallcreep's Day is Peter Currell Brown's only novel and was first published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1965. The story is a surreal satire on modern industrial life.

and best of all, it's all finally on YouTube..

our interview with Martin Smith: "only in America"

Keltic Ken
and I were able to interview Martin Smith of Delirious..
 audio here

Several relevant issues to this blog, in order of appearance in the interview:

-Car crashes and discernment
-becoming missional
-the natural end of the band
-Compassion Art
-"You don't have to believe to belong"
-"Where do the record stores file you guys?"
-Getting cult-followers into Christian bookstores

Killer quote:
"That seems to be only in America that they want to do that."

My only argument with Martin is when he
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says, "I'm a poet, not a church leader."

Poets ARE church leaders.
In fact, see this.

More on Delirious:

"What I learned about God/church through Delirious lyrics"

Car Crashes make the Church Delirious

"Is there such a thing as Christian music?"

"Our song 'It's OK' caused controversy because of the word 'hell' in the lyric, and has been pulled from several Christian stores in the U.S., despite the fact it has touched many people profoundly. For us boys, this is a case of 'let's keep anything impure away from the church' when, in my opinion, purity is all about bringing justice to a God-less society.."
-Martin Smith of Delirious
context: an article on Delirious lyrics that God has used

Saturday, May 23, 2009

there are no Christian bookstores

Jeffery Ferguson posts:

"I was in a Christian bookstore the other day.

This statement has so many things wrong with it;

is the building itself Christian is that what makes it a Christian Bookstore, is it because there are bibles or Christian related materials, is it because Christian's work there? None of these seem to make enough of an argument for why we call it a Christian bookstore, even if it is all three. Continuing on, I am deeply disturbed every time I enter one of these establishments. First, they seem so unfriendly, uninviting. Second I just want to scream out obscenities while I am in there. There is no other place in the world that I would rather drop the F bomb. We don't get it. We don't even know what the question is. How could we ever think that some person who doesn't know who Jesus is, or doesn't know what Christianity is really about would wander into one of these places? And if they did, are we happy with the representation that they are of us?"
-Jeffery Ferguson, The Bubble Needs to Pop! , link

trinitarian leadership

"The more a church is characterized by a symmetrical and decentralized distribution of power, and by a freely affirmed interaction, the more it will correspond to the Trinitarian communion."
-Miroslav Volf, from his "After Our Likeness:The Church as the Image of the Trinity," p. 236 (free read here);
quoted in Chester, "Delighting in the Trinity," p. 169

Friday, May 22, 2009

the heart of the gospel

Adams: “But isn’t that (the penal substitution theory of the atonement) the heart of the gospel? Is that the heart of the gospel?”

Young: “No! Ha, no!.."

-interview with Paul Young, author of The Shack

A real book with virtual virtual hyperlinks..

A "real" book with hyperlinks; how about that?

Written in 1999, before most people
knew the difference between hyperlinks and hyperactivity,
James Burke's "The Knowledge Web"
is actually organized (organically) by virtual hyperlinks..he calls then "gateways."

Following the links us one of many ways to read this book. Gotta love a book where the author says, "you can even read the book in the way your teacher told you not to."

"Since there are 142 gateways here that cross, then in one sense, that means this book could conceivably be read at least 142 different ways. Though I don't suggest you try it, doing so would give you a rather visceral feeling for the way change happens. And it happens that way to all of us , all the time. It's happening to you now, though you may not know it yet." (p. 20)

Read the "How to Use This Book," pages 19-20 here (the book is so old, it's on Google Books) to see how they work.
(Amazing, you can see the virtual version to see the print version of fake virtual hyperlinks)..

Burke's website is virtually real, find it here; you'll need real mouse clicks to read it.

Or watch his "connections" show here:

(rest of the series here)

The "gateways" terminology of course reminds of one of Leonard Sweet's classics, "11 Genetic Gateways to Spiritual Awakening'..
Many of Sweet's books read as if virtually hyperlinked.

beautiful epistemological centerfold..freshly airbrushed

Anyone remembering my love for the centerfolds

("Centerfolds in Big Green Theology Books")

in Lake's "Clinical Theology,"

will guess that Paul Hiebert's chart,

"Epistemological shifts in western thought,"

found on p. 107 of "Missiological Implications of Epistemological Shifts"

(a title which guaranteed it sold as much at Christian bookstores as "Clinical Theology"),

really works for me.

Enjoy below (click for full airbrushed glory); it way beats Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue (read this)...


See also

and labels for "Paul Hiebert" below..

A person who is partaking of Jesus is rarely concerned with right and wrong."

"Here is a practical tip. A person who is partaking of Jesus is rarely concerned with right and wrong."
-Walter Justice, "The Fellowship of Ghosts", p. 35

Buy 38 copies of ths great book, just to get the context on that quote

Here's his blog. But 38 copies of it, too.

Green Day on Colbert: "I love Jesus..thank God for church"

Colbert:"I hear a lot of anger at religion in your music? You know Jesus loves you?"

Billy Joe:"Yeah, I love Jesus"..

Colbert:"You know your kids are gonna get back at you by listening to Christian music?"

Billy Joe:"We only listen to secular music"

Note: in the second clip, though, they add the Colbert-suggested (see the amazing ending of the first clip) "Christian" lyrics ("I thank God for church...") to their song (:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Green Day
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

Thursday, May 21, 2009

if the temple is gone, sex becomes prophetic

If the temple tantrum, and its connected prophecy about the destruction of the temple (NT Wright, et al), was in large part about racism,
was it also eventually and inevitably about

sex and sexism;
rebuking incipient gnosticism,
and the place of prophecy?

From Biale's classic:

The Body as a Temple
The rabbis believed that prophecy had ceased with the destruction of the Temple, so that God was no longer as directly accessible as he had been through the temple cult. The rabbis therefore "secularized" the purity laws by applying them to all areas of life, as opposed to just the sacred site of the cult.

The laws of menstruation are a particularly striking instance of this perpetuation and extension of biblical purity laws when the Temple no longer stood.
Purity now became necessary for the sake of the body, rather than for the sake of the cult.
The sexual laws were to turn the body into a sacred site, a substitute for the Temple, reminiscent in a way of Paul's exhortation that 'your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.' When sexual relations are properly conducted, the divine presence stands between man and wife, much as it did in the Temple when the cherubim were "intertwined with one another."
Once the Temple no longer stood, the eroticism implicit in its cult was transferred to the marital bed. As one Palestinian text stated long after the destruction of the tepmple,
'The Holy One has greater affection forfruitfulness and increase than for the Temple."

Yet, alongside this affirmation of sexuality, another rabbinic voice sounded a far more pessimistic note..

..Here, then, are the two poles of rabbinic ambivalence about sexuality. Properly channeled and controlled, the erotic body becomes the site where the divine divine can still be found in this world, a world from which biblical prophecy has vanished.
Yet the rabbinic emphasis on reproduction was not merely a continuation of the biblical theology offertility. A new contrary view, current in Greco-Roman culture, held that sexuality was a thoroughly secular, material activity that conflicted with the life of thespirit. In the culture of late antiquity, the competition between holy abstinence and the duty to produce children created a deep anxiety to which the rabbis were notimmune...
Finally, Jewish mysticism would create a hybrid between philosophical hostility to the material world and an erotic theology, which would come to dominate the culture of the Ashkenazic Jews by the end of the Middle Ages.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


"Jesus, I've taken my cross/All to leave and follow thee/I'm destitute, despised, forsaken/All to leave and follow thee."
Take your pick about Zwan:

sex and drugs and rock and roll and ruthless relationshipS (read)


anointed worship music?

From Phantom Tollbooth:
It’s an interesting trend. You could see it in Eddie Vedder’s lyrics on the latest Pearl Jam record, Riot Act. Then Chris Cornell seemed to have found it with Audioslave. Now Billy Corgan, legendary front-man for that other grunge-affiliated super-group of the 90’s, Smashing Pumpkins, appears to have found it too in the music of his new band Zwan. Tell me, what’s with all these former dysfunctional generation poster-boys finding God?

I admit I was never a huge fan of the Smashing Pumpkins. While I still love hearing their ‘classics’ (barely ten years old, mind you) from Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness on the radio; “Cherub Rock,” “Today,” “Disarm,” “Zero,” “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” “Tonight Tonight,” “1979”; it was never enough to inspire me to buy an album. Still, I roomed next to enough rabid Pumpkins fans at school to understand their vibe. While the music was mosh-worthy, Corgan’s lyrics struck me as being clearly not seriously occupied with things eternal.

I noted with passing the Pumpkin’s descent into the morbid plodding of the albums Adore and Machina: The Machines of God. Watching a bald Corgan destroy guitars and amps on the video for “Everlasting Gaze” and singing through his nose about the “fickle fascination of an everlasting God” didn’t do anything to change my perceptions. He was, in my opinion, a poser whose lyrics said little to address the human condition beyond a ‘f***-you’ attitude and sounding second-rate to boot. I was not surprised when the band broke up soon after.

However, with _Mary Star of the Sea_ now spinning daily in my CD player, I’m wondering from where in heaven did Zwan fall? Rounding out Corgan’s troupe of musos are fellow ex-Pumpkin drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, Paz Lenchantin (borrowed from A Perfect Circle) for bass and some sweet backing vocals, plus David Pajo and Matt Sweeney on guitars - both longtime friends of Billy’s from some more obscure bands.

The deliberately ‘hippie’ cover suggests the album is going to be a 70’s style love-in rock fest. In this it doesn’t disappoint, but I struggle for adjectives that won’t sound as corny as that. I’ll try. Zwan is happy; it’s refreshing, it’s catchy, it’s rockin’, it’s playful, it’s camp, it’s sweet, it’s lovey-dovey … and amazingly, so much of it is positive about God. So much so, that some Smashing Pumpkins fans in web chat rooms are asking, “Are Zwan a Christian band?” It’s the wrong question of course, but you can understand their suspicions. The music, while still decidedly alternative rock, is a distinct departure from the angry negativity of the former band’s repertoire.

The album opens with Corgan singing, “Here comes my faith to carry me on,” then continues with a bridge and verse expressing commitment and love to a partner in beautiful, almost godly imagery. Track two, “Settle Down” continues that same theme. In “Declaration of Faith,” Corgan sings “I declare myself of faith,” and sums up, “Maybe we were born to love each other.”

It goes on. The first single “Honestly” lives up to its name with the words “I believe you mean the best that life can bring, I believe in it all,” and boasts perhaps the catchiest chorus of the year so far. Following the acoustic lilt of “A Broken Heart,” track seven, “Ride a Black Swan” gets deep again over an uplifting, driving pop-rock melody. It’s worth quoting several lines of it here:

A white horse picks my dreams up, to take my hopes to God
My prayers have nestled brightly, to dim my sense of awe
I want you to be someone I can’t deny. A house of fire.
I want you to be something I realize.
As the world goes round, it’s got me thinking
That the things I want just keep me sinking down
Remove my spirit from darkness, love become my heaven
As the world goes round with our love
I want you to be my message. I want you to be my friend
I want you to be that answer, an answer I must defend
I want us to solve our distrust of everyone and trust in God
I want us to solve our distrust of who we are.
The great songs continue through “Heartsong,” “Endless Summer,” “Baby Let’s Rock!” and “Yeah!” to “Desire” which addresses itself to the ‘northern star’ (Mary perhaps?) saying “Please enlighten the lost prayers of my soul.” As such, there is not much on this album that would not garner high rotation on pop radio, with each song having some melodic highlight that sticks to your brain like a well-sucked lollipop. The only exception to this rule is perhaps the astonishing 14-minute rock epic “Jesus, I / Mary Star of the Sea,” which in itself, however, is another masterpiece of spiritual reflection.
Jesus, I’ve taken my cross, all to leave and follow thee
I’m destitute, despised, forsaken all to leave and follow thee
Man may trouble to distress me, to drive my heart to the cross
I’m resolute, reviled, forsaken, all to leave and follow thee…
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Reborn, Reborn, Reborn, Reborn…
So perish every fond ambition, God and trouble are all I’ve known
Yet how rich is my condition, God and heaven are all my own
I find it hard to connect the hymn-like lyrics of this song with the same voice that once sung, “God is empty, just like me “ but it’s definitely Billy Corgan. There is plenty of his crazy wah-guitar soloing and distortion throughout to convince me that this was once the head Pumpkin, but it’s like he died and rose to new life with Zwan. The bonus DVD that comes with some editions of this album even features a Zwan version of the old spiritual song, “God’s Gonna Set This World on Fire”. Where God would have previously been sung about with a sneer, he now seems to be firmly embraced and celebrated. I’m perplexed, but simultaneously enraptured.

The excerpts above are only a taste of the exceptional lyrical quality of this debut album from Zwan. The music sounds like a band set free, making great melodies to be played loud while driving down the highway on a summer’s day. Despite all Corgan’s past rage, it seems the rat has been freed from the cage.

-Brendan Boughen 3/4/2003

From Christianity Today:
"Jesus, I've taken my cross/All to leave and follow thee/I'm destitute, despised, forsaken/All to leave and follow thee."
— from "Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea"

When the Smashing Pumpkins died of natural causes in 2000, their inscrutable singer/songwriter Billy Corgan could have easily packed up his instruments and retired from his hectic rock and roll lifestyle with mounds of money in the bank. Instead, he re– teamed with Pumpkins' drummer Jimmy Chamberlin in 2001, adding guitarists Matt Sweeny (Skunk && Chavez) and David Pajo (Slint, Papa M, Tortoise, Stereolab), plus bassist Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle). The alternative rock quintet christened themselves Zwan, making their official major label debut with Mary Star of the Sea, which incorporates melodic pop, arena rock, and sophisticated, spiritually tinged songwriting.

Spiritually tinged? Corgan? Yes, and it's present from the very first verse of the album's first song, "Lyric," in which he wails, "Here comes my faith to carry me on, a faith not ungreat/I fight to stay strong so I stand accused of playing numb/I know it is wrong for I give my strength/I give my heart, take these chains." His reflections may seem to some nothing more than the poetic prowess he's demonstrated with Smashing Pumpkins, but others might interpret lines that come later in the song as pointing toward heaven above — "A lyric, a time, a crusade, a line/One minute, a friend, a road without end."

Religious mentions are equally evasive on "Declarations of Faith" as the front man groans, "So stop laughing and play the muse/This heartache rots that which spills from my heart into your will/ So give in to the rivers' wind/I declare myself, declare myself of faith." Metaphors for earthly love or indications of a higher power?

By far the most intriguing selection is the epic medley of "Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea," a song that stirs up bombastic instrumental rage with gargantuan guitars and progressive percussion. The lyrics just don't get more specific than this, with Corgan clearly singing "Jesus, I've taken my cross/All to leave and follow thee." This is later followed by stirring choruses of "Jesus, Jesus … reborn, reborn," which could either refer to spiritual renewal or brand new artist life after the end of the Pumpkins.

This is all pretty stunning coming from a man who once declared God "empty" with the Smashing Pumpkins — a new article from Rolling Stone magazine indicates that Billy was taught to believe this from his father. Still, Corgan is credited in the liner notes under the name "Billy Burke," a well–known evangelistic preacher from Florida, which implies that this could possibly all be tongue–in–cheek. It should also be noted that there is some brief profanity found in the songs "Baby, Let's Rock" and "Yeah." Questions of context aside, these things pale next to the surprisingly uplifting music of Mary Star of the Sea, which provides a masterful balance between the catchy and cathartic.

-Christianity Today

Jesus, i've taken my cross
all to leave and follow thee
Jesus, i've taken my cross
all to leave and follow thee

i'm destitute, despised, forsaken
all to leave and follow thee
and follow thee

man may trouble to distress me
to drive my heart to the cross
yeah, man may trouble to distress me
to drive this heart to the cross

i'm resolute, reviled, forsaken
all to leave and follow thee
and follow thee


so perish every fond ambition
god and trouble are all i've known
yet how rich is my condition
god and heaven are all my own
god and heaven are all my own
God don't want no part-time soldiers
God don't want no part-time soldiers
God don't want no part-time soldiers
God don't want no part-time soldiers
God don't want no part-time soldiers
One of these days

God's gonna set this world on fire
God's gonna set this world on fire
And all you sinners gonna turn up missing
And all you sinners gonna turn up missing

God's gonna set this world on fire
One of these days
God's gonna set this world on fire
One of these days
One of these days

I'm gonna walk and talk and pray with jesus
I'm gonna walk and talk and pray with jesus
I'm gonna climb, climb, climb jacob's ladder
I'm gonna climb, climb, climb jacob's ladder

God's gonna set this world on fire
One of these days
God's gonna set this world on fire
One of these days
One of these days

I'm gonna climb, climb, climb jacob's ladder
Gonna climb, climb, climb jacob's ladder
Gonna climb, climb, climb jacob's ladder
Gonna climb, climb, climb jacob's ladder

God's gonna set this world on fire
One of these days
God's gonna set this world on fire
One of these days
One of these days


"thou shalt not read thy sermon"

Two posts on the TED COMMANDMENTS, and implications for church:
-Ted Commandments, Sanctus1



are we all both hypocrite and subversive?

Jonny Baker linked an interview with Kalle Lasn of Adbusters (kalle lasn interview);

L.A.:Malcolm McLaren, the inventor of the Sex Pistols, talks about the three “Ss” of success: sex, subversion, and style.

Kalle Lasn: Well, you know, I agree with him

L.A.: Why are you creative?

Kalle Lasn: Because I am angry! And I continue to be angry.


Under the post where the interview was linked, Adrian commented:

i see a parallel between kalle's philosophy and what some of the emerging church has been doing. i realised this when i picked up (second hand and greatly reduced!) a copy of his book 'design anarchy'. it annoyed me that he was criticizing the advertising and graphic design industry for, amongst other things, having no ethical core and doing it in a book that was as thick as a brick, grossly wasteful in terms of information compared to number of pages, full colour and printed overseas - basically a glossy showcase design agency book (no-one else can afford to buy them) and the very antithesis of the adbusters message.

so is he a hypocrite or a subversive?

that seems to be the question that people have for a lot of emerging churches who operate within mainstream culture. can you work within and use the language and tools of that which you know to be flawed or even downright wrong?

for my money, that's where the most innovative and useful mission happens.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

i may have to become a U2head this tour

"i love you because i need you,
not because i need to.
i love you because i understand
that God has given me your hand."
-U2, Luminous Times

Rolling Stone: "What will the set lists be like?"

Edge: "We're talking about resurrecting songs we haven't played in a long time. I have a list of every U2 song -- some I can't remember anymore -- even some of the B-sides that we've never played live. We were thinking how much fun it would be to play something like 'Luminous Times.' Certain songs from the last couple of tours, we may not play again. We want to find songs that feel fresh and valid."

Luminous Times (Hold On To Love) - U2

"no rules, only practices"; "all clocks are erotic" (and encourage worship of Clergy/ Chronos)

Of course, a study of time suggests it is ineveitably related to sexuality/pornography/elevation, clergyolatry, simulacra, and anti-Semitism.

Is that only pushing towards the obvious?

Of course this all ties to:
the corporate singing on U2's No Line (see part 2 here
and Beth here),

and the nursery rhyme Frere Jacques.

Of course.

In his classic,

"Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World,"

Landes is amazing.

The book is now updated to include studies on computers/cell phone..

Isn't it inevitable that clocks, and now cell phones, are embedded with porn?
Colbert was right again; pornography always drives technology:

Costliest of all were the erotic watches...[with] explicit representations of sexual activity, often showing priest and nuns, by way of anticlericalism...The rhythmic oscillation of the balance wheel was particularly suited to these simulacra....the kind of timepieces that would sell


And in one sense this chronolatry is all the fault of praying Christians.

As we discovered earlier post, clocks were born in a monastery.

The clock did not create an interest in time measurement; the interest in time management led to the invention of the clock. Where did this demand come from? Not from the mass of the population.

No, not from the mass of the populuation, but the population of the mass.

Or the monastery, more technically:

The Christian church, particularly the Roman branch...has not been adequately examined in the literature on time management..monastic Christianity, differs from The setting of prayer times by the clock was no small matter. It represented a first step toward a liturgy independent of the natural cycle....For hundreds of years, there were no rules, only practices. Rules came with monasticism--with the formulation of a regular clergy..

Why was punctuality so important? One reason was the lateness--'God forbid!'--might make it necessary to abridge an office, in particular a matins..Another, I think, was that simultaneity was though to enhance the potency of prayer That would explain the requirement that devotions be chanted aloud: to sing along is to sing together. [note; the U2 connection} That indeede was the point of community; the whole as greater than the sum of the parts.

Multiplication of simultaneous devotions--this was the way of salvation for all..

The religious convcern for punctuality may seem foolish to rationalists of the twentieth century {sic: I am quoting the first edition}, but it was no small matter to a monk of the Middle Ages.
..Time mattered to the ordinary monk, for whom getting up in the dark of the night was perhaps the hardest aspect of momastic disciplines...

Time consciousness and discuoline had become internalized. Missing matins was a serious matter, so serious that it has been immortalized for us by perhaps the best known of children's songs..

Frere Jacques:
Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don.
{The song is traditionally translated into English as:
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping
Brother John, brother John?
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dong, ding. Ding, dong, ding.
A literal translation of the French lyrics is:
Brother James, Brother James
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Ring the morning bells! Ring the morning bells!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.}

'Idleness,' wrote Benedict, 'is the enemy of the soul.' ..Note, at this stage, it was not the clock that worked the big bells. As Frere Jaques tell us, the clock merely rang loud enough to get the bell ringer out of bed.

All this of course, in Hegelian synthesis, yields the powerful prayer movenment.. and the pathetic porn industry...of today.

Why can't we return to Sabbathicals, as such is time travel?

Oh, i forgot, chronosolatary breeds anti-Semiticism: "in the search for a scapegoat, much was made of the malpractice of Jewish makers and traders."(Landes, 278)

Let's now trace the tracks of John Whitehead (a writer I don't follow down all his trails..he can be too reductionist and reactionary for me), as he wonders aloud (or should based on his research) if it is religious institutions (NASA, denomimations, The Matrix, etc) that have been the primary bandit behind our current dilemma: a church that doesn't "get" time; let alone relationship.
Religion may be the most "secularizing force" in all history, Whitehead boldy allows; particularly the religious instiution that "baptized" clock time; at the great expense of the intended outcome (kairos and Kingdom): monasteries! Whitehead, in a section of "The End of Man," captioned: "The Time Machine" : "A tool or a machine (any form of technology) is a constituent of man's symbolic recreation of his world. Moreover, machines that have been owned and operated by only a few members of a society have often influenced the entire society. Movable type, for example, completely altered, within a relatively short time, the entire concept of medieval man and socoiety. As McLuhan notes in 'Gutenberg Galaxy.":
Printing from movable types created a quite unexpected new environment-it created the PUBLIC. Manuscript technology did not have the intesnity or power of extension necessary
o create publics on a national scale. What we have called "nations" in recent centuries did not, and could not, precede the advent of Gutenberg technology any more than they
can survive the advent of electric circuitry with its power of totally involving all people in all other people...The unique character of the 'public' created by the printed word was an intense and visually oriented self-consciousness, both of the individual and the group.
There is, however, probably no better illustration of technology altering Western culture (and eventually, the world) than the invention of the clock. Before the clock, and until darwin's theory of eveoilution began to sink into the stream of commly held ideas, peple knoew that the world about themm--the world of reproducing plants and animals...-has always exisited, and that its fundamental law was eternal periodicitry. Cosmolological time,a s well as the time perceived in daily life, was sort of a complex repeating and echoing of events. Howeber, with the emergence of the clock and its sudden position of dominance dutiong the Industrial revolution, a transformation in man occurred. Instead of merely living in the natural world he became, nautures alleged master. Lewin Mumford calls the clock, not the printi g press or steam engine 'the key machine of the moerrn industrial age.' In his 'Technics and Civilization,' he desribes how during the Middle Ages the ordred life of monasteries affected life in the communities adjacent to them: The monastery was the seat of a regular life...The habit of order itself and the earnest regulation
of time-sequences had become al,ost second nature in teh mosatery...The mosareries--at one time there were 40,000 under the Benedictine rule -helped to give human enterprise the regularcollective beat and rhythm of the machine; for the clock is not merely a means of keeping track of the hours, but of synchronizing the actions of men....By the thirteenth century there are definite records of mechanical clocks of mechanical clocks, and by 1370 a well-designed "modern" clock had been built by Heinrich von Wyck at Paris. Meanwhile, bell towers had come into existence, and the new clocks, if they did not have, till the fourteenth century, a dial and a hand that translated the movement of time into a movement through space, at all events struck the hours. The clouds that could paralyze the sundial...were no longer obstacles o time-keeping: summer or winter, day or night, one was aware of the measured clank of the clock. The instrument presently spread outside the monastery; and the regular striking of the bells brought a new regularity into the life of the workman and the merchant. The bells of the clock tower almost defined urban existence. Time-keeping passed into time-serving and time-accounting and time-rationing. As this took place, Eternity ceased gradually to serve as the measure and focus of human actions.

-John W. Whitehead, "The End of Man," pp. 112-13


The very sabbath keepers instititutionalized and secularized sabbath "on their clock," but now it's on ours. I will leave the appropriate analysis of the more recent analog to digital shift in culture, church, and consciousness to great thinkers like Phil Brewer and Jordon Cooper. And I am thrilled we have some budding "sons of Isachar" ("They knew the times; and this what God's people should do," 1 Chron 12:32) in our day: Shane Hipps and others in the line of Sts. McLuhan and Ong. May that tribe increase.
-link, "Time Travel: Sabbath Novels, Clockless Monasteries,Toyota Corollas and the Gospel of the Kingdom'

Saturday, May 16, 2009

only one thing large churches do better than small

Mike notes, from his armchair:

"I know of many things that small church communities can do better than large churches, but I don't currently know of anything that large churches can do better than a network of small churches - except make leaders feel important."
Mike Crohgan, link: "Stuff the Church could toss"

Friday, May 15, 2009

"you wanna give me the phone?"

as a follow-up to

"God would not want or will us to answer our cell phones while we are in deep conversation with the person we are (physically) present with."-Marva Dawn

"the audience owns you"

The artist formerly know as Cat Stevens on Colbert:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

This episode also features Jesus in a cheese sandwich,  Miss California as prophet , "Catholics with options are called Protestants."
Watch full episode here

" Sweet is the Zappa of today’s Christianity"

"Leonard Sweet is the Frank Zappa of today’s Christianity" -Frank Viola

Frank Viola, you are amazing, who else would have made that "pushing toward the unobvious" connection?

And look at the list his Facebook fans created:

John MacArthur = Glenn Miller
Tony Evans = LL Cool J
Rob Bell = Bono
Eugene Peterson = Woody Guthrie
N.T. Wright = Pavarotti
Alan Hirsch = Slash
Dan Kimball = Elvis Costello (and Brian Wilson)
Frank Viola = Jimi Hendrix (and Jim Morrison)
Creflo Dollar = Snoop Dog
John Piper = John Mayer
Bill Hybels = Wayne Netwon (and Eric Clapton)
Stanley Hauerwas = Fittty cent
Mike Yaconelli = David Lee Roth (and Ozzie Osbourne)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

St. Patrick's Breastplate

St. Patrick's Breastplate is a classic prayer, which works on so many levels..

Here is the audio of David Ruis 's musical/spoken word version of it;
(thanks to a (post)modern day Celt named Keltic Ken).
It comes from the long out of print classic Powerscourt album, recorded in Dublin, with songs led by Ruis and Eoghan Heaslip (son of Jack Heaslip, U2's chaplain.)

Play/pray it often.

This one goes out to St. Rick Bartlett.

"we ordain everyone"

I hope all the recent discussion/controversy over Adam Walker Cleveland's delay in ordination doesn't cause him more trouble than it's worth (I am familiar with the mainline denominational process), but it sure raises a lot of the right questions.

This is no small landmark in the current shift.

Maybe the best place to start is the Out of Ur column, pasted below, you can follow the links from there:

"Tony Jones: We Ordain Everyone"
Fron Out of Ur,
Posted by UrL Scaramanga, link

Has denominational ordination jumped the shark?

Do you believe in ordination? Or, more accurately stated, do you believe in denominational structures that regulate who is ordained for ministry based on prerequisites, credentials, and education?

Tony Jones, author and a leading voice of the emergent church, has started a ruckus on his blog about the legitimacy of denominational ordination after watching his friend, Adam Walker-Cleaveland, endure a slow and difficult ordination process. According to Jones, Adam has “suffered abuse” through the ordination process of his denomination. Jones wrote:

Few things piss me off as much as the sinful bureaucratic systems of denominational Christianity. When rules and regulations trump common sense, then the shark has officially been jumped.
But what gets to me even more is that bright, competent, and pastorally experienced persons like Adam continue to submit themselves to these sinful systems. They assure me that it's not for the health insurance or the pension. They do it cuz they feel "called." And if I hear another person tell me that they're sticking with their abusive denomination because, "They're my tribe," I'm gonna go postal.

Jones’ frustration led him to launch an online petition calling Adam to circumvent his denomination and accept ordination by “the body of Christ.”

The petition states:

Adam Walker-Cleaveland, having watched you be ritually abused by the ordination process…we beseech you to forsake ordination in said bureaucracy.And please accept the following: We, the body of Christ, hereby ordain you as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, and we grant you all of the rights and responsibilities thereto. May God bless your ministry.

In a follow up post, Jones outlines some of his own thinking about ordination. Referring to the practice in his church, Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, he says:

We ordain everyone. If you want to be ordained to perform a wedding, or to be a lawnmower repairman, we'll ordain you to that ministry.
This is not to vaunt everyone to a high position, but to subvert and deconstruct the very notion of ordination. It is NOT like what John Wesley did (although there are some interesting parallels) or like what the fundamentalists did or the Lutherans or the Calvinists. We ordain everyone, and I started an online petition to ordain Adam, to be ironic. It's to point up what I consider to be the arbitrariness of the bureaucratic systems, and, to be honest, the tax benefits, of ordination. In other words, this is the opposite of a YoungLife leader who writes away to some dude to get ordained for the housing allowance write-off. This is, instead, to show how that entire system leads to such ridiculousness.

I realize that both Jones’ style and theology is a lightning rod for some Urbanites. But he is opening the floodgates on a very relevant question. What is ordination? And what makes an ordination legitimate?

-Posted by UrL Scaramanga, link