Sunday, February 28, 2010
Oh my goodness, fellow Asburians...
any of you who also went to the best seminary in the world, especially class o ' 91!),
check out Dr. Killian, Dr Wang and other faculty in this video spoof of the "Wassup" commercials.
I have never seen the original commercials (come on, I am a seminary grad, why would I watch TV(: ?... besides, I just found out they were BEER commercials, I'll bet said profs didn't know what they were endorsing(: .) but to see these two profs like this is worth it all.
(Now, if only someone has video of the 1991 chapel service where Mel McGinnis spoke, and offered his take on what each prof would be doing if they had a different career...included the classic Dr. Wang impersonation, "Mel, you frunk!!".....or video of our improv. Doug? Melissa?)
No wonder I turned out so well (...and Dr Killian, when you read this, I never thanked you for this),,
Below is the accompanying blurb from the book publisher:
"Rooted in the observation that massive transitions in the church happen about every 500 years, Phyllis Tickle shows readers that we live in such a time right now. She compares the Great Emergence to other "Greats" in the history of Christianity, including the Great Transformation (when God walked among us), the time of Gregory the Great, the Great Schism, and the Great Reformation.
Combining history, a look at the causes of social upheaval, and current events, The Great Emergence shows readers what the Great Emergence in church and culture is, how it came to be, and where it is going. Anyone who is interested in the future of the church in America, no matter what their personal affiliation, will find this book a fascinating exploration." -Baker Books
One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us.
- Kurt Vonnegut
This is one of those views which are so absolutely absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.
- Bertrand Russell
The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.
- Benjamin Disraeli
"The word 'meaningful' when used today is nearly always meaningless."
Saturday, February 27, 2010
- incorporates these Parker Palmer diagrams,
- comes recommended by BMc as "stimulating..for folks who think about the future of seminaries"
- and includes this comment:
...to the iPad, a device we have been anticipating for over forty years. This is a device that makes this new media intimate and mobile enough to become part of our daily lives. The iPad is not about allowing us to read the works of the post-Gutenberg world in electronic form (an “e-book reader”) though it will do that very well. Rather the iPad is about the invention of the third information age.
All this from the church cool enough to use classical music like this in their commercials:
....There will be junk eschatology and impassioned, mix-tape proselytizing. Pastors will incorporate it into their liturgies. Evangelical bloggers will wonder why a gay, thirty-something pagan from Iceland is making more worship-worthy music than anyone in the church. Some will dance to it, some will cry during it, and some will tell everyone to pipe down, it's just music...
-link, read the article
Jonsi, lead singer of Sigur Ros, has a solo song out(and upcoming album).
If SR is new to you, start here:
"You did a song on something I preach on all the time."
Friday, February 26, 2010
"We do not venerate Mary, or Peter, or Paul because they were chosen. We venerate them because they said 'yes.'"
You’ve been on this never-ending peace and nonviolence crusade since you’ve been seventeen years old. Do you feel anointed or chosen to do this? Do you have a messianic complex, like Bruce teasingly said?
That’s fair enough. As regards anointing, I put my hand up for this job. I’ve probably just worn the good Lord out. “OK, you can have the anointing then.” I’m sure it wasn’t in the cards. It’s like the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, who go to Isaac for the blessing and the younger brother, Jacob, pretends he’s Esau in order to take the blessing before Isaac passes. I’m like that guy. Why does God Almighty stand over the blessing if it was stolen? Only recently I figured it out. Jacob wanted it more than Esau. He knew how powerful the blessing was.
Of course a version of this Bono quote showed up in "City of Blinding Lights"...see 6:00ff:
"Some pray for and others steal/blessing's not just for the ones who kneel....All praises!"
I am sick of Narrative Sickness.
So it is refreshing that much happening lately in discussions around narrative, storytelling and literary/filmmaking devices.
Of course I include sightings like:
>Mike's recent report of the screenwriter coming to faith by way of chiasm
>Mark DeRaud resurrecting Art N Soul!!
>The Voice Bible translation (translated by scholars and artists, and focused on restoring the unique voices of the original writers, and which positions dialogue in the gospels as screenplay format), has now released the Psalms
>One of the new Van Der Laan series, "God Heard Their Cry," has been blowing us away at Thursday Church...VDL is covering story, alternative story, and a chaos/order epistemology (!!)
>On Sunday mornings we have been discovering how relevant is Eugene Peterson's suggestion that "metaphor is a loud fart in the salon of spirituality," and such art counters gnosticism.
But via a post in Relevant, I just discovered an amazing "media arts creative," David Vosburg (who runs a blogazine here, and mixtapes here; check out his YouTube here) whose brief blog post on Luke's prologue to Theophilus ties and tethers together so many favorite topics of mine and this blog: narrative structure, film, time, epistemology, chaos/order (Gee, he didn't mention U2 ... see "The U2 liturgical plot").
So I wanted to go ahead and let you in on the post, which I will surely be drawing from in upcoming posts and classes (and inviting him to teach a seminar). Here it is, and I have included my comment below. Someone give this guy a raise!:
I typically prefer the book of Matthew, when it comes to gospels. I realize that it might not be all that theologically correct to have a favorite, especially because it is most probably because of this film series. However, this liturgical year the gospel of choice is Luke, and during lent I’m starting to read through it. I only got through the first 4 verses last night. Not because I don’t like it, but because I noticed for the first time in my life that the beginning of Luke is a discussion of narrative storytelling. It blew my mind a bit, so I thought I’d share what I saw in it here. First, here are the verses:
“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” - Luke 1:1-4
- We are reminded here that storytelling:
- There is a profound relationship between narrative and time
- Doesn’t happen alone - there are other storytellers (1-2)
- Should come from what you know and have learned (3)
- Is a process of creation of order from and amidst chaos (3)
- Should confirm and convey truth for the audience
- Luke understands the importance of:
- Listening to and learning from the past (1-3)
- Taking constructive action in the present (3)
- Doing this for the future good (4)
I realize that this is a bit clunky to approach, and might work better as a Powerpoint presentation, but I hate Powerpoint almost as much as I love storytelling, and I don’t really have anyone to present to outside of this context, so here you go - take it or leave it.
- Knowing and aiming for your audience
- Having and articulating goals for a narrative
- Taking a position of humility as the storyteller
-David Vosburg, link
That last paragraph alone was a classic...on Power Point etc(:
But as far as "take it or leave it," i will take it.
I am a pastor, teacher, blogger...been working recently on narrative structure/storytelling, role of time in Scripture...but what I had never seen so clearly until your post is how all those topics are embedded in Luke's opening paragraph!
Thank you...and please add more...you don't have to power-point it, but you may well be writing a commentary on Luke's commentary. We NEED commentary by "media arts creatives." God help us if all we ever hear from are pastors and scholars,
I will be quoting this is classes, etc..but just to get the placemark up and running, I linked you on my blog.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
journalist Terry Mattingly (who gets extra credit for turning Bono onto Bruce Cockburn's and T Bone Burnett's music) masterfully tells the tale of how we was able to introduce Billy Gibbons of ZZ Topp to then Archbishop Stafford (now Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary in Vatican City) of Denver. They were in the same hotel lobby, decked out (rock star, and clerical vestments) in ways that might seem interchangably and equally bizarre to passersby:
Try hard to picture that scene. These two men are high priests in radically different churches...That's precisely where it's at!
We chatted for a minute,and then Gibbons set something that perfectly summed up that moment for me. You can consider this the 'mission statement' for this book, if you wish.
"Wait a minute,' said Gibbons. 'You went from interviewing people like me to interviewing people like him?'
"Yes I did, " I said. "It was an interesting career move."
...These were, you see, the two halves of my journalistic life.
Bishop Stafford, meet Billy Gibbons.
-Terry Mattingly, "Pop Goes Religion: Faith in Popular Culture," p xix
missional sacraments part 1: unsafe rolls and cheese, catholic nuts..and a bath and meal for the homeless
It all started, not at a 5,000-watt radio station in Fresno, California (see this, if you missed the reference), but at an 11, 000-foot high church in the Andes of Peru.
Our church family is gradually developing a new working theology (and eventual practice)
of (what many call) the "sacraments" as being far more organic and missional than we had ever bargained for.
Whatever ones view of "open" or "closed" communion, "fencing the table," infant baptism, etc. , it should be obvious that both traditional sacraments, though rites for "believers," are inherently evangelistic, as one assumes God desires everyone to eventually celebrate them.
Wesley adopted into Methodism from the Anglicanism he inherited the tradition of infant baptism (though I believe Howard Snyder suggests that if his placement in history were slightly different, he would have become far more anabaptist). He also believed that communion could be a "converting ordinance," and encouraged those desiring to accept Christ to do so as they partook.
So, Peru. 2005. The Hursts and I accompany Ken and Cathie Metz to a church with no bathrooms, in the middle of nowhere near Huancayo, Peru; a church planted by the indigenous peoples of Peru, the Quechua.
I have a great video clip of that day, but can't find it right now, so for now will link you to the clip of our trip there, the classic clip of our bus breaking down, and the unforgettable (probably) Quechua shepherdess we encountered when we got rolling again.
Several gracious Quechua pastors wanted to meet us, and prepared a deligthful meal for us following the worship service (By the way, still no bathrooms nearby....don't ask!). Ken, ever the incarnational missiologist and missionary, smiled widely and said to us gringos something like, "Hey guys, our hosts don't understand a word of English, so let me say this: this cheese on the bread may or may not be safe, but I think maybe we can trust God to protect our stomachs...and it is definitely impolite to refuse."
They insisted we receive second helpings....and thirds.
I have to admit by the fourth helping I resorted to a dirty old trick I learned in Mexico.
(see bottom photo and story here).
But those third helpings were offered in such love, as a token of Kingdom connection, that they were not only safe, but sacramental. I have never experienced such true communion.
I was reminded of the classic and hilarious article in which the Protestant Andrew Alder recalls dunking gingernuts, served informally by a Catholic nun...and found it Holy Communion.
Which in turn reminded me of a new sign we may post over any church "communion table" (see that here)
We are still not making the missional connection yet, as these stories involve a "dialed-down" and organic communion liturgy, yes, but still "in-house" among believers. If you pardon the cheap pun, what about the "out-house" (as in, pre-Christians who are not yet officially converted an in-house) potential of communion.
Let's park here on that first point for awhile, before we get to the missional question:
It is crucial to wrestle with Wolfgang Simson's Thesis #12:
Later in the same book:
"Rediscovering the "Lord's Supper" to be a real supper with real food: Church tradition has managed to "celebrate the Lord's Supper" in a homeopathic and deeply religious form, characteristically with a few drops of wine, a tasteless cookie and a sad face. However, the "Lord's Supper" was actually more a substantial supper with a symbolic meaning, than a symbolic supper with a substantial meaning. God is restoring eating back into our meeting..
Since it is quite difficult to feed a cathedral full of people real food, it (The Lord’s Supper) has degenerated into a religious and symbolic ritual, offering microscopic sips of wine and a small wafer, often only to the ‘clergy’ while the masses look on in pious amazement. This has meant that the Lord’s Supper is a supper no more, and lost its powerful meaning, the unprecedented, revolutionary reality, of a redeemed people, irrespective of classes and caste sharing real food with a prophetic meaning, having dinner with God, expecting His physical presence at any time.
William Barclay writes:' The celebration of the Lord’s Supper in a Christian home in the first century and in a cathedral in the twentieth century cannot be more different, they bear no relationship to each other whatsoever.'
C.S. Lewis, in 'Mere Christianity': ''There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. That is why he uses material things like bread and wine to get the new life into us. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He invented it.'
Years ago, I posted on our website that at our weekly "Love Feast," held at a local restaurant,
that we would meet for informal conversation and connection, and also" celebrate communion similarly to the way the early church did." I kept waiting for someone to ask, "Hey, when are we going to do communion? All we have done is talk, pray, and eat pancakes."
Not that I am suggesting a "This pancake is the body of Christ, broken for you" ritual, but our meals were sacred in a secular way, and social in a deeply sacramentally way.
So, to finally apply this missionally...or just biblically (:
Since the case can be made that missiology precedes and shapes ecclesiology (see part one here)...and therefore sacramentology as well...
Consider some striking quotes which may lead our flock to "serve communion" to the"non-Christian" homeless
(who of course, may well be Jesus in disguise).
First, from a previous post of mine:
Tucked away in Volume III of Oden's Systematic Theology, p. 274, is this:
"In acts of mercy to the homeless, the poor, and the alienated, the serving church offers simple acts of cleansing and feeding. Nothing is more prized to the homeless than a bath and a meal. Nothing is more characteristic of the church's identity and self-offering than bathing and feeding."
A good word, you say, but how is that news?
These three sentences introduce, not a section on social ministry, but (amazingly, without commentary on the radical retooling it entails), the section called
"Bath and Meal,"
which (of course) means:
baptism and communion!
How about that? "Sacrament" as an offering to the poor, and service to the homeless.
Or the other way around?
"Christianity...would seem to demand that we be always prepared to betray our religious systems precisely so that holy water will never be detached from drinking water, and communion bread never be divorced from daily bread."Eberhard Arnold on the whole "bath and meal" concept:
-Peter Rollins, "The Fidelity of Betrayal" p. 182
"At that time the holy nature of baptism and The Lord's Supper required no ecclesiastical forms. Outwardly, baptism was much more like a simple bath than a church rite, and the Lord's Supper much more like an ordinary meal." -Eberhard Arnold, "The Early Christians in Their Own Words," p. 8
We all come to the table (literally, many of us), and to this table-talk with theological perspectives...but since I assume we are all missional, for lack of a better word; and in favor of baths and meals for Jesus/the homeless..
Weigh in on the sacramental missionality of the Bath and Meal, without throwing out babies with bathwater, and without making the Love Feast a fast.
Especially liturgical folk.
Especially low-church saints.
Especially the homeless.
It hit me that Brandt Russo, who voluntarily dumpster-dives with and for the homeless,
is a communion steward.
Great quotes below from a short little timely book that was far ahead of its time (1994, the first book he wrote on a computer): Tex Sample's "Ministry in an Oral Culture:Living With Will Rogers, Uncle Remus, and Minnie Pearl":
>"..the call to go into ministry is a lot like throwing up. You can put it off for awhile, but there comes a time when you have got to do it." (p.1, see "role of the pastor" labels below)
>"I came out of an oral culture. My world was not one of discourse..rather it was a world made sense of through proverbs, stories and relationships..Proverbs and stories pointed to what we meant. No actually, they were what we meant" (p.3, see "metaphor" labels)
>"Knowing develops through communal relationships" (p. 36, see "epistemology" labels)
>"Aunt Zoni; raspy, profane, earthy, chainsmoking, and carrying an omnipresent tepid cup of coffee in a plastic-bagged hand...[and said], 'I gotta say somethin' to you boy...If you believe in God, and you live, it's all right. And if you believe God and you die, it's still all right. You see, Buford, it don't make a g___d____ bit of difference whether you live or die. If you believe God, it's all right.'"
(p. 94, ending story of book, see "certainty" labels)
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Give a quick, gut-instict, first response answer; filling in the blanks for these two sentences:
- "In England, they drive on the __________ side of the road."
- "Boy, you can sure tell _________ is at work in the secular world nowadays; all you have to do is look around!
I love asking these questions when I open a preaching/teaching moment anywhere in the world.
>>>Click here to see my suggested "right answers,"
Can't wait for this book in English:
"U2 Testi Commenti (In the Name of Love)" by
Interview with the author (in English) found here (atU2.com) and excerpted below:
What resources did you use to help you write your book?
I started with the lyrics and went backwards. The Bible has been a key source because in the book I compared Bono's words with those of Habakkuk, Isaiah and David, but there is much more. There is an influence of Karl Popper in "Zoo Station"; of Jean Baudrillard in "Even Better Than the Real Thing"; of Raymond Carver in "Acrobat"; and of Paul Celan, Patrick Kavanagh and Soren Kierkegaard in "The First Time." There are also influence from essays on foreign politics, books on the history of blues, Sam Shepard and Flannery O'Connor, John Boyle O'Reilly and Norman Mailer, John Clare and Thomas Mann, and Günter Grass and Virginia Woolf. I discovered all these thing starting from reading old interviews with Bono, old quotes, suggestions and well-known things (John Boyle O'Reilly is the man in "Van Diemen's Land").
I've read many books about U2, of course, but the one that I followed like a polar star was U2 by U2. There are many revelations in that book and I try to investigate them more. I read Stokes' Into the Heart but I tried to dig deeper; he doesn't go very deep into influences from the Bible or literature....
What did you notice
He's very fascinated with the stories, about the men and women in the Bible. He discovered that the Bible is not only a great religious book, but a great book in general, and he learned a lot from the experiences of people in the Bible.
Is there a U2 album that seems to be influenced more than the others by Scripture?
Well, yes, October is full of Bible quotes and so is War, but so is even No Line on the Horizon, from "Unknown Caller," where there is the voice of God, like a chant, from Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me and I will answer thee," to "Magnificent," with Mary's Magnificat from the Gospel of Luke.
I learned that Bono is a much more complex writer than has been said or written by critics and that only Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen have been able to sum up the Bible in three minutes like Bono can. From The Unforgettable Fire on, his research on words is high-level and it gets to its climax on Achtung Baby and Zooropa, in which he blends high and trash culture together, the television with the Holy Bible, war with love, Norman Schwarzkopf with Delmore Schwartz, Leni Riefenstahl with Frank Sinatra.
As a matter of fact, I found out that the lyrics for Pop, U2's most criticized album, are among the best Bono has ever written. Why? Because that is the moment in which Bono sees very clearly in his life and analyzes his mother's death in "Mofo" and the status of a rock star in "Gone." He's very well-focused, like never before or after on that record.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thanks to Spy Scott for letting me know about this item.
A word for the church; pastors:
Founder of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods transfers business to employees:
Founder of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods transfers business to employees
February 16, 2010, 8:28PM
MILWAUKIE – Scores of employees gathered to help Bob Moore celebrate his 81st birthday this week at the company that bears his name, Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods.
Moore, whose mutual loves of healthy eating and old-world technologies spawned an internationally distributed line of products, responded with a gift of his own -- the whole company. The Employee Stock Ownership Plan Moore unveiled means that his 209 employees now own the place and its 400 offerings of stone-ground flours, cereals and bread mixes.
"This is Bob taking care of us," said Lori Sobelson, who helps run the business' retail operation. "He expects a lot out of us, but really gives us the world in return." Moore declined to say how much he thinks the company is worth. In 2004, however, one business publication estimated that year's revenues at more than $24 million. A company news release issued this week stated that Bob's Red Mill has chalked up an annual growth rate of between 20 percent to 30 percent every year since.
"In some ways I had a choice," Moore said of what he could have done with the company he founded with his wife, Charlee, in 1978. "But in my heart, I didn't. These people are far too good at their jobs for me to just sell it."
It's not that the offers aren't there. Hardly a day goes by that Nancy Garner, Moore's executive assistant, doesn't field a call or letter from someone wanting to buy the privately held company or take it public.
"I had four messages waiting when I returned from a recent vacation," she said. "Three of them were buy-out offers."
Garner said she and other employees are floored by Moore's plan, under which any worker with at least three years tenure is now fully vested. "We're still learning all of the details," Garner said, "but it's very humbling to be part of a company that cares this much about its employees."
An employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, is a retirement plan in which the company contributes its stock to the plan to be held in trust for the benefit of its employees. The stock is never bought or held directly.
Vested employees are sent annual reports detailing their respective stakes in the company. When those employees quit or retire, they receive in cash whatever amount they -- and the company, through increased revenues, new sales and controlled costs -- are due.
"Eventual payouts could be substantial," said John Wagner, the company's chief financial officer and, along with Moore, one of four partners.
Moore said he began thinking about succession about nine years ago. He'd heard about employee stock option programs and got much more serious about the idea three years ago.
That Moore has now pulled off what few other company owners would even dream about comes as no surprise to longtime acquaintances, such as Glenn Dahl, owner of NatureBake bakery in Milwaukie.
"Bob's a force of nature," said Dahl, whose family's Gresham-area bakery was Moore's first wholesale customer in the 1970s. "He's always been that way. He gets an idea and just makes sure it happens, one way or the other."
Moore's own background is in electrical and mechanical engineering, but he fell in love with the mechanics of stone grinding in the 1960s after reading about old stone-grinding flour mills.
At about the same time, Charlee began sharing with him her delvings into the nutritional benefits of eating whole grain foods. The couple put their passions to work by starting, with their three sons, their first milling operation in Redding, Calif.
In 1978, the couple moved to Portland to retire. Moore's idea at the time, reflecting his long-held sense of spirituality, was to learn the Bible in its original languages. A chance walk past a closed mill site near Oregon City, changed everything.
"I call it my emotional epiphany," Moore said. "Whatever excuse I care to give, I was just sucked into it like a vortex."
A 1988 arson destroyed the mill, when Moore was 60. Undeterred, he rebuilt the operation, moved once due to space needs and now occupies a 15-acre production facility and a two-acre headquarters and retail outlet along Oregon 224 in Milwaukie.
Three production shifts, running six days a week, turn out a line of goods distributed throughout North America, Asia and the Middle East.
The company earned an extra splash of international recognition when a team traveled to Scotland and, apparently feeling their oats, won the world's porridge-making championship.
Employees, who are just now grasping the meaning of Moore's birthday gift.
"It just shows how much faith and trust Bob has in us," said Bo Thomas, the company's maintenance superintendent, who has put his four children through college during his two decades there. "For all of us, it's more than just a job. Obviously, it's the same way for Bob, too."
For Moore, meanwhile, nothing about the new arrangement will change a thing. He plans to do for the foreseeable future what he has done every day for decades.
"I may have given them the company,'' he said, chuckling, "but the boss part is still mine."-link
It was Beth who got me thinking on the hyperlinked "oh oh"s of "Unknown Caller" and "White as Snow" as profound, and not just words. See also Beth on "God's signature melody"
throughout the U2 "No Line" album.
NLOTH may be the beginning of a subtle shift away from U2's dazzled wordless foretaste mode, the wellspring of which I've always assumed lay in the band's early charismatic formation (let the reader understand). I'm not saying wordless vowels are absent; in fact, there are probably more "oh"s on NLOTH than usual.
Read more: http://u2sermons.blogspot.com/2009/03/dhikr.html#ixzz0gKNJrX8m
And all that got me re-membering how, over the years, Bono's "oh"s have been surpisingly signature and powerful.
Whether the "Oh oh oh oh"s of a live "With or Without You" (3 minute mark in this video..get a kick about them being included in the subtitles)
or....(too many examples to name)..
Yet one of my favorite appearances of a Bono "oh" is on a classic song that you likely haven't heard until now: "Purple Heart," a song Bono and T-Bone Burnett wrote for Burnett's 1988 "Talking Animals" album.
every blow you took i took with you
i lied for you when you moved underground
and covered you as the storm of rage came down
but i will not wear you like a purple heart
to the raging moon burning in the sun
i held on to you you held on to no one
i followed you 'til you were out of sight
and felt the pain as the bullets took the night
I want to be like Jesus, and not wear any of my friends or flock like a purple heart.
And I don't want to wear Jesus like a purple heart.
oh oh oh oooooooooh arrrrrrrrrrrrrghh
Pick it up at the 3 minute mark
especially 3:00ff, 3:38ff. 4:02ff
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
If I had to do it over again, I would preach:
1)> in Spanish (though Ken is amazing..he is the only one I know who can translate for me...Once I was speaking in the Dominican Republic with him translating...see photo here...and see the see the look on Rev Kev's face...and arms... as he listens...he's waiting for the translation, which took longer than my original..and he kept up with my Spiritaneous coining of words..he's the man).
2)>another message, a fresh one.
I have learned a lot about preaching by teaching preaching..
...and by not doing it so well.
...and by not practicing what I preach or practicing preaching.
---and by what I learned the other day about my Spanish translation skills (see "Eye See Two Gringos")
What called to mind the Peru sermon today was Dan Siver's post, which was titled the same as my sermon:
"This is only a test."
One of my illustrations in the original (North American) sermon was the old Emergency Broadcast System's "This is only a test" TV/radio announcements. I was not dumb enough to
use that story in
South America...where they had obviously never heard that broadcast.
But to even ask "Who REALLY likes taking tests"...to a congregation among whom many had never taken one...I just need to practice what I preach and be more culturally sensitive, incarnational/indigineous, centered-set; and less accidentally ethnocentric...it didn't "translate."
(Even though all translation is betrayal..)
Watch me preach from 4:58-6:51...if only to see some masterful and hilarious translation moments by Ken.
BESIDES...check out (6:16 in the video) Tarzan Tom's comment (from the peanut gallery/pews) as he is filming the sermon..He's right ("they look like Thing One and Thing Two up
I feel like a dork watching myself
preach on video/listening to my bad self on radio.
But then I read Siver's post (Gee, how many pastors link to Sivers' blog on their blogroll...but that's not the only "unobvious" link you see on my sidebar!) , and I am ready to try again:
This is only a test. See what happens:
Growing up in America in the 1970's, the TV or radio would often turn into a long warning BEEEEEP. At the end, an announcer would say, “This is a test. This is only a test.”
Remember that phrase when pursuing your career.
It often feels like everything is so serious - that if you make one mistake, it will all end in disaster. But really everything you do is just a test: an experiment to “see what happens”.
My favorite times in life have often started with a “see what happens” spirit.
Let's see what happens if I run my vocals through my guitar pedals.
See what happens if I invite that famous producer out to lunch.
See what happens if I call that radio station to ask their advice.
There is no failure. There can't be, if your only mission was to “see what happens”.
This is a test. This is only a test. There is no downside. Try everything.
Graham Cooke often says something like, "You don't flunk a test from God. You just get the grace to take it over, and over, and over..."
Gee, how do you say that in Spanish?
From "Tying the Clouds Together:
Rob Bell's metaphors and references make his listeners stretch, but his wisdom for preachers is down to earth."
A Leadership interview with Rob Bell
Your sermons are known for pulling from unexpected sources—everything from art history to quantum physics. Why?
When Jacob woke up after his vision of angels ascending and descending on the ladder, he declared, "Surely God was in this place and I did not know it." And Jesus says, "My Father is always at work even to this very day." Jesus lives with an awareness, an assumption that God is here and he's at work. Dallas Willard calls this "the God-bathed world." This has deeply shaped me...
what about the sermon structure?
There's a whole world of screenwriting wisdom that we can tap into as preachers. There are storytelling insights about arc, tension, narrative, perspective, point of view—these things aren't taught in most seminaries, but they're essential to understanding how stories work, which means they're incredibly helpful in understanding the Bible.
Imagine a pastor on Thursday staring at this obscure passage in the life of David trying to figure out where the sermon is. One playwright says, "When in doubt, just have a different character give the line." And suddenly it clicks—do the sermon from the perspective of Uriah. Boom! Just one little adjustment and all of a sudden the whole thing works. My experience has been that the modern preaching, teaching, training system doesn't tap people into all this. The imagination involved in the art of the sermon can end up being stifled...
What else have you found unhelpful when preaching?
Focusing too much on something in the text that is an issue of hairsplitting debate among theologians. You are assuming that people care as much about the debate as you do. Somebody may be sitting there thinking, "Dude, I'm a plumber. I didn't know that was a debate, and I didn't know that it needed to be resolved. I'm just trying to figure out life with God and you spent sixteen minutes letting me know that you understood the origins of this particular Greek word." Some things just aren't helpful...
Your NOOMA video series has been popular. What do you think about the increasing number of preachers and churches using video technology to expand their reach?
It's powerful but there's also a dark side. Video is not church. You put images and music on a screen, and people will listen. But it's also dangerous. You're playing with fire. I think video technology deserves to be scrutinized heavily.
Go a little deeper. What makes video dangerous?
I don't think we know yet what the long-term impact will be on disciple-making. In 10 years we may discover what particular kind of Christ follower is formed by video preaching. I see warning lights on my dashboard. It's unclear what video may do to the ways we conceive of life together.
In the New Testament, there are 43 "one another" passages, and during a Sunday morning service you might be able to practice three or four of them. And as the service gets large, you can probably do fewer. A massive group setting is also dangerous. You can come, sit, listen, and go home and think, I've been to church, even if you haven't practiced any "one anothers." And with video that only gets more intense. I'm not sure that's the direction we want to be heading.
We want to be calling people to deep bonds of solidarity with one another. We may gather in a massive group, but from the stage I often say, "This is just a church service. Church is actually about caring for one another, and serving one another, and speaking truth to one another in love. Don't get the two confused."
LINK full interview
If you are not aware of Patrol Magazine, check it out.
It used to be called CCM Patrol (as it kept CCM, the magazine/industry acountable).
Patrol is now broader than that... it's tagline is now "The Arts & The Times:a New York-based journal of culture and politics"..but they continue the HONEST (!!) reviews of Christian (and other) music.
Today's Patrol link..
...an unbelievably believable story by the wonderful writer Matthew Paul Turner, "Chasing Amy: When the publisher of CCM forced me to force Amy Grant to apologize for her divorce."
The title barely hints at what sh0uld be the real shocking news.
Read it and weep here.
The article must be wrestled with for any who dare to ask questions about how empire/industry/matrix almost inevitably infects our Christian institutions (by the way, two Christians make a Christian institution, so none are exempt) .
Read the piece, and come on back to weigh in. Several helpful comments have already been posted on my Facebook link to the article.
A few years ago I wrote, in a post about Sam Phillips, something called "CCM Makes You Lie." You know, what Sam did was even more unforgivable to some in the CCM industry than what Amy did.
A John Mark McMillan quote comes to mind:
"I applaud him for changing the line to serve his people,
and at the same time I boo the machinery
that would cause him to have to do so."
-John Mark McMillan
See that story here
by David Ruis
Friday, July 24, 2009
one of my great wrestles over the last years has been the emergence of the “industry” around worship, liturgy and congregational music.
I am a huge believer of the development of the aritist as well as the “worship leader” and have a deep conviction that worship spills way beyond the constraints of liturgy and Sunday meetings. Yet, the intentional posture of inviting people to worship God has huge implications on the way we document and present this dynamic. It is “different” than other dimensions of artistic endeavour. I never want to be afraid of the hard questions that this brings to the surface, especially in regards to recording and the public/“stage” components of what leading people in a worship experience.
take a look at this provoking video ... I know that this little satire has stirred up some measure of controversy - but I for one appreciate the dialogue and process that it stirs.
let me know what you think ...
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Even if the mountains..)
U2 has soundtracked my life...
heck, even their soundchecks have sometimes soundtracked my life.
The discussions about what one particular song is about (Hiroshima?Pentecost? The end of the world? An unromantic romance?) are all partly wrong and largely right, I would guess.
Besides, aren't all those suggested topics almost synonymous at points?(:
No matter. The title song, and most of the album by the same name ("The Unforgettable Fire"), are more about impressions and atmosphere than strict themes.
Besides, I know what the song is about....for me.
A year before, I had met Jesus.
Then, about the time the album came out, I had met the most amazing and beautiful woman ever born (For a hilarious typo about my meeting those two in quick succession, see this)!
I just wasn't sure she thought I was amazing...or beautiful.
So I had to risk it all.
I told her "I love you!," as she headed off to bed.
UH, a bit of explanation: I was staying overnight at her parents home, as her dad was VP at our college, and he had invited some of Sonya's out of state college friends over (like me) for a holiday meal.
Some stayed late. Some stayed over. Including me.
I gulped as she smiled, and left the room.
She said nothing.
I did the only thing I could do as I lay down to regret...or not...all that I had just done and said:
slapped on the headphones.
Of course, U2 was on.
"The Unforgettable Fire" was just reaching its unforgettable instrumental midsong crescendo .
At least I could lose (find?) myself in the music...even if she didn't love me, too...
The door creaked open.
Turns out the most amazing and beautiful woman on the planet was responsible.
I probably prayed quickly.
I likely said, "Oh, crap...she is gonna tell me we should just be friends..."
"I love you, too," she slyly snuck in, and shut the door.
What happened next was a supernaturally timed soundtrack:
It was the voice of Bono, recovering from the instrumental swell, to belt out with passion,
"And if the mountains should crumble, or disappear into the sea, not a tear, no not I..'
I knew it was a psalm. It was also an answer to prayer and life.
It was how I felt. I was Pentecosted...and she loved me!!!!!
I wouldn't miss crumbled mountains if I had Sonya!
But just to tweak my expectations and euphoria...
that strange, suddenly dark outro of the song made sense for the first time:
"Don't push me too far tonight!"
What was that coda? A gentle warning that life could only go downhill after my two mountaintops?
A reminder that all human love is Hiroshima, Pentecost, the end of the world, and unromantic romance?
But I do know that 25 years with Sonya, 27 with Jesus..
splicing in 31 years with U2 has been: