Tuesday, August 31, 2010

on not stalking celebrities (Steve Martin or others)..for the sake of their soul.. and mine

Photo credit
Yesterday, our family sat next to a local television celebrity at a restaurant.
She was very gracious to put up with the fans wanting to hug and touch her, saying "See you tomorrow."

But she was just trying to eat dinner with a friend.

I sometimes see another local television personality in the grocery store, equally gracious to well-wishers when he is outed,but pushing his cart with tunnel vision, and pulling his hat over his eyes when he's not.

He is just trying to grab some groceries.

I am sure some have no compassion on celebrities and the problems they have in the public
("What do they have to complain about, they are rich and famous!")
But I never approach celebrities in public unless they approach me.

I want them to keep their soul, and a bit of sanity.

I heard one celebrity confess that every autograph he signed seemed to give away part of his soul.

The stories you hear about stars being chased into bathrooms..
 There's a great scene in "Notting Hill" where a gal follows Julia Roberts character..a movie star playing a movie star..of course... into the loo. Will try to find and link it:

"I don't believe it.  I walked into the
  loo with her.  I was still talking when
  she started unbuttoning her jeans...
  She had to ask me to leave."  -Notting Hill script




Maybe it's



but as one of my favorite video clips reminds me, no one knows exactly what anyone else is going through.

They say Janis Joplin used to talk about making love to 25,000 of people on the stage, and then going home alone.

Loneliness isn't any easier because you're rich..

And what happened to Janis?

All that to say, I love Steve Martin.  And If I am ever alone with him in an elevator, I would like to think I would simply smile (if he caught my eye), and resist the temptation to say something like, "Man, it must be a nightmare being recognized in public all the time."  How self-defeating an encouragement that would be.

I hope I would just pray.

I pray I would just hope.

Heck, I might even leave Bono and wife alone at Disneyland...like Matt wonderfully did.

All that to say that here below is a moving section of Steve Martin's  "Born Standing Up," an autobiographical account of what it felt like to be the biggest stand-up comic on earth, and why he walked away from it.
The implications for pastors, especially megachurch sorts, are profound:


 "The hour and a half I spent performing was still fun...(but) after the show, I took a solitary ride back to the hotel, where I was speedily escorted by security across the lobby.  A key went ina  door, and boom: the blunt interior of a hotel room.  Nowhere to look but inward.

..I was caught and I could not quit...I saw that the only way I could go, was sidways..

..One summer night...I abruptyly walked off stage and went to a hospital, where I was given a well-attended celebrity EKG....confident I was dying, a nurse asked me to autograph the printout of my erratic heartbeat..

...Being the good Baptist-raised boy I was, I honored all my contracts, and did the shows, though with mounting frustration...

..Today I realize that I misunderstood what my last year of stand-up was about.  I had become a party host, presiding not over timing and ideas but over a celebratory bash of my own making.  If I had understood what was happening, I might have been happier, but I didn't.  I still thought I was doing comedy.

..I was now famous, and the normal rules of social interaction no longer applied....There was a dark side.  A regular conversation, except with established friends, became difficult, fraught with ulterior motives, and often degenerated into deadening nephew autograph requests.  Almost every


 ordinary action that took place in public had a freakish celebrity aura around it....My room-service meal could be delivered by four people waring arrows through their heads--funny, yes, but not when you're tired of your own jokes...
 Time has helped me achieve peace with celebrity, At first I was not famous enough, then I was too famous and now I am famous just right.  Oh, yes, I have heard the arguments that celebrities want fame  when it's useful  and don't when it's not.  That argument is absolutely true." -Steve Martin, "Born Standing Up," pp. 183-187


Ken Wilson's complete series on bounded/centered/fuzzy sets





Very helpful:




 

 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Artists are the best theologians, because...:

"Artists are the best theologians.
They feel things that are true before theologians can jargonize them into obscurity"
-Tony Campolo

 (HT: Derek's great blog)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

a timely "prophecy from a Catholic theologian in 1969"


Here is the amazing closing story from an excellent TIME article on the Catholic scandal, and potential ways the pope and church can navigate the future.  The article covers church and culture shift, includes the quote  from an abuse victim:"It's the peoples church, we have to take it back..This is way bigger than the Reformation"...and then this:
..A conservative website is circulating a prophecy uttered by a 42-year-old Catholic theologian in 1969, amid the turmoil of that year of radicalism and barricades. The priest envisioned a post-imperial papacy, shorn of wealth and pretenses of earthly power. "From today's crisis, a church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal," he said on German radio. "She will be small and, to a large extent, will have to start from the beginning. She will no longer be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor. Because of the smaller number of her followers, she will lose many of her privileges in society. Contrary to what has happened until now, she will present herself much more as a community of volunteers ... As a small community, she will demand much more from the initiative of each of her members and she will certainly also acknowledge new forms of ministry and will raise up to the priesthood proven Christians who have other jobs ... It will make her poor and a church of the little people ... All this will require time. The process will be slow and painful." The theologian was Joseph Ratzinger. And his vision from 40 years ago may now unfold in ways he could never have imagined.  -link, page 5 of this Time Magazine article





Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1992171-5,00.html#ixzz0xxRZSliD

Sunday, August 22, 2010

preaching/drowning is not a sin..it's just foolish and highly appropriate


Since I am a preacher (or something like that...more of a party planner or "broker of alcoholic nuts"...see this)..
 my obvious early favorite line in  U2's "Every Breaking Wave" (video/lyrics) is the one that directly relates to that part of my life.  I have learned a lot about preaching through U2, and not just through the lyrics that directly deal with it:


But since preaching is ridiculous, impossible, pain incarnate... and "foolish' (Paul's own term), it might well be associated with "drowning."


What preacher (or congregation) hasn't muttered during a sermon, "This one is going down.."


"He's going down.....and breaking up"  (see: "Not only was that turbulence not normal, it was 100 times worse than I knew was possible..")


But all good preaching is good drowning.  I am always over my head anyway, so might as well admit it by preaching that way (NOT to be confused with "preaching over the congregation's heads"  as in intellectual and boring..that IS a sin).


But preaching/drowning can't be.
It's the only way to stay afloat and alive.






Don’t know if I’m that strong
Got to be somebody
To need someone
The waves know
We’re on the rocks
Drowning is no sin
You know
That my heart
Is the same place Yours has been







The below is pasted from a  previous post on the classic U2 song, "Drowing Man":
---------------------------------------------------------------------


.Robert Vagacs develops a fascinating liturgy/midrash on the song by suggesting:

"a conversation develops when 'Drowning Man' is set alongside Psalm 13...the song not only undermines the power of the storm, it strips it of its absoluteness...It not only expands our horizons of possibility, but actually provides a horizon [my note: This is written before "No Line on the Horizon"], a navigational orientation, where none existed. 
(Vagacs, 18-22)

Matt McGee has a great post on the Drowning Man motif throughout U2's canon and catalog.
Could be that, as Matt has suggested elsewhere. has been singing the recent encores in character....as Drowning Man....sometimes literally clinging to a/swinging from a life preserver.

Of course, remember Bono's line, (5:41ff below) "We went down into the water and we almost drowned":




I was on tiptoe to hear them perform this almost thirty year old) song for the first time..ever (though it has been briefly snippeted in the old days, and more recently, see "Day 01"here)..this tour, but alas all we have so far are a few soundcheck/rehearsal tapes.

But I hadn't picked up a possible Nee connection.

So, thanks to Beth, who posted:

...Until "Unknown Caller," "Drowning Man" had the distinction of being the only U2 song which majored on lyrics obviously intended as the voice of God - who, however, quotes Isaiahalong the way. It pictures an earnest Lover reaching out and appealing "take my hand," promising acceptance, steadiness, strength -- "if you can" bring yourself to accept the help and "hold on tightly." But again: why reference someone who is "drowning" for that appeal? Couldn't it apply to any addressee in any situation? 

Well, here's what often seems plausible to me. I wager that the choice of a "drowning man" to characterize the addressee of the song may actually be a literary allusion. I would not be surprised to learn that this title draws on a striking and memorable image of the need to surrender completely to grace found in The Normal Christian Life, the best known work of early-U2-influence Watchman Nee:
When you are reduced to utter weakness and are persuaded that you can do nothing whatever, then God will do everything. We all need to come to the point where we say: 'Lord, I am unable to do anything for Thee, but I trust Thee to do everything in me.'

I was once staying in a place in China with some twenty other brothers. There was inadequate provision for bathing in the home where we stayed, so we went for a daily plunge in the river. On one occasion a brother had cramp in one leg, and I suddenly saw he was sinking fast, so I motioned to another brother, who was an expert swimmer, to hasten to his rescue. But to my astonishment he made no move. So I grew desperate and called out: 'Don't you see the man is drowning?' and the other brothers, about as agitated as I was, shouted vigorously too. But our good swimmer still did not move. Calm and collected, he remained just where he was, apparently postponing the unwelcome task. Meantime the voice of the poor drowning brother grew fainter and his efforts feebler. In my heart I said: 'I hate that man! Think of his letting a brother drown before his very eyes and not going to the rescue!'

But when the man was actually sinking, with a few swift strokes the swimmer was at his side, and both were safely ashore. When I got an opportunity I aired my views. 'I have never seen any Christian who loved his life quite as much as you do', I said. 'Think of the distress you would have saved that brother if you had considered yourself a little less and him a little more.' But the swimmer knew his business better than I did. 'Had I gone earlier', he said, 'he would have clutched me so fast that both of us would have gone under. A drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.'
-Beth Maynard







Of course, remember Bono's line, (5:41ff below) "We went down into the water and we almost drowned"


















I was on tiptoe to hear them perform this almost thirty year old) song for the first time..ever (though it has been briefly snippeted in the old days, and more recently, see "Day 01"here)..this tour, but alas all we have so far are a few soundcheck/rehearsal tapes.









But I hadn't picked up a possible Nee connection.









So, thanks to Beth, who posted:









...Until "Unknown Caller," "Drowning Man" had the distinction of being the only U2 song which majored on lyrics obviously intended as the voice of God - who, however, quotes Isaiahalong the way. It pictures an earnest Lover reaching out and appealing "take my hand," promising acceptance, steadiness, strength -- "if you can" bring yourself to accept the help and "hold on tightly." But again: why reference someone who is "drowning" for that appeal? Couldn't it apply to any addressee in any situation? 









Well, here's what often seems plausible to me. I wager that the choice of a "drowning man" to characterize the addressee of the song may actually be a literary allusion. I would not be surprised to learn that this title draws on a striking and memorable image of the need to surrender completely to grace found in The Normal Christian Life, the best known work of early-U2-influence Watchman Nee:

When you are reduced to utter weakness and are persuaded that you can do nothing whatever, then God will do everything. We all need to come to the point where we say: 'Lord, I am unable to do anything for Thee, but I trust Thee to do everything in me.'

I was once staying in a place in China with some twenty other brothers. There was inadequate provision for bathing in the home where we stayed, so we went for a daily plunge in the river. On one occasion a brother had cramp in one leg, and I suddenly saw he was sinking fast, so I motioned to another brother, who was an expert swimmer, to hasten to his rescue. But to my astonishment he made no move. So I grew desperate and called out: 'Don't you see the man is drowning?' and the other brothers, about as agitated as I was, shouted vigorously too. But our good swimmer still did not move. Calm and collected, he remained just where he was, apparently postponing the unwelcome task. Meantime the voice of the poor drowning brother grew fainter and his efforts feebler. In my heart I said: 'I hate that man! Think of his letting a brother drown before his very eyes and not going to the rescue!'

But when the man was actually sinking, with a few swift strokes the swimmer was at his side, and both were safely ashore. When I got an opportunity I aired my views. 'I have never seen any Christian who loved his life quite as much as you do', I said. 'Think of the distress you would have saved that brother if you had considered yourself a little less and him a little more.' But the swimmer knew his business better than I did. 'Had I gone earlier', he said, 'he would have clutched me so fast that both of us would have gone under. A drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.'
-Beth Maynard

Saturday, August 21, 2010

U2 "Every Breaking Wave";" I thought I heard the Master’s voice/ It’s hard to listen while you preach"

Finally, from tonight in Helsinki, we get the concert premeire  (stripped down) of this new song, likely to be on "Songs of Ascent."  Here below is the inevitable YouTube (to watch in context of whole concert, see 27 minutes mark here)


Bono at the end: "No one's heard that before including the two of us":


Every breaking wave
On the shore
Tells the next one there'll be one more
Every gambler knows
That to lose
Is what you’re really there for
Somewhere else, fearlessness
Now I’m speaking to an answer phone
Every falling leaf
On the breeze
Winter wouldn’t leave her alone
Ay hey now
Ay hey now
I don’t know if I’m that strong
I don’t know if I’m that strong
Don’t know if I’m that strong
To be somebody
To need someone
Every sailor knows that the sea
Is a friend made enemy
Every shipwrecked soul
Knows what it is
To live without intimacy
I thought I heard the Master’s voice
It’s hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave
On the shore
This is as far as I can reach
Ay hey now
Ay hey now
I don’t know if I’m that strong
I don’t know if I’m that strong
Don’t know if I’m that strong
Got to be somebody
To need someone
The waves know
We’re on the rocks
Drowning is no sin
You know
That my heart
Is the same place Yours has been
We know
Here with
The end before it begins
The waves know
We’re on the rocks
Drowning is no sin
You know
That my heart
Is the same place yours has been
We know
Here with
The end before it begins

visual soundscapes

Read the article: Sensory hijack: rewiring brains to see with sound

Read the article:

Sensory hijack: rewiring brains to see with sound

Ellul: every moment of life= apocalyptic

."..as Christians, it is essential to understand that every moment of man's life is not historic, but apocalyptic."
-Ellul, "The Presence of the Kingdom," p.23
-------------------

Related:

We apparently have the word “apocalypse“ all wrong. In its root meaning, it’s not about destruction or fortune telling; It’s about revealing; It’s what James Joyce calls an epiphany-the moment you realize your so-called love for the young lady, all your professions, all your dreams, and all your efforts to get her to notice you were the exercise of an unkind and obssesive vanity…The real world, within which you’ve lived and moved and had your being, has unveiled itself. It’s starting to come to you. You aren’t who you made yourself out to be. An apocalypse
has occurred, or a revelation, if you prefer…Apocalyptic maximizes the reality of human suffering and folly before daring a word of hope. The hope has nowhere else to happen but the valley of the shadow of death. Is it any surprise that we often won’t know it when we see it?

-David Dark, “Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons and Other Pop Culture Icons”, p.10
--

end times as creation events

Monday, August 16, 2010

breaking form

"I like to hear the sound of form, and I like to hear the sound of it breaking."
-Frederick Seidel
(via Jon Foreman tweet)

great clip and motto for pastors

video

"Jove is often Jehovah incognito" -C.S.Lewis

"Jove is often Jehovah incognito" -C.S.Lewis
(context);
quoted in Leonard Sweet's new and amazing (456th) book "Nudge' (p. 18)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sunday, August 08, 2010

"nonhuman tastemakers reverse-engineering the soul"

Lev Grossman is a great writer.  His new article in TIME is about Pandora and "recommendation engines". (those "If you like this, you may like..." referrals, called "collaborative-filtering: software)... but so much more.

Any article which stretches us to think about how nonhuman tastemakers are "reverse-engineering the soul" and serve as  a prosthesis to help us "navigate the epidemic of choice"; let alone asks us to reflect on who is shaping who... is way relevant.

It also unveils why Facebook "algorithmically curated" and Google's "advising us on what we should know" returns have been acting a bit differently lately..

...and ends with a prophetic call to avid a world where our  "sharp edges sanded off".

Here it is..

new U2 song "Glastonbury" features Joseph of Arimethea...

 Well, not in person..not like he sings backing vocals  (:
See video below, and Beth unpacks some of the lyric here.

"For a flowering rose, I would bend my knee
I came to find the flowering rose
The flowering rose of Glastonbury"
..You are... the miracle I came here to find"




PS:  The two other "new" songs/ they debuted/test drove the other night in  Milan, if you haven't heard..
-Concert opener, "The return of the stingray guitar" (rumored to be a leftover from 1983)::


video



-"North Star," originally a song they recorded over ten years ago with Michael W. Smith on keyboard (and a tribute to Johnny Cash):

Friday, August 06, 2010

"Woah, it's like the guilt is coming right at me!"

"Woah, it's like the guilt is coming right at me!" -

- Colbert on the Catholic Church's new 3-D web videos.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

More Linkin Park prayer

Thanks to TC for the tip: Linkin Park is back with a new prayer song:
God bless us everyone
We're a broken people living under loaded gun
And it can't be outfoght
It can't be outdone
It can't  be out- 


matched
It can't be outrun
No

And when I close my eyes tonight
To symphonies of blinding light
(God bless us everyone
We're a broken people living under loaded gun
Oh)
Like memories in cold decay
Transmissions echoing away
Far from the world of you and I
Where oceans bleed into the sky

God save us everyone,
Will we burn inside the fires of a thousand suns?
For the sins of our hand
The sins of our tongue
The sins of our father
The sins of our young
No


Lift me up
Let me go (x10)





..and they did an amazing wikithing with this song, they had a contest for best fan remix..it will even be on the new album, Winner:

Linkin Park, featuring YOU Winner

Linkin Park | MySpace Music Videos



Related: