Monday, November 28, 2011

For Advent, I'm expecting what I desire and what I deserve! (Synchroblog)

Since someone asked, I will answer..

For Advent this year, I expect to get:

                                                what I desire and deserve.

Many reading that will say it sounds heretical;
          but I can back it up with sound theologians.

Some reading that statement will be incensed; saying it smells
counter-intuitive, paradoxical,  subversive and unobvious.
                                  Of course it does; all legitimate gospel must smell that way.  Such is incense.

First of all, note I didn't say, "For Christmas, I want.."
No... it reads,  "for  Advent."

How could I want anything amiss if I really believe it's Advent?
Advent is Christmas converted.
 ...Though inevitably, even Christmas and Advent wishes can be co-opted by culture (or worse, Christian culture L"Our making of images to present our work in ministry is not invulnerable to idolatry", John Tschetter remiinds).Thus,  the Advent Conspiracy is  recommended.

So, before I defend my thesis, let me reveal who commissioned it.
Christine Sine, on her Godspace blog, is seeking contributors to a  synchroblog on the question at hand  (Join us  here ;   or via the  facebook page):

 [The] topic  {is} Jesus is Coming: What Do We Expect? Christmas is probably the most widely celebrated Christian festival in the world.  Incredibly, the birth of a tiny baby two thousand years ago in an obscure village in Palestine still has the power to impact and transform lives.  Unfortunately it is also the most commercialized event on our calendars and even for many Christians is fast losing its religious significance. So what are we really expecting this Advent and Christmas season? Are we just waiting for a baby born in a stable or are we expecting a Saviour who will transform the world? This month’s synchroblog is centred around our expectations for the Advent and Christmas season. What are we expecting? How will it impact our lives and our faith?  -Christine Sine
Starting point is Psalm  37:4:

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."

We have all heard that all our desires are inherently depraved and evil.

as we/if we/since we/when we  delight ourselves in the Lord  (which deep inside we desire to do; or at least desire to desire)..

...Then God is able to grant our desires, as they will he his.  We will will what he wills.

John 15:7: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you...ask whatever you wish, and it will be done."

This is not "name it and claim it." It's claiming it, and then naming it.
It's claiming God's desires, and then finding that we agree with them as we name them.

Could there be a normative, formative place to live, where all our prayers are answered, and  answered "yes"?

Dare to believe so, if you believe Romans 8:26 about The Spirit praying for, and through, us...

So the various theologians I bring into the conversation..

  • E Stanley Joines
  • Fr. James Martin
  • Madame Jeanne Guyon
  • James K. A. Smith
  • Robert Farrar Capon
  • St. Paul Hewson (Bono)

...all speak into this; and address it from different angles.

E. Stanley Jones:

"At our 'Open Heart' meetings in the Christian Ashrams, we give four or five hours to this catharsis (Christians sharing honestly about three questions: 'Why have you come?' 'What do you want?" "What do you really need?') The reaction of one person, who listened to it for the first time, was: 'Good gracious, have we all the messed up people in the country here?' My reply was: 'No, you have a cross section of the church life honestly revealed.'

In the ordinary church, it is suppressed by respectability, by a desire to appear better than we really are.

Did you notice the word "desire" used there in the usual negative sense?  Only because desires rea off base in the "ordinary church."  But not when it is extraordinary, as it is called to be,

Every year at Christian Ashrams that I lead (join us), the responses blow us away with their honesty...and holiness.

Check out Christina (left in photo)'s experience:

At open heart I was able to stand up and without any reservations answer the three questions given me.
1. Why did I come here?
2. What do I want?
3. What do I need?
Even though I knew the answers to these questions at that moment they instantly changed. I was shown that why I came, what I wanted, and what I needed was not very important.
So my week at Ashram really began. I learned so many things from John McFarland. Like how to lead a person to Christ. Something I had never even bothered to learn before. He taught me the LOVE, SIN, JESUS, SURRENDER technique. We did an exercise to practice this technique and I was confronted with a situation that my own brother might put me through. He is not a Christian so leading him to the Lord is a dream I have had for a while. This exercise helped to better prepare for the day this comes. I now know what I need to do when he is ready to hear it.
Dave Wainscot, the bible teacher, taught me a new way to study the bible. This lesson helped me, later that week, to make a major decision in my life. Just the tools he gave me lead me to the answer the Lord wanted me to hear. I was inspired with the book of Jeremiah. By being led to this book I was able to problem solve my way through the decision I was facing. It was so awesome to take what I learned and put it into action so quickly.
I was given the opportunity to pray for some people who really needed it. I prayed in the prayer chapel and at the healing service. This was such a rewarding experience. I was just able to pray exactly what God lead me to pray, without any hesitations. The Lord helped me to reach out to people young and old and better understand their struggles in their walk with the Lord. My prayer life became more powerful than ever before. Prayer is now one of the most important things in my life. I used to pray about everything, but now I pray about everything for everyone. It makes a big difference in the relationships I have with other people.
The only way to describe what I actually experienced at Ashram is Kingdom Living. Two words that I don’t think I understood at the beginning of the week. But something that the Ashram experience brings to life..LINK

Maybe Augustine was right: "Love God and do  (and ask) what you want."

But in the process, even our wants become refined and realigned.

Fr. Martin (who to his credit, is chaplain to The Colbert Report):

Advent is a time of desire.  We desire the coming of Christ into our lives.  The readings from the Book of Isaiah, which we hear during the season, reveal even the earth desiring the presence of God.  The wonderful “O antiphons,” sung at evening prayer and during the Gospel acclamations towards the end of Advent, speak of Christ at the “King of Nations and their Desire.”

But desire has a disreputable reputation in religious circles. When most people hear the term, they think of two things: sexual desire or material
wants, both of which are often condemned by some religious leaders. The first is one of the greatest gifts from God to humanity; without it the human race would cease to exist. The second is part of our natural desire for a healthy life--for food, shelter and clothing.

..Why all this emphasis on desire in Advent, or any other time?  Because desire is a key way that God speaks to us.

Holy desires are different than surface wants, like "I want a new car" or "I want a new computer."  Instead I'm talking about our deepest desires, the ones that shape our lives: desires that help us know who we are to become and what we are to do. Our deep desires help us know God’s desires for us, and how much God desire to be with us. And God, I believe, encourages us to "notice" and "name" these desires, in the same way that Jesus encouraged Bartimaeus, the blind beggar to articulate his desire. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  Recognize our desires means recognizing God's desires for us.  Here's a dramatic story to illustrate this. At least it was dramatic for me.
           ...These are a few reasons why St. Ignatius asks us repeatedly in the Spiritual Exercises to pray for what we want. At the beginning of each prayer, Ignatius asks you to ask God "for what I want and desire."  For instance, if you are meditating on the life of Jesus, you ask for a deeper knowledge of Jesus. It reminds you of the importance of asking for things in the spiritual life, and of realizing that whatever we receive is a gift from God. 
...Some people find that their deep desires are difficult to identify. What then?   Margaret Silf, an English spiritual writer, retreat director and popular lecturer, provides one answer in her book Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality.  She suggests two ways that you may come to know your hidden desires. One is "Outside In" the other "Inside Out."  The "Outside-In" approach considers those desires already present, which may point to deeper ones. Desires like "I want a new job" or "I want to move" may signify a longing for greater overall freedom.
The "Inside-Out" approach uses archetypal stories as signposts to your desires. What fairy tales, myths, stories, films or novels appealed to you when you were young?  The same could be asked about stories from your sacred Scriptures. Are you drawn toward the story of Moses freeing the Hebrew slaves?  Or Jesus' healing the blind man? Why? Might these real-life stories hold clues about your holy desires?

Desire is a key part of Christian spirituality because desire is a key way that God's voice is heard in our lives. And our deepest desire, planted within us, is our desire for Christ, the Desire of the Nations.    LINK,
Advent: The Season of Desire
Madame Guyon:

"It is almost impossible for me not to desire all that God desires..

so one lets  their desires flow into God only in order to desire according to his movement,and to will through his will. :-Autobiography of Madame Guyon, Volume 2,. 93, 200


" we are desiring agents with a passional orientation toward  the ultimate--to a vision of 'The Kingdom'"....though at times our desires need to be "redirected" as part as a  liturgical "pedagogy for

desire". - Chapter "Why Victoria's In on the Secret: Picturing Discipleship at The Moulin Rouge" in "Desiring the Kingdom


Creation is a dance of desire.  In the long run, it hardly matters that creation's notion of what it desires is almost invarianly cockeyed.  The desireable and desiring  God is still in charge.  And when every last particle of Creation--including you, me, the lamppost and the church--ends up dead, gone, and at absolute zero, its heart will still leap up at the heart of the Beloved..
..The God incarnate in Jesus is an utterly DESIRABLE God. He runs the world from beginning to end by the radically astonishing device of ROMANCING it into being out of nothing.
Because the church is not a club; its is a divine Mystery-the body of Him who fills all in all and who, when He is lifted up, draws all to Himself. We are in a dance of desire over which we have no final power to throw in a wet blanket. The thirst of the astonished heart lies at the root of all thirsts, however trivial, and it is the THIRSTY, therefore-and the hungry, the last, the lost, the least, the little and the dead-who are the sacraments of the church's hope. Only fools, of course, willingly embrace these conditions. But the divine Fool who died and rose needs only one of them-Himself-to bring the dance to its wild conclusion. Even if all the rest of us are tripping over our feet to the end of time-even if we spend every one of our days trying to wallflower our way through the various models of the church-even if we never get the dance of desire right, God never gets it wrong.
Resurrection reigns wherever there is death; and with it comes the joy of the Really Good News: the dance into the New Creation in Christ will always be alive and well. DESIRE, however we manage it, can always explode into astonishment.  -link
St. Paul Hewson  (Bono) via three U2 songs)"


Bono comments: "On one level, I'm starting to criticize these lunatic fringe preachers, 'stealing hearts at a travelling show'_-but I'm also starting to realize that there is a real parallel between what I'm doing and what  they are" -

U2: into the heart : [the stories behind every song]

 By Niall Stokes, p. 81


This song seems to be inspired by the rabbinic prayer technique of the same name, which encourages elevation (not sublimating or exorcising) sexual thoughts/base desires.  See Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, quoted in

"I Believe in Father Christmas":

Granted, this is not a U2-penned song, but it became theirs when they subtly but profoundly converted and subverted  (better yet, "elevated") the original lyrics by Greg Lake:
I had to smile in admiration at the very minor but very thoughtful lyric changes that turn Lake's text into something not just potentially, but authentically, U2ey. Did you catch them? "They sold me a Merry Christmas, they sold me a Silent Night, they sold me a fairy story..." is transmuted into something more like Popmart's "I wanted to meet God but they sold me religion" by one little shift: no longer did "they" keep selling "till I believed in the Israelite"; no, they can try to sell such holiday fantasies all they want "but I believe in the Israelite."
And the end of the original second verse, one assumes the implication is that the once-hopeful little boy awakes, exhausted and bleary-eyed, to witness his father dressed as Santa and realize the whole thing's a shuck ("I awoke with a yawn in the first light of dawn and saw him -- and through his disguise.") But U2 create a whole different feel by taking out that one little "and," so that the narrator now says that he watched in hope, woke at dawn, and "I saw him through his disguise." Another idea that we've heard many times before from this band.Beth Maynard, link

For me, to claim "But I believe in the Israelite" is to desire Him. and to dare to believe that, as another lyric in the song offers: "On Christmas we get what we deserve."

I know, I know. We've been taught that the whole idea of grace is that it is undeserved.
True enough.  But hear out my thoughts on why Bono kept that apparent "works theology" in the lyric?  Here's a question I got on my blog:

Anonymous said...
Can you please explain that last "Christmas we get we deserve" bit a little more? I really love the song, but I don't understand how this is connected to God's grace. I thought grace was our getting what we don't deserve or earn.

11:56 AM, December 03, 2008 dave said.:
great question...that part wasn't clear.
Partly, I meant Bono can be seen as pushing grace over the top...making it "even better than the real thing."
Not that the old definition you quoted goes, but we realize in sense, even though we don't deserve grace, Jesus teats us as if we do.
I still like Ric Mullins line "Hell is better than we deserve."
And in a sense...sounds pretty Calvinist..and too close to karma, even"whatever kind of Christmas we get, we deserve it..
I take Bono to perhaps mean, "If you trust Jesus, you get what you technically don't deserve, but Jesus treats you as if you do.
If you don' still get what you deserve..."
Thus the heaven and hell line.
I dunno, it just feels like the last line is loaded.   LINK

Deep in my heart/soul/seat of desire; I want..dare I say "deserve"  what I don't deserve..that is, what believe  in .. the Israelite.

For Advent this year, I'll ask for what I desire (God's desires), and what I deserve to deserve (the desires of my heart.

Please enjoy the other synchroblogs on this question,  The posts so far are  listed here and below.
You have one more day to add yours.

You desire to, right?
You might even deserve to do it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Joel Green video: Bible, Science, Soul

The Bible, Science and the Soul:

Magueijo video: Faster than the speed of light?

Someone's gotta ask these questions:

"the Bible says" as power play

"when we say ,'The Bible says..,.' we are simply hiding the true power we want to enforce on others: Our own" -paraphrase of Wayne Meeks, link

UNCLEAN: centered sets, purity psychology, and missional failure

"Not the Religious Type" posted this video  by Richard Beck (blogger behind Experimental Theology)
 about his book Unclean: Meditations of Purity, Hospitality and Mortality , tying it to one of my

favorite topics, centered sets.

Book promo:
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Echoing Hosea, Jesus defends his embrace of the unclean in the Gospel of Matthew, seeming to privilege the prophetic call to justice over the Levitical pursuit of purity. And yet, as missional faith communities are well aware, the tensions and conflicts between holiness and mercy are not so easily resolved. In an unprecedented fusion of psychological science and theological scholarship, Richard Beck describes the pernicious (and largely unnoticed) effects of the psychology of purity upon the life and mission of the postedchurch.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Scot McKnight on NT Wright's "Simply Jesus"

Scot McKnight's 4-part post:

Simply Jesus 1:
Tom Wright belongs in a line of only a few noble UK scholars who have the capacity to write about complexities with clarity and simplicity, without turning the whole thing into some kind of limp populism. That line of UK scholars includes William Barclay and C.H. Dodd. I’d like to include C.F.D. Moule but I don’t know that he ever quite turned his pen toward the ordinary person. Still, Tom is the current version of the prose of Barclay and Dodd. Yet different, as they too were different.
Tom Wright is proposing that next to our New Testament we should open Virgil’s The Aeneid and Josephus. Josephus is boilerplate for those who want to comprehend the Jewish context of earliest Christianity, but why Virgil? Simply put: Virgil provides the historical grounding myth of the Roman empire. He tells a story that comes to completion in none other than Julius Caesar, Octavian and Tiberius — in effect, the sons of god of Rome.
Here’s one way to put the claim of Tom Wright: to claim that Christianity, or whatever you want to call it, non-political is the worst sort of...continued here 

 Simply Jesus 2:Deep in the heart of Judaism in the centuries leading up to Jesus was a dual conviction: that God had elected Israel as creation-restoring agents and, right next to this, the manifold brokenness of creation and Israel and the Land and the priests and the Temple. What sustained their hope? One Story: the Exodus. They told its story, sang its songs and continued to celebrate God’s victory. Why? Someday that same God would do it all over again. So argues Tom Wright in his new book, Simply Jesus.The Exodus Hope included seven...continued here

Simply Jesus 3:
It is Tom Wright’s contention, in his new book Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters, that Jewish kingdom movements had two integral features: a battle and the temple. Tom examines those two themes in the  continued here

Simply Jesus 4:
The major themes of the Exodus are at the heart of Tom Wright’s new book Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters. But there’s more to say than that: Exodus is at the heart of the entire mission of.....continued here

Jesus Creed - Simply Jesus 5
Jesus Creed - Simply Jesus 6
Jesus Creed - Simply Jesus 7

Creig Keener on reading the gospels

Gospels as ancient biographies I from CPX on Vimeo.

Gospels as ancient biographies II from CPX on Vimeo.

Accuracy in Oral Tradition from CPX on Vimeo.
Keener's story:

A Journey to faith from CPX on Vimeo.

The Jesus of History from CPX on Vimeo.

"Enjoying the Bible" N.T. Wright video

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Son of Westboro ("God Hates Fags" ) Baptist Church pastor


Best Church of God Sponsors Yeast Protest

(More about the church here)

Best Church of God -- Yeast Protest. from aemilia scott on Vimeo.

Skye Jethani: the megachurch bubble

Jerry Walls at the end of the world

Transcript here, and audio below:

church architecture and power

Steve Collins

Architecture is always an embodiment of power relations, and church architecture, somehow, acutely so; perhaps because it deals directly with the relationship of a community to itself, its leaders, the world and God. Consider, for example:

• a schoolroom layout – for those who want to teach
• an auditorium with a stage and big screen – for those who want to spectate
• the in-the-round mass of a modern Roman Catholic church
• chair circles for small groups
• the post-Reformation preaching box, to teach you to sit up straight and not be idolatrous
• the plastic stacking chairs and demountable stage for fellowship in the local school hall

In the days of the Constantinian settlement, the newly established church took the Roman basilica as the model for its now-public buildings, rather than the house [one suspects, the dining room] that had been its previous abode. The basilica was a law court, and the Christians swapped the magistrate’s throne for an altar and sat the elders in the tribune behind it, thus imaging God as both judge and Emperor, surrounded by His government. We have been haunted by that decision ever since. We still build our churches with an important end, where the leaders are and God is implied to be, faced by everyone else. Our buildings tell us that the people at that end are more important than the people at the other, have a greater right to speak and be heard, are more representative of God. To make a church look like ‘a church’ is to impose a set of implied power relationships on our community that may not be desirable or in their best interests...
-Steve Collins,  Ghosts of Power Versus the Spirit of Community
continued here

Jerry Walls was predestined to have free will

NT Wright speaking on "Simply Jesus"

at Willow Creek; video or audio here

4.74 Degrees of separation

News item:

Ever heard of the phrase six degrees of separation? The theory refers to the idea that every person is only six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth.  In 1967, psychologist Stanley Milgram published his findings on 'six degrees' after conducting an experiment where 296 volunteers were asked to send a message via postcard through friends, and then friends of friends to a specific person in Boston. Well Facebook is making the degree of separation even smaller.  The social media site has taken the concept and reduced it to just 4.74 degrees of separation.  Over a one month period, researchers at Facebook and The University of Milan used algorithms that measured the connections between 721 of its users.  According to a New York Times article, the algorithms calculate the average distance between any two people by computing a vast number of sample paths among Facebook users. They found that the average number of links from one arbitrarily selected person to another was 4.74. In the United States, where more than half of people over 13 are on Facebook, it was just 4.37. Therefore, the results confirmed that given any other person on Earth, a friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friend. Of course, this depends on your definition of the word 'friend.' Some people say these connections between other people simply support the idea that Facebook's definition of 'friendship' is not the same as it is in the real world. At any rate, with the help of Facebook and social media in general, it has becom a lot easier to reach people and make connections.  Looks like the world just got a little bit smaller.LINK

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Matthew 18: "If your brother's squeaky shoes offend you.."

I have gotten lots of mileage out of this video below (or here on facebook) I show it in classes on Matthew 18.. Oscar-worthy performances by Keltic Ken and Vincent J. Vera...and they even let me appear in a cameo (as myself-sort of)..Director?camera genius: Alex Ramirez.. Enjoy:
Related outtakes: 

"Do not depend on the hope of results"

Thomas Merton, to a friend:

"Do not depend on the hope of results … you may have to face the fact that your work
will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results
opposite to what you expect. as you get used to this idea, you start more and more to
concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. …you gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific
people. … in the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything."
-quoted in Margaret Wheatley, "The Place Beyond Fear and Hope"  PDF

translating "Son of Man" as "The Human One"

Joel Green on this CEB translation choice:
The "Human One" Explained from Common English Bible on Vimeo.
From the CEB website:
Why Jesus is both human and divine Created by pfranklyn on 7/25/2011 6:31:48 AM

The following post first appearted in early 2010. The topic is in the news again so a repeat seems helpful to persons just discovering the translation. You will see that the editors of the Common English Bible made a decision about the translation of a common Semitic idiom, which is found often in the Old Testament and is translated literally into Greek in the New Testament. Nearly all English readers of the Bible don't notice this rendering in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament many churched readers of the Bible are surprised to see a fresh and more accurate translation.
ben adam (Hebrew) or ho huios tou anthropou (Greek) is translated as "human being" (rather than "son of man") except in cases of vocative address, where we render "Human" (instead of "Son of Man" [KJV] or "Mortal" [NRSV], e.g. Ezek 2:1). For the NT phrase, ho huios tou anthropou (e.g., Matt 9:6) we render "you will know that the Human One has authority on earth to forgive sins."
At the exegetical and linguistic level, the Semitic idiom, ben adam, occurs frequently in the Old Testament. (A linguistic analogy is bene yisrael, which means Israelites.) Biblical scholars, in a rare example of consensus, are certain that the Semitic idiom ben adam translates as "human being" or "human" in natural English. If we were creating a literal translation, which we inherit from the Septuagint Greek translation of the Semitic idiom, or more precisely from the KJV tradition for English readers, we would probably render "son of human." But we aim to avoid "biblish" where possible and translate such Hebrew or Greek constructions into a natural English idiom. In English we don't say or write "I was speaking with sons of Ben" or "I called children of Ben." Instead, in the target language we write, "I spoke to Ben's children."
Here's our explanation in the forthcoming preface to the CEB:
First, ben ’adam (Hebrew) or huios tou anthrōpou (Greek) are best translated as “human being” (rather than “son of man”) except in cases of direct address, where the CEB renders “Human” (instead of “Son of Man” or “Mortal,” e.g., Ezek 2:1). When ho huios tou anthrōpou is used as a title for Jesus, the CEB refers to Jesus as “the Human One.”
            People who have grown accustomed to hearing Jesus refer to himself in the Gospels as “the Son of Man” may find this jarring. Why “Human One”? Jesus’ primary language would have been Aramaic, so he would have used the Aramaic phrase bar enosha. This phrase has the sense of “a human” or “a human such as I.” This phrase was taken over into Greek in a phrase that might be translated woodenly as “son of humanity.” However, Greek usage often refers to “a son of x” in the sense of “one who has the character of ‘x.’” For example, Luke 10:6 refers to “a son of peace,” a phrase that has the sense, “one who shares in peace.” Another example: in Acts 13:10 Paul calls a sorcerer “a son of the devil.” This is not a reference to the sorcerer’s actual ancestry, but serves to identify his character. He is devilish — or, more simply in English, “a devil.” In short, “Human” or “Human One” both represents accurately the Aramaic and Greek idioms and reflects common English usage. Finally, many references to Jesus as “the Human One” refer back to Daniel 7:13, where Daniel “saw one like a human being” (in Greek, huios anthrōpou); using the title “Human One” in the Gospels and Acts, then, preserves this connection to Daniel’s vision.
Darrell L. Bock writes, "The key to this title and Jesus' use of it is the imagery of Dan. 7:13-14, where the term is not a title but a description of a figure who rides the clouds and receives authority directly from God in heaven. The Old Testament background to the title does not emerge immediately in Jesus' ministry, but is connected to remarks made to the disciples at the Olivet discourse and Jesus' reply at his examination by the Jewish leadership. The title is appropriate because of its unique fusion of human and divine elements. A 'son of man' is simply an expression that describes a human being. In contrast to the strange beasts of Dan. 7, this is a figure who is normal, except for the authority he receives. In riding the clouds, this man is doing something otherwise left only to the description of divinity in the Old Testament (Exod. 14:20; 34:5; Num. 10:34; Ps. 104:3; Isa. 19:1). In addition, the title was in Aramaic an indirect way to refer to oneself, making it a less harsh way to make a significant claim. Despite its indirectness, the nature of Jesus' consistent use of the term makes it clear that he was referring to himself, not someone else" (Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels ,602-03).
We tested this translation with hundreds of readers. Several found the change jarring. One leader responded, "For me, at an emotional level it feels contrived. Unlike an onomatopoeia it feels empty and sterile; it is not a phrase that draws me into wanting to discover or explore or experience the meaning (and Person) that it represents. At a cognitive level it seems to cut off any sense of divinity to Jesus. I realize the Christology of Jesus is a challenging idea, but to call him the Human One seems to deny the possibility that he is the Son of God and God the Son."
The response of this reader mirrors what we heard in reading groups. We asked, "What do you think "son of man" means for Jesus? Many responded that "Jesus is divine." This confusion is similar to stating, "At a cognitive level [Human One] seems to cut off any sense of divinity to Jesus." The feedback is very clear evidence that many English speaking Christians confuse the meaning of two literal titles that are applied to their knowledge of Jesus: "son of man" is confused with the meaning of "son of God." Indeed, at a cognitive level many of us have a view of Jesus that is so transcendent that the incarnation is temporary, perhaps only while Jesus was a baby. In reading Matthew we see that the phrase "Son of God" or rather "God's Son" (as a title) is used frequently in the CEB translation. The CEB also refers to God as Father, accurately. So we have no agenda in the New Testament translation to deny the fully human and fully divine nature of Jesus, then and now. There is a preference in the CEB for clear English. Human One will become less of a surprise over time, but admittedly it is surprising to encounter it the first time if you memorized the KJV version. The act of reading a new translation makes you think about assumptions. Some Bible translators have further thoughts about this topic at
~~ Paul Franklyn
Associate Publisher  link

Monday, November 21, 2011

"wanting to be like God/Jesus" is idolatry or porn...or both

Leonard Sweet:

...The language of  "likeness" is either idolatry or porn.  '
 It is idolatry because the desire to become "more like God"  or "like the divine"  is the original sin of the human race.  Jesus ("The Second Adam") did not come to show us how to be more "like God," but how to be the true humans  ("The First Adam")  God first created us to be.  The whole message of Jesus' life was not "Let me show you how to be more spiritual."  Rather it was, "Let me show you how to be authentically human."

Second, the language of "likeness" is porn because imitation is pornography.  That's why to "be like Jesus" is a  porn piety.  Porn stars are professional fakers of pleasure and arousal.

Imitation fits our impersonal, mechanical, pornographic culture of impersonation.  And  the more "like" we become  the more skanky our spirituality and the more burlesque our beliefs.  Besides,what happens when you copy a copy...and keep copying the copy?  The original not only gets lost, but gets weaker with each copy and blurred beyond recognition.  The real Charlie Chaplin  reportedly once came in third  in a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest.
When Christianity becomes a porn spirituality, the "face" of Jesus becomes unrecognizable, lost in the fake culture itself.  Don't be like Jesus,  Let Jesus be himself in you, making you into your true self.  Don't be an "imitator,"  Be the real deal.
-Leonard Sweet, "So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church," pp. 213-214
So Beautiful, by Leonard Sweet

Where the Leitourgia Has No Name: U2 Live

Beth Maynard's chapter (and other good stuff) "Where the Leitourgia Has No Name: U2 Live" shows up on the Google Books version of  "Exploring U2: Is This Rock 'n' Roll?"  here (put her name or chapter title  in search bar). Of course, some pages are buy the book! (: 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

new Cush

Sounds like new CUSH music may be coming soon are some tracks that surfaced last year:

Vintage Cushness:

synesthesia en epanol

I am  just starting to look at the fascinating connection between synesthesia and language (particularly Spanish) /Sapir-Whorf.

Here's what i found:
Hi. My name is Ivan Diaz. I am in the U.S. ARMY stationed in Kuwait. I know two languages, and i am learning Arabic, French, and Italian. I was studing with a fellow classmate, and I told her that I feel different when I speak in different languages. I also mentioned that I am starting to see letters in Arabic in different colors. I see the letter A in arabic as red. I also see the word we in purlpe. I also see the congegation of that word also in purple. I also told her that I can see and feel different when I speak Spanish than when I speak English. In English, I feel like I an in suit and tie and I am in an office. When I speak in Spanish, I feel like taking over the world. When someone from Puerto Rico speaks spanish to me, i feel like music is coming out and like we are going to dance. I was disapointed. I had thought everyone did the same thing that I did. I didn’t even know that I had this, if she wouldn’t have mention it. I would like to know more about this contition, if i have a condition. I want to know if there are like some side-affects, or if i have like less to live than other peolple.  LINK

Also found this:

What do Bilingual Synesthetes see? 


I do agree that testing bilingual and multilingual synaesthetes would be very interesting. How would their associations hold up under Whorfian scrutiny.
Take a person who is non-preferentially bilingual in both English and Russian.
The Russian Language makes an obligatory distinction between lighter blues ("goluboy") and darker blues ("siniy"). In contrast English does not. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0701644104)
Would they report Monday's as Blue in English and either "goluboy" or "siniy" in Russian? Or would they fail to report a synaesthesia when placed in a Russian context.
I have a feeling that bilingual people would be partially immunised against developing synaesthesia primarily due to conflicts like this. Maybe I'll do my phd on it....
Posted by: Adi Smith  link

I don't know if she ever started tht dissertation, but I just might pick it up

the preacher is not in the Bible

Jeremy Myers:

"there is not a single passage in Scripture which commands or even provides an example of the current popular pattern of gathering in a building on a certain day of the week to listen to one person stand up and talk about the Bible for thirty or forty minutes.
It is just not there."  -Jeremy Myers, full article, do read it

I sometimes say in meetings, "All American pastors know that  the Bible knows nothing of a weekly meeting where a pastor preaches a sermon."

  But I wonder.  Do you think they (we) all really know the Bible says that, or are we so blinded but what we think it says that we read it into the Bible (eisegete)?"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How We View Half-Naked Men And Women

Okay, read this article and substitute "spiritually naked," or "vulnerable/honest":

How We View Half-Naked Men And WomenResearch finds that scantily-clad women and men are judged in similar ways. Christie Nicholson reports

"naked picture of Dave Wainscott"  (don't click!!)

Mike Roe is usually right