Thursday, July 16, 2015

Christians Sharing Fake News-- three voices: gullible? malicious? persecution complex?

1)Ed Stetzer:

An Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. You embarrass us all when you do. |

So, here is the deal.
We are too gullible.
I've done a bit of a series on the "Faux Christian Controversy of the Week" and it just keeps happening.
This week, two “news” stories made the rounds.

Pastor Arrested for Refusing a Same-Sex Marriage

So, what should you do it you see a story like this?
Well, first, if pastors are going to jail for a ruling from last month, you should be suspicious. OK, not really, you should be totally incredulous.
But, let’s say it is a couple of years from now.
If that were the case, it would be EVERYWHERE. It would be on the nightly news.
Did you check How about WORLD, the Christian Century, orCharisma? They'd all have it on their front page.
But, you say, “It was at NBC.” Well, if something sounds crazy, check the URLThis particular story was on
Did you notice the extra .co on the end? That means it's not really Also, click around to the other stories, which literally have text that reads "adfasf weoogsdre gawerags."
You just make us all look gullible when you don’t do simple steps like that.
By the way, if you are a pastor you should already know that no one can make you officiate anything. In fact, you can refuse to officiate an interracial marriage. You'd be an idiot and a racist, but you wouldn't be arrested.

Bible Lawsuit

Then, as if we don’t look silly enough, there is the Zondervan lawsuit. Just Google to see how many websites ran recent stories about a guy suing Bible publishers because the verses on homosexuality are link, continued

2)by Fred Clark:

"It’s not gullibility; it’s malice. (C.S. Lewis is right and Ed Stetzer is wrong.)"

It has been “An Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News,” Ed Stetzer writes for Christianity Today.* By “Christians,” Stetzer means the CT audience, which is to say white evangelicals. White evangelicals, he says, seem particularly susceptible to believing and spreading fake news stories because they are “gullible”:
So, here is the deal.
We are too gullible. …
You just make us all look gullible when you don’t do simple steps like that. …
Posting links to fake [news stories] just makes all of us look (rightly) gullible. …
Be less gullible next time.
That’s the gist of Stetzer’s entire post, which makes a commendable case against credulous gullibility and offers some practical advice for how to be more skeptical when evaluating outrageous-seeming news stories online.
All well and good. But all, also, utterly beside the point. Gullibility is not,,
3)Rachel Held Evans:

For the sake of the gospel, drop the persecution complex 

d you hear about the pastor who was arrested for not marrying a same-sex couple? What about the publisher that got sued for refusing to censor anti-gay verses from the Bible? 
Both of these stories have been exposed as fakes of course, but that didn’t keep hundreds of thousands of conservative Christians from sharing them online this week. When I pointed out to a friend that the story he had just shared on social media wasn’t true, he replied, “well it might as well be. Christians in this country are under attack.” 
It has become a familiar refrain. We hear .. link

Cush concert 2015: Tim Taber on lead vocals

Story/ HT Alan Parish

Cush at the Constellation Room, June 9, 2015:
1. The Drug That You Can Never Take (SP3, 2014)
2. Heaven Sent (Cush, 2000)
3. All My Eyes Knew (SP3, 2014)
4. God Help Me (SP2, 2003)
5. Mercury (Humb 1994, Mercury 1995)
6. The Bomb Was Brighter Than the Stars (Cush, 2000)
7. Chalk (Humb 1994, Antarctica 1996)

we're all synesthetes now: Reify and songs as 3D printed sculptures


What Songs Look Like as 3-D Printed Sculptures

PEOPLE EXPERIENCE ART IN specific ways: looking at paintings, hearing music, tasting food. Unless you’re a synesthete like Kanye who sees rap songs as colors, this is how it works. But what if you could see music—not as a video or a performance, but a physical object? And what if that object could play the music back for you?
That’s the goal of Reify, a startup from New Inc’s incubator that is Kickstarting its first project. Lead by Allison Wood and Kei Gowda, Reify turns sound waves into 3-D printed sculptures that play the sound back with an augmented reality app. Wood started the company to explore digital synesthesia, a technologically augmented version of the skills Kanye and other syntesthetes were born with.
Music was a natural place to start. Wood began  continued

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

the Westminster Branch of McDonald’s

From "The Architecture of Happiness" by Alain de Botton

(review here):

"A few years ago, caught out by a heavy downpour, with a couple of hours to kill after being stood up for lunch by a friend, I took shelter in a smoked glass and granite block on London’s Victoria Street, home to the Westminster Branch of McDonald’s. The mood inside the restaurant was solemn and concentrated. Customers were eating alone, reading papers, or staring at the brown tiles, masticating with a sternness and brusqueness beside which the atmosphere of a feeding shed would have appeared convivial and mannered.

The setting served to render all kind of ideas absurd: that human beings might sometimes be generous to one another without hope of reward; that relationships can on occasion be sincere; that life may be worth enduring … The restaurant’s true talent lay in the generation of anxiety. The harsh lighting, the intermittent sounds of frozen fries being sunk into vats of oil and the frenzied behaviour of the counter staff invited thoughts of the loneliness and meaninglessness of existence in a random and violent universe. The only solution was to continue to eat in an attempt to compensate for the discomfort brought on by the location in which one was doing so.

However, my meal was disturbed by the arrival of thirty or so implausibly tall and blond Finnish teenagers. The shock of finding themselves so far south and of exchanging glacial snow for mere rain had lent them extremely high spirits, which they expressed by unsheathing straws, bursting into ardent song and giving one another piggy-back rides – to the confusion of the restaurant staff, who were uncertain whether to condemn such behaviour or to respect it as a promise of voracious appetites.

Prompted by the voluble Finns to draw my visit to a precipitate close, I cleared my table and walked out into the plaza immediately adjacent to the restaurant, where I properly noticed for the first time the incongruous and imposing Byzantine forms of Westminster Cathedral, its red and white brick campanile soaring eighty-seven metres into the foggy London skies.

Drawn by rain and curiosity, I entered a cavernous hall, sunk in tarry darkness, against which a thousand votive candles stood out, their golden shadows flickering over mosaics and carved representations of the Stations of the Cross. There were smells of incense and sounds of murmured prayer. Hanging from the
ceiling at the centre of the nave was a ten-metre-high crucifix, with Jesus on one side and his mother on the other. Around the High Altar, a mosaic showed Christ enthroned in the heavens, encircled by angels, his feet resting on a globe, his hands clasping a chalice overflowing with his own blood.

The facile din of the outer world had given way to awe and silence. Children stood close to their parents and looked around with an air of puzzled reverence. Visitors instinctively whispered, as if deep in some collective dream from which they did not wish to emerge. The anonymity of the street had been subsumed by a peculiar kind of intimacy. Everything serious in human nature seemed to be called to the surface: thoughts about limits and infinity, about powerlessness and sublimity. The stonework threw into relief all that was compromised an dull, and kindled a yearning for one to live up to its perfections.

After ten minutes in the cathedral, a range of ideas that would have been inconceivable outside began to assume an air of reasonableness. Under the influence of the marble, the mosaics, the darkness and the incense, it seemed entirely probable that Jesus was the Son of God and has walked across the Sea of Galilee. In the presence of alabaster statues of the Virgin Mary set against rhythms of red, green and blue marble, it was no longer surprising to think that an angel might at any moment choose to descend through the layers of dense London cumulus, enter through a window in the nave, blow a golden trumpet and make an announcement in Latin about a forthcoming celestial event.

Concepts that would have sounded demented forty metres away, in the company of a party of Finnish teenagers and vats of frying oil, had succeeded – through a work of architecture – in acquiring supreme significance and majesty. "  Chapter IV, part 4,  pp. 108-11

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sound Off Experience:Silent disco/quiet clubbing

So ..

Tim Neufeld was minding his own business,

 hosting his  usual  U2 concert afterglow show "The Crystal Ballroom" show on Periscope...on   location from NYC.

  Look at the scene he

 stumbled upon.

 It was a "silent disco."

Tim scored a spontaneous interview with the head of the company (I will add Tim's Periscope video when it becomes available here.  Of course if you are reading this on Saturday/Sunday, it's still live on Periscope here)
Read all about it at

From their website:

Shhh. Incredible events in progress.

Host unforgettable experiences using our wireless headphone technology, which lets your guests tune in to up to three channels of audio from DJs, event leaders and multimedia presentations.
Only those with headphones can hear, so your chosen audience is immersed completely in the experience — whether it’s a silent dance party or yoga on the beach.
Anywhere within the 200-yard range of our transmitter is an area for you to create unique experiences that your guests will rave about forever.

Sound Off experiences are perfect for:

  • Outdoor events
  • Music festivals
  • Corporate events
  • Trade shows
  • Conventions
  • Weddings
  • Speaking engagements
  • Guided group experiences

From Baptist to Anabaptist (Greg Boyd)

Which Dave Matthews?: "as horny as Lil Wayne" and/or as Godhaunted and apocalyptic as anybody?

Rolling Stone once called Frank Zappa a " Mensch with a dirty mind."
                              Man, could he pray through his guitar (with "palpale holiness")..even if he didn't                                 believe in God.

More recently, RS has suggested that Dave Matthews is

one of rock's most underrated Pretty Complex Dudes – as horny as Lil Wayne, as troubled as Thom Yorke, able to growl "war is the most vulgar madness" like the American Sting he's always sort of been. He's got a beige-Baja-shirt rep and a black-turtleneck soul.  -link
Great point, since as  Mr and Mrs David Dark have masterfully noted Yorke (and his Radiohead) are absolutely apoclayptic and "very resurrection."    (Back to Zappa, Rolling Stone, in the link above,  Joe’s Garage is  Zappa’s Apocalypse Now.)  

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 apocalypsehas 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

One heteroclite has suggested/joked that half of Dave's songs are about God, and half are about sex...
....and maybe even the sexsongs are eventually Godsongs (or is it vice versa?)
 Makes sense; as Rob Bell says in "Sex. God.,' "This  is about that"

How do you hear/read/experience/interpret Dave Matthews?
Some deep meditations/prayers/laments about and to God (or "God as a symbol"):

 Then check out  these links at own risk, NSFC (:

Rob Bell's "other" heresy: "The fruit in Garden of Eden was a watermelon" (:

Rob Bell clearly and publicly proclaimed, of the Eden fruit of Genesis 3:6 that..

"It was a watermelon"  -Rob Bell, p, 186, "Sex.God."

There it is, flat out, unapologetically and without bothering with a defense or explanation.
No citing of scholars who have made that case.

Isn't it  unbelievable that the heresy hunters haven't picked up on this, and crucified him for it?

Isn't it amazing that the phase "It was a watermelon"  by Rob Bell only produces two Google returns, and both are simply from PDF versions of the book!?

Apparently, the interwebs have never talked about this until now.  Once again, this humble blog (that I'm proud of)  changes that as soon as I hit 'publish.'

Yes, granted it's a footnote.  But doesn't anyone read footnotes?
Does no one besides Rob and meself know it's even there?

Photo evidence, footnote 62:

What do you think is up with this?
Is he kidding; does he believe it;  is it a sly subversive bone thrown for the bloggers?

And no one blogging about it?
(OK Later note: I found two reviews (Heathersy  and Ordinary Visionary  which  briefly mention it.  Surprisingly, neither spend much time on it.  One wonders if it's a joke where they "missed the punchline" and the other...amazingly...assumes he meant it literally, and doesn't engage him)

Though the watermelon reference  predates the "Love Wins" controversy, Rob has long had to deal with the heresy hunters. Did he bury this as a throwaway/ Easter Egg?


Remember how David Crowder subverted the copyright page in his own book?

Note that Bell often saves some of his best material..and quips...for the footnotes.
Click one of the links above to read these footnote numbers:

81, 117, 156

And of course, #77..see below.  It's about his claim that the original Hebrew for the female lover's quote in  Song of Solomon was "I have a headache."

Also note a good book to help you "get" Rob Bell;
and this on "the agony of explanation."

Don't hear what he's not saying.

"Sex.God" is a good book.
( Qualifier: As Ben Witherington has noted, Bell..and Ray VanDerLaan, whom Bell draws from.. may sometimes jump too quickly on  Jewish  traditions sources that may or may not make his case)
 No joke.
 Sell some watermelons and buy it.

 Or dare to read it via illegal PDFs above while they last...

PS Maybe it's a watermelon in Easter Hay (:

Thursday, July 09, 2015

"Where is your limp?"

photos credit

I appreciate hearing
                          nonstandard and exceptional

 interview questions (or answers) for job/ministry staff applicants.
(For a good time, start at this link: HOW TO KEEP A HEALTHY LEVEL OF INSANITY)

 I was once told that the first question is always "Is there anything in your past, that if we knew it would embarrass you or talk us out of hiring you."


 If that fails, "Have you looked at pornography in the last month?"

Probably not the best openers...or are they?

 In "Death by Church, " (great book),  Mike Erre writes:

David Gibbons, a pastor a pastor of another church in our area, once spoke to our staff and said that in his church, three questions are asked of any potential leader or staff member.  I have hung on to two of the questions he mentioned as a helpful way to cultivate an environment where weaknesses, brokenness, and failure are openly discussed and dealt with. The first question is,

         where is your limp?
                                            [emphasis mine -dw]

The question is derived  from the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel in Genesis 32.  His struggle with God results in a limp that Jacob walks with the rest of his life " What lies behind this question is the assumption that God uses our weakness and struggle ( 2 Corinthians 12:1-10) and that this becomes our platform for ministry   People who are not in touch with their own brokenness are hindered in ministry ... For me, this rings trueMy entire ministry is different because I have struggled (or am struggling) with  struggled (or am struggling) with food, pornography, anxiety and depression, and greed.   I have learned that our strength is not always the most qualifying thing about us.
               -Erre, "Death by Church" p. 247 ( read the whole section here)

I love that #1. . I like #2  ("What is in your hand?") a lot.
 But Erre never reveals the third, and I don't find anywhere online where Gibbons mentions it. Hmm..I'll tag them both, and ask.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Shoutout to Father Scully

photo credit

Even though Christinaity Today once accused Bono of having a "weak ecclesiology"
(...don't worry, he goes to church more often since that article (:..._)

It's commonly known that Bono/ U2 et al have pastor/priest/spiritual leader  friends mentors,
                       and have often seriously sought them out:

Eugene Peterson,        
                   Jack Heaslip  (North Star)
                              Bill Hybels and Rick Warren
                                        Billy Graham ("the voice that gave my life a Rhyme":
                               Tony Camplolo
                                                    Jim Wallis  
 Michael W Smith
                     Brennan manning.

But what so you know about  Father Scully at Notre Dame?
See this bio.
See this

I doubt if the female scream at 16 sec mark below  is for Father Scully(:
...................... though Bono introduces him right after that.

Shoutout also  at 9:30ff here:

Craig Keener: Bad Bible Proof-Texts