Friday, June 30, 2006

No puns..

Uncensored...and NOT an owner's manual!

"Not a book of isolated statements that float, unattached, out in space, not an owner's manual, not a collection of data.

We have to embrace the Bible as the wild, uncensored, passionate account it is of people experiencing the living God."

-Rob Bell, "Velvet Elvis"

Chapter 3 online

"You Might Be Emerging IF.."

Watch out, you may get pegged:

"You May be Emerging' IF..."

on a more serious note:

"Why iIam NOT Emergent"

"Increased our attendance by 300 per cent!!"

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Video Venues and the Papacy of Celebrity

I had highlighted this section when I read Shane Hipps (some interviews and articles here) excellent book...and this topic arises on our I am glad it was excerpted on "Out of Ur," so I could post it below:

June 28, 2006
Video Venues and the Papacy of Celebrity: Why changing the methods always changes the message

by Shane Hipps

Most people spend a significant part of the week looking at screens; television screens, movie screens, computer screens—in fact, you’re looking at one right now. But traditionally Sunday morning was not a screen-time. Then came PowerPoint. First the hymnal was replaced and now many churches are substituting 3-D preachers with 2-D digital projections. Shane Hipps, Lead Pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Phoenix, Arizona, has written a new book that asks us to explore the implications of new technology on our ministries. Below is an excerpt from The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church (Zondervan, 2006).

One of the increasingly popular initiatives in the North American evangelical church is the use of multi-site, video-venue worship services. This is a model where multiple congregations are sprinkled throughout a city or campus, but one preacher is piped in to each gathering via video. Its proponents argue such a method offers the best of both worlds—you don’t have to commute, you get to worship your way, and you don’t have to sacrifice great preaching.

I was visiting a church recently on the day they were launching their multi-site service. I watched the sermon live, while two other gatherings in other parts of the city watched via a large projection screen. It was a stellar sermon by an extraordinarily gifted preacher well-known in the Christian subculture. But the most striking feature of the sermon was that his message was being directly contradicted by his medium—the video venue.

Here’s how. The pastor was speaking on the difference between talent and character and how too often we emphasize talent in ministry more than character. He began with an object lesson. There on stage next to him was a huge dictionary set on a high stool. As he spoke he began to dispense several cans of whipped cream on top of the dictionary, creating a white fluffy mound. When he finished he told us that the dictionary was our character, the firm foundation. The whipped cream was our talent, something very attractive but lacking substance. After this set up he concluded by saying, “If your ministry is based on character it will last, but if your ministry is based on talent…” he paused, and then swatted the mound of whipped cream. In one swoop it was all over the floor “…your ministry will suffer when times get tough.”

His message was excellent and told an important truth—ministry is supported by character, not talent. However, the medium of the video venue had a subliminal message of its own. The message of a video venue sermon is that the authority to preach is derived from talent and celebrity not character or communal affirmation. A televised event doesn’t communicate anything about a person’s character. It can only affirm or deny talent and attractiveness. We don’t generally watch movies or TV shows because we respect or want to know the personal character of the actors. We watch because we are attracted by their beauty, talent, or celebrity.

Character requires some personal knowledge of one another. This personal knowledge is impossible for the satellite congregations who only see the pastor’s performance. The congregation witnessing the sermon via video can only assess whether the preacher has talent, not whether he or she has character.

Not only did the medium undermine this particular preacher’s message, the extensive financial outlay required to pull off a video-venue service communicates to the congregation that only a preacher with a golden tongue has authority to preach the gospel. It conveys the unspoken belief that no one in the satellite congregation has the authority to speak to their context because preaching requires unique talents that only a few actually possess. Like the wizard in The Wizard of Oz, only the larger-than-life giants, painted by pixelated light, and hovering above the congregation, possess these elusive talents. The medium itself nurtures an elite priestly class in which the preacher is set apart from the people. With video venues, we can say goodbye to the priesthood of all believers and hello to the papacy of celebrity.

Even if this attitude is explicitly denied by the preacher, the very medium reinforces the belief that only talented people with some degree of celebrity can or should preach. Even if lay people were encouraged to share a word from God before the church, the pressure is too much for most of us. Few people possess the confidence and charisma to preach before thousands, let alone the unflinching gaze of the camera vicariously channeling the eyes of others who witness and study every amplified movement or mistake.

My critique of this situation has nothing to do with the preacher’s message, character, or intention. In fact I have great respect and admiration for this person. The problem comes from a lack of awareness for how media shapes our message in worship. When we ignore the power of the chosen media, its effects often go undetected. As a result, we fail to perceive the unintended consequences of our decisions and the ways our media undermines our message.

Posted by UrL on June 28, 2006 12:00 AM

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Man in tutu changes molecular structure of a rabbit thru prayer

Interview from Dazed and Confused magazine:

Bono: Two of the most inspiring stories of the last 50 years to have come out of South Africa, one has been well recorded, that’s Nelson Mandela. But the second story is the Truth and Reconciliation campaign. Archbishop Tutu has created a model that you could apply to the Middle East, to Northern Island, to Bosnia. It’s the most extraordinary thing to see relatives of murdered protestors standing in front of the people who shot their wife and ask them questions like: ‘Do you remember a woman wearing a green dress, she was waving at the time when you shot her.’ And then with tears rolling down their face, both of them often, the victims and the perpetrators, and talking. Just to get to the truth, not to get to a result that puts people behind bars. I think that it is the most extraordinary jump in human consciousness that I’ve heard about in a very long time.

We visited the headquarters of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we met with Desmond Tutu. So we all walked into the room, just completely honoured to meet him. We were exchanging pleasantries and then he just turned around and said, ‘Can we bow our heads now please?’ We all had to bow our heads and he made this prayer, which just changed the molecular structure of the room and everyone in it, and suddenly we weren’t tourists any more; suddenly he was reminding us of what was really going on here. I asked him a rather stupid question afterwards. I said, ‘Do you get time with all this work for prayer and meditation yourself?’ And he just looked at me, threw a scowl at me, a real rebuke. He just stopped in his tracks and said, ‘How do you think we would do this if we didn’t take time out for prayer?’ I was scolded by the great man!

And of course he’s all laughs normally.

Then afterwards he brought us upstairs and said, ‘Look, I have a few people who would like to meet the band,’ and we said okay, great. So we went upstairs. There were six hundred people sitting there. He brought us out and said, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I have for you, to sing a song, U2!’, and we had no instruments, nothing! We just looked at each other, just like rabbits in the headlights.

The only thing I could think of singing was ‘Amazing Grace’, which turns out was appropriate; it is a story of grace interrupting karma. If Nelson Mandela’s story is the most inspirational for their liberty, this is for our liberty

"His prayer changed the molecular structure of the room...."
That is not a throwaway expression..

Science, physics, Christian and non have evidenced how prayer apparently literally can do just that

Note/heads up, most of these websites are not specifically Christian, but that's part of the point..folks are bumping into the God-factor:
for example: as retrieved on Aug 12, 2005 06:48:49 GMT.

and of course Larry Dorsey's works on prayer/healing

matrix really reloaded

E. Stanley Jones: what if we just got honest?

E. Stanley Jones :

"At our 'Open Heart' meetings, 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."

The 77s may (again)have said it best..."Pray Naked."

SubversiveOrthodoxy: Apostles Create Quiet;Don'tChangeTheWorld

SubversiveOrthodoxy:Apostles Create Quiet;Don'tChangeTheWorld

From the amazing "Subversive Orthodoxy: Outlaws, Revolutionaries and Other Christians in Disguise", in which Richard Inchausti (great interview with him at this link)draws from Blake, Kierrkegaard, Berdayev, Chesterton, Dostyoesky, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy, Wendell Berry, Marshall McLuhan and Jacques Ellul, Girard et al:

"Seduction resides in the safeguarding of alien-ness..." -Jean Baudrillard

The point that many moderns fail to grasp about Christian thinkers is that they have very little interest in changing the world. They seek merely to see things clearly in the light of God's hidden logic. And if by so doing they expose the narcissism of their contemporaries, the false agendas of their leaders, the didactic pornography of their artists and entertainers-well, that is a ll to the good. But unlike their more utilitarian peers, they desire to live in the truth even more than they desire to be effective in the world.

...Evil manifests itself in absence of perception, and in the negation of Being more than it does in the presence of stupidity, violence or even hatred. It is more often than not a species of folly-a commitment to "virtues" that are not really virtues...It wears a suit or a uniform, waves a flag and has credentials. That is why the primary moral task from a Christian perspective is first to perceive vevil. And this requires that one see what isn't there and through things that are. This is possible only for someone who is suspious of virture and believes in a greater reality than his own.

What the Christian mysteries require from us is not that we construct a better world, but that we love and serve the one we are given. As one Parisian graffiti artist wrote in 1968, : "the intellectuals have hitherto only changed the world, the point is to understand it." This is a decidedly contemplative observation, one that confirms Blake's suspisions of the new aesceticism and Kierkegaards' view that even if somene were to speak the Word of God directly today, no one in the modern world would hear it, simply because there is too mucdh noise and distraction. The function of the modern apostle, therefore, is to create the silent contemplative places where individuals can e xperience truth for themselves..



Friday, June 23, 2006

Organized Loneliness

"Nevertheless, organized loneliness is considerably more dangerous than the unorganized impotence of all those who are ruled by the tyrannical and arbitrary will of a single man. its danger is that it threatens to ravage the world as we know it-a world which everywhere seems to have come to an end-before a new beginning rising from this end has had time to assert itself."

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism.. p.478

whole chapter here.

God loves donkeys, sweat, entrails and menstruation

God loves donkeys, sweat, entrails and menstruation

Peter J. Leithart, Against Christianity, pp44ff:

'Practical' Theology departments at seminaries do not make theology more practical. They ensure that theology, oustide the PT department, will remain practical--that it will remain theology..

..Theology is bad enough, but modern theology is theology cultivated into idolatry. Bowing before science, social science, or philosophy, modern theology has adjusted its distinctive language and insight to conform to the common sense of modernity. Metaphysics or evolutionary science or liberal political theory or whatever determines in advance what can be true of God and His ways. . .

Theology is a specialized, professional language, often employing obscure (Latin and Greek) terms that are never used by anyone but theologians, as if theologians live in and talk about a different world from the one mortals inhabit.

Theology functions sociologically like other professional languages - to keep people out and to help the members of the guild to identify with one another.

Whereas the Bible talks about trees and stars, about donkeys and barren women, about kings and queens and carpenters....

...Theology is a "Victorian" enterprise, neoclassically bright and neat and clean, nothing out of place.
Whereas the Bible talks about hair, blood, sweat, entrails, menstruation and genital emissions.

Here's an experiment you can do at any theological library. You even have my permission to try this at home..

Step 1: Check the indexes of any theologian you choose for any of the words mentioned above. (Augustine does not count. Augustines' theology is as big as reality. Or bigger.)

Step 2: Check the Bible concordance for the same words.

Step 2: Ponder these questions: Do theologians talk about the world the same way the Bibke does? Do theologians talk about the same world the Bible does?

Peter J. Leithart, Against Christianity, pp44ff

actual photo of church

..or you, or me, or life, or emotions, or reality, or God....I probably don't need to explain more (only 10% of an iceberg is visible above water; thus the 'tip of the iceberg', etc.)


An amazing blog from Laura...speaks for itself:

cameroon, africa. 28 days away.


what if we don't get there?what if our flight goes wrong?
what if we get lost?
what if we lose our luggage?
what if i forget my Bible?
what if i don't know any verses?
what if i can't back up what i say?
what if i screw it up?
what if no one understands what i'm saying?
what if i make a fool of myself?
*even worse..what if i make a fool of God?
what if i stumble over my words?
what if i go blank?
what if i say something offensive or do something offensive?
what if He doesn't show up in me?
what if He leaves me there standing by myself? high and dry.
what if i doubt too much?
what if i get sick?
what if things go wrong?
what if i can't fix it?
what if i can't fix myself?
what if i can't fix them?

am i supposed to fix them? do they need to be fixed? is it supposed to be all about them or is there something about ME that i need to focus on first? or even throughout the entire time? or even still long after i get back?


i don't understand why God would pick me. Laura Marie Moorehead. He would pick ME!! out of everyone He could have picked. He chose me. i'm the youngest of the group. the one that my leader, halfway through the semester, said:

"i didn't know you were a freshman. i didn't know you were that young. i didn't want anyone that young on this did i let you on this team???"

i mean...what is that supposed to mean? did chinaka just screw up when he sent the acceptance letters to the team or did God just block my age and status out of chinaka's mind? was i a mistake to be on this team?

i'm not strong enough.

there is no way i can do this.

hebrews 11:6 "and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him"

what if i lose my faith? what if i can't find it again? what if i'm challenged so much that i just give up? i don't want to give up! i don't want to lose it!

give me strength.

Laura Moorehead

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"That should be equally offensive to all."

Tom ends his post on the immigration issue with: "That should be equally offensive to all." Now you know you have to read it!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Frightened Black Family Flees Postmodern Church

Frightened Black Family Flees Postmodern Church
WESTCHESTER, NY – "Crazy white people," are the words Curtis Glover used to sum up his experience at Spirit Depot, a church touting itself as 'a postmodern expression of Jesus apprentices' in Westchester, New York. Glover, along with his...

continued at

Thankd God for "Postmodern Negro," a great blog!

Peterson on the Herods

The Antidote to Worldy Power, Techniques and Methods:
The Fear-of-the-Lord
by Eugene H. Peterson

This is an excerpt from Eugene Peterson's book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. (pp. 294-301)

Against using worldly means in the church

A member of the Herod family makes an appearance in each of the trials – Herod Antipas at Jesus’ trial and Herod Agrippa Ii at Paul’s trial. They play mirror roles in the proceedings, mere walk-on parts, but the presence provokes this reflection: the Jesus community gave astonishingly little attention to the World. If any name was synonymous with the World in that first Christian century it would have been Herod, any Herod. The Herod epitomized the vanities of the World, what we sometimes refer to as “worldliness,” matters of influence and status, pomp and circumstance, self-indulgence, what still gets summarized in the phrase, “getting on in the world.” It is more than curious that the Jesus community continues to court Herod-like people in hopes of gaining their approval, recruiting them as allies, and using their influence in the cause of the kingdom.

Herod Antipas and Herod Agrippa have long since receded into history as more or less stock figures for spiritual dilettantism and sham showmanship. But in their own time Antipas and Agrippa were impressive. All the same, the Jesus community was not impressed. The presence of Antipas and Agrippa at the trials gave the community access to men in positions of influence…If you wanted to “get ahead” in that kind of world, you couldn't do better than take a lesson or two from the Herods. They wrote the book on “leadership principles” for the world in which the Jesus community was being formed.

But the community showed no signs of being interested in their “book.” Jesus and Paul on trial before the World could easily have interpreted the presence of a Herod at the trial as a link to influencing the Roman governors – the Herods, after all, were fellow countrymen with influential ties to Rome; the Herods could well serve as a bridge for getting the message of the gospel to the most powerful political and cultural leaders of the age.

The Herods more or less epitomize the kind of people that the Jesus community is so often drawn in hopes of gaining their approval, recruiting them as allies, and using their influence in the cause of the kingdom.

But neither Jesus nor Paul did it. Basically their attitude is one of detached indifference. There is no fawning, no sign of what so often comes out among us in the presence of important people as, “Oh what an opportunity! Let’s make the most of this…these are influential leaders.” Jesus virtually ignores them. Paul faithfully gives witness but with no attempt to adapt or curry favor.

What is significant here for understanding the community vis a vis the World is this: the Herods offer the possibility of influence with Rome. These men are masters at “influence.” Both Herods are curious about the men on trial: Antipas curious about Jesus, Agrippa curious about Paul. This curiosity is ripe for exploitation; it can be used for the kingdom. But neither Jesus nor Paul exploited it; they do not “use” it; they ignore it.

And why? Because Jesus and the Jesus community know that the conditions in which the gospel makes its way in the World have little to do with influence and wealth and power. The non-negotiable context from which they work is made up of Jesus, the cross and the Trinity. Neither celebrity nor “opportunity” distracts either Jesus or the Jesus community.

The world is a seductive place. Once we begin to cater to its interests, appeal to its curiosities, shape our language to its idioms and syntax, embrace its criteria of relevance, we abandon our basic orientation.

Too often what took place a the trials of Jesus and Paul, trials that put Jesus and Paul in contrast to the way of the World, recedes from our awareness and is replaced by assumptions dominated by opportunity, technique, and accomplishment. Jesus and Paul were not seduced… [the Herods] were people who knew how to get things done. For those who want to do great things for God, the Herodians obviously offer great promise. But nothing could be more obvious and clear than that Jesus and Paul took “the road less traveled,” the way ending in death and crucifixion for Jesus and imprisonment and death for Paul.

…After assimilating just what it is that God has done and is doing in creation and salvation, this is the most difficult and at the same time the most important thing to embrace in the Christian life: that we become willing participants not only in what God does, but in the way He does it. We have all grown up and been immersed in a pre-resurrection world of means in which power and money, information and technology. Lust and avarice, pride and anger are the usual and approved ways for accomplishing the work of the world. They work, as a matter of fact, very well. They work efficiently. A clever and determined person can get al most anything he or she wants by perfecting and practicing these ways. The Herods certainly did.

But if Luke’s last word is right and accurately represents Paul and the Jesus community, these ancestors of ours are well on their way to a perceptive, discerning engagement in using the means, the only means, appropriate for doing gospel work.

“Unhindered” is just the right word. It tells us that all the difficulties or obstacles that loom large in an unbaptised imagination are simply of no account in the agenda of the kingdom, where the resurrection, the Spirit’s action in bringing Jesus alive into this present, defines the means. “Unhindered” connotes a kind of effortlessness. Paul, representing the Jesus community in Rome and as such witness to the resurrection, is no longer competing with the world’s means. His being there is enough: available; accessible to others without raising his voice, without fighting his way free of the imprisoning chain, without being diminished by the unlistening, unseeing Jewish leadership; free to offer up in intercession the massacred bodies of the Christians on the altar of the cross of Jesus. It is not exactly doing nothing. Something like a sacrifice is involved – in the words of one of our better spiritual theologians, “the suppression of self-consciousness, and a certain precise tilt of the will, so that the will becomes transparent and hallow, a channel for the work.”

…Learning how to live as the community of Christ is largely a matter of becoming familiar with and disciplines to the means by which the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work formationally among us: namely by the Holy Spirit from God’s side and prayerful obedience from ours, by hospitably including the unwanted outsiders of the world into the community, and by cultivating a detachment from the world’s insiders and their ways, especially as these ways are exemplified in the leaders and celebrities.

The community of Jesus betrays its master far more often and damagingly by the way it speaks and acts than by anything it ever says or does. Anger and arrogance, violence and manipulation rank far higher than theological error or moral lapses in desecrating the holy, resurrection community.

So – unhindered. This is a remarkable and memorable last word that Luke uses to characterize Paul and, by extension, the Jesus community. And it is timely today for the Jesus community, which is constantly tempted to use the world’s means to do Jesus’ work…it is understandable that we will bring what we have learned in these various settings [from the world] into the church. But more often than not what we have learned isn’t appropriate in this community—worse than inappropriate, it is wrong. The community of the resurrection is unique. How do we participate appropriately in this holy community?... The short answer to the “how” question, as in the parallel areas of creation and history, is to cultivate the fear-of-the-Lord…Practicing the fear-of-the-Lord gradually but surely shifts our attention from a preoccupation with what we can or should do to an attentive absorption in what God has been doing and the way He continues doing it in Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

-Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. (pp. 294-301)

Grab a Twinkie and think: does Dr. Dobson care?

The powerful, provocative quote I am about to excerpt is from the Chris Seay (et al) book, "Faith of my Fathers: Conversations with Three Generations of Pastors about Church, Ministry and Culture,"..

.. a book about which Laura Wimmer says, "Wow. Here are some of the many things I like about Chris Seay's new book: it is really honest,and really heartfelt,and really funny,and really thought-provoking, and in a strange-but-true way very really Trinitarian....Also, I don't know any other books that talk about both Twinkies and Midrash."

First, there is apparenly LOTS of discussion about twinkies and midrash, as a simple googling will betray:

Secondly, if the quote is provocative, try the other article ( that St. Duncan sent in) by same author ...Donald Miller, author of "Blue Like Jazz".... We gave it the title,
"Lotsa Naked People & The Campus Confessional "
It's posted here. the quote to come. Save the hate e-mails. No, I don't think Dobson is all bad; I appreciate lots about him. And I wouldn't come on as strong as Miller. But he represents a strong version of what many, many are feeling and can't articulate without being seen as absolute idiots/heretics. He must be grasped and heard; the point is prophetic important..

Part of why he comes on strong is this is a recorded conversation; part of why he comes on strong is someone had to say something, and the first person to do so will likely paint it large. Don't miss the point. Read carefully,and think three 1/2 days before responding..maybe even have a Twinkie first (or fast!)..

For a guy like Dobson-as good a person and teacher as he is-I don't think he cares about whether homosexuals go to heaven or hell. I think he cares about building a utopia. He cares about building a Salt Lake City, Utah for Christians. I realize that sounds strong, but if he cared about whether homosexuals knew Christ, he would print tracts for homosexuals, not fight Congress....

....In my opinion-and this is me judging him (Dobson) from a couple weeks I spent with Dr. Dobson-that ministry (helping homosexuals out of the lifestyle)is a token. I would bet he spends more money lobbying Congress than he does converting gays. He has to throw a bone to some sort of conversion ministry in order to avoid the label. But his money is where his heart is, plain and simple. The only reason he is doing that is so he can say he's got this thing on the backburner, so you can't tell him he hates people. I don't think he really cares about the grace of Jesus as much as he does the morals of God.

He will not speak against Mormonism because he is a moralist and they a re moralists, too--they have this in common. I think Dobson uses the battle or war metaphor almost exclusively in dealing with these issues. I am not saying he is a bad person and we should be against him; I am saying his motive is morality and not the gospel This, to me , is the difference bewteen the two arguments:
One wants people to know Christ.
The other wants people to stop sinning and ruining our country.
-Donald Miller, p 142-43

Read more on morality vs. the gospel by -Len Hjalmarson

"God's revelation has nothing whatever to do with morality."
-Jacques Ellul

and how bout shaking it up?:

Praying in Public

Two conversations on praying in public:

1)Christ Killers & Praying at Burger King
2)Pray so men can see you

"Jesus told us not to pray so that men could see us, which we have interpreted as a call to hold prayer vigils on the Capitol steps. so that Congress will stop disobeying what Jesus said not to do" (Mt.6:5). -A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking

Thursday, June 08, 2006

All Fall Down

Here's a video of "Falling at Your Feet," a lot of classic gems (songs and restaurants), buried in an obscure CD (neighborhood). In this case, buried in the Million Dolllar Hotel soundtrack, along with a few other great U2 songs.

See Philippians 2:5-11, or this paraphrase below.

This TV version is not the best version; but it's the only one caught on the comments at commercial break:

Falling At Your Feet

Bono/Daniel Lanois

every chip from every cup
every promise given up
every reason that's not enough
is falling, falling at Your feet

every band elastic limit
every race when there's nothing in it
every winner that's lost a ticket
is falling, falling at Your feet
i've come crawling, falling at Your feet

everyone who needs a friend
every life that has no end
every knee not ready to bend
is falling, falling at Your feet
i've come crawling, now i'm falling at Your feet

all fall down (all the manic dazed faces that you pull)
all fall down (all the action is not under your control)
all fall down (the graffiti rolling down off of your tongue)
all fall down (and the compromise you make for some)

every teenager with acne
every face that's spoiled by beauty
every adult tamed by duty
they're all falling at Your feet

every foot in every face
every cop's stop who finds the grace
every prisioner in the maze
every hand that needs an ace
is falling, falling at Your feet
i've come crawling, and i'm falling at Your feet

(all fall down) all the books you never read
(all fall down) just started
(all fall down) all the meals you rushed
(all fall down) never tasted

every eye closed by a bruise
every player who just can't lose
every pop star howling abuse
every drunk back on the booze
all falling at Your feet
oh i'm falling at Your feet

(all fall down) all the information
(all fall down) all the big ideas
(all fall down) all the radio waves
(all fall down) electronic seas
(all fall down) how to navigate
(all fall down) how to simply be
(all fall down) to know when to wait
(all fall down) this plain simplicity
(all fall down) in whom shall i trust
(all fall down) how might i be still
(all fall down) teach me to surrender
(all fall down) not my will, Thy will

The gospel message is NOT "Jesus died on the cross for your sins so you can go to heaven when you die."

The gospel message is NOT "Jesus died on the cross for your sins so you can go to heaven when you die."

Check this out, but before you do; give a thoughtful biblical alternative definition.

From Butts to Bibles..That's Elevation!

I thought this video was funny even before I knew it was a parody of "Baby Got Back," a classic rap song by Sir Mix-A-Lot. And I thought I was in touch with pop culture! (I guess I'm not Mark Deraud yet!) . The original (rated R like many rap songs) begins:

"I like big butts and I cannot lie/You other brothers can’t deny/That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist/And a round thing in your face/ You get sprung.."

This remake makes it:

"I like big Bibles I can not lie, / You Christian brothers can't deny, / When a girl walks in with a KJV* / And a bookmark in Proverbs, You get stoked"

Now that's what the rabbis (and Bono) meant by 'elevation.' ( And maybe that's why Switchfoot and Dylan did "Victoria's Secret" ads).
But it still doesn't justify this(: ..)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Crash of Rhinos...a Committee of Buzzards

"Rhino Crash Church"

from The Barbarian Way, Erwin McManus

A few years ago I took my kids to a wildlife animal park near San Diego. As we rode on a tram through the open terrain, a guide pointed out the unique features of the different species that we encountered. I suppose I always knew it in part, but I had not come to realize how most groups of animals have unique names or designations when they dwell together.

With insects most of us know that bees are called swarms, and ants are called colonies. Among ocean life, I was aware that whales are pods, and fish are schools. Cattle are herds, birds are flocks, and if you watch Lion King, you know a tribe of lions is a pride. If you grew up in the country, you might know that crows are murders. Maybe the most unnerving one is an ambush of tigers.

I was surprised to learn that a group of buzzards waiting around together to feast on leftover carnage is called a committee. Just this one insight is worth the price of the whole book. This explains so much of what’s going on in churches—a lot of committees waiting around to live off human carnage.

Flamingos are called flamboyants, which for some reason reminds me of TV evangelists. And the less glamorous owls are known as parliaments. They do seem sort of British.

But my favorite of all is the group designation for rhinos. You see, rhinos can run thirty miles an hour, which is pretty fast when you consider how much weight they’re pulling. They’re actually faster than squirrels, which can run up to twenty-six miles an hour. And even then who’s going to live in dread of a charging squirrel! (Sorry—that was a bit off the point.) Running at thirty miles an hour is faster than a used Pinto will go. Just one problem with this phenomenon. Rhinos can see only thirty feet in front of them. Can you imagine something that large moving in concert as a group, plowing ahead at thirty miles an hour with no idea what’s at thirty-one feet? You would think that they would be far too timid to pick up full steam, that their inability to see far enough ahead would paralyze them to immobility. But with that horn pointing the way, rhinos run forward full steam ahead without apprehension, which leads us to their name.

Rhinos moving together at full speed are known as a crash. Even when they’re just hanging around enjoying the watershed, they’re called a crash because of their potential. You’ve got to love that. I think that’s what we’re supposed to be. That’s what happens when we become barbarians and shake free of domestication and civility. The church becomes a crash. We become an unstoppable force. We don’t have to pretend we know the future. Who cares that we can see only thirty feet ahead? Whatever’s at thirty-one feet needs to care that we’re coming and better get out of the way.

We need to move together as God’s people, a barbarian tribe, and become the human version of the rhino crash. The future is uncertain, but we need to move toward it with confidence. There’s a future to be created, a humanity to be liberated. We need to stop wasting our time and stop being afraid of what we cannot see and do not know. We need to move forward full force because of what we do know.

Yesterday Mariah was in a store with her mom. She saw a man working with fabrics, and for some reason he caught Mariah’s attention. Mariah looked at Kim and pointed to the man, and she said, “Mom, look at the man. He’s the loneliest person I’ve ever seen.” Mariah began to weep uncontrollably.

We may not be able to see what’s at thirty-one feet, but we don’t have to be blind to what’s right in front of us. There’s a world that desperately needs God, a world filled with loneliness, hopelessness, and fear. We have somehow become deaf to a cry that reaches heaven coming from the souls of men. But God hears.

Erwin McManus