Tuesday, August 29, 2006

St. Winky Dink and "Interactivity Church"

St. Winky Dink and "Interactivity Church"


It was the first interactive TV program.
Bill Gates mentions it as breakthrough technology.
Yet I have met not one person..besides my family..who remembers ever watching it.

Do you?

It was "Winky Dink."

I saw that blank stare.

Since the church needs to learn about "interactivity" and "audience participation" ..as well as pioneering technology which flattens hierarchy and midwifes EPIC times....
I have sensed that there was something to learn from this show, which ran in the 1950s, and again in the 60's (the only version I remember, thank you!), when I caught it.

(The highlight was the "magic screen" that allowed us kids to actually "participate" in the program!

It is a miracle anytime kids or other "laypeople" can participate! Very instructive that the official title was "Wink Dink AND YOU")

So I was thrilled to find the following upon praying-googling Winky Dink:

My memories of Winky-Dink over the years had grown understandably vague. All I
remembered was the screen and the rescue premise. I experienced blank stares
from fellow baby boomers when the revered one was mentioned. My husband and I
recently relocated to upper Michigan, and while we were building a house had
occasion to rent a home from a delightful local farmer and his wife.

"One day while chatting about childhood memories, the farmer mentioned a
"show he used to watch as a child, that no one ever acknowledged remembering" to
which I responded without hesitation at all - 'Winky Dink.'

"He was
astounded that of all the possibilities, I would pick the exact one, and an
instant friendship was sealed."
- Greyharein

Winky Dink and You was a favorite of kids everywhere, a show that was first broadcast in the
Fifties but I've met other people who remember it being on in the early Sixties.
With the recent return of the character, suddenly everyone wants to know - who
(or what) was it?

Read it all here.


"Creating Winky Dink and the participation technique now called 'interactivity'
was pure joy for both of us," Ed Wyckoff writes us. "Making it work was
explosive excitement from which we never recoveredas pure joy for both of us,"
Ed Wyckoff writes us.

May we never recover from the explosive excitement of actually letting all the saints have a part to play...in church!
Later edit: Now on YouTube:

"How Angry is Your City?"

Walter Wink, noting how the seven letters of Revelation are addressed to what could be translated as the "spirit" of each city-church, talks about each city having a "spirit", or corporate personality. Which makes sense if what the Bible callls "principalities" are sometimes literal ones; and there is such thing as systemic evil.

Since I answer "yes and amen" to both...

"MSN Health News" then asks us an important question/prayer:

"How Angry is Your City?"

The article even includes a Top (bottom?) 100 ranking..

Dang..my city is on the list.. makes me...uh, angry..

"I stole your sheep"

My friend St. Blondie, in a blog post about an R-rated slogan on a T-shirt (Blondie pictured here in a less offensive T), wondered aloud about the motives behind such a slogan . (Read it here)

But I fear we pastor types somtimes wear a similar slogan (OK, now you've got to grit your teeth and read the R-rated slogan for context...or make an educated guess):

"I stole your sheep (parishoner)."

We can be obsexxed with "Mine is bigger than yours" (church, I meant!); and resort to seducing stray and vulnerable sheep.

Local pastor Doug Lanier shared how when someone attends his church for the first time, and it is clear they are leaving another church, he makes sure they have had a closure meeting with their previous pastor.


But Doug... he's so fanatical as to actually obey Jesus' commands to visit the
one in prison..

If any of "my" sheep ever feel called to "switch shepherds," I hope they find one like Doug..

But oh, dear, that might make his church bigger than mine!!(:

Phillipians 2:1-11

Monday, August 28, 2006

He would fight the messianic battle--by losing it.

"Part of the Christian story (and for that matter, the Jewish and Muslim stories) is that human beings have been so seriously damaged by evil that what they need isn't simply better self-knowledge, or better social conditions, but help, and indeed rescue, from outside themselves.

God's plan to rescue the world from evil would be put into effect by doing its worst to the Servant--that is, to Jesus himself--and thereby exhausting its power.

God was about to act to bring in the kingdom, but in a way that none of Jesus's followers (despite his attempts to tell them) had anticipated. He would fight the messianic battle--by losing it.

The polarization between 'literal' and 'metaphorical' interpretation has become confused and confusing. People who find themselves getting trapped in it should take a deep breath, read some of the Bible's glorious metaphors, think about the concrete events that the writers were referring to, and begin again.

The church is the single, multiethnic family promised by the creator God to Abraham. It was brought into being through Israel's Messiah, Jesus; it was energized by God's Spirit; and it was called to bring the transformative news of God's rescuing justice to the whole creation . . . Many people today find it difficult to grasp this sense of corporate identity. We have been so soaked in the individualism of modern Western culture that we feel threatened by the idea of our primary identity being that of the family we belong to--especially when the family in question is so large, stretching across space and time. The church isn't simply a collection of isolated individuals, all following their own pathways of spiritual growth without much reference to one another . . . Private spiritual growth and ultimate salvation come rather as the byproducts of the main, central, overarching purpose for which God has called and is calling us. This purpose is clearly stated in various places in the New Testament: that through the church God will announce to the wider world that he is indeed its wise, loving, and just creator; that through Jesus he has defeated the powers that corrupt and enslave it; and that by his Spirit he is at work to heal and renew it. The church exists, in other words, for what we sometimes call 'mission': to announce to the world that Jesus is its Lord . . . Mission, in its widest as well as its more focused senses, is what the church is there for.

The new creation has already begun with the resurrection of Jesus, and God wants us to wake up now, in the present time, to the new reality . . . We are to live in the present darkness by the light of Christ, so that when the sun comes up at last we will be ready for it.

The fact that we can't ever earn God's favor by our own moral effort shouldn't blind us to the fact that the call to faith is also a call to obedience. It must be, because it declares that Jesus is the world's rightful Lord and Master"

-N.T. Wright

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

7 Provocative Questions

Get in on the fun by clicking here.

Here are the 'heavy seven' addressed there (feel free to post responses here or there):

1.)Convince someone who has not read these Wendell Berry and Parker Palmer yet of the need to wrestle with their writing and thought.

2)If you had a captive audience of all NorthAmerican megachurch pastors, who promised to carefully consider your advice, what would you say?

3)What do you say to the "Blah, blah, postmodernism, emerging church, new reformation...just a fad."?

4)You are on a desert island and only allowed 2 books, 2 Cds, 2 mentors by phone once a month , and 2 live people. What/who are they? (Amazing you have a phone and CD player, huh?)

5)What do you find are your most controversial beliefs, views, assumptions about church and/or culture?

6)What is the role of the pastor these days?

7)What is in the trunk of your car right now? (Hope it's not a who).

Time Travel part 2

In short, we need to study time travel; not necessarily so we can do it; but so that we can glean Kingdom principles from its theory (if not its practice!).

No I am not nuts. Not completely.

And I have even previously written on this crazy connection; drawing on far wiser souls and scholars than myself. I will do so again this time.

But perhaps a backtrack to that previous article for context would help

At leasr hear me out here.

Some assumptions about time travel, to be mentioned here, and unpacked later:

-Memory is time travel.

-Art is time travel.

-Instant Messaging is time travel.

-Prayer is time travel.

-The Kingdom itself is time travel.

That might (?) take some of the mystique and mystery out of such a loaded topic. You have participated in most; if not all of the above, right? You are already a time traveller.

You have already travelled "backwards" in time; or more appropriately said, from the future to the past. Not "back to the future," as the movie by that title would have it; but back from the future...

That such a direction in time travel is the normative, more natural flow is not only the common assumption among scientists (); but it is a basic assumption of the Christian faith.

Excuse me?

As Fuller Seminary theologian George Eldon Ladd (no nutcase) often famously keynoted (see especially in "The Presence of the Future,"and "A Theology of the New Testament", the scriptural phrase "Kingdom of God" is essentially interchangeable with what Jesus and the Jews called "the age to come." Christ often contrasted "this age" (earthly age) with "the age to come" (eschatological, future, heavenly age.) Ladd: “The presence of the Kingdom of God was seen as God’s dynamic reign invading the present age without (completely) transforming it into the age to come. ” (p.149)

Of course, Jesus really messed up the common theological assumptions and construct of the day when he announced that the Kingdom had in part already arrived. That was radical enough. To imply that the Kingom had come, no matter how imperfectly and partially, was inevitably to insinuate that the "age to come" had dawned, and in a sense the future had begun working its way "backwards" into the present age. But to insist that it had in part arrived, but arrived in Him (Matt. 4:17, Luke 11:20) was not only a claim to Messiahship, but a statement that shook to the core and discombubulated dearly-held theological constructs that his conservative listeners were sure were unshakable.

Thomas Cahill suggests that nothing less than the core gift of the Jews to Western Civilization...no, even stronger, the Jewish belief that actually "made Western civilization possible"...is the understanding/theology that time and life are narrative; a flow from beginning to end ; from creation and the past, through the present, on to the future and consummation (not cycilically like virtually every other ancient worldview and religion would have it); and definitely, decidedly not from future to present. .

Simply, and logically it would seem; they believed the future could not, or would not, visit the present or past. No wonder they objected to a Jewish Jesus who seemed to preach that it can also flow the other way around.

However, a core doctrine of quantum physics suggests that it can.

And the very core doctrine of Christ's Christianity demands that it must.

We have already tasted the powers of the future.

Don't take my word for it, though. At this point I am only quoting the Bible!

One not versed in the debates over time and science can easily miss the matter of factly-stated, yet jarring, time-travelling, quantum physics-ish proposal of the writer of the Hebrews: Believers are "those who have already tasted... the powers of the coming age." (2:3)

Time travel, if you will.

Okay, I have some tentative followers. But you want to know what practical difference all this makes.

And how in the world is Instant Messaging equivalent to time travel?

And if it indeed is, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China; or the cost of discipleship in your town and time?


To be continued.

"what the hell is it?"

Pardon that offensive title.
The reference is the old recurring Saturday Night Live skit...where the actors just stared at the camera and repeated cluelessly (as only Steve Martin and Bill Murray could do):

"What the hell is it?"

That's often how we respond to the question, "What is spiritual formation?"

I am so glad Len asked. I hope to come more to terms with "what the...uh, heaven" it is.

All that to say, watch Len's blog over the next couple weeks. He will be posting interviews with a few folk about what spiritual formation is. He started with my interview

Why Alfred E. Neuman Should Plant a Church

Many of you reading this are online right now because you are running from God.

Many of you need to try planting a church.

Bob Hyatt has just posted what is kind of a sequel to his classic "Why You Should Plant a Church." He just couldn't call it "Who Shouldn't Plant a Church." Click here to see what he called it..

...and to see Who might be calling you.


And I can (clearly) see- not everyone "has what it takes" at first blush.
But here's the thing... We serve a God who delights in using the most unlikely of people to accomplish His goals, to help advance His kingdom.
See, it's not as though I don't understand the whole assessment thing. Are you entrepreneurial enough? A risk taker? A leader??? Can you preach to thousands? Can you manage the business of church???
I understand it... I just think it's so much bull shitake...

...Should you plant a church? I don't know... That's between you and God.
But I think more of you should try.

-Bob Hyatt


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ok, I bit..."People I Really Want to Meet"

(buy the shirt here...great for pastors)

Since I made Len's short list of "People I Really Want to Meet," I took up the meme-challenge of creating my own list. No surprise Len is on it (would've been in on it, anyway). Thanks, hat tip, and trace this to Pernell Goodyear (who I wasn't familiar with, but now may have to add!)

In typical fashion, I went overboard..and a few of the folks are dead (no prob..it's my party)...and I tried to keep it under fifty..(:

Like Len, I kept it pretty current...or I would've had to invite folk like Madame Guyon and Soren Kierkegaard to the bash..

Hot tip: If you'd like to read this same list, but have at soudtracked by Bono's recent speech to pastors (Interview w/Bill Hybels), read it here on my Myspace page...blog on upper right.

The Jacques Brothers: Jacques Ellul/Jacques Derrida
Margaret Wheatley
Len Hjalmarson
Earl Crepps...the Coffee Drinkin' Fool
Christopher MacDonald
Bob Hyatt
Abbess Karen Ward
Hirsch and Frost
Robert Farrar Capon
Shane Hipps
Walter J. Ong
Doug Paggitt
Both Steve Taylors (blogger-author and singer-producer)
Beth Maynard
Jack Heaslip
Bruce Cockburn
Eugene Peterson
Rich Nathan
Brian Greene
Mike Roe
E. Stanley Jones
Dallas Willard
David Ruis
Douglas Hofstadter
Wolfgang and Mercy Simson
Paul and Ali Hewson and Dave Evans (Mr. and Mrs. Bono, and the Edge)
Walter Brueggemann
Jurgen Moltmann
Annie Dillard
Lawrence Lessig

Brian Walsh
Steven Johnson
Cliff Pickover
Graham Cooke
Mr. and Mrs.
David Dark
Richard Rohr
Carl Raschke
Brian Greene
The XXXChurch.com pastors
Wendell Berry

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The American World

This map of the world was good; check this new one (Thanks to Maurice..source, anybody?)

Click to enlarge...

Don't open AIDS clinics at your church...

Bill Hybels inteview w/Bono for pastors and leaders summit:

-Audio is here as backdrop to my Myspace blog.

(Thanks to Tyler)

Read excerpts here

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pastor sends Sodomites to island; gets stoned

Chris Seay:

During a protest for partners of gay city employees, Pastor Artie Bucco looked straight into the Fox News camera and said, "Sodomites should have 'em an island. They got plenty of money-they ought to buy 'em an island and every sodomite ought to go there to that island and just stay there. And maybe we can drop 'em a little food if they don't know how to grow their own food." I called him the following week at church to see if his comments were taken out of context or he somehow misspoke. I asked him if this was his actual statement,and Pastor Bucco wanted it to be perfectly clear that the news segment had left something out. In his plan, those sodomites would have to pay for any food we dropped to them ("They don't get no charity").

Then Pastor Bucco of Grace (how ironic) Church informed me that the Bible calls sodomy an abomination,and Asa removed all sodomites from the community. When asked about the importance of living under the Law of the Old Testament, he said "We must live under the whole Law!" After further questioning, Bucco confessed to wearing a shirt made of two different kinds of thread, in his case a blend of cotton and polyester (mostly polyester), which is expressly forbidden in Leviticus 19.1. He also makes a habit of shaking the hands of women without asking if they are currently menstruating(Lev. 15.19-24), a flagrant violation of the law. Furthermore, he partakes of shellfish of all kinds: barbecued shrimp, teriyaki shrimp, coconut shrimp, Creole shrimp, fried shrimp, and even shrimp salad, which the Old Testament considers an abomination, requiring that he be stoned to death.

I asked him if we could set an appointment for his stoning. In seeking his own transgressions, Pastor Bucco jested that stoning would soon have to be a regular event in his congregation. This is the beauty of the new story found in Christ. We all ought to be stoned, but we have been shown grace. Could we try offering some grace to others? One of the real tragedies and ugly realities of the church is that we put the hot hand of discipline and anger on the world and not on the unrepentant church leaders who do not love their enemies. It's no wonder that evangelical Christians are hated and despised by so many.

Chris Seay, p. 131 ":Faith of Our Fathers"

context within the book

Ellul:Christianity has absolutely nothing to do w/morality

Read it all here:

"Christianity has absolutely nothing to do w/morality..."

Finally, the photo banned by Vatican until pope's death

Bono always clamed ed the pope put on the Bono-shades, and that was a unique holy moment reflecting the pope's humanity and humor..

Here it is.

No, the pic is not doctored, but this one is... (:

though it may be prophetic..

"Maybe that's why country music sucks"

"Maybe that's why country music sucks"

That's only one line in an important interview with the brilliant Steve Taylor (the singer/producer, not the equally relevant Steve Taylor the kiwi blogger/writer).

No, the interview is not about country music, but about what happened to Squint, the first "Christian" (sorta) record label that was to be given complete (sorta) artistic freedom, even though owned by a mainstream evangelical company.

Bet you can guess ...sigh...what happened.

Important parallels to wineskins, church shift, evil embedded in corporate systems, etc.

Click the provocative quote at top to read the scoop.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Empire, Pathology and French Fries

From Colossians Remixed:

"If the empire encodes in the imagery of everyday life-on public arches, statures and buildings-the claim that Rome and its emperor are the beneficent provider and guarantor of all fruitfulness, then can a claim that the “gospel” is bearing fruit “in the whole world” be heard as anything less than a challenge to this imperial fruitfulness? Especially if we remember that the word gospel (euangelion) is the very same term that the empire reserves for announcements of military success and pronouncements from the emperor, doesn’t it become clear that there is something deeply subversive in what Paul is saying here/ Whose gospel is the source of a fruitfulness that will last and sustain the world-the gospel of Caesar or the gospel of Jesus?
(p 75)

We have seen that empires maintain their sovereignty not only be establishing a monopoly of markets, political structures and military might but also by monopolizing the imagination of their subjects. Indeed, vanquished peoples are not really subjects of the empire until their imagination has been taken captive. As long as they continue to have memories of life before exile, and as long as they harbor dreams of a social reality alternative to the empire, they are a threat to the empire. Their liberated imagination keeps them free even in the face of violent military repression. And until that imagination is broken, domesticated and reshaped in the image of the empire, the people are still free. (p82)

Walter Brueggemann says that “the key pathology of our time, which seduces us all, is the reduction of the imagination so that we are too numbed, satiated and co-opted to do serious imaginative work.” If this is true, then the primal responsibility of Christian proclamation is to empower the community to reimagine the world as if Christ, and not the powers, were sovereign. If he image of the emperor that is on every coin serves to ensnare the imagination of a domesticated people, then radical Christian proclamation and cultural practice will seek to demythologize the empire and devalue its currency. Such proclamation, such poetry, will always be a subversion of the dominant version of reality. (p84 )
See also Walsh's Would you like fries with that faith?

more here

Friday, August 04, 2006

St. Gary

Many of you will be familiar with Gary Goodell. IHis book is wonderful. f you are local (or not), come on out (click to enlarge.)

Gary sez:
"Permission is given to do church diferently in the third millenium"

and in an Augustinian mood, he says "Don't do anything you don't want to do"

See a few of his chapters captured on our Risky Reading page:

The Third Day by Gary Goodell
Third Day Meetings I by Gary Goodell
Third Day Meetings II by Gary Goodell
Third Day Meetings III by Gary Goodell
Third Day Worship I by Gary Goodell
Third Day Worship II by Gary Goodell

Spiritual formation: We have an answer..do we want it?

We have an answer..do we want it?

Frost on Exiles

As the rest of us everyday exiles await the official release of Frost's new book, "Exiles," a couple of seasoned and trusted pre-release blog reviewers are at hand...to whet the appetite and/or ruin our life with spoilers...(kind of like the leaked snippets of new U2 songs at this link..bet you can't reisist..shameless!)

Onward, then, to the two cool Canadians with the secret scoop:

From Jamie at Emergent Voyaguers

From Len at NextReformation

How could a book with this title, by so deep an interpreter of our tradition, not be infuenced by Bruggeman, who is "the man" on exilic themes? Indeed, the very outline of the book is based on B's seminal Cadences of Home.

Len has certainly written well and wisely on exile, (from exile?), as well.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

New map of world...according to USAmerica

This map came via email..no way to trace the source.

Click it to make it larger..

Afraid it may be partly right