Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Messianic Betrayal

a)"Translation is messianic"

b)"Translation is betrayal"

Which is it?


Eugene Peterson, in "Eat This Book," is behind both quotes; and I am behind him suggesting they are both right.

"A" is actually a quote Peterson includes from Franz Rosenzweig: "Every translation is a messianic act, which brings redemption nearer." (p.119) ..The quote in context here...

"B," in context:
"An old canard that sooner or later gets introduced into discussions of translation is 'You, a translator? Traitor!' Translation is betrayal. All translation is inherently mistranslation. Each language is unique."

Viola! All translation is both messianic and betrayal.

Kind of like life.

In fact, life is translation.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chris Seay's VOICE/"Some might argue..but they'd all be Anglo men..."

Chris's Seay's vision of The Voice Scripture project is now happening...two installments out. No way to dsecribe it...but if a "translation" of the Book of Acts retold by Brian McLaren, with commentary by Seay sounds intriguing...

Here's a statement by Seay from his video blog site (He doesn't have a "regular" blog!):

I am honored to be the first to welcome you to www.hearthevoice.com. This portal is a celebration of God's movement towards all of us and a place to explore the biblical narrative in beauty and truth. I have been a Pastor for sixteen years. In some seasons conversations have been dominated by generational theory, postmodern philosophy, or cultural analysis. But I have found that the most beautiful seasons of my life and ministry were always the times when conversations were focused on telling the story of God, celebrating the beauty of redemption, and recognizing God's work in the world. I have invited the most gifted writers, scholars, artists, musicians, and filmmakers that I know to devote their talents to re-telling the biblical narrative in a way that revives the drama, poetry, and humanity that is unique to the Bible. I am convinced that "The Voice" will be a a gift to the church and that you will experience the scriptures in new ways as you hear the voice.

..and here's a few quotes from the second section of the book, in which various thinkers commen t on "From the First to the 21st Century". These quotes from a beautiful chapter by a tall skinny kiwi, Andrew Jones:

"The mission of God (is) now squarely in the hands of the two thirds world."

"There are some who might argue with Escobar (that the future demands more models of non-paternalistic holistic mission...) on this, but they would all be white, Anglo, middle class men who live in wealthy countries that used to control the global mission enterprise."

Great project/blog/translation....I love Chris Seay (as you can guess by my "Grab a Twinkie and think: does Dr. Dobson care?" post here). My only concern is is seems to be mostlywritten by....well, read that last sentence again starting with "they would all be..." !! Maybe the next volume will be intentionally more international...And/or at least include a "postmodern negro" (: or two..

No offense, I know McLaren and others are working hard at broadening the base of the conversation..it is definitely needed for the next level..Kudos!

Otherwise I fear everyone will look like me...see Purgatorio's hilarious/tragic test; "You May Be Emergent IF.."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

St. Carla Menagh

Walter Hooper and I baptizing St. Carla in the Jordan River, Feb. 1995:

Reflections at Carla Menagh‘s Memorial Service
October 5, 2006

Dave Wainscott
Given at First United Methodist Church; Delano, California

The family was hoping I had a copy of my remarks. As usual, I didn't; only scribbled notes. But here's what I reconstructed to post.

When I found out I would be helping at the service, I googled her name to see if there was an obituary online, or anything written about her online. I found...absolutely nothing! (later note: see this!) At first, I thought, "Isn't that like Carla: she didn't want a lot of P.R., never had a blog, never made the news...anywhere on the world... But just quietly served without a spotlight (compare me! Google my name sometime!!) But then I thought, "Well, that's not fair. What if someone searched her name online ..even years from now.. to learn about this saint...and found nothing to tell her story." I knew that if I posted her name here, it would soon show up highly on Google soon. So I posted her name a few days ago here, and it almost immediately shot to #1 on Google returns! Then I added the full message below. Now I now someone will at least be able to celebrate a life extraordinarily well lived! -dw

“I can’t type, and I can’t spell…and uh, hi; I’m your secretary!”

That’s basically the first thing Carla said to me; the first time I met her; here in this very building; July 1991.

She looked kind of sheepish and serious; but I knew she was half-kidding.

I saw that smile.

So I teased back:

“Uh, great…Pleased to meet you. What can you do, then?”


“But there must be some reason Pastor Scott and the Staff-Parish Committee speak so glowingly of you.”

Actually, in a sense, it turned out that Carla was telling the truth.

Now, don’t get me wrong. She was a wonderful secretary for my seven great years at this great church. And she COULD type
         ….better than she thought.
                                    And she COULD spell…
                                                but not as well as  Kathy!(:

What do I mean then when I say she was partly right?

It was her claim “I can do nothing…” that was truthful.

But not in the sense you’re thinking.

Let me put it this way: Of all the pictures I have been going through since I heard the news this week about Carla’s graduation to Jesus; many stand out…I have literal photos, videos, but what better; more appropriate picture of Carla to highlight today than the one that Pastor Elmar just read from Philippians 2:3:

DO NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others more important than yourself…Don’t look after your own interests, but look after the interests of others…This is the attitude that was found in Christ Jesus.”

Wow, have you ever seen or heard a more accurate description; better picture of Carla? Have you ever met anyone who lived out this Scripture more faithfully than Carla?

Neither have I.

So she did “DO NOTHING…” That is she, like no one else I have met; let alone have counted a close friend and secretary, “DID NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.”


I know she wanted Pastor Scott to sing at her funeral. And wasn’t it beautiful? And I know she wanted me to….

…tell this joke!

I just didn’t plan on telling it so soon.

There is an old preacher joke about a pastor talking to and teasing his nicest church member.

“Gee, you are so nice, “ the pastor told her…“You could probably even say something nice about the devil!”

The woman paused for a moment and responded:

“Well, you certainly have to admire his persistence.”

We often told Carla that joke. That woman was her.

Don’t get me wrong. She didn’t admire the devil. But she was so relentlessly and naturally….persistently; consistently; insistently nice…She so well “DID NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”….that the devil himself, as persistent as he was, couldn’t get through to her.

She was too much like Jesus.

Persistently so.

Even though she persistently disobeyed the first instructions I ever gave her!(:

Seeing immediately how wonderfully nice, and persistently selfless she was; I figured here at this busy downtown church office, with all kinds of homeless people and transients coming in for help; Carla would likely be TOO nice.

Sure, we wanted to help the people in legitimate need; those God wanted us to help. But there are many who are just working the system, I warned her. She should not be too nice to them; or be quick to give them money or food.

I even hung up a great article from a Christian magazine on her bulletin board .

Kathy remembers it well.

Carla doesn’t.

It was designed for church secretaries, in church offices where a lot of people come in off the street for help; to discern who was “working the system.”

I don’t think she ever read it.

Thank God.

She did nothing…DID ABSOLUTELY “NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.”

I’m sure she helped a few fakers; but I would rather err that way than my way.

She was so nice she may well have accidentally helped the devil (Just kidding).

But what’s worse is I may have NOT helped an angel, or Jesus in disguise, as Scripture warns us about.

Carla never missed a chance. She was naturally persistent.

She cried with people, prayed with people, fed people.

She could do no other. She had “the same attitude that was in Christ Jesus” in her.

Nothing; absolutely nothing did she do….out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.


I think Carla was given a raise at the time I came on board.

For at least two reasons, I would guess.

First, I know she was a bit worried about me; she loved Pastor Scott; so who was this new kid coming in? She actually admitted seeing a picture of me before she met me, and worrying she wouldn’t like me(:

Secondly, What is a church secretary’s job description, bottom line? It’s, in a nutshell, to make the pastor look good.

I guess she took one look at my picture, and said “I’m going to have to work awful hard to make this guy look good.” (:

If anything good came out my years here where I looked good, I bet it can be traced back to Carla.

We never payed her what she was worth.

She typed like crazy; she spelled well. She did everything asked of her and more…But she did nothing, DID ABSOLUTELY “NOTHING….

…out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…“ always considering, like Christ Jesus did, others more important than herself..

…Which means she prayed for me. She may have…thank God…disobeyed my first instructions to her….ignoring that foolish sign. But she over-obeyed my second “job” for her.

See this church directory? It’s from my tenure here. To my shame, it looks brand new.
Do you know what Carla’s church directory looked like?

It was a mess.

Not just because she was the church secretary, and it was her job to keep the master directory up to date. Any church secretary knows that is an impossible job….constantly fixing corrections, changing addresses, adding new names in pencil…It has to be a mess.

But the major reason it was a mess, well-worn, stained….was because she took to heart her pastor’s advice right here on page 1 of the directory where it says:

“You will use this directory often for resource purposes. That is primarily what it is for. But let me challenge us to make use of it in an additional, even more exciting way: let’s covenant to use it as a prayer directory. With the convenient roster in the back, we can pray daily or weekly for the members and friends of our church.”

I wrote that.

But I sure didn’t live up to it.

Look at my directory.

Carla did.

She over-obeyed.

She did nothing, did nothing, DID NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit…I have a hard time placing those words in the same sentence as Carla!…and always; persistently considered others more important than herself..

…which explains the fact that her directory was worn out, tear-stained, prayed through.

Only God knows how many people in the room, and who have gone before us, owe their salvation , healing, or breakthrough to a selfless secretary who prayed for us selflessly. Year after year after year…



Weeks before I met Carla, as I was about to graduate seminary and move to my first church…not knowing it would be here alongside such a saint as Carla, one of my professors washed each of our feet in a moving foot washing service. And as he wiped our feet each with an individual towel that he would later give to us as a reminder to…well, “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”….he spoke prophetic words over each of us. To me he said:

“God has given you great compassion, Let it grow.“

I have not done well living out that word. But if I learned compassion at all the next seven years. it was from Carla.

Sure, for all my years here at the church, I had that towel hanging over my diploma to remind me of what was really important in ministry.

But I didn’t need that towel in my office when I could walk to the next office in see Carla Menagh, who lived out that word.

I eventually lost that towel.

Carla never lost hers.

She washed feet for a living; symbolically ..every day. With every phone call, with every newsletter typed, assembled, spelled well and mailed from that office…with every handout of food, with every prayer she spoke over you from this weathered directory…

My professor also recently went to be with Jesus.

I have lost his towel. But with Carla’s inspiration; maybe I can start to not lose his words and challenge.

I know I did not give to Carla a fraction of the blessing she gave to me.

But one thing I did try to give her: I loved to challenge her to do things she thought she couldn’t do.

Like pray through the directory…she put me to shame.

Like pray with people…even over the phone when they called the church office.
She even had a Rolodex of Scriptures on her desk which she used for that.

Like preach! When she preached her first sermon, from the same pulpit I am in right now….against her will, I talked her into it(:….she of course preached a powerful, tear-filled message on (no surprise!) “considering others more important than yourself.” It was called “Others.” In it, she quoted her favorite poem. I can still hear it:

“Others, Lord, Others.
Let that my motto be.

Let me live for others;
That I might live for Thee.”

Like go to Israel!

She almost killed me there.

Because I almost killed her there.

I see many of you in the room that I had the privilege of baptizing in the Jordan River on that first trip in 1995.…Carla was among that number.

She was so thrilled, she smiled the whole trip through…except for one historic, hysteric minute.

You may have hear pastors complain about the step they are to strand on under the water there at the Jordan. It is slippery. They often slip.

Like I did after baptizing Carla.

Of course she was smiling big time when she went down into the water.

But when she cane up…and I have this right here on video...was perhaps the only time I ever saw her not smiling.

Because I was slipping, she started slipping. And you can see a brief panic on her face (photo at top) that for a moment she thought she would float down the River Jordan and die there..(:

In her typical self-effacing style, she blamed it on her weight.
No, it was me.

But you know her baptism “took” anyway.

Because she trusted not the slippery character who baptized her, but Someone Else who was baptized in the Jordan River; traditionally at the exact same spot,

Someone of whom it is written had an attitude that “did nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” Someone named Christ Jesus whom Carla trusted and held onto there in the Jordan, and in the waters of life and ministry.

And Philippians 2 amazingly tells us we too can be like that.

I cannot imagine being as selfless as Carla.

But what better tribute to Carla than to ask right now:

Who would like to honor her memory?

Everyone here, of course; That is why you are here.

Then I recommend…Then I challenge you (as I did Carla so often) to do something you feel is beyond you: would you be daring and Carla-like enough to pray with me here today that somehow the Lord would make us to be selfless like she was, even to inherit a version of that holy smile she wore.

That we too would “do nothing”.

That is, “do nothing out f selfish ambition or vain conceit.”
That we could trust God enough to make us like Carla..as she was like Jesus.

Raise your hand if you’d like to pray that.

“Lord Jesus, how we give You thanks for the wonderful gift of grace that is Carla…she did nothing out out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Would You send Your Holy Spirit upon us gathered here, and impart to us a measure of the same Spirit that was on her..
And let her keynote Scripture be true of us…as if she were speaking and prophesying it over us:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
if any comfort from his love,
if any common sharing in the Spirit,
if any tenderness and compassion,
then make my joy complete by being like-minded,
having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Do nothing

out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human being,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

And Lord Jesus, since Carla has ahead of us now kneeled bowed, and confessed that You are Lord …literally in Your presence; we ask that each of us who remain receive a portion of that selfless heart and mind that was Carla Menagh.

Until we meet her, and You, face to face.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

God's creatively consistent/consistently creative

God is good.

Whuch one of these photos is a brain cell, and which is the universe?

Read about it all here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

" Christendom is dead and our little combo has been hired to play at the funeral."

"Christendom is telling us that God is dead, but I'm thinking Christendom is dead and our little combo has been hired to play at the funeral." -Bono, p.120 in "U2 by U2"

"Therefore, the future of the Reformation belongs not to the state church -- that is, to the union between throne and altar -- but to the left wing of the Reformation, which lived out a radical discipleship." -Moltmann

"Culture has an ecology and that ecology determines our mental well-being...At the rate we are losing clarity of mind, there will be no more big ideas. One morning we could wake up to a never-ending schizo dream...A new medium always attacks etablished media. 'It never ceases to oppress older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them,' wrote McLuhan."


"When the old wineskin is dying, the new wineskin is created by people who are not afraid to be vulnerable. " -Graham Cooke

"When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure" -Rudolph Baro, ecologist

"The restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The real God is the one who can invert life from terror to boldness, from sorrow to joy.... The transformative power of God jeopardizes all of our gestures of equilibrium and our idolatrous images of God as the great stabilizer of the status quo. - Walter Brueggemann

"Get on my kness and pray...we won't get fooled again...(because) Meet the new boss; same as the old boss." -The Who


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Prove to. St. (?) Frank Zappa...from the church...that God isn't dumb

Prove to St. Frank...from the church...that God isn't dumb


Why are Christians apparently so pleased to announce that Frank Zappa is in hell..
(See: Frank Zappa -The Man Without God )

He may be... I dunno...neither do you.

My Boss does.

If he is, i can't be glad about it.

Besides, he was a great theologian.

No secret he had problems with organized religion.

.we all should..

and he often had a point...

Yes, he was often dirty, blaspemous...and often brilliant, often prophetic..a mixed bag, a "Mensch with a dirty mind" as Rolling Stone once described him.

But maybe you are, too.

He did write and perform one of my favorite worship songs. It is an instrumental, designed to express the longing of a muiscian jailed for crearting music in a land where music is illegal...the longing is tangible as "Joe" from his cell dreams/imagines a guitar solo...Haven't found the classic version (1979 studio version from the Joes Garage CD....ironically, in part, a spoof on Scientology and defense of God and creativity: "Eventually it was discovered that God did not want us to be all the same... This was Bad News For the Governments of The World,As it seemed contrary to the doctrine of Portion Controlled Servings"
)online yet, but here's a bit more blloging on it. It's called:

"Watermelon in Easter Hay"


Anyway, and a later live version is viewable right here, though it nowhere approaches the tear-inducing original:


Anyway, In one song, he concludes ...logically (and ironically from the evidence Jesus himself said folks should consider...that is, Christians) , albeit incorrectly... that since we act dumb, God must be too.

In this, he would appreciate St Brenann Manning:
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him with their life style. This is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

Remember reading the below that at least one tongue is always in Zappa's cheek, though he was dead serious about his view of God/Christians....based on "Christian" evidence. Yes, I know there are faulty arguments in the lyric...but follow it:

Whoever we are
Wherever we're from
We shoulda noticed by now
Our behavior is dumb
And if our chances
Expect to improve
It's gonna take a lot more
Than tryin' to remove
The other race
Or the other whatever
From the face
Of the planet altogether

They call it the earth
Which is a dumb kinda name
But they named it right
'cause we behave the same...
We are dumb all over
Dumb all over,
Yes we are
Dumb all over,
Near 'n far
Dumb all over,
Black 'n white
People, we is not wrapped tight

Nerds on the left
Nerds on the right
Religious fanatics
On the air every night
Sayin' the bible
Tells the story
Makes the details
Sound real gory
'bout what to do
If the geeks over there
Don't believe in the book
We got over here

You can't run a race
Without no feet
'n pretty soon
There won't be no street
For dummies to jog on
Or doggies to dog on
Religious fanatics
Can make it be all gone
(I mean it won't blow up
?n disappear
It'll just look ugly
For a thousand years...)

You can't run a country
By a book of religion
Not by a heap
Or a lump or a smidgeon
Of foolish rules
Of ancient date
Designed to make
You all feel great
While you fold, spindle
And mutilate
Those unbelievers
From a neighboring state

To arms! to arms!
Hooray! that's great
Two legs ain't bad
Unless there's a crate
They ship the parts
To mama in
For souvenirs: two ears (get down!)
Not his, not hers, (but what the hey? )
The good book says:
("it gotta be that way!")
But their book says:
"revenge the crusades...
With whips 'n chains
'n hand grenades..."
Two arms' two arms?
Have another and another
Our God says:
"there ain't no other!"
Our God says
"it's all okay!"
Our God says
"this is the way!"

It says in the book:
"burn 'n destroy...
?n repent, 'n redeem
?n revenge, 'n deploy
'n rumble thee forth
To the land of the unbelieving scum on the other side
'cause they don't go for what's in the book
'n that makes 'em bad
So verily we must choppeth them up
And stompeth them down
Or rent a nice French bomb
To poof them out of existence
While leaving their real estate just where we need it
To use again
For temples in which to praise our god
("cause he can really take care of business!")

And when his humble TV servant
With humble white hair
And humble glasses
And a nice brown suit
And maybe a blond wife who takes phone calls
Tells us our God says
It's okay to do this stuff
Then we gotta do it,
'cause if we don't do it,
We ain't gwine up to hebbin!
(depending on which book you're using at the
Time...can't use theirs... it don't work
...it's all lies...gotta use mine...)
Ain't that right?
That's what they say
Every night...
Every day...
Hey, we can't really be dumb
If we're just following God's orders
Hey, let's get serious...
God knows what He's doin'
He wrote this book here
An? the book says:
He made us all to be just like him,"
If we're dumb...
Then God is dumb...
(an' maybe even a little ugly on the side)

Hey, someone even included Zappa's book in his list of favorite "Christian" books!

Maybe he's not in hell after all.


On a hunch, I googled the phrase "St. Frank Zappa" to see if anyone had ever dared to utter that thought.

Check it out, only 152 times, and he even gets a liturgical day named after him.

God ain't dumb.

But I am afraid to search for "Pastor Frank Zappa."

That's your job.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Images, and Aphrodite

This article by the ever-on John Tschetter has stirred up some fascinating implications and discussion on our forum (here) about the Sports Illustrated Aphrodite connection:

John Tschetter

Today We Live In three Worlds:

  • The Created World
  • The Manufactured World
  • The Projected World

Each world has distinct characteristics:
  • The created world was formed by the Word of God and is good
  • The manufactured world is formed by the work of “man” and is made
  • The projected world is formed by the imagination of man and is seen

The Three Worlds and the Second Commandment:

The second commandment contains two key words that connect specifically to the worlds formed by “man”.
“You shall not make … “
“ … any images” Living Bible Ex 20:4
The roots of idolatry grow out of making and out of images to be seen,


The more deeply we are involved in “making”, the deeper the potential root of idolatry. Think how deeply Abraham was involved in “making” Isaac, and all the related previous history in “making” Ishmael. This reveals more meaning in God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. In their book The Elijah Task, John and Paula Sanford refer to these issues on page 64. “Idolatry can be very deeply entrenched in family relationships and it must be broken.” As we examine ourselves to see if we are walking in The Truth and living in The Faith [3 John 4 ; 2 Corinthians 13:5], we must examine our relationships to our own children and all our other family relationships.

Our culture is deeply committed to images, and is blatantly idolatrous in doing so. The 2001 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue had written on the cover, “the goddesses of the Mediterranean”. This goddess can be none other that the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, sensuality, and sexual love. Considering that normal speed movie film contains 24 frames per second, try to imagine how many times per hour the image of Aphrodite is presented to be seen and worshiped through the projected world in our culture. Suddenly 1 Corinthians 10:14 and 1 John 5:21 take on great significance for us today!

In a similar way, the more deeply we attempt to engage our culture through the projected world, the more vulnerable we are ourselves to idolatry, because the essence of the projected world is made images. Both roots of idolatry are at work in the formation of images for the projected world. Our making of images to present our work in ministry is not invulnerable to idolatry.

-John Tschetter

PS : Why do we go to the beach, anyway?