Saturday, September 29, 2007

Music as Metaphor for Emotion

My studies of synesthesia, acoustic theology, feeling and metaphor lead me to Susanne Langer, "one of the greatest unknown philosophers in American tradition"...unkown to me until a few minutes ago..

She contended that music is inherently emotional metaphor...or something like that..

"(For Langer), the forms of music are isomorphic with the emotions that music symbolizes"(Paul Henle, "Language Thought Culture"p. 206) "Music is not a sign of emotion but rather is a particulatly intimate and direct cause and effect of it. If it signifies at all it signifies something that is quite dictinct from an emotion...auditory characters sound the way moods feel" (204-205)

"Music (for Langer) is neither the cause nor cure of feeling, but it is logical expression, music in her view can present emotions, moods we have not felt, passions we did not know before." (link)

Of course...

This leads to few more random and related quotes which I'llpost now, and organize later:

"Music annihilates space completely..Music is the soundtrack of askesis.(Cioran)

"Music is time travel" László Hortobágyi,

"From biblical time onsward, words and music have served one master or the other: 'the awful sound of the trumpet' called people to prayer or war....spirituals signaled the slaves..But nobody ever called Middle C a lie...Musicl, because it is honest, has always been the Answer...Music is believable..Unlike words, music cannot obfuscate or lie. " (Eger, 369-70 "Einstein's Violin")

"A stone is frozen muisc" (Pythagaros) "Architecture is frozen music" (Eger, 266)

Particles defy time and space (Eger, 214), and so does music (39).

Music is everything. God himself is nothing more than an acoustic" (Cioran)

Friday, September 28, 2007


3 Campolo Stories on Bono

Three Tony Campolo yarns about Bono:

1) a delightful and little-known
(I'll bet only Jesus and Beth Maynard knew about it...until now) story..

LOL: This story is about the OTHER time he literally stopped traffic. (That one was caught on tape, see 2:41ff here):

Just a participant

Bono has been able to acknowledge his own rock-godness, confront his own massive ego, and move on, as I saw myself firsthand over a decade ago.

I had been asked to speak at Greenbelt Festival, an English Christian arts and music festival that brings together thousands of people every summer. Bono came to Greenbelt that year, but not to perform or pose. He came to attend the workshops and enjoy the music.

Whenever someone told him he looked like Bono, he responded: "I hear that often. That's why I bought these shades, to complete the look."

And when the event's organizers complained that their staff was too overworked to untangle an on-site traffic jam, Bono volunteered to help direct the angry drivers to their parking spots.

Such humility is a far different thing from humiliation, which is something we see quite regularly today. This year has seen a string of greedy corporate executives lowering their heads before judges and admitting that they ripped off their companies and their investors. Michael Jackson, formerly hailed as the "King of Pop," has seen his own carefully honed image self-destruct.

The difference between humility and humiliation is that one is a voluntary admission that God - not you - is the ruler of the universe. The other is involuntary, and painful.

Bono's humility is also seen in his willingness to serve something more significant than his own ego. As a multimillionaire, he could easily pursue unbridled self-gratification. But ever since he and his wife, Ali, visited Africa after 1985's Live Aid benefit concerts, he has used his growing celebrity to serve those whose names will never make the headlines.

"I genuinely believe that second only to personal redemption, the most important thing in the Scriptures - 2,103 passages in all - refers to taking care of the world's poor," Bono told the Los Angeles Times.

So can a rock superstar really teach us anything about humility? Things more amazing than that can happen for those who heed the words of a man who, 2,000 years ago, said, "Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first."

-Camplo, "Bono: He has learned the power of humility"

2)Watch this (start at 6:05):

(Beth: who is Bono's "elderly" former teacher Campolo talks about here? Is it Jack Heaslip?)

3)And one more.... I told this in a sermon (aha!! a Bono story Beth doesn't know yet!!):

“Yes, Bono’s a believer,"Campolo told us. " I know him and have even worked with him on mission projects.".
He continued to address my friend’s question about Bono being a professed believer and using such salty language.

Campolo shot back unapologetically,

“Sometimes our language is not salty enough.

link;"The Lord Be With You...Even When He’s Not"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just lookin for a little Turangawaewae Spezzerinctum!

Several things stand out about this 2001 concert version of the U2 classic "I Still Haven't found What I'm Looking For."
You need a break; watch it and then read on.

Among the highlights for me: the unexpected (accidental?) lead vocal by the Edge on the outro, the falsetto on "I believe in the kingdom come...then all the colors will bleed into one...bleeeeed"..

But my favorite, and my focus here:

Bono announces mid-song, "We're gonna take you to church...'

That in itself was no surprise; he says that a lot at some point in the song...I heard him say it in Sacramento a few weeks later on the same tour..

But then..looks like in response to an audience (congregation) member's comment... he adds with a grin:

"That's right; We're IN church."

That's what I needed to hear. I am always in a church, the church. It's impossible for me to leave a church; I am inevitably part and a part of the Church/Body. In fact, if anything, I am more "in church" when I am out of a church-related building then when I am in one.
Church is inevitably in me.
        I am inextricably in it.
Jesus commanded us to go into all the world, but never to "go to church."

Yes, I know I am a pastor.

Or something like that.

Maybe I am a merely a facilitator for a group that meets throughout the week, at some unlikely "secular," real and third places, but ALSO on Sunday mornings; a motley flashmob crew that needs to often be "reminded about how easy it is to simply do a Sunday remix than completely re-work the way church is done" (as Nathan said so well here).

Those of us that are "in the church but not of it"...some not even (gasp!) "officially" meeting on Sunday morning with an "official group," are in uncharted waters (that's the GOOD news, by the way. The waters are liminal, deep and delightfully dangerous....and whoever said there had to be a chart in aquachurch anyway?) may desperately need a helpful post by Brother Maynard, who wrestles well on the truth we are all supposed to know: "Church does not mean Sunday, and Vice-Versa".

Another of my favorite wrestlers, Len Hjalmarson, quotes the U2 song at hand, as he admits:

Since leaving our church home in the fall of 2000 we have been on a wandering journey. There have been high spots, and low spots, times of refreshment and hope, and times of discouragement and doubt. But our journey with God has continued, we have learned a great deal more about our world and our God and our faith. We remain on a less travelled path, not always comfortable, but informally connected with several communities and many friends, and covenantally connected with a few. But we aren’t content, and “we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.” Thinking about this today, and holding it before the Lord this morning, I felt a hint of change coming. What will it be? I don’t know. (link)

Then he offers (maybe with that same knowing smile Bono gave above) the word we have been looking for:



It was a new word for me, too.

Sing it:

"But I still haven't found Turangawaewae!"
Amazing, it even fits the meter of the song(:
Send it to Bono immediately!

Turns out to be a Maori word that Alan Jamieson exegetes here, and Len summarizes as:

Turangawaewae - a place to belong. But not just any place, though perhaps a third place - a place to continue to continue to explore faith and discipleship, a place to share those deep places in ourselves and and to be formed in the way of Jesus.

You're looking for that, aren't you?
Sounds like a U2 concert (or Lianna Klassen, or Sigur Ros, or Cockburn, or Sinead, or .....)
....and (hopefully) a church gathering. Of course, it's not always/often/ever a literal "place"...partly our point, but it is a space that can be in large part found..

..but not bought by entrance into a building, and not necessarily in a prescribed place or time. Remember the guru in Zappa's "Cosmic Debris") who promised: "for a nominal service charge, I can help you find Nirvana tonight"...

So to help me find it..
Remember and memorize that first key word for Kingdomchurch living:
And you pronounced it well.
Now hold onto that word, as I want to throw another crazy and complementary word into the mix:



Some who know me can guess where this is headed: I want a bumper sticker which proclaims:
Turangawaewae Spezzerinctum!
or how about:
Follow Me To Turangawaewae Spezzerinctum ...
So far, I have not seen it at the Christian store.
Maybe because it sounds like a rectal disease (it is a pain in the butt).
Maybe because institutional church doesn't tend to believe in it.
Okay, since you asked, Leonard Sweet unpacks this second term:

Authentic participation requires what Appalachian culture often calls a good shot of spezzerinctum....a word that combines initiative, industry, independence and spontaneity. Perhaps the closest synonym is chutzpah ("holy boldness"), but chutzpah with responsibility, hospitality and the will to succeed...unfair and unpredictable .
(chapter 6 of "The Gospel According To Starbucks" )

There you have it.

I still haven't found what I'm looking for:
               Turangawaewae Spezzerinctum..
                                             a liminal spacetime of holy belonging and spontaneity.

I have found glimpses and portals to it at U2 concerts, coffee shops, and even spite of  Sunday morning gatherings.

"This IS a church."
Explore and dream with me what this looks like.
Where have you found it?

Since that first term is a Maori concept..
and since Bono's dear friend Greg Carrol was a Maori- Christian,
(watch this powerful song dedicated to Greg),
I'll bet Bono has heard the word (He certainly knows how to midwife and transubstantiate  the experience.

Now someone email the Bonoman and see if I'm right.
And let's get that song updated.
NOT in the way so many churches have actually updated/baptized it (adding a verse that clarifies that through Jesus we have found what we're looking for),
but in a way that will make it even holier:
"..I believe in the Kingdom come...but I still haven't found Turangawaewae Spezzerinctum.."
Just kidding.
I think.
Bono speaks in tongues/scat/Bongolose enough that he just might do it.
If so, U2 can record it, and we'll do it "in church."
Oops. Those are the exact two words I can't ever use together any more. They are oxymoromic and moronic.
I prefer my new 2-word bumper sticker.
It takes me to church.
No, this IS church.

Leader: Turangawaewae Spezzerinctum
People: And also with you.

No Separation of Nature & Grace

"A theological aesthetic requires more than an inward vision: it must be able to present the world as manifesting God's presence. Hence the analogy from above must be complimented by some analogy from below. Only the latter can provide the symbols and images to make that theological vision concrete and extend it to the entire world.
In modern culture this has become exceedingly difficult. More and more, faith tends to depend exclusively on revelation and/or on the inner experience. God has to be known through his revelation and through his inner voice, so to speak, in isolation from the world. Theological form has increasingly come to be reduced to the 'formal' aspect of the expression rather than revealing itself in the very experience of the cosmic structure. Whatever divine light reaches the modern believer's mind illuminates mostly the inner realm of the soul. The separation between the realms of nature and of grace has caused a 'disincarnation' of theology in the modern age."

-Lois Dupre, Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection, 72

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jesus Loves Shiht & Coffee

Below is from Leonard Sweet, from an old sermon online here, and retold in "The Gospel According to Starbucks". He says it is his favorite sermon to preach, and(only) once made someone physically sick. By this point he has passed out coffee beans to everybody:

I want to work with you this evening on a certain text. The text is from I Corinthians, so if you have your Bible turn with me to it. But as you do I want you to make sure everybody here has a coffee bean. Does everyone have a bean? If you don't have a bean we are going to get some people to help you get a bean. You need a bean for tonight. Take out your coffee bean. Did you smell it? These have just been opened today. They came straight from Atlanta to here on Friday. Anybody taste it - put it in your mouth? You can do whatever you want to with it, but you are holding in your hand literally the most expensive coffee in the world.

There is only about a couple of thousand pounds of this coffee that comes up on the world market every year. It is called Kopi Luwak coffee. It only comes from one part of the planet. A part of the planet that is known for it's great coffee, Indonesia. The island is Sumatra. That is how we get the name java, from this island.

This coffee bean has an interesting story. This is supposedly the most exquisite, exotic, and is the most expensive coffee in the world. It costs $300 a pound. They sell this coffee by the ounce, the only coffee they sell by the ounce. You have one of these beans. If you want to taste this coffee you are going to have to pool your beans and roast them yourself.

Kopi is Indonesian for coffee, Luwak is Indonesian for the name of how we get this coffee. Luwak is a cat. It is a Civet cat. This is a nocturnal creature, comes out only at night. This cat is about the size of a fox and it has an interesting story. This cat is the Juan Valdez of the animal kingdom. This cat only picks the most perfect coffee cherries to eat. It comes out at night and wanders all over the island of Sumatra and will only pick the most perfect coffee cherries to eat. It would rather starve than to feast on a Kona coffee bean, or a Blue Mountain coffee bean. It will only pick the most perfect coffee beans. It eats those coffee cherries and digests them. In the morning the locals harvest these beans. Everyone of these beans that you are holding has passed through a Civet cat. Anybody put it in your mouth?

When I first told the team here about this, that I wanted to do this, some of them didn't believe me. But Jason can testify that he has found proof that this is a true story by searching the Internet on three different sites. Actually, this coffee came from the only place you can buy it in the United States, in Atlanta. Martinez is the brand of the coffee, $300 a pound for these beans. Each one comes out of the dung of the Civet cat. It has a name - this coffee does - and some of you might imagine what it is. I can't say it. It goes by another name, although I can't say it, I have a person who cuts my hair and she has a little white furry dog called a Shih Tzu.

And so this is Shih Tzu coffee, alright? (:

Isn't it amazing how God works! See, in nature you see this over and over again.
What is honey? The nectar of nature. But what? Bee Shih Tzu. That is what honey is.

In Asian cultures Geishas spend days trying to look beautiful with this white paint. Do you know what this white paint is that they put on their faces? Nightingale Shih Tzu - you got it!

What do mushrooms grow in? What makes them so succulent and tasty? Well, you know what it is!

I want to challenge you to go to the fish market at Meijer and ask the guy behind the counter for a sardine. They will laugh in your face. You see, there is no such thing as a sardine fish. Sardine is a name that we give to trash fish that they put together in a can. There is a halibut, and there is haddock and salmon, but no sardine. It doesn't exist.

My favorite way of expressing how God works and bring nature and theology together is in the dove. The dove does not exist. It is a poetic name for a trash bird called a pigeon. And God chose as the symbol of the Holy Spirit a trash bird. We prettify it by calling it a dove, but really it is a pigeon. Isn't it amazing how God works! Jesus had a mustard seed. I have a coffee bean today. But the whole gospel is right in this coffee bean. It is all right here

Where was Jesus born? Jesus comes to this earth and is born in a trash place of the planet called the city of Bethlehem, the city of David. And where was he born? In a stable. What goes on in a stable? More Shih Tzu. And so what were Jesus's first smells as he was born into this world? What were Jesus's last smells as he exited this world?

Where was he crucified? A place called Golgatha, which was the garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem, the trash place..

What four groups propelled the Holocaust?

According to John Petropoulos, the two "professional" groups that most supported Hilter en masse were:

Nobility and physicians!

You'll have to read the book for the whys, but can't help but note that Jesus is both Nobility and Physician. Any profession so intertwined with his imago may well be capable of great good and/or horrific evil.

And the case has been made that the Holocaust couldn't have happened without the help of two groups:

Protestants and Catholics!

Since religious racism (and its religious system.). is the chief enemy of Jesus in his temple tantrum..

...if I am not prayerful/careful.....

the holiest of saints could bless a holocaust.

Which I do every time pre-judge...

Static in the Church's Butt...and other great sermons

Let's call Church "Sploosh"...or better yet...

Hendrix and Jesus?

Something Old and Something New

Stop Masturbating..Life and Death on Planet Earth

Good Things happen in MegaChurches, BUT..

The Lies of Religion Game

Did Jesus Smoke?

Knocking Down Walls & Getting PASTE on Ya

did Jesus break any of the 613?

The Evil and "Total Crap" of Steering Cats

St. Sally Repents of Church Beer Commercials

Can You Reason with Christians?

There is no persecution of Christians in USA, none

Rev. David Crowder's R-Rated Prophetic T Shirt

The Luther of Physics' Wonderful Devastating 2 Words

the sin of abstention from alcohol/gay cowboy bar

Temple Tantrum:Jesus is ticked..but why?

Fast Fluid Flexible Church... Rick Warren in Forbes

National Mean Girls Conference

Small Churches Are Better and Harder

Entire Church Arrested

Static in the Church's Butt

JFK and a Mormon Prez

Soldiers won't see MySpace, YouTube

Pastor Says He is Jesus & Gets 666 Tattoo

a website for Christians to confess to nonChristians

The Homeless Go Wireless


"Task Determines Shape of the Shovel"

20,OOO Naked Churchgoers in Mexico City

straying away from the church and going back to God

church allows alcohol & blaspehmies....meets in a bar

:comparing notes on "How do you church?"

it's a Cheap Trick to surrender when in a crappy mood

the devil and organized truth

Drive Thru Church

Drive Thru Church: First Trinity Unity Community Church of the United States:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kerouac, Coltrane & Kierkegaard OR Evangelical Pornography

It's all I want for far.

I haven't read the book yet, I have only read one page.

I may hate it, but I doubt it.

I would have thought it impossible that one book..on just one random page (128) could tether so many of my topics, interests, areas of study:

God, "secular" searches for God, church and culture, religion and sex, fear of death, epistemology, cultural anthropology of religion, surrationality, compassion studies, Kierkegaard..

NO author that I am aware of since Frank Lake has done it.

Until Donald W. Miller.

Uh, no relation to the other Donald Miller you are thinking of if you frequent websites like this....But take a break and read some racy excepts of his writings, like "Lotsa Naked People & The Campus Confessional" and "Penguin Sex is like Christian faith." .

The particular Donald Miller I mean is the one who wrote (with his son, Donald Miller, Jr.), the book at hand here; the book some kind reader will get me for Christmas, so I don't have to cozy up at bedtime with an uncozy PDF):

"Heart in Hand."

And much of the book is about one of my obsessions: music and physics (Chapter 5 is "The Metaphysics" and incorporates a theology of John Coltrane.


"This book," Miller summarizes, " presents my personal reflections on the nature of life. I offer here my views on sex, death, love, God, and the importance of music, and art in general. This book will be of particular interest to students of Schopenhauer and Woody Allen fans."

What else could you ask for?

The only thing I haven't found in the book yet is U2 (such a grand passion of mine that it gets its own blog).

But Bono (just see what he was reading a few years ago...bottom of this page under "books") would like it.

What else would you expect from tha author of such classic books as "The Practice of Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery" and "Atlas of Cardiac Surgery"!! ....a topic in which (as far as I know) I have no interest in.

Here's the page. It may not do a thing for you, but it made my day. And is a springboard to all kinds of academic pursuits....and hopefully practical conclusions.

And it beats reading Tim La Haye's "endtimes pornography" (:


Jack Kerouac once said, “The Beat Generation is basically a religious generation.” He said “we are in the vanguard of the new religion.” He called the Beats a“seeking generation” that is on a spiritual quest. When asked, “What are you looking for?,” he replied, “God. I want God to show me His face.” Neal Cassady was the high priest, or shaman, of this quasireligious movement...New Age converts, in essence, are seeking new forms of religious experience. And like the devotees of established theistic religions, they are also prone to manipulation by self-serving leaders and shamans of this quasireligious movement ..

An important reality of life is that our species’ religious impulse, which gives rise to our sense of the sacred, is a strong force. Primitive hunter-gatherer bands and technologically modern societies alike must reckon with it. As Gordon Alport puts it, “Religion, like sex, is an almost universal interest of the human race.”

In his search for God, the detective in “Mr. Big” says, “What if Kierkegaard’s right?...If you can never really know. Only have faith.” With regards to a personal God,one would be hard put to say that Kierkegaard is wrong. But we can intuitively, at least,“know” that there is a God of Universal Oneness that lies at the root of everything.Intuitively derived knowledge is not “scientific,” that is, it is not rationally coherent nor isit consensually verifiable. Intuitive knowledge is what one observer terms a “surrational”form of knowledge, a “direct perception,” as Schopenhauer puts it. It is independent of any reasoning process. It is a blind, “holy fool’s” form of knowing. But one should not dismiss it, as the critic Brendan Gill, who writes for The New Yorker, prefers to do, by branding it a “no man’s land of nonreason.” Each one of us can intuitively apprehend the God of Universal Oneness both through sex and compassion. Mystics can gain a further appreciation of this deeper world through their intense spiritual experiences. Andthey tell us that God is Love, which is in keeping with Schopenhauer’s views on theimportance of compassion in such matters.

This account of the rock bottom reality of things, however, does not fully satisfy our metaphysical needs and assuage our fear of death. A compassionate Universal Oneness is one thing, but this kind of “God” will not satisfy our desire for a continued individual existence after death. It stands in silent indifference to our transient, personalexistence. We have a deep-seated need to form a covenant with a supernatural Being who can grant us immortality, one who can enable our essence, our soul, our spirit—orwhatever one might prefer to call it—to somehow live on after the physical death of ourbodies. Stonewall Jackson believed that death in battle defending his beloved Confederacy would be rewarded with everlasting life in heaven. In an attempt to escapethe oblivion of death we worship a God (or a Goddess) in specially built sanctuaries, in a sacramental manner. This metaphysical need is a very important component of our psychological makeup, as G. Stanley Hall pointed out early in the 20th century. He writes:

As Freudians find sex, so our analysis finds religion at the root of all. Religion is a passion of thesoul comparable in universality and intensity with sex... As the root impulse of sex is to propagateanother generation, so the root impulse of religion is to prolong the life of the individual by getting his soul born into another world. Both are forms of Schopenhauer’s will to life, which is the Brund-Trieb of all life. -Searching for God 129

Belief in a supernatural Being arises, in part, from a numinous reaction to the fear of death. Even though we feel a deep-seated need for a divine providence, we nevertheless cannot know for certain if there really is a personal God or Goddess that wecan relate to. In the search for God, it requires a leap of faith to claim the existence of apersonal God. In any event, I will continue to happily accept the prayers of a patient’sloved ones, prayer groups, and church congregation for a successful outcome with surgery. And in the uncommon instances when the patient does not survive, I will alwaysbe grateful to the chaplains, reverends, priests, and rabbis who provide solace and minister to the grieving family.
-Donald W. Miller in"Heart in Hand.", p 128 (mas o menos)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Confessional Boxes are Inevitable

I heard Leonard Sweet comment on how prophetic U2's ZOO TV tour was.
One area he mentioned was that on a tour that made heavy use of irony (even in its PR inteviews. Tom Brokaw: "Yeah, but doesn't (all those TV screens) kill intimacy?"
Bono: "Yeah, but you look great!").. really did the midst of the bombast overload, sunglasses to hide behind, and manic video projections (see "The media is the antichrist", "Life imitates art imitates life: Fly shades", "Postmodern phone call from hell" )...break down barriers between performer and audience (read pastor/priest and congregation...and even became sacramental in its vicarious confession.

To make the confession element "obvious" there was for awhile an actual video confessional in the lobby of concert halls, where fans could confess their sins, and the clips were shown to the whole crowd before the encore.

Sweet mentioned the runway used in some parts of the concert where the band was literally among the people as a prophetic act and message to pastors...But how about putting the confessional in the narthex.

Like everything else video nowadays, an actual clip of some of the Zoo TV confessions is on YouTube ("You Confess"), and offered below. A heads up/warning...this is real and what else could it be but rated R.

A few years later, Bono sang "talk shows (are) confession."
Fifteen years later, is that ever true. Zoo TV has become reality.

Or reality TV.

Or this:

In January 1991, I was living in Chicago doing my last seminary internship a few blocks from Oprah's studio. The topic that day...with a ton of seminarians in the audience was "Guys who sleep with two girls."

Could it be that most folks are ready to confess and or/offer themselves voyeuristically at the drop of a hat?

Public confession of sin has long been a hot topic in the church..what would an emerging version look like?

Reminds me of Donald Miller's story here:
Lotsa Naked People & The Campus Confessional

The Wall Street Journal just published:
Confession Makes a Comeback

If you push confession out of church or culture, the other will inevitably rise up and meet the need.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Church Carpets are for Messy Coffee & Trickling Fornicators

A few "off the carpet" comments today.

First, from Len Sweet's "The Gospel According to Starbucks"

(The pastor said) "Bring your coffee and your donuts (into the sanctuary) , and add your stain to everyone else's!"

I couldn't believe my ears. Here was the first church I had been in
where the carpet was involved in ministry. In every other church, the
ministry existed for the carpet. Whatever else happend, the carpet had to
be kept clean. Here was a church (
The Meeting Place, Winnipeg) where the most important thing was relationships...Relationships are messy, so what if the carpet gets dirty?...The carpet exists for the ministrry. (p. 145)

Maybe even "trickling" (please read "Trickling on carpet, blessing fornicators, rubbing chest of prone woman.") should be allowed on a church carpet..

Finally, Mike Yaconelli's message below about the "Jones Memorial Carpet" (go to 4:24 to 3:05) is a must-watch:

Genesis had it right in "Carpet Crawlers": "You gotta get in to get out" (of church traditions):

Can emergent communities thrive in rural areas?

Adam L. Gordon-Lauck asks a million dollar question, with an answer worth a to exploring the "why is this so?"

Can emergent communities thrive in rural areas?

My answer would be, "It could happen, but it would be difficult." I hope that I'm going to be able to expound on some answers to these questions in the coming months and years. But for now I will have to settle with uncertainty. Adam L. Gordon-Lauck, link

Related...this ("You Might Be Emerging If...") .. is scary and funny

W. B. Yeats, "Celtic Twilight"

"We can make our lives so like still water that beings gather about us that they might see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our serenity."

W. B. Yeats, "Celtic Twilight"

“When the sky is the limit, its easy to neglect foundations."

Len has a great post:

Jimmy Long in his great little book “Generating Hope,” wrote that, “When the sky is the limit, its easy to neglect foundations.” In charismatic circles the sky is always the limit. I’ve seen so many people burn out.. hyped on the hope of renewal; eyes focused on distant lands and great coming events; missing the ordinary and sacramental opportunities God places in our path day by day.

Apostolic movement is like a great tree, and has these twin dimensions: downward, setting roots, establishing foundations. These foundations allow individuals and communities to find nurture in the living water that is Jesus, and move beyond the “leadership cult” tendencies that create dependence and foster immaturity. The second dimension is outward, spreading branches and sowing seeds on the wind. This outward movement prevents preoccupation with self and prevents us from travelling in circles. Faith communities which neglect the first dimension are soon exhausted pursuing the vision. Faith communities which neglect the second dimension soon lose any real dimension of love.
-Len Hjalmarson, link

To switch the metaphor a bit, if we are not prayerful/careul, we "jump off the foundation" in a futile attempt to fly:

"Without the continual denial of self, which simply means saying no to what we want...there will be no complete repentance from dead works. Without this repentance, we as living stones will keep jumping off The Foundation Jesus, simply because we do not understand what the hell we are doing.
-John Tschetter,link

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Welcome to our church.. Now get the hell out"

Excerpts from the Door interview w/Rob Bell below...Full interview here..and more Bell here...

DOOR: The Church hasn't always been kind to artists. Especially ones bringing electricity.

BELL: Our assumption is that Church is where you say the things that have to be said. So people will speak but say, "Oh, I wouldn't say that in church." Well then, where would you say it? To me, it's the place where you would push it the furthest. A faith community should be the place with the most honesty and vulnerability and prophetic culture—calling things what they are. So when I hear people say, "That's nice but you really couldn't do that in church," I can't even fathom that. My understanding is it would lead the culture in reality.
I talk about having the first word. This idea that Church waits to see what the culture is doing then produces a D grade version with some sort of clever Jesus twist to me is utter blasphemy. The DaVinci Code, for example. You wait for a C grade movie with stars with bad haircuts and then gear your church teachings around a movie that many people aren't even going to see? That seems absolutely anemic.

DOOR: Speaking of trouble, the Church hasn't always been the safest place to be real. You've gotta be catching some heat ....

BELL: Hmm. I don't read reviews, but apparently there are some people out there who feel that God or Jesus is being threatened. I catch wind of things, some people are pretty cranked up but it's not something I spend any time on. You can't take people somewhere they don't want to go. For every fundamentalist you piss off there are probably five more who start listening. For a lot of people it's like, "Oh, we can talk about that? Well, now you've got my attention." You know the issue is whether or not it's true and whether or not it's compelling. Someone asked me the other day, "What's the demographic of your people?" I was like "I dunno—sinners?"..

DOOR: How did this Mars Hill thing happen, anyway?

BELL: Seven years ago, a group of friends were just dreaming of something better. I guess the natural evolution of each generation is to explore what it means. How to live the way of Jesus here and now. So we started and it now feels like fifty years packed into seven. Mars Hill is an old mall. Our "architect"—I say that as a joke—says everything about the church should scream "Welcome to our church service! Now get the hell out of here." We say, "This isn't the church, this is a church service. It's just an hour where we have some teaching, some singing and you'll hear about things in the community." If there are 43 "one anothers" in the New Testament—serve one another, carry one another's burden's, confess to one another—you can only do a couple of those in a church service. Until you have a community that you are journeying with, please don't say you are a part of this church. You just come to a gathering. We are very intentional about that. The question is, "Who do you call when your brother ODs on cocaine? If your mom is in the hospital, who comes and sits in the waiting room with you? When you cannot pay your rent, who do you go to and say please help me out?" That's your church.

New to the area,stopping by to say hi to the pastor,who says;"Who the hell.."

Thanks a ton to St.Schizophrenia for finding this:

Maybe If I post this pic, I'll have to look at it

Dominican Republic...but could be anywhere.

I can barely look at this picture.

Because I am in it.

She died.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Shift Happens; From Barbie's Butt to Burning Man

Just the latest batch of provocative posts from the ShiFt happens forum:

No new posts Britney & Madonna tick off the real religious nuts...

No new posts Did Jesus Smoke?

No new posts Reading Signs of the Times Through Barbie's Butt Size

No new posts What Role Does God Play in Campaigns?

No new posts poets subvert the system

No new posts Cockburn: I became a Christian, and my marriage fell apart

No new posts Mormon underwear:actual photo/Brief Article

No new posts "Holy S---!"...,literally!

No new posts Drinking with Jesus in Front of S. Baptists

No new posts Chain Saw the Pulpit?

No new posts At least she's not lukewarm...

No new posts Flying Spaghetti Monsterism

No new posts Hit Bin Laden w/Frozen Meat or Invite him to VBS?

No new posts satire is messy and necessary

No new posts Krazy Celtic says Emerging Church Has 12 Legs: Photo

No new posts holy things in worldly language

No new posts Become a Christian and remain in Buddhist context?

No new posts Fellowship is a verb

No new posts It's not imporatnt to become a Christian...

No new posts Pastor Plays Tennis w/Porn King: No Culture Wars

No new posts God at the 9" Nails Gig

No new posts What The Heck is Emerging Church?....written by a robot

No new posts Some Resources on Emerging-Missional Church

No new posts 6 Reasons Not to Quit

No new posts The West Worships Mammon

No new posts Little Bo Preep Evangelism

No new posts Beating Up ChurchGreeters &Yellow-Sweatered Pastors

No new posts Celtics let you call God "Boundary Crosser"

No new posts Bin Laden, D-California

No new posts Why I Go To Burning Man

No new posts AOL Sucks and St Ethelred the Unready

No new posts Diva and Devo: God and the world

No new posts See Actual Broken Pictures of Jesus

No new posts The Bbleis Not IRS Code

No new posts oceans of beer for the pastor

No new posts Satanic Ads in Christian Mags/Prophecy in Secular mags

No new posts Why I Would Follow Bono into Hell

No new posts Jesus Dares Ken, Len,JFreak & Soma to take this survey

No new posts Threat Level Jesus

No new posts
Overcoming Fear of Flying DuringRapture

No new posts
Hey, pastor, mine is bigger than yours

No new posts
Non-Christian followers ofJesus who are out of line

No new posts
Extreme Makeover for Mary (Nativity Story Flick)

No new posts
Open letter from a young "prodigal slacker"

No new posts
Tiny is the New Small

No new posts
St. Crocodile Hunter?

No new posts
"protocol" : culturally-sensitive propehtic stuff

No new posts
Bono may not be THE antichrist: all sons of Abraham

No new posts
did Jesus break any of the 613?

No new posts
Where are the Christian "Vagina Monologues"??

No new posts
The Young & theSexless; Masturbands forJesus in Visalia

No new posts
7 Provocative Questions

No new posts
Pastors Who've Gone Whoring After Other Gods

No new posts
All the Emergent Church Wants is Money?

No new posts
"What the hell is it?"

No new posts
20 ways to waste time while not planting churches

No new posts
burning "satanic" music may be satanic

No new posts
Steve Taylor:"Maybe that's why country music sucks"

No new posts
Don't hang glide naked

No new posts
"To serve the age,betray it!" watch Bono's speech

No new posts
The End is Near...Dispensationally Speaking

No new posts
The New Lost: Red Pills and Sex in Peru

No new posts
church curator

No new posts
Help an absent-minded professor recreate a class

No new posts
The Delicate Act of Juggling Water ...and Folding Soup

No new posts
tacky and voyeuristic