Monday, December 31, 2007

Donuts and tithing

"Over Rev" faking the big one

It may have something to do with Jesus saying
"Don't let anyone call you Teacher, Reverend or Rabbi..."

Or "Reverend is His name alone..." (psalm 111:9)...

........or my fear of Norm

And/or the "Reverend Neverend Jokes"..

But it's may be mostly my style; I am just Dave..

I have never been comfortable with the title "reverend"...or any title, really. St. Paul (oops, Paul, the saint) didn't seem be either. We call him "The Apostle Paul," but though he was entitled to, he never called himself that: "Paul (comma), an apostle."

And with with dash or irony, I let folk call me "Just Dave," enjoying the double meaning..If I can admit I am "just" (as in 'righteous'...)

Anyway, my son had to snap this pic of

me by an "Over-Rev" sign..

..when i start acting too big for my britches; I'll look at it.
I don't want to overly rev(erend)erential.

Note the clerical (Charlida bought me it on our last Israel trip) T-shirt I am wearing.
(Yes, I often lead worship in that shirt.

AND the liturgical pants I am wearing.

Sometimes even the T-shirt Nathan brought me from the future)

Hey, This is not at all to judge how others operate and dress...some of my best friends are Revs, and Right Revs, even.
Some of my favorite pastors and priests wear clerical garb, more power please, to them.
And I will shock some of them that not long ago I wore this for a funeral:

That is not photoshopped!
Read all about why I dared to don it.

Once a pastor friend needed a costume for a skit so they could look like a they asked to borrow:

My black preaching robe.

I knew my life was about to change.

No wonder my dress is for sale on e-Bay...
Read all about it:



I had been busted.

Immediately plunged into crisis by a simple question.

I intuitively knew that my answer to the simple, straightforward question would change my life. But for the life of me, I had no clue what the answer would, could or should be. The question was innocent and innocuous enough, but any answer would inevitably undress and unveil me as guilty. And it was not a “yes or no” question, but an open essay question. I had to actually talk; I had major explaining to do. But I was numbfounded and nailed. And busted big time.

The practical, provocative question that the bold asker asked, with equal parts “This is so bizarre; I really need to know” look in his eyes, and “I’m not sure I want to know” fearful waver in his voice? Read on, but only if you can handle the truth and whole truth (so help you, God) about me. Hold your breath..and if possible, your judgement. And don’t call the cops on me…yet. The life-rearranging question at hand:

“Pastor, If you don’t mind my asking…

...Why are you wearing a .....


No, that was not my body thudding the floor (though it was tempted in that direction), but the involunatarily and (hopefully) inaudible thud- gulp of simultaneous terror and relief that anyone whose secret, addiction, or sin has just been unceremoniously uncovered recognizes. I attempted to match my questioner’s bravery by looking him squarely in the eye; knowing I couldn’t opt out or cop out with a “Hey, I’d love to answer that sometime soon, but right now….wouldn’t you know it, it’s the darndest thing….. I feel a heart attack coming on. In fact, it feels like the ‘Big One.’ Say, would you mind calling 911?”

Oddly, in the midst of all this frantic and futile nanosecond daydreaming of escape-scenarios, one of my immediate reactions was admiration for this man’s bold honesty in even asking. Not so oddly, another reaction was praying desperately for every fire alarm on the block to suddenly sound, or at least forJesus to come back. I knew I had no… good… answer. I nervously wiped my hand across my..uh, dress… and resigned myself to the inevitable: I had been outed. Confession time. I mustered all my inner reserves and resources; swallowed my pride and my earlier thud-gulp, and managed an initial:


“Uh…well..,” My articulate non-answer uneloquently began. I made a fairly smooth (I hope) recovery; kept a reasonably straight and stoic (yeah, right!) face; though I knew I didn’t have anything to say to justify myself; to redeem my situation..or my incriminating clothes. Busted indeed.


But before you call the counselors or cops on me, hear
out the “rest of the story.” Starting with the prequel; the gentlemen’s first question to me, as he shook my hand (and my world):

"Pastor, I loved the service...But I can ask one question?"

Like the holy fool (more on that moniker later) I was, I stupidly shot back a surefire “Sure!,” oblivious to the bomb about to drop.

Context: I had been doing the traditional pastoral "greeting everyone at the exit door" thing; like I had hundreds of times before; like thousands of pastors have done. You know: shaking hands with visitors, hugging the saints (sinners, too!), kissing

babies, passing out cigars (OK, just kidding on that one!) hearing quick confessions and the requisite "Great sermon, Pastor," ….like most mainline church pastors are “job-descriptioned” into. It was maybe 1993….many moons and wineskins ago... when I was happily pastoring as an "underground evangelical missionary" in a denomination that “overground” was mainline, mainly sidelined… and mainly apostate. Despite the challenges, part of what I really enjoyed about being such a stealth Jesus-preaching pastor in a largely derailed denomination (many of my peer pastors were preaching anything but Jesus….from an easily digested Reader'sDigestism to all-out outright worship of Sophia…if worship of anyone at all!), but because the "official" doctrine was solid, and because I was called to that particular tribe, I was able to stay; taking much-needed encouragement from Paul’s model for such ministry: "becoming all things to all people that I might save some."


So, as much as I could in good
conscience, I went native; in many, if not all, things related to church culture-custom. And some were saved. I acculturated myself into the mainline expectations and roles. For example, it was not technically required, but an unwritten expectation/”rule” in this tradition that most pastors worth their salt and seminary would wear pastoral robes or clerical collars; at least for “official” worship services. I was never comfortable submitting to the former (but did for my first few years, as I felt it was one of the “all things” that would help me gain a hearing..uh, job!), and only succumbed the latter once (That wild story in a minute!).

As with many of the oldline denominational adherents, folks in our denominational “family” would move from another state, and upon arriving in our city, simply look up the closest church of that tribe, and go to it, immediately joining it, no questions asked! No need to church shop or hop, you trusted the brand name; the company store. You even brought with you a "letter of transfer." As unwise and naive as that often was, it often sovereignly and serendipitously worked in our favor: people “accidentally” found Christ! People that had never tasted vibrant relationship with the Christ of Christianity, but had grown up in a congregation of our ‘brand name” (sometimes for four generations back) would trust a “transfer” and “lateral move” to our town and church; often experiencing conversion before they knew what/Who hit them! And because they trusted the "company message" , they often trusted Christ. After all, you are “supposed to" trust and obey what the "professionally trained clergy” says. I loved it when people would make an appointment with me (the officially “dressed” representative of God and “home office”) to talk about "getting my kid done" (baptized). When they came in, I didn't chew them out about trusting in a ritual to magically save their kid; I started where they were; and walked them through the (thoroughly evangelical) parental vows in the "official manual" for baptism, and was able to simply point them towards a more biblical view of, and relationship with, Jesus. It was rewarding stuff. Even if the right doors only opened for three wrong reasons: because I went to the right school, belonged to the right outfit…. AND wore the right outfit. Jesus, in Matthew 10:16 had asked us to be “sneaky as snakes and docile as doves.” So I dressed like a snake…uh, woman…uh, “professional “ pastor. But I was a dove inside.

Once I had a 92 year old trust Jesus in my office, when he heard of such a possibility for the first time (though he had attended that church for decades, perhaps since before I..or my parents..were born). I heard later that around twenty years before, he had felt that there might be "something he needed to do" to get right with God. He did what he was "supposed to do," he made an appointment with the pastor at the time, who dutifully told him "Don't worry about it, just join the church, and you will be fine." The pastor assured him that any talk he might have been hearing about "accepting Jesus" was huge hogwash! (the kind of wild-eyed fanaticism advocated by those churches and pastors who didn’t wear dresses).
So what an honor to find that this man was still hungry for the “something more” It was beautiful. Oh, did I mention this was a premarital counseling appointment?! It was unspeakably cool and confirming to officiate the wedding of a new convert nonageneraian and his lovely and Jesus-loving (eighty-something ) bride…even if I did have to don the dreaded dress (the bride’s was far prettier!) for the ceremony.
But it was worth it all to hear stories about the last few tears of this man’s married life, as age and Alzheimers crept in. It seems he would actually say things like "This is my wife..uh, what's your name, honey?....But let me tell you about Jesus!!".
Husband and wife are both with Jesus now, and could it be that they might not be if I hadn’t… dressed right?


I don’t know, but it’s time to get back to the prequel:

"So glad you felt at home.,” I assured the first-time visitor, whose turn in line was about to take a twist, and last a bit longer than the typical transaction….all because I added, “Sure, ask your question..(famous last word)..anything!"

"Okay.” He hesitated momentarily but spit it out. "Pastor….Why do you wear a dress?"

This is where you came in. Now you recall my thunderstruck thud.

But how could he NOT have asked? Unlike veteran mainliners who knew no other appropriate attire for a “preacher”, this pre-Christian seeker (refreshingly) had zero background with church and Christianese, let alone church culture cues, or dress codes thereof. Thus he honestly had no clue or construct about what to do with a robed preacher. The only possible word he had in his file for what I was wearing was “dress.” (Hey, it least it was my “color,” as the sweet church ladies always told me!).

So it was a legitimate and logical question. Actually, I have no full memory of the particular answer I fumbled and stumbled out. It must have been something like: “Oh, that! (Laughing) Gee, I realize how it could look like a dress; but hey, don’t worry! In our tradition, pastors often wear robes to….” How in the world did I finish that sentence?! I had no acceptable answer, and still don’t, at least acceptable to me. But thank God the good man seemed fairly satisfied with all that I said; at left least mostly convinced that I wasn’t a cross-dresser (Though I doubt he’d let me babysit his kids!).

But the sequel is telling: Even though he admitted loving the worship service that day (he seemed to really mean it, and I already had all kinds of hope for him encountering Christ among us), you guessed it:

He never came back.

Which is partly why my robe is on sale on EBay.

Soon after, I finally quit wearing a robe at that church, I just couldn't do it for a number of reasons. Primary among them was not “What do non-Christians think about guys wearing dresses?”, but gnotty theological problems I had wrestled with from day one of my days in the pastorate, and in the outfit. Note well that I had (and have) no problem with pastors who feel and dress differently than I now do, in fact they had better dress as they believe they are called. But for me, it would be a compromise, even a sin, to wear the old robe (even the one that was my color) on Sundays, and I would actually challenge all pastors and priests to consider prayerfully and carefully the message that the medium (robes) inescapably send. Again, “Some of my best friends wear robes,” and it is invigorating to see new life flood postmodern-sensitive churches are they blend old and new with meaningful liturgy..sometimes involving robes. One need not throw the wine out with wineskin; nor the robe with the vow to eschew “meaningless ritual.” Like Paul in Philippians 1:18, I must rejoice whenever and wherever Christ is preached..clothes of the preacher must ultimately be (pun intended) immaterial.

But I must live with myself…and I can’t myself live with a robe which was intentionally intended to communicate (against my will) that I am of a higher class/caste: a “clergy” who alone can authentically and apostolically teach the lowly “laypeople, ” as I am intrinsically and inherently (by virtue of my schooling and whose hands and “seal of approval” were laid on me) more “anointed.” I’ll never forget the shock of realizing what the colorfully red neckline represented on my pastor’s robe: I had been thinking all along it carried some neat theological connotation: blood of Jesus, Pentecost, whatever. Then I found out it was the “doctor’s bars” of academic robe! I just couldn’t wear something like church. You can have more degrees than a summer day in Fresno, and still not be a servant- leader.
My district superintendent, who helped assign “appointments” of pastors to churches, often (half)teased the pastors under his charge: “Just because you’re anointed doesn’t mean you’ll be appointed.” I won’t claim to belong to a higher class of Christian, just because I am a pastor. In fact the only “higher level” specifically promised Christian leaders (viaJames 3:1) is a “stricter judgement” !! And the word “layperson” comes from the original biblical Koine Greek “laos” which clearly means simply “people.” So for me to claim a title of “clergy” implies that I am of a higher class and genus than “people.” Hey, I am only people, too…pastoral calling and all: which of course was one of the Reformation’s trumpet calls a few hundred years ago. But ironically, the Reformation didn’t go far enough, in fact it perpetuated some of the problems embedded in the system it was trying to shed, and directly infected the infested system that “Protest-ants” have inherited today!!

“Reformer John Calvin determined he would NOT wear priestly robes,” Jim Rutz writes in “The Open Church”. “As a protest to the costumed pageantry of other clergy, he stuck to his business suit for even the most formal church occasions.” Sounds good and God-inspired so far? I think it was, and it’s pretty much what I did for the first few years of nonrobed preaching. Yet the clincher: “But alas, his followers through the ages have also worn a business suit—EXACT COPIES OF CALVIN”S BUSINESS SUIT. And thus today, when you see a Presbyterian minister in full regalia, you are looking at a sixteenth century Swiss Brooks Brothers boardroom special.”

For those wanting more powerful, provocative evidence of the often antithetical, at times pagan origins of many of the “sacred cows” of Protestantism (from pews to pulpits) , or church in general, start with the Rutz book just quoted, or the explosive online expose b y Gene Edwards, which lives up to its title: “Beyond Radical.”(Free online here).


Sacred cows often make better burgers. But I don’t desire to be inordinately iconoclastic, or a rebel without a cause; or fall into the “Polo Shirts are the new robes” trap, or even to make a big deal about what on the surface appears a superficial and neutral clothes. Yet because clothes are literally surface issues, (that is, on the surface of my frame) and thus unavoidably visible, I cannot NOT consider the implications of what I wear. My clothes speak. I cannot not preach by what I wear. I am glad that most Sundays, I just wear what I want to; I am not intentionally and reactionarily sending or not sending a message…except the unspoken message to all us “laypeople”: it just may be alright with the Almighty if we chill out and wear what we want (within reason and season of course! I love the statement on our church website: “Dressing up is accepted, but not expected”..Anyway, here (is a photo revealing how I typically dress when I preach on Sundays (if I preach on Sundays at all, another shift in which cows are sacred) .

And it should suffice as evidence that I don’t necessarily think any pastor is in the wrong to wear a robe that mine is soon for sale on E-Bay..where some of you might actually buy it (take my robe…please!)…and even (gasp!) wear it to preach in! I didn’t burn it; right or wrong, I’m E-Baying it. Though I am fine with whatever use you want to put it to: Halloween costume, satirical skit (someone actually borrowed my robe once to play a judge…hmmm, there’s another wake-up call regarding what message a robe sends!), kindling. Be imaginative! But don’t imagine me wearing it again…

For some reason, though ( I hope its just nostalgia about the story I am about to tell), I haven’t been able to take my clerical collar off the mirror and into the trash..or onto E-Bay. I’ve already teased about telling about the day (one only) I wore it. Let me say upfront that it’s Harry’s fault! I probably wouldn't have done it for anyone else but Harry! I officiated his wedding, too ( in a suit, thank you very much! He didn't ask me to wear a dress, thank God!) On a more serious note, the story is this: Harry's brother lost his wife suddenly, and though the family were nominally Catholic, and actually had no church; there was the background and vestige of Catholicism so woven into the fabric of the family history that nothing would authenticate a funeral officiant more than a collared clergy. Sigh! I told my mouth to tell Harry “No,” but it came out a God-breathed “Yes.” All things to all people, the Lord reminded me…that some might be saved.
I was honored to be asked to do the funeral, though it was a difficult one; she was too young.

Visiting with the family, and realizing that many of the friends that would be in attendance were not only nominally Catholic, but far from the church and Christ.. Reading the wife's journal, we found heartfelt and desperate prayers to Jesus for salvation, healing and guidance, It was enough for me to preach positively and hopefully about her God-relationship. So I felt better about officiating..collar and all.
(I had to go out and buy one..finding of course the least conspicuous and least clergy-looking style available; connected to a light-blue shirt, of course). And yes, my “in the know” friends smiled (okay, “smirked”)at me as I entered the funeral home. But God worked in amazing ways at that
service. Self-confessed drug-addicted, non-church folks, stood up and gave testimony (Often with colorful but heartfelt words) about what the deceased had meant to them. The Catholic relatives hung on my every word of grace and comfort. Don Secrest still laughs about howI even had everyone in the room unison, out loud, a prayer of leaning our lives on Jesus. I mean, that's what they were expecting, a "repeat after me " liturgy." And I couldn’t in good faith offer a “Hail Mary,”, so I created a downhome “Hey, Jesus” prayer. That’s right, I..and hopefully God through me..made one up, an honest one that seekers and sailors; doubters and drunks could say and pray with integrity as they tested and tiptoed their way towards the Christ their departed friend seem to know. Folk who wouldn’t darken the door of a church felt free to express themselves in profanity-laced testimonies to God and even to “accept Jesus”..partly because the officiating shepherd (who actually felt very sheepish in his get-up) wore a clerical collar ( to his conscience a veritable clown suit), and seemed the real deal. Go figure.


Clown suit, huh? But one man’s clown suit is another man’s lifeline. I can’t judge that; I might even preach in a literal clown suit (or worse..a dress! Does E-Bay let you buy back your own stuff!!) if God wills.

My neighbor when I was a teen, once asked his mom to buy him what some called a "gook jacket." It was what the cool ”rowdy” kids wore; a hooded sweatshirt. The funny thing is that my dad had somehow managed to buy and wear one; probably unaware that it was the hippest thing for teens; it was more likely a functional purchase. My dad was not one to embarrassingly dress “young” just to be hip with the kids, he was and is already just naturally cool.

"No! Never! You cannot have one of those jackets," his mother shot back. "That's what the crooks; the bad kids wear!"

But my swift friend did not relent; he took full advantage of the opportunity. He had a secret, and was about to go for the big guns.

"But Mom!," he protested, armed with his decidedly weighty argument: "But Mr. Wainscott wears one!"
His mom had the shutdown comeback, however: "I don’t care if Mr. Wainscott wears a clown suit!! If Mr. Wainscott wears a clown suit, are you going to want one of those, too? The answer is no!

For me, wearing a "preaching robe" is the equivalent of a clown suit…or the dreaded dress my visiting parishioner mis(?)took it for. Again, I am all for pastors wearing such if God leads and needs.
But I'd better be careful; there actually IS a "clown eucharist" service! No comment, but here's an actual photo and a live link)

...And I had better be as open and as stripped of preconceived dress codes as was Salvation Army founder William Booth. The story is told that many criticized Booth for dressing in military gear, and banging a drum, to attract attention to his outdoor preaching. He reportedly replied: “I’d stand on my head and bang a drum, if it meant one soul would come to Jesus!” I would like to be like Booth when I grow up! So I try to never say never…

Partly because I am attracted to being a..

“Holy Fool,” which is a wonderful tradition of the Eastern Church who periodically pops up here in the West. In the Russian tradition, some of the saints would do almost anything to avoid being perceived as saints. One of them kept offering to wrestle bears so people would think him a nut and not praise him as a saint. In the West, St. Philip Neri acted goofy, partly because he enjoyed being a goof and partly to throw people off the scent of his sanctity and keep them from gushing over him. When offered a cardinal's hat, he proceeded to play football with it. Currently, we saw something of the Holy Fool in Forrest Gump a few years ago. All such fools have one thing in common: they know they are not wise. Similarly, those who are convinced of their innate wisdom are invariably great ninnies. It's far better to be a fool for Christ than to be a fool on one's own. Today, thank God for the folly that is his wisdom.

1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
-Mark Shea, Daily Cathloc Exchange Devotional, Aopril 1, 2005

Yet tough questions remain. If even the Salvation Army needs to address and redress (literally) the way it operates, so be it. All for the same motive of “whatever it takes!.” It could be that wearing an Army uniform,or a clerical collar, or a 1500s Swiss business suit only gets in the way of an effective explanation and demonstration of the gospel in this postmodern, postevangelical, post-Post-It note, postpost (yada) age. And it also may be that the Lord will prompt even me to wear one or more (hopefully not all at once!)of the above if a soul is at stake. I’d like to even believe I’d dress in that “dress again”, for Christ’s sake…even for Harry’s sake. But until then, color me in jeans (maybe Dockers), a polo shirt and sneakers.. And color me quite cautious about anything more formal or freaky, I’m fine in my polo shirt..
until and unless that becomes a new “robe”. Agonizingly, anything can become idolatrous and adulterous. Even though Paul warns well not to get up in arguments over neutral things, and None less than Jesus commands “Don’t worry about what you wear!” (Love to see that verse…Matthew 6:25.. on the front door of churches! Hope I’m not too sarcastic and faithless when I say “That’ll be the day!”). But do you know the apparent reason that “dressing up” for church (not just by the clergy) was encouraged? Gene Edwards and James Rutz fill in some blanks again:
Why did Christians start dressing up to go to church? If you've ever yanked a tie tightly around your sweaty neck on a hot, steaming day-or ouched your way to church in a pair of not-quite-fitting high heels, you may have said to yourself, "I'd sure like to meet the dirty dog who invented these things ... in a dark alley."
Actually, you're probably under the impression that dressing up for church is a godly custom designed to show our respect for the Lord. It's not. While showing respect for God is always good, that's just not the historical reason for shined shoes, fresh shirts, and attention to style. Nor do we dress to impress each other-although many people do find it uplifting to be among well-turned-out friends.
History is a little fuzzy on this, but as near as anyone can tell, the real reason for our Sunday splendor is so that we'll look good if we happen to run into Emperor Constantine or his aristocratic friends!
Chances for that are not high these days, but originally that was the reason. Constantine and other heavy hitters had a habit of popping up in several of the church buildings he paid for. And when big cathedrals sprang up much later, with European royalty in attendance, the impetus to dress up grew further. Fancy church buildings were the one place that royalty mixed with commoners. Cathedrals, such as those at St. Denis, attracted royalty from all over, and it simply wouldn't do to bump into a prince or contessa in your grubby work clothes.
These are just historical observations, of course. I wouldn't be so foolish as to question the advisability of an ages-old custom like dressing up for church. If snappy clothing brings you closer to God, helps you deal humbly with sin in your life, lets you relax and get your eyes on Christ while feeling closer to your brothers and sisters in church, why, I'm all for it. In fact, maybe I'll join you ... just as soon as I can locate my Christian Dior cravat and Yves Saint Laurent silk suit. link

And how about that collar sequestered on my mirror?

The clerical "backwards collar" deserves to be awarded a small note here. At one brief point in European history, every man who could afford a suit had a shirt or two with a reverse collar. It was simply the style du jour.
Eventually, however, it went the way of all styles, and no one wore it any more-except, that is, for the clergy. Being perpetually underpaid, ministers and missionaries have never been noted for up-to-the-minute fashions. And in this particular case, they continued to wear the now-venerable reverse collar simply because they didn't have the money to refurbish their wardrobes with newer shirts.

I am picky about the pictures of me that appear on our website. For example, many nice photos have been taken of me in a tie, but you won’t see any on our site; it would send the wrong message about me, and the typical tone of our people’s dress. As far as I know, no photos are floating around online of me in my“old days” preacher robe (No, Dad, don’t post one). The closest thing I have to an actual photo from that era is this abstract Picasso-esque gem that Shawn Rabon painted of me while I was preaching robe and all. (I thought he was taking copious sermon notes, turns out he was instead inspired to doodle this masterpiece!).


Because at one church I served, we had four worship services (with accompanying degrees of formality/informality) there even was a timee where on Sunday mornings I had more costume changes than Cher. (Though I never had a “wardrobe malfunction" like Janet Jackson, I may have came close as I scurried out of the dressing room). I’d like to say I’d do it again in a hartbeat if it felt like a God-thing. Because I know it’s not about clothes. But if Wolfgang Simson is half-right (and I believe the case that he is even understated here is strong)….:

In rediscovering the gospel of salvation by faith and grace alone, Luther started to reform the Church through a reformation of theology. In the 18th century through movements like the Moravians there was a recovery of a new intimacy with God, which led to a reformation of spirituality, the Second Reformation. Now God is touching the wineskins themselves, initiating a Third Reformation, a reformation of structure. link

…then we should not be surprised if God Himself is orchestrating “structural changes” (including large scale “costume changes” that informalize a lot of clergy) that facilite us being more sensitive to, and Spiritanously open to, the fact that, as Simson says “life..and thus informal.” .

There is an anecdote, perhaps anecdotal (that I can’t find right now) about a former U.S president…probably Hoover or Truman (or someone else with a sly and dry sense of humor) who wanted to prove to a friend visiting the White House that visitors at “meet and greet” photo-op receptions were typically so taken with the glitz and hype of the White House that the ten-second of each to “meet and greet” the president was so unreal and rote that he as president could say anything to the person in line he was shaking hands with, and it wouldn’t register. This was a time when the president’s mother was known to be ill, so many greeters as they shook the president’s hand asked “How’s your mother, Mr. President?”, out of nervousness or just to have something polite to say. So the president whispered to his friend, “Watch this, to the third person who asks me how my mother is, I’ll say “She died this morning,” and they’ll say something like “That’s wonderful, Mr. President,” as they smile for the picture and move on. It worked!

I occasionally felt during those years of “meet and great” at the White House..uh,whorehouse...uh, I mean local church…I mean greeting the line of parishioners at the door… as wonderful as it was, was also at times nothing less than an encouragement for them and me to lie. “How are you?” The answer was usually (supposed to be) “ Fine” whether or not the person had diarrhea, demons, disease or death coming against them.

I still love to greet folks on Sundays…but we are working hard about building informality, honesty and real relationship into our family DNA..including such conversations…We linger, mingle, often as a whole group for extended individual prayer, sharing, or lunch. And though sometimes we still war those masks, at least I am not wearing the robe that would keep me looking too super-human to confess that I..even the “pastor” may feel like crap today.

I know radical transparency calls for wisdom and balance.
See “Real Live Preacher’s” helpful article here, which I call “How much of your pastor do you want to see?”; also Tim Keel’s “Naked in the Pulpit: Preaching as an Act of Imtimacy” .(safe click, don’t worry, no pictures(:

God DID ask Isaiah to preach naked for a few years, though...I am afraid to pray if THAT is God's will for me. (: And I can't not pray the classic 77s song that got them censored.

Someone once said about my father-in law, a Christian leader that “he is so transparent that his underwear shows.” That was a compliment, but I will NOT be preaching/mingling in my underwear…or a formal dress. For me, the polo shirt is symbolic of the balance.


In conclusion, if the (then) young man who first asked me the paradigm-busting, million dollar question that day that changed my life and rocked my world into where it is now, is out there reading:

1)Sorry, you never came back to church. If the dress was the isuue, come on back. I’m safe (though a bit more slovenly) now.

2)”Thanks” is not adequate. This whole new ride I am on, and the delightfully risky, emerging wineskin
I am drinking from is wonderful beyond my wildest dreams. God is personal and profound to me like never before. It’s partly your fault! Bless you!

And a working conclusion about this “wearing a robe” thing:

1 .I can’t imagine doing it. (They are itchy, make it hard to take a bathroom break, and make me feel like an unholy pompous fool. I want to be “just Dave.” ).

2. Besides this more persona, stylistic, emotive reason, I have too many theological reticences about what a robe communicates.

3. I am cool with other pastors doing it, but I don’t think I could ever recommend it.

4. It’s not just about looking to some like I’m wearing a dress. I am hopefully secure enough in my masculinity to don one again, if God (and maybe Harry) so speaks…

a)But it better be writing in the sky.

b)If so, I just hope He speaks about me wearing one that IS my color.(:
Where is that E-Bay page, anyway?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Of course his argument is sound?

1. If we are made in God's image.

2. And since we are dumb...

3,. Then it follows that God is dumb...

Fallacious non sequitur, obviously..

..but you can't blame the quoted theologian for ditching and dissing God on the only evidence God himself says should convince unbelievers:


Read about it here

Ellul on Church and Politics

"Every stand taken by the Church on a current political problem merely demonstrates the Church's weakness as an influence on the world."
-Ellul, "False Presence of the Kingdom"
more of the book
more Ellul

bath at Joel's

sacked by visigoth locustshame
same subtle-evil tries to trip my style
stylusing shame on my stoneheart
hardly makes a dent

don't know why Jireh feeds me
forgets tresspast,
thwarts abaddons i courted,
unruts and leans me into grace's loom.

Spirited dust repents and is romanced;
Pentecosted frolic.
wet, i sing-dream...
and see.

Joel 2.23-28

Sunday, December 23, 2007

3 Good Lynx

1. When I taught at the remarkable World Journalism Institute a few years ago, I routinely asked students at the beginning of a new class: "What do you think is the calling of a Christian in secular media?" Inevitably, several young men and women would reply, "To report the news from God's perspective."

Right? Wrong.
Uwe Siemon-Netto
the rest..

2."So who plays the role of “bishop” in your ministry?"
Read the rest

3. Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion:

"This is historically a Christian country. I'm a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims.

"So, yes, I like singing carols along with everybody else. I'm not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history.

"If there's any threat these sorts of things, I think you will find it comes from rival religions and not from atheists." read the rest

"This here song might offend you some..."

I must say that God used a certain song in the process of waking me up from the fog of five years between high school and college. Why I was putting off college; I don't know; I always knew I would love and need it.

The prophetic song:

"This here song might offend you some
And if you think it does it's because you're dumb..

You're gonna wind up working at a gas station.."

God evidently loves to use Frank Zappa lyric to get lost kids into theKingdom and into college.

Since we all know the church fueled quite a bit of the Holocaust, and that Frank Zappa was often prophetic..

(any questions so far?)..

Let's take on a midrash of that song.

And ask:

Could it be that it's either Pentecost or Holocaust?
Could it be that if we aren't following Jesus, by default we are trusting/following Satan?

Maybe..bottom line..there are really only two responses to Jesus:
we want to kiss him or kill him.
The magi desired to worship Jesus (the Greek word is to prostrate oneself; an related to the verb "to kiss." Herod, on the other hand, set out to kill him.

On the "if you are not set on fire by Pentecost, you light fires of Holocaust" thesis,
consider the great theologian (!) Frank Zappa..

..who may well have embedded in a song on face value about the futility of working at a gas station..anyone is "dumb" who works there; get some education and do something more profound..

OR is the song also (or only) about this same choice: If we are not prayerful and careful, we will naturally fall back on our human ("You, who are evil..." Jesus said) leaning towards murder/wanting to kill Jesus...or Jews.

The gas station is a concentration camp oven, in this interpretation of a deceptively throwaway

Follow the interpretation of the song here.
Much of the debate centers on who is "Many the Camper (who) wants to buy some white."

I am a firm believer in centered and fuzzy sets (or I wouldn't be cataloging Zappa as propheticesque) . But sometimes there is no middle ground, and bounded sets abound (God or mammon, U2 or Gaithers {joke!] etc)
Though few would advocate literally killing Jesus or Jews...even the best of us (even fully converted folk)
commit embryonically what Hugh Ross calls the "blasphemy threshold." We are not in danger of committing the full-blown blaphemy against the Holy Spirit. But when we act in unchecked human wisdom ("human wisdom is demonic", James 3:16)...

we kill Jesus.

Or Jews.

Which is the same thing.

And we wind up working at the gas station of Auschwitz.
And the "camper who wants to buy some white" is sold out to the master race.

We often talk of Paul, who "didn't kill Stephen, but held the coats of those who did."
We don't kill Jews, we just hold the matches for those who light the oven.

Promoting empire, system and Satan.

Killing Christ.
Time for a temple tantrum, for Christ's sake,
as we all default to ant-Christ anti-Semitism.

Just some cozy devotional thoughts for the day.

This ain't Joel Osteen's blog.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

But don't discount the prophetic wherever it shows up...especially in the Zappa.

Rolling Stone magazine had his number:

"Zappa vividly captures the paranoid tension and bleak foreboding of impending holocaust – before slapping you hard on the ass with a delightful slice of elephant-disco slapstick."

Why doesn't the church?

Don't answer that.

"Like every other record he ever made,, "Rolling Stone continued. " [ this one] is Frank Zappa's way of saying, 'Yeah, everything is f---ked, but all is not lost.'"

Why can't the church say that.

Frank can answer that.

"It has never mattered to me that thirty million people might think I'm wrong.
The number of people who thought Hitler was right did not make him right.."

Frank Zappa: Hello?! Hello?! Hello?!

Den Simms: Here we go. (To Rob & Eric) So what was the thing you had
said about "Manny the Camper" on the way here?

Frank Zappa: He wants to buy some white. Manny the camper wants to buy
some white. Ya wait long enough, all the songs come true.

Eric Buxton: Who was the original Manny the camper? I know he
wanted white gas, but who was he?

Frank Zappa: Just anybody named Manny who had an RV, y'know.

Eric Buxton: And here he is.

Frank Zappa: Yeah, I'm sure he has an RV too. It's probably bullet
proof. One more thing is maybe he'll return to Managua.
You could go unnoticed in such a place (laughter).


"This here song might offend you some
And if you think it does it's because you're dumb
That's the way it is where I come from
And if you think that too, let me see your thumb
Show me your thumb that you're really dumb
Hey now, better make a decision
Be a moron and keep your position
You gotta know now all your education
Or else let me know how you're gonna
Wind up working in a gas station
Pumping the gas every night

Manny [in some lyric versions, "Many"] the camper wants to buy some white ....

If Jesus doesn't return for ten thousand years..

Don't get me wrong. I certainly don't think the famous "end times" movies by Christians are evil and satanic (like some apparently do). Give me a break.

But how ironic that somebody...whether screenwriters or satan himself...can so convince us that our "end times" understanding is the biblical model that we miss the urgent end times oppportunities before us even today..

...Even if Jesus doesn't show up for a million more years.

I saw that flinch.


Of course, every generation is intended to live as if Jesus could come back any day. God purposely embedded that in the gospel.

But could it true that due to an overemphasis/misapplicationof this reality....and especially a marrow dispensationalist LaHaye view of the end times.. has messed up the Western church to the degree that we can't even consider the "heretical" question that "Chip" asked:

"Salvation is not merely about “the elect” finding a secret cure for original sin on a personal level. The question is not “If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain that you’d go to be with God in heaven?” but rather “If you were to live for another fifty years, what kind of person would you like to become – and how will you become that kind of person?” On a more social level, “If Jesus doesn’t return for ten thousand or ten million years, what kind of world do we want to create?link

Just try this. In an fundagelical Bible study or sermon, simply sa "Jesus could come back in our lifetime, amen?" You'll receive back a hearty sevenfold "amen." Then add, after a pregnant pause, "...Or he could come back in a thousand years...."

You'll be given the right foot of fellowship.

I am not saying Jesus won't come back this year.

But why can't we even pray/weigh things like (gasp)this.

Let alone Hal Lindsey's "There's a New Wife Coming" or Overcoming Fear of Flying DuringRapture.


And ask if their is a broader lens.

As one heteroclite wrote:

U2 is a sign, then, of the end times; inasmuch as their mission is the same. Inasmuch as they are messengers of the dethroning of death as ultimate lord. Let me unpack what I connote by “sign” , and then what’s implied here by “end times.” All I mean by U2 being a “sign” is what Jesus meant by the word (in the biblical Greek: “semeion”): “a distinguishing mark by which something is known.” U2 don’t hold signs, they are signs; they are a “distinguishing mark by which something is known.” In fact they name the very mark of the beast, and point us to the One who overcomes and overwrites it. This definition of “sign” causes Charles Swindoll(He Gave Gifts, p. 55) to paraphrase “semeion” , and thus (though I am guessing he would argue with my application) U2 , as "a super-human ability which authenticated God's spokespersons by convincing people that they were, in fact, bona fide servants of God" What better definition of U2 could you ask for (You’ll notice that Swindoll, as a fundamentalist and cessationist, is unfortunately bound to relegate “sign” to past tense. I believe signs from God, especially people/groups/ rock bands are still around.

And all I mean by the “end times” is all that Jesus meant by it: the eschatological reality and Kingdom era that Jesus inaugurated in his first coming; more simply put, the God-haunted times we live in, even if we are still (hold on to your hats, “Left Behind” fans) a million years from the Second Coming! When Peter preached at Pentecost, citing Joel 2, he was clear: the end times have begun, and they are evidenced by the Spirit being poured out on all flesh (Hey, it doesn’t say “just on the Christians”, or “only on traditional Christian music!”). Folk of all ages and stages prophesying is the main “sign” of the beginning of the “end times.” This means even (!) U2 can prophesy, as even (!) a leading Presbyterian pastor has gladly admitted: “If we are lucky, a prophet shows up…For many these days, it is U2 that shows up..(to) purge our imaginations of the culture’s assumptions on what counts in life and how life is lived.” (Eugene Peterson, forward to Beth Maynard’s “Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog”) . U2 are end-times prophetic signs . Apocalyptic even.


Now there’s a word that needs defining and demantling, at least of its commonly understood denotation: “The whole damn world is going to hell in a Doomsday Basket Fireball, any Armaggedon day now.” . Well, for one, take Armaggedon… please. The word is mentioned in Revelation, but only once, and not even then as a literal; once-for-all, “end of the world as we know it” battle that we have always been told is spelled out in Revelation. Win thousands of dollars by betting “Left-Behind”- inundated Christians that the “battle of Armageddon” is not mentioned at all in the Bible. They will think you are nuts, but you will be right and richer! All the biblical book says about that locale is “the “kings gathered” there. It never specifically predicts or depicts a battle actually happening, and nowhere describes it at all, let alone in the multi-volume mega-graphic detail of the million-selling series of novels. Check this out, doubters, in the Bible volume, it’s all of one verse: Revelation 16:16. This sentence mentions, almost in passing, about kings “gathering” , maybe for an event; one that may or may not happen….at least in the way we’ve been taught. Now, there may well be a literal Battle in the end of the end times, but perhaps even more importantly and apocalyptically, we are even now waging an “apocalypse now,” an actual and practical proleptic armageddon against death and devil’s dominion, in all aspects of faith and life. That’s a very practical, “everyday,” here-and-now and not just “then-and-there,” end-times battle/job/vocation we have all signed up for. Armageddon, and all apocalypse, is best understood as a process and way of life more than a definitive event. U2 simply calls it “dismantling an atomic bomb.” David Dark, coins it “everyday apocalypse.” Hang onto that apparently unlikely and oxymoronic linking of “everyday” with
“apocalyptic,” as we let Dark enlighten us:

We apparently have the word “apocalypse“ all wrong. In its root meaning, it’s not about destruction or fortune telling; It’s about revealing; It’s what James Joyce calls an epiphany-the moment you realize your so-called love for the young lady, all your professions, all your dreams, and all your efforts to get her to notice you were the exercise of an unkind and obssesive vanity…The real world, within which you’ve lived and moved and had your being, has unveiled itself. It’s starting to come to you. You aren’t who you made yourself out to be. An apocalypse
has occurred, or a revelation, if you prefer…Apocalyptic maximizes the reality of human suffering and folly before daring a word of hope. The hope has nowhere else to happen but the valley of the shadow of death. Is it any surprise that we often won’t know it when we see it?

-David Dark, “Everyday Apocalypse: The Sacred Revealed in Radiohead, The Simpsons and Other Pop Culture Icons”, p.10

Besides the fact that that quote amazingly described U2; it reveals that apocalyptic, end-times, is “simply” about revelation. And as a subset of that revelation, it’s about the explanation that death is not the end; though life’s hope “has nowhere else to happen but in its shadow.”
U2, in the past (1990s, hallmarked by the song “Until the End of the World,”) looked at life and faith through the shadow and perspective of death and unbelief. Even such “darker” treatises were “meditations on life.” Now they are focusing more clearly on ditching irony and pitching life directly. Same message: Life wins. Though death is still visible, it is not victor. What a revelation. U2 then, fits extraordinarily well, the biblical definition of apocalyptic:

As a literary genre, “apocalyptic” is a way of investing space-time events with their theological significance; it is actually a way of affirming, not denying, the vital importance of the present continuing space-time order, by denying that evil has the last word in it.
-N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God

This continual “denying that evil(death) has the last word” is an everyday end –time dismantling of old ways and wineskins. One could make the case, and one (Beth Maynard) basically has, that nothing less than the whole point of U2’s “Bomb” is to effectively and affectively, through apocalyptic and prophetic song, “dismantle the lie that death and destruction hold the cards.”

All I can say is “Amen, Beth!” And I may add “Apocalyptic Baby! “

Come, Lord Jesus.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where the Hell is St. Matthew?

I love what has come to be called the "Where the Hell is Matt?" video, which came about when Matt won a contest in which Stride gum paid his way around the world...if he would film himself doing his unique dance at each stop.

I am jealous. The story and outtakes are at this link; but you need to watch the video below. The soundtrack is awesome; and the whole experience is God-haunted and prophetic to me for several reasons...even if it was all about selling gum.

For one, Delirious made it clear God is looking for "dancers who dance upon injustice." I have even read in the Book about the One who morphs "mourning into dancing."

Secondly, something about travelling around the world and leaving your mark...Georgian Banov has been known to travel the world in a week, worshipping and dancing manic-minstrel-style as only he can do (huh, Blodge?)

Here is the video:

...and some outtakes with commentary:

This calls to mind Steve Taylor's manic trip around the world several years ago for his "Squint" record/video; filmed as "Squint: Movies From the Soundtrack". Anyway, the parallels are haunting...Taylor did cartwheels at most every stop.

That's dancing upon injustice, too..

A clip of that flick, though sadly sans the cartwheels:

"I have no idea where I am going"

"By faith, Abraham left; not knowing where he was going."
-Hebrews 11:8

"The congregation can handle not knowing where they're going if they know why they're going"

-Erwin McManus, "An Unstoppable Force."

"'Strategy' is essentially about 'knowin' where you're goin.' Not, mostly, a bad idea; though with today's market gyrations - and market gyration velocity - that's increasingly difficult to do, a chimera, a distraction even. For me, 'knowin' who you're goin' with' tops the list of imperatives in a world of whitewater, and knowin' that those you're goin' with share your passion and determination - and the flexibility of mind to adjust and adjust and adjust on a dime. All of which is to say I'm not, and never have been, a champion of the management school of thought that says, or implies, 'Get the strategy right (big word, 'right'!), and the rest, as in all good things, will more or less automatically follow.' In fact I think such a view - admittedly not as prevalent today as it used to be, in the wake of everything from huge bankruptcies to 9/11 - is total crap."
-Tom Peters, quoted by Mike Todd

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."
- Thomas Merton Thoughts in Solitude, quoted in Brian Dodd

Ray Bradbury and "God in your breast"

.. "I will be doing a story, sometimes in the future, about an entire Church of priests who go out into the universe in their search for God, not realizing that God is buried in their hearts. You don't search for it (God) in other places. It is in your breast, in your psyche, and in your soul. I hope to work on that more and publish it in about 2 years."
Ray Bradbury
March, 2007

As a follow up to my The Day I Prayed for Ray Bradbury post..

I found this discussion on Bradbury and Christianity...mostly devoted to whether he is in or out.

and this recent video:

All I know he is heartily amened and I agreed with my prayer that day in the library.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Paul and Bruce Rise Up...

"Rise Up" by U2:

In a stairway on a on a stone walk
In a doorstep, golden light
In a cold wind blowing
In the danger, out of the storm

I remain in You
I will recall this storm
This storm recalls You

Rise up, rise up, rise up, rise up
Rise up, rise up, rise up, rise up
Rise up, rise up, rise up, rise up
Rise up, rise up, rise up, rise up ..

"Rise Up" (really "My City of Ruins") by Springsteen:

Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!
Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!

My city's in ruins

Now with these hands,
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray Lord
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray for the strength, Lord
With these hands,
With these hands,
I pray for the faith, Lord
We pray for your love, Lord
We pray for the lost, Lord
We pray for this world, Lord
We pray for the strength, Lord
We pray for the strength, Lord

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ragamuffin hymn

..though dead, he still speaks:

I am in sin if I always "avoid the appearance of evil"

Much of what we have learned in church, Sunday School and (gasp) sometimes even seminary is wrong.

The list of Scriptures (atomized "memory verses" out of context, and interpreted through the grid of rationalistic modernity) we have always (mis)understood is almost endless; and the terrible irony is that often the plain and obvious (in context) meaning is opposite what we have always been told.

For example, people actually believe the Bible says "God will never give you more than you can handle." (see God Always Gives Us More Than We Can Handle  and God Will Always Give You More Than You Can Handle).

For another example, you have heard that Jesus would rather have us be hot (on fire for God) or even cold (no heart for God) than being lukewarm.  (see: WWJP Why Would Jesus Puke?: let's be hot AND cold, as Jesus wants)



(see a few examples here)

This is definitely one of my pastoral pet peeves.

Tia Linn, a "Jersey Girl Among the Georgia Peaches," has done the most amazing job I have seen yet on exposing one of the biggest myths:

You know, the "The Bible says 'Avoid the appearance of evil', so don't ever  put yourself in a situation/place where you could be accused of being in sin...." myth.

If you are not aware of the obvious problem (King James translation, and read out of context...what else is new?) with this memory verse that is nowhere in the Bible, read her blog post.

She makes the point that

It is possibly the most misunderstood, misused verse in the entire bible.
We've all had it said to us and we have probably said it to others. It's usually
applied when we feel someone isn't actually sinning, but we believe that some
unidentified lurking spy could misconstrue our behaviour as sin because it
"looks bad."

However, this verse, as it appears in the KJV, is a poor translation, and has NOTHING to do with freedoms and liberties that could be misinterpreted as evil.

Here's the 1 Thess. 5:22 in Greek put into transliteration:

apo pantos eidous ponèrou apechesthe

The word eidos, based on meaning and context, is actually best translated as "forms" or "kind."

In every other widely used translation besides the OLD KING JAMES version, 1 Thess 5:22 reads something like this: "Abstain from all forms of evil." This has nothing to do with appearances. It's referring to actual evil, in whatever form it manifests: stealing, lying, fornication, adultery, greed, etc. Whatever form it comes in, avoid it!

Here's how the verse reads in the most used translations:

1 Thessalonians 5:22
New International Version: Avoid every kind of evil.New American Standard: Avoid every form of evil.New Living Translation: Avoid every kind of evil.English Standard Version: Abstain from every form of evil.Contemporary English: Don't have anything to do with evil.New King James: Abstain from every form of evil. (NKJ remedied the older version's poor translation)
American Standard: Abstain from every form of evil.Darby Translation: Hold aloof from every form of wickedness.Holman Christian Standard Bible: Stay away from every form of evil.New International Reader's Version: Stay away from every kind of evil.Worldwide English: Have nothing to do with any wrong thing.

The Old King James isn't technically wrong, but being that most of us do not utilize old English, we misread it. It's use of the word appearance more accurately means..."avoid evil whenever it makes an appearance." The context of the word is as occurrence, not outward appearance.

..Most of the time, people unknowingly misuse this verse with the
VERY BEST INTENTIONS, because they desire to appear their very best, so they can lead people to Christ..

The misused version of this verse only heightens our already unhealthy
fixation on appearances and superficial piety instead of true substance. The
terms of what appears evil are usually defined by those who are offended with a
particular activity that can't be classified as real sin, thus it appears evil.
The whole thing breeds suspicion, judgmentalism, and even idolatry. When we
start assigning more power to inanimate objects or activities than they actually
possess, it can turn to a form of idolatry...

We all know it is completely impossible to abstain from the appearance of
evil. We can't even abstain completely from that which is actually evil, let
alone innocent liberties that could possibly appear evil if someone was walking
by and squinting....The real issue is that JESUS appeared evil ALL the time, especially to religious people. He ate and drank (wine, not grape juice,
baptists), he turned water into wine to keep the festivities going for people
who had been drinking all day, hence the accusations of being a wine-bibber and
glutton. He hung around with tax collectors and prostitutes and went into places
deemed "unclean." He didn't perform the ceremonious hand cleansing rituals. He
didn't follow the man-made religious traditions of the sabbath. He was with the
woman at the well all alone, a Samaritan no less. People accused Jesus of being
demon possessed because of how he appeared.

link (emphasis mine)

My response below; upping the ante,

                         but making only a basic/101 conclusion.

This is NOT a non sequitur, not a fallacious stretch;

not a reductionistic heresy.

And I was thrilled to see (by a simple googling here) that many of the top posts actually get it right...

Do the math!

It is simply inevitable that:

1."Jesus appeared evil .."

2. We are to follow Jesus.

3. If we do not appear evil much  of the time, we are in sin and not faithfully following Jesus.

Now don't hear what I'm not saying: Go thou therefore and purposely look like you are attending an adult movie just to be seen and  just to tweak the fundies. Go and pull a Ted Haggard with God's blessing
But if I have not been seen near an adult theatre, a gay film festival, or a prostitute lately,
I should shred my pastoral orders, and re-read the Book.
Where else would Jesus be?

If you are not familiar with C.S. Lewis' "Screwtape Letters," which Bono (literally) took a page from here:
What if that image of purity is the image of a Christian in the original state
of grace? As it is to many people. One night I was doing my..devil dance on
stage with a young girl, in Wales, and she said "are you still a believer? If
so, what are you doing dressed up as the devil?" I said "have you read the
Screwtape Letters?" Which is a C.S. Lewis book that a lot of intense Christians
are plugged into. They are letters from the devil. That's where I got the whole
philosophy of mock-the-devil-and-he-will-flee-from-you. So she said "yes" and I
said "so you know what I'm doing." Then she relaxed and said "I want to bless
and of course inherited much misunderstanding from religious "squeakies"... should be.

But don't let anyone actually see you reading about Bono. You must "avoid every appearance of evil," brethren. Watch this exposé
 of these "false prophets" and get enlightened!! (:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sex Toys, Metal Detectors, Viagra Nation & Jesus

some of the latest posts:

something is happening, US News notices

"megachurch...makes Christianity unnrecognizable"

Of Course Christians can vote for a non Christian..

"Mega Church Metal detectors 'F*5$#!! up'"

Video: Is Concision Cirumcision?

Bible-believing scientists: 'Global Colding' theory

chuches reject Xmas celebrations on religous grounds

so much for magic legs

Gideon Bibles in Hotels Replaced with Sex Toys

most quoted christians look so unlike Jesus

no guts to follow Jesus, so I settle for being Christian

Drugs, sex and Jesus: Why the Jesuits Like Tom Waits

Leadership in a Flattened World

Today's 8 Smartest Celebriities

Ex-Lax, Viagara, and Ritalin Nation

The first signs of the next shift

Bumpy Shift

Hammer or Dog

Repent- Nuclear climate perils push Doomsday Clock ahead!!
Churches taking a page from MySpace

THRUST: The Sexual Search for God

cursing propetic art apocalypse

Love needs to find form..Grace defies reason...

John Kerry's Hair: Good for Democracy

Devastating: God and Drunks

5 Provocative Truths...Velvet Elvis Style

Background on an 'Idol' finalist...

travailing in the world we have

Refusing the Ball: Dance for Chastity Instead

God-Tube: What Would Jesus Download??


TimeTravel in Toyotas/pop named "Sh*#", Kingdom

"Bong Hits 4Jesus" Goes to Supreme Court

a slideshow called "Shift Happens":

"the MOVIES of the prophets .PROJECTED on subway walls

A sad postscript of "fame"..

St. Patrick Really

"MySpace is Evil"

3 guesses who said this

I have two snapshots of Britney Spears stuck in my brain

UK Churches as Post Offices, Dry Cleaners, GroceryStores
Neil Young, The Flaming Lips, Jesus , Art of WarProtest

Piglet reads the Bible, "God-thinking" is F*****?