Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"The greatest need in our country today is..."

"The greatest need in our country today is..."

Uh, I beg to differ..

2 pix of me watching TV..for those convinced i never do

(the pics are a few years apart):

Of course, these may be the only two times I have watched...

except for (should go without saying):
On the book I am reading in the 2nd photo:

where i always am

This is me in '95 where I always am:

on the steps of Herod's amphitheatre in Caeserea..

What better place
(besides Mars Hill,
a gig by
the worship band formerly known as TheHype
or St. Arbuck's)

o ponder church and culture..

--or at least tie my shoe, or whatever I am doing in this pic.

Here is the classic Van Der Laan video on the Herodian..

Good Magazine

Why didn't Christianity Today do this poll? (click here to view)

GOOD Magazine is amazingly good.

(And it's available with a "If Radiohead Can Do It, So Can We," pay-what-you want subscription deal..)

See especially the "Provocations" section..
...Coincidendentally (?), "Provocations" is also the title of an excellent collection of the prayers and spiritual writings of Kiekegaard.....
available as a free download here, and which Christianity Today has covered)

Two pieces from the current issue:

Dropping the Fresno Drop

Since I live in Fresno, I have been amazed that hardly anyone in town even knows about the world-changing "Fresno Drop."

It seems that not even a 50th anniversary of the Drop, let alone the current Wall Street-Main Street news, merits a mention in local press..

..So why is it news in the Poughkeepsie Journal and beyond?

The basic story :

"America began to change on a mid-September day in 1958," writes Joseph Nocera in his fascinating book, A Piece of the Action. He is referring to the day when the Bank of America 'dropped' 60,000 credit cards in Fresno, California, thereby creating the all-purpose credit card.It was a novel idea, in effect offering anyone who wanted it a general line of credit, unsecured by collateral. In the 1950s Americans were just getting used to taking out loans to buy ... products—cars, refrigerators, televisions.

But debt was still disreputable. If you could not afford something, you squirreled away money until you could buy it. Besides, it was not easy to get a loan Most banks thought that making small loans to the average family was not worth the time and effort. Except for the Bank of America. Its founder, AP Giannini, the son of an immigrant, wanted to make money available for “his people.” His bank, founded in 1904 in a converted saloon, was initially called the Bank of Italy and in 1928 renamed the Bank of America. Whereas other banks passed off consumer loans to finance companies, Bank of America embraced the role of serving the broad middle class... As a result it grew to become America's largest bank by the 1970s .

Credit cards opened up the world of credit to the masses, allowing ordinary people to take out an advance on their future earnings, as the rich had always done. It is difficult today to imagine life without credit cards. And yet they were almost unknown forty years ago. What happened over those forty years, and most especially in the last twenty-five, is in many ways more is in many ways more revolutionary than in any comparable period in modern financial history. Capitalism was transformed into democratic capitalism. (pp. 202-203, Fareed Zakaria (articulate editor of Newseek International)'s "The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad ." whole chapter here)

-from my post called: Fresno: something to do with money

Credit lured Americans into spending more

Friday, September 26, 2008

i preach=lie for a living

Chris Erdman:

"So many churches have no real room for the kind of honesty preaching requires. In fact congregations and their preachers often move in a direction opposed to truthfulness and become places we experience as contrived, artificial environments where the raw stuff of real human life is kept out of bounds, despite the rawness of the texts we read together each ...Preaching is a kind of truthtelling-even if there are enormous pressures to do otherwise. Rock and roll, says Bono, isn't much different. There are enormous pressures to hide, deceive and entertain, keeping us inside a false world. U2's success may be just at this point. They seem able to name pain in realistic yet hopeful ways....At the close of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" {at Slane Castle, 2oo1, video below}...Bono chants, one by one, the names of those killed {in the Omagh bombing}..

This is rock and roll that cuts

through masks and bleed red the passions of the heart..If rock and roll can do this, how much more our preaching?

..Bono: 'Never trust a performer, performers are the best liars. They lie for a living...You are an actor in a certain sense. But a writer is not a liar. There's a piece of Scripture: Know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

-Chris Erdman, "Countdown to Sunday," pp. 28-30

see also:

CCM makes you lie

Thursday, September 25, 2008

for "full flowering," we need tribal-churches of 12-36

"Human beings are social animals. According to the anthropologist Margaret Mead, for 99 per cent of the time human beings have lived on this planet, we've lived in what she calls tribes or bands, that is groups of 12 to 36 people. It's only during times of war, or what we have now, which she calls the psychological equivalent of war, that the nuclear family prevails as the dominant or primary social unit, because its the most mobile unit and therefore more likely to ensure the survival of the species. 'But for the full flowering of the human spirit,' Mead says, 'we need groups, tribes.'

-Eric Utne, in Williamson, ed. "Imagine" p. 79

Full U2 concert, Milan 2005

Full U2 concert, Milan 2005

  1. Vertigo
  2. I Will Follow
  3. The Electric Co. / People I Don't Know Are Trying To Kill Me (snippet) / See Me, Feel Me (snippet)
  4. Elevation
  5. New Year's Day
  6. Beautiful Day
  7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  8. All I Want Is You
  9. City Of Blinding Lights
  10. Miracle Drug
  11. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / Torna A Surriento (snippet)
  12. Love And Peace Or Else
  13. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  14. Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / Please (snippet) / The Hands That Built America (snippet)
  15. Miss Sarajevo
  16. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
  17. Where The Streets Have No Name
  18. One

  19. Zoo Station
  20. The Fly
  21. With Or Without You
  22. Original Of The Species
  23. All Because Of You
  24. Yahweh
  25. Vertigo / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (snippet)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jesus' wife

Everyone at camp was quite shocked to find out Jesus was married....and who his wife was!

Reminds me of a great song !

Judo Alone

"The Kingdom comes by violence, and forceful seizers grab it aggressively." (Matt 11.12)

Martin Luther King wasn't a passive pacifist, he was a militant pacifist...The real reason I'm attracted to these men...as a man of God myself...is I'm the guy with the broken bottle.. (Bono)

Sometimes in those old clips (see him in full form in this vintage performance of "With a Shout,"
or the classic "F the Revolution sermon,"...or in "shake! shake!The walls of Jericho are coming down" mode), it seems Bono and the boys are waging a peaceful, violent warfare. "The Kingdom comes by violence, and forceful seizers grab it aggressively." (Matt 11.12)

The indefatigable U2resourcer, St. Beth, tipped us off to a recent quote from Bono:

    • Interviewer: What exactly happens in the meetings you have with these world
    • Bono: Judo in a suit. link
Beth reminds us that this is not Bono's first use of this metaphor. Indeed:

Around the time of ZooTV, Bono talked often of "judo" as a metaphor for
what U2 was trying to accomplish by hauling giant TV screens around the world
and appropriating the style ofsleazy rock'n'rollers. In judo you use your
enemy's strength to launch your attack. Like Holzer, U2 used objects with a
specific meaning to the culture -- TVs,telephones -- and invested them with new
meanings..Angella Pancella, link

Could be our only strategy for taking Kingdom ground (and taking Tiger Mountain, actually, to reference a U2 team member) is subversive, spiritual judo. Which (though techically it's a karate clip, not judo) is why we showed this scene from "Matrix Revolutions" in our gathering recently:

Spiritual judo (or karate) must be maneuvered with a gentle spirit, of course...
....as the medium is message, and even though "utilitarianism works."
Kenotic judo.

But something hit me as I walked past one of my 654 stacks of books (no, it wasn't the actual book that literally me,though that has happened). I caught the "Bowling Alone" title; the title referencing how once we bowled in leagues and community, but now for the first time in our culture, bowling alone is on the upswing. He appropriately connects this shift to religion:

Religious affiliation is by far the most common associational
membership among Americans. Indeed, by many measures America continues to be (even more than in Tocqueville's time) an astonishingly "churched" society. For
example, the United States has more houses of worship per capita than any other
nation on Earth. Yet religious sentiment in America seems to be becoming
somewhat less tied to institutions and more self-defined. link

This,of course, is good news as well as bad news in this current Reformation Rummage Sale we are living in. Part and parcel of the inherent danger is that we might utlilize an appropriate method (biblical and Bono-inspired judo), but attempt to do it inappropriately (alone).

There is a demonic downside to the "system is the solution" worldview of modernity we are leaving (see the Committee of Buzzards)...

but the counterfeit doesn't negate the need for coroporate wikichuch/wikijudo.

Maybe there is an emerging school for communal and missional judo. It's gotta be a community/corporate thing. Ironically,the Anabaptist university I graduated from and adjunct teach at, models a humble and community-based "holy judo." Heck, they even let Tim teach a whole classon U2; they have to be cutting edge.

Students get sick of all the faculty talk about community. But it's not a buzzword; it's a byword....the secret to refusing to do life/church/judo alone.

Without the suit, even.

a shout-out to "with a shout" by the worship band formerly known as The Hype

"...with a shout..."

"You who bring good tidings to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, [c]
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
"Here is your God!"
-Isaiah 40:9

God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet
-Isaiah 47:5

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever...Therefore, dudes, encourage each other with these words."
-1 Thess 4

Song: "With a Shout" (aka"Jerusalem)"
-by the worship band formerly known as The Hype
VIDEO INCLUDED from "Something Else" May 15, 1982

Oh, and where do we go?
Where do we go from here?
Where to go
To the side of a hill
Blood was spilled
We were still looking at each other
Oh, we're going back there

With a shout, shout it out
Shout it out

I wanna go
To the foot of Mount Zion
To the foot of He who

made me see
To the side of a hill
Where we were still
We were filled
With a Love

We're gonna be there again

With a shout

"burn down the mission"

Introducing this song from 1970 in 2003 in the Amphitheatre in Ephesus (how biblical a backdrop could you want), Elton John adds that is "very much influenced by the gospel side of things.":

It was haunting and Godhaunted in its original studio version, as was all of a classic album ("Tumbleweed Connection").

I am not sure he feels it/prays it the same way anymore.
1970 Live:

Could it be that there are times in history we must pray "burn down the mission, Lord" to keep the mission alive?

Bonus: with an orchestra '03:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two views of Emergent/Emerging distinction

Mark Driscoll:

Doug Paggitt:

St. Phyllis Tickle video and more

“If I had a nickel for every pastor who said to me, ‘Can you tell me how to plant one of those churches?' The answer is, ‘No, I can’t.’ What the pastor is really telling me is that he wants to plant one and then turn it into a good denominational church. It just doesn’t work that way.”
-Phyllis Tickle, link

If you haven't seen this Phyllis Tickle diagram yet, it is perhaps even more exciting than Frank Lake's classic centerfolds: you need to read/hear all about it here.

More from St. Phyllis ("The Great Emergence" ) speaking @a Sunday gathering of Diciples Fellowship... well worth watching below..or here.

Summaries and reviews of the book
by Katherine Moody here; Rick Diamond here; Via here; Terry Mattingly here;
an interview with Tickle on the book here.

Excerpt of the book about Rummage Sales here.

Adapted excerpt of the book (published in Sojourners) below:

Rt. Rev. Mark Dyer, an Anglican bishop known for his wit as well as his wisdom, famously observes from time to time that the only way to understand what is currently happening to us as 21st-century Christians in North America is first to understand that about every 500 years the church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale. And, he goes on to say, we are living in and through one of those 500-year sales.

While the bishop may be using a bit of humor to make a point, his is nonetheless a deadly serious and exquisitely accurate point. Any usable discussion of the Great Emergence and what is happening in Christianity today must commence with a discussion of history. Only history can expose the patterns and confluences of the past in such a way as to help us identify the patterns and flow of our own times and occupy them more faithfully.

The first pattern we must consider as relevant to the Great Emer gence is Bishop Dyer’s rummage sale, which, as a pattern, is not only foundational to our understanding but also psychologically very reassuring for most of us. That is, as Bishop Dyer observes, about every 500 years the empowered structures of institutionalized Christianity, whatever they may be at that time, become an intolerable carapace, or hard shell, that must be shattered in order that renewal and new growth may occur. When that mighty upheaval happens, history shows us, there are always at least three consistent results or corollary events.

First, a new, more vital form of Christianity does indeed emerge. Second, the organized expression of Christianity that up until then had been the dominant one is reconstituted into a more pure and less ossified expression of its former self. As a result of this usually energetic but rarely benign process, the church actually ends up with two new creatures where once there had been only one. That is, in the course of birthing a brand-new expression of its faith and praxis, the church also gains a grand refurbishment of the older one.

The third result is of equal, if not greater, significance. Every time the incrustations of an overly established Christianity have been broken open, the faith has spread—and been spread—dramatically into new geographic and demographic areas, thereby increasing exponentially the range and depth of Christianity’s reach as a result of its time of unease and distress. Thus, for example, the birth of Protestantism not only established a new, powerful way of being Christian, but it also forced Roman Catholicism to make changes in its own structures and praxis. As a result of both those changes, Christianity was spread over far more of the earth’s territories than had ever been true in the past.

OVER THE COURSE of previous hinge times, the church has always been sucked along in the same ideational currents as has the culture in general, especially in matters of governance. The result has been that, at any given time, the political structure of one has always been reflected in and/or exercised influence upon the organizational structures of the other.

Gregory the Great, in wrapping up the chaos of the 6th century, created a church run by monasteries and convents, a system that was in every way analogous to the manors and small fiefdoms of Europe’s Dark Ages. The Roman Church, in emerging from the Great Schism, positioned the exercise and definition of authority in a single position, the papacy, and the council of appointed cardinals surrounding that throne. As a pattern, it was a religious expression of the system of kings and lords growing up in the centuries of pre-Reformation culture.

The Reformation, with its shift to the democratic theology of the priesthood of all believers and its insistence on literacy for the sake of sola scriptura, created a governance exercised by elected leaders subject, in theory anyway, to the will of the people whom they served. Modern Pro testant bodies reflect this flow of authority for the same reason that America itself does. Both are products of the same stimuli and circumstances. Given all of that, what logically can be expected of the Great Emergence, especially in terms of authority in religion?

When one asks an emergent Christian where ultimate authority lies, he or she will sometimes choose to say either “in scripture” or “in the community.” More often though, he or she will run the two together and respond, “in scripture and the community.” At first blush, this may seem like no more than a thoughtless or futile effort to make two old opposites cohabit in one new theology, but that does not appear to be what is happening here. What is happening is something much closer to what mathematicians and physicists call network theory.

That is, a vital whole—the church—is not really a “thing” or entity so much as it is a network in exactly the same way that the Internet or the World Wide Web or, for that matter, gene regulatory and metabolic networks are not “things” or entities. Like them and from the point of view of an emergent, the church is a self-organizing system of relations, symmetrical or otherwise, between innumerable member-parts that themselves form subsets of relations within their smaller networks, in interlacing levels of complexity.

The end result of this understanding of dynamic structure is the realization that no one of the member parts or connecting networks has the whole or entire “truth” of anything, either as such and/or when independent of the others. Each is only a single working piece of what is evolving and is sustainable so long as the interconnectivity of the whole remains intact. No one of the member parts or their hubs has the whole truth as a possession or as its domain. This conceptualization is not just theory. Rather, it has a name: crowd-sourcing, and crowd-sourcing differs from democracy far more substantially than one might at first suspect. It differs in that it employs total egalitarianism, a respect for the worth of the hoi polloi that even pure democracy never had, and a complete indifference to capitalism as a virtue or to individualism as a godly circumstance.

The duty, challenge, joy, and excitement of the church and for the Christians who compose her, then, is in discovering what it means to believe that the kingdom of God is within one and in understanding that one is thereby a pulsating, vibrating bit in a much grander network. Neither established human authority nor scholarly or priestly discernment alone can lead, because, being human, both are trapped in space/time and thereby prevented from a perspective of total understanding. Rather, it is how the message runs back and forth, over and about, the hubs of the network that it is tried and amended and tempered into wisdom and right action for effecting God’s will.

Jesus, Len H...and Jimmy Page ..on old/new

From three prophetic sources..and I think all three might agree that they may be in order..as in degree of prophetic perfection(:..
Jesus, Len H...and Jimmy Page, of course!

1) "Then you see how every student well-trained in God's kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it."
-Jesus; Matthew 13:52 (The Message)

2)"We require a new kind of leader for a new world, and in many ways we require a new kind of church for this new world also. But then, as many have pointed out, only the really old is truly new. Peter Maurin of the Catholic Worker used to say that we can be encouraged by signs of something new precisely because they are signs of something God has been doing for centuries.."
-Len Hjalmarson

3)"I used to spend a lot of time going to junk shops looking for things that other people
might have missed. (One time) Robert was...with me...and found the picture of the old man with the sticks and suggested that we work it into our cover somehow. So we decided to contrast the modern skyscraper on the back with the old man with the sticks--you see the destruction of the old, and the new coming forward. Our hearts were as much in tune with old ways as with what was happening, though we weren't always in agreement with the new."
-Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, re: album art for Led Zeppelin IV.
From the amazing "Heavy Metal Islam:
Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam " p.270

prophets always deny being prophets...which makes them prophets

From 6:48ff above:
Bob Dylan:
"You're just not the person they say you are: the prophet...I never wanted to be a prophet....."

Ed Bradley:
"You may not have seen it that way, but that's the way it was for them.
How do you reconcile those two things?"

Bob Dylan:
"My stuff was songs, not sermons. If you examine the songs, I don't believe you're going to find anything in there that says I'm a spokesmen for anybody or anything..."

Ed Bradley:
"But they saw it."

Bob Dylan:
"...they must not have heard the songs"

Dylan closes with an amazing, knowing, (actual) smile , recalling why he still does what he does;
all tied to his "destiny and bargain."

Ed Bradley just HAD to ask, "Should I ask who you made the bargain with?"

3:04ff below:

Lanois prayers

Ever heard the prayer Bono and Lanois wrote together for the upcoming U2 album?
Bono quoted another draft of this song to Brian Williams/NBC ("There's no midnight please/You're just on your knees/There is a harbor in a safe port./What was is now not/There was no price to pay/"Thank you for the day.")

Here is Lanois ' version:

"Thank You"

Thank you for the day
Thank you for the day
Thank you for the day
It takes my breath away
Thank you for the stars
That hold up the night
Thank you for the day
Thank you for the day

Thank you for the moon
That shines so bright
Thank you for the courage
To seek out what's right
Thank you for the road
And it's endless bend
Thank you for the day
Thank you for the day

Thank you for the song
That's in my heart
May we never be apart
Thank you for the miracle air we breathe
Thank you for the day
Thank you for the day

Thank you for the road
And it's endless bend
Thank you for the day
Thank you for the day


Daniel Lanois: "Here Is What Is":

I came here on a brave driving wheel
Now I'm wearing these heavy arms of steel
Don't know what is light and what is shadow
I kinda thought I did but I guess I don't know

Here is what is Here is what is
Spiral on down to your sweetheart
Here is what is Here is what is
Don't you go walking too long in the dark

I ran for a minute then the city took me back
The railway promises was a broken track
Through Your eyes I can see
That maybe I don't need to be what I thought I should be

Here is what is Here is what is
Smile a little to your sweetheart
Here is what is Here is what is
Don't you go walking too long in the dark

Ice falls on me but I feel no cold
You're like a fleece like a new soul
I'm standing on the ledge not fearing the fall
Your salvation teaches all

Here is what is Here is what is
Spiral on down to your sweetheart
Here is what is Here is what is
Don't you go walking too long in the dark

Here is what is Here is what is
Smile a little to your sweetheart
Here is what is Here is what is
Don't you go walking too long in the dark


"Lotta Love to Give":
I'm watching the rain clouds in the sky roll in
I'm sick of these red pills, sick of the dealer's grin
Daniel, Daniel by the bonfires
On the telephone wire she's callin' you sayin'
Hey I got a lotta love to give

You walked up to me and said did I make a mistake
I feel so naked I could use a twist of fate
There's a sermon that I heard the other day,
confused me so I looked the other way
I'm watchin' you now with a whole lotta love to give

I'm half crazy, eyes are heavy
If I can't be with you I would much rather be very dead
Please don't break it, could you make it
into something that fits into your very pretty head

Oh, I'm half crazy, eyes are heavy
If I can't be with you I would much rather be very dead
Please don't break it, ah could you make it
into something that fits into your very pretty head

Just tryin' to write it down while I still remember
The winds are cold, but not yet, it's not yet December
Fireballs bursting in the sky, Wasaga Beach, first of July,
you said to me, hey I gotta whole lotta love to give


"The Maker":

Oh, Oh Deep water
Black, and cold like the night
I stand with arms wide open
I've run a twisted mile
I'm a stranger
in the eyes of the maker

I could not see
for fog in my eyes
I could not feel
for the fear in my life
From across the great divide
In the distance i saw a light
Jean baptiste
walking to me with the maker

My body is bent and broken
by long and dangerous leaps
I can't work the fields of abraham
and turn my head away
I'm not a stranger
in the eyes of the maker

Brother john
Have you seen the homeless daughters
standing there
with broken wings
I have seen the flaming swords
there over east of eden
burning in the eyes of the maker
burning in the eyes of the maker
burning in the eyes of the maker
burning in the eyes of the maker



I have wandered far and wide
All the way from Paris to Mexico
'Til I was gone and didn't know

In the end the thing that keeps me walking
Is your shine, your shine in the morning, your shine in the distance,
Your shine inside the laughter and the ghosts

They have spoken of the river forever bending inside the fever
Of the saints that walk all night with no domain

In the end the thing that keeps them walking is your shine
Your shine when they wear no coat, your shine when the feelings low
Your shine when it's too late to turn around

I have frozen up my dreams, thinking I was all alone
Fighting every minute for each turning stone
I have reached the rocket speed
I have touched the ground that feeds
Scaling fences, looking for the healing sun

In the end the thing that keeps me walking is your shine
Your shine in transmissions, your shine in decisions,
Your shine when I labor to the new day,
It's your shine, your shine, your shine, shine...hine on


Monday, September 22, 2008

Rob Bell: the gods aren't angry

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:



the Nu Nametag...Kiwi strikes again

millenial epistemology: life during wartime is same as it ever was

I just noticed this is my 1000th post; amazing.

What have I learned in 1000 posts?

Despite the still-tempting modernity motto-mantra:

"The leader must know,
must know that he knows,
and must be able to make it abundantly clear to those about him
that he knows."
-Clarence B. Randall, quoted (approvingly!) by John Maxwell, "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" (if ever a quote and book title captured the era, it was that one...it flirts with fundyfoundationalism; and even falls prey to "must"-erbation), p. 80

My answer must clearly be..
and I "must be able to make it abundantly clear to those about me":

I don't know.

And I know that I don't know.

How do I know that I don't know?

And how do i know what I know about epistemology?....(:

Actually everything I need to know I learned from the profs and culture of Fresno Pacific U:

"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."

But what I was prepping to post, before I realized this was the millenial edition,
and felt a split second of pressure to turn this post into a Grand Unification Theory or "best of"..

were two "random" phrases from the Talking Heads, which somehow were so connected in my weird brain (see Sts Sudzi and Tim: Pushing Toward The Unobvious) that they feel as if they are from the same song.

1)Of course, no one who has seen this early music vid, an MTV staple (when MTV actually played M) of "Once in a Lifetime" can forget David Byrne's quirky/quixotic motions/emotions, and the delightful/frightful "same as it ever was":

Or if you prefer your Heads live:

2)The song "Life During Wartime,".....actually the title alone, always reminds me of C.S. Lewis's sermon after WWII broke out: "The war creates absolutely no new situation..."

In other words, "same as it ever was".....but different.

"The more things change, the more they say the same"; Neal Peart once wrote/borrowed

Summary: In this current Great Emergence shift; just like any:"once in a lifetime" shift (Reformation, 9/11 etc)...things may be radically dismantled and de/reconstructed...

but on another (?) level, it's mostly "same as it ever was":

The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would have never begun. We are mistaken when we compare war to "normal life." Life has never been normal. Even those periods we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out on closer inspection, to be full of crises, alarms, difficulties, emergencies. Plausible reasons have never been lacking for putting off all merely cultural activities until some imminent danger has been averted or some crying injustice put right. But humanity long ago chose to neglect those plausible reasons.… They propound theorems in beleagured cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, discuss poetry while advancing on the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache; it is our nature (Weight 44-45).link

Or, to switch bands/pro-phets (doesn't everyone place Neil "I'm a Believer" in that class?)
"Don't let it bring you down; it's only castles burning."

That's all I know.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lou Reed preaches Romans 7

I hadn't realized until now that Lou Reed ever preached on Romans 7..

...at a Wim Wenders film festival even:


Lou Reed "Sunday Morning":

Lou Reed and Pavoratti:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Born again....and again...and again....this morning

Years ago Bono baffled "bounded set" evangelicals and (intentionally?)subverted expectation of the Squeakers, by proclaiming to Rolling Stone,

"Everyone should be born again............................. every day."

Years later, in an amazing unreleased song/prayer ("Mercy," uh, "released" below), he sang his heart out at outro:

"I am born again
and again
and again
and again

and again...."

David Seamands once told of being in awe at how many responded to an altar call to be "born again"...until he realized what that phrase inevitab;y means in largely Hindu India ..(:

..talk about being born again "again."

On that note, Christian Scharen comments
"I’d say that “squeakers” believe in karma, not Grace" (link)

True as it is that there is a "first and only" born again-ness that transfers us into the Kingdom..

Jesus apparently only used the phrase once (John 3) with one person (Nicodemus)....and note that he used it (strikingly) in a plural: "You all must be born again (as one).

And as one crazy dork once said:

Without a Christ-infusion of perspective and hope, or "being born again the first time," all of life feels like, even is, a downward slide; in fact it drops into hell. Yet in the Kingdom and the economy it births, we inevitably progress, spiraling up , circling up, helixing up.
link, halfway down page
Our congregation watched a video clip Sunday where a well-meaning pastor (with Squeaker leaningss...(see him also in the fifth video here) pressed Tony Jones with the pointed question: "Have you been born again?"

We loved what happened next:

Colbert on Palin's new running mate

Phyllis Tickle's "The Great Emergence"

I am only three chapters in, and I already know this will be a pivotal book for my future.

I haven't been this sucked in since...well, this novel novel trapped me in my Toyota.

Of course, everyone I know and know of who has even touched

Phyllis Tickle's "The Great Emergence;How Christianity Is Changing and Why"

has raved.

A few quick pre-raves of my own:

1)She examines history through the lens of "every 500 years the church as a rummage sale":
The Great Schism, The Great Reformation, and (currently) The Great Emerging. She reminds that the previous movements "swiftly, broadly and violently" overthrew their generation's prevailing story of Christendom (Crusades followed on; post-Ref wars the other).
My question/prayer: So how do we keep up with "where this Great Emergence is taking us,"
but only allow it to act two out of the three (not the last item this time, please) this time??

2)From the loaded page 53, alone worth price of the book:

The printing press which disseminated the previous Reformation was a "converted winepress." Can't help put catch the biblical symbolism..

"It would, quite literally, be impossible to exaggerate the central importance to the Great Emergence of the Internet and World Wide Web.."

NOTE WELL: "Much of the passion as well as the theological underpinnings of the Reformation was (also) disseminated by popular music. With the Great Reformation, as has been true of the Great Emergence, music was more often a more effectual vehicle of transmittal than was the learned treatise or the well-honed sermon."

Two word for Phyllis:
You rock!

3)The "basis of power" has moved from:
blood and land
(Great Schism)

cash money
(Great Reformation)


(Great Emergence)

-p. 51, 106

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

St Moya, U2 and " the young man with his reputation behind him"

As anyone around here likely knows,
I am a sucker for vibe, reverb, celtic, emotive and ethereal music...

It often "feels" like God..

Sometimes it is; even when we don't know it; and when the writer didn't necessarily intend, embed, or pray it into the music.

As one crazy dude suggested, "there is no such thing as Christian music...or there is nothing else."

In 1983, when my brother and I attended our first U2 worship service...uh, concert;
The Alarm blessed us big time;
U2 blasted us...

but the recorded music that both introduced the band and lingered after the closing congregational echoes of U2's Psalm 40
was an amazing clip of music flooded the New Haven Coliseum.

Somehow it felt like God.

The haunting and God-haunted song--"Theme From Harry's Game," sung by Clannad can be heard at the beginning and end of the recently re-released to DVD "U2 Live at Red Rocks," as they played it at every stop on that year's tour.

I get the chills watching it...the mist and rain of the day put it off the charts, ethereally speaking.

Clannad singer Moya Brennan tells how the song wound up admired by U2, in an excerpt from her autobiography:

Bono tells a story that he nearly went off the road when he heard it on his car radio. He had to pull up and listen to it properly. It was so unusual, and, of course, Bono recognized that the singing was in Gaelic. We were very flattered when U2 later used it to open and close their show and also in their concert video filmed at Red Rocks.
read more
"There is Power to Change Says Irish Singer"

But hear the story about the song itself through Moya's own words to me (2nd hand) twenty five years later; and you'll catch additional reasons it is Godhaunted and why U2 intuitively "got it."

Click "posts" and then "Moya Brennan, Dave, Fresno and God Moments" on the box below (if it isn't automatically set to Moya). Thanks a metric, keltic ton to Keltic Ken for the interview.

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Lyrics and translation:

mtheochaidh soir is siar
** I will go east and go west
A dtáinig ariamh an ghealach is an ghrian
** From whence came the moon and the sun

Fol lol the doh, fol the day
Fol the doh, fol the day

Imtheochaidh an ghealach's an ghrian
** The moon and the sun will go
An duine óg is a cháil 'na dhiadh
** And the young man with his reputation behind him

Imtheochaidh a dtáinig ariamh
** I will go wherever he came from
An duine óg is a cháil ne dhiadh
** The young man with his reputation behind him

And the story behind the TV show it was commissioned before; and the real life story it was based on...which of course inspired U2:
Harry's game was an ITV drama about Captain Harry Brown -- an SAS undercover agent - infiltrating the IRA. Harry is on a mission to find the assassin of a British Cabinet Minister in the Falls Road area of Belfast. Harry is alone: not even the army has been told of his presence; his wife is fed up with him. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, in which too many innocent lives will be impacted and neither side can win. Harry befriends a local woman who falls for him, and will in turn be consumed by Harry's relentless search for the assassin. The IRA soon realise they have an informant in their midst and bring in the same assassin to hunt down Harry. The play's ending ... (warning - spoiler!) .... was sad: the betrayed and by now dead Harry is lying on a dirty street as the locals just step over the body, ignoring it. Based on Gerald Seymour's first novel Available on DVD - ASIN: B0009YVDB2

Contains loose parallels with the real-life events of both Grenadier Guards/SAS Captain Robert Nairac, and his murder by the IRA in 1977, and the 1979 assassination of Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Airey Neave.

The chorus "Fol lol the doh fol the day, Fol the doh fol the day", orginates in Irish mouth-music.

Documentary director Billy Magra put these visuals to the song, while shooting the Past & Present/ Clannad documentary in Donegal (no 'official' video clip was ever made for Harry's Game).

Several versions of the song:

April 2007 performance:

Set to scenery by a fan:

From the documentary:


Bonus: the song Clannad did w/Bono:

The real Rush on Colbert

Rush on Colbert...no, not THAT Rush; this one:

The prep:

The appearance:

The next day:

The guts even played "Rock Band" backstage:

the challenge of large churches

read Len on

"the challenge of large churches"

I don't want to be on the news...yeah, right

"People act differently in front of the camera, even when the camera isn't real."
-link and clip

Part 1 of Bono's home movie (filmed for a news program)"A Day in the Life of the Edge" is a classic...(a kind of personal sequel to "video cameras everywhere: of ZOO TV"). Bono literally wakes Edge up. A favorite line is (Edge to Bono):
"I don't want to be on the news; YOU want to be on the news."

Bono replies/admits, "That's true, but.."

The invasive camera continues as Edge blows his nose/preps his morning coffee with a voyeuristic half-naked cameraman who announces "This is not about you as a celebrity; but you as a musician....You're not buying that, are ya?"

Hemant Mahta, the delightful atheist who "sold his soul on ebay,"...or better yet offered to visit and offer practical observations/critique of how Christian worship serviced come off to an unbeliever. What we we notice as visitors to a church service?

On pages 85 and 99 (at two different churches), he notices how hard it is to see the "stage" for the obtrusive video cameras.

"Every church seems to have a stage, regardless of the church's size." (73)

"Several times, when the pastor was right next to certain audience members, they weren't watching him, Instead, they were staring at one of the two large screens displaying a video image of the pastor." (102)

Part 2 of "Day in the Life of The Edge," the Edge confronts the principality named papparazi/"Pavoratti." All church leaders all need to engage this warfare,
and resist that seduction,

The end of the video is hugely instructiuonal for pastors, as the celebrity hangs out with the everyday people (lifeguard), sharing guitar/life/ministry sans pretense (even if it IS for the camera):

All episodes:

See also:

T-bone Burnett - "Image":

I had this image of you
and you had this image of me
and your image would talk to my image
and my image would talk to your image
and somewhere along the way
                      our images sort of let each other down

Song lyrics | Image lyrics

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

pastors with bodyguards

"We're sick of pastors with planes,

pastors with record deals,
pastors with bodyguards,
pastors who offer time alone with them (for a fee),
pastors with head shots.

What happened to pastors with sexual sin problems?

Bring back Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. At least we knew what we were getting."

-"Starving Jesus," p, 16 Gross/Mahon of XXX Church

Monday, September 15, 2008

Demonstrating Hidden Exotica...in Mirrors

Best known in popular circles for "The Physics of Star Trek," I enjoyed Lawrence Krauss's "Hiding in the Mirror:The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions, from Plato to String Theory and Beyond" on several levels:

1)"Lewis's Narnia was not like Tolkein's Middle Earth; located far, far away and long, long ago. Rather, it could be accessed simply by entering an old wardrobe located in a professor's cluttered house in the country." (13)

I love LOTR as

much as the next, but the accessibility of Narnia; the premise and promise that the Kingdom is not just " far, far away and long, long ago," but actually accessible (liminally; thin-spaces) in the cluttered closets of contemporary life is attractive...

A la Elizabeth Browning: "Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees takes off his shoes - The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. "

2)Seeing Van Gogh et al as a parallel pioneer to the physics revolution/reformation catalyzed me into wondering who the Luthers/Van Goghs are in the church's current Reorientation.
(Note: a potential "Luther of physics" is here):

"Ultimately the growing call for a new vocabulary to express our world resonated most strongly with visual artists, whose aesthetic is directly tied to pushing gainst the limits of our reality. I write earlier about Van Gogh freeing us from the tyranny of color, and demonstrating exotica otherwise hidden in daily objects....(Then came) Picasso and others who also began to transform the very definition of art....It has been said that a picture paints a thousand words, but what if, as Pavlosky steesed, words fail completely?" (87)

Note; not only does that paragraph trump most seminary textbooks; isn't "demonstrating exotica otherwise hidden in daily objects" the church's calling, turf and territory ? Nevermind, we abdicated in favor of erotica...and gnosticism.

In the most amazing Sunday School song you never heard in Sunday School (below), the prophet Mike Roe of the prophetic 77s called it "You sod...swapped it (your birthright) all for a bowl of prk and beans."

3)As I have been teaching the gospels, his glossary definition of the Grand Unification Theory (now snagged at getting the fourth of the the classic (synoptic) "forces of nature" to coalesce and merge with the mysterious fourth source (gospel) hit me, comparing synoptics and John..and well, all of life:

GRAND UNIFICATION: The theoretical notion that the three nongravitational forces in nature..can actually be unified in a single framework, and moreover, that at a very small sacel...all of these appear to have the same strength (263)

4)Finally, he quotes Bono...or something like that:

"So it is that mathemeticians, poets, writers and artists almost always choose
beauty over truth.
Scientists, alas, do not have this luxury, and can only hope that we do not have to make the choice." (253)