Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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 a man of God 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... 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.

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