Friday, November 07, 2008

more insights from the irish prophets on wikichurch spirals


(or better yet,
keeping in healthy rhythm,
controlled chaos)

the reality that
  • I am in some senses still clearly the leader/chief presenter/preacher/head liturgist


  • the open mic (microphones themselves raise crucial questions; see chapter 38 of Pagitt's "Preaching Reimagined") wikichurch, collaborative, open source event that happens during our "sermon" times that temporarily make the congregation "leader/chief presenter/preacher/head liturgist"

is a delightful and dangerous undertaking.
("Perfect and dreadful," as the Pritzl sings)

But the something that Spiritaneously happens in the interchange is remarkably similar to what U2 often describe as happening in concert, as in this vintage interview clip. I often talk about the "holy helix" and "spiral" (since that "shape" seems to be at the core of reality:string theory, DNA , "spiral dynamics" etc) of rhematic God-moments. So when Bono said (1:37ff) "what makes a good concert is when both {the band's giving of themselves and the audience doing the same] spiral up and up and up" I really resonated.

"We can give as much as we've got, ..but if you don't get anything back, it's not a good concert{sermon, liturgy}"

I must say that when Bono literally preaches, the energy of the congregation (even if it's an NAACP awards meeting) does indeed feed him (see the closing moments on the video at bottom of this page...oh that all churches were black churches in spirit)..Or watch his prayer breakfast sermon..The Lord will watch your backas you do!

One can see how Hegel was so (rightly) impressed with the process of God working in history/dialectic/synthesis that he (wrongly) identified the process itself as God (Geist, Begriff, or in Bono's lexicon, Soul).

Yes, I am aware this is a reductionist, oversimplified view of Hegelian thought...but hey, with Hegel, that's the only kind of view we can ever express! Hey, let's all contribute to the Wikipedia article on Hegel...and watch Geist happen).

But it calls to mind that the process/spiral/liminal and laminal
helix of interaction is so God-breathed that it would be no surprise one would mistake it for the real thing...or even better than the real real thing.. (Simulacra Geist).

And all of life is potentially like that holy synthesis/synesthesia...the interplay and integration of elevation and vertigo, etc.

It's common to hear U2 say that they "don't know what the songs are about until they get on the road," but Edge's thoughts (3:17ff):

" all our producers tell us we should write our songs, but not record them until we've toured them a couple years..because the material gets better and better as we feed from the a sense, the interaction between us and the crowd gives us a new insight into the songs themselves."

But it Tony Jones is right that "99 percent of churches in America don't allow just anyone to speak at any time, especially members with checkered pasts " (p. 92, "The New Christians").

..what are we missing in lit-urgy ('the work of the people')?

Bono (3:50ff in response to a question about "spiritual communication with your fans" ):

"We feel very close to our audience because we are just the same as our audience. We came from an audience..the only difference is the stage"

Someone suggested a more appropriate name for the sermon as a


I like that for several reasons: it subverts the idolatry of place (edifice complex) with a place name (we can be more concerned with real estate than our real ESTATE)..

and it inspires us to look for the holy habitats/inhabitations that the Holy One has promised.
But I can be too concerned as a "preacher" with being
right, that I wind up irrelevant.

No wiki with people, no habitation of God.

ALSO: The Edge speaks well to rhema preaching (Bono once startled us by adressing that biblical term directly in a Rolling Stone interview, scroll down to the 10/20/05 posting here for Beth and her commenters discussion of this) in 5:27 of the video clip.

I have two saints in mind here that I'd like to learn from, regarding wikichurch.

"Mother" Beth
commented on my last post about "what can we learn about preaching from U2" that she applied the lessons to liturgy, and not JUST preaching. That has blessed and stretched me, as I am still detoxing from fundagelicalism and lo-church. I don't know all that that looks like...maybe something like this pic (click for story).

Rabbi Adam of Beit-Tefillah Messianic Fellowship .when some our goy-tribe joined them on a recent Saturday morning service, I particular enjoyed the prayers for each Torah and Scripture reader (ah, participatory worship, synagogue style) even tough they were "only" (or not!!) the congregation reading a prayer off the screen. "Bess John, son of Charles," as he reads..

Finally, I might even believe that Bono's answer (1:28) to the question,

"Why did you name the album 'Joshua Tree'?":

"Joshua was a personal friend of mine."

is not only a throwaway joke but also a "drawing fish in the sand" of the real answer.
And itself part of the point..the interviewer (audience with a microphone) drew that truth out of Bono.

(Can't wait for U2 to cover "Jesus is a friend of mine"...especially if Rabbi Adam and Mother Beth....and a ton of "laypeople" sing backing vocals...that sounds like church to me!)


  1. My mind is bending.. our little urban core street church meets a dance venue that is called "the Habitat" and it never hit me til now...

  2. Len..that is incredibly cool..
    I love sending people on mindbenders.(:

    Love to hear your thoughts on habitat/The Habitat.

    One place 3d met was in a strip mall, sharing a wall with the "Babylon" night club


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!