Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rev. Clayton on "what you believe,what's truthful, what's relevant to your life "

In the stretching times the economy is currently junctured in..
in the fearful hope and hopeful fear we are juxtaposed in..

it would seem prime time for the liminal landscape that only the church can call the culture into.

Zoo TV/Zooropa
was certainly designed to speak to its times (1990s),
yet there is something prophetic and proleptic about how it speaks into the season we are now in.

In a rare interview montage from this era, Adam Clayton's insight (7:43ff) is helpful:

"I think Europe is much more geared up for the future, in a way, than America was before this election. I think Europe is generally looking forward to the turn of the century (and) a little bit more cynical about the grip of the media upon it. So I think..these two ideas of the turn of the century, and the media as such and what you believe and what's truthful and what's relevant to your life and how much of it's under your own control... are
issues that are going to be valid in Europe over the next ten years.

I think the unification of Europe is going to present as many problems as it solves..people are aware of I think what we're going be be trying to do is touch on those issues, and not necessarily preach to anyone, but certainly in our own way, within in the context of the ZOO TV (Zooropa) Tour is perhaps have our own particular unity..the 'United Colors of Zooropa' or whatever.
I think it will be a ray of sunshine in a very bleak year"

So many things stand out! Among them, if only the church could microcosmically and counterculturally...and "without necessarily preaching"... model Kingdom community, colors and alternate reality. "Church within the church"
is nothing new..but it's time to try it!

It likely will take a touch of postmodern and postexilic simulacra and a taste of the orthodox "holy fool" (see bottom of this page) a way that is sensitive to the '00s...maybe in the more subdued irony that U2 has captured recently.
No horns.

Maybe one.

St Tim Neufeld has caught the relevance of 90s U2 for our times.
"As usual, U2 was ten years ahead of their time."
...As always when you enter the present by the back door/trap door of the future.

(one should not that Larry Burkett wrote "The Coming Economic Earthquake" in
the early 1990s, and he died with people saying he was a false prophet)

But within "our own tour" (Steve Taylor's language, as well: "tourism can serve as a redemptive framework for postmodern mission, in which people are `tourists' on spiritual journeys and the church operates as `tour guide,' stimulating forward movement and nourishing the quest." (p.83, "The Out of Bounds Church?") , and "in our own way"..
let "our own particular unity" shine.

About the "ray of sunshine in a very bleak year."

Clayton smiles, as he is well aware of the irony; the album and tour they were crafting as he spoke (Zooropa) was their bleakest ever..but what better technique/techbleak than to embody and incarnate such hopelessness ("Wake Up Dead Man").
No redemption without incarnation.

That comment also connected me to the classic and controversial "The Bright Side of Life"
from Monty Python's "Life of Brian."
If you think that was pure heresy, you haven't heard Jesus sing the song/;lament/dirge that the Biblle itself tells us was "Doe of the Morning"..

He sang it on a cross.

How else does one subvert and hijack dread, except via a ridiculous but redemptive whistling in the dark..

which is always the times we're in.

Some times even more so.
That's even better than the realer thing.

A few years ago, I wrote about dismantling death:


All this emphasis on the critical nature of prophetic weeping and lamenting . reminds that deep imside, no matter how numbed-over; no matter how deathed-down we are all crying. Or at least crying to cry. We intuitively know that tears are not only healing but prophetic. But we hide behind a mask, and only cry the tears of a clown.”

In the 9O’s Bono often wore a mask. For dismantling death and consumerism in that neo-nihilistic era, that was the proper costume. But the 00’s are a time to “pray naked.”

Bono: (Paul McGuinness) would sit me down and say, “You have what it takes. You must have more confidence in yourself and continue to dig deeper. And I don’t be upset or surprised when you pull something out of the depth that’s uncomfortable.”
Assayas: So you discovered things that, on first glance, you’d rather have kept hidden? What were those?
Bono: The gauche nature of awe, of worship, the wonderment at the world around you. Coolness might help in your negotiation with your world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on. It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw. That’s the connection with great music and art, and that’s the other reason you wanted to join a band: you wanted to do the cool thing. Trying to capture religious experiences on tape wasn’t what ypu had in mind when you signed up for the job.
Assayas: What about your own sunglasses, then? Do you wear them the same way a taxi driver would turn off his front light, so as to signal to God that this rock star is too full of himself and not to hire at the moment?
Bono: Yeah, my insincerity… I have learnt the importance of not being earnest at all times. You don’t know what’s going on behind those glasses, but God, I can assure you, does. (53-54)

Sans glasses, still wearing wisdom, and more irony than one might think. It’s just been properly retooled and “dreamed up again” for a new millennium. He’s still 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

He’s still a holy fool, just more stripped down and streamlined. Far more subtle, no devil mask. But how is is that, on this current tour, he can dedicate “Running to Stand Still” to the troops in Iraq with a straight poker face, let alone without a McPhisto/devil mask to make the irony obvious? Does no on get it? Has anyone booed? No, they applaud what they perceive as patriotism (and they are partly right) and miss and misunderstand the subtle point (War is an exercise in death; in futility, and in standing still). Applaud is what they should do……but for another reason altogether: the singer has just brilliantly and understatedly (!) pulled off a holy fool moment. And dismantled death even. Even if not many “get it.”


Richard Inchausti:

The point that many moderns fail to grasp about Christian thinkers is that they have very little interest in changing the world. They seek merely to see things clearly in the light of God's hidden logic. And if by so doing they expose the narcissism of their contemporaries, the false agendas of their leaders, the didactic pornography of their artists and entertainers-well, that is all to the good. But unlike their more utilitarian peers, they desire to live in the truth even more than they desire to be effective in the world. ...Evil manifests itself in absence of perception, and in the negation of Being more than it does in the presence of stupidity, violence or even hatred. It is more often than not a species of folly-a commitment to "virtues" that are not really virtues...It wears a suit or a uniform, waves a flag and has credentials. That is why the primary moral task from a Christian perspective is first to perceive evil. And this requires that one see what isn't there and through things that are. This is possible only for someone who is suspicious of virtre and believes in a greater reality than his own. What the Christian mysteries require from us is not that we construct a better world, but that we love and serve the one we are given. As one Parisian graffiti artist wrote in 1968:: "the intellectuals have hitherto only changed the world, the point is to understand it." This is a decidedly contemplative observation, one that confirms Blake's suspicions of the new aesceticism and Kierkegaards' view that even if someone were to speak the Word of God directly today, no one in the modern world would hear it, simply because there is too much noise and distraction. The function of the modern apostle, therefore, is to create the silent contemplative places where individuals can
experience truth for themselves.
-Subversive Orthodoxy: Outlaws, Revolutionaries and Other Christians in Disguise. pp187-189

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