Friday, July 31, 2009

the literature of irresolution

Agnieszka Tennant tips us off to this article about Jaroslaw Anders's "Between Fire and Sleep,"

In their considerations of these bold new writers, critics have rarely felt the need to point out, as Anders says of Adam Zagajewski, that something in their work "has not been properly resolved." For while a literature of clear resolve may provide reassurance in uncertain times, it is the literature of irresolution, always shuttling between one thing and another, that continues to speak to us through the ages. This may be why Anders's book, too, seems unresolved: because there are so many other writers, troubled and troubling, mysterious and beyond category, who have been trying to speak to us Americans all this time, and who are still waiting to be heard.

-Benjamin Poloff

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swedish swing hip hop rap jazz

Swedish swing hip hop rap jazz band:
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Movits! - Fel Del Av Garden
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

"power of suggestion is greater than the statement of reality"

"Even though he met with opposition,...
he proved that the power of suggestion
is greater than the statement of reality
- C. W. Mundy about Monet

For folks who just don't see why

  • -it's not the best "preaching" strategy to only state..and restate (three points) reality expositorally
  • the primacy of senses in communication and worship
  • - culture/atmosphere/surroundings/context are so important in the current reformissionemergence shift

it may help to study the great impressionists...classics like Monet (=Luther), and comtemporaries like Mundy (=Wolfgang Simson) . Articles about them can be found in a magazine now out of print, but findable on my mother-in-law's bathroom reading rack
Don't forget that the Reformation started in the bathroom):

"Monet said, 'For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right..the surrounding atmosphere brings it to light.'

He painted what he sensed, rather than what he saw. 'I want the unobtainable..I want to paint the beauty of the air, and that is nothing short of impossible.'

'Monet stepped out of the box, ' Mundy said, 'painting in the way he felt about the subject, and that started one of the greatest revolutions in the history of art. He influenced his contemporaries to see the beauty and truth in the 'impressionistic' style, even though he first met with opposition. He proved that the power of suggestion is greater than the statement of reality"
-Plein Air Magazine, July 2005, p, 61

Since I don't visit the toilet at my mother-in law's often enough (at least to peruse the art magazines, I didn't know who Mundy was until today. A googled interview was telling:

If you could give an up and coming artist only ONE piece of advice, what would it be?

It’s one thing to launch a career; it’s another thing to sustain it.

How did you know you were ready to go full time?

After working as an illustrator for 30 years.

..Who do you consider to be your biggest influences and why?

The Lord is my biggest influence. Psalms 32:8 (
" I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.") is my life verse.

Great answer, we sincerely appreciate that, who do you consider to be your biggest ARTISTIC influences and why?

Monet, Turner, and Van Gogh re-wrote the look of art. They were the first modernists and they weren't concerned with art history's definition of art. To them, necessity was the mother of invention. Far more with much less.

..What is your favorite artwork you ever created? Why?

The next one!! I want to improve!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bono preaches my sermon

As Stocki tips us off, Bono just flat out says it this time;
He quotes verbatim my favorite sermon I have ever preached.
Some have heard that I almost made the Guiness Book of World Records for shortest sermon.

It was one word,

But not the two words it should have been.

Though it's nothing like being there, you can watch Bono preach it at 0:43ff below:

Perhaps my most quoted quote to my students is Frederick Buechner’s definition of vocation; “The place where your deepest gladness and the world’s greatest hunger meet.” I spend a lot of time pastoring students to that point where they find out what they were created to be and how that can penetrate the needs of the social order. Four songs into U2’s first of three homecoming Croke Park gigs Bono is singing about how he was born to sing and was given songs to sing. Nearing the end of Magnificent the fourth song in a row from the new album No Line On The Horizon, Bono stand arms open and declares “I surrender.” It is a surrendering to his God; it is a surrendering to the people (the fans) whose hard earned money put him on this stage, in one of
the biggest stadiums in Europe, literally one or two miles from where he grew up; it is a surrendering to his place in the world, where with three chords and the truth, as he once said, he could meet some of the world’s deepest hunger.
And as I watch I am thinking that this is where I hope all of my students get to, because that man and his three mates are without doubt right on the vortex of their place in the cosmos
-Soul Surmise, link

As he does in the above clip, it would seem Bono has a history of preaching, then turning over the pulpit to Edge's guitar to preach an instrumental version of the same sermon (All in favor of wordless sermons?), the classic of course being the Rattle N Hum version of "Silver and Gold," 4:28ff here.

Beyond words.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

you travelled eight hours to meet US!?

We were minding our own business, teaching for a small group at our church by the brothel (see both here) in Huancayo, Peru...when these men showed up unannounced.

No one knew them, so Ken greeted them and found they has somehow heard from the grapevine that we (some special gringos) were in Huancayo; they had travelled for eight hours on mountain roads, on the chance that we might be able to pray/commission them
for their ministry: they run an intercession/outreach center from the poorest apartment complex in the country.

Sometimes when North Americans teach in Latin America or Africa, the locals think we are especially anointed, or will blow on them/knock 'em down like the televangelists on TBN. This was different. They just felt like we had something for them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"a hall with a stage and a place where I could sit and be lectured on the subject."

I've been waiting years for Mark DeRaud to start blogging.

Le's pray his three part guest post on (Thanks for giving the artist a voice) is a sign and sign post of more to come.

The Spiritual Language of Beauty

by Mark DeRaud
A Catholic friend asked me if the Chrism mass I had witnessed, performed in front of my newly installed murals, was “beautiful.”
My response was visceral. I thought, “How odd. Who cares if it’s beautiful?”
If I thought of beauty at all, I thought of it as peripheral, if not alien, to authentic Christian experience.
This was not so for my Catholic patrons. Their rich environment, I learned, reflected an ancient orientation towards a deep visually experiential life. They expected me to help their walls speak, to testify to the beauty of heaven, to see Christ within, to enhance contemplation, “to know [His] love that surpasses knowledge,” (Eph: 3:19) (See Bernini’s sculpture below, “The Ecstasy of St. Theresa”).
As a Protestant I had not needed a ‘sacred’ space. I needed only a hall with a stage and a place where I could sit and be lectured on the subject. My inner..


Art n Soul podcasts

"Throw this song against God,.. "

"this song is about being different, and the rejection that sometimes brings...Throw this song against God, mother, lover, friend, father - whoever it is you feel rejected you."
-the singer, 1:05ff below:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"We're messed up. But at least we're honest about it.."

Sean Doty of the prophetic and pioneering 1980s/90s band,Veil of Ashes,is featured in the new book "God is Not Dead (And Neither Are We)" .Interview excerpts:

" You had to sell a certain amount of tickets (to play clubs), or you didn’t come back. However, we played them so often and did well enough to where after a while that was waived for us. They knew we could put together a show with other artists like us, such as the 77s and Dead Artist Syndrome, and fill the place on a night that otherwise would be dead. So they could have cared less whether we were Christians. If anything, they liked it. We were often told it was nice having someone who wouldn't be stealing other band's equipment or ripping things up backstage. The only thing they were worried about was the bar business being down [laughing]...It wasn't."

...Get rid of the whole Christian music industry. Liars, cheats and crooks...

One day we'd be told, 'Oh, you're playing regular shows, you're reaching people, this is great, we love you, sign here.' Next day, same people would be going, 'Why aren't you playing churches? Stop being so abrasive, stop being such a rock'n'roller.' Wasn't that what they signed us for?

When you go through stuff like this, it's hard not to become bitter and suspicious of the church,You become bitter and suspicious of people. I'm not a saint. I'm a musician. We're usually messed up. But at least we're honest about it...

...Christian rock wasn’t made for the church...However, giving it that title made it impossible to be anything else. They sunk a fine ship full of talented people before it even set sail. And it was with friendly fire.”

-Oakland Examiner,link

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a prayer during "moment of surrender"

...and what is he saying/praying on his knees as he moves "Moment of Surrender" into a snippet of "(Psalm) 40"    (also Isaiah  40) here in Amsterdam?   (4:40-7:30)

not your typical post on the end times and the Jews..

“A thrilling ride to the far edges of modern physics.” --New York Times Book Review

“A dazzling exercise in scientific speculation, as rigorously argued as it is boldly conceived.” --Wall Street Journal

“Tipler has written a masterpiece conferring much-craved scientific respectability on what we have always wanted to believe in.” --Science

“More readable than Roger Penrose’s The Emperor’s New Mind or Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach . . . an imaginative eschatological entertainment appropriate to the approaching end of the millennium.” --New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Undeniably fascinating…” --Seattle Times

“Tipler’s brash announcements are challenging—and entertaining. Although written from the viewpoint of a Ph.D., anyone should be able to get a kick out of the professor’s big-bang ideas.” --Publishers Weekly

“A book that proves the existence of the Almighty and inevitably of resurrection, without recourse to spiritual mumbo jumbo . . . Tipler does it all.” --Mirabella

Physics PhD Frank Tipler became a theist after his book, "The Physics of Immortality."

"As long as you're using...general relativity, and quantum mechanics, you are forced to conclude that God exists."

He has not yet become an official Christian since his sequel, "The Physics of Christianity"..

But how close do you want to get?

He suggests that not only were the virgin birth, incarnation and resurrection of Jesus possible, according to physics, but historically necessary...
The virgin birth and the incarnation are historically necessary, and preqrequisites, for the end of the world/Second Coming to happen.

A delightful, maddening book..

But today I will pick up just one typical amazing chapter (a delightful, maddening microcosm), "Anti-Semitism is anti-Christian," in which
Tipler makes a case for:

  • By the year 2050 at latest, we will see:
1.intelligent machines more intelligent thanj humans
2.human downloads, effectively invulnerable and far more capable than normal humnas
3.most of humanity Christian
4.effectively unlimited energy
5.a rocket capable of interstellar trave;
6. bombs that are to atomic bombs are to spitballs...possessed by practically anyone who wants one

  • Jesus rose from the dead..using electrotweak tunneling to convert matter into energy, with the intent of showing us how to do the same

  • The fourth Noahide law [the commands Jews believe Gentiles must keep to inherit eternal life] may be inconsistent with incarnation

  • The Talmud predicts the Messiah must come by the year 2240.

  • 'Christian Jews" will once our day..lead Christianity.
  • "To hate the Jews is to hate both Christianity and science"
Not to mention the prediction that we will see a Jewish pope in this millenium...

Killing Sunday Morning

An excerpt from "Killing Sunday Morning," an important post from Michael Regier's road trip to the UK..So many crucial issues are raised:
...New Community, is indeed a refreshing departure from what is considered successful models for church growth in the U.S. This is a church that was beautifully positioned to be a mega superstar experience. Being the pastor of the band Delirious and having Graham Cooke in the congregation was plenty of star power to keep the crowds coming. Even with the departure of Delirious and of Graham the people still flocked to the Sunday morning meeting in the historic hall where Billy Graham made his first appearance in Europe and where a Methodist healing revival shook the community in the early part of the last century.
So what is the problem with having a successful morning service? Everything according to Billy Kennedy. From his perspective all people wanted to do was come and get their fix by drinking in the great worship and teaching and then going home. Isn’t that what the consumers are paying for? Isn’t that the joy of every pastor who wants a happy life and a secure retirement? Billy said no.
It makes sense that you need to be a star to reject star status. And reject it he did. He decided that what was happening on Sunday mornings had nothing to do with any real transformation in people or in his city. He shut down his Sunday morning service with over a thousand in attendance, and told everyone to meet in small groups in their homes and ask God what He wanted them to do. So what happened?
As one might expect he lost about two thirds of congregation who went to other churches looking for their Sunday morning fix. The remnant who stayed began to struggle with what it meant to be in authentic relationship with other believers. They also began to question what it meant to be a true source of transformation in the city they lived in.
A couple of years later the size of the church population has not grown much. It is still about two to three hundred people. What has grown by leaps and bounds however is the growth these people are experiencing personally, relationally, and in their contribution to city transformation. This small congregation has opened a coffee shop for passersby in their...

-Michael Regier, continued here

White Captivity

"Do you believe in God?"

In part 1 of this here from 4:37ff...a hilarious scene allows Bono to ask his interviewer, "DUDE...Do you believe in God?......No!? Not after THAT?"

What annoys people about U2?:

"What is Simple Church?" video

The Foursquare Church (Jack Hayford is president), is one (the only?) denomination to procatively bless house church/organic church..Here is a video documentary they are about to release on "What is Simple Church?"

What Is Simple Church? from Expectation Media on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Christian music graph

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

funky old vociferous men

"When the old order begins to fall apart,
many of the vociferous men of words,
who prayed so long for the day,
are in a funk.
-prophetic longshoreman and genius, Eric Hofer, "The True Believer," p. 142

"worship is not music"

A strange shift began about fifteen years ago,

Ask most evangelical or charismatic Christians in USAmerica about the place of "worship"
in a gathering. For some strange reason, the word has come to be synonymous with "the songs sung early in the meeting."

"Good morning! After the worship, the children will be dismissed, and Pastor Steve will share from God's word"

We even call the person leading the singing the "worship leader."
Whazzup with that?

Of course, this definition is foreign to Scripture, and to the church in all history and places..until our lifetime in the West.

Google "worship is not music" for some clues as to how this hijacking happened.


Why do we also thing a "worship" gathering (after the music, or "worship set")is for teaching?:

In the early church the public worship of the church was a prayer of praise and thanksgiving directed not to the people but to God. Seeing worship as prayer is a paradigm shift from the current presentational notion of worship. Today worship is frequently seen as a presentation made to the people to get them to believe in the first place, to enrich and edify their faith, and to bring healing into their lives. But the ancient church did not design (a contemporary word) worship to reach people, to educate people, or to heal people. Yet in their worship, which was a prayer of praise and thanksgiving offered to God, people were indeed nourished by offering God’s mighty acts of salvation as a prayer to God for the life of the world. The point is, of course, that worship as prayer shapes who we are. But how so?...
-Robert Webber, Continued here, ht; Len

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not quite swords into plowshares, but...

Here I am on the Golan Heights (Mt. Bental); backdropped by an amazing view of Lebanon and Damascus, Syria.

But who is the cute guy I am posing with here? Well, if you play the clip at 4:05ff, you'll see:

It is not my brother, as you hear me claim as the photo is snapped.

Actually, scattered throughout the observation point and war bunkers are weapons of war
that have now been fashioned into statues and playthings.

Not quite swords into plowshares, but..

PS The rest of this clip covers the McDonalds (!) along the Sea of Galilee, Decapolis, and the Capernaum synagogue.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The reason that poets are so important is..

“The reason that poets are so important is that they’re shepherds of the language.”
Eugene Peterson

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sinead Holds Back the Night

"Hold Back The Night" by Sinead OConnor

There has always been something prophetic about this vintage Sinead song.
The studio version (above) is chilling, and highly recommended (church-ready). But I just discovered this live version (below) in the streets of NYC from the"Today Show" Whenever a tune like this is unleashed in the market square, I think Godhauntedness happens among the passersby.

I want to walk
Into the Light
Day has turned cold
So hold back the night
What will become
Of you and I
We had a dream
Don't let it die

Do you want to be
Do you want to be
My dying day
My darkest hour
My overdose
Because that's what you'll be
Just hold back the night
There was a time
I'm sure you'll agree
We saw it all
A glorious sight
Everyone's burned
Everyone's gone
What we once were
Now we are not
So hold back the night

Language shaping thought

"Junto a ti cuando tomas decisiones importantes....Wells Fargo, junto llegaremos."

So read the Wells Fargo billboard, in Spanish,
as that I thought about the Spanish..
in English.

I think!

Just about every word and grammatical construct betrays the company's intent, and the linits and liminality of the language.

"Junto a ti cuando tomas decisones importantes"="Together with you as you make important decisions"":

But "junto a" connotes "together at,"more than "together.with/alongside."
The "you" is the informal "tu," a choice we do not have in English

"junto lleagaremos"= "together, we will arrive."

That is a straight-up future tense, rarely used in Spanish.

Almost everything in that one-liner forces me to think en espanol, not just linguistically, but culturally.

Thanks to my college anthropology professor, James Wenger, (PhD in linguisitics, read his church planting article here), I have long been a believer in in a version of the Sapir-Whorf Hyopthesis, stated (overstated) boldly as "Grammar is the cement out of which we fashion reality."

Discounted by many, the work of Whorf is back on the front lines due to new research. It is good to have Sharon Begley, science editor of the (excellent) new Newsweek, fill us in below.
Someone translate this article into Spanish(:

"What’s in a Word? Language may shape our thoughts"


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Old and new hands, wineskins..

Can I have it both ways?

Muse be a "yes and no" answer.

On the one hand, Jesus was clear the only one (including this well-meaning soul) who puts new wine in old wineskins is:

"No one."

On the other (Jesus is ambidextrous), he encouraged Kingdom treasures "new and old."

Len Hjalmarson has done great work on the relationship of old and new; if you have never found his blog, find it now and get lost.

If not, you can hang here a minute before visiting Len's place.

On the one hand, you have Rev. Chef Capon:

"The new insight is always at odds with the old way of looking at things. Even if the teacher's audience were to try earnestly to take it in, the only intellectual devices they have to pick it up with are the categories of the old system with which it conflicts. Hence the teacher's problem: if he leaves in his teaching a single significant scrap of the old system, their minds, by their very effort to understand, will go to that scrap rather than to the point he is making and, having done that, will understand the new only insofar as it can be made to agree with the old -- which is not at all."

-Robert Farrar Capon, "Between Noon and Three," pp. 140-142.

Then on another hand (or three),

The other Len (Sweet), who quotes the other Len (Hjalmarson) in his latest book ("So who is and is famous/infamous for reminding us "the postmodernist always rings twice":

What the church needs is not a clean slate, but a clear and clean reboot. Thomas Kuhn's argument that a 'paradigm shift' returns everything back to zero was first critiqued by Francis Bacon..when he suggested that we don't go back to zero but to one:
It is idle to expect any great advancement in science from the superinducing
and ingrafting of new things upon old. We must begin anew from the very
When we atempt to lay a new template (MRI: Missional, Relational, Incarnational) on top of an existing structure that is built for something else, Fritz warns, we will eventually return to the 'path of least resistance.'.. The word 'reboot' is also another word for 'repent'-
-Sweet, "So Beautiful," 38, 39

And on another (?) hand, and old (new) hand hands it to us:

"Kuhn was wrong..

unlike Kuhn's description, an a encompassing theory does not overthrow the older theory--instead, it defines the limits within which the older theory is reliably true. It puts the old theory in a box and tells us where the walls are."
-Primack and Abrams, "The View From the Center of the Universe, p.24-25.

Click photo to see their accompanying chart, as it relates to physics/string theory.

...and click here (with left hand) for more hands, including McLaren's..

U2 can pastor the city

"the city's alight/ 
With lovers and lies/
Oh, the city's afire, a passionate flame/
It knows me by name ...surrender!"

Cities in Scripture (see Ellul) are both satanic and Spirited, harshly human and hugely holy.

Every city (including ours) is called and destined to be a city of blinding lights.
Sometimes it takes prophetic guests to plug in the lights, that the redemptive gift of the city can be spotlighted and spotted

Whenever intercessors take on a road trip to take on resident principalities, I would venture that something happens that blesses the city; perhaps not as dramatically as we captured on video here, but something surely happens and Someone surely shows up every time.

On the previous tour, Pastor Bono was intentional about blessing each city; reversing the curse of each city ...especially in "Yahweh," as the lyrics would become "Yahweh..bless this city's heart..," in his benediction at the close of (Psalm) "40," (May God bless you..stay safe in the city of out for the traffic.."

(Of course, anytime his security lets a girl onstage, even if he prays for her..."Yahweh, take this girl.."... he takes the risk that a non-Yahweh-oriented gal will attempt to grab some booty right in the middle of a "church song." Watch it all here, as Bono concludes as he brushes off the advances, "Yahweh's got a sense of humor, too"... I witnessed a version of this in Sacramento)

This tour, the new and evolving intro to "Beautiful Day"..some call it Celtic, some Arabic..may be taking on this place in the liturgy/line up; as you can see below in Milano. The man sings/speaks to the city, with typical worship/prophetic hand motions. On the previous tour, it was the closing of the song that sometimes served mightily this way. See this incredible clip (3:33ff) ".rise up, with wings like eagles..Chicago!...Higher, higher than the Hancock Tower." It feels like we are eavesdropping on a Call rally,or Pentecostal prayer meeting.

 I shared a sunrise in 1998 at a monument/"high place" overlooking Asuncion, Paraguay, with local believers praying blessing over the city below.
All I can say is it was the same vibe..It's just that U2 are planting the monument/cathedral/claw/tabernacle smack in the middle of each city's stadium/heart/public square.

Bono has captured, likely intentionally the biblical construct of speaking to/calling out the spirit/soul of a city..The letters in Revelation 2-3 are even addressed to the "spirit" (or "angel") of each city. And I dare to believe, somehow, that each city's spiritual atmosphere has been changed once the boys and the portathedral have moved on to the next town..

Of course, the video for "Magnificent"(watch below , and read commentary here) would seem to be a call for the city to take off the graveclothes and "look up".

It may be inspired by Christ and Christo.

Or maybe it's just a video (:

And this is only rock and roll.

"i don't believe that rock and roll can really change the world
as it spins in revolutions, spirals and turns.."
Bless my city, Lord...and start with me..
but it would help if the Irish travelling preachers could come to town with their tent revival and sacred spire.

Monday, July 13, 2009

egami rorrim

Read the T-shirt..but which is the mirror image?

Merlin from our church gave me this cool shirt..he is a the shirts have his website address written in mirror script, so they can be read correctly in the mirror.

Buy the shirt..

This all reminds me of a great book:

The Ambidextrous Universe: Mirror Asymmetry and Time-Reversed Worlds

And an old Graham Nash song;

"Is the image I'm making
The image I see
When the man in the mirror
Is talking to me..."

"Some Confessions from a Christian Pastor"

Published in The Fresno Bee, Valley Voices column 7/11/09 (online here):

"Some Confessions from a Christian Pastor"

by Dave Wainscott
Dave Wainscott is pastor of Third Day Fresno, adjunct Bible instructor in Fresno Pacific University’s Degree Completion Program and professor of ministry for Latin American Bible Institute’s Sanger Campus.

I have a confession you may be surprised to hear from a Christian pastor:

I’m sorry.

And two words you may have assumed we clergy-types never utter:

I repent.

No, no need to “google” my name to find the scoop on a scandal of the kind all too frequent among preachers and televangelists. If that were the case, you would have already found my name on another page of today’s Fresno Bee.

But I am sorry, and I do hereby repent, of an equally scandalous situation:

I am aware that sometimes I…sometimes we clergy… can inadvertently (and I fear, even intentionally) communicate that we are holier than thou; that we only care about you if you attend our church, believe in Jesus right down to our denomination’s footnotes in doctrine, or voted a certain party line on a particular proposition.

That’s ridiculous.

And it’s ridiculous that I haven’t publicly repented sooner.

Please forgive me.

You are my neighbor.

I have been a bad example of a Good Samaritan.

I need you more than you need me.
Even if--especially if --you are not of my tribe, tongue…..or faith.

"Pastor, can you come over right away?," came the voice over the phone. "I have a terrible confession to make!" I took the trip across town, puzzling to myself, "What in the world is she going to confess? She’s a sweet older saint! What did she do, accidentally swat a mosquito, and now she needs to confess being a murderer?" When I arrived, she sat me down and spilled it out; right to the point:

"I am an occasional atheist!”

I did not laugh, for I was privileged to be priest-pastor in a holy moment, but took and shook her hand….signifying that I, too, belonged to that club (humanity). All have sinned. As if occasional doubt was a sin! I see it more as a signpost of honesty and humility.

I confess church has not always honored those twin virtues.

Forgive me…us… for any sermon title, Fresno Bee column, political yard sign, brochure on your doorstep, that led you to believe that we pastors believe we are perfect, and you must be, too.

If you have attended the church I am privileged to pastor, and I made you feel like a number instead of a neighbor; I take the blame and shame.

We too are only human. But we are also required to treat and greet you as if you were more than.

I want to let one more secret out.

I just returned from a citywide pastors meeting. As usual, men and women of different denominations and various races were there. Mega-churches and micro-churches were represented. The movers and shakers were there, seated next to faithful bivocational pastors you have never heard of, but should have.

No, we weren’t plotting creative ways to be annoying to our city; of arrogantly projecting our morality onto the unbelieving masses of our citizens, of bullhorning and shoehorning you into conversion.

We weren’t even planning new means of getting you to darken the doors of the church.

We were repenting.

For ways we have let you, our city, and our God, down.

For times we have not proactively loved our neighbor, no matter which side of the tracks you live on; no matter which side of Blackstone and Shaw you stand with signs.

I reveal all this, not to brag on us; but to let you know that, though we have not arrived, we are on the way.

I must add two words for not letting you know sooner:

I’m sorry.

David Crowder: Twitter Will Kill You:

David Crowder: Twitter Will Kill You:

see also:

Flutter, the new Twitter:

see also:
"Girl Falls Into Manhole While Texting, Parents Sue"

Thursday, July 09, 2009

No Sanctified Church without Grieving our Grief

If the good Jewish doc is correct in that addictions (particularly sex addictions) are in part related to inability to grieve (or express anger), how does this work out on a cultural/national level? What might our issues with grief (and obsexxions) reveal about what our culture is addicted to?

Seeing U2 two months after 9/11, with the scrolling list of victims' names behind them (as the whole world got to see a few months later at Super Bowl halftime) it just felt like church.

What else is new for a U2 gig, you might ask.

This time, it was sanctified church.

No, that doesn't mean the concert was at a Nazarene church; it means the Arco Arena was ritually sanctified.

"Sanctification" is one of the religious terms Kenneth E. Foote laces into his "Shadowed Ground:
America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy
." Gotta love a "secular" book with chapter titles like "Stigmata of National Identity," for example.

But it's in his 2002 afterword to this 1995 book (how do you not update such a book to include 9/11?) that Foote shines. Having suggested throughout the work that public memorials/shrines (or lack of) tend to represent sanctification, designation, rectification or obliteration
("Obliteration results from particularly shameful events people would prefer to forget. ... As a consequence, all evidence is destroyed or effaced of the memory.) Many implications for how we grieve, deal with shame/violence/realit; shift in culture, and how we need collaboration, centered-setness, and church and culture. Read an excerpt below, and the whole section at this link. And, good grief (yes, it is), hear Brueggeman (and U2) on lament.

I assumed that much time would have to pass before decisions would be made about the sanctification, designation, rectification, or obliteration of these sites. ...but I was surprised by the speed with which the Oklahoma City bombing site emerged as a major national memorial..

I began to wonder — and many people asked — whether these events represent a change in the ways Americans deal with adversity. For a long time I remained unconvinced.. In each traumascape I saw similarities to past events, rather than a new pattern. Now, however, I am inclined to think a new trend may be underway. Over the past two or three decades there appears to have developed a greater willingness..
on the part of many communities and individuals to acknowledge the pervasive role that violence plays in contemporary society..

Until quite recently, events of mass murder, terrorism, and day-to-day violence led almost exclusively to obliteration and rectification..The first memorial I have beenable to identify for a mass murder was the one erected in 1990 in San Ysidro, California..a precedent that other communities are emulating: to designate or even sanctify such sites that once would have been considered too shameful to mark.The University of Texas, for instance, dedicated a small memorial garden in 1999 to the victims of the campus mass murder of 1966 — a thirty-three-year delay...
The most fractious and eventually unsatisfying results occur when one grouptakes charge of decision making and excludes participation by others.

n the aftermath of tragedy there is usually no lack of individuals and interest groups wanting to dominate decision making — survivors, victims' families, politicians and owners, emergency workers, and others all demand to be heard — and time and time again, such groups become locked in adversarial roles

..Top-down planning..generate(s) far more acrimony than bottom-up, grass-roots planning efforts.

..In the first chapter (page 6), I wrote that 'the site [of a tragic or violent
event] actually precipitates debate and forces competing interpretations intothe open.' N
ow I would go further and say that debate over what, why, when, and where to build is best considered a part of the grieving process. James Young, a noted scholar of Holocaust memory and memorials, made this point with respect to the prolonged and so far unsuccessful effort construct a central Holocaust memorial in Berlin..'You may have failed to produce a monument, but if you count the sheer number of design hours...already devoted to the memorial, it's clear that your process has already generated more individual memory work than a finished monument will inspire in its first ten years.'"

On that last note, more years could have been saved by hiring 1990s era U2(:
Many have noted that their prophetic act of performing in Hiter's stadium seemed to help heal Holocaustedness and force the isssue of "individual memory work."
More recenlty they sang to " a balcony where Hitler sang"

Such work is perhaps the only emans of our corporately dealing with addictions, grieving that we don't grieve, denying of our denial of death...

and all that stuff we stuff.

At the Holocaust musem in Jerusalem (in an odd way, one of my 'favorite'...better term: 'favored'... places on earth),
a recorded voice lists at normal reading speed the names of Holocaust victims. A name is not repeated for something like seven years.

I don't remember the number of years.
(Recall this Campolo story about stats)

But having been there, and heard the tape, my memory-work now works.

At Bethlehem Bible College (one of my favorite places on earth), there are bullet holes in the sign.

I don't know how many.
But I know I need to make pilgrimage there soon, lest I forget to remember.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

icon, idol, fantasy, symbol

"Nine visions, a book of fantasies‎," by Andrea LaSonde Melrose, Introduction:

"Theologically, there is a great difference between an icon and an idol. The
first is an open window; the second, a brick wall. An icon is something which
to work, an icon must have some element of the familiar. ... with a way for the eye and heart to go through it and beyond it; the outward image is too arresting...

To me, the most important aspect of fantasy is this aspect of symbolism. The
story must be filled with icons and must itself be an icon.
As such, it cannot reasonably be pulled apart and analyzed because the component
parts somehow equal more than their sum. Because an icon is a lens,
a focus, what it points to will be slightly different for each person.
. ..Aslan is bigger on the inside than he is on the outside. It is the rare child who fails to recognize Aslan as a symbol..

One of the most frightening and troubling aspects of our twentieth-century
society is a seemingly voluntary alienation. We cut ourselves off from one another..
Increasing interest n Jung and fantasy and fairy tales is, perhaps, a tentative turn in the tide. It is a way of saying, 'We are part of a race...I belong.'

Children who read fantasy, who have fought alongside the Last Battle, will never lack for courage. ..

To name a fear is not to eliminate it, but to be able to handle it. In fantasy
we all — readers and characters — face mysteries and fears..
and in the facing we allow parts of ourselves which have lain dormant to
surface. We find ourselves realizing that our deepest fears can be faced.

..We find common experiences through the icons and archetypes, experiences we can translate and apply to our daily lives. We find friends, and heroes, and teachers who call us to higher achievements and nobler visions.

...Finally, in true fantasy, no individual accomplishes alone.

hat is done is done in the context of community, or the context of the
sacrifice of other individuals, or in connectedness to a strong and positive
outside ourselves..

It is here that religious fantasy differs most strongly from any other form of

Fantasy calls us to our vocation ... a vocation in relationship to a love and
power apart from the self.
It is that part of the literature which tries to help us, through icon and
commitment and relationship, to see "face to face." It tries to catch
, however fleetingly, a clear vision of the truth and it offers
it in the only language in which truth can be clothed — the language of
the language of symbol and archetype, the language which connects."

-Andrea LaSonde Melrose

Monday, July 06, 2009

No Cell Phones During Baptisms!!!

Uh, besides the pastor's tie...

several things stand out about this baptism video:

1. It was a (humanly) unplanned "service."
2. It occurs in the context of a lunch party afterglow at our house. The "baptismal preparation" class was the organic discipleship that happened in meetings and at St. Arbucks over the last few weeks" relationship.
3. She says she wants to be baptized because she "got saved." When I ask her how that happened,
she answers that she was just hanging out talking to someone. I respond: "That's often how it happens": relationship.
4. The main dude (Keltic Ken)that was talking with her (#3) leads in the prayer (not the official "rev.")
5. In the middle of the prayer, someone (Tattoed Tarzan, see "Belonging BEFORE believing: a delirious heresy?)'s cell phone rings, to the tune of "(I Want to) Walk in the Light." It suddenly becomes a word from God and a theme song.
I sensed there was a Scripture to quote, but it seemed like someone else was supposed to mention it. They did: the song is based on 1 John 1:7.
(Dang that "no cell phone" rule.. see "You wanna give me the phone?" and "one church's policy on cell phones in church" and note this is not the first time God spoke via an "allowed" cell phone call "in church": see "Deconstructing Solomon's Box" )
6. The Spiritaneous liturgical dance that wraps it up.
(When we posted this on Facebook, Pastor Tom quipped,
"I will have to incorporate the baptize dance into our ritual.")

The Claw’s "Surrealism, Sci-Fi, and the Sacred"

I am so glad Beth was asked to expand her comments on the U2

claw/spaceship/"space for worship"(Bono)/"what-the-hell-is-it"/cathedral

into a full article, a great read and full of important links.

"Sound and Light:
Contemplating the Claw’s Combination of Surrealism, Sci-Fi, and the Sacred."

Read it here,

(especially if you see a connection between these two videos)

support her here.


Previous posts on the clawthedral:

some gods don't even know what sex you are

It is amazing..incredulous/inevitable that after his 1987 bankruptcy after this 1987 expose (the "voice of God" was his wife over a radio transmitter)..

..that Peter Popoff (wikipedia, official website) is not on only back, but selling (for "free") "Miracle Spring Water" from Chernobyl..

..and mailing gnostic promises to people from a

god who can't even get the recipients' gender right ...

Yet I hasten to add that that this craziness is "just" an extreme manifestation of the manipulation that all us pastor-types engage in without (?) meaning to.
(see "Reduction of Seduction Part 1,"
Extreme Fakeover, and other posts linked"role of the pastor" at bottom).

Beware the subtle sister sins of simony and simulacrakklesia
(and of alliterating "S"s in sermons....)

And the clever 2:15 scene segue in this clip below reminds me of the classic "2001:A Space Odyssey segue...maybe the message is the same: