Saturday, July 31, 2010

"The Primary Mission", AKA "Jesus Farted": Kory Wheeler Sermon Video

I asked Kory, a great...and unpretentiously down-home and honest (church could use a bit of that!) of God to preach for me one night (his first sermon ever) during Sierra Christian Ashram this week.

So glad I did! Look for great things from Kory and Tina and family; and pray for him as he is beginning seminary studies online. We need more pastor dudes like this. The message is "The Primary Mission," but many at camp (especially the youth) called it by its unofficial subtitle,"Jesus Farted."

Great insights regarding the radical humanity of Jesus, "practicing the presence," abolishing the sacred/secular distinction, and being "with God."

I especially loved that he wisely quoted the wise Dallas Willard...without even knowing who he was.

Here is the 34-minute message, in 5 parts:

Anne Rice quits the name of Christ

Anne Rice:
"In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen," the author wrote....

"When does a word (Christian) become unusable?" she asked. "When does it become so burdened with history and horror that it cannot be evoked without destructive controversy?"....

"I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity," she said. "It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For 10 years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else."
-link, full story

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hiebert on Trinity, Worldview and Kingdom

Paul Hiebert's
is out of print, but it's here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Q: The Church has lost it! A: What's "it"?

Answer the "what's IT?" in your mind...

then read on to compare E. Stanley Jones' answer.

Excerpt from a free book:

The great missionary-statesman, E. Stanley Jones (1884-1972), offered his tragic assessment:

“The Church has lost it.

The Church has lost the the Kingdom of God.”

Jones called this loss of vision “the sickness of our age.”

I am so excited to be teaching on the Kingdom all next week alongside Tom Fuller, the man who coined the word "Kingdomed." It's a camp started by E. Stanley Jones himself and designed to be "the Kingdom of God in miniature"; a Christian Ashram, near Shaver Lake, Ca. Join us!
Here's a pic of us getting wet together there a few years ago..

"i broker and sell nuts...who may contain a small amount of alcohol"

As you can see on the upper right sidebar, the highest number of "labels" (Blogger's dumb name for "tags") on this blog are those on the "role of the pastor" topic.

As anyone who has seen my business cards knows, I enjoy collecting alternative titles or job descriptions for "pastor." Our folks seem to like "goatherder" and "party planner."
Kevin likes "Chief Dreamer." .........I don't think "liminoid exorcist" will stick (:

But at recent St. Arbuck's meeting, I overheard someone ask Tony what he did for a living.

He replied, "Well, the short answer is,

'I broker and sell nuts."'

I couldn't resist chiming in, "Hey that's what I do, too," (:

Yep, chief nut.

Reminds me of this sign at a local's true of our church on a number of levels:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

" I’m not a stranger in the eyes of the Maker"

I love the worship/prophetic moments Bono embeds/sneaks in/weaves in to a U2 concert.
...since I first experienced it (audio here) in 1983 in New Haven...

But truth is, as Tim Neufeld notes below, the whole concert/“leitourgia" is prayer/worship, not just the snippets and niggun-ing.
Bono can't help it.
And the outro to "Beautiful Day" is often a centerpoint of the worship we've seen before,
and as Tim witnessed firsthand (in a front pew) in Pasadena, and you can witness 4th hand via the video:

...There is a Spirit that carries, infuses, and shapes this concert from beginning to end. There is a sense that the entire show is one thoughtful, intentional, yet spontaneous prayer to the Creator. From “Soon,” a comment on the now-but-not-yet Kingdom of God, to “Moment of Surrender,” a very personal testimony of God’s presence in the chaos of everyday life, we sense a fresh wind and are challenged to pray with Bono, “Move me, Spirit teach me, move me, Spirit reach me.” At the end of “Beautiful Day” Bono confesses to the audience (in a revision of the classic Beach Boys song) “God only knows the way I feel about you.
God only knows I’m not a stranger, in the eyes of the Maker.”
Multiple times Bono assumes a prayer posture during the show either with hands raised or palms up and eyes lifted to the heavens....

messy measuring

This video on "Measuring sticks" from Michael Frost reminds me of the classic Eugene Peterson story about filling out denominational forms (see "Sex and Drugs in Church: Peterson on Why the System Can't Care").

How/what to measure? Butts in pews? Do baptisms count"?:

Menno gets violent re: paid pastors

How do you imagine Menno Simons coming off in person? I mean, the Menno-nites are named after him... so a gentle, charitable, peaceable, non-confrontational sort?

Partly right.

But what made him so angry that if he were alive today,
he might join fellow non-resistant Christian Bruce Cockburn in a "rocket launcher" attack? (:
(or at least a temple tantrum or two)?

Paid pastors.

From "The Complete Works of Menno Simons 1496-1561),"
an excerpt from a letter to of the heaviest of the 1,070 pages:

"..all your calling is nothing but sowing on the seashore or reaping the is apparent you are not true messengers of God...seeking temporal profits and incomes...Your...pensions and rents are such an abomination before my eyes that, verily brethren, I would rather be beheaded, burned, drowned, or torn into quarters by four horses than to receive for my preaching such benefits, pensions and incomes.

Yes, when stated salaries to preachers were established, there surely crept into the church of Christ a very fearful, corrupting pestilence, which has so corrupted, alas, that there are scarcely any left who have retrained the breath of Christ in them. To this you must verily all consent.

-"The Complete Works of Menno Simons," p.445

Glad I took the Google Ads off my blog...(:

But I also get a paycheck from a university descended from Menno..

Matt on " the apparent failure of Eucharistic theology"

I am glad SOMEBODY wrote it..especially glad it wasM att Cleaver.

Sure to stir things up, be sure to read his post:

The Weakness of Eucharistic Theology

Among the questions he asks at the above link:
"Are these theologians off their rocker? Are they making communion into something it isn’t?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two Lines on the Horizon

This video (that St Cynthia of Oakdale passed on) of someone finding and filming a double rainbow up close in Yosemite is worth watching just for the

narration (which itself has spawned some spoofs...see this)

These kind of missional manifestations seem to happen frequently here in California.
I'll never forget driving to the California coast and literally chasing down the end of a rainbow;
it was otherwordly and liminal. But every time I got close enough to touch the bow, it disappeared.

Profound life lesson. I often preach that story.

I never found a pot of gold, and I was late to my meeting.
But something within me wanted to touch the colors....(I'd be open to touching the flame, too).

I will never forget Ed and Beth from our Delano church describe the ethereal experience of flying
(in a plane, that is!) through a rainbow. Gave me chills just listening..

Church with crap on the bathroom walls=good sign

Maybe a bathroom set-up like the one pictured here
(photo credit) would have saved Resurrection Life Church in. St. Joseph, Missouri the crappy problem they encountered one day.

But I just choose to think that problem was a good sign that they are missional at heart.

Any church that has defecation smeared on the bathroom walls because they let "street kids" attend their parties....good sign of the times; good sign of (bad pun) the "end" times, if you will.

It's hard to tell this next part of the story of the church and its pastor without sounding judgmental on megachurches.
But the point is: I need to start being judgmental on myself, then in the small chance I have any more time, I'll get around to judging someone else (:

It's just that Billy, awesome pastor of that "fear no crap" church, whom our "connection without control" network recently connected with, once tried to get in to see a pastor--any pastor--at a large church, but not a single one of the large staff was available.

He felt a call to plant a church, and just wanted some wisdom/prayer from a seasoned pastor.

What happened next is told in the video, as we commission his family for ministry.

But it could have just as easily been me or Dallas (the guy in the video) who didn't have the time to meet someone on a given day. But no pastors available on a given day? Just sayin' (:

By the way, our man Vincent J. Vera has a "Christian song" with "bathroom stalls" in the lyric...that too, is a good sign!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"I've reached out my hand and touched the flame"

-"I've reached out my hand and touched the flame. I am burning and waiting for a sign...God is ready to rend the heavens and come down."
- Rev. Evan Roberts (in a sermon 2 weeks before revival hit Wales), HT Matt,
see this also

-"I want to reach out and touch the flame."

-Rev. Paul Hewson, 2:10 in the sermon below
(but not watching the two minutes leading up to it might cause you to miss the revival (:...)

It is obvious Bono has read Watchman Nee, Smith Wigglesworth , other revivalists...maybe Jackie Pullinger..has he read Roberts, and is that part of his lyrical inspiration?
see also:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Web and Global Voices: Ethan Zuckerman

From TED:

About this talk

Sure, the web connects the globe, but most of us end up hearing mainly from people just like ourselves. Blogger and technologist Ethan Zuckerman wants to help share the stories of the whole wide world. He talks about clever strategies to open up your Twitter world and read the news in languages you don't even know.

About Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman studies how the world -- the whole world -- uses new media to share information and moods across cultures, languages and platforms
-TED, Link

Friday, July 16, 2010

church service=news report=

Most of you have seen the first video posted below--"Sunday's coming," from North Pointe church---which pokes fun at the predictability of a "church service."
But until Mark Maynell linked the second video below, I didn't know a similar clip--by Charlie Brooker, about TV news-- existed.

(By the way, like Edge, "I don't want to be on the news.")


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Video of Brain Surgery :The Gospel of Sin Management

(This post borrowed from our church wiki-blog)

At a home meeting not long ago, we did brain surgery on each other.
As you can see by this video excerpt, the scissors and the tape are all ready to go;
the cameraman (St. Merlin) wisely stopped filming before the actual surgery.

Any questions?

The whole point was praying for each other that our brains/souls would be rewired from
the counterfeit, or partial gospel ( what Dallas Willard and often call "the gospel of sin management") to the more holistic gospel of the Kingdom, which is much more
grace-full.......and inevitably attractive and missional.

Here are some quotes and links on this dichotomy:

In the video clip, I read from Dwight Edwards' (a great great nephew of Jonathan Edwards) book,"Releasing the Rivers Within: The Exhilaration of Utter Dependence on God".
Edwards in turn quotes a famous passage from Lutzer about an entire neighborhood of thousands of people where no one sins.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Truths I Couldn't Find in Church": by Ole and Skippy

Here's a classic column from the Wittenburg Door.

Because they Door editors once told us we could repost their stuff if credit were given,

and because the formatting is messed up on the original post on their site,

here it is below:
The Last Word:
Truths I Couldn't Find in Church

By Ole Anthony and Skippy R. Issue #189, September/October 2003
Wittenburg Door

I started to call this "Everything I needed to know got screwed up by what I learned in Vacation Bible School." But I never went to Vacation Bible School, so that won't work. Actually this is a listing of some truths I intuited when I first became a believer in 1972. In studying the Bible since my baptism, these points have been confirmed over and over again, but I was shocked when I found the opposite was being taught in the churches I visited. Over the years, the shock has turned to dismay. Here's a short version of the list:

God doesn't love the human race and doesn't have a wonderful plan for our lives. At least, not in the way love is usually understood. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade who died a few months ago, introduced the Four Spiritual Laws as an evangelism tool. I interviewed him several times over the years, and believe he has done great service for the Kingdom of God. But his famous evangelism tract has always seemed somehow disengenuous. If God loves humans so much, why is there suffering, misery and death? Why did he allow Eve to taste that forbidden fruit in the first place? (If Bill Bright had included the whole book of Job, maybe I'd like that tract better). But in fact, since the Fall, God hates the human race with perfect hatred, and the human race hates God. The word is "enmity" in Romans 5. The only plan for the human race is to die, to be buried in baptism so a new thing can take its place: the bride, His church. And that is love. He created us to become a bride for His son.

The human race is already dead, in fact. II Cor. 5:14-15 says, "If one died for all, then were all dead." Jesus Christ was the last Adam. Then who are we? The human race died on the cross. That means "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20).

The Old Testament is all about Jesus. The Law, the prophets and the writings were fulfilled in Christ. When you read what Jesus said, it's clear: "These are they which testify of me."

Take no thought for yourself. The essence of sin is self-seeking. The rivers of living water won't flow because you've created a dam. That dam is you. To "deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me" means to abandon yourself, to take absolutely no thought about yourself in any dimension.

Taking the name of God in vain doesn't mean saying "goddamn." At the 1975 National Religious Broadcasters Convention I told the audience taking the Lord's name in vain had nothing to do with cussing. It meant taking the slightest bit of glory for yourself. None of the early believers called themselves Christians. They called themselves People of the Way. They were too humble to put the name of Christ on their own flesh. I posed a question: "Can you imagine the Saul of Tarsus Evangelistic Association?" That was the last time I spoke at a national Christian meeting.

Eternity doesn't mean a long, long time. It means outside of time. God exists outside of time. When the mystery of God is completed, "time shall be no more." Time is, well... temporal. People usually study scripture from their own personal viewpoint: what does this mean to me? But the only way to understand the scriptures is to read them from the standpoint of eternity.

God doesn't care who wins an election. We are to pray for all leaders no matter who they are. And yet all nations are "as a drop in the bucket," including the United States of America. They're meaningless to God. Whether it's a Republican convention or a Shiite funeral in the Middle East, it becomes a spiritual feeding frenzy of idolatry. When I ran for the Texas Legislature, I went to bed on election night flying high:I had apparently won the race by 15,000 votes. When I woke up, I had lost the election. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat: both are idolatry. If you feed on those kinds of things, you forget "Thou shalt not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." The Word is Jesus Christ, and He alone is our sustenance.

Jesus Christ is in you. "The kingdom of God is within you," He said. It doesn't come by observation, i.e by sensory perception. What you feel or see happening around you is meaningless in this regard. If you don't know this, then you're "reprobate" and incapable of repentance. He is not going to teach you the truth, He is the truth. He is not going to show you the way, He is the way.

I am the chief of sinners. There was a point I realized I was so bad that I couldn't be saved. And yet even so, there was nothing else I could do but continue to live and preach this doctrine of Christ. I am left out of the picture completely. Each one of us has to come to this realization in one way or another. That leads to the next point.

You're perfect. "By one offering we've been perfected forever." Wait a minute! We're perfect? The study of the offerings in Leviticus shows that Christ's sacrifice has met every possible condition we can ever be in. We don't have to sweat it. And it is when we present ourselves a living sacrifice that we become of use to God.

Repentance doesn't mean having to say you're sorry. It means to totally leave all of yourself behind. If you try to improve yourself, you'll resurrect the antichist, raise him from the "deadly head wound" that was inflicted on the Cross.

It is finished. Christ's last words on the cross tell me that if I think there's something left to do, I don't believe His sacrifice was sufficient. Our "mission" is to tell people that their mission is over. It has failed, whatever it is. We can't sell the mystery of Christ, we can't try to attract people into the kingdom. We believe, therefore we speak. And God's strength is perfected and manifested in our weakness.

Now that you've read this list, tear out the page and throw it away.

Because if these points have resonated with you, you might be tempted to make these into modern-day phylacteries and wear them on your wrist and forehead as some kind of guide to living or religious tract. The only thing we need is the living Christ... within us.
-By Ole Anthony and Skippy R. Issue #189, September/October 2003, Wittenburg Door

Both/And: Bounded Set Within a Centered Set

From Len's post here, featuring Stuart Murray's diagram.

(Related: see "centered set" labels below)

Monday, July 12, 2010

only in the secular context

" the secular context that I've insisted is the only place that God invites us to discover forms of the church..."

That's one of my favorite lines (p. 114) from one of my favorite Capon books ("The Astonished Heart."
You can review it on Google Books here; excerpt here...

(image credit)

Iconic AND Iconclastic: Reformation of the Image Cannot Be Preached

Who would have guessed that the third massive volume of a majesterial trilogy by art professor Joseph Leo Koerner would be so prophetic and profound for church?

The first volumes are "The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art," and
"Caspar David Friederich and the Subject of Landscape."

Uh, not the type of volume usually on my bedstand.

But the third volume is "The Reformation of the Image," and I thank God and Mark DeRaud for turning us onto it (Reading the preface suggests that the first two volumes are..surprisingly... relevant theologically as well).

Why doesn't this guy get invited to speak (and show art) at pastor's conferences??
Don't answer that (Though Mark will)!!

At the outset, the author offers that the book:

"rests on the dual premise that images never go away,and that they persist and function by being perpetually destroyed." (p. 12).

But it's the very last sentence (p. 444) that will really preach (oops, that is precisely and ironically the wrong phrase...and that is the point):

"After struggling to say something more than the word turned image in the picture, we are greeted by the image that cannot be preached."

BONUS: Here below is part of a video interview I did with Mark for a church history class I taught, where he mentions and plugs the book. Here's a link to an interview with Koerner (also see the "labels" below for more related posts)." And the best bonus of all, much the book itself is
a free read on Google Books.

Imagine that.


Drop everything, and follow @Xianity on Twitter.
That's all I'll say..except check out:

1) the current feed ,
2 maybe some "greatest hits" collections:
10 Hilarious Tweets of @XIANITY
and 10 More Hilarious Tweets of @XIANITY

3)An interview with the anonymous author behind it all

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beaudoin: Can Popular Music Be a “Court of the Gentiles”?

I am so glad we have a Tom Beaudoin to ask questions like:

Can Popular Music Be a “Court of the Gentiles”
by Tom Beaudoin:

Or more precisely, are theologians who work theologically with popular music helping to create and inhabit a “court of the gentiles” for those participants in the cultures of secular music who do not belong actively to churches? In a recent address (brought to my..
-Tom Beaudoin , continued here

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sweet Twitter Theology

Leonard Sweet article:
"Twitter Theology: 5 Ways Twitter Has Changed My Life and helped me be a better Disciple of Jesus

"Aren't we all, and isn't it always?": Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time"

As you can see, I got Bruce Cockburn's autograph (story here).

I know what you are thinking.

Even though most of you have never even heard, let alone heard of, Bruce Cockburn...


(neophytes can
start here, OR of his signature songs, "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" is perhaps even more prophetic for our time than when first released (1984). Like U2's "Bullet," and "Sunday Bloody Sunday," though it had a particular Sitz In Leben, the meaning and application rhematically morphs to meet the headlines of any's always dangerous times.

The song was even quoted by Bono (thank God that Christian journalist Terry Mattingly introduced Bono to Cockburn's and T-Bone Burnett's music early on) in U2's "God Part 2." But even that didn't make Bruce a household word like he is in his native Canada.

Len (a Canadian, so of course familiar with Bruce) quotes Brueggemann in commenting on the song:“We can only stand in readiness for what God may do…that standing requires the use of intentional disciplines that in every case are marked by danger.”
Len has also written this article named after the song.

It's been covered by The Barenaked Ladies, Dan Fogelberg..and other folks you never heard of.
It's been preached, even at weddings.
But after the lyrics below, and following comments by Bruce about the song, here's some videos of the man doing it himself:

don't the hours grow shorter as the days go by
You never get to stop and open your eyes
One day you're waiting for the sky to fall
The next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This vibrant skin -- this hair like lace
Spirits open to the thrust of grace
Never a breath you can afford to waste
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime --
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight --
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
And we're lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • 10 January 2002

    Editorial note: An interesting factoid sent to the project by Carrie Anderson, is that Bono of U2 has used this in a song on the 'Rattle and Hum' album on the song 'God Part II': "heard a singer on the radio late last night says he's gonna kick the darkness till it bleeds daylight". Of course Bruce Cockburn is credited for his conribution to the song.
  • 1990
    "Aren't we all and isn't it always."
    - from "Rumours of Glory 1980-1990" (songbook), edited by Arthur McGregor, OFC Publications, Ottawa, 1990. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

  • 1994 "I was thinking of kids in a schoolyard. I was thinking of my daughter. Sitting there wanting to hold hands with some little boy and looking at a future, looking at the world around them. How different that was when I was a kid when, even though we had air-raid drills, nobody took that seriously that the world would end. You could have hope when I was a kid. And now I think that's very difficult. I think a lot of that is evident from the actions and the ethos of a lot of kids. It was kind of an attempt to offer a hopeful message to them. You still have to live and you have to give it your best shot."
    -- from "Closer to the Light with Bruce Cockburn" by Paul Zollo, SongTalk, vol.4, issue 2, 1994. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

  • 22 November 1994

    Lovers in a Dangerous Time', which leads off the same album that features 'Rocket Launcher,' seems to be drawn from the same Central American experience; one readily supposes the stirring number is an ode to romantic passion among the revolutionaries Cockburn met. He says it actually was sparked by something much more ordinary. "I was thinking about kids in a schoolyard, eighth-graders or ninth-graders who were bold enough to hold hands and feel the beginnings of passion for another person in the face of the no-future that they would be confronted with. I was thinking, 'How can they envision a life in the face of so many things that appear to threaten it?' [He maintains the revolutionaries-in-love interpretation works, though, and is pleased that some listeners have related the song to the AIDS crisis as well.]
    - from "Bruce Cockburn: Interior Motive" by Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times, 22 November 1994. Submitted by Nigel Parry.

  • 15 January 2002

    What is the meaning behind "got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight"?

    Bruce Cockburn:
    What I meant was that we can't settle for things as they are...just throw up our hands, there's another song called The Trouble With Normal that says things in a different way -- if you don't tackle the problems they're gonna get worse.
    - from Canoe Online Chat with Bruce Cockburn, 15 January 2002. Submitted by Suzanne D. Myers.
  • 15 June 2010

    On Wednesday (16 June 2010) at Massey Hall, iconic recording artist Bruce Cockburn and guest stars will perform some of his best-known material. Cockburn talks over the set list with Brad Wheeler.

    The graceful 1984 hit was later covered with success by the Barenaked Ladies. Cockburn speaks about different eras, and how none are less dangerous than others.
    "When I wrote that, I was thinking of kids my daughter’s age. She was quite young at the time. But, for any given individual, the world has always been a place where you could die. That’s the baseline. At times we can ignore that, more than other times. There are times when fear is in the air, and, of course, there’s always people around willing to exploit that, and enhance it, if need be."
    - from Bruce Cockburn Set for Luminato Honours - 40 Years of songs to Live By by Brad Wheeler.
  • -LINK

  • Here's how old the song is, original music video:

    Wednesday, July 07, 2010

    what can the church can learn from Pixar?

    " people the freedom to come up with new ideas but making sure that they operate within an overall structure, creating a powerful corporate culture but making sure that it is not too stifling.."

    That's only one the things church can learn from Pixar..

    Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    Fireside story time with the orthodox heretic

    Fireside story time with Pete Rollins;as he reads parables from his new book, "The Orthodox Heretic: And Other Impossible Tales":

    U2 devotional #9:"Levitate": Lifted east and Up

    (for story behind the picture, click here)

    I don't know how you read the chorus of U2's "Levitate"...a delightful and unfinished track
    (so unfinished that you can still hear, at 1:41-1:47 below, Bono calling out to Edge: "More guitar!" etc.) ...

    ...but I can't not read it as a dialogue/prayer/Abrahamic midrash/tug of war:

    • Narrator: "Spirit, come on down!"
    • Holy Spirit: "No, I'm not coming down!"

    All that to say, the Spirit suggests for all our well-meaning, and sometimes frantic praying for/begging for him to "come down"
    (especially in the Pentecostalish circles Bono and the boys were discipled in)..

    ..he offers a better deal (and a literally "higher love"):

    we get to "come on up" to his realm instead.

    Shades of Revelation 4:1 ("the Spirit said to me, 'Come on up.'");
    traces of Ephesians 2:6 ("we are already seated with Christ in the heavenly realms"),
    and obvious connection to the rabbinic elevation prayer offered in the U2 song "Elevation."
    (as well as the "levitating with he" line of U2 cover of Patty Smyth's "Dancing Barefoot."

    How about the "Higher Love...lift us higher" Bono has been known to pray on behalf of gathered congregations?

    Thus the "Levitation" song title,
    and the vulnerable, expectant prayer- response of "Lift me up" Bono sings/prays in the bridge (4:00-4:07).

    For those squeakies that complain, "Levitation?! But that's an eastern religion!!"..

    I understand the concern, but..

    I really love Francis Fragipane's line whenever people complain,
    "But Francis, what you are describing sounds like an Eastern religion!!":

    "Well, Christianity IS an Eastern religion."

    As Bono has often asked/prophesied in concert, "Going up?"..

    "In the end I got something better. There are very few things, I would imagine, that can rival the high of heroin for people looking for a way out of a low life. And it was my faith that brought me higher. It is a higher love"

    Jesus face covered with bees

    One of the coolest pastor-dudes I know of... Jason (in the photo, on the uh, bottom)...
    had this pic taken as he was visiting St. Patrick's Seminary (Menlo Park, CA) and noticed that Jesus (uh, the statue) had a swarm of bees completely obscuring his face.

    I told him I would pay him whatever photo rights he wanted for me to re-publish the photo, because as I told him,


    (I don't know the answer to the obvious question: why did this happen, and does it happen a lot?
    I found nothing online about this manifestation)

    Add a caption, anyone?

    Michio Kaku on Colbert: invisibility cloak and reading God's mind

    Michio Kaku
    The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

    Monday, July 05, 2010

    phony people praying in Hollywood

    "Lost in Hollywood":
    a haunting and God-haunted song by System of a Down.
    (lyrics here; note: "fags" means cigarettes in most countries)

    Live version:

    Note, the band's "Chop Suey" (which quotes Psalm 22)was spoofed by Christian band Apologetix (and turned into the Jacob and Leah story:



    More on the band:
    Is System Of A Down a Christian band?
    Is System of a Down christian at all?
  • Phantom Tollbooth review
  • Christianity Today: System of a Down
  • Baby Got Book

    As its as with parodies, it helps to me familiar with the original (which I wasn't,so it's here) to fully appreciate the spoof:

    Interview with the pastor who made it:

    I need to go to bars more often

    Note: i had a post up here, which quoted Adam Walker Cleaveland and Doug Pagitt.
    But I decided to delete it until Doug's book comes out (really look forward to it), as I just saw this post from Doug (even though it's uncertain whether the post is a joke or not)

    Saturday, July 03, 2010

    "What is it that happened over the last 40 years to make us nostalgic in ways that previous generations were not?"

    "What is it that happened over the last 40 years to make us nostalgic in ways that previous generations were not?"

    I love that question; Steve Heyduck asked it in context of a post about the dental chair.
    Go ahead and read it here,
    and offer Steve some answers while there.

    ..I would love to hear your thoughts. What HAS happened?

    We live in a unique day.

    My kids are teenagers, and almost every week they or their friends are singing songs from my day:

    "Kung Fu Fighting," "Play That Funky Music, White Boy,"...even "Dancing Queen' (though as this video will attest, no one can sing it, or dance to it, like Keltic Ken.

    Whatsup with that?

    Steve concludes:

    While I am ok with a dentist office playing music from the 1970s here in 2010, wouldn’t it make sense that similarly dentist offices in the 70s would have been playing easy listening music from the 30s or 40s?

    I went to dentists in the 70s. This was not happening.

    What is it that happened over the last 40 years to make us nostalgic in ways that previous generations were not?


    Free read: N.T.Wright's "New Heavens, New Earth"

    Thanks to Kurt Willems for finding this free online (PDF) version of N.T.Wright's "New Heavens, New Earth:The Biblical Picture of Christian Hope"

    Temple Tantrum, Violet Burning, 4th of July: "Who Can't Attend Your Church?"

    I have actually heard people say they deeply fear having a bake sale, youth group fundraiser, or a table where a visiting singer sells CDs in a church building.

    "Remember when Jesus cast out the moneychangers and dovesellers?"

    It is absolutely amazing how rare it is to hear someone teach on the "temple tantrum" Scripture
    without turning it into the "Better not sell stuff in church; Jesus might overturn the tables..".

    ...when any serious study of the passage concludes that the reason Jesus was angry was not commercialism , but:

    • RACISM

    If that classic interpretation of the passage is new to you, I have several posts you can read (like this one, or click "temple tantrum" at bottom of page).

    Even better, watch a four minute section of Ray Van Der Laan's "Faith Lesson" episode on
    "City of the Great King."

    Or read the wonderful post I just found HERE from Gary Molander.

    Heck, he even wraps up the post with a video that Floodgate Productions (his company) made, soundtracked by The Violet Burning's
    "Invitacion Fountain" (the best song ever written on the Long Beach Freeway) to illustrate his point.

    Ironically, the song was first debuted at a 4th of July event.
    It's on days like the 4th that we need to re-read (in the midst of celebrating) the tantrum.

    Gary gets way extra credit!!

    Gary also gets the Palm Sunday Scripture's real point; another text that usually takes a ground-zero reading and a Van Der Laan video..."the classic "Lamb of God" episode.. to deconstruct for people.......and is on the same theme of misplaced nationalism)

    Bonus: a few articles for the 4th below. Dare someone to preach this stuff tomorrow: