Sunday, August 28, 2011

What NT Wright doesn't know about sacrifice

"Human" by The Killers

 Because I/ we only have one sermon..

I did my best to notice, when the call came down the line
Up to the platform of surrender, I was brought but I was kind
But sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door
Close your eyes clear your heart, cut the cord

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human, or are we dancer

Pay my respects to grace and virtue, send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance, they always did the best they could
And so long to devotion you taught me everything I know
Wave good bye wish me well, you've gotta let me go

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human, or are we dancer

Will your system be alright?
When you dream of home tonight
There is no message we're receiving
Let me know, is your heart still beating?

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
You've gotta let me know

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human, or are we dancer

Human Lyrics


Saturday, August 27, 2011

“transparency is the new objectivity"

“Transparency is the new objectivity"
-The Economist, "The Foxification of News"

pentecostal/ postmodern: Earl Creps

dare you to pick's easy (:

Go ahead: A or B?
Then we'll pick this topic up on Friday

a proctologist for the church..

"I'm an ecclesiologist. That's like a proctologist for the church." -Tony Jones

I am not that

Sometimes it's important to know what/who you'e NOT:
Free music -" I Am Not That" (Mike Nesmith)
(more Nesmith here)
Lyrics: M. Nesmith

(more Nesmith here)

"I am not that" Lyrics: M. Nesmith
I am not a poet,
I cannot make a rhyme,
I do not know the big words
Like "shpritz" and "paradigm"

I am not an artist,
I cannot paint my house,
I cannot chisel marble,
I cannot twist and shout

I am not a Yankee,
I have no nation-state,
No cosmic star connections,
I cannot get a date

I am not a crook,
I am not a thief,
To be, for me, is not to be,
Not to see, to see

Goodbye, goodbye, the "I am" world,
Goodbye, goodbye, so long
Farewell, adieu, adieu, farewell,
I have not sung this song,
No, I have not sung this song

I am not the Walrus,
I am not the Boss,
I am not the King or Queen,
I am not Jack Frost

I am not the singer,
I am not twenty-two,
I am not, was, were,
Be, am, is, or you

Goodbye, goodbye, the "I am" world,
Goodbye, goodbye, so long
Farewell, adieu, adieu, farewell,
I have not sung this song,
I have not sung this song

Goodbye, goodbye, the "I am" world,
Goodbye, goodbye, so long
Farewell, adieu, adieu, farewell,
I have not sung this song,
No, I have not sung this song,
I have not sung this

kick up heals

Love this blog post from George Martzen.
And the tenth word may or may not be a typo..  I like it the way it is

"God is calling his people to kick up their heals again, to live out the fullness that his breath inspires, to sing and make music, to declare the liberating word of God's love. Some people have gotten stuck on the printed page. The words need to take wings and fly. God is flying ahead of us, in the Spirit, breathing possibilities into every freaking situation. And for those who think it insignificant, God went all out, poured his life out on a cross. This is serious play. Don't ever waste your talent in a hole. Dig it up and use it. Don't ever waste an opportunity. God doesn't."  -Georhe Martzen,  link

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"he cast no shadow"

secret of this pic
Who knows wbat this song means (see some discussion here)? But it is intriguing theologically (Let's do it for church, and see what emerges)
The Oasis boys have long been running from/running to God, thanks to Bono, Phillp Yancey et al,
It's been suggested that this whole album is ultimately about/to Jesus (as the Wonderwall and "Champagne Supernova in the Sky,"  the "He" in every song,  etc) ...even if it is also about sex, drugs, rocknroll...

Note: On the "shadow" theme, see this and the video below with Rev. Kev:

"Cast No Shadow" by Oasis

Here's a thought for every man
Who tries to understand what is in his hands
(What's in his hands)
He walks along the open road of love and life
Surviving if he can
(Surviving if he can)

Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
Chained to all the places that he never wished to stay
Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
As he faced the sun he cast no shadow

As they took his soul they stole his pride (pride)

As he faced the sun he cast no shadow

Here's a thought for every man
Who tries to understand what is in his hands
(What's in his hands)
He walks along the open
road of love and life
Surviving if he can
(But only if he can)

Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
Chained to all the places that he never wished to stay
Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
As he faced the sun he cast no shadow

As they took his soul they stole his pride (pride)

As he faced the sun he cast no shadow..

a matter of words:: naked economic missiology and the "biblically screwy false witness" of attractional church

It's never about language and semantics.
It's always about language and semantics.

It's all we have.
But thank God it's not all that is.
And it's not all that God has.

I can understand  the complaints that recent conversations about Christology, missiology,  ecclesiology...and which precedes which...
as being merely academic  and a waste of time.

They sure can be, and often are.

And they are  just  clanging gongs if not implemented and actualized in actual, practical acts of  indiscriminate love for lepers, tax collectors and prostitutes.
But until we've wasted time in the ivory tower we may not be wasted enough to be any practical good on the streets below.
Theology makes praxis; and praxis makes perfect....and maybe perfect theology.

But again:

Words matter.
Largely because matter is words.
That's not just intriguing linguistics, but cutting-edge physics,
it's good theology .

Uh, oh.
Just theory, right?

"There's nothing more practical that theory, and nothing more theoretical  than practice."
When I first heard, and considered that phrase, not even knowing it was Marx, it made sense
(Evangelicals might flinch, but Jesus, Ellul and Žižek would approve),

Theology is formed, forged, and practiced in the street, as we do mission(=do life).
"Tear the curtain down, pull the altar to the ground," the 77s once sang, ostesibly about worship.
But bring down the theology and missiology as well.  That alters our altar..
Yank theology into the streets, and do it among (and with) street people., street walkers,  street fairs, street sweepers.

What's the deal with seminaries with a "Department of Practical Theology"?
Departments  can compartmentalize.
Calling it practical can ensure it's not practiced.
See "God loves donkeys, sweat, entrails and menstruation"

All this talk is not just all talk.
It is necessary to subvert and reorirent our imaginations..

...and our language.
Which matters, and is matter.

Two case studies.

Not long ago, our church had some documents to fill out for the IRS  (Why in the world is church connecting with IRS?..  But that's another post and topic for another day).  So I said to one of our leadership team, "can we have you sign a form after worship?"

Later, as we were signing, she said "I wondered wbat happened.  You said we should sign  after worship, so when we didn't sign after worship, I figured you forgot."

I had absolutely no idea what she meant.

Then it hit me.  In many circles (and in her previous church, the songs that are sung early in the gatherings  are called "worship" or the "worship time" or "worship songs."  So she thought i meant "after the music," and I meant "after the gathering (Of course, my definition was even more problematic)..

It is unbelievable that so few ever even notice, let alone challenge, this common practice in contemporary church.  As I blogged a few years ago:

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 ... continued

It's only words, but words matter and cement our reality, worldview, hermeneutic, and practical theological/missional acts/axis.

Dan Kimball even asks "Should the church accountant be the one called the 'worship pastor'"? 
He's only half joking.

Walter Brueggeman, who never jokes, quips that "The key issues of worship in the community are fundamentally economic."

Talk to Wolfgang Simson, please.

Note that the term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)".[1]  

Evertying is langiuage.
Everything is mission.
Everything is worship.
Everything is economic.

Frost and Hirsch:
Worship therefore is not a utility but an offering, that is a sacrifice, an economy of grace that interrupts and critiques the feverish cycles of production and consumption, which is why  the collection is not fundraising bur cultural critique."  ("The Faith of Leap,"161)

All of life is econimic, including worship.
All worship is missional, including the collection.
All collections are cultural critique.

Don't worry, it's just semantics.
Or semantics that are just.

Time for the second case study.

Music is not worship.
Worship is not music.

Note, though, we need qualifiers here, in the first case study: Music is part of worship, etc.

BUT, our second, deeper, case study:

Church is not a building.
A building is not a church.

No qualifiers needed.

If the Bible is our lexicon.

If life itself is our lexicon.
I love Dylan's quote: "The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.”

It's our songs, and eventually our lifesongs, that reveal what we believe.

Not our words or church words, as Peter Rollins reminds.

This case study, seeing church as a building, is far deeper, and far more fundamental..

...and inevitably, eventually idolatrous.

"it's not only pathetic, it borders on false witness." (Frost and Hirsch, p. 175, emphasis mine).

Not just because of the "obvious reason": churh is the people..

But because  missiology precedes ecclesiology.

Because, as  Frost and Hirsch emphasize, mission is the  "organizing function," " catalyzing principle"  that "brings to life" the other three functions of church (worship, community, discipleship.

"this makes sense of why Christians refer to the building that house the weekly worship meeting as 'the church.'  It leads Christians to refer to the fact that they 'go to church'.  This phrase in itself is biblically screwy and most Christians know it, but they can't break from the default mode that tells them that the worship experince [not mission/Missio Dei] organizes everything that we understand church to be.  )169)
Tim Neufeld: "Our spirit of outreach is a veil for self-absorbed religious tourism."
And I make the case ( Pepsi, Sex, Elevation, Mission Trips That Are Actually Missional)
that not just tourism, but also voyeurism  and  exhibitionism.

Whats up with short term "quickie" mission trips?  Here's a fuller quote from Tim:

.. I have seen and been a part of many mission trips that have a stated purpose of helping the people they are going to minister to. Churches raise $50,000 to visit an exotic country or flock across the border into Mexico. Team members feel good when they return home because they have served, but missionaries often report that the groups they host are loud, arrogant, culturally insensitive and often more trouble (to the missionary or national pastor) than they are worth. I wonder if the best thing that happens in Mexico over spring break is that American churches stimulate the Mexicali valley economy by buying tacos and Pepsis. Our spirit of outreach is a veil for self-absorbed religious tourism. But we feel good about ourselves when we come home."Our spirit of outreach is a veil for self-absorbed religious tourism. But we feel good about ourselves when we come home." (-Tim Neufeld, Occasio blog)

If you come home feeling bad about yourself, the mission trip probably worked.
Feel good about yourself if if you feel badly about yourself upon re-entry.

It means you have the gift of reassessing your theology, theory, language, worship, economics , sexuality and mission.

Because it all starts with  mission...or, uh, sex:

"For many, sexuality is simply what happens between two people involving physical pleasure. But that's only a small percentage of what sexuality is. Our sexuality is all the ways we strive to reconnect with our world, with each other, and with God." (Rob Bell, "Sex God," p. 42)...
Everything is sexuality...and elevation thereof (as the rabbis and Bono preach)

Male and female in the image of God..
The only way we multiply.
The only we are missional.
Not  talking the sexualizing of mission and  taking sexed up mission trips.
We're taking about  taking a trip into  missional theology (=sexuality).

It's all language.
Naked language.
Sexual language

A missional church will be on the front lines of sexuality...
we cultivate e a missional sexuality.

Examples of such undepartmentalized practiical theology? Check out and its Extreme Makeover Brothel Edition, or check into churches/ministries that address and redress human trafficking..
(as opposed to  just "shoulding" on people.with lectures that "Pre-marital sex is evil"  "Abortion is a sin," true as those truisms are, better to start more holisically, Hebraically...theologically.)

The call is to baptize our sexuality (not sexualize our baptism)

Here's a  quirky video that ties up some of these thoughts:
NOTE: it's not for the religious or faint of heart.
But it offers a reminder that old school church can be so consumed with consumerism (the evil twin of economics, which you'll remember has to do will all of life and worship) that it overlook wayward sexuality.sexual immorality (Remember our definition of sexuality...Language matters).

Uh, if you are still here after that video (:..

Let's talk.
It's not just language.
It always is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

magazine office/tutoring center/pirate supply store

Dave Eggers at TED:

"Insurrection" by Peter Rollins: Church, let's sing suspended in space...

Long live the insurrection.

It's the only way our church will finally be able to sing while suspended in space.


We'll get to that.. but I would recommend all churches list that as an official goal or mission statement (:

I have been looking forward to Peter Rollins' new book, "Insurrection," (subtitle: "To Believe is Human; To Doubt Divine," so I was glad to be offered a review copy. (Here's my review:  Buy it yesterday).

I was thrilled to see that it included a whole chapter on my hottest topic around here (at least by number of tags, see "topical diving" in righthand sidebar):

the "role of the pastor."

So I'll start there.

The chapter is  called "I don't have to believe; my pastor does that for me."


Of course, no one would ever say it that nakedly (I hope!!), but that's what many of us (including us pastors) in reality do.  That  whole trick itself is one of the key themes and streams of the book: It really doesn't matter what we SAY we believe, as our actions very often prove otherwise.  We have a tremendous capacity for self-deception.  Our practices ARE our beliefs.

That's the good and bad news.
That's partly why Rob Bell says:

"In this book, Pete takes you to the edge of a cliff and pushes you off.
But after your initial panic, you realize that your fall is a form of flying.
And it's thrilling"  (front cover)
I need to be pushed.

Because  I now see "curator of honesty"  (my term, not Rollins' )as key to my role and "job description."

To the cliff:

Previously we saw how the structure itself believes on our behalf, thus protecting us from the experience of doubt, unknowing, and a sense of divine loss.  The structure itself is manifest most clearly in the words and actions of those who symbolize the structure, i.e., the pastors, priests, youth leaders, worship bands and ministry teams.  From the last chapter, one might think the way to change the structure is to convince the  people who run the structure that doubt, mystery and unknowing are all part of faith and should be experienced liturgically.

However the problem goes much deeper.

..At its most basic, church leaders believe on behalf of the community.  This seems to allow us the freedom to doubt...the pastor acts as a force field, holding the Christian trauma of the Crucifixion at bay.

In order to participate in the Crucifixion, we must find leaders who openly experience doubt, unknowing and a deep mystery. leaders who see these as a part of Christian faith...The problem is not that there are  a lack of leaders who have these experiences,rather, there is a lack of leaders who can admit to these experiences..

..On the rare occasion that a  pastor does stand up and declare his (or her) embrace of unknowing, a crisis among the congregants can ensue.  Not because the congregation now doubts, but because the pastor's belief provided a protective psychological dam that held back their doubt.(pp,64-65)

So, central to our calling is to "create structures that bring us face to face with the experience of doubt...such a community would need to ritualize the full range of human emotions, bringing radical doubt, ambiguity, mystery and complexity into the very heart of the liturgical structure itself.  Hymns would need to delve in to absence, sermons excavate doubt, and prayers prob the possibility that no one is on the other side."  (73)

Rollins brilliantly begins each chapter with a parable (one of his gifts is parabler),, draws delightfully from Kierkegaard, Žižek, and (perhaps most deeply) Bonhoeffer.  For those who have experienced Rollins via video, and are concerned his style is a bit, uh, nonlinear and academic, I noted several very helpful summary statements  (ex. page 162) along the narrative of the book that truly flowed the book.

You may not always agree with where he is going, but you will follow.

Rollins is exceptional on exposing our well-meaning cliche, "It's not a  religion, it's a relationship"
One way he calls our bluff:

"this enables us to ridicule the religious view of God intellectually while affirming this God in our practice..

This is an approach to Christianity that stands as the polar opposite of what we find expressed in the Crucifixion, for on the cross, religious belief is not intellectually questioned ("My God, My God") it is robbed of its grounding power ("Why have you forsaken me?)

 ...It is only as we are cult loose from religion in the very depth of our being (experiencing an existential loss of God..then we are free to discover a properly Christian exoression of faith (50-51. 62)

 A few more highlights:

1)As far as apologetics, he provokes us beyond "Does God exist?" to "What does it mean to claim that God exists?"  (126)

"Do you believe in God?"  'Ask my enemies."

Thus the book is eminently practical, missional...if mainly by subverting and reorienting not only our theology/Christology/ecclesiology but our missiology (Don't worry, nontechnical readers.. he doesn't use many of these words, they are presented here as a reference to current debates, see "Does missiology precede ecclesiology?")

2)Rollins is astonishing and articulate on our call to be found "changing the system by ignoring it."
He suggests that without the insurrectionist ignoring,  we inevitably fall into the twin traps of "token gestures" and "perverse protests"  (150-51)

Here's a clip of Rollins on "Changing the Structure":

3) This is one of the rare books that not only picks up helpful commentary on Christ,  church and church culture from The Matrix, but digs deep into the "not so evangelical" and uncertainty of the second and third Matrix films.  If those two films confused you and sent you into uncomfortable theological territory (for example, why was The Oracle a program of the matrix), it may be that  1)yes, the films are kind of a mess and 2)the films are far more helpful than we have noted.
Rollins shines in his brief section.

5)In applying this book, our church may not go as far as incorporating the "Hymns to Swear By" by Pádraig Ó Tuama, (though we probably should be that bold and insurrectionist).  
But we
But we will no doubt glean lots from the section of the book ("The Centrality of Absence," p, 175ff in which we are introduced to an example from their catalog.   About one song, Rollins comments, "this is not simply a song about suffering and the sense of cosmic homelessness--is is sung from that space (177).

Here's the song, but you are probably not ready to include it next Sunday.
Which is precisely why you should.

(P.S. Just tell your team it's called, "Maranatha," ....doesn't that sound safe enough?(:

Maranatha from Peter Rollins on Vimeo.

Video excerpt on the "suspended space" we can live from:

Bottom line of the book:

"Resurrection as a mode of living that embraces the lived experience of doubt, complexity and unknowing, affirms life and accepts our responsibility in transforming the a way that is
"fundamentally violent":

And by the way, this whole falling off the cliff and flying process begins with us being willing  to admit and "fess up" that we deny the resurrection:


I love "The Rebel God".  Here is that  blogger's helpful review, which picks up some areas I didn't:





that ache that makes you want to fight and surrender...

photo by timm ziegenthaler/link

By Jocelyn Aucoin:

It’s that ache in your heart.

That place inside you where all the stuff collects and collides like junk in a drawer.

Except it’s not junk.

 It’s real and it matters and it’s the matter that makes you.

It’s that ache that makes you want to fight and surrender, scream and sigh. It’s decaying and it’s beautiful and it’s full of these awkward opposites. So full that sometimes you don’t
understand. You can’t understand.

But then someone or something comes along to give it shape, a voice. Someone whose
ability to capture this space is so pure, so precise, that it springs hope within us and legs to stand on.

Something like The Violet Burning.

  -Jocelyn Aucoin, continued

where it all begins-lights out-graves by thevioletburning

Monday, August 22, 2011

redeemed beer

Scot McKnight weighs in on  the  YYR (Young, Restless, and Reformed) club's approach to "redeemed beer" here.

He links to John McArthur's post, "Beer, Bohemianism, and True Christian Liberty"

WWRA say? (What would Rabbi Adam say?)
I don't know, but I'm sure we'll find out!
Post below, Adam..
Scott brought this Kosher messianic beer  (see  "He'Brew Messiah Bold  Brewing") to church.
What would John McArthur say?

steal my I can be inarticulate

I almost could have gone for this outtake from the U2 "October"  photo might even beat the official cover, if the dog's face were showing.  Most have never seen this one; it,
wound up as the back cover of the remastered collecter's edition booklet..

--and the booklet contains a great article on this era by Neil McCormick that I don't see quoted anywhere online:
October may be U2's most U2 sounding record, the one in which they fully realized  their original sonic template....three-dimensional space, breaking down into mystically atmospheric quietness and suddenly raising uo into a tsunami..

           ..U2's most openly spiritual album...the Holy Spirit coursing through Bono's veins.
..U2 had never sounded this single minded, and, starnagely, they never would again.
                 -Neil McCormick

McCormick's insights into the lyrics are particularly helpful; noting that they were both pretty bad, as he wryly quips:

the vocalist is blooming here...The lyrics are another matter.

and profound in their  capturing of a "spiritual crisis" and a liminal moment:

Bono wrestles with faith, doubt and devotion and does it all live on the microphome, calling out to the Lord like a preacher speaking in tongues, the Holy Spirit coursing through his veins.  It was a high wire act, a white knuckle affair, a musical Rorshach tset.  There is little polish and finesse about the lyrics., but they  are extraordinarily alive and revealing, a genuine example of Van Morrisson's much vaunted "inarticulate sopech of the heart

And as many know, part of the crisis/secret was that at the last minute, Bono's lyrics were stolen.
Makes me wonder if we would even have the biggest band in the world today if no for that theft,

LINK:Bono’s stolen briefcase returned after 23 years

October was a season, and an album, that had to be made; one which actually did break up the band temporarily.

But look what emerged.  It would seem God's sovereignty that the lyrics were not returned for twenty  plus years (Bono called it an "act of grace".[4]long after the band's status was sealed.

Would I have ever heard the amazing moments that happened live in that era, in New Haven(audio is linked here)? without the stolen lyrics episode?

Would we have the U2  Spiritaneous moments  Bonglose, glossalalia and snippets  that we enjoy today without October being birthed in helplessness?

What would this album have sounded like if the the lyrics were more "polished and finessed."

I don't want to know.

And I do.


Art "not to decorate the gospel, but announce it"

N.T. Wright, HT The Violet Burning

Friday, August 19, 2011

i fell for/feel for God: "Dancing Barefoot"

Believe it or not, I never heard  (until just now) the original version of the Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot." a song I have long classified  as one of U2's best ever covers  (the awesome way Edge's squeaky  modalities noteshift, the  Neil Young/Crazy Horse solo, andof course the fact that like many songs, it can be "turned into a prayer"),,

But I realized it wasn't fair to coin it one of U2's best covers,
 if I never even knew the song that was covered! (;

Here are a few versions below.  I do like it.

Some say "Wave" (the album this came from)was Smith's coming out album as a "born again Catholic."

Some notes:

_____U2 substituted "feel" for  Smith's "fell": "Oh, God, I feel [as in, 'I have compassion on all You have to endure'?]

____Here's live video of Smith with "Oh, God, I fell for You.." and lines  ("Oh, God I feel the pain/Oh, God, forever after/Oh God, I'm back again") that didn't make the U2 cut.  She looks nearly Bonoesque/Pentecostal in that section:

____Studio version, which includes more lyrics U2 didn't include (how did Bono pass some of these up!?):

He  who plot our life sweats in the dark like a face
the mystery of childbirth, of childhood itself
grave visitations
what is it that calls to us?
why must we pray screaming?
why must not death be redefined?
we shut our eyes we stretch out our arms
and whirl on a pane of glass
an affixiation a fix on anything the line of life the limb of a tree
the hands of He and the promise that s/he is blessed among women. 

___Some debate about whether the word is "heroine" or "heroin."  Context favors the former (and hyperlinks to the Edge and Sinead's  prophetic prayersong of that name), but the latter works in a weird way (particularly as Bono has written a few songs on that theme ("Bad," "Running to Stand Still," etc).

____Interesting comments on Song Meanings on what the song is about:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

'The heart of the universe is not matter, but information'

I loved Siegfried's "The Bit and the Pendulum: From Quantum Computing to M Theory-The New Physics of Information" 
with its contention that"information is more fundamental than matter."

And I have always wondered if Bono read scientists like that.

Now I know that he does indeed..(or at least borrows books from the Main Scientist of the Band.

HT to Tim  and @U2 re: Bono's appearance on  Science Education's " FIRST - Science is Rock and Roll,"
and this  wonderful comment:

"My favorite scientist?
At the minute, Anton Zeilinger,
His  'E=mc2' moment  is
'The heart of the universe is not matter, but information.'

I see Snoop Dog,  Britney Spears, Steven Tyler and Miley Cyrus chime in, too. 
But I already  like Bono's answer best..

Hear it below!:

Here's the whole show..not sure where Bono appears in comments section below, if you know

" a happy thought if we enjoy the truth"

Bonoloves to snippet  Cohen.  In facts someone  has said , Bono wants to be Leonard Cohen.
In Oakland, we heard him insert Cohen's "There's a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in"
See 2:55ff in this clip:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in. 
Anthem by Leonard Cohen

In another song you also say "There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in". It is not a very happy thought to believe that something will always have to break, to open a crack, in order to the light gets in...

Cohen: It is a happy thought if we enjoy the truth. There is always something that will have to break. Usually it is our personal pride. A Buddhist thinker said that disappointment is a great way to illumination. Other masters said: "from the broken debris of my heart I will erect an altar to the Lord".

The idea that there is a staircase of gold and marble, which leads to knowledge is seductive, but seems to me that the idea of something needing to get broken before we can learn anything is a more true idea. It is my experience, maybe you can escape it, but I doubt it. Unless the heart breaks, we will never know anything about love. As long as our objective universe doesn't collapse, we'll never know anything about the world.

We think that we know the mechanism, but only when it fails we understand how intricate and mysterious is the operation. So, it is true, "there's a crack in everything", all human activity is imperfect and unfinished. Only that way we can have the notion that there's something inside us that can only be located through disillusion, bad luck and defeat. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case.

From an interview with Leonard Cohen
More Cohen


When I'm Broken (See What Happens) Song Lyrics | Vigilantes Of Love

Saturday, August 13, 2011

God's Job Performance - Fr. Jim Martin on Colbert

Just got a book ...(Thank God for Borders liquidation)

by this guy.. I didn't know until now that he was the official chaplain on the Colbert Report..Refreshing to hear him cuss back at Colbert here..

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Iona, Another Realm

Review in Phantom Tollbooth

a "subterranean freshman year at Bob Jones University" because "when Jesus returns, you want perfect veneers"

Only Colbert:

scared to death of sex and premature elevation... in church

image credit
"That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery."  Hebrews 2:15

Fear of death=fear of sex?

Fear of death is sexy.
Fear of sex is death.
Death of sex is fear?
Death of fear is sex?

Sorry, temporary case of chiasmitis!
(Bonus contest: What's a classic U2 chiasm?

On a messy blog, before I knew how to format, I posted some thoughts  (here) on the sex/death connection in U2.

But now that I finally scored the Pulitzer  Prize-winning book "The  Denial of Death,"
(a book I have been curious about since a quote from it showed up in a classic77s album (which itself has a sex/death connection, so much so that that it was banned and stocked behind the counter of the Christian bookstore when i bought it),'
I find this:

{Phister} recognixed that 'Many persons, not only children, find it possible to face death.  They may even welcome it as a friend..' .  This is true but, as we now know, it is also trivial as it does not come to grips with the transmutations of reality and opwedr.  The resut is a boo {Phister's} that offers a sort ofWilhelm Reich-Norman Brown thesis of the possibilities of unreprssed living, with Christ as the focus for Eros.  All of which leads to the rumination that when liberal Christianity seizes upon Freud to try to make the world the cheerfully 'right place,' such unusual partners in such an un-Christian venture  are bound to produce something false (footnote, p. 205)

The risk Bono (and the rabbis) take is that prayer-elevation will kick in too  early or too late , and the fence we've built around the Torah (see halfway down at this post)  and the eclipse (in the language of U2's "Elevation") of Eros (as opposed to small 'e' eros) is itself eclipsed prematurely.

...which of course leads to  sex in church elevators  (safe click, LOL...and so is this:" of course orgasm is partly prayer").
Thoughts next time from  Žižek..  on the violence/elevation connection.
Sax and violins, please.