Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brian Walsh inteview about Bruce Cockburn book

 From Brazos:

"Brazos author Brian Walsh was recently interviewed on The Drew Marshall Show concerning his recent book Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination.

You can listen to the full (26 min) interview here".

More Cockburn posts

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis in Interpersonal Communication

Video presentation for college Interpersonal Communication course by Assistant Professor Arnold, of the Communication Department at Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio

Linear Reasoning, Cyclical reasoning ,Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

by Aramaic 12

Luis von Ahn: Massive-scale online collaboration

transcript or video:

"Funnyman Tim Allen: Serious About God"

See "Funnyman Tim Allen: Serious About God"...and video below:
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Monday, December 26, 2011


There;s something delightful in the juxtaposition in these works of art on the Psalms..from Jim Lepage's two-year project to create at least one image for each book of the Bible ( link, more)

"The Oblation of Things"

Robert Farrar Capon, "The Oblation of Things":

I take my children to the beach. On the north shore of Long Island it is a pretty stony proposition. The mills of the gods grind coarsely here; but, in exchange for busied feet and a sore coccyx, they provide gravel for the foundation of the arts. Every year we hunt for perfect stones: ovals, spheroids, lozenges, eggs. By the end of the summer there are pebbles all over the house. They have no apparent use other than the delight that they provide to man, but that is the whole point of the collection. The very act of hunting them is an introduction to the oblation of things. Look at this one! Do you think it will split evenly enough for arrowheads? What color is that one when it's wet? Lick it and see. Daddy wants a big flat round one to hold the sauerkraut under the brine. Will this one do? We walk down the beach lifting stones into our history: we are collectors, ingatherers of being. Man is the lover of textures, colors and shapes – the only creature in the whole world who knows a good pickling stone when he sees one. The arts go way beyond that; but that is where they begin.

The child who runs the satin binding of his blanket between this fingers, the boy who carefully oils his collection of ball bearings so they will not rust, the woman who loves to handle thick braids, the man who opens his pocket-knife just to hear the satisfying click with which it closes – all these are priestly builders. It is in his simplest oblations that man is at his historical best. When he rises higher, he makes more mistakes – he diagrams and spiritualizes what should have been loved and offered as a thing; but at these low levels he is a success. The world has seen few badly offered blanket bindings, few profaned ball bearings. As long as man can hunt stones, he will know that the fire of his priesthood has not gone out.

But the oblation of things goes far beyond such simplicities. It is in the arts and the crafts that man most displays his priestliness and historicity. ...

It is a common error to suppose that the artist does what he does for himself – that he is a peculiar being who loves certain things in a way not open to others. It is also common to dismiss the craftsman as a fellow who does things for money. To some degree, of course, that is all true. Artists are usually a little odd; the laborer commonly, and legitimately, looks forward to his hire. But after that it falls short. For each is engaged in an offering of things not simply for his own benefit, but for the sake of the things themselves – and for the sake of other men. The painter paints because he loves the way things look and wants to offer his sight of them to others. The poet speaks because he loves words and longs for them to be heard as he hears them. And the cabinetmaker fashions and the joiner joins, and the chef cooks and the vintner toils because they love the conjunctions of things and will them to be moved into the weaving of the web. All arts come from having open eyes; and all arts are performing arts. Even the solitary artist in the cave draws to be seen, offers up what he looks at as a priest for other men. It is only in bad drawing, bad writing and bad woodwork that motives other than priestly ones become primary. It is when man stops loving what he does and stops caring whether others see that he becomes guilty of artistry that is not art and of craftsmanship that is only shoddy. ...

If speech is the crowning gift of man, then the arts of language probably qualify as the most nearly universal. Not all men can draw, many men cannot sing, and the world is full of cooks who ought to be allowed to rise no higher than the scullery; but all men speak, and practically no one is immune to the delights of rhyme and reason. The child, as soon as he learns words, plays with words. The teen-ager, with his stock of current clichés and his mercurial pattern of jargon, is a poet. He may recite only commercial slogans and comparable idiocies; but he recites them, at least partly, because he loves the way the words rattle. And somewhere along the line he will, unless he is starved to death, come to love some very grand rattles indeed.

I remember the first time I read Shakespeare's sonnets. "Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds" stuck in my head for weeks – not so much for its meaning as for its marvellous wordiness. The city of speech is old and new, and rich beyond counting. ...

That only a few have the craft to forge such words takes nothing off the edge of the marvel by which man can sense the priestliness of their oblation And it is not only the grand and the gorgeous that qualify. ...

Speech is no mere tool of communication; it is a joy in itself. ... Speech should indeed inform, as food should indeed nourish, but what sane man will let either subject go at that? ...

Man's failure in music is like his failure in all the arts – a failure to make them really priestly, a penchant for non-historical and irrelevant forms. Far too much of the music we now have is only heard, not played or sung. It makes no demands, does not ask to be lifted; it just hangs around. We have canned music, background music, and music to do everything but listen to music by. But music cannot be only entertainment any more than speech can be only communication. We aim too low. Both are major oblations, and they will settle for nothing less. Neither can be merely used: they must be played.

Thank God for wine. Without it we would have almost no singing at all. Practically the only place where men now sing when they are cold sober is in church; and, to tell the truth, it sounds like it. As a professional religionist, I wish I could make a more glowing report; but, by and large, it is wretched. It is a triumph of use, not play. And for every man in church who sings, there are five who stand aloof from the whole business as if it were faintly disreputable.

Why? Because they are embarrassed by the sound of their own voices: they are ashamed of their priesthood. The city of music, which fairly cries for lifting into their history, is firmly and permanently locked out. I think that secretly, in their heart of hearts, perhaps, they envy people who play. But they do not show it often. If only they would. It isn't a matter of working themselves into miniature Isaac Sterns; the harmonica will do if it comes to that – or even tenth-rate four-part harmony. They underestimate the power of the arts. A man can practice for weeks on the strength of one-chord progression. Even the smallest oblation will lift the priest as he makes it; even a little attention to what is really there will be a historical triumph.

from An Offering Of Uncles: The Priesthood of Adam and The Shape of the World
by Robert Farrar Capon, HT Ron

"neither grammar nor style are politically neutral"

I love fellowdreamer's  take on "TNIV and Gender Trouble,"  posted a couple years ago during the TNIV (click "TNIV" at bottom of this post for more info) craziness.  Great example of how unexpected or "unrelated"..and especially "secular" (gasp!)  sources can really help us see truth.  I also appreciate the implications for Sapir-Whorf (click that title below):  Here he is:
Recently, Christianity Today announced that the TNIV translation (an updated NIV) was being redone to fix some of the “mistakes” that the editing and translating board had perceived as dangerous and in need of repair.

One of the biggest reasons given was the original TNIV’s gender inclusive approach that had altered the grammar of many passages to include sisters, daughters and other (female) left out people groups.

Clearly, there is a great theological discussion to be had on personhood, equality, gender of God, etc., but my focus here is on the grammatical argument. The idea that these changes have made reading hard, obtuse and that the structure is now “wrong” according to the rules of language fails to truly interact with the reality of our gendered experience.
I’ve been reading Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble recently. An excellent little work that has nothing to do with biblical translation, but has a very powerful passage in the forward about language, grammar and gender.

She says, “moreover, neither grammar nor style are politically neutral… there is nothing radical about common sense. It would be a mistake to think that received grammar is the best vehicle for expressing radical views, given the constraints that grammar imposes upon thought, indeed, upon the thinkable itself” (xix). Her point is clear; if a thought, idea or text is radical it might, indeed must, mess with our common sense and break the rules. It seems that there are few Christians who would argue the radical nature of their precious Scriptures, so why neuter the message by constraining it to the rules of the English language, which is so clearly limited?

Butler continues, “formulations that twist grammar or that implicitly call into question the subject-verb requirements of propositional sense are clearly irritating for some. They produce more work for their readers, and sometimes their readers are offended by such demands. Are those who are offended making a legitimate request for “plain speaking” or does their complaint emerge from a consumer expectation of intellectual life?” (italics mine). To understand the point in our present circumstance: are those offended by the apparent literary heresy of the grammatical formulations of equality found in the TNIV really concerned with easy reading or are their interests in something much more perverse, the preservation of sexist orders and attitudes? Using gender inclusive language should be a given, should it not? Personally, I see women everywhere I go and I refer to them as such, not as brothers and fathers and men. Let me remind you, we are not talking about pronouns for God, but for the community of believers.....continued, link

one or two things about Christmas.

Annie Dillard, "Feast Days":

Let me mention
one or two things about Christmas.
Of course you've all heard
that the animals talk
at midnight:a particular elk, for instance,
kneeling at night to drink, leaning tall to pull leaves
with his soft lips, says, alleluia.

That the soil and fresh water lakes
also rejoice,
as do products
such as sweaters
(nor are plastics excluded from grace),
is less well known.
Further:the reason for some silly looking fishes,
for the bizarre mating
of certain adult insects,
or the sprouting, say
in a snow tire
of a Rocky Mountain grass,
is that the universal
loves the particular,
that freedom loves to live
and live fleshed full,
and in detail.

God empties himself
into the earth like a cloud.
God takes the substance, contours
of a man, and keeps them,
dying, rising, walking,
and still walking wherever there is motion.

from Tickets For A Prayer Wheel
by Annie Dillard

missional church in two minutes

Retroactive Justification

Peter Rollins video""Life is lived forwards and understood backwards":
Retroactive Justification from Peter Rollins on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good Samaritan misunderstood

We so often  miss ( see "Parables and Misundertaking") 
the point and punch of parables..
“The greatest thing by far is to be master of is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars.”
(Poetics, 1459 a 5-8, "The Basic Works of Aristotle")

If Jesus "never opened his mouth once  (at least to 'outsiders') without speaking an analogy-metaphor-parable," (Matt 13:34-35).. what a genius!

And then surely the essence of genius is to do the same: our primary job as  interpreters/communicators is to find, exploit, and communicate connections between two apparently unrelated things; modeling the great connectedness of all things in the Freakonomic Kingdom.

"Prophets are characteristically masters of metaphor. Metaphor is the witness of language to the interconnectedness of all things visible and invisible….When prophets use metaphor, we get involved with God whether we want to or not, sometimes whether we know it or not…. If we are lucky, a prophet, one of the descendants of Hosea, or Jonah, or Habakkuk, shows up and with the simple expedient of a metaphor, said or sung, drags us outside into the open air when all the stuff we are studying is alive and moving and colliding with us. For many these days, it is U2 that shows up.”
-Eugene Peterson , Preface to "Get Up Off Your Knees : Preaching the U2 Catalog"
Eugene Peterson is a genius. Amazing pastor, writer, Bible translator.
One of his best lines ever..and you might read Parable" for ":metaphor":

 "metaphor is.. a loud fart in the salon of spirituality"
From "Answering God: The Psalms as Tools For Prayer", p. 76

One preacher says:

What we need are people who will approach the text and say, "God, what do you want to unleash here?" The guiding principle is the text, and you've encountered the living, sacred Word, and you're going to explode if you don't share what's happened in you, as opposed to Well, I guess I have to start it this way. You don't. I have to have an intro. Prove it. Maybe some teaching people have no idea where you're going until the last minute, and maybe that's why it works.

When Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, everybody thought it was going to be a Pharisee who stops, and a Samaritan stops. Get it? He has them. He's working them over.

Sometimes I intentionally have three teachings going at the same time. I want you to be wondering, That has nothing to do with what you're saying now. I have no idea And then at the end, oooh. If you don't get that oooh, you're in trouble.
I've been wrestling with this lately. God makes the world in six days; rests on the seventh. Six days, seven. Six, one. Six, one. There is a rhythm to six days on and one day off. I started thinking about drummers and how drumming is all about the spaces. It's all about hitting it and then backing off. Music and beat and meter and drum are a reflection of how God made the world. If you don't take that day and live according to the beat God has put in creation, your song isn't going to be good. When the drummer is off, the whole song falls apart. Rhythm is something that's built in; it's elemental to life.

Everybody I come in contact with, I say, "Check this out. Think about this. Sabbath and drums." I get something like this, and I can't shut up about it. By the time I get to share it with people, I will have told the person at the gas station. I will have told the person at 7/11—everybody I come in contact with. "Check this out. Sabbathdrums."
  -full article here



Good article in the new Biblical Archaeology by Amy-Jill Levine (emphasis mine):
In the parable, the priest and Levite signal not a concern for ritual purity; rather, in good storytelling fashion, these first two figures anticipate the third: the hero. Jews in the first century (and today) typically are either priests or Levites or Israelites. Thus the expected third figure, the hero, would be an Israelite. The parable shocks us when the third figure is not an Israelite, but a Samaritan.
But numerous interpreters, missing the full import of the shock, describe the Samaritan as the outcast. This approach, while prompting compelling sermons, is the fourth anachronism. Samaritans were not outcasts at the time of Jesus; they were enemies.
In the chapter before the parable (Luke 9:51–56) Luke depicts Samaritans as refusing Jesus hospitality; the apostles James and John suggest retaliation: “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54). John 4:9 states, “Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.” The Jewish historian Josephus reports that during the governorship of Cumanus, Samaritans killed “a great many” Galilean pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem (Antiquities 20.118–136). The first-century Jewish person hearing this parable might well think: There is no such thing as a “good Samaritan.” But unless that acknowledgment is made, and help from the Samaritan is accepted, the person in the ditch will die.
The parable offers another vision, a vision of life rather than death. It evokes 2 Chronicles 28, which recounts how the prophet Oded convinced the Samaritans to aid their Judean captives. It insists that enemies can prove to be neighbors, that compassion has no boundaries, and that judging people on the basis of their religion or ethnicity will leave us dying in a ditch.  link

See also this article:

Levine: Good Samaritan parable teaches compassion for the enemy 

And this video version:

Amy-Jill Levine: Dangers on the Road to Jericho from Chautauqua Institution on
See a great, hilarious  section by Capon:\

The defining character – the one to whom the other three respond by being non-neighbour or neighbour – is the man who fell among thieves. The actual Christ-figure in the story, therefore, is yet another loser, yet another down-and-outer who, by just lying there in his lostness and proximity to death, is in fact the closest thing to Jesus in the parable.

That runs counter, of course, to the better part of two thousand years’ worth of interpretation, but I shall insist on it. This parable, like so many of Jesus’ most telling ones, has been egregiously misnamed. It is not primarily about the Samaritan but about the man on the ground. This means, incidentally, that Good Samaritan Hospitals have been likewise misnamed. It is the suffering, dying patients in such institutions who look most like Jesus in his redeeming work, not the doctors with their authoritarian stethoscopes around their necks. Accordingly, it would have been much less misleading to have named them Man-Who-Fell-Among-Thieves Hospitals...{as if the doctors would stand for that} (p. 210ff, Kingdom, grace, judgment: paradox, outrage, and vindication in the parables of Jesus)


Animated Parables: Gaga Samaritan

Rob Bell's farewell sermon at Mars Hill

Of course, it ends with a little quantum entanglement.

Read or download here

community hermeneutic

"The meaning of Scripture is enacted in the Christian community, and only those who participate in the enactment can understand the text. Consequently, the transformation of the community is not the presupposition but also the result and proof of true interpretation. Where God’s spirit is at work, the community (“we all”) is being transformed into the image of Christ and liberated to see, when they read Scripture, that the old covenant prefigured precisely this transformation." -Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, p. 152)

centered set on the move..or a river?

We've noted centered sets with moving centers here and here, but what if the whole set moves?:

...I think that the centered set idea is closer to how things work in practice, but still wonder if the idea of the “center” in the “centered set” is too static. Is there one core of doctrines or beliefs we are moving toward or away from? Perhaps. Perhaps we could call it something like “Christianity,” but what would we put there?
I prefer a metaphor in which the whole continues to move. For a long time I used the metaphor of rays or trajectories. If two rays start off half a degree separate from each other (i.e., there is some theological diversity from the very beginning in Christianity) then if they continue on their trajectories they will get farther and farther apart. The result? An increasingly large space between the vectors that constitutes Christianity within the tradition; i.e., an increasingly theologically and culturally diverse Christianity that all can lay claim to orthodoxy.
If that doesn’t work for you, perhaps the metaphor of a river.

Image: prozac1 /

This one I stole from Joel Green. The idea is that a river flows between banks. It is a dynamic thing. It probably gets wider and wider the farther downstream it goes. It is always moving toward its end. Moving together. It’s that sense of unified motion I like: even as it gets wider, the whole is still in motion in the same direction–toward the eschaton.
Or perhaps there’s a little of all of this. Perhaps there is a “center,” and that would be the Christ in whom we all live, and this Christ is not standing still or defined by or bounded by the creeds of the church, but continuing to march through history, gaining followers, and manifesting all the while an ever richer embodiment of the diversity of God’s creation.
 - J. R. Daniel Kirk

Centripetal/Centrifugal church

Inspired by set theory...An article  (here) and art  (below) from "122 Witnesses": on  Centripetal/Centrifugal church

see also:

Direction: Moving from Centrifugal to Centripetal (Direction Journal)

Are you Centripetal, Centrifugal, or BOTH?

Centripetal or Centrifugal?: Radio Control Cars, Israel & the Church


Centripetal Churches | Mark Batterson

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pastor Craig Gross of XXX Church Interviewed at Exxxotica Porn Show

":How I read the Bible"-N.T. Wright

"Revelation and Christian Hope"-NT Wright video:

"Revelation and Christian Hope: Political Implications of the Revelation to John"-NT Wright video:

Alan Roxburgh: We Need Detectives of Divinity!

Interview with Alan Roxburgh- video below by Chris Yaw of, synposis here,  AR says to forget about your mission, and get outta the building:

Texting in Class and Church: Butt Cheeks and Fear of Hell

Because several of the classes I teach have to do with how to read and interpret texts (particularly biblical texts) , contexts, and intertextuality...I actually encourage students to send me text messages in class.

They often look at me as if I am kidding, even afraid I will confiscate their phone if they do.

...Or worse! Check out this shocking video (HT Michael),  revealing one professor's policy on texting :in class:

 Here's one teacher who welcomes texting in class:

And how about church?  Our friend and local pastor Kevin Foster responds to text message questions and comments as part of his sermon..  Kevin is the one who introduced me to Earl Creps and his quote, If they are not texting, they are not listening.

Compare that to one church's policy on cell phones (video below) Hell is pretty strict, huh?

FPU professor  (and Textpert) Greg Camp introduced me to the brilliant idea of having students text me in class. 

I ask them to send me a random text message (anything) or to forward me a text message from their inbox.   These become our curriculum for the next few minutes as we interpret them.

This opens great discussion..sometimes even about topics discussed in " Is There a Meaning in This Text?: The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge."

And very often I get a text that says, "The university president just emailed, notifying that all classes get out early today."

I usually tell the "butt cheeks" story (inspired by Pastor John Christie's use of that text) in classes where students text, to illustrate context.

Suffice to say that's a different text than "but, cheeks."

Suffice to say the whole idea of texting in class has proven to be a fruitful means of discussing the only thing we ever engage in, and the only job we have:

interpreting text messages.


Increasingly, the definition of text is becoming:

"any message, in any medium, intended to communicate anything"

Movies are texts; conversations at St. Arbuck's are texts. etc

So the primary discipline/skill/art we should cultivate is that of sending and interpreting text messages.

All of life is a text message.

Of course, when dealing with The Text (Scripture), how much more...

Text, subtext, and context is everything.

Text me..

Related, see my popular posts on "signs" (even though that is another class, namely "semiotics")...they, too, are text message and need to be interpreted.

Signs, album 1
Signs, album 2

Pinker: The Blank Slate (TED Talk)

TED description: Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate argues that all humans are born with some innate traits. Here, Pinker talks about his thesis, and why some people found it incredibly upsetting. Linguist Steven Pinker questions the very nature of our thoughts -- the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others. In his best-selling books, he has brought sophisticated language analysis to bear on topics of wide general interest.

Alan Jacobs: 'The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction'

Alan Jacobs discusses 'The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction' from The New Atlantis on Vimeo.

Nicholas Carr video on information overload

Friday, December 16, 2011

More "Booty. God. Booty" webisodes

Background and first episode here ,  
and bottom video explains the provovative title of this series..

Briane Greene: Closing in on the God Particle

Junia's sex change:female apostles lost in translation

Let me come out of the closet  to recommend Scot McKnight's E-book, Junia is Not Alone.  If you don't have a Kindle, Amazon offers a free Kindle reader.. 
I wonder why an E Book?  Too controversial for Christian bookstores?

 Todd Littleton says:

Scot takes readers on a tour of how Junia has been treated in translation. Over the years the politics of interpretation created an occasion for Junia to have a sex-change. And then, and how the new Junias was killed off in the process of restoring Junia to her place in Scripture. If you would like an introduction into E.J. Epp’s, Junia: The First Woman Apostle, then Junia Is Not Alone is a good place to start.,,

Oh, and if this is not enough to prompt you to read Scot’s new book, Bill Kinnon said you should!


celtic prayer buys back the middle zone from the televangelistas

One of my favorite teachers, George Hunter (had him at Asbury for MDiv communication classes) and another of my favorite teachers, Paul Hiebert (a weeklong  missiology, worldview and spiritual warfare class on Yale Divinity School Campus)  would have worked well together.

Hunter picks up Hiebert's "Flaw of the Excluded Middle," and suggests  (with help from  Ray SimpsonRichard Mouw) that Celtic contemplative prayer can buy back the middle zone from the televangelists and megachurch pastors..see pp  31-32 120  here.

Parker Palmer video; The Risk of Incarnation

Parker Palmer here or below:

The Risk Of Incarnation from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.\\

The Revolutionary Potential of the Actually Existing Church

The Revolutionary Potential of the Actually Existing Church

By Peter Rollins

I was recently reading Slavoj Zizek’s excellent essay “The Ambiguity of the Masochist Social Link” and was struck by his reflection on how symptoms can represent forgotten failures to act. I would like to reflect upon this in relation to what we see in so much of the actually existing church today.
In order to approach this subject let us begin by taking the example of a man who drinks to excess, neglects his children and mistreats his...continued

The Marker Trick: "YEP!"

Rob Bell's "Marker Trick" always helps me illustrate thee concept of fuzzy sets:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"The King Will See You Now"

New Christmas album from Bill Mallonee here   (more Mallonee music here)

hristmas...from the eyes of King Herod. The hands of the powerful will usually try and "hush up" truth. "Business as usual," is their mantra. Truth is often "inconvenient." Pilate's famous "What is truth?" maybe the most thoroughly "modern" phrase ever uttered by an ancient.
The Christ Child's salvation is peaceable, merciful and above all, lasting.


THE KING WILL SEE YOU NOW words/music: bill mallonee

I heard you all came from pretty far
to grace our little old town
heard you saw some new bright stars
ah, the king will see you now

the king was pacing in his chambers
clearly a worried man
seems like for every neck ya’ gotta wring,
ah, ya’ get to wring two hands

ok, let’s put our cards on the table
let us be of the same mind
if you’d relay my goodwill
ah, if you’d be so kind

I’d welcome him in person if I could
but there’s this shakey lil' government
later on, I’ll bring the love in a motorcade
with all that pomp and circumstance

and the pattern, it repeats itself
when power is asked to bow
whenever truth gets ushered in
ah, the king will see you now

Oh, I’ll offer him my worship
my best wishes and bright hope
never mind the dagger
underneath my cloak

I hear new kings get born every day
So me? I don’t sweat it all that hard
Isn’t life just the funniest thing?
With all this changing of the guard?


They say that patriotism is the last refuge
to which a scoundrel clings
I’ve seen that with my own two eyes
then I saw it in a dream

Must be time to guard your turf
must be time to guard your home
whenever the truth shows up drunk with love
and gets too close to the bone

and the pattern, it repeats itself
when power is asked to bow
whenever truth gets ushered in
ah, the king will see you now

there’s always a steel door to be slammed
when she gets a little loud
whenever truth gets outta hand
ah, the kind will see you now


from WONDERLAND, track released 16 December 2011
Bill Mallonee: vocals, guitars, bass, drums

"When's the last time you heard this preached?: 'FOLLOW GOD! IT COULD END BADLY!'"

"Addicted to Risk"

Brian McLaren  posts this TED Talk by Naomi Klein, with the question,,"When did you last hear a sermon offering this much wisdom?"

The One-Buttock Gospel According to Chopin

MATT CLEAVER adds this:
        Some intersections with the gospel & theology
  • Discipleship is more like teaching the piano than passing on information en masse. Think about how kids learn to play the piano: a parent or a teacher sits down on the bench next to them one-on-one. They aren’t invited into a class when they hit a certain age and are expected to learn to play the piano.
  • We can “live into” realities that are not present.
  • Vision must be big & not incremental. Moving from 3% to 4% is not visionary. We should strive for 100%.
  • Stop emphasizing every note, but think about the long line from b to e
  • When other people’s eyes are not shining, who am I being to cause that? Not, what is wrong with them?
  • Our job is to awaken the possibilities in others
  • The conductor never speaks but engages all
  • We must believe in the outcome
  • One-buttock playing = passionate, consuming, internalized
  • His face showed he cared and was passionate
            -Matt Cleaver 

"Love, Sex and the Sacred"

'Most Christian books about sex are as unreal and abstract as pornography." --Tyler Blanksi

U2 - Who's gonna ride your wild horses (Baby Version)

"I'm a sinner, you're the holy child
But your Sacred Heart is a savage scratching at my door
And your lips of blood have me screaming out
For more and more"/ -full lyrics

U2 - Who's gonna ride your wild horses (Baby Version) Kindergarten from Felicia Brundia on Vimeo.

U2: "Near the Island"

U2 - Near The Island (Instrumental) from Spiros Papadatos on Vimeo.

Excerpt from "Like a Song" column at atu2:


As the quiet instrumental “Near The Island” filled the house, I felt like I was being transported out of my toy-filled living room and brought to some sort of tropical getaway or exclusive spa retreat. The peacefulness of this song felt out of place compared with all its Achtung Baby-era siblings. The piano and guitar seduced me in a way I didn’t expect. While the guitar provides the backbone, the piano presents an exploration of mood: steady, hushed, dance-like, stern (especially at the 1:08 mark), but mostly gentle. “Near The Island” has challenged me in ways I didn’t expect in that I realized that simplicity is underrated. Don’t get me wrong, as a U2 fan I do miss Adam and Larry’s touch in the song. Bono’s a great lyricist, but sometimes there’s more said when you say nothing at all.
After a day of loud toys and screaming children, I long for a change of pace. However, I know when this stage passes, I’ll long for the days of scattered Tinkertoys and puzzle pieces. “Near The Island” has allowed me to recognize that life passes quickly, and while it’s important to take a timeout to rejuvenate the soul, it’s important to cherish the precious moments each stage of life brings.
“Near The Island” has reinvigorated me as a U2 fan and has me very curious about the tracks that could make up Songs Of Ascent. The softer side of U2 is just as relevant, and as I’ve come to discover, it’s just as challenging as the punk side of the band. They continue to reinvent themselves to push the envelope more artistically. In a box set filled with rock ’n’ roll, club remixes, ballads, punk and electronica, a song like this may not be like the others, but it certainly does belong. As do the Legos on my kitchen table. c)@U2/Lawrence, 2011, link

Kurzweill: biological/technological evolution is "spiritual"..

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peter Rollins interviewed By Kim and Ken

What a catch!  The  Kim and (Keltic) Ken  show scored an audio interview with Peter Rollins ..on his :"Insurrection" book and other subversionicities.  Don't miss:

sin at Niagara Falls overcome and dismantled by an atomic wiki- dance

I collect definitions of sin.

I know: some collect stamps.

But that would be sin for me if I'm called to collect definitions of sin.

And though it is a dusty academic job, it beats collecting dust.

Here's a definition: corporate mistrust.

If that's the definition, than it  can only be overcome by the Coroprate Truust in us which the  Shematic Trinity offers us in Jesus' death.

We'll get to that.

Joel Green and Mark Baker helpfully remind us  that even though we have been told that the key theory of the atonement is penal substitution, it is more helpful  and biblical to view and consider  a  "constellation of images."    And they remind us that if there is indeed a ":controlling metaphor,"  it may well  be a surprising  subversive one (like Christus Victor); one with biblical evidence; but one that most American Christians have never even heard of. (Better watch more Matrix and C.S. Lewis!)...

And so it is with definitions of sin.  Though  faithful and hugely helpful...and it will preach (this may be the problem, we are pastor types fall into the seduction of reductionism)...the  evangelical  definition of sin as "missing the mark/bullseye" (an archery image) ; that commonly-accepted sermon and sound byte   (see Stein's great section on the fallacy of interpreting biblical terms only by etymology.., in fact, "etymology of  a word is of little value in biblical interpretation"  p. 193')ay lead to us missing the multifaceted "constellation of images" for defining/picturing/seeing (ask Mark DeRaud about seeing) "sin."  And again, if a controlling metaphor  does emerge from a  holistic study of the text and context,  it may well be  a surprising one, subversive to eveverything we've learned in Sunday School.  Everything we know may be largely right; but radically wrong if seen in isolation.

Speaking of isolation, no one can sin in isolation.  All sin is relatio and relational, even if it is committed alone (lust, angry thoughts..etc).

It's corporate mistrust.

Using a gift ..or just my default modus operandi ..that Tim has identified in me.."pushing toward the unobvious"..let's push.  I will   integtrate  "obvious" arguments from "obviously" relatred sources as  we progress, such as the shocking story of Niagra Falls and dance theory.. addition to some more classically theological sources of course..

First up is Scot McKnight, in his penetrating book] "A Community Called Atonement."  As you can see by the title of the book, he winds up suggesting that what we have often seen as the ultimate individual act of God...the death of one person, alone on the actually instead/also the definitive act of community/communitas/communal act (he doesn't necessarily say all this directly, but I am drawing from his inspiration.

Could it be that all sin is "sinned" corporately, part of a matrix/mileuex/machine and system/ systemic/syn?

With decades of research, Keith Sawyer ("Group Genius") has telliungly concluded that all acts of genius are corporate, relational, even/ especially the ones (Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb, etc).. This is just how the brain works, we are never alone...even in the lonely lab.

We are never alone.
    We never walk alone...and never sin alone,
                             and are never saved alone.

Walter Wink is insighful on systemic evil and "the powers."
And consider revisiting a scripture we know  (or not) too well:

Often, due to our Western/modernity/Christendom mindset-worldview,

we completely misunderstand ..and "misundertake" Scriptures..

especially in an individualistic (and dualistic) way.

(see "I am in sin if I 'avoid the appearance of evil'")

How many have heard a sermon on "our righteousness is like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6) which was all about our individual sins/filthy habits...

not grasping that it actually says "All of us (as one, together) have become like one who is unclean/Together, our (one, corporate) righteousness is like filthy rags. "

Sure, we were found individually unrighteousness; but the "more than the sum of its individual parts" corporate unrighteousness is what is primarily commented on here

As usual, the King James only trips us up even more:

"all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"

Sounds like each individual has several "unrighteousnesses"...which of curse we read as bad habits..

But it's more akin to, we are a "committee of buzzards" (see "A Crash of Rhinos...a Committee of Buzzards"); or better yet one bad buzzard.

(Not to be confused with "One Bad Pig")

Sure, we go bowling and do "Judo Alone"...and that is sin, but we are worse off as "alone together."
Likewise, Isaiah 53:

" We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to their own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all."

..not fundamentally "the iniquity of each individual one," but "the one iniquity (and inequity) of us all as one."

 -LINK:   "We is one bad rag"

Let's take on the "corporate mistrust" definition.


"Mark Biddle concludes that sin's essence is basic mistrust that manifests itself as pride and fear--as seeking to be both more than we are and less than we are.."  (p, 47)

Note this definition eschews a radically PealeSchuller/Osteenish definition of sin as sourced in low self esteem/low self-worth'; or in the prosperity gospel's "little gods" theology.  The definition is not complete with "less than we are" and "fear."

It is complete with the inclusion of "more than we are" and "pride."

And ironically, I am proud of my humility!  That's a pair of doxes.

And read on:

"Ted Peters sees sin as the 'human attempt to fixate the present and resist God's future--that is, to absolutize our own part and  sacrifice God's whole.'  Here again we have mistrust shaped by hubris.  p.47

And we might spotlight the corporate/community nature of mistrust and absolutization by coining a phrase hinted at it McKnight's title:

"A Community Called Sin."

If  sin is communal-collective-corporate.
  it must only be overcome by corporate re-demption and at-one-ment.

Green and Baker stress that we cannot subvert and individualistic gospel with an individualistic gospel (see All That Matters to Me is..._)

Which leads to a definition of sin I have stolen from the brilliant chef and prophetic provocateur
Robert Farrar Capon:

Sin is to not "get" Tr-Unity of The Trinity.


In the Old Testament, the single sin most inveighed against isn't murder, adultery or theft.  It's idolatry.
the worship of any god or gods who aren't the one and only true is the principal sin...And the doctrine of the Trinity stands as firmly against all such idolatries  as anything in the Old Testament.. The Trinity stands forth as one God..It's the coherence, the mutual indwelling... the dancing into relationships...Nothing in creation acts or exists by itself; everything interacr5s with everything else (p, 29, Genesis The Movie, emphasis mine)

Together, we fall into collective systeemic sin, Together, coropfrately we are  redeemed by Jesus, who is inevitably  interVenned and interconnected  (not intermeshed, see Len  and Rabbi Friedman on family systems theory and the Trinity)with the ultimate/intimate  corporate community of interrellationships:the Tri-unity.  And since  Trinty is intrinisically missional,   He/They are out tio rescue us from our sin and redeem our corporate rag.

That's something to dance about.
Dance is something we can't truly do alone.
And neither can the Godhead.
If you have never heard of perichoresis, get dancing and read  .

And then dance all over death and destruction and dismantle a bomb or two at Niagara Falls.


Every visitor to Niagara Falls notices the unexpected messiness of the US side, and the immaculateness of the Canadian side   I'm glad someone finally said it in orint: Ginger Strand, "Inventing Niagara"":

"McGeevy once suggested that for Canadians, Niagara Falls acted as a front door.  Thus, they landscaped and decorated it, the way you do your front walk, so that arriving guests get a good impression.  In contrast,for the United States, McGeevy proposed, Niagra Falls was a backyard: the place where you park your old bicycles, pasture your broken down couch, and stick your trash.  It's a nice, neat theory...But of course, America, no less than Canada, sees Niagra as an emblem of itself.  It's why we have spend so much effort 'remediating' it, disguising the effects of our use and abuse of the waterfall and its landscape  (p. 255)

An intriguing book, to say the least.  And especially when we consider how much atomic/nuclear waste is found in the (US) shadow  (see casting shadows on the city)[city6173244_669508244_3705713_861776_n.jpg]
of the falls.  The city of Niagara Falls (and the Falls itself) are an amazing example of what the Bible calls "principalities" are often literal principalities of systemic and embedded evil

How does one subvert systemic evil of cities (cities as a symbol of corporateness).

Ask Bono:

Let’s rehearse the oft-repeated anecdote in which Bono, prior to the CD release, winkingly asked Christian musician Michael W. Smith, “How do you dismantle an atomic bomb, Michael?”. After a proper pause during which Smith admitted agnosticism about the answers, Bono replied “With love, with love.” (link)

If God isn't Love, who is.
If God isn;t a community of love, who is?

Augustine defined the Trinity as Lover, Beloved, and Love.

Bono, as itinerant pastor to various cities   (see U2 can pastor the city);
seems to know just what to say to the cities and principalities he visits
(note his words to Nashville; Bono acting all evangelical at the Nashville Revival ..
  Wonder what he said/sung to Niagara Falls? ...or Fresno?

Love that is  itself inherently Trinitarian  community, love that is fully  consummated on the  cross and its  Christus Victorious corporate (all membvers of tronty erespoind) prophetic act.

Doesn't that evoke a dance?
A dance among the communitas of God's people?
Like it did the first time the Kingdom of God landed on earth (see Exodus 15:18)?

Hate to end this post with the Bee Gees..but I gotta go.
And you get to dance.

You know you want to,
It might be a sin not to:

"feel like dancin..yeah!"

If the Bee Gees mess you, up, dance to this: dare you!