Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gavin Friday: Catholic




The Embrace of Unknowing

The Embrace of Unknowing from Peter Rollins on Vimeo.

Virality and why it matters

Sinead The Theologist pleads the blood of Jesus and shakes her..

Sinead  O'Connor, the theologist 
(I just  had to use that word, as it seems to fit here.  One of my students used it in a  paper, and I didn't even know the word existed.  I just assumed he meant "theologian," but guessed at the wrong word)
 is at it again.

 Here's an excerpt of a USA Today story on her new album.  Three things stand out to me so far:

 1)Of course, the gutsy song where she (or actually the Holy Spirit, as narrator of the song) pleads the blood of Jesus over the church .  Dare you to check it out here.  You WILL have an opinion on it!

  2)Sinead is one of a  long (OK, short( line of artists (Elvis, Marvin Gaye, U2...
see this interview with Bono) who take the risk of speaking/singing honestly and without self-censoring on the sexuality/spirituality connection.  Sinead's last tine of the interview  (You WILL have an opinion on it!) is classic (and reminded me of this),  It also is actually a  shockingly-phrased, but self-effacing reference to celebrity..She is good at being honest. (see this), even about sexuality (see this)..

3)The line "She lets people in quickly, perhaps more readily than she should" is well-observed, and helps me as I post on the topic of self-disclosure (see posts on that topic by clicking that keyword l at bottom of this post.

To hear the celebrity media tell it, Sinead O'Connor is practically unhinged — a capricious, troubled woman who calls off her marriage after 16 days, one who puts out a plea for psychiatric help on Twitter saying, "I'm really unwell."

In conversation, though, the 45-year-old Irish singer comes across as forthright and engaging, by turns spiritually minded, bawdy and even a bit vulnerable. She lets people in quickly, perhaps more readily than she should.

Those qualities also are present on How About I Be Me (And You Be You), out Tuesday. It's also part of what's behind the title of the new album, one she initially intended to call Home.
"I've spent all my life as an artist being told what I should be and what I shouldn't be — basically, why don't you just be somebody else," says O'Connor, who had a No. 1 hit in 1990 with Nothing Compares 2 U but hasn't released a new album since 2007's Theology.
"I just got sick of it, because I was having so much fun doing what I was doing, and I was being me. … I was going to call it just How About I Be Me, but I thought that was selfish, and that I should express that I don't mind you being you, either."..

..."The reason I'm alive is that people gave me hope," she says. "Bob Dylan, in particular, you know what I mean?"
"Artists keep people alive. We're meant to give people hope. … Where you have war, you have a spiritual problem. So the spiritual leaders of the world are failing. I believe the job of artists is to be the emergency fire force. As well as shaking our (breasts)."
      -USA Today, full article here

quick survey: 4 questions: word association

In a few days, I'll start teaching two new sessions of "Biblical Perspectives for Nurses" (for Fresno Pacific University Degree Completion).

 I'd love to get a random sample of answers from my facebook (and blog) friends (maybe even some who have taken the class before) on the following four questions:

 What's the very first thing (one word if possible) that comes to mind when you hear the following words:


 Post your answers here on Facebook (I am pretty sure my settings allow those who are not my Facebook friend to post) and will share with the class. Thanks..  Click that same link to see the answers that are piling in; quite interesting..

P.S. I just realized the theological significance of asking FOUR questions.. (:
Introductory Question for the Passover Seder
Second Question of the 4 Questions in the Passover Seder
Fourth Question in the Passover Seder
First Question of the 4 Questions for the Passover Seder

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Missional Sacraments, Part 18: Public Baptism and PDQcharist

Worship in public?

This videos (one on a public baptism, the other a public "flash mob"  Eucharist)  may not work for you the way Flyleaf does for many (it's cultural preference..see "Gaithers on Crack")..

..but they are also great challenges to

  •  worship in public;
  •  to see sacraments as intrinsically missional;
  •  to be found marking the marketplace;
  • to find holy ground and sacred space wherever we set our feet;
  •  to center our set with a little less boundary.
  • get out of the church box more often

Steve Taylor posts both these clips with comments about how he used them in a class.
See: "What is a sacrament?".

Maggi Dawn comments on the 2nd clip at "PDQcharist – praying the hours."

BTW, these formats and venues are to be preferred to  online communion/online baptism (Nice try at being missional, but no cigar. See Kurt Willems post for good thoughts on "online community")

Jesus Shaves: David Sedaris


Ira Glass on storytelling

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"community is not the goal of life: 30 year old 8th graders looking for friends"

Hugh Halter:
...Most people know that I’ve spent my life’s work trying to help people form incarnational communities that witness of the Gospel in every nook and cranny of our cities, but I’m coming to find that when people focus too much on community and not the gospel, they become nothing more than 30 year old 8th graders looking for friends. They in turn forget that community is not the goal of life. Community, true biblical, missional, and gospel-centered friends are supposed to be the people we go on mission with, not the people that keep us from going on mission.

If pastors are supposed to be spiritual leaders, and leadership is taking people past where they are to the place God wants to take them, then it must begin with some jackwagon like me going, “Enough is enough!” So, that’s what I’m doing right now.

If you want to do coffee with me, I sure hope you’ve got a reason that is at least as important as the “least” of these around me.

Not trying to be mean, just trying to follow Jesus..
-Hugh Halter , "Helping you find community might be a waste of time!"

Colbert on faith and hell

the non-membership course at ikon church in the pub

The Dis-Courses from Peter Rollins on Vimeo.

Colbert on Posthumous Mormon Baptism

Posthumous Mormon Baptism:
Author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel speaks out against the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing dead Jews and calls on Mitt Romney to end it.  Colbert responds by converting all dead Mormons to Judaism.



theology of New York City

Google is almost omniscient.
If it exists, it exists on Google.
But I was still slightly surprised to see these search results:

iInformation No results found for "theology of new york city"
 Of course, that will change forever in a few minutes when I publish this post.

All this doesn't mean  no one has  yet theologized on New York City.
But I hope someone spells out a full-blown theology of that unique, and inevitably theological place.

What elements would you include?  Anyone done  some work on the city's ecclesiological theological history/"spiritual mapping"?  What would a letter to the Church of New York City" look like, Revelation 2-3 style?

Of course the theologian formerly known as Paul Hewson has theologized  on/in New York, in the context of a U2 song by that name...in which the Big Apple functions as a metaphor for the

land of too many voices and.choices; the turf of testation:

In New York freedom feels like too many choices
In New York I found a friend to drown out the other voices
Voices on the cell phone, voices from home
Voices of the hard sell, down the stairwell
In New York you can forget, forget how to sit still
Tell yourself you will stay in but it's down to Alphaville

Delbert Weins:

Ethical thinkers enter the city when they finally realize that no form of deontological or teleological ethics can stand by itself. Here the study of ethics becomes meta-ethical speculation. The questions today are not how we can recognize the right and produce the good. Philosophers of morality now debate the meaning of words like “good” and “right,” and they question how any sort of value judgment can be proved valid.
On the practical level men in the city sense that they are surrounded by many ways of life, each of which appears to be as justified as any other. And once again contextualism emerges. But now it is called “situation ethics” or “new morality.” No longer is the community under God the context for decision. Rather, the anomie individual moves through a variety of situations, each of which demands a response in its own terms.
                   -Delbert Wiens, "From the Village to the City; A Language fir the Grammars We Are"  link

 City can be  place  it can he hard to tune into the still small voice..

that's where i lost you (You)..

...In the stillness of the evening when the sun has had its day
I thought I heard you whispering 'come away child'

Is the "you" here referring to  God  (almost always  in U2) and/or also the city itself?
I think that's a yes.
God through the city..

Ironically, in spite of its fallenness, there seems to be something  inherently creational  and "still good" about city:

At first glance, the city seems to be the well-nigh universal solvent, destroying community, dissolving ethics, denying greatness, undercutting the Scriptures and theology, and eradicating the sense of God. In all these things it completes the inner logic of the town. But the city is not only Babel and Babylon. The city is also Jerusalem. Even in the Scriptures the future promise is a city. What the city takes away will be restored again, though in a different way. This is a statement of faith, a hope that rests more in God than upon what can presently be seen. And yet, the city is no new thing upon the earth. What I describe as hope has often happened. The pattern of the gospel is not new, though it has always been true that the gate is strait and the way is narrow and few there be that find it.
            -Delbert Wiens "From the Village to the City; A Language fir the Grammars We Are"- link

Every city would seem to be both  Babylon and Jersualem, a "Lost and Fund Town"

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

Even though the "city is organized to abandon" (Brueggemann), sometimes that organization can be called back to its original mission and missio.

All this is true...and even magnified macrocosmically in New York.

One way a large city like New York can be redemptive is that precisely in the middle of the chaos and craziness,  serendiptous  and redemptive gifts of order  appear,

In this video below, Bono calls Central Park the "lung of the city," offering breath.

"it's an extraordinary thing about New York.  Just becaue there's so many people living on top of each other ,staring at each other...there is  anonymity... I like the din of argument"

(video llnk here)

My very first paper in college (Intro to Psych) was "Noise as Conducive to Stress in Urban Environments."  Research suggests that it is the unexpected, uninvited noises (jackhammer, etc)
that is the stressor; while predictable city noises (traffic, etc) that can be a  "white noise" and comfort.

There's a popular preacher's story (which might even be true) about a Native American  visting NYC, and to the amazement of his city friend, could hear crickets even in the midst of the insane din.
It's all a matter of what we are tuned and attuned to.

For me, there is something strangely spiritual about cities like NYC.  I can hear the still small even in(because of?)   the shadow of the motion  and madness

Perhaps city affords a place not only to fall into temptatation, but a context in which they can be surfaced and delivered:

...as we lounge on U2's waterside patio, the final mix of discursive travelogue "New York" wobbles out of a crap Sony boom box. With little Eve Hewson on his lap, Bono sings along...
"I hit an iceberg in my life/But here I am still afloat/Lose your balance, lose your wife/In the queue for the lifeboat/You've got to put the women and children first/But you've got an unquenchable thirst...for New York."
Like a few of Bono's characters on All That You Can't Leave Behind, the lyric outlines a man on a moral holiday, braving the temptations of escape and infidelity. Encouraging the theory that it's autobiographical is the fact that Bono has just bought an apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

"It's important to describe your demons in order to deal with them," says Bono. "I have a side of me that wants to run really fast away from everything that you could call home and responsibilities. But I have another side, which is stronger, that draws me towards home and those very same responsibilities. When I'm at work I play out those things...but maybe if I hadn't found Ali and this community of people, then maybe I'm just lazy enough to have surrendered"

You kept in the bit about midlife crisis...

"I was seriously wondering whether to or not. Just looking at you when we played it to you in Dublin, I could see you writing the headline [laughs]. But it's just funnier, that line. From this character, it's believable."

Bono laughs, then frowns.
"It's not autobiography. It's quite the opposite in the sense that I'm coming out of a period: I have run off, I'm back now. I'm more at home...with myself"
            -Bono, Q interview, 2000

That "it's not autobiographica;" quote always gets me; it's almost as sure sign that it IS:

but anyone who's written fiction will tell you that elements of real life show up in your art.

bono maintains that this is a character, and i have no reason not to believe him, though i would venture the guess that he is fessing up to something, temption at least if not the real thing, and through the song do a sort of penance/atonement.
also, the song means more if he says "it's not autobiography" than if he were to say, "well, i was going through a rough patch and i befriended this East Village artist woman when i was staying in new york and getting away from dublin and trying to sort out my mind and thoughts after the mindfuck of Popmart and she was innocent and young and pixie-like and shrewd still in love with the world and she fascinated me and we hung out whenever i was in town on business and it went too far and it served to remind me of what matters to me most and that is my life in dublin and my family and i'd never do anything to endanger that and so i'm going to confess because i know that ali knows even if she doesn't say it and i've got to work this thing out and flush it from my system and, after all, why did i get into a rock band to begin with if it wasn't to examine myself and my own faults and shortcomings."  =poster irvine511 on U2 Interference forum

There's something about the city that brings out and brings up the best and worst of us.

If we are able to live the  deep Chrostian life amid the sin and din of the city, and are  "lazy enough to surrender," we may even fulfill our calling to cast shadows on the city
and its systems of systemic evil
( see Wink on the powers).

A new community must be built. It must exist inside the city and offer all the advantages of town as well. I do not know what shapes this community will take, but I am quite sure that it will look different from the church that we now have.
It has been done before. The earliest Christians were not rural villagers. In fact, the rural people clung so tenaciously to their old gods that the Latin word for “villager” has become our word for “heathen” (paganus—pagan). And the cities of that time were busy cosmopolitan {148} centers. Christianity succeeded in the first place because it had an answer for the needs of the city. The early evangelists did not preach only an individualistic conversion or offer instant ecstasy. They proclaimed that a heavenly kingdom was being born on earth in the midst of the decaying older kingdoms of this world. It is the Gospel of the Kingdom that must be rediscovered, a kingdom that always is, and yet is not, a kingdom in this world.  -Delbert Wiens, "From the Village to the City; A Language fir the Grammars We Are"  link


Interesting links:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Since this

 is our  actual "church ashtray" (My only regret is it hasn't been used for awhile),
I was thrilled to read this from J.R. Briggs

When we train our house church shepherds at Renew, we usually give them an ashtray – as both a gift and a challenge.When a new house church recently started, I tossed a plastic ashtray in the middle of the room and said, “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?” After several honest (and diverse) responses, I asked: “Now, why would I bring an ashtray to this newly formed house church?”
They usually get it: it may have to be used if we’re inviting all sorts of people into the kingdom (and not just the ‘nice’ people). And then I read a quote from Neil Cole: “If you want to reach people for Christ, you going to have to be willing to sit in the smoking section.” With the motto of our church being “no perfect people allowed,” we better come to expect that at some point these ashtrays are going to be used at house churches. We have to stop being afraid of people who are different than us and love people that Jesus would love.
Imagine if you measured the amount of ashtrays used as the litmus test of our churches?

 "if you want to see God, sit in the smoking section ...

Peter Rollins video: narrative of idolatry

pastor: "...so we cancelled it all"


an "All That" mashup that would be "all that"!

It is telling to trace U2-Pinlk Floyd connections.
The former has been up front about influence by the latter.
But sometimes the connections are subconscious...

One example:

Someone get me a DJ to create a mash up of the
                                    "all that" litany of Pink Floyd's "Eclipse"
and the
                                    "all that" liturgy of U2's           "Walk On"

I think my "All That" mashup would be....well,
as the kids say, "all that!"

"Walk on":

All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure

All that you deal

All you count on two fingers
All that you steal

All that you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress up
All that you scheme... 


All that you touch 
All that you see 
All that you taste 
All  you feel. 

All that you love 
All that you hate 
All you distrust 
All you save.

All that you give 
All that you deal 
All that you buy 
Beg, borrow or steal. 

All you create 
All you destroy 
All that you do 
All that you say. 
All that you eat 
And everyone you meet 
All that you slight 
And everyone you fight. 
All that is now 
All that is gone 
All that's to come 
And everything under the sun is in tune 
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.


This new song will preach.  The hopeful nihilism of Floyd and hoping  optimism of U2 collate well (:

We might need to add the "hallelujahs" of many live versions of "Walk On," just to end the mash on a high note:

BTW, when all those "all that" things we are to leave behind were projected onto the audience (as above), it always felt like an upbeat exorcism..

One should also notice a bit of "all that"s in the prequel song on the same Floyd album, "Breathe" ("all that touch and all you see/is all your life will ever be"), perhaps countered by U2's song of the same name.

Excursus: Of course, another intertexting nod is:
"the sun is eclipsed by the moon" (Pink Floyd, Eclipse)
" the sun i sometimes eclipsed by the moonI don't see you (You) when she walks in the room"(U2, The Fly)
...."sun" is often used in U2 as "Son" (Jesus), and "moon" or "eclipse" as things (usually women,  see "Elevation," "Staring at the Son" etc)

Well, it appears no one has yet posted my mashup suggestion.

But we do have these:

See also:

U2 rip off Pink Floyd song?

Many moons ago, I posted this about some U2-Floyd connections:

...and Pink Floyd’s "The Wall", in classic Floydian fashion, was brilliant, but a little hard to listen to; deeply depressing . So what’s it doing in this essay on U2’s new release? I think there is some musical/theological/philosophical gold to be mined by "listening" to these two very different (?) discs from very different (?) eras at the same time (Hey, if that inspires someone reading to pursue some wild ideas for burning some U2-Floyd sampling remixes….don’t do it! Besides, Coldplay and The Rock and Roll Worship Circus have already done it better!) Compare and contrast time. Pink Floyd’s "arc" was from fear to resignation (At least Bono wanted heaven and hell; Roger Waters seems to want hell and hell, with no middle or higher ground in sight)….no arc I want to trace, or road I’m dying to travel. No answers, no baby Jesus among the trash. Of course this is the band for whom the line "We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl year after year" was a greatest hit and upbeat, Precious and Kodak moment! For all the Wall knew, the best one can settle for is to be "comfortably numb." And the fact that during concert re-enactments of "The Wall," stagehands literally and gradually built up a wall that eventually entirely covered the stage and band from view; and the band seemed comfortably numb and completely unmoved by complaints that fans paid big money to see nothing but a wall, reveals that Bono and band were on a different page in the 90s (At least Bono , after surfing large-screen TV in front of the crowd, knew when enough was enough. He would say, as he threw the remote down, and the band launched into a song, "But you haven’t come all the way out here to watch TV now, have you?") But Floyd ignored fans and built the wall they were singing about. Pink Floyd may have intentionally been nudging fans towards nihilism and suggesting one will have no choice but submit to facism; . U2 were annihilating nihilism with larger than life irony. And facism? Remember "Goodbye all you neo-Nazi skinheads. I hope they give you Auschwitz!"?

Even though the double "Wall" album, and concert, ended with a short piece, "Tear Down the Wall," and that seemed like a good thing; it is not so good. In the record’s scenario, once we tear down the walls that keep us from others and reality, instead of freedom, we find our worst nightmare: there’s nothing behind it! We are hopeless, and now to make matters worse, naked, and in front of an enemy. A careful listener will hear, after the sounds of the wall crumbling, the "real last song" of the Floyd record, which numbly (Of course another U2 Floyd connection and contrast is the Floyd’s "Comfortably Numb" and U2’s "Numb") submits to circumstances , and coldy bends the arc full circle (literally in this case..I’ll explain) from fear to… fear. The last voice one hears at the end of side 4 (remember records? This was a double album; so four sides) is someone quietly saying something that gets cut off mid-sentence "Isn’t this where…"), and the sentence (as one discovered later) was "continued" at the beginning of side 1: "…we came in.") "isn’t "Isn’t this where we came in?" Clever tactic, depressing thesis: The record (literally) comes full circle (literally); life (spiritually) is endless circle; spiraling (in the "Vertigo" video, our band spiraled down to hell, but they bounced back!) through the grooves of the record, and life, into nothingnumbness. Even if we do tear down a wall, we’ll build another and another. .Gosh, Bono did say "Vertigo" was such a nice little ditty that it made you feel like killing yourself. But he laughed. I cannot imagine Roger Waters laughing as he seemingly invites no other ultimate option but suicide..or at least quiet and hopeless desperation…after completing the endless, vicious circle/cycle. That’s at best bad Hindu karma, not good Irish Christianity (which of course Bono contrasted in the last U2 record’s last song, one initially "about a girl" but in its more elevated meaning about a God that Waters apparently knows not of). The Floyd message is antithetical to U2’s, though both group’s presentations and styles may share a lot of great art-genius. But Floyd is still brilliant, and brutally honest. Just hopeless, with no map out of Vertigo and hell; no love to "teach me to kneel." No dead man to even wake up.

"The Wall," ended with a cousin of the "hidden track", didn’t it (The quiet piece that began on side 4 and cycled onto side 1)? "The Bomb"ends with another cousin of the "hidden track," (Which is why "Fast Cars" is wise enough to sneak up on you only after several seconds of silence after the invocation of Yahweh to do his heartbreaking work). And both hidden cousins (did you have cousins like that?) are proven related in that their mission is to verbalize the "real last message" of both discs. In both cases, it is a risk towards atheism. But in U2’s case, it is a risk well taken, as it leads out of that ditch the Floyd’s fast car would land us in.

Wrapping up this huge but unwieldy "full circle" theory then: I propose that all that I have tried to discover above in the Pink Floyd comparison/contrast ( especially in light of the too-obvious reference on "Vertigo" to "Stories for Boys" from the first record , "Boy ") means that Bono is wanting to communicate something like this: "Yes, this is full circle; but unlike Floyd’s circle/spiral, it’s a positive and God-thing to come full circle. You CAN start over again, not because you are doomed to repeat mistakes and cycle/spiral into numbness and hell , but because you get to be born again, and again, and again, and again… You get to go back where you started; where you ‘came in,’ but on a higher; more informed level.When I sing on the new record that ‘time can’t take the boy out of this man,’ I mean that since our first record was ‘Boy,’ we are now in this new disc, which should’ve been called ‘Man’, returing to childhood, but on a higher, grown-up level...
        -link, complere 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"wives submit" ...in context

Andrew Perriman, besides being the apostolic genous between the now in limbo (pray to get it out!) "open source theology | collaborative theology for the emerging church"  website (ironically oin hold due to not enough submissions), is one of the most helpful bloggers out there on reading Scripture.

Here's an example.  I agree it's true that "wives, submit to your husbands" taken out of context doesn't honor the egalitarian context of other Scriptures.  .  But we need to be just as careful about "proof texts"  and "eisegesis for Jesus" as "the other side".

I am all in favour of a biblical egalitarianism grounded in the conviction that the people of God as new creation does not need to live under the curse of patriarchy. I don’t think that under Christ the man is mandated to rule over the woman or that the woman is relegated to the position of mere helper. I warmly endorse Daniel Kirk’s chapter on the place of women in the story of God in his book Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul? I think “headship” in Paul is not a metaphor for the authority of one person over another or others, and that Paul’s requirement that women should learn and not teach is a response to practical contextual problems. I also disagree strongly with John Piper that “God has given Christianity a masculine feel”.
However, not every egalitarian argument is a good one.,,,

Be submissive to one another? No, but…

...Paul urges the Ephesians not to get drunk, to sing Christian songs, to give thanks for everything, and to submit “to one another out of reverence for Christ”. He then instructs wives to “submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (5:22), children to obey their parents (6:1), and servants to obey their earthly masters (6:5). Egalitarians would like to think that Paul is advocating mutual submission, but this seems unlikely. In the three categories of relationship that follow submission or obedience is in one direction only, which suggests that “to one another” means “according to the relationships of inequality that prevail amongst you”. However, I think Paul’s language does push us to ask why such submission is enjoined:
The particular emphasis of verse 21 extends into verse 22, where the omission of the verb indicates quite strongly, I think, that subordination within the household is more an accepted fact than a deliberate objective, and that it is rather the indirect object (‘to their own husbands’) and in particular the manner of subordination (‘as to the Lord’) that are of primary concern to Paul. So his argument is not, ‘Be subordinate rather than equal or independent’ but ‘Be subordinate as to the Lord, rather than resentfully or from some less worthy motive’. He is not teaching them to be subordinate but how to deal with the subordination that society generally expected of them. Norbert Baumert… says, ‘The actual ethical-theological statement of the apostle is probably: “accept the position appropriate to you under the contemporary circumstances”.’[fn]Andrew Perriman, Speaking of Women: Interpreting Paul, 1998, 53.[/fn]

              ( HT, Covenant of Love )

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I am moody and I have a nice butt

"Any preacher who doesn’t think he’s a fraud is – a fraud."

Assayas: What about your own sunglasses, then? Do you wear them the same way a taxi driver would turn off his front light, so as to signal to God that this rock star is too full of himself and not to hire at the moment?

Bono: Yeah, my insincerity… I have learnt the importance of not being earnest at all times. You don’t know what’s going on behind those glasses, but God, I can assure you, does.
(Assayas, 53-54...read more)
We have a tremendous capacity for self-deception.

As part of  a class on Ministry and Leadership I was subbing for, the assigned topic was the book "The Dark Side of Christian Leadership."  We had some great discussion about how our  individual "dark side" ("Darth  Side" vs. Anakin side)  issues affect our life and ministry.   The students had completed the survey in the book, so they each knew which category they "were":

It's hard, because the categories sound so hard  ("hardening of the categories")and clinical, and everyone comes out with a  default dark-sounding dark side "orientation"(not a clinical diagnosis!).  A power-point of the book, summarizing the categories is HERE:
  • The Compulsive Leader
  • The Narcissistic Leader
  • The Paranoid Leader
  • The Codependent Leader
  • The Passive-Aggressive Leader

 I came out "narcissistic,"  (Steve will love that!) Must be true, considering stories like this about me.
I am proud of my humility.
           And proud of that pride.
                           Proud of my low-self esteem, etc.

So here are my results (you can take the survey at this link here,,..dare you!) in all their gory glory:

Then  we spent a few minutes orienting the students to the "Johari Window"...

 ..highlighting the fact that we  may not know how obviously our dark side is showing, or even know what it is...but others do:

The Johari window is a technique created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955[1] in the United States, used to help people better understand their mental instability. It is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise.
When performing the exercise, subjects are given a list of 56 adjectives and pick five or six that they feel describe their own personality. Peers of the subject are then given the same list, and each pick five or six adjectives that describe the subject. These adjectives are then mapped onto a grid.[2]


Open: Adjectives that are selected by both the participant and his or her peers are placed into the Open quadrant. This quadrant represents traits of the subjects that both they and their peers are aware of.

Hidden: Adjectives selected only by subjects, but not by any of their peers, are placed into the Hidden quadrant, representing information about them their peers are unaware of. It is then up to the subject to disclose this information or not.

Blind Spot: Adjectives that are not selected by subjects but only by their peers are placed into the Blind Spot quadrant. These represent information that the subject is not aware of, but others are, and they can decide whether and how to inform the individual about these "blind spots".

Unknown: Adjectives that were not selected by either subjects or their peers remain in the Unknown quadrant, representing the participant's behaviors or motives that were not recognized by anyone participating. This may be because they do not apply or because there is collective ignorance of the existence of these traits.  Wiki

It's so true that we can't really know ourselves until we are known by another (Tournier)

All this carries profound insights for epistemology, psychology....and especially leadership/dark side issues.

So as last-minute lark, (why be normal?), which I was hoping would be a lively teaching moment, I asked for volunteers to take  a clipboard around  campus, and ask anyone on campus  (student, faculty, staff) who knew of me to list 5-6 adjectives that described me...anonymously, of course.

I knew there might be surprises; stuff I didn't want to hear.
Which was the point of the teaching point.

Here's what they came back with, and I post this for the big LOL at the last answer:

The students also told me someone who didn't know me answered the question anyway: That answer was properly ironic and partly true:  they said I was "narcissistic"   (Anyone sending students out to ask people what they thought about him was obviously narcissistic!)    (:

Then I had another group of volunteers phone some people who knew me well..like Dallas Elder and Nancy Boyd..I knew she would be honest!!), etc.  They were asked the same question, and promised they could be honest, as who said what would not be revealed when the answers were revealed to the class.

I was glad to get some positive feedback.
The narcissist in me was thrilled.

One person, though, said:



I don't think I'm moody!

That makes me moody, by the way...

I needed to hear that.

I even asked my wife later, and she basically said, "Well, you may have  lots of issues, but being moody isn't one of them."

That felt better.
But dang it, I must be.
There are things about me that I don't see, my wife may overlook....but are me.

And I really needed to hear that.
Which is precisely the point of the teaching point..

Anyway...I better quit blogging on this; as I'm getting moody.

But as for whoever it was that said I had a "nice butt"..

I think the actual quote was transcribed wrongly.
                           The person probably said,  "He's nice, but..."


Related posts:


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

hearing "The First Time" for the first time (unrelased early audio) and throwing away the (hermeneutical) key

I will end this post with some new (to me) old  audio, with fascinating insight into the pre-album version of  U2's "The First Time," not surprisingly a controversial song for squeakersbecause in the studio version, the prodigal son throws away the key and seems to feel love for the first time as a result.  He doesn't seem to come home (follow some debate here and  here):

My father is a rich man
wears a rich man's cloak
Gave me the keys to his kingdom coming
Gave me a cup of gold

He said, "i have many mansions,
There are many rooms to see"
But I left by the back door
and  I threw away the key
For the first time, I feel love.

Which is..... honest, as some stories end like that.  Some well-ended stories don't end well.
And U2 expert  Beth Maynard  cautions against "the naive thought that any artist who
writes about sin must be in favor of it."

But I always felt that embedded in that apparently heartbreaking ending, especially due to the emotion of the instrumental outro, that there was another (simultaneous?) way to read the lyric:

 "I threw away the key..and that led to me feeling love for the first time: I came home"

 ..as opposed to (or in addition to?),

 "I threw away the key, and for the first time I felt love, as I was finally away from my father/God."

Of course, in the 2000s Bono did indeed offer several versions of a revised/revisioned ending:

  • I threw away the key..but grace will lead me back to Thee."

I loved that one on level, but strangely felt it was a betrayal of the original narrative.
As I blogged a few years ago:

But what I find more often unlistenable is the revision of the song (U2's "The First Time") that Bono occasionally sang in concert years later. He actually dared to/yielded to the temptation to...brace yourself... tie and tidy up the loose ends; and gave the poor prodigal guy the keys back.

The guy repents, and comes back to the Father.

It's all good.
And it rhymes.

It might even play on Christian radio.

Forgive him, Jesus!(:

The actual lyric varied according to night and venue, but it usually went something like:

"I left by the back door, and I threw away the key...

But grace will lead me back to Thee."

Whazzup with all that?

The definitive U2 blogger Beth Maynard tells the story better than I can:

Drawing on the parable of the Prodigal Son, it depicts "my Father" as a "rich man" with "a rich man's cloak" who offers "keys to his kingdom" and a home among "many mansions" with "many rooms" -- but just as we're marveling at this tender generosity, the narrator abruptly declares, "But I left by the back door, and I threw away the key."

People who enjoy attacking the band on religious grounds (and who take any artistic creation as baldfaced autobiography) have had a field day condemning this sentence. I've never really understood the objection: the son does after all leave in the parable, U2's musical setting at that moment is ineffably sad, and a faith-filled lovefest resolution would have been way out of place on Zooropa. Besides, the liturgical form for sacramental confession with which I'm most familiar puts words in your mouth that directly echo these lyrics: "Father, you clothed me with the shining garment of Christ's righteousness, and established me among your children in your kingdom. But I have squandered the inheritance of your saints, and have wandered far in a land that is waste." Some of us tell God regularly that we left by the back door and telling him is considered a prescription for spiritual health.

However, all these years later in a live context, this poignant ending just isn't playing out the same way. Bono is experimenting with the verse to see what can be delivered authentically in the more religiously-assured context of the Vertigo tour.

Elsewhere (9:22 in this audio), Beth defends songs like the original version of "First Time" with a delightful debunking of the fallacious and pharisaical conclusion that "just because someone writes about sin, they're in favor of it." . Amen and  touché..

(For more discussion of this seminal song, and video examples of it in both incarnations, see "Preaching Ecclesiastes and Throwing Away the Key".
For a full-blown (and overblown, as I wrote it) essay on the theological significance of how U2 ends/doesn't end their lyrics, visit this page.)

But maybe the more upbeat ending had been intended all along.

Here below and on the video of the audio,  is a very early version that Bono sand for a reporter..
He comments before the final verse that "It kind of gets gospel""

My father is a rich man
He wears a rich man's robe
But I left by the back door
I took another road

He has many mansions
He got  many rooms for me
He's got those shiny shiny things I love
But I threw away the key

When you're done in the gutter
Sometimes, I guess, you can only look up
So for the first time
I feel love