Saturday, December 22, 2012

David Crowder (the"flippin' semiotician")'s "soooo Crowder" T-shirt with the F-word

T shirt called "Ancient Chinese Secret."  Don't leave the blog now, all offended. (:  Read the story of this T-shirt below

Any list of great books on the Psalms would include Eugene Peterson's amazing "Answering God" (see "Eugene Peterson on loud farts"), works by Bruegemann (of course) and....

 ...did you know David Crowder wrote a book on the Psalms? It's"Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi"
...and it's a ...well, Crowderesque...devotional on selected psalms. Here's a hilarious highlight, from the book's conclusion:

The Ancient Chinese Secret - by David Crowder

Se-mi-ot-ics n
1.  the study of signs and symbols of all kinds, what they mean and  how they relate to the things or ideas they refer to.

I bought a T-shirt in Washington,  D.C. It was red. It  said "Ancient Chinese Secret" on the front. Below this  statement, it had writing, which I assumed to be Chinese. Never  assume. My sushi friend Shelley was there when I picked it out. I held it up, and she said, "Oh, that is soooo Crowder." I  put it on that very day. I ate lunch in it sitting across from  the pastors of the church where we were playing music later that  evening. As I made my way across the stage, heading for our bus  that was parked outside, our lighting technician stopped me and  said, "Wow. You are brave."

 "Yes. Well, brave how? I mean, what do you mean  'brave'?"

 "The shirt. You know the secret right?"

 "Well, yeah."
I nervously responded in an uncertain  chuckle. It is embarrassing to wear a shirt and not know what it  means. "Wait, what? You mean you know Chinese? Wow. So, huh,  well what does it say? I don't know the secret. I don't know  Chinese. What's the secret?"

 "Oh, it's in English."

 "What? No! I studied this shirt at the store like a flipping semiotician. It is most certainly not in English. That I am sure  of."

 "It is in English. Turn the shirt sideways then read."

It was most definitely in English. Granted, it was intended to be cleverly hidden in ornate, faux Chinese brushstrokes, but once spotted it was unmistakable. I was wearing a shirt that said,  "Go F#$@ Yourself!" It was all I could see now. How had  I missed this? I am not a semiotician. I sat across from pastors  eating hamburgers, laughing and smiling, while the whole time  this was written on my chest!

 Stuff in life happens, and we try to make sense of it. So we look carefully. What could this moment, this tragedy, this weight,  this mountain, this tearing, this violence, this frenzy that is  life be teaching us? What is being said here? And then someone  points out, "Hey, it says, 'Go F#$@ Yourself!'" and  you've had it on the whole time.

Se-mi-ot-ics  n
2.  the study of identifying the ways that various symptoms indicate  the disease that underlies them. (Medical)

 The real message, the thing that is scribbled barely legible, the thing that's always there, underlying, is—we need rescue.  
Things aren't as they should be. When your eyes focus and this  becomes visible, you can't tear your eyes from it. And you start  to see that there are those all around us who wait in begging  wonder. "What is wrong? I am here. I am here, and I need you  to notice. At times I'm waving my arms above my head, screaming  it. At times I am too frightened to move, but always I am here,  and I want you to notice. And in the dark I am afraid. I lie with  my hand on my chest waiting for the tapping to come. Things  aren't as they should be. There are symptoms. You see it in my  eyes. I have seen it in your eyes, too.

Come  to Jesus
To follow Jesus doesn't remove us from the stuff of life. It is  not resolution. It is tension and journey. In 1 John 2:6 it says, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."  Jesus was in the world, engaged, alive, involved, making a  difference. To follow Him, we must do the same. His prayer for us  in John 17 is "Not that you take them out of the world  ..." and "As you sent me into the world, I have sent  them into the world" (verses 15, 18).

This is what God has  done for us. He has come into our condition. He has come to bring  us back. He has come and embraced us. He has come and covered us  in Himself. Watch this Christ. Watch as He is accused of being a  drunkard, of associating with tax collectors. Watch as He brings  healing to the afflicted, love to prostitutes, forgiveness to  sinners. Watch as He climbs the hill bearing His destruction on  His back. Watch as blood and water flow. Watch as salvation comes  to us all. Watch as glory ascends to come again. Watch and fall  in love with a God who does not resolve, whose rescue is  never-ending. Whose prayer is that you would be that rescue. Who  sends you to be that rescue.
Be courageous. Even as you stand  there hiding in the bushes, shaking to the bottom of your toes,  frightened of what's to follow, what consequences will come of  it, know that evil will not prevail. That you are not alone. That  you bring the kingdom  of God, and  there is hope. There is hope always. And others will walk out of  dark places and see you standing there, arms outstretched, given completely to this hope.
Praise is response. Praise happens when there is revelation, and there is revelation waiting for us around every bend, in places  we would not suspect.
Our task is to live with eyes wide open to  God's greatness because when we see the imprint of the creator,  our insides will swell with devotion, our hearts will erupt with thankfulness. You will live, breathe and radiate praise. The  habit isn't in learning "how to praise"; it is in  reminding yourself "who to praise." It is a remembering  of who you are. It is a remembering of your identity. Praise is  redeemed and redefined with rescue.

When you have been found by  grace, your identity is swallowed in Christ. You are enveloped by  Him, clothed in His merciful sacrifice. To live in this  remembrance is to bring awareness of Christ into your every encounter. In this awareness you bring His embrace to the things you embrace.

You  Are Here

There is a sign in my favorite restaurant, 1424,  which happens to be located directly across the street from my  house, that hangs by the bar and states, in black letters on a  pale-yellow background, "You Are Here."
I call often  for takeout. I pretend that they are my residential kitchen staff  that just so happens to cook the most flavorful foods on the  planet. The chef's name is Bill, and he knows exactly how I like  my pork tenderloin. We have never discussed it; he just knows.  He's always known. And as I wait for my order to be packed in  white Styrofoam and placed in a plastic bag for transport, I sit  at the bar and read, "You Are Here," and it brings a  comfort and solidity to things. You often hear or encounter  inspirational art convincing you to live as if today is the last,  to engage each moment as if it were all we had, but usually this  is married to the idea that it is. That this is it.  
There is nothing more than now. All we get is what we suck out of  this moment. But I disagree. I read, "You Are Here,"  and I am equally inspired to be fully present in this moment, but  it is not because that is all I have, but because I am bringing  something more. I am bringing the very kingdom of God.  
I read, "You Are Here," and I, ignoring the dramatic  punctuation of finality, think, "The kingdom of God  is sitting at this bar, waiting to bring something better."

We are to be rescue. We are to be redemption. We are to carry the story of God to the ones waiting. To the ones with their hands on their chest, begging you to notice that things aren't right. And  this is praise. You are the note sounding in a thousand different  rooms. There are chords and reflective surfaces around you. There  is context.

Sometimes life comes at us with the delicacy of a sunset, and  other times it comes with the rawness of sushi and the bitter  bite of wasabi. Sometimes the tears will be because you cannot  stand empty-eyed in the presence of such beauty, and sometimes  they will be full of fire, but notice/know this: You are here. You Are Here! You are here, and you are not alone.

Look me in the eyes. Can you feel the fabric on your skin? It is woven from the threads of love. Pay attention to the way it folds around you, sense its softness, brush the hair of your arms as  you lift them toward the heavens in unencumbered declaration.

It is the coverings of rescue that you feel. It is a flood. It is  an ocean. It is a sea that has no bottom, for there is no end to it.  To be fully present in the rescue and recreation of Christ is to  embrace what God does for us, and this is the best thing we can  do for Him.-David Crowder, pp, 152-153 Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi

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