Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

subverting spectacle through spectacle: "The Wall" vs "Zoo TV"

Interesting article in The Tablet about Roger Waters and "The Wall"
You can’t be a rock star obsessed with power and spectacle, stage a show about a rock star obsessed with power and spectacle, and expect people to see it as a blistering critique of rock stars obsessed with power and spectacle (link)
Read, and then weigh in:

 Is it true that "the Wall" doesn't really work for that reason?

And why DID  (or did it?) U2's "Zoo TV" era work as a prophetic critique (Bono often tipped his hand and hat as to what they were doing:"mock the devil and he will flee)"?

Is humor half the difference?

"Lady Gaga, meet Sir Jesus: The Rock Star’s Guide to Eating, Praying, and Loving in the High Security State of Israel"

The Rock Star’s Guide to Eating, Praying, and Loving in the High Security State of Israel: Why Justin Bieber, Elton John, Madonna, and, yes, Alicia Keys, love to play Tel Aviv—and why Israel loves them back

" it is subversive to all respectable religious order, which is precisely the point"

Michael Gerson on "Pope Francis the troublemaker":

This teaching — to always consider the person — was disorienting from the beginning. The outsiders get invited to the party. The prodigal is given the place of honor. The pious complain about their shocking treatment. The gatekeepers find the gate shut to them. It is subversive to all respectable religious order, which is precisely the point. With Francis, the argument gains a new hearing. link

Billy Graham''s grandson on Protestant response to sex abuse

 Interview with Boz Tchividjian, Billy Graham''s grandson:
While comparing evangelicals to Catholics on abuse response, ”I think we are worse,” he said at the Religion Newswriters Association conference. But it’s harder to track.
 ...“The Protestant culture is defined by independence,” Tchividjian said. Evangelicals often frown upon transparency and accountability, he said, as many Protestants rely on Scripture more than religious leaders, compared to Catholics.
Abusers discourage whistle blowing by condemning gossip to try to keep people from reporting abuse, he said. Victims are also told to protect the reputation of Jesus.
Too many Protestant institutions have sacrificed souls in order to protect their institutions, he said. ”We’ve got the gospels backwards,” he said...   link

Andy Crouch on Either/Or and Power: Playing God is a Bad Thing?

Andy Crouch, author of Playing God, on Either/Or from InterVarsity Press on Vimeo.

astronauts on returning to Earth

If only we could see earth/us/life/church from the heavenly realms where (per Ephesians 2:6) we already are..

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bono and Edge endorse film about founder of God Squad Christian Motorcycle Club

"Truly a preacher to the convertible, John Smith's message is for people who want to do more than just listen" -Bono

Posted under the video:
We went out on a limb & asked Bono to film a short video endorsement for the soon-to-be-made film on John Smith's life. This just landed in my inbox. Filmed a few days ago in Dublin, Bono and the Edge endorse the making of a film on their long-time friend Smithy.

'SMITHY: Something in Every Hue'
a feature length documentary film about
Founder of the Christian Motorcycle Club
a film by

"I was influenced by an Australian preacher I know called John Smith ... who is a very eloquent speaker with a brilliant mind."
Bono, U2

John Smith has spoken to students in more than 4,000 Australian high schools

"John was a man who could take the gospel to anybody ... we were going where the church had no hope of going."
Eddie Pye, Founding Member, God's Squad

"His heart was for the oppressed, it was for the outlaws, it was for the people that had no place to seek God."
Sue Conrau, ex bikie chick


'Smithy' is a feature length, biographical doco about a remarkable Australian, the Rev Dr John 'Bullfrog' Smith, who is probably best known as the founder of the Christian motorcycle club, God's Squad. His wife, Glena, says he got the bullfrog nickname because "John was considered to be the loudest frog in the pond". He has been called 'John Wesley on a motorbike' but Smithy, as he is affectionately known, is more than this - he is an author, social anthropologist, media personality, social commentator, advocate for the poor and marginalised, blues music lover, theologian, motivational speaker, teacher ... and biker.

God's Squad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Video: Ed Hird asks Luis Palau if Pope Francis is a "brother in Christ"

Ed Hird on the growing adjunct/PhD crisis

Ed Hird on the growing adjunct/PhD crisis
-article here

"Five Things That Are Holding Christianity Back" by Christian Piatt

Five Things That Are Holding Christianity Back by Christian Piatt 

Myers-Briggs Type and "stress heads"

INFP Head:
 see head for all types here
Stress Head for INFP:

see stres heads for all types here

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sts. Kevin and Bobbi of Liverpool

In the spirit of paying it forward,
 Galatians 6:6,  and hopefully just letting someone know they made a difference..

..let me tell you as story.

...or two.

Those of us who are pastors and  teachers  (How did I get to be both?) know those holy and humbling  moments when a parishoner or student comes back to you years later and shares how you impacted them...often without you being aware of it (or even remembering their name!  See  my posts "the story of "Dave the Just and the Am-Vet Thrift Store Theophany (with stunning non-Photoshopped evidence)" and  "I'm their pastor? I don't even know who they are.”)

 In the middle of my ninth grade year, our family moved from Fresno, California to Liverpool, New York.

That one sentence explains a lot of my insanity (:
Suffice to say: Don't ever move your kids across the continent unless you get an audible word from God!(:

It was a cross-cultural move.

It was took years to fully recover.

But it is also one the of the most formative milestones in my life...I'll be unpacking for the rest of my life all that I learned the four years after I unpacked in New York in 1974.

I was in junior high one week (in sunny California)..
               and in high school the next week (in the  freezing snow).

I didn't do closure with my Calif. friends well (Sorry, Denise et al).

I went from a small school where I knew lots of people.
               to a huge school where I knew nobody.....

and didn't want to, after one kid tripped me in the hall  just to initiate me.

Not the Welcome Wagon.

Many of you from military or other families know what it;s like to be the new kid in class.

In homeroom (here I am, last on right, second row..Note: no guys smile, it's like a U2 album cover)

l was seated next to two close friends who didn't even acknowledge me as they talked the period away every day.

That was worse than being tripped.

But the kid to the left of me (and four from left in the yearbook photo) was gracious, pastoral, engaging .  He never knew all I was going through.

 That's not something you talk about in a ninth grade New York homeroom in 1974.

We were from different circles and worlds..or were we?

I began to have hope.

Thank you St. Kevin Weinzimmer.

As you'll see by my yearbook page, I was so upset that they left his name out of the picture that I added it myself for posterity.

Second story:

I loved Spanish..and my Spanish teacher from California.
She even wrote to me in New York!

I knew even though I was transferring to another Spanish class in New York, there was no way I would/could love my teacher as much.

I was wrong.
I wonder if I'd even be alive..or be a teacher without her.
And when I teach in Spanish, I think I pick up her accent..and anointing (I hope) in her honor.
Thank you, Senora Roberta (Bobbi Gowan).

To this day, as I teach, I draw from her well, her style, passion and humor.

I never signed up to be a pastor, either.
And as an introvert experiencing moving shock...and not even a  Christian yet..
 it was the farthest thing from mind in 1974 .

By the way, by God's grace, Sra Gowan became my homeroom teacher the next year!

In the second picture below (I copied  the whole page so I can tag some other folks who eventually became friends.  Thanks so much to neighbors like the Wanugas sand Zwariches,  and friends like Marge Stanton and Rev. Nancy helped a lot, too) , you'll see first on left, top row...and me six down from her, but still not smiling.
(Click or new tab to enlarge)

There are a series of events along my timeline and testations that I am still living off of.

Let me say that a couple years ago when  I saw a Facebook group called I was in the Spanish Musical at Liverpool High School , I might have sworn in Spanish for sheer joy.

The Spanish Musical was a

game changer for me. It was my way out of liminal hell.

I got to play "Neil Brazofuerte," the first man on the moon.

As my kids know all too well, I can still sing my solo from the play
(I have not sung a solo anywhere since...except when alone):

Penned  brilliantly by Sra Gowan:

Conquistador yo soy senor
Para batallarle estoy senor
A conquistarle   yo voy senor

Yo soy conquistador, senor...Hey!

Not only that, but the whole time I was dancing the tango with a fellow student (Greg Streeter),
having been taught well in rehearsals by the first girl I ever danced with (Peggi Noble).  And huge huge encouragement from my classmate Anna Shute, who snapped this pic of me (my first smile in NY).

The idea of the play was to present US like the moon landing..through the eyes and daydreams of a  Spanish native and his culture.  It ended up with hilarious moments like Montezuma on the moon (played by the Spanish V teacher, Sr, Jose "Do you like my jacket?  I got it in Spain!") Farone.

But the play could've been about anything.
I never would have been in a play...let alone sing and dance in one, without Sra Gowan asking me to, and believing in me.

It got me out of my introverted shell and hell.

Every time I speak in public (especially en espanol), I thank God and Roberta Gowan.

Some would say I am still a  ham; a drama king as i preach and teach.
So be it.

Until i read the facebook group, I had no idea that the Spanish musicals I was in was the first of what would be an annual and cherished tradition for eighteen years!:

The Liverpool High School Spanish Musical (zarzuela) was an LHS tradition from 1976 until 1993 (History of shows listed below) . Bobbi Gowan began the zarzuela as a way for her Spanish IV students to implement their skills in a new and creative way. The students chose the subject of the play (anything from Peter Pan to Annie to Star Trek), devised the plot, wrote the dialogue and produced the consistently popular show over two terms. Senora Gowan (that's her in the picture in front of what may be the ugliest curtain devised by man) would write the lyrics for the songs and "borrow" the music from her extensive knowledge of classic rock songs.

The run of shows ended in 1993 with Excalibur.

This group is for any one (cast, BOB, band... I dunno... makeup?) involved with this Liverpool High School tradition.

The following is a detailed run of the show history:

1976 Cantemos a la Gloria
1977 Bienvenidos Amigos
1978 El Mago de Oz
1979 Pedro Pan
1980 Blanca Nieves y los 7 Enanos
1981 Cenicienta
1982 Pinoquio
1983 Huerfanita
1984 BarriOeste
1985 El Sonido de Musica
1986 Mago
1987 La Bella Durmiente
1988 Maria Popina
1989 Horroritos
1990 Robin Hood
1991 Batman
1992 Viaje Estrellar
1993 Excalibur      Link, many photos and videos on that page
By 1993 when the final curtain drew to a close,
I was back in California, teaching and preaching...
....and the song in my voice and spring in my step is largely due to Bobbi Gowan.

Heck, she even laughed at my subersive Edgar Allenen Poe-ish Valentine poem, and read it in class.
(It's here, in all its gory glory)

That alone kickstarted my healing

Any time I cast a play for my students,
         preach in Peru,
                            or remember how far I've come from that move I knew I'd recover from..

I owe much to Kevin and Bobbi.
Bless you.

I wouldn't have made it without God.


I might not be a pastor without God using Kevin.
                                      I might not be a teacher without God using Sra Gowan.

I see from their Facebook profiles that neither one has aged in forty years.
Ahhh, they are timeless (:

 tribute to another influencer: my high school math teacher, Bruce Johnson:

Charlie Peacock, 10th grade math, the role of teachers: wrestling with the margins

On (mis)understanding and (mis)undertaking the pope

Photo credit
As the great theologian  Cheech Marin once said

 "Listen doctor, don't misundertake me"

There is another Hispanic theologian who needs to be not misunderstood.  ("Oh, Lord..")

Pope Francis must be read prayerfully/carefully:


"Oh My God!" as prayer

As Chesterton had it:
          "Every knock on the door of a brothel is a knock on God's door."

 Could it be that every
              "Oh My God!"
                            is ultimately (also?)  a prayer?:

"Sing it church!: F--- you! I can't deny You"

The boys in P.O.D.  (see "The Future of Church is P.O.D., not Jars of Clay")  were on  fire the other night here in Fresno.  So glad my son let me accompany him..

 There is nothing quite like a band of Christians (as opposed to a Christian band) worshipping their hearts out in secular spaces (see Worship in the Bar/Brothel)

Often at a U2 concert,  you wonder how many are raising their hands in worship, and how many are just rocking out.  One never knows what the percentage is,  But when one of  P.O.D.'s  opening bands yelled out for everyone to flip a double bird and yell "F--- you!!" at the top of their lungs, it was fairly easy to "take attendance": look around and see who was abstaining from the liturgy!(:

"And also with you" (:

(Ironically, the lead singer from that other  band actually acted quite pastoral throughout the night..amazing.  They even sand a song or two that was ready for church.  Hmm, maybe the F-you was spiritual warfare addressed to the devil.)     (:

So in the clip below, here's the congregation/crowd gladly singing and/or praying along to the singer/ a lover/... and/or Jesus:

                               "I can't deny You."

If John Wesley had time-travelled to the gig..Even though part of him  might think the band was "on crack,"
(click for the reference), I think he would smile as he "got it" as the holy and heathen both sang:


i may stay late at the bar tonight, honey...i have to preach tomorrow

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Pat Robertson's Greatest Hits"

watch them all: bottom of page here

"The Rapture" by Exit Calm

LOL....look what someone posted about this song:

“Love the build in this. I hope they aren't a Christian band...”  

"Deep Cut" remix of "The Rapture": Live: Alternate cut: THE RAPTURE

Forever dancing with the devil
Lost in the crowd
You think you're on another level
You think you've figured it out
I think that your time's ran out

I could play you in a film
Without a script and win an Oscar
I've studied you up close
The mirrors lost ya
Put too much faith in what you see
it will cost ya
You need to know that
The rapture will come
The rapture will come
And it won't be long

Your stolen dreams of living life
from rags to riches
Are nothing but a joke
Left me in stitches
You're in the dictionary
Next to what a bitch is
You need to know that
The rapture will come
The rapture will come

Where you gonna run to now?
Where you gonna run to now?
Where will you run?

Dreams are emotions calling her
To feel as the wind blows cold
Scenes of recorded memories
Appear like a mind slide show 
It's a story that will never be told
The rapture is another stones throw

I could play you in a film
Without a script and win an Oscar

I've studied you up close
The mirrors lost ya

You need to know that
The rapture will come
The rapture will come
The rapture will come
The rapture will come

Scenes of recorded memories
Appear like a mind slide show 
It's a story that will never be told  LINK



Pope Francis interview: "I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.”

This interview is loaded!


Peter Gabriel: "In Your Eyes" and the whole God and "church thing"

40:05 mark

Among the "Christian artists" who have covered the song:  The Wrecking, Neal Morse, Nicole Nordeman..


Is there such a thing as Christian music?"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"fear him who has authority to throw you into hell" : Who's "him"?

(HT to Richard Beck)

Spent some time on this passage, and context,  before you scroll to down to discover and consider N.T.Wright's interpretation.

Key question: Who does Jesus mean us to understand is the "him" who has authority to throw you into hell?

Start with these three translations (lifted from
It's clear from The Message and The NASB that they read it as God, The Message takes 'him" as God, NASB styles it as "The One" (nice Neo touch, btw).

Who do you say "him" is?

Related: Who is the one who can "kill the body"?

Note: click the drop-down box to compare other translations


Luke 12:4-7

New International Version (NIV)
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
The MESSAGE 4-5 “I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
6-7 “What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries

Add parallelX

Luke 12:4-7

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will [a]warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into [b]hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two [c]cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

-- N.T. weighs in:

 Some have seen 'the one who can cast into Gehenna' as YHWH; but this is unrealistic. Jesus did not, to be sure, perceive Israel's god as a kindly liberal godfather who would never hurt a fly, let alone send anyone to Gehenna. But again and again--not least in the very next verse of this paragraph--Israel's god is portrayed as the creator and sustainer, one who can be lovingly trusted in all circumstance, not one who waits with a large stick to beat anyone who steps out of line. Rather, here we have a redefinition of the battle in terms of the identification of the real enemy. The one who can kill the body is the imagined enemy, Rome. Who then is the real enemy? Surely not Israel's own god. The real enemy is the accuser, the satan. ---N.T. Wright,  Jesus and the Victory of Godpp. 454-455   

Again , thanks to Richard Beck for posting this, click here to read comments.