Friday, November 29, 2013

"everybody sing now: 'Blessed is the one who dashes infants against the rocks!""

I was so thrilled to hear that St. Kurt Willems got the chance to ask N. T. Wright  a question about the psalms...that is  basically the same question I would have asked!
Kurt popping the question

Psalms of lament and imprecation aren't often enough set to contemporary worship songs (just ask Mark DeRaud). In a helpful post ( "WE NEED MOURNING WORSHIP SERVICES"),  Pasta Spin laments that we don't lament enough in church/as church.  I make the case that when the church doesn't lament, society finds a way to remind the church of its calling (Complaints Choir, anyone?)

I love teaching a class (Pasta Spin teaches it, too), where students are challenged to find contemporary songs that are worshipful.

I enjoy challenging them to cite examples of contemporary songs/psalms of lament; songs that are not "happy-clappy"(hear Bono talk about this phenomenon  in the video below)

  I have several tunes that work for me
 (see No sad songs allowed"Low" by The Violet Burning,

Praying with Pink Floyd,   "Make it a Doubleand posts labeled "lament.")

  Often, students have never considered--until hearing the history of Psalms

--that such would be "appropriate" for worship.

But let's stretch a little more.  If all the psalms have precedent for liturgical/musical about those delightful songs of imprecation?

How about a little ditty on Psalm 56:8" 

"Break their teeth, O God!"

 (Love the irony that the inscription on this psalm reminds us it was to be "sung to the tune of 'Do Not Destroy''....ha! and don't miss the tune title for Psalm 22. See "The Lord Be With You...Even When He's Not!")

But the one I've often wondered about is the one Kurt asked Wright about: 
Is there a place for chanting/singing  Psalm 139:7:  

"Blessed  is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks."

Uh, not quite fit for an infant dedication service!

I love the answer Wright gave; the audio is here, at the 1 hour, 7 min mark.


"to whoever is not listening to the sea this Friday morning.." (Neruda)

" to whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning; to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or dry prison cell
to that one I come, and without speaking or looking
I arrive and open the door of their prison"
                      -Neruda, "Alturas de Machu Pichu"

U2's "Breathe" (Mandela Version-Acoustic)

 (see history at early Mandela-themed versions of "Breathe ": explict agape...)

BREATHE  (Mandela Version-Acoustic)

18th July
On the banks of a not well known river
I started a journey to where I am now
Troublesoul troublemaker
Guided by the drums of my creator
Towards a rhythm and rhyme
A melody line of a song called freedom
Which once heard will never leave your head

We are people borne of sound
The songs are in our eyes
Gonna wear them like a crown
Walk out into the street
Sing your heart out
This Love it can´t be beat
We´re neither down or out
There´s nothing you have that I need
While I can breathe
While I can breathe

All those who stood together
Fist in the air now know this
That real division is not a scar on the land
But in the heart of every man who began
As a kiss not to resist a knotted fist
Now an open hand, an open face, an open page
Where history might rewrite its rage

And the life you get to live
Is the one you give away
To forget who to forgive is a good thing
Walk out into the street
Sing your heart out
His love will not be beat
Neither down or out
There´s nothing you have that I need
While I can breathe
While I can breathe

Walk out into the street
Sing your heart out
This Love will not be beat
Neither down or out
There´s nothing you have that I need
While I can breathe
While I can breathe

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Steve Taylor Kickstarter Video!

Twenty years after Steve Taylor's last studio album, he's taking a sabbatical from filmmaking to record all new music with a new band.
Dear Backers-In-Waiting,
Why should I tempt fate and do another Kickstarter project when the last one ("Save Blue Like Jazz") was so wildly successful it can never be repeated?
Because before I became your 11th favorite filmmaker I was your 8th favorite recording artist, and I know you've missed me making music because you wrote and told me on Facebook and why would you lie?

And while it's true most recording artists get worse as they get older —usually much worse — isn't it at least statistically possible I may have gotten better?
Yes. And here's how:
1. Form a band with Jimmy AbeggJohn Mark Painter and another longtime collaborator who was supposed to remain secret due to contractual restrictions but he/she enjoys drumming, surfing and running through photos cloaked in camo-net. Commence recording album's worth of suitable material.
2. Write lyrics culled from two decades of Life's Rich Pageant. Judge each line harshly. Refine until satisfied.
3. Discover to your surprise that your singing voice may have improved with age. Make note to record vocals asap before the onset of any potential throat-debilitating illness.
4. Return to Kickstarter community with outstretched palm. Include money back guarantee. Try not to reek of desperation.
And in anticipation of your frequently asked questions...
What will the music sound like? 
Your favorite color + your favorite candy + rock = the sound of STATPF 
Is there a deeper meaning behind the band moniker? 
"Steve Taylor" sings lead vocals and writes the lyrics / "And The Perfect Foil" write and record the music. And yes, those four words just happen to comprise an acronym of the band members' surnames. Coincidence? Yes, actually. 
We've been hearing about a new Steve Taylor album since the Clinton Administration. How do we know this is real?
I've played the demos for the neighbor kids. They will confirm that 1) It's real; and 2) It's weird when a grown man asks you to listen to his demos.
Will there be a tour?
It depends. Will you bring your friends?
Aren't you rich, Steve Taylor? Why don't you fund it yourself?
I was, in fact, reasonably well off at one time from a thriving music career that included writing songs you love, singing some of them, and producing a world-wide hit that rhymes with "Kiss Me." But five years into the New Millennium I developed a filmmaking habit that has required constant infusions of personal cash to the point where I can no longer fund anything beyond the occasional date night.
But don't you have a bank and/or rich friends who would loan you the money?
Yes, I do. And yes, they probably would. But thanks to certain principles laid out in a certain book given to me last year (authored by a certain Mr. Ramsey), I'd rather pre-sell the new album to all of you than borrow money to make it. And an even bigger reason is this: I have no idea how many people even care. Are there 100 of you? 1,000 of you? More? I can't think of a better platform than Kickstarter for finding out how many fans are interested in a new album, then expanding those plans accordingly, including whether or not it makes sense to go on tour. 
How will the money be spent?
Recording=$12,000 / Mixed and mastered by professionals=$10,000 / Artwork=$3,000 / Music Videos & P.R. to feed the promotional juggernaut=$7,000 / Estimated cost of backer incentives & Kickstarter fees=$8,000 / Grooming for the band photo=$1.50 /Grand Total = $40,001.50 
Will you go back to making movies after this?
That's the plan, God-willing. I've even got the screenplay I'm working on open in a separate window on my laptop. But making movies is hard—much harder than making music—and it takes me ten times as long (3-6 years) to make a movie as it takes me to record an album (3-6 months). Is my math accurate? Plus it's almost fifty times more expensive: $1-2mil for me to make a movie vs. $30-40K for me to record an album. And yes, I just did the mental math on that last statistic, which is why you can trust me with your money.
Your friend,
Steve Taylor
P.S. Some of you will want to know that the long-in-gestation Chagall Guevara live album is at the ready. My Guevarian bandmates felt it would be better to keep its release separate, so we hope to further press our luck by launching that campaign in January...  LINK

the pope's three questions

This just in:

The Pope’s bold new visionOpinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN (CNN)  Pope Francis on Tuesday issued a bold new document  in Vatican parlance an “apostolic exhortation”  called Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel.”
In this document, he sets out an exciting new vision of how to be a church. In all my years as a Catholic, I cannot remember a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating. Frankly, reading it thrilled me.

To me, it seems that with each new homily, address, interview, general audience message and letter, Francis is challenging himself  and us  with three questions, each of which flows naturally from the other:

First, why not look at things from a new perspective? Second, why not be open to doing things in a new way? And third, why not have a new vision for the church?And what is Francis' vision for the church?

It is to be a joyful community of believers completely unafraid of the modern world, completely unafraid of change and completely unafraid of challenges. Not everyone will like this document. Some may find it frightening. For it poses a fierce challenge to the status quo – explicitly: “Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: ‘We have always done it this way,’ ” he writes in a section titled “Ecclesial Renewal.”
The document’s overall message is

“Communicating Christ in Contemporary Culture": Rob Bell @Wheaton

  • Part 1  Matthew 4: What's a disciple?
  • part 2  Genesis/Revelation :Living Between  Two Trees 
  • part 3  "My past and your future": what happened when I was at Wheaton?  What if we could be honest?

Monday, November 25, 2013

on (psycho)analyzing Wesley and Kierkegaard: sex lives/spiritual lives of the stars, reduction of seduction part 3

Because  "Sexual energy drives the engines at church"...

                                   ...let's talk.

Kierkegaard, though often writing in pseudonym
 ( see Pseudonyms and Style in Kierkegaard),
journaled lots of self-refection...

Wesley, on the other hand?:
 "No one in the eighteenth century published such detailed journals yet revealed so little about his interior feelings as John Wesley"

Many years ago, I started a series of posts called "Reduction of Seduction," based on the inevitable..but inevitably ignored (instead of acknowledged and elevated)... spirituality/sexuality connection, triggered by Aberlove's controversial book on Wesley:

Well, sometimes sequels/prequels show up years later (Did you all know a new Star Wars movie is in the making?)  So in part 3..let's bring in Kierkegaard.  It hit me that both men, and comparing notes on their conficted sexuspirituality might be quite helpful.   Both had  women/marriage issues .  SK is infamous for his "commitment anxiety," and one might make the case that JW had a similar strain of that disease...though much more extroverted and public than SK..

Oh, and if Aberlove paints Wesley as part prophet and part seducer, at leasy SK was upfront (!) enough to call a book of his "The Seducer's Diary."

So I'm only getting started here, and will pick up later.

For some overview of Wesley's story, see


For the juice..I mean, history..on Kierkegaard on relationships/sexuality, see


Some teasers on Wesley:

First, clearly John Wesley lived with his conflict regarding women and it did not diminish his ability to make an enormous contribution to his century and England's religious life. Thus, Wesley could not be said to have suffered from a disabling psychopathology. He was profoundly troubled about the question of authentic intimacy with women and perhaps in some way this conflict contributed to the compassion and spiritual concern he showed toward others throughout his life.
Second, psychohistory and psychobiography, no less than history and biography, involve speculation upon sources and data which are constantly being expanded, revised and reconstructed (Kohut, 1986, Pois,1990). What we have proposed, therefore, is not intended by any means to be taken as a finished or whole view of Wesley's psychodynamics. We present, rather, a story based upon the data as we currently have them-a story which we hope brings additional perspective and depth to Wesley's life. We take as a premise that many dimensions of our own lives as we live them are opaque to our conscious understanding; how much more so the life of a highly significant historical person. That John Wesley was infinitely more complex than this picture, or any picture, of him should go without saying. Indeed, his complexity and multi-dimensionality make him of continuing interest.  (link)

Edward T. Oakes, :

ll well and good, and no one doubts that the enthusiasm that greeted Wesley’s sermons owed at least something to the starved condition of souls planted in the fallow soil of a desiccated, established Christianity. Unfortunately, enthusiasm sometimes bursts its own bounds, especially when sexual energy gets commingled with spiritual fervor. But of the authenticity of the fervor, both in Wesley and in most Methodists, there can be no doubt.   link, see full article

Oh, on SK.. There has to be a U2 connection:

Both U2 and Kierkegaard speak of divine love and erotic love together, as components of a good life.Authentic Love, Kierkegaard, and U2 | Psychology Today
Developing a Kierkegaardian Sexual Ethic



newscaster covers earthquake in bridal gown

A fascinating story that "will preach" in several ways:

Dedicated TV presenter cuts short her wedding after earthquake hits, grabs mic and starts reporting from scene still in her bridal gown and veil

If the church is the bride:

Do we sin when dutifully "do our job" when we should be spending time with our Spousewe neglect the   (Mary/Martha and the greater part;  Yaconelli's story about the girl who chose the dog over winning the game)

Or is this good news: This bride/pastor/apostle knew the Spirit was prompting; (Wesley:' always be ready to preach, pray or die")

Or: i s this just us: always in wedding wear, no matter what we do? (see 

Waffly Wedded Laughing Wife)

Do I love the microphone/being on the news too much?
See:  I don't want to be on the news...yeah, right...

“books talk to each other"

As Umberto Eco has written in his essay “Borges and My Anxiety of Influence,” “books talk to each other.” And if indeed “books talk to each other,” there is also a conversation—often unspoken—that goes on between fiction writers critics, and translators. -Link:Lydia Davis's Proust: The Writer as Translator, the Translator as Writer

(Rev.) Katie Couric is Martin Luther?

Since we're "in the middle of the beginning" of a 2nd (some say 3rd or 4th) Reformation/Re-formation in the church world...

we are living in "this weird moment," but whatever the heck it is, it IS  already 'the next reformation"...

 it's interesting to compare parallel moments in the media world.  The twain definitely meet again this time, as Leonard Sweet has well pointed out with his Gutenberg world/Google world grid.

The catch is, as always, one doesn't know what the (The) key moment is until history is written.
 Is there an assassination of Archduke Ferdinand?  Is there a Wittenburg...and/or  Wittenburg.. Door moment?  9-11?

All that to say..what if Katie Couric's posting her thesis on the door of network TV is a Luther moment? (:

I mean, Phyllis Tickle (a very important writer and interpreter of the times) has suggested that Brian McLaren is the Luther this time around.  But I don't think Brian McLaren would agree..

What would Wolfgang Simson say?  maybe it's a nameless taxi-driving apostle this time?

Or maybe it's someone  famous , yet more unobvious, this time?

Hey, if Focus on the Family thinks she's an antiChristian, maybe she's a prophetess? (:
(see Focus On The Family Attacks 'Today' Show's Couric As 'Anti-Christian)

Read this:

See this analysis, for example:  "It's 70 AD, and 1517, all over again...maybe The Matrix is Luther this time.."

Read this:

Does Katie Couric’s Move to Yahoo Signal the End of Old Media Dominance?
When, years from now, historians try to piece together the exact moment that the balance of cultural power shifted from old media to new, when the old lions guarding the gatehouse were flattened by the democratizing power of the Internet and social media, the events of the last few months, or even the last couple of days, may provide a clue.
On Friday, news broke that Katie Couric, one of the most recognizable stars of television, was leaving ABC for Yahoo News. During any other month, that news alone would have signaled a new world order, an upheaval in the pecking order. But in November 2013, Couric was just the latest high-profile media talent to leave what was once considered a lifetime post for a job at a website that in the public mind’s at least last saw its heyday back when Friendster and Meetups and “the netroots” ruled the digital   link

Sunday, November 24, 2013

backstory on the man with boils kissed by pope

Do read the original story here:

Pope Francis Kisses Man Plagued With Boils


'I felt as though my heart was leaving my body': Terribly disfigured man who was held by the Pope relives the moment that moved the world


interview with Dr. Raila

Reach Through A Screen And Interact With Objects On The Other Side

MIT Scientists Found A Way For You To Reach Through A Screen And Interact With Objects On The Other Side 

U2's "Ordinary Love" and their three eras: id, ego and supergo? what's next?

In the context of a  thoughtful response to the new U2 film song ("Ordinary Love"). here's  an excerpt from Andrew Romano. If he's got the   "id, ego and supergo" right, makes me wonder what's they hopefully are moving out of that third era (what's after/beyond superego?).  Also, it would've helped if the writer more extensively talked about this being a soundtrack song... the U2 film songs are not quite in the flow of their album-to-album growth.

Oh, i see the line above, the way Bono illustrates it in the video as yet another example of him deflecting..or reflecting...the 'you' as being towards the audience, and not in the "obvious" way he meant it (upper case "You"  as in God/Jesus).  "With or Without You, "Oh, you look so beautiful..." etc.

Finally, do see Beth's response to the song/video here. As usual, great catch is to what may be going on.



Here’s my theory. The early part of the band’s career, from Boy (1980) through Rattle and Hum (1988) was its Id Period—an era defined by big, flamboyant, irrational emotions like desire and faith and outrage (and their sonic equivalents).
The middle part of the band’s career, from Achtung Baby (1991) through Pop (1997), was its Ego Period, when U2 established an ironic distance from their earlier emotionalism—when they “attempt[ed] to mediate between id and reality,” as the great rock critic Sigmund Freud once put it.

The most recent part of U2’s career, meanwhile, which began in 2000 with the release of All That You Can't Leave Behind, has been its Superego Period. To me, much of U2’s recent output sounds like a band trying to act appropriately. A band that knows how it’s supposed to sound and is attempting to sound like that. A band that is imposing concepts onto its music. A band that is calculating. Overthinking. And losing some sort of spark in the process.

Which brings us to “Ordinary Love.”  full article
Note below: the song's already been covered.  That ought to be good for the band's ego..uh,
superego?   or..

Colbert's liturgical (song and) dance: "King of Glory"

The King of glory comes,
the nation rejoices.
Open the gates before him,
lift up your voices.
 Who is the King of glory;
how shall we call him?
He is Emmanuel,
the promised of ages.

.He gave his life for us,
the pledge of salvation,
He took upon himself
the sins of the nation.

The King of glory comes,
the nation rejoices.
Open the gates before him,
lift up your voices.
 Who is the King of glory;
how shall we call him?
He is Emmanuel,
the promised of ages.

. He conquered sin and death;
he truly has risen,
And he will share with us
his heavenly vision.

See this link on the Catholic  Colbert blog for several faith-related interviews:
 Key Interviews

I love my Church, and I’m a Catholic who was raised by intellectuals, who were very devout. I was raised to believe that you could question the Church and still be a Catholic. What is worthy of satire is the misuse of religion for destructive or political gains. That’s totally different from the Word, the blood, the body and the Christ. His kingdom is not of this earth.

In the same interview, talking about interviewing someone he regarded as hypocritical, he said, “I would have liked to satirically rough him up, because I thought he was bullying people with his religion. But I promised. And that’s the kind of work we do on The Daily Show: You have to maintain a level of humanity.”

We’re, you know, very devout and, you know, I still go to church and, you know, my children are being raised in the Catholic Church. And I was actually my daughters’ catechist last year for First Communion, which was a great opportunity to speak very simply and plainly about your faith without anybody saying, `Yeah, but do you believe that stuff?’ which happens a lot in what I do.
You know, that’s the hallmark of an American Catholic, is the individuation of America and the homogenation of the church; homogenation in terms of dogma. I love my church and I don’t think that it actually makes zombies or unquestioning people. I think it’s actually a church that values intellectualism, but certainly, it can become very dogmatically rigid.

Somebody once asked me, `How do you be a father’–’cause I’m a father of three children–`and be anti-authoritarian?’ And I said, `Well, that’s not nearly as hard as being anti-authoritarian and being a Roman Catholic,’ you know? That’s really patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. I don’t know. You know, I don’t believe that I can’t disagree with my church and I’ll leave it at that

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rob Bell series: What is the Bible?

To read this series,
 click here to read part 1, and then at the bottom  of part 1, you can click to read part 2 (and so on)....

...or click parts below (I will add as posts are added) in reverse order..sorry, due to RSS, it will be a bit messy in formatting.

Also, some who have  commented on the series:

Heyo, Rob Bell isn’t Wrong About Everything

Rob Bell's "What Is the Bible?" Series

Rob Bell and inerrancy 



What is the Bible? Part 75

What is the Bible? Part 74: The Reason Why People Miss the Point of the Good Samaritan Story

What is the Bible? Part 73: You At The End Of You

What is the Bible? Part 72: The Question That Keeps Coming Up

What is the Bible? Part 71: Ever Read the Bible and Thought, There Must Be Some Background I’m Missing Here? 

What is the Bible? Part 70: Wear the Shirt. 

What is the Bible? Part 69: Bearing the Sword in Vain. Kind of.

 What is the Bible? Part 68: Wrath and Inclusion

What is the Bible? Part 67: The Whole Melchizedek Thing And Why You Love it and Know That it’s True

What is the Bible? Part 66: You Gotta Meet This Man (Peter Enns)