Monday, October 27, 2014

Pastors eavedropping: 1)grocery store freakout 1)near-funeral during funeral prep @ Starbuck's

1) grocery store freakout --read it here

2) " confrontation at Starbuck's ..see "Junk in the Trunk," listen to it on right hand sidebar, first five minutes here

Friday, October 17, 2014

Look into my eyes...for ninety seconds

read it here

missional sacraments #21: Father Quixote and Lord of the Loo

From Faith and Theology:

Lord of the loo: a sermon on Graham Greene

A sermon by Kim Fabricius
Without doubt, one of the greatest 20th century novelists writing in English was Graham Greene. He was also one of the most popular: his prose was lucid, his plots were gripping, and as a “writer who happened to be Catholic” (he hated the term “Catholic writer”), he wrote compellingly about the human condition with theological insight as well as psychological depth, exploring the perennial themes of good and evil, sin and salvation, faith and doubt.

One of my favourite Greene novels isMonsignor Quixote, published in 1982 (I read it during my first month as a minister). Called “a fable for our times”, it’s an affectionate pastiche of Cervantes’ 17th-century masterpiece Don Quixote. It describes the exploits of a small-town priest, unexpectedly made a monsignor by the Pope (“what strange stirring of the Holy Spirit,” observes his resentful bishop), as he travels around Spain in his Seat 600, tilting at windmills, accompanied by his ex-mayor friend nicknamed “Sancho” (what else!), who happens to be a communist. As you might imagine, their conversations are, well, interesting, as the churchman and the atheist not only argue but are forced to re-examine their own beliefs.

One of the funniest scenes in the novel finds Father Quixote in a pub toilet with a man who wants to make his confession. “Never before had he heard a confession in such surroundings. He had always been seated in that box like a coffin … [So] It was almost automatically that he took refuge in the only box available and sat down on a closed lavatory.” It turns out that the man is an undertaker who has stolen the brass handles off the coffin in which he had buried a priest that morning.

“Father Quixote thought: How many times I have felt guilty as he does without knowing why. Sometimes he envied the certitude of those who were able to lay down clear rules.… Himself he lived in a mist, unable to see a path, stumbling.… He said, ‘Don’t worry about such little things. Go home and have a good sleep. Perhaps you have stolen.… Do you think God cares so much about such a small thing like that? He has created a universe.… You have stolen two brass handles – don’t feel so important. Say you are sorry for your pride and go home.’”

Then the priest goes back to the bar. “What on earth have you been up to?” asks Sancho. “Practicing my profession,” Quixote replies. “In a lavatory?” “In a lavatory, in a prison, in a church. What’s the difference?”

Good question: What’s the difference? Is there any? Is a confessional holier than a khazi? What, indeed, is ..  continued here

Michael Frost: "Jesus the Jester"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

First, Sixpence convicted him; then U2 did, now Pastor Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters move him all the way to tears: "a psalm of David Letterman"

The Sixpence story is here.
                  The U2 story is here.
                                     The Foo Fighters video is below; and backstory is here

  • --Related:

  • holy heteroclite:: watching Letterman getting convicted ...

  • Experience to Innocence: Lead me in the way I should go...

    Bono has hinted that the second CD in the two (or three?) series, "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience," may well contain some sections or songs where his older self talks to his younger self (and/or vice versa).  This new interview confirms that direction, and includes an intriguing Scriptural reference that he has been trying to weave into a song for ten years. Very promising:

    It's more about the present tense. The singer - the protagonist in it - is much closer to where we're at in our life and the younger character from Songs Of Innocence, they sometimes meet and one has a take on the other that is often a little aggressive. I often think about that - what would the younger me think of me now. Not much. In one song, there's another song called "The Morning After Innocence" where the older me goes and asks the younger me for help. It's a very tough one that goes:
    Is that your fountain pen, navy with a nib of gold?
     You never could write so well or do anything you were told on 10 Cedarwood Road
     I'm your older self, the song of experience,
     I've come to ask for some help from your song of innocence.
     Lead me in the way I should go.
     I'm running out of chances to blow,
     that's what you told me and you should know.
     Lead me in the way I should be.
     Unravel the mystery of the heart and its defense,
     the morning after innocence.
    Bono went on to describe the upcoming tour in more detail where there's a conversation between innocence and experience, describing it like The Who's Quadrophenia.   Link
    More conversation on this here

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    Aaron Weiss interview: spirituality

    Podcast interview with Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou:
    "They discuss remaining autonomous within a relationship vs. giving yourself over, reaching towards monastic tendencies, spirituality, Aaron's unique blend of Judaism/Christianity/Sufi Islam, they get meta and talk about the talk they are having, Aaron's musical roots, being a non-exclusively Christian band in a Christian hardcore scene, writing, and the record making process."   LINK

    Thursday, October 09, 2014

    God only creates ridiculous geniuses like U2..and you, too

    by Ann Powers, NPR:

    The Dream Of Ridiculous Men

    The last short story Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote is about being seriously ridiculous. In "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," an intellectual prone to existentialist despair is saved from suicide when, in a vision, he discovers a parallel planet where humanity has never sinned. "It was like being in love with each other, but an all-embracing, universal feeling," he tells the reader. This contact with Eden reinvigorates him, but then, during a playful moment, he teaches the planet's innocents how to deceive each other — and this leads to a catastrophic, Biblical fall. By the time the man awakens, his Eden has become just like Earth, full of violence, crime and war. It's the world he once thought was meaningless. And still, the man finds himself redeemed. He stands on a corner, preaching the essential goodness of humanity, despite his knowledge of the equally omnipresent potential for corruption. He's a rube for being optimistic, and he knows it. But he declares at the story's end, "I shall go on and on!"

    The serious ridiculousness expressed in that conclusion differs from the unthinking kind that entangles people every day. Ordinary ridiculousness comes from not being aware — from either simply not thinking about bad or excessive choices, or from embracing blind faith in the self, a God or a system. A seriously ridiculous person is clear-eyed. She knows that idealism is a fool's game to begin with, and that every conviction carries the risk of closed-mindedness. But she takes on belief as a practice, a way of being around others that seeks common ground. The ridiculous man or woman has found a way to connect things within life's inevitably broken landscape. It's an act of reaching out that can never be fully fulfilled, but which changes things in the moment, which is all we really have.

    When Bono told a Time magazine reporter in 2002 that the right to be ridiculous was something he held dear, he was...continued here

    Monday, October 06, 2014

    the top two misundertaken secuhymns of the 20th Century

    They both have been hugely misunderstood,
     misappropriated into acceptable evangelicalized versions.

    It's amazing how many people have "fixed" U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", by adding a verse about finally finding it once and for all, and no longer having any need to search.  That supposedly makes it church-ready.  Arrgg.  Do they know that
    "not having found what you’re looking for is not a sign of apostasy but a sign of faith. It means you’re still alive, still travelling, still growing, still learning. Keep looking and you’ll keep finding, and then finding that you still need to keep looking…" 

    And of course, there's Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which a couple of years ago was  sanitized (sigh) and Christianized  (no!) by some well-meaning they know the writer is Jewish, and that sex is in the Bible?  (see A Special Version of Hallelujah With a Christian Twist 
    and Christian Writer Ruins the Best Song Ever   and more here)

    1)"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For":

    "There has never been a more concise theology of redemption, atonement and the substitutionary death of Christ. No clearer proclamation of theGospel has ever sold so many copies...But he hasn't found what he is lookingfor. I remember speaking in Dublin and seeing this rather exuberant Christian atthe front of the hall. I began my address by asking had anyone found what they were looking for. "Amen brother. Yes Hallelujah!" I am not sure how my dearbrother came to earth as he discovered that for the next hour I was exposing that to have found what we are looking for has nothing to do with BiblicalChristianity...So my conclusion is that U2's I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For is probably the best hymn written in this century, it has the theology of the cross but is centred in the reality of a fallen humanity and i sabout striving towards a better man and a better world" (Rev Setve Stockman, read it

    So why do Christians feel they have to change the lyric to sing it in church?:

     think Bono said it best, when he exclaimed,“You broke the bonds and you loosed the chainscarried the cross of my shame, of my shame.You know I believe it.“But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
    Said what best Mike? He didn’t say anything!I mean, that doesn’t make any sense does it?Jesus is what we’re looking for. Right?
    Well, yes.
    I remember a particular chapel service at my Christian high school,when a worship band came and sang this song.It was terribly cool at that time to sing a U2 song for worship too,but when it came time to sing the refrain after that verse,they cleverly changed the lyrics to,“and now I have found, what I’m looking for!”It was quite a moment too. Hands going up all over the place,people shouting, flags waving, it was totally amazing.And I remember pumping my fist, and thinking, “yeah! That’s right.What does Bono know? How could he talk about Jesus and thensay that he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for?Not me! I’ve found what I’m looking for! I’m not still searching,I’m not still looking….right?
    Well, yes and no.
    Ten years ago I thought U2 was trying to say that Jesus wasn’t really the answer.Now, I’m starting to see that they just understood something that I didn’t.You see, I think Bono was simply reiterating something that theologians havebeen writing about for centuries. He wasn’t making blasphemous statements as much as he was poeticizing what is commonly referred to as,“the already and the not yet.”And you know, I’d say it might just be the most difficult truth that a Christianwill ever have to wrestle with.The fact that we already have what we’re looking for,and in the same moment, haven’t yet received it,isn’t so easily reconciled as one would hope.   link


    The generic genius of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

    In his impressive new book The Holy or The Broken, veteran rock writer Alan Light meditates on “Hallelujah,” the song that may be the 20th century’s most influential and misunderstood secular hymn. In the way other books tell the story of a particular person, this is the biography of a song. Sure, it was penned by celebrated poet-writer-singer Leonard Cohen, but it is clearly much bigger than him or any of the hundreds of other artists who have interpreted it. It is regularly called one of the greatest songs of all time by people who should know about these things.
    As a songwriter myself, as well as someone who has worked with songwriters for years, this is a fascinating book. Light reveals something surprising, and not all that comforting, about the modern popular culture’s power to pluck anything with commercial value out of obscurity and then profit wildly from it - even if that “something” is a maudlin meditation on personal failure, sexuality and fractured spirituality.

    "Mischief follows in partisan Bible translations"

    by Fred Clark

    Saturday, October 04, 2014

    Columbo and Kierkegaard

    Christina Lee:
    In a chapter of Works of Love entitled “Love Believes All Things –And Yet is Never Deceived,” Kierkegaard describes two levels of love: the lower level, self-love, which seeks out self-affirmation and is easily deceived, and the higher level, the level he tells us we must reach — a love so strong that it wards off all deception.

    I’ve read this chapter many times, but it never quite clicked for me. Until I started binge-watching “Columbo”. God bless Netflix.

    Let me tell you a little about Columbo. First of all, I adore him. At this point, I’ve logged so many hours with the old codger that he seems like a dear uncle. He’s a mess: he drives an old beater, he wears a ratty raincoat, and he never combs his hair. He’s stingy, groveling, and usually hungry. And he always gets his man.

    As for the plot of the show, the formula never wavers: a murder is committed in the first few minutes, on-camera. Columbo shows up at the scene of the crime. He slinks through the crowd, often being mistaken for a bum or the help. Soon, he’s sniffed out the murderer — usually a vain, powerful and smooth-talking fellow

    As Kierkegaard points out, “Do you know any stronger expression for superiority than this, that the superior one also has the appearance of being the weaker? Consider someone who is infinitely superior to others in understanding, and you will see that he has the appearance of an ordinary person.”

    The murderer dismisses Columbo because of his clothes, his shoes, his height, his propensity to bring his dog on assignment or to ramble on about his extended family.
    Columbo just doesn’t care. He knows where his self-worth lies — not in their opinion, but in unearthing the truth.

    Since we, the audience, have witnessed the crime, we side with Columbo, no matter how he appears to bumble. We’re in on the joke. We understand Kierkegaard when he writes, “True superiority can never be deceived.”

    As the plot unfolds, the murderer grows more confident, just as Kierkegaard describes those embroiled in self-love: “The cunning deceiver, who moves with the most supple, most ingratiating flexibility of craftiness — he does not perceive how clumsily he proceeds.”,,,  LINK

    Friday, October 03, 2014

    but what KIND of introvert are you?


    two leadershift principles for the times we've been given

    1)As with tech, so with church.  From WIRED Magazine:

    "When Platforms Change, Old Leaders Are Seldom the New Ones"

    2)From Ken Schenck, in context of demise of Nazarene Publishing House as we know it:

    "I'm reminded of something said to me in relation to academic institutions about a year ago. In this climate, one false move can take a solid institution and tank it."  Link

    your own personal Lord and Savior

    Here's a chart tracking use of "personal Savior" and "personal relationship with Jesus" from article by Joel Miller here

    The same could/should be done with the word "worship" being synonymous with "music," and "worship leader" or "worship pastor" with "music leader."  Etc etc...   See this

    Peter Gabriel's prayers are answered

    Acceptance speech upon winning "Prog God" award: