Sunday, March 29, 2015

ecstasy of crowds

Classically, there are three ways in which humans try to find transcendence
--religious meaning--apart from God as revealed through the cross of Jesus: 
   through the ecstasy of alcohol and drugs, 
   through the ecstasy of recreational sex, 
   through the ecstasy of crowds.
                    Church leaders frequently warn against the drugs and the sex,                     
                                      but at least, in America,
                                                                        almost never against the crowds.” 
                                                     ― Eugene H. PetersonThe Pastor: A Memoir

Saturday, March 14, 2015

So.. this habit of answering questions with 'So" as the first word is so interesting. So..

 So, it seems to have started becoming hugely popular around five years ago to start a conversation with "So.." as a discourse marker.  Not so much as in  the question "So?" (" you want to go to the concert?")

                      ...but "so" as an answer or "conversation manager" or "interactional agenda."

One class I teach involves students showing and interpreting collages they have made.

I don't think five years ago any students started their explanations with "So..."   Now, almost all of them do, regardless of age.

SOoo.. whatsup with that?


Linguists aren’t alone in spotting the trend. Journalists have caught onto the discourse marker in the past few years, spurring articles about the tiny word and its growing use.
The movie “That Awkward Moment” also called attention to the “so” that starts sentences. Zac Efron’s character coins the moment when a girl tries to define a relationship as “The So…” as in, “So, what does our relationship mean to you?” For the characters, the discourse marker signals trouble. link


So, many are blaming Mark Zuckerburg.

(This all reminds me of a previously-discussed shift discussed here: thirty years ago, no one would call the songs sung at a Christian gathering "worship"  or "the worship time"...let alone that a "worship leader" meant the song leader.  See this and this)

The discussion about "so.." as the new norm/normal often focuses on the grammatical approprietness  and/or the thesis that is is lazy speech.

Several links below to help you decide.

Excerpt below from Do you use “so” to manage conversations?:



Researcher Galina Bolden studied recordings of conversations, looking at the difference between the sentence-initial oh and so. In a 2010 New York Times article Anand Giridharadas sums up insight Bolden supplied via email: “To begin a sentence with ‘oh,’…is to focus on what you have just remembered and your own concerns. To begin with ‘so,’…is to signal that one’s coming words are chosen for their relevance to the listener.” If words like so and oh were used to arbitrarily fill a pause, they wouldn’t take on such different functions from each other. Bolden suggests here that the sentence-initial so is a way for the speaker to subtly cue to the listener that the following information is relevant to the listener’s interests. Whether or not the information is actually relevant is for the listener to decide, though perhaps this cue makes it more likely for a conversational partner to pay attention. (If you want to learn more, Bolden’s research is also discussed in this Language Log post.)   link


Benjamin Barber TED Talk: Why mayors should rule the world

Video below;transcript here

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

pope :" i am a real wimp'

Pope Francis says he accepts he may be assassinated - but asks God to make sure it doesn't hurt because he is 'a real wimp'  link

"we understand reality not from the center,but from the outskirts"

A centered-set pope:
For his first formal visit  to a Rome parish church, Pope Francis chose not a Baroque masterpiece near the Vatican but traveled to the city's very outskirts because, as he told the parishioners,"we understand reality not from the center,but from the outskirts {margins}."

A few weeks later he told Jesuit journalists from La Civilta Cattolica that “Your proper place is the  frontier, " the cultural frontier, where they were :not to build walls,but bridges” to those who did not share Catholic beliefs or culture.  He told a group of devout Catholics that we should not "lock ourselves up in our parish, among our friends..with people who think as we do," but instead "The Church must step outside herself.  To go where?  To the outskirts of existence, whatever they may be

-Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, pp 16-17

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Bearded Colbert's Catechism

"Kite" in Sydney

How did I ever miss this unique  Sydney  version of U2's "Kite"?
It was released as a b-side to the "Window in the Skies" single.
So many things to comment on, but I'll stick to
     just the beginning
            (anyone familiar with the sing will realize something is up after listening to the first minute)
                                           and the ending 
           ( start at the 5 min mark, and wait for an Edge-prayer!)

official audio:

fan video:

Later edit:
Thanks to the great fan community on the atu2 forum.  They tipped me off to some other versions and info...HT Meximofo for the Melbourne version:

""I assured The Edge that his heart's desire was borne out of God's wonderful love" -Brennan Manning

There's  a story about an  Edge-Brennan Manning encounter that has been around for awhile, first recounted by Phillip Yancey.  I just found Manning's own recollection of the encounter,  as he tells it to Trudy Beyak in her 2013 book, "The Mother Heart of God: Unveiling the Mystery of the Father's Maternal Love."

 Both  accounts follow, as they complement each other well (I have always been intrigued by  two of Beth Maynard's comments when she first blogged the Yancey version: 1)She once was a musician at a service Manning was speaking at (do tell!) and  2)  "My personal theory: U2 answered such questions years ago and this was more a test of Manning than a request for information. But maybe not")


Phillip Yancey : I think it’s OK to tell this story. U2 came to New Orleans and played in the Superdome. Brennan Manning [The Ragamuffin GospelSignature of Jesus was in New Orleans, so they looked him up because they had read his books. Edge [guitarist] said, "OK, Brennan, I have two questions for you." I forget the first one. The second one was: "Can I glorify God by being the best rock guitarist I can be?" And Brennan said, "Absolutely you can. If that’s your calling, you can."
In a lot of ways Edge is a more thoughtful, content-oriented guy than Bono. But he’s aware that Bono’s the front guy. [He’s probably thinking:] "Bono is the media-savvy [one]. He can handle the crowds, and that’s not my goal, and that’s not my calling. I probably wouldn’t be very good at it. But I can be God’s guitarist!" 
Steven Curtis Chapman  : Wow, that’s incredible. 
Philip : Bono is an interesting example here because [U2] tried intentionally not to be a "Christian rock band," even though some of the guys are strong Christians. Yet he came to a point where he said in USA Today, "We live in this crazy celebrity culture. Like an athlete, I’ve got the attention of the world; so what matters most? To me what matters most is the continent of Africa, AIDS and the debt and the poverty these people live under." It’s actually the most Christian continent in a lot of ways. "So I’m going to use this crazy platform I have because I play music and use it for things I believe in." 
He wasn’t doing that 10-15 years ago, and all these Christians were wondering, "Are they still Christians?" But he’s very strategic. He waited until his credentials were secure. He can walk into George Bush’s office as he does because he didn’t get pigeon-holed as a Christian rock musician. But now he’s matured, and he’s saying, "How am I a steward of this crazy celebrity culture?" link

Bevak's book offers Manning's version, in a section called "U2, Grandma, and Butterscotch Pies":

When Brennan Manning shares his life story in public, the Spirit of God often moves people to tears and to their knees.  Upon rising from prayer, many people, including members of the legendary rock group U2 are never the same.
Manning, author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, is renowned for hid down-to-earth manner of comforting people with the good news about God's love.
We sit down together during our interview, and he tells me a couple of great stories  
One day he was asked to meet personally with U2 guitarist Dave Evans, otherwise known by his stage name "The Edge," because he needed some spiritual advice.  The guitarist was anxiously striving to be faithful to God, but was worried about how to have a meaningful prayer life.  He told Manning he wanted to be the best guitarist in the world.  But would that goal make him arrogant?  This was not a characteristic he wanted to have as a sincere disciple of God.
"I assured The Edge that his heart's desire to be the best guitarist in the world was borne out of God's wonderful love and will for him and his life," explains Manning.
The author gave him some practical advice.
God gives each one of us an array of talents and a burning passion to strive for excellence so that we may reflect glory and praise back to our Creator who formed us in our mother's womb in the first place, says Manning.  As the guitarist contemplated Manning's advice, it transformed his prayer life and he experienced God's peace in a way he had never felt before.  -pp 166-67 of  Trudy Beyak's  "The Mother Heart of God: Unveiling the Mystery of the Father's Maternal Love."  

Monday, March 02, 2015

the tweet heard 'round the world

Quite a story below...and yes, I'm going to tweet it(:


How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco's Life : NY Times

by Jon Ronson
As she made the long journey from New York to South Africa, to visit family during the holidays in 2013, Justine Sacco, 30 years old and the senior director of corporate communications at IAC, began tweeting acerbic little jokes about the indignities of travel. There was one about a fellow passenger on the flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport:“ ‘Weird German Dude: You’re in First Class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.’ — Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank God for pharmaceuticals.”Then, during her layover at Heathrow:“Chilly — cucumber sandwiches — bad teeth. Back in London!”And on Dec. 20, before the final leg of her trip to Cape Town:“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
She chuckled to herself as she pressed send on this last one, then wandered around Heathrow’s international terminal for half an hour, sporadically checking her phone. No one replied, which didn’t surprise her. She had only 170 Twitter followers.

Sacco boarded the plane. It was an 11-hour flight, so she slept. When the plane landed in Cape Town and was taxiing on the runway, she turned on her phone. Right away, she got a text from someone she hadn’t spoken to since high school: “I’m so sorry to see what’s happening.” Sacco looked at it, baffled.Then another text: “You need to call me immediately.” It was from her best friend, Hannah. Then her phone exploded with more texts and alerts. And then it rang. It was Hannah. “You’re the No. 1 worldwide trend on Twitter right now,” she said.  -continued