Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"The answer to 'Why?' is...."

Maybe the answer to everything is 42.
But more than once a week at my house, I ask

                "Do you know why  [fill in the blank]?"

                                       The answer is always..well..
                                                        Watch  this  classic "Dream Team" clip.


Friday, January 15, 2016

welcoming refugees on the shore

For the record..and probably no surprise to anyone heteroclitic to be reading in this neighborhood of the interwebs, I can't endorse everything Franklin Graham  (of Samaritan's Purse) or Pat Robertson  (700 Club) says, but do check these powerful videos ..one from each ministry on groups welcoming refugees:
(link if first  video doesn't show) --- Second video: Jump to 12:12 and watch through 24:10: (link if  second video doesn't show_

Johnny Cash, Sting, and rifles that go off in our hands.. even when we are not in favor of it

Reading Rodney Clapp's wonderful "Johnny Cash and the American Contradiction: Christianity and the Battle for the Soul of a Nation",  I was caught off guard that in a list of "Cash's songs," was one I wasn't familiar with:

                                  "I Hung My Head."

The lyrics mention a rifle that "went off in my [the narrator's] hands."

I immediately connected that to a vintage U2 lyric  in

God Part II:


"I don't believe in the Uzzi; it just went off in my hands."

Knowing Bono is a huge Cash fan, I figured he was intentionally referencing the Cash song (After all, he references a Cockburn lyric in the same song  (and the title of course references Lennon's "God").

But then checking the footnotes in the book, I found that even though "I Hung My Head" was included in a lineage of Cash songs, it was a Sting-written song that Cash covered.  It is in the league of chilling covers from his late-era American Recordings (Drop eveything and watch "Hurt" for the definitive example) that Cash owned, and the listeners feel "how could Cash not have written that?!"

Here's the song-- by Sting, and as covered by Cash, and also by Springsteen.

I cite it as way of tipping you off if the song is also new to you;
also to get you into the "Violence and Peace" section of Clapp's book; which can be read (almost) in full on Google Books.  The section on the song at hand is p. 102ff   here.

Of course, some Christian fans will be freaked about yet another "controversial" Cash song or cover.
To those folks, I invite you to consider these clicks:

--Beth Maynard on "the naive thought that any artist who writes about sin must be in favor of it." - 

"Here is the easiest way to explain the genius of Johnny Cash: Singing from the perspective of a convicted murderer in the song ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’ Cash is struck by pangs of regret when he sits in his cell and hears a distant train whistle. This is because people on that train are ‘probably drinkin’ coffee.’ And this is also why Cash seems completely credible as a felon: He doesn’t want freedom or friendship with Jesus or a new lawyer. He wants coffee. Within the mind of a killer, complex feelings are eerily simple. This is why killers can shoot men in Reno just to watch them die and the rest of us usually can’t.
("Chuck Klosterman, "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs", page 186)

Sunday, January 03, 2016

U2 devotional #11: Paul Leader on surfing "Every Breaking Wave"

Paul Leader's blog always makes my day.  Here's an excerpt from his post on U2's "Every Breaking Wave."  This song is multiplex for me; heck even Bono has said he's not figured out how the story resolves.  Maybe some of the meaning "changes in the moment you're in" as Bono once said of rhema.  I have often connected it to Ephesians 4:14.

Paul has a great app on this song.

Every Breaking Wave.  
by Paul Leader
“Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave?”
One of the songs that has grabbed my attention on the new album is ‘Every Breaking Wave’. Many sermons/talks/blogs could be shared from this one song. The thought of stopping the chase after those breaking waves has stirred my heart in a strange way. You see through-out my Christian life I have been seeking out and chasing after the waves of revival and renewal. I have driven all over Britain to surf the waves of Toronto and Pensacola. Run after prophetic movements and went wherever I could sense a well of refreshing. I have created waves and read all the latest books on what the next move is going to look like, so I could have my surf board ready and primed to find the next contemporary breaking wave. But what was that all about in a life of constants? Was it pure escapism from the reality of life and the ordinary? Was it only the thought of a better, more exciting life that kept us going until the next weekend? While we sought out a more supernatural day, God showed us a more natural way, the way of living on earth in flesh. I ran the country hunting out other storm chasers, while I neglected the family and community God had placed me within. The waves became the focus rather than the people. Who cared if they were drowning as long as I was riding the biggest waves around. Thankfully I am no longer impressed by the fizz of waves. I realised that no matter how many waves there were, there would always be another one, and each one would always end up at the same place. I have stopped chasing after every breaking wave...    Link, full post