September 30, 2008

Rattle Canned Car

Here's my car, all these places you see here used to be rust pots. It's already dirty, the flat black is still pretty gritty so it attracts dirt. It looks much better then it used to when it was rusty and faded black.

September 29, 2008

Check Your Facts Pundits

I believe this election is very important for our nation, that is why we must pay attention to what is being said, how its being said, and what is not being said. Hopefully you are watching the debates (the VP: Biden/Palin is this Thursday), and then checking the facts. Which brings me to my point for posting. Check out FactCheck, a site "holding politicians accountable."

ACL Fest '08

My first thought is why haven't I been to more of these! Even though there were alot of complaints about the lineup not being as strong as in past festivals, I really enjoyed my two days in Zilker Park. So apparently this is one of the reasons to love Austin and overall I thought it was great.

Here's a list of the bands I saw (I missed Friday completely):
Man Man/ CSS/ Erykah Badu/ City and Colour/ MGMT/ Spiritualized/ ConorOberst and the Mystic Valley Band/ Iron and Wine/ Robert Plant & Alison Krauss/ Beck
Sunday: Flyleaf/ Against Me/ Colour Revolt/ Okkervil River/ Raconteurs/ Gnarls Barkley/ Foo Fighters

I had a blast at the Foo Fighters venue. My wife and I crammed in with the first clump of about 150 people near the stage of about 60,000, which made all the difference. I also really enjoyed Plant/Krauss, Iron and Wine, Colour Revolt, Spiritualized, Beck, Raconteurs, and City and Colour.

September 21, 2008

Ended up Nicely

This weekend was pretty productive for some "around the house" type duties. Although we still need a new vacuum cleaner (ours of 5 years died a violent and smelly death)...(I guess this is what happens when you own a husky), I did get a few things done I've been meaning to for a while.

1) I made several hundred dollars from cleaning out some spare parts from the garage and posting them on ebay. Now I have a cleaner garage and some cash in my pocket.

2) I put a new speed control sensor and o2 sensor in the 5.0. I drove the beast around for about half an hour. There are still some kinks to get worked out, but with some new cash in my pocket I think I'll finally just put it in a shop.

3) My favorite and most ghetto activity of the weekend. Dropped about 80 bucks on a brand new paint job. That's right 80 bucks! Well, my 4 banger Mustang is a piece and has (no wait, had) many rust spots. These cars keep their value, but their only worth their body and chassis shape. Thus, I spent several hours sanding and grinding off rust from the car. With the bare metal exposed, I rattle canned some Krylon Rust prevention primer with zinc, then some Krylon semi-black paint. My entire afternoon and evening was consumed by this job, but now I must say that the semi-flat black Mustang looks much better then the rust and faded black (pic's forthcoming). You can take me out of the ghetto...

September 20, 2008

Rollins & Bonhoeffer in Coversation

"The argument can be made naming church is never really naming church but only our understanding of church." *I have taken the liberty in the quotations from Rollins to replace "God" with "church" in light of Bonhoeffer's discussion on the church as revelation.

The funny thing about revelation for Rollins is that although it may be the opposite of concealment, it still has concealment built into it. He tests his case by showing the various and even contradictory forms of God revealed throughout the testimony of the Scriptures do not paint a complete or clear picture of God for every case. "Hence, revelation ought not to be thought of either as that which makes church known or that which leaves church unknown but rather as the overpowering light that renders church known as unknown."

Rollins states, "Consequently, we do not do theology (church) but rather are overcome and transformed by it; we do not master it, but are mastered by it." We must be willing to give up our talk about God and the church, or hold it loosely for the church to overcome us. I'm concerned that the emerging church conversation has become a place to master church, instead of be mastered by it. We are grateful and appreciated or generous enough to appreciate the ancient church, but too bitter to do the same for the modern church.

In line with Rollins' thinking about God, the church is not an object to be studied, replicated, etc. Rather, she is a subject to be in faithful relationship, understood not through study but experience, an experience with reality that transforms reality, not describes it.

Thus, God or the church as revelation can be met through the a/theistic religious community or church. Instead of a gross fundamentalism that excludes all other interpretations of reality that differ from one's own, "the a/theistic approach can be seen as a form of disbelieving what one believes, or rather believing in church, while remaining dubious concerning what one beleives about church."

September 19, 2008

That was weird

I just checked out Mark Driscoll's new site. Huh, well, it was definitely weird.

September 17, 2008

Bonhoeffer & Rollins in Conversation

In his PhD. dissertation, Sanctorum Communio (SC) Bonhoeffer (DB) writes a sociological/theological account of the church and community. Instead of arguing for a narrow individualism, DB argues that humans exist as communal beings. This does not take away from the uniqueness of individuals, but rather highlights it.
The individual personal spirit lives solely by virtue of sociality, and the ‘social spirit’ becomes real only in individual embodiment. (SC)
DB then explicates a very helpful understanding of sin as both individual and communal so that guilt lies within both realms evenly (which I believe is a very important theological statement to make).

Thus, sin is not a biological problem, but a societal and individual problem. Every individual falls into sin, thus making the human race fall into sin anew. So here is where the church comes in:
It is 'Adam', a collective person who can only be superceded by the collective person 'Christ existing as church-community.' (SC)
The reality of the church is to be either denied or trusted, because it is by nature revelation. By nature man is capable of sin, not church which is understood by Bonhoeffer to be the presence of Christ.
Thus, everyone beomces guilty by their own strength and fault, because they themselves are Adam; each person, however, is reconciled apart from their own strength and merit, because they themselves are not Christ. (SC)
These thought by Bonhoeffer will be helpful when I bring Pete Rollins into the conversation. We'll need to remember that the church when it exists, exists not by the actions of 'Adam', but instead by the revelation of Christ, the church is Christ and Christ is the church. There is much that can be said here, but our focus is that whatever may be said of the church, it is the real presence of God in the world through the revelation of God himself.

Let's Eat Plastic!

This isn't an invitation, but rather a reality. Check out this scary swarm of plastic garbage floating in the middle of the Pacific...oh, did I mention that its twice the size of Texas!!! For those think that fish eating plastic wouldn't effect us, why do you think there are more cancers and more cancer now then ever?

September 14, 2008

Emerging Church Fundamentalism

I wonder if the way the church is talked about in the emerging missional church (EMC) conversation is related to fundamentalism. Because the emerging church can be complex and multifaceted, I'm not necessarily talking about any one thing. As a matter of fact I'm not talking about a thing or doctrine at all, but rather a way of thinking. Truly that's what fundamentalism is, a way of thinking (as noted by Pete Rollins in How (not) to Speak of God).

Rollins describes fundamentalism as holding a "belief system in such a way that it mutually excludes all other systems, rejecting other views in direct proportion to how much they differ from one's own." From my own experience in the EMC conversation, it seems that many who are going through the deconstruction process or are simply in the conversation can be the most excluding group of people when it comes to ecclesiology, writing off in a reactionary fashion any forms of the modern church.

Could it be possible that we've been so careful to have a generous orthodoxy, that we cannot have a generous ecclesiology toward the churches and institutions that have parented our faith. In a forthcoming post I'm going to bring together the thought of Bonhoeffer who claims the church is revelation and thus Christ and Peter Rollins who claims that Christians must be a/theists and "not master theology but be mastered by it." Or maybe that Christians must not master the church, but be mastered by it.

September 13, 2008

Graphic Tax Cuts

Proposed tax cuts from blue and red camps. via.

Check the link out to see the graph in more detail. This tool was helpful for me to see the reality, especially that the top richest few will benefit the most from the dem's. Interesting.

Books in the Political Season

Amazon has a really interesting way of tracking the "redness" or "blueness" of book buying. Check it out.

September 12, 2008

Holistic Christianity: Bonheoffer

Our being Christian today will be limited to two things: prayer and righteous action among humanity.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


September 11, 2008

Theology, please conversate with Science!

When theology, biblical studies, and science are not in conversation (which they must always be to be a responsible theologian), then sites and folks like this do things like this:
Please take the time and read the material provided on this website. We are here to help. If you or a loved one is suffering from Homosexuality don't hesitate to send them our way. Please Email us with any questions or thoughts.
(from, their new site
Check out this article on brain development and homosexuality. I'll declare up front I don't know where I stand on the issue of homosexuality, but I can tell you two things. We Christians MUST address the issue in humility and must change the way we have addressed the issue in the past (or should I say present). Secondly, we in our humility we must listen to other voices on this issue. For me, it is important whether or not homosexuals are born gay or not. If they are or at least some are then this is a classic case of our theology needing to listen to science.

What happens when we ignore science? Well, ask Galileo who was thrown into prison by the church for supporting Copernicus' claim that the planets revolve around the sun, not the earth and the pope.

In their study of 25 straight men, 25 straight women, 20 gay men, and 20 gay women, the neurologists at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, found that
Savic was able to demonstrate highly statistically significant differences between straight and gay brains. Gay and lesbian brains more closely resembled the brains of straight volunteers of the opposite sex than the brains of heterosexual members of the same sex.
Although Savic admits that her study cannot distinguish between genetic or prenatal intrauterine environmental changes, such as relative differences in sex hormone levels, her studies do suggest that our sexual preferences are, at least in large part, determined by the time of birth.
Interesting indeed. Read the rest.


September 10, 2008

7 Deadly Sins

For anyone in politics and the church, I bring you Gandhi's 7 deadly sins:
  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Science without Humanity
  • Knowledge without Character (interesting, one of my favorite quotes from MLK Jr. is "knowledge plus character equals education")
  • Politics without Principle
  • Commerce without Morality
  • Worship without Sacrifice

September 5, 2008

Authority in the Church

Following conversation sparked from some thoughts on Bonhoeffer and Adam's thoughts, I've been thinking about authority and pastoral identity. As a postmodern, I'm inclined to distrust and critique the modern creation known as the "pastor." Why? There are many reasons, but here's only a few.

Many pastors hold so much authority that they are held to higher standards than normal people. Catch that, we're even comfortable dislocating the pastor from the congregation, the lay people and the pastor, there again arises the sacred/secular divide. It seems that pastors, because they are given the spotlight can represent all that is bad or wrong with the church or must hold all that is good and right with it. This is simply too much responsibility for an individual, but rather authority must be carried in community.

Here's where I take issue with theologians like Moltmann who over emphasize the democratic nature of the church so much that any semblance of an authoritarian figure is bad. In reality our churches are full of busy people, thus there must be room for the church to appoint certain people to take care of ministerial and administrative duties.

Good Reformationists would say that authority lies in the Scripture, but the question is still who has the authority to interpret the Scripture: the pastor or people? I see a need for a healthy interplay between both. All communities will have leaders that hold more authority in the congregation, and it is healthy only when that person or group of persons is given that authority by the community. Authority ultimately lies in Christ working though the Holy Spirit represented by the whole of the church. Thus, not only must there be interplay between leaders and the community, but there must be interplay between communities of different theological, geographical, political, and socio-economic difference.

What are your thoughts on authority in the church, especially in light of "pastoral" identity?