October 27, 2009

The Long Silence

It's been mighty silent over here, I know. I have some many thoughts rolling around in my head I'd love to write about and talk about even more. But, as some of you know, I preparing to transition into a new phase of life. My residency at First Baptist Austin ends this May and so deadlines are rearing their ugly heads. Immediate goals are two fold and coalesce into what I'd love to do next. The most time consuming suck on my life right as of the last month and will continue until Nov. 23rd at 8am is preparation for the GRE. The reason...well, to apply to doctoral programs at various schools focusing mostly on political theology, ethics, missional theology, ecclesiology, economics, and the like. PhD app's to the schools I'm looking at are Dec. 15 and Jan. 15. Thus, trying to prepare for the GRE as well as research the schools and applications, has taken most of my blogging time.

Also, some exciting opportunities are happening around my residency come November. Besides the loathed aforementioned test, I am sharing my formation story with my church community Nov. 8th Agape meal, where we gather to eat together and worship Christ in our presence. Also, on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29 I am preaching. The lectionary Gospel text is apocalyptic, and since I like a good challenge, I think I'm sticking with it, Luke 21:25-36. If I can manage to make the sermon accessible, I'll title it, "Living Violently in a Peaceful World," but we'll see.

So, I promise I'll return to this place for some rejoinder on the relationship to faith and science, on epistemological humility, Zizek, Bonhoeffer, politics, and maybe even why I'd title a sermon, "Living Violently in a Peaceful World."

Religious Flowchart

I thought this was too good not to share. Enjoy:


October 21, 2009

The World Exhausts its Rage

This love of God for the world does not withdraw from reality into noble souls detached from the world, but experiences and suffers the reality of the world at its worst. The world exhausts its rage on the body of Jesus Christ.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics.

October 18, 2009

Evangelical & Mainline Culture Shock

Here's a funny look at the culture shock, from both sides in ways that's a little snarky but light hearted, on the divide between evangelicals and mainlines. What would you add? via Tribal Church.

•Even though they love the environmental aspects of the screen, they might break out into a bit of a cold sweat when they see it in the sanctuary.

•They might bring their Bibles to church. Do not be alarmed when you see the book. Try not to stare. And don’t worry. They will figure out quickly that they’re not supposed to bring it.

•Their personal Bible in their pew does give them a little comfort because they can’t immediately tell the difference between hymnal, prayer book, and Bible in the pew. They will pick up the wrong one. At least until they figure out that no one else really follows along with the readings, because they are the only ones who know how to look them up.

•If they’re particularly moved by a solo, they will clap following it. Once. Until they figure out that it’s not okay. Then they will die a little bit inside.

•They never missed a Sunday at church growing up, but they don’t know the Apostle’s Creed. They are the ones mumbling “watermelon” when the rest of the congregation is proudly articulating every word.

•They might say “Amen” after the pastor says it. It’s just a reflex. And don’t laugh at them if they use “just” in their prayers. At least they know how to pray in public.

•They are the people who would rather leave their right arm than leave their email address.

•They may not have been going to church for the last ten years, because they were afraid that they couldn’t afford it.

•If they happen into a denominational church during Stewardship Sunday, they may never come back. Only because, in their mind, asking for money is what church is about every Sunday.

•If they hear how much your church is involved with helping the homeless and poor, then they will start to breathe. And they might be able to leave something in the offering.

•If you mention that your church supports LGBTs, then the muscles in their neck will loosen. They will be utterly confused, but very relieved.

•They are confused by communion. They might not have even ever participated in communion before.

•If someone tries to hug during the passing of the peace, they will have finely-developed defense mechanisms in order to shield themselves from the Holy Spirit chest crunch.

•If the pastor learns their name after a couple of weeks, they just might faint dead away.

•If the church has a discussion about having a “contemporary” worship service in order to reach out to more people, they will assume that you’re trying to get their parents to come to your church.

October 12, 2009

Columbus Day, a Hard Pill to Swallow

From the journal of Christopher Columbus:

In all the world, there is no better people nor better country. They love their neighbors as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and are always laughing.

They… brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned … They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance … They would make fine servants … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

As an explorer, Columbus was not the first to reach the Western Hemisphere. Native Americans had been here for 10,000-20,000 years, and Vikings and Chinese are among those others who hold prior claims. Even after four attempts, Columbus never realized his goal of finding a western ocean route to Asia. As a “founding father type figure” he never set foot in what is now considered America but landed in the present day Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti. As a Christian example he enacted terrible cruelties to friendly natives: assuming unlawful rights of authority; robbing and subjugating whole nations of their freedom and entire capital; allowing his men to rape, murder and pillage at will; and deliberately leading the way for the genocide of millions, considered by many to be the worst demographic catastrophe in recorded history.

So why do Americans celebrate Columbus Day?

Read the rest.

For a fuller history lesson on Columbus and the atrocities committed by him and his voyagers, see Eliacin's blog for a longer passage from a A People' History of The United States.

October 6, 2009

Everything is OK

Interesting indirect communication, I liked it.

October 1, 2009

Some Banksy Animations

Pete Rollins posted these over at this blog, and I found his reflection true. The true power and beauty of Banksy, a Christian anarchist, is his anti-celebrity, his anonymity, and his powerful artwork...which is more powerful because of the first two things. To quote Rollins:
In a world where, to quote Kierkegaard, leadership so often reflects the tyrant (the one who leads from their ego) it is rare to find leaders who are martyrs (who have laid down their ego and are driven by something greater).

Pass this on!