Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Savage Xmas 2010

It's a new tradition - my yearly mix. I haven't been around on my own blog lately, partly because I am not really sure what blogging means for me right now. But I thought in the mean time it would fun to post this and see what anyone thinks. These don't necessarily have to be brand new songs in 2010, just songs that I felt kept reoccurring for me or that I kept going back to or became important for me at particular moments. But a lot of them are new. Enjoy!

At the Beach
The Avett Brothers

City with no Children
The Arcade Fire

Take Everything
Greg Laswell

Evening Kitchen
Band of Horses

On the Table
In the Pines

John Coltrane

O Holy Night
Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings

The Underdog

Break of Burn
John Mckenna

All the Earth
Redemption Church

Compared to What
John Legend

Angel Dance
Robert Plant

The Woman at the Well
Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings

Sister Rosetta Goes before Us
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Sigh no More
Mumford and Sons

Drive-by Truckers

Smile, Smile, Smile
Sam Billen and Josh Atkinson

Holy, Holy, Holy
Sufjan Stevens

Up on a Mountain
The Welcome Wagon


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dont' Tell

There's a story in the bible about the time when Jesus was on his way to heal the daughter of a man named Jairus. He was on His way when another person, a woman who has been hemorrhaging for twelve years need some help. While Jesus was helping this woman, the little girl died. Of course, this was no big deal for Jesus. He went over to Jairus' house and told the child to arise and she did. Apparently to Jesus was only sleeping.

My question has to do with what Jesus does at the end of this story. He tells them not to tell anyone about what happened. It's likely that they did not listen to Him, although we can't be certain. But by this time there was already a buzz in the air about Jesus and so they would have known that he had come to there house. He couldn't do that quietly. And I'm sure that everyone in Jairus' household had questions once they saw the little girl running around the next day. So, we can be as certain as we can that the word spread about what Jesus did.

So, here's my question. What can we learn from this about how we go about bearing witness to the Kingdom of God?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Week with Schmemann

Since I get to read Alexander Schmemann's For the Life of the World for a class I am taking, I thought I'd share some of the goods.

"[Humans] understand all this instinctively if not rationally. Centuries of secularism have failed to transform eating into something strictly utilitarian. Food is still treated with reverence. A meal is still a rite--the last 'natural sacrament' of family and friendship, of life that is more than 'eating' and 'drinking.' To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that 'something more' is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh, boy ...

I know Hauerwas says that "best" and "worst" are not theological categories but can we make an exception!?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Now more than ever...

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so love us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us." -1 John 4:7-12

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

von Balthsar ... yep

"What is specifically Christian about Christianity? Never in the history of the Church have Christian thinkers thought it ultimately adequate to answer this question by pointing to a series of mysteries one is required to believe; instead, they have always aimed at a point of unity that would serve to provide a justification for the demand for faith. They sought a logos (read "love") that, however particular it might be, nevertheless had the power to persuade, and indeed overwhelm."

Mmmm ... that's good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ummm ... yeah, this is a good quote

"The fatal conceit for Judaism is to believe that the market governs the totality of our lives, when it in fact governs only a limited part of it, that which concerns the goods we think of as being subject to production and exchange. There are things fundamental to being human that we do not produce; instead we receive from those who came before us and from God Himself. And there are things that we may not exchange, however high the price." -- Jonathan Sacks

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jenson on the Church

I still not sure what I think about Robert Jenson's words about the church in the second volume of his systematic theology. Any thoughts?

"Christ is personally the second identity of God, and the totus Christus [total Christ, or whole Christ] is Christ with the church; therefore the church is not in the same way an opus ad extra [something extra as in something other than God] as is the creation, even when it [the creation] is perfected in God."

Does he put the church too close to the divine or is he giving a broader understanding of "Christ?"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Good quote on language

Okay, so this quote kinda came out of left field for me. I was listening to NPR's weekend edition today and they were interviewing Robyn, the Swedish Pop singer who had a few hits in the US back in the day. She is still way popular in Europe. Anyways, she was asked why she writes her songs in English and what she said blew me away.

"When you know a language really well, it's almost like you stop questioning what you're really doing."

It's likely that Robyn doesn't really know the full weight of what she said. When one thinks about "language" and "question" in a theological or philosophical way, this quote gains some momentum.

My first thoughts turned to the reality of Christian worship because that is where I think language and questioning are most valuable. Christian worship poses the question par excellence in the form of a cross (crux probat omnia). The cross is the language of Christian worship. Most of the time we think that worship is about our words to God. It's not. It's about His words to us, although we do speak. We speak in the form of response. We speak when spoken to, in a sense. The other side of this is to say that language without an end (telos) is mere rhetoric (words for words sake). Christian worship is charged with language that is going somewhere. It has an end and it speaks to it. We speak the language of Christian worship (another language, a Kingdom language) so as to not forget what we really doing.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Hello, Facebook? This is Blogger

So I figured out how to link my blog to my Facebook page. Please, hold your applause. It's yet to be determined if this means anything. I have been discouraged as of late to do any kind of blogging mostly because blogging is fun when people read it and write comments. I've hear theories on how to increase you blogs traffic but to be honest the suggestions sound exhausting. Basically what it comes down to is that I don't blog frequently enough on my own blog, nor do I get my name out there enough on other blogs so that people can track the link back to my site. I told you--exhausting. Blogging is curious animal. I supposed in the end the reason I still blog is because I hope the people who read it find something helpful in it. I suppose that might be why a lot of other people do it as well. At the very least it can be a good discipline to help spread the word on a good thought or raise awareness on this we need to be thinking about. Sometimes you do it for no other reason than that you are hoping somebody is listening.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Annie Dillard

"Why are we reading if not in hopes that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?"


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Spiritual Formation : Identity : Vocation

This summer my church is going to be reading Robert Benson's new book The Echo Within. We'll be spending a few weeks on vocation and identity.

I'm wondering what books have been influential for people on this topic? I'm talking about the kind of books that expose you, undo you, take you a part and show you who you really are, and then show you another path to walk. Books that are not theologically formational (I suppose in the proper sense) but formational in more of a personal way.

One book that I want to spend some time with here real soon is Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak. Another book I read a while back that I really loved was Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey. I think Gilead by Marilynne Robinson might be one of those for me as well.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

I thought I might jot down a few of my favorite things to do in KC ... a work in progress (and in no particular order). I should clarify, though, that I am no expert of all things KC. I have only lived here for about five years so my knowledge of the town is relative to that. And I don't make it a priority to "experience" everything. So, there's my disclaimer.

McCoy's Public House and Brew. McCoy's is iconic for me. It was one of the first places I latched on to when we moved to KC in 2005. I enjoy everything about this place.

Blackdog Coffeehouse. I'm actually in Blackdog as I write this. I don't really know what it is about this place but I love it. The coffee is good and inexpensive. There is almost always space to sit. Free internet. There's a good variety of people filtering in and out.

Kansas City Mafia History. Okay this is a little bit of a different "favorite thing." Anybody can read about this, but I mention it here because it was here where I was first exposed and drawn into it. I remember being at work and opening the newspaper on the anniversary of the Union Station Massacre. I was in!

Loose Park. I've walked, read, played ultimate Frisbee, and even almost witnessed a mugging all at this park (we got to lady only seconds after her muggers escaped). But don't let the mugging fool you, it's a great place. It's a big park that let's you forget for a while that you're in the city. There's a play ground, a rose garden, a pond (with ducks) and even some nature tours. And there's enough space to lay a blanket on the ground far enough away from people where you can find some solitude.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I can't say that I go here a lot nor that I have an extensive knowledge of art. Most of the time I am simply happy that this is here in KC for me to visit whenever I want. I find freedom in knowing that I could escape for a while to a place like this even if I don't do it a lot. However, I have visited it a number of times and love the environment and what it does to me.

Rainy Day Books. I mostly like this book store because they do these author events where we have been able to hear people like Anne Lamott and Frank McCourt. I really enjoy these.

Half Price Books. When it comes to book stores I always begin here. They always have something I want, not that I necessarily buy it. And they have pretty good deals to.

Kansas Skies. One of the things we noticed about life in Kansas is that the skies are beautiful! I can't say they compare to some of the sights I grew up with living in California (ocean sunsets still take the cake). But Kansas skies are right up there. There is something about the way the clouds move and take shape. And the colors! The way the green lights up as the sun reflects on the clouds and illuminates everything. It's awesome!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Romans Resources

Okay ... I'm in the middle of read through Romans with my community group and I am wondering about resources. I'm looking for anything and everything--Books, articles, audio lectures and sermons, etc. I'm particularly interested in the audio stuff. Is there anything out there?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marilynne Robinson

Since Marilynne Robinson is coming to KC here real soon, I thought I would post the very creative and moving opening paragraph of Gilead.

"I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I'm old, and you said, I don't think you're old. And you put your hand in my hand and you said, You aren't very old, as if that settled it. I told you you might have a very different life from mine, and form the life you've had with me, and that would be a wonderful thing, there are many ways to live a good life. And you said, Mama already told me that. And then you said, Don't laugh! because you thought I was laughing at you. You reached up and put your fingers on my lips and gave me that look I never in my life saw on any other face besides your mother's. It's a kind of furious pride, very passionate and stern. I'm always a little surprised to find my eyebrows unsinged after I've suffered one of those looks. I will miss them."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Parker Palmer

"In the tradition of pilgrimage, those hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself. Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall, getting lost -- challenges of that sort, largely beyond our control can strip the ego of the illusion that it is in charge and make space for true self to emerge. If that happens, the pilgrim has a better change to find the scared center he or she seeks. Disabused of our illusions by much travel and travail, we awaken one day to find that the sacred center is here and now -- in every moment of the journey, everywhere in the world around us, and deep within our own hearts."

Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak, 18.

Friday, April 23, 2010

For Sunday: Luke 10:38-42

Any thoughts on this?

"Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman name Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparation; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rohr on Wisdom

"Without exception, all of the wisdom traditions would insist that this wisdom is given and not taken, waited for and not demanded, having much more to do with long-term willingness than mere willfulness."

Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (page 63).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mumford and Sons

I discovered Mumford and Sons through Jamie Smith's blog ... So, thanks to him for posting about them! I am really digging this band right now and I wanted to share just two of their songs for now.

The first one is called "Sigh No More." Here are the lyrics ...

Serve God love me and men
This is not the end
Live unbruised we are friends
And I'm sorry
I'm sorry

Sigh no more, no more
One foot in sea, one on shore
My heart was never pure
you know me
you know me

And man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing

Love that will not betray you,
dismay or enslave you,
It will set you free
Be more like the man
you were made to be.
There is a design,
An alignment to cry,
At my heart you see,
The beauty of love
as it was made to be

It starts out slow and builds towards this lyrically beautiful climax, not that I don't also love the way it sounds! There's not a really good video out there that I could find, but I think you'll get the point. Enjoy!

The other song is called "Little Lion Man." For some reason when I hear this song I think about my own son. Here are the lyrics ...

Weep for yourself, my man,
you'll never be what is in your heart
weep little lion man,
you're not as brave as you were at the start
rate yourself and rake yourself,
take all the courage you have left
wasted on fixing all the problems
that you made in your own head

but it was not your fault but mine
and it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
didn't I, my dear?
didn't I, my...

tremble for yourself, my man,
you know that you have seen this all before
tremble little lion man,
you'll never settle for any of your scores
your grace is wasted in your face,
your boldness stands alone among the wreck
learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck

Here's the official video. Note ... if you read the lyrics you know that there's one word in there you might not want your kids to hear so make sure they aren't in the room when you listen.

Kathleen Norris, Metaphor, and the Book of Revelation

I recently read this in Kathleen Norris's book The Cloister Walk and absolutely loved it. The quote comes at the end of a chapter where she has been reflecting on the time when St. John's (the Abbey at which she is an oblate) read John's Apocalypse straight through one morning. She found that reading it lectio style made the vision and the metaphors come alive. Insightfully she notes that "the images of apocalypse are meant to make us uncomfortable" (213), that it takes us "beyond the bounds of language and custom" (214). But it's what she says at the end the grabs my gut, heart, and head.
"Dragons within, dragons without. Evil so pervasive that only the poetry of apocalypse can imagine its defeat. And to do that it takes us to the limits of metaphor, of human sense, the limits of imagining and understanding. It pushes us against all our boundaries and suggest that the end of our control--our ideologies our plans, our competence, our expertise, our professionalism, our power--is the beginning of God's reign. It asks us to believe that only the good remains, at the end, and directs us toward carefully tending it here and now. We will sing a new song. Singing and praise will be all that remains. As a poet, that's a vision, and I promise, I can live with."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

N.T. Wright and friends at Wheaton

When I first heard that a whole slew of theological brainiacs where going to be a part of a conference at Wheaton in April I soooo wanted to go. Alas, the Lord works in mysterious ways and prevented me from attending a conference and instead granted me a gift in visiting family in California as we mourned and celebrated the death of a grandma. Nevertheless, you could imagine how happy I was when I discovered that I could listen to many of the lectures online! Thanks to those who made it possible for us to glean from the conference through these audio recordings!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Day of Prayer

Is it really that big of deal that the White House canceled the ecumenical ceremony usually held at the White House? It seems that most people think the entire day has been canceled, but it hasn't. Only the ecumenical ceremony has. Why does this bother people?

Jennifer Knapp

It's hard for me to tell who knows about Jennifer Knapp or not. If her "coming out" is flying more or less under the radar, it is only a matter of time. However, given her interview with Christianity Today, I am certain that word is out. I wonder how people will react to her? How did you react to this? Did it shock you? Or are you not surprised that more and more Christians are coming out about their sexuality (Ted Haggard and Ray Boltz)?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sleep Talking Man

Have you ever heard of the blog called Sleep Talking Man? No? Well, here's what it is ... it's a blog about a man who ... get this .. .talks in his sleep! No kidding. It's pretty funny, go check it out. I will say, though, that he can be rather "colorful," as they say. So, if that offends you don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's how you can find this site. (1) Click the link about called "Sleep Talking Man". (2) Go to my sidebar and click the link "Sleep Talking Man." (3) Open up a new web page and type in the words sleeptalkingman.blogspot.com.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Acedia & Me

A couple of weeks ago I started reading Kathleen Norris’s new book Acedia and Me. My introduction to Norris was in college where I had to read The Cloister Walk for class. I have to admit that I wasn’t that in to reading her stuff back then. Although I am certain that my disinterest had less to do with her than with me. CW is a spiritual autobiography of sorts tracking, as she calls it, her “immersion into the liturgical world.” She makes her way through the early church fathers such as Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great, and Gregory the Great. She talks about the “mystics” such as Hildegard of Bingen. She also spends time working through the Rule of Saint Benedict. CW is a wonderful account of a Protestant becoming familiar with her own ancient tradition.

In Acedia and Me
she tackles a particular subject found all through the Christian tradition. Acedia is a difficult thing to define. The short version definition is lack of care. She says, “the person afflicted with acedia refuses to care or is incapable of doing so.” She likens it to a kind of “spiritual morphine” that not only stifles our desire for God and one another but our desire to take care of our selves (3). Suddenly nothing seems worth it. Making the bed every day is pointless since you will just climb back in at night and ruin what you have done. Worse is the loss of desire to sleep at night and wake up the morning. Modern psychology has often confused laziness and sloth and even depression with Acedia. Part of this has to do with the fact that Acedia as a word/concept went under the radar for so long. Perhaps what doctors and therapists have tried to treat with medication required a more “spiritual” form of direction. Norris always seems to go back to fixed-hour prayer and the Psalms.

Norris is not trying to establish an either/or between Acedia and whatever we have discovered through medicine and psychology. Rather, she wants to recover the idea that part of our depression, laziness, sloth, boredom, etc is not so easily resolved with medication, or even a swift kick in the pants. There is a formational aspect to health and wholeness that Acedia names quite well. Of course, naming is not the name of the game. Naming our conditions helps, but there is also overcoming them, which requires an end to which we must go, a self that is possible. At this point Norris talks about being the image of God

Acedia, however, is not to be confused with the dark night of the soul, as many call it. What troubled Saint John of the cross, and even Mother Teresa, cannot be labeled acedia. Lacking the felt presence of God is not Acedia, for often time we still long/desire for God and we maintain a sense of what we must do in this life in terms of caring for our others as well as ourselves.

So, that’s the jist of what she is talking about. It’s a good and timely read, I think. Shifting gears a little, I do want to leave with a quote that seems apt to our present digital/virtual age. On the one hand, I couldn’t help but wonder how many us just simply don’t care; I mean really don’t care. On the other hand, in light of the recent political divide in the United States, could it be that many are fighting of the despair of acedia because they hope for something better? Although this quotes ends on a somber note, it’s very revealing. Anyways ...

“When acedia has so thoroughly possessed us, making life seem so dull that only artificial stimulation can get our attention, it may be crazy to suggest that the ordinary rhythms of time, the passing of day and night, have something to teach us, or that there is a world to be revealed when the mall is closed, the electric power has failed, and it is too dark to see anything but shadows and stars. Cast back on our lonely, raw, and wounded selves, we may find the nobody is home.”

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Rising

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Come on up for the rising
Com on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Spirits above and behind me
Faces gone, black eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood forever bind me
Lord as I stand before your fiery light

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of the line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (a dream of life)

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

-Bruce Springsteen


And then there was something...

Sunday, March 07, 2010


A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, "Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?" And he answered and said to him, "Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not cut it down."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Richard Hays

I recently came across an interview of Richard Hays where he was asked this question: "What are some of the best places in your view to study the New Testament today?"

His response was perfect. "First of all, the NT is best studied in a community of prayer, worship, and service, where it is taken not merely as a museum piece but as a living word that calls us to account."

Of course, he understood what the question implied and went on to list several top notch university and doctoral programs. Nevertheless, he understands that "the academy" exits to serve the church. For a good conversation on this, read James K. A. Smith's Desiring the Kingdom.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

B.J. Thomas

He get's it right ...

"Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be."


Here are three songs that have been stuck in my head for awhile now ...

Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead