Thursday, July 21, 2005

Impression - A Slam Poem

Sometimes I sit on the roof of my house and read the kind of books that get you noticed. Sometimes I go to coffee shops and peer over the words of the page and watch people, and wonder who they are, and who their friends are while I sit, hating coffee and loving blueberry scones. I wish Orange Julius would become the coffee shop of our age.

I remember reading an old tattered copy of Wuthering Heights on a plane so that people would think I was intellegent, and interesting to talk to. Sometimes I sit and look at the books on my shelves and am proud of their diversity and number. I love to go to bookstores and look through the classics section so I seem well read but I never read cookbooks in public because I have a weight problem and it makes me look bad, like the only thing i am interested in is where and how to get more food. Books have a way of making an impression, a way of telling a story about the reader and I do read.

And what I read says that I hope for a spooky supernatural kind of love like Heathcliff and Catherine and that I dream of Gatsby's Green Lights and Ash Heaps. The books I read say that I have stood on Boo Radley's front porch and looked around at a place where, "I would be but little happy if I could say how much." I have seen the Phenomenal Woman, stood in the city by the sea, wept over the desolation that I found there, and I reached far in the distance Olympian Glory that Hercules saw when his labors were done.

You see, books have a way of making an impression, a way of telling a story about the reader.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Music - A Poetic Essayish Kind of Thing

Years ago, before the Wesley's and the Gospel hymns... the church sang only the Psalter. In lilting, haunting, melodies they sang out old Hebrew woe, and exaltation. It was the kind of music that made you ache inside, and beg for more of God...

The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want... He maketh me to lie down in green pastures... He leads me beside the still waters...

Fannie Crosby, Charles Wesley, Isasc Watts brought us the wonder of hymnody, story songs that connected the lives of Christians to the stories of Scripture. They painted word images powerful in the imagination, and just a lucid as any painted image. It was the kind of music that made you ache inside, and beg for more of God...

O Sacred Head now wounded, by grief and shame bowed down... now scornfully surrounded... with thorns, thy only crown...

This only recently gave way towards a new movement of music, scaled down from the orchestration of the past, simple ideas strung together with fearless devotion. These modern Psalms of Ascent mark a new journey for Christian persons. The kind of music that makes you ache inside, and beg for more of God...

Indescribable, uncontainable, you placed the stars in the sky and you call them by name, you are amazing God! All powerful, untameable, awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim, you are are amazing God...

Sadly however, you are forced to choose one or the other. You can have only one. God's people, are simply not creative enough to imagine both a guitar, an organ, and the schola in the same room. It must be one of the other... choose you this day...

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Budded Cross

So now that I am all moved into a new parsonage. I have created a prayer room and I bought a large cross for the wall. Oddly enough in my search for this cross I came across several that I didn't really want. Then, as I was looking through several wrought iron crosses, they suddenly all fell off the wall and behind them was the perfect cross I wanted. I took it home, and put it on the wall, and it was perfect...

In my reflections on this new cross since then I have realized that it is a particularly powerful symbol for this time of life. I used to have a cross on my bookbag when I first arrived at seminary. The cross on my bookbag was called a "Budded Cross" and it actually represents Christian immaturity, the tree before it is budded.

This new cross that found me... is made up of carved twined leaves and flowers. It is more than a tree that is budded, but a tree that is growing... and I am humbled... I wonder if I want to paint it... Make it an even more living symbol... Hmmmm...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

So, I finished it last night... all 652 pages...

It was beautiful, sweet, exciting, funny, brilliant, and terribly, terribly, sad. Truly among the best in the series. THANK YOU JK ROWLING!

I cannot say much more as I will not want to spoil the wonders for others who might wish to read. Instead, I will simply say that, part of the reason that I love the characters in these books so much is that, I realized they remind me of persons in my life.

I can't wait for the next book.

God Smack Greeting Cards - Greeting Cards from God

(Because I thought it would be a funny idea I started coming up with Greeting Cards from God. Thank you Jeana for the inspiration)

Cover -
In this time of sorrow just remember...
Inside -
It's all your own fault. How many ways do I have to say it? "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery"

Cover -
Happy Birthday
By the way, everyone knows you are lying about your age... especially me. So stop it.

Cover -
I have never seen anyone climb the ladder as fast as you have... so... why don't you tell me how disappointed are you now that you're at the top? Maybe I can help.

Cover -
Merry Christmas!
Inside -
I'm in the manger... not the shopping mall.

Cover -
Congratulations on your Confirmation
Inside -
I guess I won't be seeing you in church anymore?

Cover -
Happy Wedding Day!
Inside -
If you spend half as much time on the marriage as you did on the wedding you'll be okay...

Cover -
Happy Forth of July!
Inside -
By the way, just so you know... I care about the other countries too...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Rant Against the Church Corporate

Okay, so this one is a long time coming. I think if I had time I would create a conference built around the ideas that I am about to present to you. You see, I am sick to death of watching the church recreate God into a corporate image. We streamline him, we make him safe, accessable, and in many ways, the church has decided to act as his publicist, or campaign manager rather than pilgrims on an unsafe journey.

Consider for a moment the fact the people such as Joel Olsteens of the world who package God as though he were the first bright hope of self-actualization. According to his Billboards his church will help you "Release Your Inner Champion." Excuse me Joel, but last time I checked my inner champion looks out for his own perverse desires and to hell with God and everyone else. If I could do it on my own, as you so wickedly propose to our "be all you can be" culture, I would not need God to be my champion.

Look even futher however, at how we dress ourselves. In order to be cool and clever we take corporate logos and rework them with cute little christian messages for our t-shirts. In doing so, we adopt the ethos of the corporations whose symbols we are STEALING and are therefore now only on the earth to sell our religious product and make money. Our God technology that works for you is now proudly displayed to a culture that is saturated with advertising images to the point that we barely notice them anymore.

Meanwhile, Christian music, art, poetry, books, and any other form of cultural expression are sorrowfully following corporate trends. Boybands in fashion? Try the Christian Alternative. Grunge? Try the Christian alternative. It just a bit blander than the original.

Long ago artists and musicians like Bach and Michelangelo found thier own voice and spoke with it. God wanted to create something with them, not lead them copy someone else.

The church that allows itself to be tempted into the evil of the corporate businesslike, technological "Gospel Product" is in danger of losing it's soul to the powers of the world.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Widgets - I have to beat JD to the punch...

So I just had my computer updated... and let me tell you OS X Tiger is really really cool. The coolest new feature are this little devices called "Widgets!" They are little icons that give you information. I even downloaded one that will give me the song lyrics of whatever CD is in my diskdrive or whatever song I am playing on iTunes. Rock on!

This brings me to my point for the day and I think Bill Gates is not going to like me. Apple is tremendosly better than PC. It looks cooler, it has cooler features... Apple is the best computer ever.

I wish PC people knew the joy they are missing out on with their clumsy huge boxes of a computer. I mean think about it people. The very look of the computer says something about it. "Look, I'm a gray box.... A great big, hulking gray box that takes up alot of space at your desk. Aren't I boring... linear, modular, manufactured. I have no idea what style or imagination are... I am just one great big hulking calculator!"

Apples on the other hand are desinged, beautiful, portable, and livable. They practically breathe.

So PC people... turn away from your darkness and into the calm soothing light of the Apple!!!