Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the onion = amazing

I still have a regular old-school Nintendo that I bust out from time to time with the students from church, and while our original Nintendo is no more, towards the end of the reign of the first Nintendo after our first one busted, we bought the modified, space-saver edition. Anyway, I lived in a house which we called "Spreadgun" after the best gun in the first Contra game. We thought it was awesome, we made t-shirts with the blazing C from the Contra emblem made into an S with the word Spreadgun on the front. On the back of the shirt we had the code for 30 Lives (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, A, B, Start, or Select, Start for 2 Player). We thought we were so creative. Anyway, now that my dorkiness is all out in public. I couldn't help but crack up at this: Man Finally Unpauses 'Super Mario Bros.' After 18 Years of Chores. I can totally remember pausing the game for chores, sleep, or because I wasn't supposed to be playing and didn't want to lose the game (I mean, there was no saving games at that time.)

I didn't watch the dunk contest this year for the NBA, but I heard a lot about it, and this article made me laugh out loud: Nate Robinson Jumping Over Dwight Howard In Every Day Life.

And lastly, I thought Seth and Tim would like this t-shirt.

Monday, February 23, 2009

can't wait

I'm going to see The National in May, with a couple of high school folks, including the one and only Ben Owsley. It should be a lot of fun. Actually, it is going to be way more than fun, it might be one of the best concerts since I saw Sufjan a couple years back. I can't wait.

On a completely different note, but still something I am really looking forward to, one of my favorite philosophers/theologians is speaking as a part of The Leland Distinguished Speakers Series (previously N.T Wright) on Thursday night. His name is Peter Rollins. He's talking about his most recent book The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief, and the tour is called Lessons in Evandelism. It will be a provocative, fun, and thoughtful evening. Starts at 7:30 up in Arlington. If anyone is interested in coming with me, just let me know.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

life outside the church and fundamentalism

There are two posts from two of my favorite writers, thinkers, theologians and philosophers that I thought were important to point out.

First is part two of Brian Walsh's ongoing discussion how folks who are thinking in some progressive categories are frustrated with those who are "not getting it." In this post, he talks a lot about ways that the kingdom of God is being created outside of the walls of churches (and I'm not talking about buildings here). The hope is for an inspired and liberated imagination in contrast to an imperial imagination. Good stuff.

Second is a post from Peter Rollins. Rollins is one of my favorite current philosophers who is helping to explode the current paradigms of theology, philosophy, and the idolatry of conceptions of God. This post is titled: Fundamentalism isn't too violent, it isn't violent enough. Rollins points out that Dr. King and Mother Theresa are the true models of violence through pacifism ( I know, sounds crazy), by their willingness to follow to his most radical form of violence, that of pacifist subversion. Again good stuff.

If you like Rollins and live in the DC area, or simply want to be a part of a great conversationon February 26, 2009, he will be lecturing for the evening at Memorial Baptist Church in Arlington, VA as part of a distinguished speaker series for The John Leland Center for Theological Studies where I received my M.Div. The event is free, and from Leland they write:

The Leland Distinguished Speakers Series will present "Lessons in Evandelism: The Fidelity of Betrayal," a lecture by Peter Rollins on Thursday, on February 26, at 7:00 p.m. hosted by Memorial Baptist Church in Arlington.
Through a mix of parables, philosophy and discussion, Rollins will explore the current religious landscape of contemporary expressions of faith that claim to rethink Christianity for a new cultural epoch. He contends that what is needed are groups who offer a new way of thinking that not only challenges the way we express our faith but fundamentally ruptures the way we understand it. He will argue that these pockets of resistance represent a growing, organic movement that are proclaiming the death of God, church and religion as we know them in prepraration for their resurrection in a radically different form.
The author of How (Not) to Speak of God, The Fidelity of Betrayal, and an upcoming book of parables entitled, The Orthodox Heretic, Rollins is also the founder of ikon, a non-doctrinal, pub-based community in Ireland that offers a cocktail of live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theater, ritual and reflection in its exploration of contemporary faith and life. Rollins holds a Ph.D. in Post-Structural Theory from Queens University of Belfast and has taught various aspects of continental philosophy, phenomenology and emerging church theology at such venues as Cambridge University, Princeton Theological Seminary and Yale Theological Seminary.

If you are interested in attending, let me know we can carpool.

Friday, February 06, 2009

on writing, empire, and hope for the future

It is most easy for me to spend time reading, thinking, and talking about the possibilities of the future rather than to live in the present in such a way that the future becomes a reality in my own life. Dreams of a Ph.D. Dreams of pastoring in an experimental community. Consuming less, conserving more. Living in greater honesty with friends and colleagues. Loving Shey better. Being a better dad. All of these things and more are always mulling around in my mind, sometimes shaking up inside of me until the already of my present life explodes and irrupts into the present, bringing about more creative and thoughtful action. But other times, those dreams, hopes, and ideas simply corrode my insides, and bubble inside my brain until it feels like my insides are melting, and the future of which I hope to live into and see lived out, is but a folklore and mythological story faintly heard on the distant horizon.

I think oftentimes it is because I want to blame others for my shortcomings, blame others for the incaction that leads to my consumption, and blame others for their unwillingness to live as I want them to live. While writing, and writing on a regular basis helps me to process, think, and reflect on my life and the world around me in such a way that it give hope and meaning to my experiences, it can also create a tension of the already but not yet of my life: the already of changes in the last few years into the theological, practical, and experiential person that I am today. The not yet, of the possibilities and changes that the coming years still hold ahead.

I was reading a post from one of my new favorite blogs called Empire Remixed, which is a collaboration of authors, writers, and bloggers examining what it means to be a people of the kingdom of God in an age of consumerism, national religion, and postmodernism, that struck a chord within me. One of my favorite books that has humbled me to no end is Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat (they are husband and wife), which explores kingdom living inthe context of the age described above. One of the top 10 books of my short life so far.

Brian Walsh wrote in a post yesterday titled On "Not Getting It" and the Virtue of Humility that it is important to approach those who we feel like "don't get it" with humility first and foremost. It is so easy to create an us vs. them scenario where one side is all right, and the other side all wrong. But life is so much more complicated than this, and to speak of people and situations with the same predjudice that we are actually decrying, can itself become a huge problem in moving forward with radical reconciliation and hope.

So this morning, when the future seems to be looming in on my life in such a way that I want to run, or blame others for the shortcomings I see, or at the very least hide from my insecurities, I want to show some humility, and realize that like others, I too am in process, in need of some humility in the way that I view myself and others. The change that friends and I have talked about does not usually happen overnight, but on those days when the already of my life breaks into the hopeful future of God's kingdom, I want to be ready, open, and have eyes to see the good and hope that exists in the present, and have humility in looking forward.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009