Showing posts from February, 2006


Ever hear of Hasidic reggae? Now you have.

A simple yet profound post about true blasphemy.

iMonk on Paul's humanity.


In a moment of post-funeral decompression, I thought back over the service to the prayers and general air with which I conduct these things. There is a certain amount of respect and care that pastors are expected to show, as is expected on any Sunday morning, but the tone of voice that gets used at a funeral or memorial service might be a little softer, a little more measured.

Then I got to thinking about worship in general. There are phrases and voices used for prayer and worship that wouldn't be found anywhere else in normal conversation, in a meeting, during a presentation. Yet this worshipspeak seems to be appropriate in a church setting.

First, there's the tone. This encompasses a few things. For one, many colleagues of mine when giving a prayer or sermon wiiiiiiill streeetch theeeir vooooowels iin ordeeeer to souuuuund moore pentitent. On top of that, the inflection does this rollercoaster sort of thing where every word starts uphill. It's hard to explain in writing, …

A Dream Comes True

I've seen this story referenced a few different places. An autistic boy suits up for his high school basketball team's last game of the season...and scores 20 points.

I don't know which is more well he did, or how crazy the crowd goes.

Check it out here.

Pop Culture Roundup

I started 1984 the other day. It's been sitting on my nightstand the longest, and I've finally gotten around to it. I need more non-theological reading in my life, so this was the natural choice out of the stack. I'm not far enough to really comment on much, but I'm already wondering if this is another commentary on communism like Animal Farm, or on something much more sinister. So far, I'm thinking more about fascisim/Nazism as a possibility. It's more glaring with the idea of Big Brother watching everything. The natural inclination nowadays might be talk of wiretaps and Patriot Act, but I'm wondering more about what Orwell had in mind originally.

I happened upon Assault on Precinct 13 the other day and half-heartedly watched it while doing something else. It was a typical shoot-em-up, 'good guy has to work with bad guy to fend off really bad cops' movie in the vein of The Negotiator. It was an action thriller that was nothing special. I was interes…

'Organic Church' Review, Part 2

I've finished Organic Church. I skimmed the last chapter and a half because all it was was a series of 'success stories,' which I didn't care about enough to read. I'd grown weary of the book by then, so now it has its spot on my shelf, probably never to be revisited. A few more points...

~Cole's church model is basically one of small decentralized 'house churches.' I hesitate to use 'house church,' because according to him they also meet in coffeeshops, parking lots, bars, etc. He sets this model over and against a hierarchical model, stating that all are interdependent of one another, rather than having any chain of command. In presenting this model, he challenges the reader to set out from the safe haven of church as we know it and go where the people who, by implication, aren't welcome in our clean cushiony pews. This is the notion that I really liked about the book, as I find it in tune with what Jesus was about. What is sad is that the …

'Organic Church' Review, Part 1

I've been reading Organic Church by Neil Cole. It professes to be the 'red pill' that will cause the reader to see church differently, although I find it much more tame than other suggestions made around the blogosphere and various internet fora. He mentions church practices that he finds inadequate and presents an alternative ecclesiology. It's a book not just about method, but about the very definition of Church and church. It's also a book with a heavy emphasis on evangelism and church planting. It's heavy on theory and not much on practicality, which is actually because of certain pieces of his theory. You'll see.

A few notes so far...

~He critiques what he calls the 'Sunday morning show.' This is what he calls the notion that we put so much time and energy into that 1-2 1/2-hour slot on Sunday mornings to make music lively and the preaching engaging, creating a 'y'all come' model of church. Actually, when talking of preaching, he doe…

Critic vs. Doer

It is not the critic who counts:
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs, and comes short again and again,because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
who does actually try to do the deed;
who knows the great enthusiasm,the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause;
who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Far better it is to dare mighty things,to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure,than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Thanks, Scott.

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading Organic Church, yet another book in the 'How to save the American church' section. This book comes from a much different angle: it proposes smaller churches without big fancy buildings meeting where people hang out. One quote, roughly paraphrased, goes like this: 'If you want to reach people for Jesus, you have to sit in the smoking section.' It's the direct opposite of every book proposing to make your church bigger, flashier, and more comfortable. I have some disagreements with it (he seems to challenge the traditional 'quality over quantity' rule), but giving it its own post might be better to discuss it.

We saw The 40-Year-Old-Virgin this week. It was the Unrated Version, so it included some extra footage which made the movie over 2 hours long. I don't think comedies are usually that long, but this turned out to be a pretty involved story. They had an extra-long setup for the eventual relationship, spent a lot of time wit…

Bible Stories You Won't Learn in Children's Church

This is the title for our upcoming Lenten series. The church traditionally holds Wednesday night soup suppers with a pastor-led program afterwards. This year we'll be studying some of the more dark and disturbing passages in the Bible and raise questions about their value, both then and now. Here's a brief overview, to be expanded each week through Lent according to which text is that week's focus.

Genesis 38 - Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, has three sons. His firstborn, Er, marries a woman named Tamar. Er dies without them bearing a son. Er's brother Onan does not fulfill his brotherly duty and dies as well. Judah keeps his third son Shelah from meeting the same fate, so Tamar resorts to other measures to conceive: she disguises herself as a prostitute and sleeps with Judah. The whole thing reads like something off of Passions, though I'm sure it would be much better acted.

Psalm 137 - The people of Israel are exiled in Babylon and can't bring themselv…

An Explanation

'You were supposed to be gone for a week or so, and you lasted three days before you posted again. Wazzupwitdat?'

An excellent question, blogreader. I decided on another hiatus for a couple reasons:

1. To recharge my writing batteries. I was getting frustrated with recent writing quality and wanted to take a break in order to come back fresh. However, my experience is that, typically, one doesn't come back fresh, one comes back rusty. In addition, I have found that my batteries don't need recharged. Rather, my posts just need more thought. This is the new POC way.

2. I wanted to think about changes in layout because other blogs look cooler than mine. But now I am satisfied with the slightly cooler look found here and don't feel like thinking about that any more.

3. I couldn't resist getting a shot in at ol' Freddie. I have a story to tell about one of his visits to St. Louis. I'll write about that later.

4. I'm reading a book called The Organic…

Deletion Made

Thanks to the miracle of Statcounter, I've discovered that due to my mentioning a certain hateful person a few entries ago, his organization has posted a link to that entry as if it was some sort of trophy. 'Look at how controversial and persecuted we are!'

Well...I didn't like that entry to begin with. It wasn't written well and I didn't express my thoughts very clearly.So it's gone.
But if I had to do it over again, I'd write not about how angry I am at you, but how I think you're everything that doesn't represent Jesus. Show me where he'd want us to act the way you do. Actually, don't. Just stay the hell off my site.

And enjoy your dead link.

Herd Mentality

I'm cutting short my hiatus because I wanted to present this article:

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Fans of No. 5 Gonzaga have been asked to stop yelling "Brokeback Mountain" at opposing players.
The reference to the recent movie about homosexual cowboys was chanted by some fans during Monday's game against Saint Mary's, and is apparently intended to suggest an opposing player is gay.

The chants were the subject of several classroom discussions over the past week, and the faculty advisers for the Kennel Club booster group urged students this week to avoid "inappropriate chants" during the Bulldogs' Saturday game against Stanford, which was nationally televised on ESPN.


"Many faculty members have brought up the discussion in their classes," he said. "They find none of the students have been comfortable with the chant, and that's a good sign."

So, to recap, a homophobic chant broke out at a basketball game, but after multiple discussion…

Pop Culture Roundup

It's been a slow week media-wise for me, so this will end up being brief.

I'm still reading Dave Barry, but my Tillich reading has fallen by the wayside. I tried picking Tillich up the other day, but was preoccupied with other ecclesiological questions that weren't being answered by a discussion on revelation's tie to existence. These questions basically stem from one overarching question: 'How do you change something that obviously isn't working when you know you'll get resistence from people who think it is?' It's not hand-wringing over what people will has more to do with making an overhauled program work without as much support as you'd like. It's the type of question that Bill Easum would answer. I'd much rather be reading him than Tillich right now.

We finished Buffy Season 4 yesterday. It seemed like a transitional season in some ways: it's the first season without Angel, Oz leaves, Spike and Willow both undergo…

Going Dark

After tomorrow's Pop Culture Roundup, POC goes dark for 7-10 days. Time to recharge, do some writing elsewhere, figure out how I want to approach this blogging thing in the future.

I read blogs like iMonk and RLP and think, 'I could put that much effort into my writing. I want to. How can I do that with the million other things I do?'

Not write the whole thing in one sitting. There's one idea. The angry post below was written over a few days' time. Its quality is still questionable, but I felt better about it by the time it was posted. The same with the little bit of midrash on Jesus and the disciples. Then there's all that grammar/'sharpen it up' stuff that always calls for attention.

I've also thought about moving to Typepad. I mentioned this to my cousin a month or so ago. He asked, 'Why?' I didn't have an answer. I'm at kind of a loss to explain why I would move to a pay service when this has served me well for over a ye…


Prophetic Words from Bono

When I first started seeing links to Bono's speech at a recent prayer breakfast, I rolled my eyes.

I thought, 'Great...Bono's up on his soapbox again.'

Then I actually read the speech for myself.

And I was impressed.

Read it here.

Super Bowl Party Day After

Some of our young adults gathered yesterday evening to cheer against the Steelers (northeast Ohioans that we are), save for one guy...who ended up rubbing our noses in it. By the middle of the fourth quarter we were ready for the one-sided Seahawks-obviously-aren't-going-to-get-any-calls torturefest to end. Here are some other notes from our night of food and fun...

~First, how many 150-member churches can say that their pastor's living room can be filled with members between the ages of 18-30? HOW MANY?

~My wife and I are observing South Beach at this present time, so the spread was moderately healthy: BBQ shredded chicken with whole wheat buns, crab dip with low fat cream cheese and whole wheat crackers, a veggie tray, and some more typical football party food. I did sneak a cookie and a Dorito (made a big production out of eating them in front of my wife is more accurate), but managed to stay true otherwise. And Diet Caffeine-free Pepsi doesn't taste like anything. No rea…

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been working through Tillich...slowly. The material gets a little more dense in Part 1 than in the Introduction. I've also been reading Dave Barry Talks Back, which is much lighter. He shares such tidbits of wisdom as 'Never undergo any kind of major surgery without first making an appointment,' and 'if you must lick a toad, make sure it's wearing a condom.' Indeed. So true.

Academy Award nominations came out this past week, and this year I want to do something I've actually been meaning to do for years: make it a point to see all five Best Picture nominees beforehand. I've already seen Crash, so I'm 1/5 of the way there. I still need to see Good Night and Good Luck, Munich, Brokeback Mountain, and Capote. The lineup kind of reminds me of a few years ago, the year that The English Patient won. It's a group of smaller studio/Got Sundance to Fall Over Itself Applauding-type films. None seem to really stand out. But I guess I need to see th…

Busy Day

They started to follow Jesus. They pressed against each other to catch a glimpse, if only for a moment before being overtaken by each other. They craned necks and stood on their toes and pushed off of the shoulders in front of them. Would today be the day he'd perform another miracle? My son is wife has a master is growing old and blind. I need to talk to look into his touch him.

He was nowhere to be found that day. Where could he have gone? The desperation was growing. They'd heard the stories being passed around in the marketplace. People might share rumors of him over meals. His miracles were real. His preaching was fantastic. They wanted to see for themselves.

But he was missing. There was no time for this! They were demanding that he appear, demanding that he would perform for them. Please, he might die...please, I miss talking to her...please, he's so miserable...

In place of hope, there grew sadness and resentment.Attitudes began…

Been Discussing Elsewhere

It's not been an inspired week at P.o.C. I haven't wanted to write a lot the past few days. I watched with interest the State of the Union. The way one side stood and applauded, and then the other, it's a wonder anything gets accomplished in this country. I also read with some sorrow commentaries on the passing of Coretta Scott King. She was to speak at Synod last year, but her health was beginning to take its downturn and she was unable to do so.

I've been hanging out at a couple Evangelical blogs lately. One features a 'rant' by megachurch celebpastor Mark Driscoll in response to a column by Brian McLaren on 'the gay issue.' The first line of this highly intellectual response will probably be enough. But if you have no intention of clicking the link, here it is:

Well, it seems that Brian McLaren and the Emergent crowd are emerging into homo-evangelicals.

It goes downhill from there. If you have the time and energy to read down through the comments, I con…

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