Friday, January 02, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

I recently finished The Missional Leader, which was part of the inspiration for my Performance post. Essentially, the authors present a model of pastoral leadership alternative to that of chaplain or CEO. They use the language of cultivation when talking about enacting congregational change, which centers around encouraging members to share stories, ideas, and passions with one another, eventually leading to "experiments on the fringes" that eventually work themselves into the congregational culture. To do this, the authors suggest that pastors need to learn skills other than 1) those learned in seminary (pastoral care, preaching, teaching) which, while important, focus more on caretaking and ongoing expected duties, and 2) those borrowed from the business world, which essentially focus on a top-down set of strategies from pastor and governing board that the congregation may or may not embrace. The Missional Change Model is more bottom-up and organic and arises more from the people rather than the leadership. The leadership helps cultivate and facilitate it, but the membership drives it. I'm hoping to implement these principles fairly soon. I'm also hoping to treat this to a full review, but no promises there.

We watched Wanted this past week, which is the Angelina Jolie movie about a fraternity of assassins called...wait for it...The Fraternity. James McAvoy plays a loser accounts manager with no direction or assertiveness recruited into The Fraternity after the death of his father, except there ends up being a lot more to it than he realizes. The movie has some incredible visual effects reminiscent of The Matrix movies, and focuses on themes of discovering one's life purpose and identity. I actually found a few fight scenes disturbing, which gives me hope that I'm not completely desensitized to such things.

I got the first season of
Flight of the Conchords for Christmas, and watched the entire thing over a few days while watching Coffeeson. It only consists of twelve half-hour episodes, so it hasn't been a very demanding task. The show follows the fictional adventures of the New Zealand band of same name, Jemaine and Bret, as they try to make it big in the U.S. with the help of their hapless manager Murray. The show features the sort of improvised humor that you'd see on The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Jemaine and Bret do it with such a deadpan style. The show also features their original music, which actually makes more sense in the context of the show than it does if you just listen to their album.

I recently raided the local FYE store, which severely had everything marked down since they were going out of business. So I came up with a few good albums:

Sticks and Stones by moe. - Their latest album, featuring their usual rootsy rock sound.

Lonesome Crowded West by Modest Mouse - One of their older albums; a little more eccentric (yes, it's possible) and with longer musical jams.

G. Love and Special Sauce by G. Love and Special Sauce - A very strange mixture of laid-back blues-rock mixed with hip-hop.

Around the web, I found
this video at Stupid Church People. I'll mail you a dollar if you can make it through the whole thing. And you should, because the funniest/most painful part is near the end: