Friday, April 30, 2010

Pop Culture Roundup

I've started reading Under the Unpredictable Plant by Eugene Peterson, which is all about what he calls "vocational holiness." In one sense this is an exploration of integrity, in another it is a study of calling vs. careerism. Using the story of Jonah, Peterson talks about how easily pastors slip from a sense of God's call to ministry into one's own preoccupation with being the Big Important Religious Professional. The latter is more about feeding the ego: it wrecks havoc on one's family life, leads to poor boundaries, and cultivates a preoccupation with "moving up." By contrast, Peterson encourages pastors to toil in the muck and mundane of the daily tasks of ministry and of people's lives, helping to name the holy in the midst of it all.

I've also found myself back in Walden, figuring that I don't want to be enmeshed only in ministry issues over the next month. Thoreau is quite a disillusioned person, and by that I mean he has stripped so many illusions away of what people typically concern themselves with on a day to day basis. His ultimate concern is not being tied down, whether to work or belongings, such that one becomes enslaved to these things. Of course, this is from the perspective of a single guy with no family who can afford to hide out in the woods for two years without being responsible for anyone else. To that point, he does acknowledge that his way is not a universal ideal; that each person needs to work out this life of freedom and simplicity for themselves.

We've been turned on to a TV show called Pawn Stars. This is about a large pawn shop in Las Vegas run by three generations of men. There is minimal focus on the family, though: the main attraction is what gets brought into the shop. There's one episode where a guy brings in a Massachusetts war bond from the Revolutionary War drafted by Paul Revere. In that same episode, a guy sells a vintage jukebox from the 1950s. To ensure the authenticity of a lot of the stuff people bring in, the guys at the shop frequently call on outside experts to check them out. It's just fascinating to see what people bring, to the point where I often think, "Why would they want to give that up?"

I saw my first LA Ink of the latest season last night. The last thing I remember from the previous season is things coming to a head between Corey and Aubry, as well as tension building between Kat and Corey. Well, when I switched it on last night Aubry was nowhere to be seen, so that answers that question. On top of that, the tension has apparently continued to mount between Corey and Kat to the point where it looks like either Corey will quit or Kat will fire him. I miss Miami Ink - that show was more about the tattoos that people came to get. This show is all about the drama between the artists.

After last week's Roundup, I was told that Lord, Save Us From Your Followers is already available to be viewed on Netflix. I've yet to watch it, but if you have that service you can do that. And the top of the movie website says, "Buy the DVD today!" So what do I know?

Here's a guy playing drums along with the Simpsons theme: