Sunday, May 28, 2006

Summer of Reading #3 THE ATTACK

This is the story of a corner of the Middle East conflict that resonates with suffering and questions not unlike those of the general concentration camps and the specific Brazilian City of God. As the story weaves through characters on both sides of the demarkation line, the same workers of war and salvation ply their trade. In the end, even unbelievers are confronted with destiny and the unassailable hope of new life.

I found a new perspective on the people caught up in this conflict over land and dignity. We are all challenged by the warning to not allow our liberty to be a prison for another.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Oswald Chambers 1874-1917

"The baptism of the Holy Spirit does not make you think of time or eternity— it is one amazing glorious now. "This is eternal life, that they may know You . . ." ( John 17:3 ). Begin to know Him now, and never finish."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Summer of Reading #2 THE SECRET MESSAGE OF JESUS Brian McClaren

This is the softer side of McClaren who seems to be mending any rickety fences between XCore emergent and the thinking Evangelical. I liked this book. As I read it I was encouraged that I am living out the secret message, which is just a euphemism for "parable."
McClaren isn't nearly as radical as Wills (see previous post) in his take on Jesus or nearly as upsetting. While Wills shows his Catholic mindset, McClaren's ideas in the appendix for practicing the secret message are healthy and balanced, expressing the latter's evangelical roots. Each of these men seem to want to hold to the root of the tradition, but do major pruning to the point of below ground. In other words-underground. Sounds like the way of the persecuted third world to me.

There is a lot of grace to this book. Less of McClaren's ambivalence, and more of a simple clarity. He seems to have made a little peace with not having figured it all out: and now just wants to encourage us to move on to the business of tending to the Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Summer Of Reading #1 WHAT JESUS MEANT

As I read through a stack this summer, very purposely on subjects of faith and story, I thought I would share my first, or last impressions. Often a really good book is about the feeling I am left with in the end. It means that I am not just left with a feel good at the last chapter, but I am changed somehow. So when I finish each of these book, I am trying to capture the overall impression it leaves with me. Maybe it will encourage you to move forward or pass by the volumes I'll describe. At the very least, my telling will reinforce the mark I hope these books will leave on me.

First: WHAT JESUS MEANT by Garry Wills

I found this book after reading a piece in Academic Journal by Mr Wills. "He had me at hello" because the question of Jesus' divinity was affirmed and challenging. So here's the last word on my first impression:

Wills has a passion for the underlying character of Jesus-Messiah that brings not just God, but "God Reign". He takes on the new "unclean", homosexuality, and explains that Jesus is against the formality of religion. He often quotes G.K. Chesterton. Wills, a Catholic, takes on the Pope, those past and present in their hierarchy and Benedict XVI's latest declarations on the Agape feast. Wills points out that the real bread and wine is the Body of Christ, not the host and cup presented by the priest with his back to the people. The priesthood ended with Christ. Those who follow him are all his emissaries manifesting the resurrected Messiah.
This is a personal book for Wills who believes that Jesus is divine, but that Jesus never meant to have the church stand as it commonly does today. Wills believes that Jesus refuses to enter the politics of man and that he is a product of the radical fringe of his cousin's discipline, the Essenes. He expounds that Jesus continues to be the radical prophet asking for a larger reign of God. Wills often ends portions of the book with an ironic turn of phrase- "religion is still killing him," thus reinforcing the Catholic Crucifix.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I got together with some people and we collaged with newsprint and beeswax. We kept the palette low key. I didn't know what we would get, lighting wise; I had hopes to backlight them. But still we were able to make a space. and it was good.

Monday, May 08, 2006

April: Rock and Rheyma

My epic April ended with the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio. Our second year to go, with the added second day means an upcoming summer full of listening to new music and the memories that will be embedded in them.

The crowds put up with me too, I guess, so I can't complain, but rock'n roll allows for a glittering set of pedestrians. We watched the people, oh yes, we did. I'm afraid my company did not provide the same degree of entertainment for onlookers, but we chilled and searched for water and found each other providentially after parting.

My daughter and I had great company. Take note: choose your Coachella mates wisely. They might complain too much. They may insist in dragging you to the Dance tent for a free migraine. But Tim and Merrick and Joel loved the atmosphere as much as we did. As one commented, "we were close enough for them to spit on us!" That's the spirit!
Sigur Ros, My Morning Jacket, Metric, The Dears, The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs; we liked it. God is in the music and he's is us as we took it in, thankful for a cool breeze, a shady spot and the focus of hundreds on nothing else but the sway of rhythms, sound given and taken in. Rock and Rhyema.