Just watch.

6 07 2009

I just needed to share this. This is perhaps the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.





Obama is President. Jesus Christ is Lord.

5 11 2008

Like many of you who may end up reading this, I’m glad that Barak Obama won this election. I didn’t vote, I chose not to vote, I voted to not vote; nonetheless I liked Obama more than McCain.

With that said, we need to be very careful to remember that the Christian call to radical discipleship and to be members of Christ’s own body puts us into that place where we choose Christ over Caesar. Always. Jesus is always Lord, always King of the Kingdom. We need to remember that America is still America, America is still a State–that temporal entity of imperial power. The Church must always remain not only non-partisan, but trans-national. We cannot recognize the validity of the stately powers, to do so is not only to divide the Body of Christ along international borders, but to cut ourselves off from our neighbors.

We cannot, we must not, we must forbid ourselves the temptation to pledge allegiance to America’s flag–or any flag.

Yahweh Nissi, the Lord is our banner. Christos Kurios, Christ is Lord.

We are but poor beggars. We are only pilgrims. Amen.





Ministering to…

23 10 2008

So… what is the responsibility of the Church to minister to people like “Crazy Tracy”? How do we reach out to them with the Gospel?





Eucharistic Challenge?

30 08 2008

So, apparently since that student took a Eucharistic host from church and certain American Catholic big boys got really upset about it’s become really popular to now post videos of desecrating the host. Here’s an example:

Listen, I can understand some little adolescent kids doing this, because that’s the kind of thing they do. But when adults start acting this way, that’s just sad.

What I suppose bothers me even more is that the whole point here is to piss people off, and when they do, mission accomplished. You’ve succeeded in pissing people off and proving to yourself that these people “must” all be morons and fanatics. Congratulations, you’ve succeeded in acting like a bigot splendidly. For your next challenge, perhaps you could walk up to a group of African Americans wearing “black face” makeup and talk about how much you just love grape soda and watermelon, and when you’ve offended some people, you can convince yourself of just how “fanatical” those “negroes” are.

Good job, no really, pat yourselves on the back. You’ve fucking earned it man.

With that said, for any Christians (Catholic or otherwise) who may come across this, here’s some advice. Yes, what they are doing is bigoted and juvenile, it’s offensive and stupid. But don’t degrade yourself by allowing it to bother you into a spitting match. Don’t. Don’t try to argue, don’t debate. Kick the dust off your sandals and just let it go. You can’t win this by responding to it. Love your neighbor, and forgive those who spit in your face. You win a greater victory by imitating Christ here than by responding to juvenile vitriol with indignation and anger.





My Plastic Jesus

26 08 2008

Oh my plastic Jesus,
How I love you so,
You are so fake and sterile,
No punch, no pow, no go!

When I worship you,
I pose you as I will,
Karate chop the bad guys,
Send ’em all to hell.

You are my plastic Jesus,
My saving friend indeed,
My soul you send to heaven,
You’re everything I need.

You demand nothing from me,
You do everything I say,
Serving you is easy,
Cheap grace means no pay.

Oh you’re my plastic Jesus,
In my church of plastic smiles,
When hypocrisy is abounding,
I love how you keep silent.

The poor I can ignore,
And I can beat up on gays,
Because you’re my plastic Jesus,
Gee golly you’re A-OK!

Can thump a plastic Bible,
Every single day,
Carry you on Sunday,
Cheaply, you’ve washed my sins away.

You’re my plastic Jesus,
You mean everything to me,
As long as you’re my Jesus,
My life is mine to keep.





Elephant and Ass: A Rant

21 07 2008

Seems to me the more I hear terms like “Conservative Christians” and “Liberal Christians” the more worthless the terms “liberal” and “conservative” come to be in describing what kind of Christian a Christian is. What exactly makes someone liberal or conservative as a Christian?

I understand the use of these terms in political dialogue, but have a harder time understanding them in inter-Christian dialogue.

Is John Spong a liberal Christian because he is both politically and theologically “liberal”? Because he rejects traditional Christian ideas, I think, doesn’t make him liberal, it makes him heterodox.

One reason I’ve found these terms to be essentially useless is that in my own experience, some of the most theologically articulate, devout and firmly orthodox Christians I’ve had the pleasure of knowing have been called “liberal”; whereas I’ve met plenty of so-called “conservative” Christians who wouldn’t know traditional Christian faith if it fell on their head like a ton of bricks.

I’ve met plenty of “conservative” Evangelicals who certainly fit the mold of stereotypical American Evangelicalism who, in my discussions with them over theology, come across as holding to fairly heterodox positions. A classic case-in-point are “conservative” Evangelicals who are either completely ignorant of, or sometimes even actively hostile to the orthodox, traditional Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead.

In recent years I’ve increasingly been told that I’m among these “liberal” Christians, though I’m not sure how. My faith has always–and no doubt will continue to be–a work in progress. My aim, however continues to be consistent, to follow Christ, to challenge my preconceived ideas, and be willing to study, read, pray and seek the guiding of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of the Christian Church. I’m not content assuming I have everything figured out, but I am ardent about seeking to be faithful.

I don’t consider myself “liberal”, but I have over the years lost interest in identifying myself as “conservative”. Any allegiance I once had to the Theo-Political machine of the American Religious Right has thoroughly vanished, though I hold no ill will toward those who are part of this organism, I do see the ideology and policies of the Religious Right as viral and infectious, and not to mention fatal to the spiritual health of the Christian Church in America.

So exactly what function or purpose do terms like “liberal” or “conservative” have in inter-Christian discussion? What does it even matter? Is faithfulness to Christ circumscribed by fidelity to conservative American politics? When so much about conservative American politics seems to be deeply antagonistic against the ethos and ministry of Jesus, how can this be so? This is not to say that liberal American politics are any better, seems like both sides of the political divide are pretty problematic insofar as what Jesus has to say. Wouldn’t a better, and far more Christian, politic be to take what Jesus has to say, even if Jesus forces us to repent of our most strongly cherished ideas, and work from there?

I’m not advocating Christian politics in the typical sense, but rather a Christian alternative to American politics that is still quite political. Christianity is political. Not because it’s liberal or conservative, but because it’s Christian. Shouldn’t a Christian response to those things happening in our culture be, in fact, Christian? Neither conservative nor liberal, but Christian. Following the Way of Christ, even if that means forsaking the idols of Elephant and Ass.





Hyperreality

23 05 2008

I’m not going to pretend like I’ve done any serious research on this topic, only offering some thoughts which were launched upon coming into contact with the idea.

Wikipedia defines Hyperreality as

…the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy, especially in technologically advanced postmodern cultures. Hyperreality is a means to characterise the way consciousness defines what is actually “real” in a world where a multitude of media can radically shape and filter the original event or experience being depicted. Some famous theorists of hyperreality include Jean Baudrillard, Albert Borgmann, Daniel Boorstin, and Umberto Eco.

Most aspects of hyperreality can be thought of as “reality by proxy.” For example, a viewer watching pornography begins to live in the non-existent world of the pornography, and even though pornography is not an accurate depiction of sex, for the viewer, the reality of “sex” becomes something non-existent. Some examples are simpler: the McDonald’s “M” arches create a world with the promise of endless amounts of identical food, when in “reality” the “M” represents nothing, and the food produced is neither identical nor infinite.[1]

Baudrillard in particular suggests that the world we live in has been replaced by a copy world, where we seek simulated stimuli and nothing more. Baudrillard borrows, from Jorge Luis Borges (who already borrowed from Lewis Carroll), the example of a society whose cartographers create a map so detailed that it covers the very things it was designed to represent. When the empire declines, the map fades into the landscape and there is neither the representation nor the real remaining – just the hyperreal.

What was of chief interest to me is the notion that we live in a world where various forms of media and/or stimuli can have such a radical effect on us that what is actually real ceases to exist for us and is replaced by something else, the hyperreal.

To what degree have we, as a society, become so fixated on fantasy that we become blind to anything real around us? The examples given about pornography and fast food seem excellent in my mind, because they give us hyperrealistic fantasies about sex and food respectively. Movies and television also stimulate us into imagining very bizarre things about romantic love, relationships, and real world situations. The real world doesn’t have conflict that is resolved within thirty minutes or two hours, in fact more often than not real world problems simply don’t get resolved in nice, tidy packages–if they get resolved at all.

In the real world a stressful day at work really does amount to stress, and while it’s enjoyable to watch an episode of NBC’s The Office, things like that don’t really happen. Not that enjoying fantasy is wrong, the telling of story through various mediums has been a facet of the human psyche since before the dawn of history; but what is quite harmful is when we would rather indulge in the fantastic–they hyperreal–than engage in the real. We allow magazines to tell us what beauty looks like, even though women in those magazines are touched up digitally–thus adding another layer to the level of hyperreality already existing in the medium. To what extent has this level of hyperreality communicated to us in all sorts of stimulating forms come to actually distort our capacity to engage in the real around us? How many of us actually live day-to-day imagining ourselves in a world that is actually quite different than the real one? When we ignore the plight of human suffering around us, tuning rather instead to our Disneyland world of fantasy, aren’t we really imagining that our hyperreal world is the real one, and that the real world is the one of fantasy? The pain that people feel becomes the un-real to us, it becomes what we imagine to be the fantastic–a terrible fantastic to be sure, something we think we can change by simply changing the channel–while the fantasy which we have become overly engaged in has become our real: that kind of world which we would rather live in than the real world.

I freely admit that I describe myself here. That is a statement about myself. But to what degree is this actually quite true about our culture at large? Is it only marginally true? Very true? Not true at all? Hardly true?

And what should a Christian response to this aspect of our culture be? How can we rid ourselves of our hyperrealities and become fully engaging with what is actually real, and then engage in it in such a way as to become conversant with everyone around us?