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Aug. 13th, 2004 @ 10:46 pm From the Undulating Rabbit Trail....
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Little Bunny Fu-Fu

Well, things were getting quiet around here since Courageously Anonymous (CA) has decided to brood in the confines of his rather stiff pew, Agent Gross has been lost in the recent Norton Anthology release, and the lone blossom in the group has no one willing to even speak to the last post. So what’s a blogger to do? Realizing many of you spiritual do-gooders just want some fresh kill, allow me to start the hunt.

I have been flitting down the rabbit trail somewhat recently when reflecting on the two post of fleur77 and Agent Gross. Their pressing questions bring to a slow simmer within me much of what ills me when I think of "church".

First, as a Church we do seem divided on a ton of issues. Gender bias, racial bias, doctrinal bias, canon bias, the liberal versus conservative bias, even if Len Bias were alive the Church would shred him apart as well. We are completely cavitating on ourselves. We can’t even agree on lattes in the sanctuary or did I mean auditorium? We are totally split. Maybe this is a good thing, maybe its not. I contend inquiring minds are waning in their interest as to the true nature of Church, simply because no one can give them a straight answer. In fact, I too find myself a bit tired of "church" simply because it lacks any true direction when those who quote the scripture lack the fortitude to live it.

Second, language is an issue. I attend a place of worship where the language barrier is constantly trying to be bridged, for instance: we say "auditorium" vs. sanctuary; service specialist vs ushers, program (though I don’t like this word) vs. bulletin, etc. My point is that some places of worship have recognized the church is failing to stay in tune with culture especially in areas of language and they are attempting to do something about. This is, I believe, a healthy step forward; but too often these become ingrained semantics that become abused to the point of annoyance, like the word "postmodern" and "emerging". Frankly, anything we do now seems a bit too artificial and culture is not going to pause much longer to listen to the Message the church has if it doesn’t step up more, if not in stride, amidst the world of today. Just because we speak the code, doesn’t mean we can really speak the code. Tu savves?

I emerge from the rabbit trail at the end of this post, and reflect on an article written by Melinda Henneberger, where she nails Christians to their crosses at the articles end with, "I think often of a friend from Catholic school who succeeds better than most of us ever will in his praiseworthy efforts to, as he says, "see and be the face of Christ"—in everyone, and to everyone." Bang-on.

Divison, language, politics, schmolotics, rubbish I’m sure.

Maybe this culture club called "church" we play is for not, maybe at the end of the day it is all about an incarnate God who asked us to be incarnate to the world. It’s here that I arrive and wonder if you might join me.


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Aug. 11th, 2004 @ 09:41 pm questions for posting
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Je Dis Ami: Monde Virtuel
Thank-you for allowing me to post.

As I look at the church of America I see so many breaks in belief. Some say god will come back and take his people, others say he will not return but leave the building of his house on earth to his people. While on other issues christians call for the death penalty, support war, and wish to further crusade across places that fail believe as America does think. A more close example is the debate between Dr. Anonymous, Corageously Anonymous, and soman – there is no unity. Two of you are for hate – one is for peace and love. Two say “it is in the bible!”, while one says look at the example of Jesus Christ.

My question then, how is it your church even stands? You are so divided on the basics of how to live? Does not your bible talk about a house divided? I see no label placed on people by Jesus like the labels you place on each person. This is not politics, this is people. You raise a body only to cut off the hands so it can do no work. Please explain.

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Aug. 10th, 2004 @ 07:19 pm Questions about posting
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Nina Simone: "il n'y pas d'amour heureux
I am, as you probably have guessed, am not a member of your club/community. But I am interested in posting since you seem interested in quoting me. I have many questions and if you are truly about debate, can I post question to you people?

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Aug. 9th, 2004 @ 03:40 pm Generational Communication
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Water-Jet Hiss

Several different Americas co-inhabit the part of the North American continent that is commonly called the United States of America. To borrow the language of generationalists, they could be called American Boomers, American Busters, American X-ers, American Millennials, etc. Each America fails to understand the others, and only marginally communicates with those more than one level removed. This effect is obviously produced by myriad influences, but I wonder if it is magnified by the evolution of language. After all, no living language is static. Perhaps, an intensifying factor in the miscommunication between the various cultures trying to live as one nation is heightened by the fact that we are speaking different languages—and don’t even know it.</span>


What do you think? </span>


Is this issue merely the evanescent production of my own mind? or is it real?</span>


If it is real, how can we, the Church, in its effort to connect people to God and each other, scale this wall and create a forum for mutual understanding between the residents of the different Americas?</span>


Or can we?</span>

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Aug. 8th, 2004 @ 09:21 pm A Review of Braulio Montovani's "City Of God"
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: Lauren Hill's CD, "The MisEducation of Lauren Hill"
 "A fierce, seductive, enthralling trip. The storytelling and filmmaking vigor never lets up. Director Fernando Meirelles has       brought their world to teeming life."
                                                             -Richard Corliss, Time Magazine


It has been awhile since I have been utterly stunned by both the storytelling and the cinematography of a film, especially one that emerges from beyond Hollywood. But Montovani’s story, as directed by Fernado Meirelles, has to be listed as a GSM (Good Stinkin’ Movie). Available now on DVD, this film is the recounting of one young man’s life growing-up in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, in its "City of God", a place where the masses of Rio’s poor reside, and a place where only miracles from God can change the course of their lives.

Mantovani’s story is a densely layered film that has so many natural, authentic twists the viewer is truly caught by the very next scene. This coupled with using variety of camera angles, Meirelles captures the frenetic, desperate lives of the city’s youth. By virtue of birth one is placed into a vicious machine of desperation, depravity, and violence. This is a place where only the young and strong survive. This is place where hope is but a whisper and the hard-luck life is an every day commodity.

When looking up the background to this true story of Wilson Rodriques life, I was shocked to discover the average life expectancy of those living in the city slum is 19 year of age. Let me repeat that, the life expectancy is 19 years of age! Multiple news and humanitarian agencies, including the US State Department have attempted to bring to this slum’s story to the forefront of the global community, but the Brazilian government has insisted there is an ongoing and concerted effort bring to security and stabilization to the slum. Since this "concerted effort" has been initiated child kidnappings, prostitution, and slavery have actually risen in the Rio area, including in this slum.

This film starts in the late fifties and progress thru to the mid seventies when the cocaine trade became Brazil’s number one export. From this story it is easy to see the tragic cycle of hate and viciousness that people – children – are capable of when love is removed from the formula.

Negatives: The only real criticism one might have with this flick is that it’s a foreign subtitled film, but with today’s video disc technologies, missing a character’s line is easier to go back to than re-winding in the "old days".

Caution: As with so many movies today, this film is rated "R", but it is almost completely for the up in your face violence that is depicted in this movie. There are some scenes of sexual violence; however, Meirelles realizing that this too is apart of life in the city, opts to use obscure camera angles that prevents any real visuals, but still conveys the tragic point. Again, the renter needs to be cautioned when watching this gripping story, but for those brave souls its well worth the viewing.

Bottomline: This is masterfully told story and Meirelles delivers the goods with fantastic cinematography. Films like this only further accentuate the Church’s burden to continue to spread the message of the Gospel's hope into areas beyond the 10/40 window. This is a must rent!

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Aug. 6th, 2004 @ 10:01 am A new thread..

Taking a break from the mean streets of socio/politico weblogging, I was recently checking out a journal page of another blogger and it discussed the issue of clarity: the quality or state of being clear minded, or lucid. In this person’s site the final moments of true clarity end as life passes through the birth canal. Upon entering the world it all gets muddled-up with skewed perspectives, language, light, etc., (I don’t have permission as of yet to link the blog to this page – so pardon the abridged version).

But this started me thinking about moments of true spiritual clarity, where are these moments evidence at? I came-up with just a few:

Adam & Eve moments after the fall

Isaiah 6 –

Matthew 17:1-6

Luke 24:31

John 21:7, 15-17 (thru Peter’s welled-up eyes)

My own salvation

The birth of my own child

The death of a sister

What moments can you add to this list from the text or from life about you? Or is clarity never really attainable after birth as the writer believes?

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Aug. 3rd, 2004 @ 10:24 pm "One Man's God Squad", a review of Rolling Stone's Article
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated

I just received the latest RollingStone mag this past week, and I really enjoy this magazine for a couple of reasons: 1) it provides me with a snapshot of the emerging American culture; 2) the slant of the magazine so clear I never have to wonder from which direction the writers might be coming from - what you see is what they think.

In the latest issue, there is an article entitled, "One Man's God Squad"and is a frightening and shameful article from this readers perspective. Written by Kimberly Sevick, it details the holy crusade of Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and it thoroughly details the efforts of his pro-life organization's efforts to shut down a notorious abortion clinic located in Wichita, Kansas. As shameful as his efforts are, the article is surprisingly mild given RS typical liberal position.

I guess when I read this article the facts are so clear that even with my strong pro-life position I can't help but side with those who are repulsed by the actions of organizations such as this. The mafia style attempts to strong arm even secondary and third sources of business that have even the remotest of connections to the clinic employees is simply stunning. Unfortunately, I believe organizations such as this, with their jihad-like rhetoric, form much of the ugly pock on the face of the Church as a whole. In my view, Newman's group of psychological ruffians are in the ranks of a political Al-Qaida that are apart of the social ills of this country. Rather than bringing healing and understanding they polarize positions with violent charges that erupt into their own desires for publicity. Shameful, simply shameful.

At the end of this article I was left with a hollow feeling that made me sympathetic for those who choose the route of abortion. Unfortunately, RollingStone just highlights the biological reasons one might consider abortion, and fails to mention those who, out of shame, fear, or at-risk life styles consider this option. (Which is revealing in its own right) But despite this, I can't help but think that "good Christian soldiers" such a Newman only accentuate the guilt and increase the victimization that occurs to these women. Actions such as this, in my opinion, are just another way the Church is viewed as stoning culture when they should be loving them.




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Jul. 26th, 2004 @ 05:54 pm Frustrated About Anger
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You
When talking with friends, pastors, teachers, etc., the general interpretation is that Jesus, by his own words and lifestyle, was a pretty peaceful guy. His continual references to peace in relationships, peacemaking, and love for your neighbor stand as evidence for this belief. With the exception of one instance, Jesus rarely displays anger or disgust – though he continually comments on the inequities of the religious system, he seems for the most part to hold to a “gentle” stance in all that he did.

If all of our emotions are given by God, what place does anger have in the in scope of our relationship with Him, and our relationship with others?

Is anger ever ‘right’, and in what instances/issues is anger justified, if ever?

Give me some feedback…
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