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Why is Good Religion so important?

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 20:11:00 +0000

"Like art, religion is an attempt to construct meaning in the face of relentless pain and injustice of life." Karen ArmstrongWhile in charge of the spiritual care department at a large hospice, a meeting was called by one of the nurses to discuss the agitation of one of her patients. This patient, an avowed Atheist, had refused the presence of the chaplain earlier in the care cycle. However, his Catholic family had requested the presence of a chaplain. This was not an unusual occurrence  There was often conflict between the family and the patient, especially concerning religious services.However, this had gotten complicated because the patient was no longer verbally responding and in an agitated state. The proper drugs had been administered but no one could figure out the reason for the agitation. In a serendipitous moment, we decided to ask the patient, who could respond to simple commands, if he now wanted a chaplain. He "said" yes. We then asked if he wanted the chaplain to give the Sacrament of the Sick (similar to Last Rites).  The patient responded positively, was administered the sacrament and died within the hour.Now, any hospice worker can give many examples just like this. It is common at the end of life for a person to want/need to reengage with a disavowed religious system, one they had left behind years or even decades before. I saw this with Wiccans needing to discuss forgiveness of a higher power, Buddhists needing to discuss heaven and hell or those with no religion becoming vulnerable and discussing a religious upbringing not thought of for 50 years. There are a number of reasons, but as Quiz Kid Donnie Smith says in the film Magnolia, "we may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us." As one looks at their own religious or spiritual understanding, that person can mentally assent to a better form of religion, or no religion at all. However, the past is not done with that person. Knowing this gives me pause. Why? Because I have left behind many damaging theological conceptions of my childhood behind. Or have I?It is my desire, as a "pastor to the irreligious, the non-adherents and the post (or never) believers" to help others navigate their own bad religion, whether recent or long past and embrace a Good Religion, one that gives meaning to life, is life affirming, sustainable, healthy and good for the world around them, whether that religion is the one I embrace or another (this is classic CPE or chaplain speak, in case you were wondering).It can take years, but dealing with our religious pasts, so we can look forward to the future, and prepare ourselves for eventual crises, is worth the hard work of creating new practices and a new way of life.As those that journey with me to look at ways we can create a Good Religion in a world in which Bad Religion resides, I leave with another movie quote... well, one that I have slightly changed for my own selfish desires.In the book/ film Perks of Being a Wallflower, it is said, "we accept the love we think we deserve." To which I would change it, "we accept the God (or religion) we think we deserve."*while some of my theological friends may find there posts pedestrian, my intended audience is real people that are walking through life with bad religion, not those predisposed towards big theological arguments. [...]

Give Up Bad Religion for Lent (and beyond)

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 19:32:00 +0000

Warning, this is about religion.Warning, this is not about a specific religion.Oh, and I am trying to convert you.I write this as one that has not blogged in many a day, and even longer if I ignore my satirical and music posts. So, what could bring me back? Would you believe Lent? Would you believe Grammy nominated artist Frank Ocean? How about a friend and former pastor that came out of the closet as an atheist? Well, if you add the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh to the mix you will realize it takes a lot to get me back in the game.While I am not sure if I will continue this writing endeavor here or move it to another blog (Patheos, give me a call), I am going to attempt over the coming days/ weeks/ months to write about my experiments with something I am calling Good Religion. What is it? Well, it is the opposite of what many of us practice… bad religion. It is the what the movement I have been part of for 15 years, led by names like Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Diana Butler Bass and the good folks at the Wild Goose Fest, has been trying to journey into. As I have journeyed in and out of traditional Christian faith, agnosticism and emerging Christianity during the past decade plus, I have come to realize that many of those that have embraced Emerging Christianity, found a new belief system, left Christianity all together or embraced atheism have all been on the same journey out of Bad Religion. There are many good folks out there documenting Bad Religion, folks like Matthew Paul Turner, Zach Hunt and Stephanie Drury. Each is doing yeoman’s work documenting the type of behavior that leads people of religion, and Christianity in particular by holding a light to the darkness of some parts of Evangelicalism and fundamentalism. However, to say that these groups have the market on bad religion is preposterous. There are very bad forms of mainline and progressive Christianity. There are bad forms of Islam (easily documented), Scientology, Hinduism, Judaism and yes, even Buddhism. This post and this blog over the next few months is not going to be another documentation of such. However, it needs to be acknowledged that Bad Religion (no matter what tribe it is in) is killing us. It is what millions of people have left behind, including a huge swath of my friends. It is what I have been fighting since I was an eleven year old being told my baptism from the year before wasn't good enough because it was in a different Christian tradition and therefore I had to be re-baptized to join a Southern Baptist Church. It is what I tried to steer people clear of as a youth minister, pastor and church planter. Sadly, as I was trying to steer them to good religion, it was still part of an oppressive system and only technically better. This bad religion is what my friend who is now an atheist is fighting against, now on the outside looking back at the harm it did to him and his family. And it is the religion I thought of when listening to Frank Ocean’s album a few days ago. I am a fan of Ocean’s music, even if I think his previous album was better than “Channel Orange.” That album, nominated for many Grammys, had a leadoff single called “Bad Religion,” a profoundly sad song by a gay man realizing that it’s a “bad religion to be in love with someone who could never love you.” He is not talking about another man, but about God who, according to his understanding of Christianity, cannot love him. Now some would say this is not true, but one cannot ignore his experience in the church, the church of Bad Religion.So, as Lent begins, I am asking those that read this to spend this 40 days leaving behind Bad Religion, even if they are not part of organized religion at all. Most of us would say that we don’t embrace bad religion. We are smart. We are emerging. We are open-minded. We live in grace. We practice the opposite of bad religion. We practice good religion. Why else would we be reading this?But, during the Lenten season (or whenever you want), I ask you to give up b[...]

Mark Driscoll supports Chick-ified Chicken Sandwich

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 17:48:00 +0000

In an about face from previous pronouncements on the issue, Pastor Mark Driscoll has come out in support of Chick-fil-A. In an interview with this satirist, a spokesman for Mars Hill Church said that Driscoll would like to throw his considerable weight behind the fast food chain.

Driscoll, who has made waves before with his statements regarding the manliness of food (sushi is notoriously off limits because it is used to catch meals, not eat) had previously been in the anti-Chick-fil-A    movement, not due to politics, but due to the name and cuisine.

Pastor Mark, as he is known, has felt for some time that chicken, is in fact, a feminine meat-like product and not true meat (close supporters say he calls is "girly meat"), the kind Jesus and other men of Biblical times, would have eaten. In fact, there is no mention of Jesus or other prominent figures of the Bible, within the Old or New Testament. Pastor Mark does not eat pork, due the biblical injunction against it (besides bacon), nor does he eat poultry unless it is all that is available. Pastor Mark's prohibitions also include raw fish, like sushi and all shellfish. As Pastor Mark said from the pulpit, "Men do not eat anything that has not been cooked on a open fire. They also do not eat any fish or meat that could not put up a fight, besides cow."

When asked about his public change, the spokesman indicated, while it is unfortunate that word "Chick" is used by this fast food restaurant, making it difficult for any real man to eat there, the fact that this chick has taken a stance against chickified men has caused Driscoll to rethink his stance.

Since there is no Chick-Fil-A for Driscoll to eat at in Seattle, he and his family will be taking an elder's private jet to Georgia on August 1, to eat at Chick-fil-A as part of Mike Huckabee's "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day." He will then post pictures of the dinner, as well as his meeting with Dan Cathy, to whom he will speak about serving sandwiches of a more Christian persuasion, like hamburger.

My Top Albums of 2011

Sat, 31 Dec 2011 22:19:00 +0000

So, I am cheating a bit by creating a list of musical discoveries and then a list of other top albums. So, take these lists and make one huge one for yourself. There was too much really good music for me to make a list of 10-20 albums that stood out, especially since no 1 or 2 albums were head and shoulders above the rest. In fact, it was a sub par year for extraordinary albums. However, it was a great year for really good music.You will notice many bands that made year end lists not on this one. Iron and Wine reminded me too much of the Dan Fogelberg Yacht Rock of the 70s. I felt the same regarding the over-hyped Bon Iver. His album was very solid, but his new Christopher Cross direction did not excite me. I am hoping that we stop encouraging these bearded guys before they become Kenny Loggins. That said, Holocene by Bon Iver is a great song.You will also notice that Fleet Foxes is not on this list. They do not write good songs. There, I said it. It is pretentious, overly serious and on par with poetry that stays under a mattress. Civil Wars is nice, but ultimately makes me wish I was listening to Over the Rhine.Enough ranting. Here is the list.* Not ranked because it may be the best thing of the year, but I will not realize it until later because it was so out of left field award goes to King of Limbs by Radiohead. Listen on Spotify.Honorable Mentions: by Elbow, Strange Negotiations by David Bazan, Within and Without by Washed Out, Portamento by The Drums, Wounded Rhymes by Lykke Li, Cults by Cults and Only in Dreams by Dum Dum Girls.25. The Black Keys- El Camino Not their best, but still a blast to listen to.24. Devotchka- 100 LoversThis album got no love this year, which saddens me. If you have never heard their World pop, do yourself a favor and check them out. Listen on Spotify.23. Deep Dark Woods-The Place I Left BehindThe kind of alternative country that fans of Fleet Foxes think they play. Listen to what they would sound like if they actually had the songs. Listen on Spotify.22. Blind Pilot- Half MoonNobody writes prettier songs and if you are going to attempt to rewrite the soft rock of the 70s, it is better to focus on the actual song writing than the atmospherics (are you listening Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver?). Listen on Spotify.21. Raphael Saadiq- Stone Rollin'He's come a long way since his Prince wannabe days, and this exemplifies why he is the keeper of the mantle for a long gone Motown sound. He is a national treasure. Listen on Spotify. 20.Elbow- build a rocket boys!There is the exact point in between Radiohead and Coldplay. Elbow lives and plays there. Listen on Spotify. 19. Demdike Stare- Tryptych The deejay and composer practicing the dark arts as Demdike Stare are mis-classified as ambient. It is entirely too challenging and hard work to listen to for this classification. An album that makes you want to groove at times and sit contemplatively at others, it is the least predictable and third most interesting album I heard this year. Listen here. 18. The Roots- UndunNot as accessible as the last few albums due to its difficult subject matter, the musicianship is still unparalleled. It would have been higher had it come out sooner and I had more time to digest it. Listen on Spotify.17. Destroyer- KaputtSexier and more soulful than his old stuff. But, just as eccentric. Thankfully. Listen on Spotify. 16. Gillian Welch- The Harrow and the HarvestIt took forever, but the wait is worth it. Listen on Spotify.15. TV on the Radio- Nine Types of LightA little mellower than previous releases, this is a surprisingly pretty album, especially Second Song, the lead single. Less Bowie and Talking Heads fixated, they are truly original now. listen on Spotify14. Frank Turner- England Keep my BonesA praise and worship album to the saving power of rock 'n roll, personal responsibility and a life without God, this is an easy to enjoy album with lyrics that will confront those that claim Christianity as their lens. An exceptionally simple album[...]

My Favorite Musical Discoveries of 2011

Fri, 30 Dec 2011 22:36:00 +0000

While 2011 was not the banner year for music that 2010 was (Arcade Fire, The National, Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, Titus Andronicus, Deerhunter, Janelle Monae, Black Keys, Mumford, Frightened Rabbit, Sleigh Bells, The Walkmen and Anais Mitchell would each top this year's list), it was a better year for new artists and discoveries of unknown artists that have been around a while. I will release my list of top albums Sunday. However, here is my list of the top musical discovery albums of the year. The numbers and rankings are somewhat arbitrary and could change tomorrow.Worth mentioning, but not on the list officially because they did not release full albums, only EPs:Alabama Shakes- Alabama Shakes (spend $4 now)Imagine Janis Joplin's multi-ethnic granddaughter fronting early Kings of Leon, but influenced by soul, gospel and the dirt around Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The 4 songs they have given us so far are more exciting than anything I have heard this year (and pretty uplifting).Typhoon- A New Kind of House4 songs that tell me they are the best young cacophonous Indie- Folk band coming out with a CD in 2012. Imagine a young Arcade Fire with even more complex orchestration. Listen on Spotify Just missing the cut:The Ghost of Tom Joad, Saigon, Megafaun, Bahamas, East River Pipe, Sin Fang, Childish Gambino, Shafer James, David Wax Museum15. Foster the People- TorchesYes, there is a lot of hype and they could travel down the road of Maroon 5 and Coldplay. But, as of yet, this is a great young band. Pumped Up Kicks is merely the 3rd or 4th best song on the album. Houdini is one of the best songs of the year.14. Shabazz Palaces- Black UpFor once, a Pitchfork review is spot on. Read it. Innovative, highly complex hip hop from a masterful rapper. If you've heard of math rock, think of this as Math Rap. listen on Spotify13. Caveman- Coco BewareYou have probably heard similar bands before, but very nice, complex, Indie Rock that is pretty to listen to while transporting you to a very pleasant field someplace is something you need. They remind me of buzz bands like Local Natives from last year.listen on Spotify12. The Poison tree- The Poison TreeMy friend Steve thinks this is the best album of the year. He may be right, but I haven't sat with this album as much as he has. Still, this is great music, hearkening back to eras that are long past, yet modern. I think my parents would love the tin pan alley feel while I'm interested in the moodiness.listen on Spotify11. The Mountaineering Club Orchestra- A Start on Such a Night is Full of PromiseThe soundtrack for a movie I wish existed. This classically infused beaut is my favorite ambient album of the year (followed closely by Demdike Stare). If you are looking for something to play while working or in the background, buy it (I think it would be great for church also).You can listen and buy it at Bandcamp and name your price. 10. Frank Ocean- Nostalgia, UltraAnother free album, Frank is bringing back 70's soul stylings for a hip-hop generation. the lyrics are a little beyond my comfort level at times, but the music is what I imagine Al Green or Marvin Gaye would be playing if they were coming out after Jay-Z and Kanye West changed the landscape so radically.listen here9. Wu Lyf- Go Tell Fire on the MountainHard to describe band from England that classifies itself as Heavy Pop. Messy music consisting of passionate vocals, smart lyrics, swirling guitars. Not for everyone, but I like it.listen on Spotify 8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.- It's a Corporate WorldGoofy, but great named project from Detroit that Paste magazine coins "indie-alt-digital-folk-garage-rock-pop." There is a kitchen sink vibe to their music which reminds me of the smoothness of Earlimart or Granddaddy.listen on Spotify7. Youth Lagoon- The Year of HibernationOne kid from Idaho making the kind of music I would make if I was alone in Idaho: melancholy. This is the best of the new bands making music straddling the fence [...]

Top Faith Based Albums of 2011

Thu, 29 Dec 2011 18:02:00 +0000

I don't listen to a lot of so called "Christian" music. I could go into my typical rant, but it is old hat and bores even me. That said, I found a few albums that come from a Christian worldview that are marketing specifically to Christian audiences (one is more mainstream) that I liked quite a lot. While they are not making my list of top albums, coming out in the next couple of days, I want to emphasize their inherent quality, especially for those that listen to such music.5) Damion Suomi and the Minor Prophets- Go and Sell All of Your ThingsA beer soaked folk rock album full of praise songs for drunken revelry and open questioning of faith. You have heard it all before, but that doesn't make it any less fun... or thought provoking. Suomi stands in a long line of deeply afflicted, yet strongly Christian musicians, including Larry Norman, The 77's and Bill Mallonee. Here is a good review from Paste Magazine. listen on Spotify 4) Gungor- Ghosts Upon the EarthThe opposite of beer soaked, this honest and quite beautiful endeavor is Michael Gungor's best set yet. Mis-classified as a worship artist, most of Gungor's songs are too complex for the average church setting desiring Chris Tomlin's last copy of every Coldplay trope in the book. Gungor's lyrics are refreshingly honest and the music is definitely in the Sufjan Stevens meets Sigur Ros at an Arcade Fire concert hymnal presently employed by most "Indie-Rock." I love his voice, mostly because it reminds me of one of my best friends, Michael Johnston of the criminally underrated Smalltown Poets.listen on Spotify 3) John Mark McMillan- EconomyHopefully, this is what worship music will sound like in the coming years in churches, as people grow tired of the same old sanitized lyrics and melodies of Tomlin, Redmon and Crowder. In fact, this is what Crowder should sound like (even if he changes the lyrics of McMillan songs to refine and popularize them, robbing them of their power in the process). McMillan obviously genuflects before Bruce Springsteen, like some of the best young bands in America, owing as much to Gaslight Anthem and Brit Rock as to the Boss. While the melodies stand out, it is the lyrics that I would love to hear in church, deeply embracing grace while flirting with darkness and depression. It is rock and roll and it is refreshing, to say the least. listen on Spotify 2) Josh Garrels- Love and War and the Sea in BetweenFirst of all, just click the link above and get this album for free. While the previous albums are best appreciated by those that share some faith interest with the musicians, this stands out as an albums I recommend to anyone that likes soulful indie-folk. While in the ultra-serious vein of Ray Lamontagne and Iron and Wine, Garrels stands out from the crowd with his arrangements. He is the best mainstream artist operating in the Christian marketplace at this time. I could go on, but since it is a free album, I see no reason. Just get the darn thing.1) Aaron Strumpel- BirdsAs I said when it was initially released, if there is anyone more compelling and original in the so called "Christian" market, I have yet to hear it. Wondrously off-kilter, Birds reminds me of the best Indie films, at once oft-putting and impossible to resist without the obvious narrative we expect from Hollywood (or Nashville). While this album and Garrels' are equally good, Birds gets the nod due to its originality. [...]

What Rob Bell's next step really is

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 17:37:00 +0000

After much soul searching, I have decided to end this blog’s primary function as outlet for my weirdness. Instead, I realize there is a much needed service to the Church. While Christianity Today and other outlets report on the facts, what we need now is a rumor, innuendo and gossip blog. Of course, that is unacceptable, so officially this will be aPRAYER and CONCERN for Church Leadership blog.First order of business is getting to the bottom of the “Rob Bell leaves resigns from his church” media storm (ok, not a storm, since the Christian world is pretty small).Christianity Today shared the resignation letter:Feeling the call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities, our founding pastor Rob Bell, has decided to leave Mars Hill in order to devote his full energy to sharing the message of God's love with a broader audience.It is with deeply mixed emotions that we announce this transition to you. We have always understood, encouraged, and appreciated the variety of avenues in which Rob's voice and the message of God's tremendous love has traveled over the past 12 years. And we are happy and hopeful that as Rob and Kristen venture ahead, they will find increasing opportunity to extend the heartbeat of that message to our world in new and creative ways.Of course, this is the official story. I have been on the phone all day and can report on some of the possibilities, rumors and gossip that a publication like Christianity Today is too scared to print. Here are the possibilities, followed by the thoughts of your fearless reporter.1. According to his personal trainer, Rob Bell has resigned from Mars Hill Church to become a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. After one too many insults from the likes of Mark Driscoll and his manly minions, Rob has chosen to take the time he has used for Bible Study in the past to take his body to new heights, preparing for a late Spring date with Mark Driscoll on the Church Channel’s new reality show, UFP (Ultimate Fighting Pastor). He plans to take down Dirscoll, followed in short order by Perry Noble, before taking down the entire Acts 29 leadership in a cage match.Upon winning, Bell will take control of Mars Hill, Seattle and return to the pastorate as leader of the new multi-site congregation, Mars Hill, America. “I am planning on showing Driscoll what Hell on Earth feels like,” is what he told his trainer.There is no verification of this by independent sources.2. I spoke earlier today with a realtor in the tony Naples island suburb of Marco Island, home to Bell’s hero and mentor, Brian McLaren. He told me that a bespectacled man from Michigan is hoping to by a large home in McLaren’s neighborhood. According to other sources, Bell is moving closer to McLaren to learn how to make a living as a supposedly heretical Evangelical writer.3. There is no truth to the rumor that Rob Bell is behind the recent break up of R.E.M., even though Stipe was seen boarding a flight to Grand Rapids the same day as the announcement. Bell continually brings up the fact that he was a great musician and possible rock star in interviews. Although, he has expressed interest in starting a band after retirement, there is no independent verification that he is actually any good at music.4. A spokesman at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN has told this reporter that Bell stepped down to become a member of BBC under the leadership of John Piper. “Piper reached out to Bell after the Love Wins controversy. Upon seeing the error of his ways, Bell decided to step down from the pulpit and come under the tutelage of a real theologian and pastor.Again, no independent verification.5. Wanting to study the doctrine of hell more closely and get a handle on what hell is really like, Bell has decided to run for Congress and move to D.C.6. There is no truth to the rumor that he will be taking over Apple. This was of great concern to t[...]

Mark Driscoll admits to Injecting Bible with Steroids

Thu, 14 Jul 2011 21:59:00 +0000

I wrote this a year and a half ago. It seems appropriate today.I have just intercepted this press release from 2015.Statement to Members of the PressFrom Mars Hill Church, Seattle, Washington. (January 12, 2015).Due to rumors surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs among pastors during the past 2 decades, the elders of Mars Hill Church, including Pastor Emeritus Mark Driscoll, have chosen to address this issue at this time.From Pastor Mark:“Now that I have retired from the pastorate to become Commissioner of Ultimate Christian Fighting®, an organization I started with the leaders of Acts 29 in 2011 to introduce young men to a more muscular version of Christianity, I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do a few years ago.I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It's time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my preaching career and I apologize. Now, understand, I never used steroids personally and never consumed them in my body. My body is the product of good genes, hours in a gym, beer and naturally high levels of testosterone (I have stated before and will continue to state that Jesus had the highest levels of testosterone in human history). The steroids I used were injected directly into 3 areas; 1) My Bible, 2) The Gospel itself, 3) My preaching and writing.I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1996 church planting assessments in my preaching only and then after I saw how disturbingly wimpy emerging Christianity was becoming in 1999, I used steroids again, this time directly infusing my Bible with them. I used them on regularly throughout the Aughts, including during the days surrounding controversies with other preachers when I questioned their sexuality. My statement surrounding the fact that I could not follow a Jesus I could beat up was influenced by a steroid influenced Gospel, as was my preaching, teaching and commentary related to sex, sexuality and women’s issues. My Bible was completely addicted to these unnaturally high levels of testosterone.While steroids have been rumored in the areas of my preaching directly related to my usage of harsh language and profanity before my repentance of such childishness, I would like to remind readers of this statement I am Irish and I did watch a lot of Chris Rock.I wish I had never preached a steroid influenced Gospel. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never pastored during the steroid era. I watched as many good pastors and theologians decided to emasculate Jesus and turn him into our sissified best friend. I saw liberal theology seeping into the pores of our schools and the young men becoming preachers. I saw God turned into a servant for our desires and a Gospel that no longer took sin seriously. Because of that, I turned to steroids. I am embarrassed for what I did, but my heart was as pure as the heart of a reformed person, sinful at birth and dead in that sin, although saved by grace alone can be (TULIP still rocks!).Preaching is really different now -- it's been cleaned up. God and the theological unions implemented testing and they cracked down, and I'm glad they did. I'm grateful to the elders of Mars Hill and the board of directors at Ultimate Christian Fighting® for testing my Gospel and Biblical understanding, as well as my old sermon streams (can you believe people still use youtube?) before confronting me. Yes, there was outside pressure, which I usually ignore. But, my mentors would not let it go. It is nice, as I get older to walk into a church and not need to worry about the language of the pastor, whether or not he will goop (so much better than tweeting, hah) in 25 characters some insult towards others, and not have the ladies of my life insulted.I do need to apologize to many of the young men th[...]

John Piper Clarifies Tweets regarding Rob Bell

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 11:48:00 +0000

Late Breaking News from Minneapolis

Rob Bell was not the only Christian celebrity speaking to his followers via streaming online video on Monday evening. John Piper, in a hastily thrown together video chat on his website (, answered reporters questions regarding his previous tweet which had created the firestorm of blogs postings, tweets and facebook rants on the supposed content of Rob Bell's newest book, Love Wins.

In an opening statement, an unnamed twenty-something spokesman for Piper declared that the controversy was entirely overblown and without merit. Piper was disappointed that his words had been taken out of context and that so much buzz had been created for a book by a pastor with a mere Master of Divinity and no advanced theological training. Said the statement, "While I am sure Rob is a wonderful guy, his books should not be selling as well as mine due to the fact his followers are not as well educated and he is lacking the proper credentials, credentials that would put his theological ramblings in proper alignment."

Asked why his press conference/ web chat was happening at the same time as a Rob Bell event in New York City, the spokesman explained that "Reformed Christians, or should I say, Christians, need to have their focus on the truth of the Gospel and Hell, not be distracted by a rock star talking about love. Who does he think he is, Bono?"

At this time, Dr. Piper came to the podium to explain his tweet. Piper explained that the tweet in question, in which he said "Farewell, Rob Bell" before sharing the link to a review of the book by a Conservative blogger with no actual knowledge of the contents of the book, was out of context.

"Actually I said, Fare Well, Rob Bell," which is a completely different sentiment. For one thing, it flows poetically. That anyone would think that I would create such an awkward couplet as the actual tweet is preposterous. I have modeled my use of language after the Puritan poet/ theologians like Jonathan Edwards. Secondly, I realized that much controversy would arise surrounding his book, so I wanted to offer a word of encouragement and hope that he fares well with this. Lastly, as any reader of Old English understands, 'fare-thee-well' is a statement of hope for perfection."

When asked about the actual tweet, Piper answered, "Dang autocorrect. I don't know what kind of Communists they have running Apple, but their Big Brother attitude towards typing is ridiculous."

At this time, Piper left the podium, abruptly ending the news conference/ chat. His spokesman told those gathered that Piper would be retreating to his home to read Jonathan Edwards' responses to bad press before reading tweets about the Rob Bell event in New York City.

Later that evening, after watching a bit of Rob Bell's stream, John Piper's twitter account shared this tweet, "Farewell, Rob Bell, You I tell, There is a Hell." A spokesman asserted the veracity of the tweet.

Free Music from The Head and The Heart

Fri, 25 Feb 2011 00:07:00 +0000


Musicians I want the Wild Goose Festival to Bring!

Wed, 23 Feb 2011 16:30:00 +0000

The Wild Good Fest, a new American progressive Christian festival announced its lineup of speakers a couple of days ago. It is littered with friends of mine and my wife, so we are thinking of heading to the woods of North Carolina to hook up with old friends and new at this Americanized version of Greenbelt, the English Festival I have never attended.Earlier today it released its musician list, which is of more interest to me. They had already announced two artists, Denison Witmer and the incomparable T-Bone Burnett. While I know they are trying to make it diverse, I was sure lineup would lean heavily towards the folkie/ singer songwriter genre. It always happens. Its what progressively minded intellectuals usually listen to. I was right. With a few notable exceptions, it is heavily earnest guy or girl with guitar.I created my list before they announced, so I am happy some including Sarah Mason, Over the Rhine and Bill Mallonee were included. Some, such as Bajah and the Dry-Eye Crew and Michelle Shocked, are inspired (I missed her on my list).That said, I am announcing the lineup I was wishing for. Since I used to be a concert promoter, have written critically about music and been considered an expert on the subject for 20 plus years, I thought someone out there may want to know my opinion. However, Wild Goose hasn't asked me for my opinion. They probably know better than asking a music snob.So here we go.First of all we have the No Brainers and the people I am sure they have asked (I am guessing most of these artists were out of their price range or too busy). If they haven't asked these people, I am very surprised. These musicians have shown that they stand for what the WGF is about. I have starred the musts, in my eyes. Some of these are among my faves, but many are a little mainstream for my tastes:Jennifer Knapp, The Psalters, mewithoutYou* (in whatever incarnation), Sarah Mason*, Glenn Phillips* (formerly of Toad the Wet Sprocket), Derek Webb, Bill Mallonee of Vigilantes of Love*, the Flobots*, Damien Jurado, David Bazan*, Danielson (probably too big in their own eyes), David Vendervelde, Sam Phillips (probably uninterested due to inclusion of ex-husband), Cobalt Season*, Julie and Buddy Miller, Tom Conlon, Maeve, Bruce Cockburn, Indigo Girls (although too big probably), John Austin*, Michael knott, Sixpence none the Richer, the Choir.Lovedrug (not a big fan), Jars of Clay, Mutemath and Switchfoot would be very smart choices and give a nice buzz. In fact, I would try to get Jon Foreman of Switchfoot to come solo or with his other side projects. I would also try to get Glen Phillips side project called Works Progress Administration.The Civil Wars would be a coup, but should be asked. Speaking of coups:These artists are probably too big, but worth a looksy. One might say yes, especially in the future (or one of the members of a band could come solo). Some are serious home runs and dreams only, while others may say yes and still be a coup.Moby*, Sufjan Stevens, Owl City, Ben Folds, Lauryn Hill, Arcade Fire:), Avett Brothers (live right down the street), Mumford and Sons (of course), Nick Cave*, Mindy Smith, Patty Griffin, Joseph Arthur (solo or with his band Fistful of Mercy), Elvis Perkins, Frightened Rabbit, BRMC (doable)*, Social Distortion, Local Natives, Joy Formidable, Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady.All of these artists embody a similar spiritual side, whatever their professed belief system. Hip Hop Artists to Ask:Gift of Gab* (and his band Blackalicious), Pigeon John, K'naan, Lateef, Prodigal Son, Emmanuel Jal**, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Chuck Rite (singer). Electronic Music or DJs: I don't listen to many that have any expressed spirituality. However, Andy Hunter and Todd Edwards are interesting to some. And Son Lux would be a wonderful[...]

Song of the Year, 2010- Why We Build The Wall

Thu, 06 Jan 2011 15:18:00 +0000

I am not sure I will start blogging again. However, a few (very few) people want to know my music selections for 2010. Since I am not employed by a newspaper with a deadline, I know I can take my time (plus I wanted to wait to hear everything I could in 2010).Over the next few days I will offer my Top Albums (yes, I still listen to fully developed albums, not just mp3s of a single song), my playlist of the best songs/ my favorites of the year (I will put a mix tape on drop box for anyone interested) and today's entry:Song of the YearBy declaring song of the year, I am not saying this is the best song in 2010. In fact, it was not. However, this song fully captures the spirit of 2010. It is a haunting track off Anais Mitchell's powerful Folk Opera based upon the myth of Orpheus, Hadestown (an easy top 10 album). This albums has guests like Ani DiFranco and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), but the highlight of the album is this song which captures that 2010 spirit, espeically in light of Tea Parties, Immigration reform, mosque battles, recession and people in need and the response many of us have to those we consider "other", "different," or "outsider."There is no real video, but here it is on youtube coupled with another song. Listen to Why We Build the Wall by Anais Mitchell and Greg Brown:Here are the lyrics:HADESWhy do we build the wall?My children, my childrenWhy do we build the wall?CERBERUSWhy do we build the wall?We build the wall to keep us freeThat’s why we build the wallWe build the wall to keep us freeHADESHow does the wall keep us free?My children, my childrenHow does the wall keep us free?CERBERUSHow does the wall keep us free?The wall keeps out the enemyAnd we build the wall to keep us freeThat’s why we build the wallWe build the wall to keep us freeHADESWho do we call the enemy?My children, my childrenWho do we call the enemy?CERBERUSWho do we call the enemy?The enemy is povertyAnd the wall keeps out the enemyAnd we build the wall to keep us freeThat’s why we build the wallWe build the wall to keep us freeHADESBecause we have and they have not!My children, my childrenBecause they want what we have got!CERBERUSBecause we have and they have not!Because they want what we have got!The enemy is povertyAnd the wall keeps out the enemyAnd we build the wall to keep us freeThat’s why we build the wallWe build the wall to keep us freeHADESWhat do we have that they should want?My children, my childrenWhat do we have that they should want?CERBERUSWhat do we have that they should want?We have a wall to work upon!We have work and they have noneAnd our work is never doneMy children, my childrenAnd the war is never wonThe enemy is povertyAnd the wall keeps out the enemyAnd we build the wall to keep us freeThat’s why we build the wallWe build the wall to keep us freeWe build the wall to keep us freefeel free to share your thoughts[...]

Save the Blue Like Jazz Movie

Thu, 30 Sep 2010 18:23:00 +0000

About a year an a half ago a dear friend , one of the producers of the Blue Like Jazz film project sent me the script to read and evaluate. He also wanted me to share my thoughts with the world. I did in May of 2009. Things were progressing well and my friend was raising funds for the film. Casting looked strong and their was good buzz. However, there were financial humps that could not be overcome, mostly due to the fact that those with the money (older, more conservative Christians) did not like the script and those that would like the script and film (younger, more open-minded Christians and spiritually minded persons) do not have deep pockets.It was announced not too long ago that the project was dead. However some enterprising young me, probably wanting to be producers in their own rights have come up with an ingenious plan, obvious int eh world of Radiohead's pay-what-you-want, but still new to the film world. They have devised a plan for people to help save the film by giving money to the project and becoming, in effect, producers of a piece of art they want to see. As a former concert promoter that spent much of his own money on bands I wanted to see, I love the idea and want to support it.So, here is my little way of helping. Please go to their site if you are a fan of the book and want to see it made into a film. If you are unsure, read my analysis of the script. The script has been changed since I evaluated it (and I have heard, some of the changes are reflective of my ideas- they were ideas by many readers, not just me).So, here is the site to save the movie. Follow them on twitter. Give money for good art and spread the word.Here is my reprinted analysis:There is no other reason that a person of my stature with only a few hundred readers would get his hands on the screenplay that many are talking about. The only other thing I have read is from Gabe Lyons, and I am not Gabe Lyons. He produces big conferences and writes books. I write a blog and have better hair and music taste. Plus, I did not love the book. I merely liked the book, but I was not its main audience (too old and cynical).To be Hollywood-y, I will tell you to think The Graduate meets Fight Club, without the sex, violence and multiple personalities. It is not your preacher's Christian film. In fact, it is light years away from and ahead of what normally passes for "Christian" entertainment (Fireproof, etc). The reason for this is a different agenda. Imagine getting a bunch of talented people together (that just happen to be Christians). Imagine that they have one goal and that goal is not to make a Christian film, or evangelize. Imagine that goal is simply to make a very good film that entertains, but the main character happens to have a Christian background which he is struggling with. This friend wanted my honest assessment and I can tell you this… it is quite good. It is funny, edgy (but not too edgy- I wish it were more so, but I hate edge just to be edgy- see garden State), honest, brash and humble. Yes, the comparisons to Garden State, Good Will Hunting, All the Real Girls, Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, and any other coming of age story are warranted. It is a Christian Indie flick, and it works. It is reasonably Sundance-y and will be embraced by a similar audience, unless the audience is prejudiced.They have started with the thing any film must have to be good... a very good script. Now it is up to the filmmakers to make the movie the screenplay deserves. It is not as witty as Juno (which is not a bad thing- Juno may have been too witty), but is much more realistic than Garden State and its ending does not make you suspend any disbelief (unlike GS), which you have to do in Elizabethtown and any other hackneyed roma[...]

reposting from April 2009- Arcade Fire is Emergent Idol Winner

Thu, 19 Aug 2010 16:40:00 +0000

"Churches should replace hymns with Arcade Fire songs, more kids would sing along."*This is a reposting from April 2009. I think it is good to reread in light of the new found glory Arcade Fire has found, especially among young, emerging and other Christians. While I would change some of my insights, I decided to leave it in its old form. I would love to rewrite this in light of The Suburbs which expands upon the message of the first two albums. Hope you enjoy:How many of you guessed this? Ohhh Canada! I had to pick a band that did not hail from these United States and included both genders in its leadership, one that explores the past and future; mining many traditional sounds and world elements, yet is still totally part of its own culture, a band that is obsessed with religion, consumerism, community, activism, etc. It sounds like Emergent, especially its younger future. It also helps Arcade Fire's cause that it is the premiere band to debut since the emerging church conversation's advent in its present form. Plus, I like picking a band that is not even "Christian" which should satisfy Emergent's critics ("I told you they were not really Christians. If they were, their official band would be Caedmon's Call").Of course, I am basing this on just 2 albums, one of which is really the official album of Emergent more than any band could take the title official band of Emergent. However, based upon this album and what I think we are in over the next decade, I designate Arcade Fire the official band of Emergent.Just as Emergent has had its Lesslie Newbiggin, Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright and Stanley Grenz and is moving to new voices, Arcade Fire is the next step in spiritual music's evolution, beyond Radiohead, U2 and VOL.Its first EP made little splash, so many critics and listeners were not prepared for Arcade Fire's debut, Funeral (it reminds me of the early 80s when R.E.M.'s Chronic Town EP which no one heard was followed by Murmer, which blew my bedroom door off its hinges). A bunch of intellectual Canadians working as a community, led by a husband from Houston and his French Canadian wife, astonished listeners by conjuring up the spirits of the Talking Heads and Modest Mouse, while turning those bands on their heads through traditional instrumentation and choir-like choruses. Funeral sounds like wheels coming off of a Gospel bus, chaotic but ordered, like the beginning of the universe or the warning shots of a band to be reckoned with for a long while.It is an album that deals directly with the reality of death, but laughs heartily and hopefully in its face, daring it to direct confrontation. Its lens is the "neighborhood" handed to us by our parents. It is to be destroyed, but not angrily. It is to be confronted and destroyed to build a new world, one focused on faith, hope, love and community (a theme expanded upon on album #2). Does this sound familiar?While not as spiritually direct as its follow up, Funeral speaks to us by creating otherworldly music and new hymns it will perfect on Neon Bible. They reach a transcendence on this album that contemporary praise and worship cannot, beyond the emotional heart pull of your typical never ending crescendo of praise choruses. Listen once to Wake Up and tell me you do not wish church music reached those heights, everyone singing in unison. It is an album of renewal.But it does not prepare us for the intense spirituality of the next album; the main reason I consider Arcade Fire the official band of Emergent, or emerging Christianity. That album is entitled Neon Bible and I hope you own it. Named after John Kennedy Toole's first novel and sporting a sound church worship bands should study like a sacred text, Neon Bible declares w[...]

3rd Album Theory (part 5, The Pantheon)

Fri, 30 Jul 2010 12:30:00 +0000

Pantheon Artists prove their greatness by album #3. These artists are like the NBA greats (Jordan, Bird, Magic, Duncan, Kobe), while the newer artists are like the NBA players that are on the cusp of all time greatness (Durant, Lebron, Wade, Carmelo and Paul). The obvious Pantheon Artists and their 3rd album masterworks: U2- War (and they kept improving on the next 3 albums) Radiohead- O.K. Computer Talking Heads- Fear of MusicPrince- Dirty Mind (you knew he was special and not even close to attaining what he was capable of) The Clash- London Calling Bruce Springsteen- Born to Run David Bowie- The Man Who Sold the World Jimi Hendrix- Electric Ladyland The Who- The Who Sell Out Led Zepplin- Led Zepplin III (not their best album, but still amazing) The Velvet Underground- The Velvet Underground Otis Redding- Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul Metallica- Master of Puppets Al Green- Al Green Gets Next To You Elvis Costello- Armed Forces Run- DMC- Raising HellThe Smiths- The Queen is Dead Not so obvious, but worth debating. For some it is too early to tell, while others may lead to people to disagree because their greatness is debated (i.e. Tom Petty, White stripes, Eminem, Aerosmith). But each of those created something masterful on number 3 and have sustained an excellent career arc: The National- Alligator (sure, too early to tell and no one owns this album, but wow) New Pornographers- Twin Cinema The White Stripes- White Blood Cells (let the angry comments begin again) The 77s- The 77s The Choir- Chase the Kangaroo Eminem- the Marshal Mathers Album Aerosmith- Toys in the Attic (this surprised me, but I have to include it) Ramones- Rocket to Russia The Hold Steady- Boys and Girls in America Tom Petty- Damn the Torpedoes Vigilantes of Love- Killing Floor Husker Du- Zen Arcade[...]

3rd Album Theory (part 4, near greatness attained but not pantheon was shown by #3)

Thu, 29 Jul 2010 17:30:00 +0000

These artists did not hit complete stride until #4 or later (or we are waiting) with notable exceptions. They are GREAT artists and these are excellent albums, but not masterpieces. Therefore these artists are not transcendent/ pantheon artists. I compare these musicians to high level superstars in basketball (Stockton, Robinson, Malone, Shaq, Dr. J).First of all, 3 that I am putting here with HUGE reservations. I want them on the Pantheon list, but will put them here for argument's sake:R.E.M. - Fables of the Reconstruction (I am continually arguing with myself on this album. But, the formula decided they peaked on #4 & beyond, therefore they are not pantheon. It hurts to say it.)The Replacements- Hootenanny (one of my pantheon bands, but I admit they may be a step below. But, man were the next 3 albums great! I was thinking of putting them down as an exception because I think they are pantheon.)Outkast – Aquemini Here are 2 that I am willing to revisit:TV on the Radio – Dear Science Frightened Rabbit- The Winter of Mixed Drinks (this frustrates me because this is a wonderful album, but not the masterpiece I had hoped would elevate them to future pantheon status. We could re-evaluate this album and find them on Mt Olympus. I hope so.)Not quite Pantheon: Jay Z- Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life Public Enemy- Fear of a Black Planet (interesting case, because their masterpiece is album #2 and they never reached such heights again. But this is a very good LP)) Madonna- True Blue Wilco- Summerteeth Pearl Jam- Vitalogy The Police- Zenyattà Mondatta Smashing Pumpkins- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness Nine Inch Nails- the Downward Spiral Sigur Rós- ( ) Queen- Sheer Heart Attack New Order- Low Life Drive-by Truckers- Southern Rock Opera Kiss- Dressed to Kill ACDC- High Voltage Tupac- Me Against the World (3rd solo- his 3rd album was w/ Thug Life) Guns n’ Roses- Use Your illusion 1 and 2 Elton John- Tumbleweed Connection Bright Eyes- Fevers and Mirrors Roxy Music- Stranded Lyle Lovett- Lyle Lovett and His Large Band My Morning Jacket- It Still Moves (however, their first album was pretty raw and self made. If Z is considered their 3rd album proper, they may need to be considered for future pantheon status) Muse- Absolution Spoon- Girls Can Tell Sting- the Soul Cages Sufjan Stevens- Michigan[...]

3rd Album Theory (part 3, negative proof)

Thu, 29 Jul 2010 12:30:00 +0000

These artists proved they are not great upon release of #3 (so many of these bands had great 2nd albums). Many of these artists are very good, kinda like an NBA All Star that will never make the HOF-some just never lived up to their potential (Bosh, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady):

Coldplay- X & Y

System of a Down- Mesmerize (or Steal this Album depending which you thing is the really #3. Ultimately it doesn’t matter. Both are mediocre.)

The Cure- Faith (let the hateful comments commence. I don’t want them here, but the formula demands their inclusion here)

James Taylor- One Man Dog (told you so)

Blitzen Trapper- Destroyer of the Void (after their 2nd album, I had high hopes)

Oasis- Be Here Now

Kanye West- Graduation (I am of the belief that he started with perfection and each album has been not as good as the preceding album)

Weezer- The Green Album (very good, but not after Pinkerton)

Lynyrd Skynyrd- Nuthin’ Fancy (this one hurts to put here)

Van Halen- Women and Children First

ABBA- ABBA (after reaching the heights of Waterloo on #2 and never again attaining it)

Eagles- On the Border

The Cars- Panorama (talk about a band peaking early- one of the best debut albums ever. Inclusion of the Cars hurts immensely)

The Cranberries- To the Faithful Departed

Duran Duran- Seven and the Ragged Tiger

The Gaslight Anthem- American Slang (decent album, but I had high hopes)

Kings of Leon- Because the Times

3rd Album Theory (part 2, the exceptions and complex cases))

Wed, 28 Jul 2010 12:30:00 +0000

Exceptions to the Rule, or complex cases Pink Floyd is the most notable exception to my rule, but their band members were freaking out on heavy drugs during that time period and lacked a cohesive vision during their early years after Syd Barrett left. Billy Joel is a confusing one due to his first album’s weakness and lack of solid production. Maybe he started before he was ready. He reminds me of a guy that left college too early for the NBA. I left him off due to it. Also, he may not be as good as I remember from childhood. Same thing with Jackson Browne. Micheal Jackson does not fit into my scheme due to the lack of control for many of his early albums. Plus, I think he peaked on Off the Wall and Thriller and never was a pantheon musician, only a pantheon performer. If he were still alive, he would not be considered so god-like (look at where he ranked on lists of the great musicians of all time pre-death). Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen is an exception to the rule. It is okay, but he is pantheon (maybe he was never a full album guy as much as a song guy). Green Day confuses me also (Dookie is their #3). Are they merely decent or near that level below pantheon status. I am afraid they had one or two great albums in them, and that is it.I don’t know what to do with Josh Ritter. He is heading steadily downhill after #4 (#3 is Hello Starling). Mewithoutyou gave us Brother Sister as #3, a spectacular, masterful album, but they could be done. Wu tang Clan is also terribly confusing. They peaked on the first couple of albums, as did NWA before crumbling under the weight of the personalities, even if there were 3rd and 4th albums. Ryan Adams is too prolific to know what to do with. He gives us so much crap because I think he is a song guy, not an album guy. There are also bands that never realized the potential due a career cut short, self destruction, death or implosion: these potentially great artists include The Fugees, Lauren Hill, Nirvana (Bleach is an interesting case as a 1st album and I still don’t know how I really feel about In Utero), Jeff Buckley, Rage Against the Machine (had great #3, but left before reaching pantheon), Neutral Milk Hotel and Jane’s Addiction (had a crappy 3rd album years after their brilliant debut and sophomore albums). Bands I am looking forward to giving us #3 in the near future include: Elvis Perkins who has the potential for greatness, as do Titus Andronicus, K’naan and Lupe Fiasco. Vampire Weekend could be in this group if they stop being derivative. Any thoughts?Tomorrow, negative proof of the theory[...]

3rd Album Theory (part 1, the theory)- 5 part series

Tue, 27 Jul 2010 18:02:00 +0000

Want proof that Coldplay is not a “special” band? Their 3rd album X&Y Want proof that U2 is a transcendent/ rock pantheon band? Their 3rd album War Want proof the Beastie Boys are somewhere in between? Their 3rd album, Check Your Head Want proof M.I.A. isn’t quite the pantheon artist we thought she would be? Her latest (3rd) album. But, give this one time. It (and she) may be. Want proof Arcade Fire is either a transcendent/ rock pantheon band or merely a really good band? Wait until next Tuesday and buy The Suburbs, their 3rd album. It will tell you (early reviews are looking good). While it has been rolling around my head for a long time, the sharing of this idea is precipitated by the fact that many bands were coming out with 3rd albums this year, albums that could define them because they had the potential for greatness or really goodness, bands like: Frightened Rabbit, gaslight Anthem, Blitzen Trapper, and the aforementioned M.I.A. and Arcade Fire. For a number of years I have subscribed to a musical premise that I call The 3rd Album Theory. The above examples stand as proof of this hypothesis, irrefutable evidence of my conclusions that the truly great musicians have created a masterwork by album 3. In fact, they have usually already given indication that such a work is just around the corner after a phenomenal debut and avoidance of the dreaded sophomore slump (or, if there is a slump, it is only in light of the perfection attained on 1 and 3). Some brilliant bands like Radiohead have already attained a masterpiece by album 2 (The Bends), yet do not retreat into the safe confines of re-creation on the next go around, pushing the boundaries beyond the listeners' comfort level to attain a level of artistry unexpected, even by those with high expectations. The yang to Radiohead’s ying is Coldplay. After a well received first album communicating high levels of potential they dropped the brilliant #2 record on audiences, A Rush of Blood to the Head before retreating into the dreaded attempt at re-creation instead of inspiration. It is tantamount to a potentially brilliant director heading into the comforts of big money sequels instead of pushing himself to new heights. Christian bands are the worst about following success with failure. The Christian band DC Talk gave us Jesus Freak, a brilliant album (#4) before doing what Christian bands do upon creating a commercially successful crossover hit that is critically respected. They retreat into the safeness of re-creation of the album without the same level of passion or ambition (see Switchfoot, Amy Grant as further proof). Sure the theory has exceptions. Dave Matthews Band’s 3rd album was Beneath these Crowded Streets. They have never come close to attaining such an artistic, critical high in the aftermath. I feel the same about The Decemberists so far, after the heights of #3 (Picaresque) but that is open to debate. Also, bands that were discovered late and created their first albums with no production help can attain greatness later. The Roots, Regina Spektor and Beck fall into this category or have the potential to. They are like a brilliant pitcher relegated to the minor leagues a little too long. The other caveat is the 60s. We must remember that until the mid-60s, the album was merely a receptacle for individual songs. Aside from jazz musicians, popular musicians were not thinking cohesively about albums on a regular basis. This is why Bob Dylan (early albums were great, but not cohesive until #5 Bringing It All Back Home), The Beach Boys (I would argue t[...]

Macheads-not that there's anything wrong with that

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 14:44:00 +0000

A documentary about people with a slavish devotion to Apple products, not that anyone reading this blog would know any such strange and tragic figures. Still, worth a watch to see the type of people that are nothing like any of those reading this blog on their Macs, iPads and iPhones.

(image) (object) Watch more free documentaries

I write like

Fri, 16 Jul 2010 18:17:00 +0000


I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I kept running my writing through this writer analysis and it tells me I write like DFW usually (when not doing straight satire) and James Joyce at other times. DFW is one of my favorites and JJ I can live without. While I think anyone with sloppy, stream of conscious, rambling writing will get these 2 (which means all bloggers), I will still take DFW- probably because I use so many parentheticals.

Some of my more satirical writings (the ones built like news stories) get compared to Dan Brown and JJ. My last Mark Driscoll/ Lebron piece got compared to Chuck Palahniuk which is frightening. I am guessing they get compared to Brown because they sound like crappily written pieces of crap that make no sense.

Free Agent Preacher Driscoll to Announce New City for Pastoring Live tonight

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 17:02:00 +0000

After weeks of discussion, sources are announcing that Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, the star free agent preacher of 2010, will be announcing his future plans live on TheChurchChannel tonight at 9PM from the offices of the International Justice Mission in D.C. All proceeds from the announcement will be given to IJM.While it is not known what Rev. Driscoll will do, his entourage has been taking calls from pulpits around the world, fielding offers and crunching numbers. While many pastors have reupped with their home teams, others have chased the money and potential from church plants and established pulpits in other cities.Speculation has reached a fever pitch in this summer of the free agent preachers. Already this week, Rick Warren has re-signed with Saddleback for the maximum contract, as have Andy Stanley and Bill Hybels with their churches. Ed Young, Jr. has announced he will be leaving Fellowship of Grapevine for the sun and fun of South Beach. A spokesman for Young stated that "we should not be surprised. The lifestyle of Miami is more conducive to Pastor Young's ministry gifts."In fact, earlier today, Rob Bell announced via twitter that he would be leaving Grand Rapids, Michigan, a truly dreadful place, for the challenges of San Diego, California. Said Bell, in 140 characters or less, "yo peeps, Love G Rap but 2 cold, the Bell needs sunshine and a congregants w/ cash money. Trading specs for sunglasses."With the other top free agent's announcements, the pressure is mounting for Driscoll, whose options are endless and ego demands a larger stage than twitter or a blog. Says a spokesman, "Mark has chosen to announce his intentions via television. He feels that the excitement surrounding his free agency is something that must be used for the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the biggest stage available. Sadly, no one on CNN, ESPN or Bravo took our calls. This is all we could get."While potential followers and fans in New York, Minneapolis, Las Vegas and London are teeming with excitement, the congregants of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, the church he began in 1996, are nervously awaiting the announcement, speaking out on fan forums and throwing rallies, like the one in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood which drew tens of people last month.Says longtime parishioner, Mike Stewart, "now I don't want to get in trouble with the elders for speaking out, but Mark is Seattle and Seattle is Mark. We built each other and to think he might throw away his loyalty to us, which is tattooed on his back, is sickening. To think of him leaving us for a city like New York saddens his fans. If he leaves, I am throwing away my autographed copy of his book Reformissionary!"Another church member, speaking on condition of anonymity since she is female, said this, "we are all witnesses to his rise and we better not be witnesses to his departure. If he leaves us via television, it will be like a knife in the back and he will be booed when he comes back."While some are speaking out, others are praying for Driscoll's love of Seattle coffee and its homegrown beers to draw him home.sidebarCities vying for Mark Driscoll and odds:Seattle (45% chance)- his hometown, Driscoll loves the city, built the church from scratch into a megamachine. However, the winters are dreary and he realizes it is not a world class city. The gloomy rock scene has seen its better days and jobs are leaving town. It is not as hip as it was in the 90s.New York City (25%)- The potential of preaching a[...]

Other Proposed Resolutions for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) 2010

Wed, 16 Jun 2010 14:43:00 +0000

In an effort to stay relevant in American society, the Southern Baptist Convention has begun a new program called the Great Commission Resurgence to redouble its commitment to evangelism and church growth, giving 110%, instead of the 105% they had been giving during the past decades. As anyone that follows sports knows, 105% is the same as 10% and results in never winning, especially in church growth. One of the main ways Southern Baptists have stayed relevant in American society is through their use of resolutions at their yearly convention. These resolutions bring debate over contentious and hot button issues to the masses and allow for Baptists to inform the world of how they feel about specific subjects, therefore “taking a stand” and “keeping it real” as they communicate the love and grace of God to a world in need of it (oh, and God’s wrath and judgment also). During the past 100 years Southern Baptists have made the evening news with classic (I will give a Top 10 list of my favorite REAL resolutions later this week) resolutions like Boycott of Disney in 1996. This year, we have a few new resolutions destined to make future Baptists proud and the world go, huh? Making sure the world knows where they stand on every issue; here are the Top 10 Resolutions for Discussion at 2010 Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando: 10. As previously mentioned in this blog: Resolution to Boycott “painter” Thomas Kinkade in light of his recent arrest for DUI. 9. As previously mentioned: Resolution to Invite Big 12 schools into the Southern Baptist Convention. 8. Resolution to add heavier menu items to Tea Party Rallies throughout the nation. Says Albert Mohler, “we know the Tea Party movement is largely led by Southern Baptists and their friends. However, we believe the idea of a tea party is fairly childish and effeminate and ask to add Fried Chicken and Macaroni Salad, along with sweet tea to the menu for all rallies. We are considering a proposal to change the name to Sweet Tea Party movement thereby reflecting an important segment of the demographic of this important movement.” 7. Resolution to add to the Baptist Faith in Message, 2000 an addendum explaining that, “while the offices of pastor and deacon are explicitly male, as spelled out clearly in Scripture, a woman may be elected President of the United States and hold that office with support of Southern Baptist voters, if she holds the following criteria: she is Republican, she is evangelical, she is pretty hot for her age, she is not married to a former president.” Current prohibitions for pastors and deacons are still in effect for all other women. 6. Resolution to ask Congress to consider changes to the military policy of “Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.” While many are hoping for a different change of this policy, Southern Baptists are concerned than overturning it will lead to Baptist Chaplains right to free speech taken from them. They will no longer be able to name this sin if the US Military allows The Gays to serve with impunity. The SBC will resolve to change the policy to “Do Ask: Do Tell: Do Tell Them They Are Going to Hell.” 5. Resolution to ask the Gores to seek family counseling and repair their marriage. Says Mohler, “even as a godless Democrat who cares about the earth way too much, we want to see Al Gore and his wife live their lives together and hope and pray for their reconciliation.” 4. Resolution to encourage Lifeway to consid[...]

Southern Baptists extend invitation to University of Texas and other Big 12 schools

Tue, 15 Jun 2010 19:21:00 +0000

Resolution concerning Expansion of Southern Baptist Convention and the Kingdom of God through the Great Commission Resurgence and Conference Realignment June 15, 2010 WHEREAS, Historically, Southern Baptists have resisted ecumenism while embracing Christian brotherhood and cooperation with other groups representing Christianity and WHEREAS, We have witnessed in recent years the portrayal of denominations as barriers to be overcome on the road to unity; and WHERAS, WE have seen millions of college age Christians leave the faith of their parents behind while studying for future employment and enjoying college sporting events; and WHEREAS, Southern Baptists must be radically committed to the expansion of the Kingdom of God and the influence of the Southern Baptist Convention by new and innovative means in the face of post-modernity and the increasing hostility to Biblical Christianity, including the Great Commission Resurgence; and WHEREAS, Southern Baptist influence is strongest in the region of the country under the dominion of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Big 12 Conference; and WHEREAS, interlopers representing Hedonistic interests of the Secular PAC 10 and the Catholic Rust Belt controlled Big 10 have begun to expand their reach into regions under the jurisdiction of the BIG 12 and Southern Baptists, stealing universities from non-SBC strongholds Colorado and Nebraska; and WHEREAS, True Biblical unity can only be realized in the bond of truth, and never at the expense of Biblical truth; Now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention meeting, June 15-17, 2010, in Orlando, FL, urges the Boards and Agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention to offer membership into the Southern Baptist Convention to the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Missouri and Oklahoma State, as well as maintaining the historic position of Southern Baptists as they cooperate with various other groups in appropriate evangelistic enterprises, and on issues of justice, morality, religious liberty, education and FOOTBALL both at home and abroad; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That inclusion of the Baylor University, a Texas Baptist affiliated university, is dependent upon both obedience to the doctrines of the Southern Baptist Message and Faith, 2000 and the improvement of its football program; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That inclusion of the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Iowa State University into the Southern Baptist Convention’s expansion plans is dependent upon greater success in football, as the expense of “urban” sports such as basketball; And BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention membership urges the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to consider membership and inclusion of the new SBC related college programs at its next Annual Meeting, and that the previous BIG 12 prayerfully considers the offer from both the Southern Baptist Convention and SEC. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That such efforts not commit Southern Baptists to any organizational or long-term relationship which would risk possible compromise of historic distinctive or the unique witness of Southern Baptists to the world and football related activities; and FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to maintain their commitment to the SouthEastern Conference (SEC) by giving priority in time, talent and resources to the work of this football an[...]

SBC resolution on Thomas Kinkade's DUI

Tue, 15 Jun 2010 17:51:00 +0000

Digging through the stacks of resolutions at this year's Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, I stumbled across this resolution, in wake of "painter" Thomas Kinkade's recent DUI arrest. Resolution on Thomas Kinkade’s DUI and SBC memberships ownership of his paintingsWHEREAS, Southern Baptists have for many over ten years have enjoyed and trusted Thomas Kinkade’s paintings of light which have reinforced basic Christian American virtues and values; andWHEREAS, The virtues promoted by Kinkade have contributed to the development of an industry in which Christians are willing to express their faith through the display of landscapes extolling those values with the inclusion of wonderfully lit churches, homes and schools; andWHEREAS, in recent days, Thomas Kinkade has given the appearance that the promotion of alcohol consumption is more important than his historic commitment to traditional family values, haven taken a direction which is contrary to the prohibition of alcohol consumption by Christians; andWHEREAS, in recent days, Thomas Kinkade has been arrested under the suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol in California, a notoriously liberal state in need of God’s judgment; andWHEREAS , This and other decisions and actions represent a significant departure from a Christian family-values image, and a gratuitous insult to Baptists who have long supported Kinkade’s painting career and contributed to his corporate profits; andWHEREAS, Boycotts are a legitimate method for communicating moral convictions; now, therefore, BE IT RESOLVED, We as Southern Baptist messengers meeting in annual session on June 15-17, 2010, go on record expressing our deep disappointment for these actions by Thomas Kinkade; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to give serious and prayerful reconsideration to their purchase and support of Thomas Kinkade products, and to boycott The Thomas Kinkade Company and stores if he continues alcohol consumption, including the destruction of previously owned paintings and prints; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage the Christian Life Commission to monitor Kinkade’s progress in returning to a lifestyle of tee-totaling; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage state Baptist papers and national Southern Baptist publications to assist in informing the Southern Baptist family of these issues; and FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Convention requests the Executive Committee to send a copy of this resolution to Thomas Kinkade and to encourage the Southern Baptist family to support this boycott with our purchasing power, letters and influence. in case you are wondering, the text of this is very similar to the 1996 SBC Resolution to Boycott Disney[...]