Why are people in church ministry so terrible at asking people for things well? in my latest Out of Ur post, I dig in to the root issue. Oh, and Amanda Palmer shows up, too.
If you lead people, you are constantly choosing to engage with them either as tools to be used or human beings to be empowered.
My brief reflections on a great man, over at Out of Ur.com:
Central to Richard’s life and ministry was the drive to walk in the path of Jesus as a proud and faithful Native man. He challenged the institutional church with his bold and joyful worship of triune Creator through his traditional dances and ceremonies, and with his sharp theology that refused to allow the “cowboys” to co-opt the gospel. He had a vision of a Christ-sprung justice that joyfully drummed down racial barriers. He was bold in speaking the truth, often blending cultural confrontation with a dark, hilarious sense of humor that lightened a room while twitching the truth just a little deeper into our ribs.
My piece on the Zombie Apocalypse is now in front of the paywall over at Christianity Today. Go read it while it’s free, Sparkies!
The true villains in such stories are not the dead, but the broken living. Zombies serve as an elemental force in the plot, like a flood or a hurricane in disaster movies. The dead force the true conflict—humanity’s inability to be truly human.
Go read my new post on “Insider Movements” over on Out of Ur.
It seems that now (as always) Christ’s bride is preparing herself, secretly and smiling, in unexpected places. She is dressing in the temples and mosques of our Hindu and Muslim neighbors. She is even dressing herself in our churches, where some followers of Jesus are called to insider movements of a different kind.
Read the piece and share your thoughts.
The search for your funky Christmas soundtrack is over 4 ever. Listen here.
Booty Claus is here, baby.
Thanks to Kevin Emmert for the bootylicious shout out.
This has been stuck in my head for two days. Now it’s your turn.
Begone, David Byrne! Go play your endless new wave loop in someone else’s head bone!
Via The Mercury.
Man, I loved this guy, and rode past him every day on my way over the Hawthorne bike path.
According to Street Roots:
Even if you don’t know him, you know him. He of the white tuxedo, the Mickey Mouse hat, planted next to a pull cart full of toys and gadgets that defy graceful description — and a cornet, the top prop in his menagerie, a mere sampling of what he has at home. In a flourish, Reeves pops open a large expandable ball, swings it around in a circle or two, and then collapses it back to the size of a soccer ball. It’s a signature move. The wow-them-in-10-seconds opener to an act that includes a 4-second puppet show for the kids, a miniature magic trick and an optional three-toss juggle finale. All of this squeezed in between the on-ramp serenade he gives drivers as they creep into Hawthorne’s rush-hour traffic.
Rest well, my friend. Memorial page here.
Mark Mardell over at the BBC has written the best editorial I’ve ever read on the state of American politics, bar none.
From the latest issue of Leadership Journal comes a piece I edited by Richard Twiss, a prominent Native spiritual leader and theologian. Twiss (a Sicangu Lakota Oyate, of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota) discusses the relationship of his Native heritage on his spirituality and theology, and some of the many difficulties that white paternalism brings with the gospel.
When Jesus came into my life and overwhelmed me with his love, I wanted nothing more than simply to follow him. I began a life of transformation because he rescued me from a life of addiction, abuse, self-destruction, and likely from a premature death. I longed for the same transformation for our people. Yet I found myself tripping over the cultural trappings of American Christianity. Following the ways of Jesus seemed one thing; becoming a white Christian quite another.
Yet, in spite of all of this, I find in Jesus the possibility for forgiveness, reconciliation, and the path toward Shalom alongside my fellow human beings. We are all ikce wicasa “common human persons” on this road, and Jesus shows us there is always hope for redemption.
I’ve had the opportunity to interact with Richard over the course of this piece, and hear him speak in Portland, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis. His commitment to Christ’s work of healing, forgiveness, and racial/social reconciliation is humble and well articulated. We desperately need more theologians like Richard to actively question the flawed cultural trappings of euro-centric Christian theology, while fully committed to the path of Jesus. He’s been influential in expanding my thinking, worship, and commitment to seeking mentors outside of the Christian mainstream.
While I’m sure we all agree that last night’s presidential debate on domestic policy was less than inspiring, the BBC’s Mark Mardell sums it up unusually well:
The three men on the red carpet – the two candidates at their pulpits, and the moderator Jim Lehrer sitting at his over-large desk – all seemed to have a different conception of what the debate should be like, as if they were each playing a different sport on the same field. Romney was playing American football, Obama cricket and Lehrer tiddlywinks.
I just wish they had all played tiddlywinks.That, I am convinced, is America’s path back to greatness.
As the latest in the continuing Sparking Creativity series, I’m pleased to present an exclusive interview with one of my oldest friends. Shawn (aka Shawnothan, Shawnzabar, Shang Pav, and After Avalanche) and I grew up together in the coastal hills of western Oregon. His formidable musical talents are becoming increasingly appreciated in Portland’s indie scene. Today, Shawn shares about non-musical inspiration, the pros and cons of the internet for musicians, and what happens when a song… isn’t happening. You can find Shawn on Facebook, Twitter, and various other online spaces. Be sure to download his recent Symptoms EP from Noisetrade, and leave him a tip.
Paul: What’s it like to be a musician in the Day of the Internet? What are the boons or challenges in relation to online distribution or promotion?
I have definitely discovered tricks to engaging a wider audience online. Noisetrade has to be my favorite. Without them, I would not have the fan base I have today, and it continues to grow because of that site. For other musicians out there, Tunecore is the definitive place to release an album online for sale and streaming services both.
Big picture now. What drives you to create?
Sometimes its boredom. Sometimes it’s pain. Other times its just from excitement or whims of inspiration. I can’t go a day without doing something creative. Rather than talk about the emotions I am feeling in any given situation, I like to grab hold of the most prominent illuminating thought and turn it into a song or some other work of art. It isn’t always something worth sharing with the world, but it’s a way of life for me. Much like some people keep a journal, or a twitter account…
I’m happy to share a great piece by a great friend; scholar, musician and co-conspirator of shenanigans, Kevin Emmert. Kevin’s recent Christianity Today article traces the spiritual threads of popular new-folk rockers Mumford & Sons, and does it with style.
Last month, some 15,000 fans gathered in a small Illinois town, surrounded by miles of cornfields, for what was ostensibly a day-long music festival. But most of us who had come to Dixon, Illinois, for the third stop in the American Gentlemen of the Road tour weren’t there for the seven bands who whiled away the day. We were there for the headliners: the prodigious folk quartet known as Mumford & Sons.
After nearly six hours of musical performances, the time had come. The sun was set, the stage was black. Streams of tiny light bulbs were strung over the lawn, from the sound booth to the stage. But like the audience, they had yet to be electrified by the impending performance. At once, people could be seen on stage, and with the sound of a syncopated acoustic guitar, the crowd erupted in cheer as they recognized the opening chords to “Little Lion Man.” The roar of the crowd colliding with the music put me more at the scene of a victory celebration after battle than a folk festival.
Read Kevin’s full piece here. Much more thoughtful goodness after the jump.
Been office-dancing to this spicy and energetic EP, the former (2009) project of a friend’s former bandmate (now of Doctor). Five track album streams here or is available to download from Bandcamp should you so desire. Have fun.
Shout out to gentleman/scholar/beatmaster/beastmaster Kevin the Emmert for the heads up.
Enjoy this unusual portrait of my biggest musical man-crush, the venerable Nick Cave. Iconic image is the cover of The Boatman’s Call.
Cassette art by Erika Iris Simmons. More portraits can be found here.
Sorry for the paucity of posts recently, but I’ve been working on stuff like this.
Via the “Most Read” page on christianitytoday.org comes my recent Leadership Journal article. “The Big Reveal” focuses on a Wisconsin church’s challenges and strategies to increase biblical literacy and engagement.
Full article can be read here. Enjoy.
Photo credit. Cheers for the commons!
“…She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were tumbling toward heaven.
There were whole companies of white trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black niggers in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the God-given wit to use it right. Read the rest of this entry »
Watch this, and tremble before a prophet with an accordion.
From the ever excellent Biologos Forum comes a simple timeline of anthropological milestones.
More (and a bigger image!) here.
For their growing series of infographics, and links to source material, click here. Enjoy.
My third favorite actor.
Blast those slippery corporate persons!
A recent winner from Tom the Dancing Bug (Reuben Bolling), via Boing Boing.
Please enjoy this extremely rare piece of cinematic ephemera: an original program from the London premiere of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece, Metropolis.
Full high-res scans here, courtesy of The Cataloguer’s Desk.
Much more after the jump. Some fine memorabilia from one of my favorite films, a footprint left by Lang’s crashing automaton of light and shadow.
Drew: My mother saw my creative spirit at an early age and encouraged my father to enroll with me in a carving class at University of Anchorage Alaska (UAA) in 1997 when I was 14. We had the great opportunity to learn from an Inupiaq master carver, Joe Senunegtuk, and tool maker Bob Shaw. I learned a great deal about form and design from Joe. This opportunity opened my eyes to the significance of my Native heritage. This launched my career as a mask carver.
What is the relationship between tradition and innovation in your carvings?
Native culture is so focused on tradition. I have learned a great deal about the importance of learning and protecting the origins of cultural expression through language, art, dance, and social construction of communities. My work blends traditional and contemporary design and use of Inupiaq and Yupik masks. Becoming a mask carver has been a process of looking at pieces made by masters of many eras. I have looked at many pieces and learned their uses and materials used in construction.
Typically older pieces have been carved with hand tools such as bent knives and small drills held in the mouth and hands. The pieces are created using drift wood and organic materials such as feathers, bone, ivory, and natural pigments found in berries and earthen materials. My work is a fusion of these more organic materials and things collected in the urban environment. I collect materials at local stores and junk yards, or from friends who have found objects that are no longer useful to them.