November 30, 2006
1) How long, O God? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I be clinging so tightly to wisps of smoke?
2) How long will I wrestle with these traditions, these scriptures, this church? How long will this obsession last? How long until I can happily live a secular life?
3) I need answers, God! You have left me too many questions. Give me a sign that my struggling is more than foolishness or please release me from this burning need to seek you.
4) My friends will say, “We’re glad you’ve matured out of your religious phase. We’re glad you’ve come to your senses.” They will rejoice for me and welcome me back with open arms.
5) But even if I cannot take hold of you, Silent and Invisible One, the wisdom of this world is insufficient. My search gives me meaning that this world never will.
6) And so I will write songs for you and craft rituals for you. I will walk your road because my struggles, wanderings, and discouragements are a blessing. You have given me a bounty.
November 25, 2006
So this coming Wednesday is the fifth Wednesday of the month, which means that there’s no Transmission. It also means, however, that we’ll have three whole weeks between one Transmission and the next, and I’m not crazy about that. How about we do something low-key, like have a movie night or something? Fifth Wednesdays do happen with some frequency, so it’d be neat to start a tradition regarding what we do with them.
I’m in Seattle right now and I’m playing for Church of the Apostles tonight with Lacey Brown. It’s a little bit like playing with a second me (electronic backing tracks mixed with live instruments, combining ancient texts and melodies with modern grooves, etc) except that, unlike me, Lacey can sing. It’s pretty cool – I wish you guys could hear it!
Church of the Apostles is pretty cool – they’ve taken an abandoned church and converted it into an Abbey for themselves. They take the whole “radical hospitality” thing pretty seriously. I was met at the airport, driven into down, and given a room all to myself. It would be a lot more expensive to get a building in NYC (I don’t there are any abandoned buildings, anyway), but I would really, really love to see Transmission blossom into a living community…
November 22, 2006
Dear God, you provide for the birds of the air and the lillies of the feild. You have given us our minds our bodies, and your love.
For this we come to you in humble thanks giving.
Let us give thanks for all that we have.
Let us give thanks that we have enough to be thankful for.
November 20, 2006
I don’t know how many of you follow gaming news (ok, I’m a geek), but this month saw the release of a real-time strategy game based on the Left Behind novels. Wired magazine has a really interesting review of it. Supposedly, the gameplay is surprisingly adequate, although I’m more than a little disgusted by, “You can sway enemies to your side by unleashing your Christian-rock singers, whose joyful noises raise the spirit of anyone near them. (You can even convert evil forces if you’re persuasive enough. Of course, the Antichrist has his own evil heavy-metal musicians who work precisely the opposite effect.)”
Why does a Christian video game have to be about warfare and converting people? Could we make a game about feeding the poor, welcoming the stranger, and striving for social justice? Why doesn’t the Christian gaming community look more like Games for Change?
Earlier this week, “Left Behind” found me on MySpace and sent me an invitation to be their friend. I denied them and felt pretty good about it. These unreadable sludgepiles advocate some truly destructive theology, and the entire Left Behind industry takes advantage of hysterical people who want to spiritualize their hysteria. These books embarrass me.
November 20, 2006
The very first Christian ‚Äúchurches‚Äù to exist were house churches. Every week on the Sabbath Christians would gather at someone‚Äôs house to eat, pray, sing, dance and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. These early Christians lived in a very harsh, cold world. They were generally peasants who were often sick and on the verge of starvation, and their Christian status meant they were persecuted by the Roman government. But when they met in their house churches they could forget about these troubles. Everyone brought what little food they had, so there was plenty for all. In these small communities there was no differentiation between slaves and free, between women and men, or Roman and non-citizens. (Gal 3:28) For just a few hours these poor persecuted people could forget about their troubles and experience the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.
In our present day we are fast approaching the last Sunday of the liturgical year, before it all starts over again with Advent. In some traditions this Sunday is called ‚ÄúThe Sunday of Doom,‚Äù because on that day we think about the future when Jesus Christ will come again and Judge the world. It is said he will break through the murky clouds of this earth with a shaft of light and a trumpet sound and restore the Kingdom of Heaven on this world. (Rev. 1:7)
These two elements created the back drop and the theme for our worship experience last Wednesday night.
We started out with a game, usually played at youth group or leadership events, where everybody gathers in a cluster. Each person then grabs the hands of two other people, at random. Now we are in the natural state of this world, disorganized, confused, and uncomfortable. With a little team work and God‚Äôs help we were able to untangle this disorderly knot and create a circle without letting go of each others hands. Once in a circle we heard Matt 18:20 ‚ÄúFor where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am, in the midst of them.‚Äù Then, we all joined in a rousing chorus of ‚ÄúJesus Walk with Me.‚Äù
After this the lights were turned low and we broke bread and drank wine together. The food was a little delayed, but as we waited and eventually ate, we began to share with each other our own experiences of God. The question, ‚ÄúWhen have you felt God‚Äôs presence, or experienced the divine, in your life?‚Äù There were many deep and passionate stories. Some people told of finding God at a funeral in the deepest despair, or when they were far away from home. One person talked about getting lost in the Spirit at a concert where that person was able to sing out with his\her whole being. And still others said they did not find that God came in an epiphonic moment, but rather in small everyday actions.
After our bellies were full of food and our minds full of stories, we passed around a bowl of oil and blessed one another so that our hearts would be full of love.
To close the service, we said prayed together, ending in a unison Lord‚Äôs Prayer. Then, because we were trying to create a little slice of Heaven on Earth with our worship experience, we sang ‚ÄúDonna Nobis Pachem,‚Äù or ‚ÄúGrant Us Peace.‚Äù This quiet song quickly gave way to a spontaneous but quite uplifting chorus of ‚ÄúI Got Peace like a River in my Soul.‚Äù
After that, we cleaned up Bowie‚Äôs apartment and wished each other well.
November 11, 2006
November 10, 2006
Nightline is doing a segment tonight on a U2charist put on by a church in Westchester. I happened to be there, so TiVo it if you want to have some stock footage of me praying…
I think it’s interesting that they’ve gotten so much press for this because, frankly, the service wasn’t all that cool. I applaud what they’re doing, but there are a lot of small things they could have done to make it much more effective. If anyone’s interested, I wrote an entire critique of the ritual from an “emerging” perspective…
November 10, 2006
I just got a whole tin of cookie cutters from my dad, who just moved to Puerto Rico to start a retreat center (so I got a lot of family stuff) – and I think we should make cookies for transmission house church on 12/20!
we can also light advent candles
sing some Christmas carols
and what else?
what are your favorite Christian Christmas traditions?
what do you remember doing with family in Advent?
what should we incorporate into our house church night?
and, do you have a favorite cookie recipe?!