March 23, 2008
Our dear friend Mel Ahlborn made this super cool and a little trippy flash video of last year’s Easter at Avalon. It takes a minute to load, but then get ready for a smooth ride…
Happy Easter! Christ is Risen! Alleluia.
March 22, 2008
Transmission collaborated with Sanctuary to create installations of the fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross. Isaac, Katherine, Aaron, Bowie, and Sarah made stations. Sarah, technically, was a stations, falling and rising and falling again to represent “Jesus falls a second time.”
You can listen to the soundtrack of the evening by scrolling back to Isaac’s post from Good Friday last year.
March 20, 2008
PRESENTATION ‚Äì BRING PEACE TO A WARRING WORLD
By j. Snodgrass
Sadly, war in the East is nothing new ‚Äì some of us may remember Operation Desert-Storm. Some of the older ones among us may remember…the Crusades… There might even be a person or two in the room who remember the Hebrews invading Israel some thirty-three hundred years ago, and how they were in turn attacked by the Philestines, the Persians, the Babylonians and the Romans… And those who remember all that ‚Äì what are you still doing in the 20′s/30′s group? You know who you are…
With all this history of conflict, the question is…How do we bring peace to a warring world? And to answer the question, I’ve opened the lines for some Biblical figures to give us their unput. Hello?
GOLIATH : Urrrrrr…
NARRATOR : Ur to you too. Who may I ask is calling?
GOLIATH : I am Goliath.
NARRATOR : And where are you calling from?
GOLIATH : Gath.
NARRATOR : And how is Gath this time of year?
GOLIATH : Urrrrrr…
NARRATOR : Same here in New York, I hear ya. So we’re wondering. How would you bring peace to a warring world?
March 20, 2008
PRESENTATION ‚Äì BRING PEACE TO A WARRING WORLD, PART II
By j. Snodgrass
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into…the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act– they will be blessed in their doing. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God…is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Unstained, undefiled by the world. It reminds me of a sleep-away-camp skit I saw once saw. A little girl held a clean, white sheet of paper. And someone stomped onto the stage, grabbed her piece of paper away and crumpled it. She picked it up and held it. Someone else walked across, took the sheet of paper, threw it to the ground and stomped on it. She smoothed it out and held it again, but it looked so different from what we’d seen at first. Finally, a third person stomped across the stage, grabbed the paper and ripped it, throwing both pieces to the ground. This time the girl did not pick it up. She just looked at us. A fourth person walked on, picked up the two pieces, smoothed them out, held the pieces together and handed it back to the girl.
Anybody ever wake up with a sheet of paper like that? Anybody ever look in the mirror and say ‘Jesus called me the light of the world, and today I’m gonna let it shine’? Anybody ever bring a sheet of paper like that onto the subway at rush-hour? When I was growing up, we moved around a lot. And I remember the first day of school in New Jersey, first day of school in Ohio, first day of school in Western New York…me and my clean sheet of paper. And then a few days later in the principal’s office, waiting for my parents to show up, because I’d been fighting again. But look what they did, I always tried to say. Look what they did to my clean sheet of paper.
March 9, 2008
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FACING OUR FEARS (Or… Naked, But Not Afraid)
By j. Snodgrass
Proverbs 3:5-24 (Wildly Abbreviated)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. … 13 Happy are those who find wisdom… 15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. … 21 My child, do not let these escape from your sight: keep sound wisdom and prudence, … 23 Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 1:7 tells us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” Ironically, as we find in Genesis 3:10, knowledge was the beginning of fear. Once Adam and Eve have eaten of the tree of knowledge, their first act is to hide from God. Because for the first time they are aware that they are naked.
Fascinating to find that fear of the Lord did not prevent them from breaking the one rule in the Garden…not to eat of the tree of knowledge, not to break the first covenant with God ‚Äì that the Lord would take provide for them. Their fear begins as they come to realize that they have insulted the Lord by seeking the knowledge to provide for themselves.
Adam and Eve, expelled from the Garden, made clothing for themselves, but they were still naked. They learned to provide food for themselves through toil and hardship, but they were still afraid.
Thousands of years later, we work to buy clothing and food for ourselves, but we are still naked and afraid. Henry David Thoreau described modern life with the expression “quiet desperation.” No matter how well we provide for ourselves, one wrong step on the high-wire and we lose everything, with no Garden of Eden to go back to.
From Genesis three onward, fear is a constant theme in Biblical texts. The words “Be not Afraid” appear eighty-five times in the Bible, twelve times on the lips of Jesus. Maybe because he knew that Adam and Eve ran naked from the Lord, and we’ve been running naked ever since, frightened that God and Man alike will see how exposed we really are.
March 4, 2008
An interesting blog post, doing a deep Christian delve into some surprising statistics!
The fact that millions of people are now involved in multiple faith communities – for instance, attending a conventional church one week, a house church the next, and interacting with an online faith community in-between – has rendered the standard measures of “churched” and “unchurched” much less precise?
Which of these groups do you fit into?
March 2, 2008
The word is out. If you want a primer on the ‚Äúemerging‚Äù church, read Tony Jones‚Äô The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. It‚Äôs a great overview for posterity and for people today who are wondering what this phenomenon is all about.
Tony is the national coordinator of Emergent Village and has been part of evolution of the ‚Äúnew kind of Christian‚Äù conversation for more than a decade. In person, he‚Äôs an engaging, passionate, self-proclaimed provocateur ‚Äì and The New Christians conveys his unique voice. Its super readable and maps out vast expanses of this new frontier, including cultural context, theological markers, and case studies of real-life characters and locales.
I personally found the book quite resonant. There were paragraphs that echoed sentiments I‚Äôd written about in seminary and undergraduate religion classes (e.g. Weber and the commodification of religion, the notion that we all interpret the Bible). There were parts that recalled conversations I‚Äôve had and sections that described places I‚Äôve visited (e.g. Church of the Apostles in Seattle, Solomon‚Äôs Porch in Minneapolis).
If I wanted a family member or friend to understand why I‚Äôm part of this movement, I would recommend this book as a roadmap. For those I‚Äôve never met, I commend it too.
Finally, on Tony‚Äôs travels through this new frontier, it seems he brought along a sieve and sifted gold nuggets out of flowing streams and muddy riverbanks. He calls these little nuggets his ‚Äúdispatches‚Äù and all twenty are precious. Here are my fave five:
Dispatch 1: Emergents find little importance in the discrete differences between the various flavors of Christianity. Instead, they practice a generous orthodoxy that appreciates the contributions of all Christian movements.
Dispatch 12: Emergents embrace the whole Bible, the glory and the pathos.
Dispatch 16: Emergents believe that church should function more like an open-source network and less like a hierarchy or bureaucracy.
Dispatch 17: Emergents start new churches to save their own faith, not necessarily as an outreach strategy.
Dispatch 20: Emergents believe that church should be just as beautiful and messy as life.