December 12, 2010
For me, dance can be an act of prayer. In movement I can pray the longings of my heart for which I have no words. In the dance that I have posted below (music by our own Isaac Everett!) I was dancing out my sense of longing, a hopeful expectation, calling out and listening for a response, and finding myself turned around and heading in an unexpected direction. (Oh, and keep watch for the amazing spontaneously transforming sign.) At the beginning of this third week of Advent, I lean forward and look out into the distance, toward the coming of God’s kindom, when God will fill the hungry with good things, raise up the
lowly, set the
prisoners free, and lift those who are bowed down. May it be so.
November 28, 2010
My brother is an electrical engineer who works with robots, so I always keep my eye out for stories about robots and innovations in robotic technology. Last night, as I was thinking about this blog post, I ran into an order viagra online article on the New York Times website: Robots, the Military’s Newest Forces. Reading it made me proud of my brother, who recently went through a logistical nightmare to
switch work groups in his PhD program because he feared his ideas and inventions would be used to create machines designed for combat. It also made me despair for our country and our world. On this, the first Sunday in Advent, we read the famous prophesy from Isaiah (2: 1-5), “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Last night I sat in front of my computer reading about robots designed to bring death and wondered when we will start investing in the technology of life. In the plowshares and pruning hooks, books and dry erase markers, windmills and solar panels, water filters and medicine that we need to make our communities thrive. When will we stop learning war?
August 22, 2010
j. Snodgrass, a Transmission alum, is getting press for a course he’s teaching on gastrotheology down in North Carolina.
“Jesus is known to us today because he captured the hearts of first-century Galileans and the best way to the heart of a first-century Galilean was through his stomach,” Snodgrass told the group as they ate.
You can read the entire article here.
Food has always been an important part of Transmission – there’s something truly sacred about a group of people gathered around a table eat a home-cooked meal. I wonder if we could do
a Transmission series on food in the bible and in our lives?
March 13, 2010
Usually when we talk about ritual in Transmission, we take it pretty seriously. We talk about it in a formal sense, as a performance that transforms someone or something from one state to another, as a space that creates community, as a moment where the usual boundaries can break down. It’s big and dramatic. It’s a wedding, a communion, a house blessing. It isn’t brushing your teeth. That, we like to say, is a habit and not a ritual.
And yet, I find myself thinking a lot these days about that habitual kind of “ritual.” The small and homely kind. Brushing your teeth, reading the paper, kissing someone good night and good morning. It seems to me that these things that we repeat – week by week, month by month, year by year – transform us too. They give shape and order to our lives. They make us into the
people that we are becoming.
As the calendar rolled over to 2010, my brother and his girlfriend stayed with me for a couple of days. On Sunday morning over a leisurely breakfast, they pulled up their Sunday websites to share with me: PostSecret and the New York Times Weddings & Celebrations. As we looked over shoulders, the silence was punctuated by sighs, laughter, and the occasional groan. I was moved and surprised. My brother and his girlfriend are completely secular people, and yet their Sunday rituals still carry a sense of setting time aside for something special, sacred even. They bear witness to other people’s secrets. They share in other couples’ joy.
It made me think about my own habitual rituals. Are mine transforming me into a person of empathy, compassion, and joy? Do they shape me into the person that I would like to become? I’ve joined my brother and his girlfriend in reading secrets over Sunday breakfast, and added a dose of dance and poetry. Then I go to church, for the healing of the ritual and the shaping of the habit.
September 8, 2009
Andrew Wooding has a post up suggesting that “worship-shaped churches” tend to be bad at mission.¬† His description of “worship-shaped” pretty much nails Transmission on the head, and his analysis and critique seem pretty damning.
We’ve talked about mission a fair amount about during our planning meetings and retreats, but we have yet to produce an engaging, long-term missional focus.¬†
This is something I hope we can talk about with Radical Living next Thursday, since they live and breathe mission the way we live and breathe worship.
What are your thoughts?
August 8, 2009
So a few years ago I wrote a rather passionate post about the emergent church. I still think it’s a rather good piece of writing:
Well, it turns out two years later, Phil Johnson felt the need to refute me in his essay “Joyriding on the Downgrade at Breakneck Speed: The Dark Side of Diversity,” published in Reforming or Conforming?
Check out the link – I’m in footnote seven.¬† Although I disagree with his presuppositions, it’s a very interesting read and worth a few minutes of your time.
January 6, 2009
So in Boston, the Catholic church has had to close a lot of its parishes, selling them off to raise money.¬† Four of those churches, however, have decided that they don’t want to go gently into the good night, and have been sitting vigil in the church buildings around the clock, prevening the diocese from locking the doors.¬† They’re putting on their own clergy-less worship service, and apparently the feeling of community has grown tremendously.
Personally, I’m a realist about church life – keeping a building open costs a lot of money, and building mainteance isn’t always the most Jesus-like way for a church to use its resources.¬† I don’t think that churches dying is a tragedy as long as new churches are planted.¬† Cells in our body die all the time and are replaced with new ones, and it’s a natural part of the life cycle.¬† That said, I think that these vigils are an amazing testament to the bottom-up nature of the Body of Christ.¬† Just like a mustard bush, the Church of God springs up like a weed in places that the gardner doesn’t always want it to, and it can be really, really hard to get rid of.
My prayers are with both those holding vigil and the diocesan leaders, and I’ll be watching how this develops with interest.
You can read more about it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/06/us/06vigil.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&em
August 23, 2008
We got this in the Transmission inbox a few days ago and thought it worth passing on. Most everyone knows survivors of abuse, whether they’re aware of it or not, and we at Transmission are no different. Blessings on the work CFM is doing.
Committed to Freedom Ministries will hold a retreat for women who are survivors of childhood abuse in the Bronx, Riverdale area. The retreat does not focus on the abuse experience, but on practical spiritual tools to move beyond the damage of abuse.
The retreat begins at noon on Friday and concludes at 3:00 pm on Sunday. The cost is $400, which includes lodging, meals, retreat curriculum, and retreat materials.
Please call 1-800-713-7837, visit our website committedtofreedom.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or a registration form. Registration forms are available for download from our website. Registrations must be received by August 22nd.
August 23, 2008
Gothamist recently reported on an Egyptian food cart vendor who returned a $100 bill to a woman who dropped it.¬† When they asked him why he did it, he replied, “I’m Christian. In my religion, if I take somebody’s money, it’s haram.”
Although up until now I’ve only heard Jews and Muslims use the word haram (i.e. forbidden), I was super excited that Christianity is getting some positive press in NYC.¬† Woo Hoo!
June 24, 2008
This Saturday, one of my personal idols, Shane Claiborne, is doing a book tour and rally at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (7 West 55th St), at 7pm. I’ve read the book and it’s quite good, challenging what following Jesus means in an era when just about every politician, corporation, and military is claiming to have God on its side. This is definitely and event worth attending.
From the press release:
Claiborne, Haw and his wife Cassie and dog Lucy, along with two other friends, will be sharing ideas and inspiring other to re-imagine politics. They’ll be traveling in a bus running on used vegetable oil. The tour will feature teaching from both authors as well as storytelling, art, music, and worship that provokes the political imagination. Each city will also include special guest musicians and performers.
You can check out the website here: http://www.jesusforpresident.org/ Give me a ring if you want to go with me!
Oh, and don’t forget to keep July 2nd saved for our next Transmission!