A Vote in the Dark


The Iraq elections have been in my mind lately. I really have been praying that they would go well and would create a real democratic momentum there. It was music to my ears as I listened to the news reports that things went relatively well. I guess more than sixty percent registered to vote casted their votes. The courage of those who voted will hopefully be a blessing to Iraq. I was not in favor of this war and felt it was a grave mistake on the part of the Bush administration, so I can only hope this election is a positive action born from a negative one. This photo really struck me as a very powerful image. It signifies the decision of many rather than a decision of one, even when the lights go out. It’s a beautiful image that we can hopefully look back on as a symbol of social progress and peacefulness for the Iraqi people. If the power went out or there was fear for our personal safety in any part of the United States on election day, we’d be lucky to get 20% out to vote.

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Restoration in the Lind garage.

[[image:letsplay.jpg::right:0]]So I have a foosball table in my garage and I’ve neglected and abused over the last 3 years or so. It’s been sitting in our garage, collecting dust and unplayed for a LONG time. My bug man always hits me up to buy it off me. I’m sure he thinks I’m lame for just leaving it the corner of the garage, alone, neglected, without care. I guess I don’t blame him but I’m more lazy than guilty by nature. I don’t know what it was, but today I was motivated to finally bring it back to life. First the hose, then the wet rag and can’t forget the WD-40. After about 45 minutes of t.lc., it was as good as new. Here is a before and after of the full restoration.

Now that my garage is on it’s way to be the ultimate dude hang out, maybe we can have the first East Valley “cohort”. Much like the folks at Princeston but instead of talking about emerging, we’ll kick each others asses at foosball. Instead of pints of import beer, we’ll drink some Bud. And instead of the cigars, we’ll just suck down some Camels. Who’s in? Continue reading

Riding Giants

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I was strolling through the virgin megastore a while back and picked up a few dvd’s. I got the first two seasons of Seinfeld, Strange Brew (I’m a total hoser), and last but not least Riding Giants. Riding Giants is a documentary that takes a look at big wave surfing. It takes you through the history of surfing in general but it really focuses in on a select few individuals who have pioneered big wave surfing, starting from the 50s to present day. It’s produced and directed by Stacy Peralta whom some of you may have ridden his skateboards in the past (like my red Caballero deck with green grip tape and Tracker trucks…). First I have to say that this is an AMAZING movie. I am not a surfer and I really don’t even like going to the beach that much, but this movie moved me more than I could ever expect from a surfer movie. To me, it’s one of the most spiritually heavy movies that I’ve seen.

I’ve watched the movies a few times now and what really strikes me the more I watch it is the parallel between these pioneers of surfing and the Church. The counter-culture movement of the first Christians compared to the counter-culture attitude found in the earliest California surfers of the 60’s. Then the similarities of the “Gidget” phenomenon that popularized, but totally altered the surfing experience by ignoring the spirit of the early surfers compared to the acceptance of Christianity by major governments and institutions that have since changed the message of Jesus from a message of revolution that counters conventional wisdom in order counter act the established earthly kingdoms to a message of consumerism that becomes an experience “requirement” and “rewards” or more easily put as a message of the “Santa Claus” Jesus.

Then the movie goes on to show the modernization of big wave surfing lead by Laird Hamilton (the evil surfer in that terrible surfer movie “Northshore”). He, and small group of other men have revolutionized big wave surfing by allowing themselves to catch bigger waves through more “out-of-the-box” techniques such as “toe in surfing” and feet straps. This is where the movie will just put your jaw to he floor. It’s just amazing, beautiful, scary, inspiring. What I really love about this movie is the way it captured the relationships between the surfers, between surfer and nature and between the surfer and sacrifice in order to a much higher purpose than themselves. Their dedication and allegiance to each other is something very rarely seen.

While watching the movie it made me think that if the Church, as a whole, could have half of the dedication and fearlessness that these few men have, we would be painting a much more beautiful picture to those around us. I remember going to church as a little boy and sitting through Tony Campollo films at the night service. Not to diss Campollo, i don’t even remember what he was saying but i guess my point is this: Every Church would be blessed to watch this movie and apply the dedication to a way of life that is full of danger, beauty, sacrifice, new territory, love and above all a desire to experience God in new,radical and terrifying ways. To gravitate towards an experience with our Creator to the point where we are willing to say……”I guess this is a good day to die.”

In short, rent, buy, borrow, lease-to-own this movie quickly. Continue reading

The Current

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Doug Paggit made me aware of this new station that just started today on Minnesota Public Radio. With the amazing amount of horrible radio stations that we have in this country, it’s always a major victory to see something like “The Current” spread it’s wings. I’ve been listening all morning and it’s been fantastic. Wilco, Sonic Youth, Elvis Costello, R.E.M. (old stuff), The Clash. How could you possibly argue with this playlist. aaahhhhhh…….Lord Have Mercy. Continue reading

AZ Crew Alert!!

My band mates and I will be taking over our local radio station “The Edge” 103.9, tonight at 9pm until 10pm. We have an old song with lyrics that say “Take Back The Radio!!!”……but we never actually thought we’d do it. Funny. We’ll probably play lots of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day on the radio so it could be interesting. For those of you who havn’t been blessed with currently living in the Phoenix area, you can listen online here. Continue reading

Three lenses and some alternate wisdom please!

I finally finished reading Marcus Borg’s Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. I commented on this book, I think, on my other blog. Borg tends to explain away much of gospel writers accounts of Jesus’ life as metaphorical or more reflective of the early Christian tradition of Jesus rather than accurate historical accounts. He seems to be fairly certain about that conclusion but it’s hard for to me to make that kind of leap. Although there are some definite ideas of which I didn’t agree with Borg, I really enjoyed this book. It has many powerful observations that helped me see, what I feel, is a more compelling and accurate view of Jesus and the world he lived in.

The most memorable points in the book were in the middle and at the end. In the middle of the book there is a section where Borg talks about the “alternate wisdom” of Jesus. He outlines how Jesus came to town and completely subverted the conventional wisdom of the world in which surrounded him. Who he ate with, who he spent time with, those who he chose as disciples, and on and on. Borg compares this alternative wisdom of Jesus to our world and the conventional wisdom that so easily clouds our ability to see and hear the message that Jesus is trying to communicate to us. Very compelling stuff.

In the very last chapter, Borg really rocked it. He hits on something that I’ve never heard before, the idea that there are macro stories within the Old Testament that we can use as lenses to view the life and purpose of Jesus. Borg chooses three stories in scripture to build his point: the exodus story, the story the exile of the Jews from Jerusalem to Babylon, and the story of the Jewish priesthood (Borg does not claim these are the only stories we can choose from, but felt these three were essential for this approach). The exodus story signifies the journey of freedom away from Pharoah. The exile story signifies the being away from home, separated from where you belong, being oppressed. The priesthood story signifies the sinfulness of man, the falling short, the required sacrifice, then repentance and lastly our need for the grace of God in the forgiveness of our sin.

Borg sets his sights on the priesthood story that, in his opinion, we have adopted today as the main way to view Jesus, while not giving enough consideration to the other two stories in terms of what the life of Jesus means for us now. His point is not to totally discredit the priesthood story, he feels it serves a very great purpose. But he merely points out that because we are fixating on this way of viewing what Jesus’ message was, we tend to interact with Jesus exclusively in the context of this sin, guilt, repentance forgiveness…….essentially framing our experience as one of “requirement” and “reward”. It’s an experience of believing now and cashing in when we “get to heaven”. The very nature of this approach to Jesus is one where we find ourselves chasing our own tales, so to speak. It is not us moving along with God on a journey, it’s just just staying where we are, hoping to get “somewhere” in the future.

The danger in not giving the other two stories a chance to shape our vision of what Jesus’ message was is the elimination of the aspect of this “personal relationship” being a journey. When we view the message of Jesus through the lens of all three stories, we get a more balanced perspective of the message of Christ. The story of exodus is our story as well. We are under the rule of todays conventional wisdom, and Christ can lead us on a journey of freedom. We don’t have a Pharoah ruling over us, but we do have commercialism, greed, racism, sexism, superficiality, etc……all of the kingdoms of this world that are not the Kingdom of God. We long for freedom from these false Gods and with this longing comes the connection to much of what Jesus did and said. The exile story is one of feeling foreign, empty, hallow, not where we should be, we don’t “fit in”, we’re oppressed, etc.

You see the dude with a mega phone on the corner yelling about how we are sinners and we need to repent so that we can be with Jesus in heaven or burn in HELL!!!. Let’s face it, a lot of people think it’s crazy talk and I would have to agree. But if we point out that not only is God graceful with our shortcomings, but that God wants us to be free of of the oppression of all the addiction, eating disorders, greed, spousal abuse, selfishness, injustice, evil, solitude, and emptiness of this world. Everyone can relate to that and connect on those terms.

If all we do is present the message of Jesus only as one of requirement and reward, like in the story of the priesthood, then those who do not feel guilty about they way they live will be completely unmoved by that message. But if we paint a more complete picture, by using all three of these stories, then we are really giving the message of Jesus more complete, identifiable voice. In focusing on all three, you end up making the story of the priesthood even MORE powerful. When in the proper context, it becomes an even more amazing quality of our God.

None of this probably makes any sense but if you read the book, Borg will spell it out for you a tad bit better than this lame attempt. I was just pumped about these ideas and had to write out the wave of excitement. That, and hanging out in a hospital all day kind of makes you crazy. Regardless, I highly recommend this book. It’s to be taken with a grain of salt, but that’s sometimes what the wounds need. Continue reading