Sunday, November 7, 2010


13 years old, on my bike with an oversized anti-skip discman, free to do whatever i wanted and making my way to god-knows-where (well, actually I would usually be going to either Donato's pizza or the local cd store); breaking rules that didn't seem to make sense and feeling accomplished in doing so. What kinds of rules, you ask? For the time being I'll leave that up to your imagination. Either way, the confidence and comfort I felt in experiencing freedom on those bike-rides is exactly what I want to resurrect in my present-day journey. Taking to my "bike" and setting out in pursuit of self-expression in the midst of a world that typically hands down expectation for the user. Sure there are roads that have been paved and paths cut out but it's now up to free-thinkers, the trail-blazers to begin experiencing the untouched frontiers that are waiting to be explored. New possibilities for past and present "ideas" to take on the risk of future. The same boldness I felt while listening to Kurt Cobain talk about "no recess" now gives me a glimpse into what it takes for me to push open the door, head out of "school" and into the unknown.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

che guevera reader: writings on politics & revolution pgs. 72-73

Revolution, in history, is like the doctor assisting at the birth of a new life, who will not use forceps unless necessary, but who will use them unhesitatingly every time labor requires them. It is a labor bringing the hope of a better life to the enslaved and exploited masses.

In many Latin American countries revolution is inevitable. This fact is not determined by the will of any person. It is determined by the horrifying conditions of exploitation under which the Latin American people life, the development of a revolutionary consciousness in the masses, the worldwide crisis of imperialism and the universal liberation movements of the subjugated nations. - from the Second Declaration of Havana (1962)

"We shall begin from this basis to analyze the whole matter of guerilla warfare in Latin America.

We have already established that it is a means of struggle to attain an end. First, our concern is to analyze the end in order to determine whether the winning of power in Latin America can be achieved in ways other than armed struggle.

Peaceful struggle can be carried out through mass movements that compel - in special situations of crisis - governments to yield; thus, the popular forces would eventually take over and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat. Theoretically this is correct. When analyzing this in the Latin American context, we must reach the following conclusions: Generally on this continent objective conditions exist that propel the masses to violent action against their bourgeois and landholding governments. In many countries there are crises of power and also some subjective conditions necessary for revolution. It is clear, of course, that in those countries where all of these conditions are found, it would be criminal not to act to seize power. In other countries where these conditions do not occur, it is right that different alternatives will appear and out of theoretical discussions the tactic suitable to each country should emerge. The only thing history does not allow is that the analysts and executors of proletariat politics be mistaken.

No-one can solicit the role of vanguard party as if it were a diploma given by a university. To be the vanguard party means to be at the forefront of the working class through the struggle for achieving power. It means to know how to guide this fight through shortcuts to victory. This is the mission of our revolutionary parties and the analysis must be profound and exhaustive so that there will be no mistakes." (pgs. 72-73)

How does one integrate "revolution" into pacifism, i.e., at what intersections do Che and Jesus meet together? Furthermore, what does the outworking of this hybrid of passion look like in regards to this relationship?

Recently I've been stirred by the writings and ideology of 'Che' Guevera as is sampled in the above section from the Che Guevera Reader and as a result my conclusions about the medium(s) of liberation are being challenged. I am not saying I choose to adopt violence, per se, but I am interested in the emotion and commitment that compel such physical force.

For the past few years I have been persuaded by a pacifist disposition based on scripture and theology and now I am feeling some of its structural columns begin to shake as I listen to a man who believed more so in the immortality of a cause than his own mortality. Sound familiar?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coffee Talk

I'm thinking of the book In Over Our Heads by Robert Kegan (while simultaneously thinking about Ernesto 'Che' Guevera for some reason, but) where Kegan talks about levels of thinking which define how and why the individual reacts a particular way within a conversation. For example, I might be listening to you talk about Pizza Hut and I become so angry because you like deep dish pizza and I don't, and this is not just angry...I start spitting and berating you because you won't stop saying "mmmm" while describing their parmesan covered breadsticks!

This conversation illustrates level 2 thinking where there are only 2 immovable participators. 1) Me and 2) You; and both of us are not able to transcend into higher levels of thinking, therefore, we become threatened and angry when our "positions" are different.

Level 3 thinking (and there are at least 4 higher levels) is an interesting transition from level 2 thinking. Back to the Pizza Hut conversation...Let's say every time I think of eating Pizza Hut I get sick. You come to me with a supreme personal pan pizza and start eating it in front of me while asking questions about the ingredients. Instead of remaining in level two thinking and getting agitated and angry, I metaphorically rise up from my position that stands in direct contrast to yours and begin to hover over the conversation as if I'm looking down on myself talking to you. Here, in this level 3 thinking I can detach from my own likes/dislikes and begin to observe and talk about mine and yours from a higher perspective that is not so "stuck" in level 2.

Simply put, level 3 thinking frees up people, groups, organizations, etc., to not feel threatened and pushed around when confronted with differing opinions. Not only is the impending threat abolished but there is also an ability present to engage the likes/dislikes of the "other" without having to change any previous convictions. So, why is this important? Well it relates directly to religion, politics, education, business, and anything else that can become divisive and hurtful. The pervasive amount of pain and suffering felt on behalf of the persons/organizations who are located only in level 2 thinking needs to be addressed and relieved by pulling ideologies out of the trench.

Next time you (and me) are in a conversation and buttons begin to be pushed, detach from simple, emotional reaction and rise above into a fuller understanding of oneself and the other. Be at peace knowing you are not threatened by dialogue and there is distance between a conversation and related convictions. Furthermore, take time to experience the "other" perspective in a way that engages your own in a positive way...allow your conviction(s) to be challenged, questioned, and refined.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"The Future of Creation"

I've been reading from Moltmann's work The Future of Creation and have been challenged by his understanding of what exactly "future" is and is not. In brief, a transcendent future is that which qualitatively changes the crises of "history." What Moltmann means by this is that if we should look around in our experiences of life and locate the suffering, oppression, and negativity currently happening in the world (literal and non-literal), we are presented with a choice. Either we try and manage these situations through a variety of ways, e.g., politics, appeasement, control, self-abnegation, etc., or we can move toward abolishing these very "sufferings" by working towards changing the essence, the quality of the situation.

Moltmann writes, "In what sense, then, can 'future' become a new pattern of transcendence? Only when it becomes the embodiment of the transcending of present conflict and lack of freedom in something qualitatively new. The magic of true transcendence is inherent in the future if that future promises something qualitatively new, which stimulates people to change the 'system' of the present radically; and if in this future something different can be expected which will lead to the altering of the foundations of the present, antagonistic conditions of immanence."

I think it is our job, all of us, to begin taking change seriously. To look at our communities and take seriously ourselves and others who are under oppression whether it be socially, economically, personally, and spiritually and start coming together and working towards "freedom;" a qualitatively new freedom, i.e., transcendent future.

I am reminded of Christoph Blumhardts assertion which, related to this proposition, might read "It's easy to believe in God but to make things different, to walk in freedom, requires a serious commitment." It is risky. It will require sacrifice. We may not know what this looks like right now but we can put the proposition in the hands of those who are suffering and listen to what this transcendent future might look like from a different perspective.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Used

...can't get enough of them.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Swamp Pop to Swamp Rock

Original sound:

...add some rock 'n roll and you get:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


One of my favorite past-times is digging through music shelves at the local cd store allowing the cover art of new beginnings and memories to speak. I hear the passion seeping out from the small 6X6 plastic case, listening to its coalescent chorale of meaning; its "truth." When I take time to think about this process of music selection, it is no simple matter. Musical engagement has its own level of experience and I ascend to meet these voices in anticipation, looking forward to the subsequent "conversation" about to take place. It might seem silly to try and make sense of this experience, but think about it...what are these emotions we feel in anticipation of a brand new cd or for purchasing an old classic from distant paths? What is the unconscious relationship between the self and music?

Growing up i would ride my bike to Karma, my childhood local cd store. The smell of incense traveling through the aisles ready to prompt the emotional indulgence that awaited. Looking to see which cds had the "parental advisory" stickers as i was always drawn to that sticker:) I would pull out my ziploc bag of change to pay for a cd...$12.99 in quarters and nickels; it was spiritual.

My first concert took place at Union Station in Indianapolis; my favorite band at the time was playing and I persuaded my parents to let me go unsupervised. Seventh grade and on my own walking up this backdoor stairwell, already vibrating with excitement. I had my brown long-sleeve UPS shirt on, baggy, ripped up jeans complete with chain, and blue faded airwalks that took me up the iron-grated steps as i thought, "this is me."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

new wave

if you look back at my recent posts its plain to see that a number of them are involving music videos of some sort. i have decided to take this blog in a new direction for awhile, which is towards the fusion of music and theology. simple enough. it is telling that my two passions are music and theology yet i haven't spent much time explicitly thinking about these two delights in relationship. so, for awhile i will be posting on the relationship between music and theology and hopefully all of these posts will come from "within"...the place where darkness easily hides the naked soul.

for me, music is an emotional expression speaking in words which would otherwise be deemed confusing and untranslatable. isn't it interesting how a song is able to explain to oneself what oneself is feeling, better than oneself? maybe this is the relationship i am planning on exploring; the deep, eternal reflection of music.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

jazz-like theology

theology is like good jazz.

there is an ebb and flow of time signatures, incredibly precise solos, spotlights and backgrounds, straightforward and experimental pieces, combined and separated musicians who, although playing together, allow unity in diversity to arise. watching this 1967 Miles Davis concert i am reminded of the many "voices" that take turns speaking yet all the while taking part in this grand conversation. watching the strengths flow out of miles davis' fingers and tony williams' feet reveal the possibility in seeing difference of experience to present a complete picture. when the song is parsed one is able to see the beauty of the individual yet the emotional ride of this song, "footprints," is somehow made sense in the overarching theme of unity, i.e., musicians in relationship with their own tune and the tune of one another. theology is like good jazz.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Roots and Rev. Vince Anderson

...doesn't get much better than this

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the fullness of "disability"

What a beautiful representation of the fullness of humanity experienced by those with physical disabilities. There is a great need for a wide theology that expresses love and relationship in the midst of life that has been stigmatized by society and culture. Too often society relegates sickness and depreciation to those who are disabled by practicing a form of dehumanization by exclusion. The fullness of God is found in those with a different experience of life who reveal to the "healthy" community that wholeness of sensuality is not dependent upon our bodies. Rather, it is in the openness of life that God is found active and renewing which, to me, is depicted in this film. An inclusive theology is a healthy theology.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Angles & Airwaves

If you're looking for some good music to listen to while studying you should check out Angels & Airwaves.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"The heavens are telling..."

It is always difficult to try and corral an entire theology into only one "statement of faith" which is what I must do in order to graduate from seminary this June. As i am piecing together my thoughts on revelation (general and specific) I ran across an interesting paragraph in Daniel Migliore's "Faith Seeking Understanding," specifically, the reference to Acts 17:22ff). He writes,

"There can be little doubt that the Bible teaches and experience confirms a revelation of God in the created order, in the human conscience, and in religions other than Christianity. "The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork," writes the Psalmist (19:1). The Apostle Paul contends that God's eternal power and deity have been clearly shown in the things that have been created (Rom. 1:20). When Paul speaks to the Athenians on the Aeropagus, he proclaims to them the identity of the unknown God that they have been worshiping (Acts 17:22ff)."

As inter-religious dialogue has become a passion of mine in-the-making I find the Acts passage intriguing. I do believe that God is active in other religions and other communities and I am working to find out exactly how this is true. I read Paul's comments towards Aeropagus where he begins by showing affirmation of their religious worship and then explains that what they worship is the "unknown god" but he has come into contact with the known god and wants to share his findings with them. It seems as if Paul is accepting their "religiousness" as it is only a partial image of the one God. Paul shares that ultimately God is not found in earthly materials (gold and silver), all children (humanity) are the offspring of God, and God's purpose is justice in the world. It doesn't sound like Paul is condemning the Athenians but merely revealing the backdrop of their veneration, i.e., disclosing his idea of the full "story."

I think this passage calls for we who are Christians to be more open in regards to other forms and styles of worship in the sense of dialogue and a specific "type" of acceptance while continuing to affirm the interconnection of life, general and specific. There is a thread of similarity that runs through the global Christian Church and at the same time a thread of similarity connecting all of humanity. What is this global "thread?" Does Paul give credit to this global thread in the Acts passage?

Maybe you read the Acts 17 passage differently. If so, how?