Monday, February 28, 2005
Missional Worship Artist
Aaron has posted sound files from Saturday afternoon a week ago from our conversations with Eric Herron about being a "missional worship artist."

They can be downloaded here.

Also, Kendra (who was there) put her notes to blog over here:
Here's some of my favorite important thoughts:

Worship= a wholehearted response to God with accurate understanding of who He is and what He does

Worship Artist = a skilled maker who makes things that COMPEL others to worship God

(I've never really considered myself to be an artist, but with the above definitions, my little prayer poem efforts make the cut :)

Art = is a process not just the artifact or result.
Creating art is like taking light with a magnifying glass and focusing it on something specific. The artist creates a symbol/artifact and then the receiver receives it. But then there is the meaning. The meaning connects it all. Will the receiver get the meaning? Will the receiver surpass the artist's intention?

Interesting perspective: Dorothy L. Sayers in Mind of the Maker said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are like the process of creativity. The Father is abstract and invisible. The Son is the artifact made, the Incarnate Word, the visible image of the invisible God. The Holy Spirit is the brooding force, like the meaning of the creative process.

The Mission of God = to create more worshippers (not get more to pray the sinner's prayer, fill your church pew, etc)

Some conclusions....
Conclusion 1 - Each of us is like an instrument adding our own sound when He breathes into us.

Conclusion 2 - In the end, we will all worship together! Worship is a sliding scale....right now we are in the shallow end of the pool (when worshipping corporately or alone) but when we see Him face to face, we'll finally be in the deep end of the pool. And we'll be together - entire body of Christ worshipping corporately.

Each sound adds to the orchestra of heavenly worship. We're meant for the orchestra!!

Conclusion 3 - Our purpose as worship artists? To create more create in skilled way that COMPELS others to worship.

posted by Peter at 11:58 PM
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Ring the bell
In the words of the great poet laureate of my schoolyard days: Ring the bell, school's back in, sucka.

This is hard. And I'm a whiner. We now enter Week #3 and I have yet to find my rhythm. Hence the sketchy blogging. You see, the biggest problem came when I finished a project for work and then went a week and half until I received the next one. So now I'm working double-time to get caught back up. Behind in work results behind in school results sickening feelings of deja vu from last semester. I don't like it. But now that the school schedule is finally settled, here's the lineup:

Monday night, 6:30 pm - United Methodist Polity and Discipline
Nearly as exciting as it sounds, it's taught by the seminary president, who I think is a great guy, and he's extremely passionate about the subject, which helps. He's written large chunks of the Discipline and is big on reading the current version with a critical eye. This is one outlet this semester of exploring my future in United Methodism.

Tuesday, 1 pm - Inductive Bible Study of Ezekiel

It's the continuation of the IBS course I had last semester on Matthew. There's an IBS scholarship available for those enrolled in the IBS-II classes, so this was a must. Today there's a survey due of the whole book. Needless to say, I'm a bit behind on that. Grace, please. There's some really great stuff in Ezekiel, trust me. It'll be a lot of fun, if I can just get on top of it and give it all the love and attention it needs.

Tuesday/Thursday, 2:30 pm - Greek II
Due to previous experience, I tested out of the first semester of Greek here. Unfortunately, that means I'm diving right into the middle of the curriculum. Had a comprehensive vocab quiz the second day of class and that went over like a lead balloon. What's most frustrating about it is that there's no rhyme or reason to the method this author approaches the subject, unlike the way I learned five years ago. I'm a big boy, so I'll catch back up. Just a little time. The prof does get bonus points for introducing pronouns with a Schoolhouse Rock video.

Wednesday, 9 am - United Methodist Candidacy
Outlet #2 in exploring United Methodism. Here's a class that knocks out the candidacy step of ordination all in one semester in a corporate setting, which helps me from having to do it on my own time. There are some good dormmates in there, and that will provide relief from any tediousness. Just added it last week, so there again is that theme of being a step behind.

And then this past Saturday, Jeana and I made the drive up to Cincinnati where Vineyard Central was hosting a conversation with Eric Herron being a "missional worship artist." The discussion centered around what the terms "worship", "art", and "missional" mean and then how they all intersect. Aaron recorded the day and plans to have some of the edited audio up sometime this week. Stay tuned.

Not surprisingly, one theme that come up over and over again was relationships. The quote of the day:
I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. --Vincent van Gogh

It was a great day of hanging out, chatting, meeting and re-meeting some good folks and seeing what that operation up north looks like. More photos to come.

And I had a very lovely Monday last week thanks to this lovely lady. I'm blessed.

posted by Peter at 10:03 AM
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Monday, February 21, 2005
Mix tape
A collection of songs lodged in my brain lately...

1. Born by Over the Rhine
2. Anecdote by Ambulance LTD
3. Title and Registration by Death Cab for Cutie
4. Neighborhood 3# (Power Out) by The Arcade Fire
5. Little Samba by Ugly Duckling
6. Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens
7. Serve the Servants by Nirvana
8. Because by Elliott Smith
9. Careless Whisper by Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright
10. Tiny Little Fractures
11. Spybreak by Propellerheads
12. For No One by Elliott Smith
13. Something in the Way by Nirvana
14. Here Comes the Sun by Ben Harper
15. New Madrid by Uncle Tupelo
16. Rebellion (Lies) by The Arcade Fire
17. Sunflower by Low
18. And Can It Be by Pedro the Lion
19. Drunkard's Prayer by Over the Rhine

posted by Peter at 8:35 PM
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Drunkard's prayer
Couple of months ago had the pleasure of witnessing my first Over the Rhine concert.

Was just Karen on vocals and Linford on piano. For much of the night, the sound made feel like I belonged in a musty dim-lit bar, in the back, a cigarette dangling from one hand and a scotch in the other. I don't even smoke or drink.

And then they perform a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and Karen's silky voice soared to heaven and back. Breathtaking. I'm lost in the irony that the deepest relgious experience I found in a semester of seminary I discovered in a bar.

Their new album releases the end of March, and Paste Music has two tracks available for free download.

Good stuff.

posted by Peter at 11:44 AM
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Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Giving up cynicism for Lent
I had friends in both Oklahoma and Virginia over the Christmas/January break recommend to me My Faith So Far: A Story of Conversion and Confusion by Patton Dodd. Patton attended Oral Roberts University just a few short years before I did just after his conversion in an evangelical, charismatic, non-denominational megachurch. The book chronicles his faith journey during the time of his Christian infancy between his years of 18 and 20, essentially the construction, destruction and rebuilding of his faith.

it's a critical indictment (but not mean) of the unique charismatic flavor of Christianity. Much of it echoes my own experience at ORU and within non-denominational churches of the past few years. Especially this passage I read last night regarding Dodd's processing the personality of ORU President Richard Roberts:
Cynicism is more fun. A mock prayer line forms in my dorm that night. "Fresh" and "Joy" replace "Hey" and "Bye" for a couple weeks. I joke along with these people too, because another part of me wants it to be this simple, wants Roberts's antics to be just that: antics. Part of me wants him and the whole overboard charismatic impulse to be rejectable. But I fear that we are missing something in our joking. Why assume the worst of Richard Roberts, who is only doing what comes naturally to him? Like it or not, this is Christianity as we know it. If it is misguided, it needs to be changed. If it is not, then we need to be changed. The problem with cynicism, whether humorous or hopping mad, is that it is obsessed with that which it hates, and it is blinded by that obsession. Cynical eyes can no longer see the central problem but can only focus on the symptoms. Cynicism distances you from the heart of the matter. It allows you to feel superior, but not to improve things, not to redeem anything. Cynicism is not Activism. It does not form a Resistance. It is all Reaction. (emphasis mine)

The heart of the matter is Jesus Christ.

My hope is that my obsession would be in not that which is wrong with the Church--the weird culture of it all--but in all that which is right with the Church--the redemptive love and transforming power available in Christ.

posted by Peter at 11:35 AM
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Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Comfort in the man
I was raised on the jargon of Evangelicalism. I have witnessed Cornerstone. I have been to a Petra concert.

And I say that John Sullivan's "Upon This Rock: Rock music used to be a safe haven for degenerates and rebels. Until it found Jesus" feature for GQ contains all of the hilarious and sad biting satire that I found lacking from Saved.

Yet what I found most fascinating was the side-tangent Sullivan takes in the middle of the feature to briefly explain his own experience and struggle with faith:

My problem is not that I dream I'm in hell or that Mole is at the window. It isn't that I feel psychologically harmed. It isn't even that I feel like a sucker for having bought it all. It's that I love Jesus Christ.

"The latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose." I can barely write that. He was the most beautiful dude. Forget the Epistles, forget all the bullying stuff that came later. Look at what He said. Read The Jefferson Bible. Or better yet, read The Logia of Yeshua, by Guy Davenport and Benjamin Urrutia, an unadorned translation of all the sayings ascribed to Jesus that modern scholars deem authentic. There's your man. His breakthrough was the aestheticization of weakness. Not in what conquers, not in glory, but in what's fragile and what suffers—there lies sanity. And salvation. "Let anyone who has power renounce it," he said. "Your father is compassionate to all, as you should be." That's how He talked, to those who knew Him.

Why should He vex me? Why is His ghost not friendlier? Why can't I just be a good Enlightenment child and see in His life a sustaining example of what we can be, as a species?

Because once you've known Him as God, it's hard to find comfort in the man.

Give yourself sometime as it is a 12,000-word article, and be forewarned that it does contain language unsuitable for small children and Southern Baptists.

posted by Peter at 10:39 AM
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Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Ash Wednesday
Read all of T.S. Eliot's poem right about here:
Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

posted by Peter at 3:32 PM
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Movie time
Sometimes a song just sticks to me. Nothing I do seems to shake it off. It just won't go away.

The latest of these for me is Death Cab for Cutie's "Title and Registration." And looky here - it just so happens to be their latest video.

I have a new favorite break-up song. Which is ironic in a whole lot of ways.

posted by Peter at 1:57 PM
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Ahoy ye mateys
So this is slightly old news, but my rhythm has been completely thrown off lately - baseball blogging has officially moved from Musings over to the ever estimable and prestigious USS Mariner.

Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

posted by Peter at 1:51 PM
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