Friday, April 29, 2005

Originally uploaded by PedroBlanco.
So I'm toying around with a new photoblog here at flickr. Any feedback in comparison to the old photoblog is appreciated.

posted by Peter at 1:34 AM
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From Ben Folds' latest Songs for Silverman, now available on itunes:

Take a walk
Out the gate you go and never stop
Past all the stores and wig shops
Quarter in a cup for every block
And watch the buildings grow
Smaller as you go

Down the tracks
Beautiful McMansions on a hill
That overlook a highway
With riverboat casinos and you still
Have yet to see a soul


Town to town
Broadcast to each house, they drop your name
But no one knows your face
Billboards quoting things you'd never say
You hang your head and pray

For Jesusland

Miles and miles
And the sun goin' down
Pulses glow
From their homes
You're not alone
Lights come on
As you lay your weary head on their lawn

Parking lots
Cracked and growing grass you see it all
From offices to farms
Crosses flying high above the malls
A longer walk

Through Jesusland

posted by Peter at 12:54 AM
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From The Last Word and the Word After That by Brian McLaren:
And could our preoccupation with individual salvation from hell after death distract us from speaking prophetically about injustice in our world today? (p. 84)

posted by Peter at 12:37 AM
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Hall of Justice
I'm still reeling.

When I was a wee lad, one my favorite afterschool cartoons was Super Friends. I have this specific memory of driving through downtown Tulsa with Mom and asking, "Which one's the Hall of Justice?" I knew Superman, Batman and the Wonder Twins had to be here somewhere.

I saw Hotel Rwanda over the weekend. A suckerpunch to my gut. Maybe a sledgehammer. Pick your metaphor. Especially after the lecture I had heard just the day before. It's not just a movie. I've ridden in that same Toyota minivan. I've seen the stark landscape of central Africa. I've seen the tall, thin, black bodies walking down the street in clothes two sizes too big, an AK-47 slung over the shoulder.

And in one moving scene, hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina thanks a Western photojournalist for videotaping images of the genocide for the rest of the world to see. The cameraman replies, "I think if people see this footage, they'll say 'Oh, my God, that's horrible.' And then they'll go on eating their dinners."

So how do I as the comfortable student of the theological academy keep from saying, "Oh my God, that's horrible" and then returning to my humdrum daily routine, thoughts of my basic survival light years away from my mind. Much less the basic survival of my brothers and sisters around the world.

What now? While genocide continues to sweep Africa, what does social justice look like right here where I live? In local politics? In public education? In health care? What does injustice look like in Jessamine County?

We sang a song Sunday morning that went a little something like:

Jesus brings a meal for tips
Jesus trying hard to quit
Jesus raising two alone
Jesus drives a heavy load

Jesus with worn wrinkled hands
Jesus sows a patch of land
Jesus hides a tattooed arm
Jesus keeping dinner warm

Turns out Jesus has cancer. Turns out Jesus' insurance doesn't cover "preexisting conditions." Turns out Jesus' medical bills are in excess of $75,000.

Mark Palmer is a friend of Vine & Branches, the faith community I've been hanging with. His own blog is here, and Alan explains what's going over here and here.

Maybe its a small way to worship justly. One dominant theme of the Old Testament prophets is justice--peace to the fatherless and widows, inclusion and fairness to all those treated unfairly by the world. We Christians are called to stand and act for those who cannot stand and act on their own.

On Sunday morning, I providentially opened the hymnal to #456. It's a prayer written by Alan Paton of South Africa in 1968, entitled "For Courage to Do Justice":

O Lord,
open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
open my ears that I may hear their cries;
open my heart so that they need not be without succor;
let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee. Amen.

And now I'm learning that the Hall of Justice is right here. Right here wherever I choose to take it.

posted by Peter at 11:18 PM
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My summer movie planner
1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (April 29)
2. Kingdom of Heaven (May 6)
3. Revenge of the Sith (May 19)
4. Batman Begins (June 17)
5. War of the Worlds (July 1)
6. Fantastic Four (July 8)
7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (July 15)
8. The Bad News Bears (July 22)
9. The Brothers Grimm (July 29)
10. 3001 (August 5)

posted by Peter at 11:38 AM
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Friday, April 22, 2005
The Emergent hippies have departed and in their place every youth group in America has descended upon the Mecca that seems to be Wilmore. I am one of maybe 3.2 locals not worked up into an Icthus frenzy.

My first reaction to any kind of service or conference like WALP is the question, “What did you get out of it?” It’s a question over the past several months I have been gradually trying to violently eradicate from my thinking paradigm. With extreme prejudice. It’s just so damn consumerist.

So this is what has me thinking: Brian McLaren on the importance of ritual and hospitality in public worship. Doug Pagitt on relational preaching beyond monologue-ing and also avoiding “cover” forms of faith. Maggie Dawn on the importance of the theology of Samuel Coleridge. Claude Nikondeha on the failure of the church in Rwanda to exercise justice. Sister Jeana has the Super Friends-like roster of bloggers in attendance who offer their own minute by minute accounts.

But my personal highlight was an informal gathering for dinner and coffee last night that included Eric Herron, Aaron “Captain Podcast” Klinefelter, his lovely wife Sarah and precocious little Chloe, Alan Creech, Jeana Clark, Jason McAnally, Jackie Daugherty and Pete Matthews.

I know that’s over 100 words. So sue me.

posted by Peter at 2:34 PM
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005
A new week
Thick-rimmed glasses. Thrift store threads. Sandals. iBooks. A gaggle of Emergent hippies have overtaken the campus. They can be spotted a hundred yards away. A cushy volunteer job manning the registration table this afternoon and I get to join them. I did register Brian McLaren. The Worship, Art, Liturgy and Preaching in the Emerging Culture conference lasts all week here.

I need sleep. That 6 a.m. flight Sunday out of Baltimore is still messing with me.

Experienced my first Catholic wedding over the weekend. Come to think of it, that’s the first time I’ve set foot in a Catholic church.

posted by Peter at 12:04 AM
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Monday, April 18, 2005
Things I've done during the blogging hiatus
Gone on a date involving Bible-themed put-put. (Imagine your 18 favorite Old Testament scenes memorialized in mini-golf.)

Had a meeting with the pastor of The Rock/La Roca just to talk. (The church has a really cool history you can read here.)

Interviewed to be a resident advisor for the next year.

Hawked tickets outside the Over the Rhine CD release party. Spent that money on some good sushi and Thai in the Mt. Adams district of Cincinnati instead.

Took psychological assessment for UM Church ordination candidacy. (Which included 600 questions of the variety: “True/False: Dirt frightens and/or disgusts me.”)

posted by Peter at 1:37 PM
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Spinning 'round
Been spending lots of time with old man Ezekiel these past couple of weeks. That’s my excuse for leaving you high and dry. Read Ezekiel 18 when you get a chance.

There are moments I doubt my place in the theological academy—moments I feel swallowed in a tidal wave of unwieldy obligations and I wonder why I do this. And then I remember (divinely?) Ezra 7:10. That’s why I do this.

Tomorrow I fly to Baltimore for the wedding of Ryan and Karen, two of the most generous people I know. Then I come home for the emerging conference.

posted by Peter at 11:29 PM
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