Sunday, May 29, 2005
Mix #5
The White kids have scattered across the globe. This week Sarah moved to the Big Apple for the summer. Found a job. Found an apartment. Apparently loving every minute of it.

Jason and Kelly are in Lebanon, church planting.

As for me, I'm in Indiana for the holiday weekend, spending time with the lady friend and her family.

Roadtrip means only one thing: New mix tape.

1. "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens. Do not ask where I found this yet officially unreleased track. I won't tell.
2. "Natural Disaster" by The Headphones. Postal Service is to Deathcab for Cute as The Headphones is to Pedro the Lion. Uh, maybe.
3. "Hey Now Now" by The Cloud Room.
4. "Brighter Than Sunshine" by Aqualung. Live on KCRW 3/14/05.
5. "Good Sons" by Starflyer 59. Maybe it's just me, but this track sounds suspiciously like the Killers. Or maybe the Killers are ripping off Starflyer.
6. "Spanish Teeth" by Robbers on High Street.
7. "Banquet" by Bloc Party.
8. "Unemployed Black Astronaut" by Busdriver. Afro-Beck? Uh, maybe.
9. "The Engine Driver" by The Decemberists.
10. "Window" by Damien Jurado.
11. "I'll Be Your Bird" by M. Ward. Live on KEXP. And if you're not listening to KEXP, why not?
12. "Northern Sky" by Nick Drake. Fever Pitch is the latest film to remind us just how cool Drake's music is.
13. "Video" by Aimee Mann. She did great music before Magnolia. She does great music after Magnolia.
14. "Jesusland" by Ben Folds. Have I mentioned already how much I like this song?
15. "Bittersweetheart" by Ed Harcourt.
16. "Statistics" by Imaginary Baseball League.
17. "Monkey" by Low. Dedicated to Katey.
18. "Old Fashioned Way of Speaking" by TW Walsh. Before Walsh drummed for Pedro the Lion he had his own singer/songwriter gig.
19. "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch. The best track from the Garden State soundtrack that's not on the Garden State soundtrack.

Many thanks to Joe for the tips on many of these bands and tracks. Be sure to check out his mp3 blog Each Note Secure.

posted by Peter at 3:54 PM
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The meditation
Originally uploaded by PedroBlanco.
The semester is over. I'm not really sure yet what it all means. I'm not really sure what all of the past nine months mean yet. Still processing.

Spent some time with Alan over the weekend at the Abbey of Gethsemani, which is a bit over an hour away. It was a great day of relaxing, of being quiet, of watching and listening. And taking pictures, too. Alan has some, also.

I'm taking a class this June--Theological Hermeneutics. Taught by Joel Green. I get weird looks when I tell people my summer school schedule. But the truth is, I've been out in the "real world" long enough to have forgotten what the scholastic "summer vacation" is. I'm tilting my head at those going home for the summer. Does not compute.

Started reading for the class. I've seen a quote from Scottish playright J.M. Barrie to the effect, "Nothing is really work unless you'd rather be doing something else." And that's a bit how I feel. I mean, this is a part of why I came to seminary, not to take some Mickey Mouse class. So I figure it's not really school unless I'd rather be doing something else.

Tonight I met up with Wilson for the Reds/Nationals game in Cincinnati. We connected at the ticket window and there we serendipitily met a man who just handed us two tickets. Free. Nice guy.

Reds blew the lead in the 9th. They eventually won in the 14th, but by then I was well on my way back to Wilmore. It was freezing, starting to rain, and I've got a meeting at 10 am.

All that to say that thanks to the numerous fellows who declined to attend the sporting event with me, I was blessed with a good four hours of alone time in the car. I even chose to turn off the CD player on the way home, which if you know me, is a huge step. So I was quiet. To listen.

Tomorrow I can begin moving into my new room. I'm moving up a floor. What this means is I will be in my own room. Unfortunately, I'm also giving up my private bathroom for a community bathroom.

In the nine months since I last unpacked these boxes here, so much has happened. Much spiritual and emotional formation. Much that I'm still trying to form into words.

Much is changing.

posted by Peter at 1:55 AM
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Monday, May 16, 2005
Stretch run

J and K
Originally uploaded by PedroBlanco.
Went to my first Reds game this summer with a couple of my favorite people last weekend--my brother Jason and his lovely wife Kelly. Couple of firsts occurred. I witnessed my very first Ken Griffey, Jr. home run. And the ladyfriend experienced her first ballgame with me. She says she had a great time, and I like to believe her.

So Wednesday night, I'm playing third base in the final intramural ballgame of the year. The ball goes the left and I back up to take the throw at third. The bag reaches out and grabs my cleat, flings me around through the air and slams me to the ground like a ragdoll in a move that would impress most fans of World Wrestling Entertainment.

I played the rest of the night on the bum ankle, but when I got home and took off my shoes, it was like one of those tribal kids with elephantitis in a National Geographic, like someone had inserted a tennis ball where the ankle used to be. The next morning I couldn't walk. Naturally, I then called up the doctor.

Ice. Elevate. Rest. Nothing was broken, but for a couple of days, my entire ankle and heel were shades of purple and black I don't recall from my 128-crayola set in 2nd grade. Still a little sore, but I'm walking fine now, thanks.

Oh yeah. And my volleyball team then won their championship game without me.

This week is finals. Greek is Wednesday. I have till Friday at 5 to turn in all my late work for Ezekiel.

So until then, adieu.

posted by Peter at 1:04 AM
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Thursday, May 05, 2005
Pray for Palmer

Today at 9 am, Mark Palmer goes under the knife. Some requests from his blog,
-Pray that the surgeon gets all the cancer out. That would be a good thing.
-The tumor is in a tricky place with lots of important things all around it, so pray the doctor doesn't cut anything he shouldn't.
-Pray for quick recovery so that I can get back to my family, my community, and my classes.
-Finally, pray for strength for Amy as she cares for me, Micah, and everything else going on in her busy life. I'm not allowed to lift anything heavier than a carton of milk for 6 weeks, so things are going to be a bit tough around the house.

Mrs. Palmer provides some updates.

posted by Peter at 2:13 AM
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Wednesday, May 04, 2005
The sound was unbearable. A dull, blasting thunder. That wouldn't stop. Somewhere just on the other side of that wall. Or maybe that one.

I found myself in a building surrounded by much noise. Something was getting tore up real good. Drills. Jackhammers. I dunno know. But it made the gray matter in my skull slosh around.

I was supposed to be putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard?) regarding some theological positions for my ordination candidacy process. Questions about my most formational Christian experiences, my gifts, my usefulness, my gifts, etc. So I dug around in some old folders and files, knowing I've had to write on this topic very often in my most recent past.

And something I stumbled across was what I believe is my first draft for my seminary application letter. Here's how it starts:

I am 25 years old. I have been attending church practically since the day I was born. I have taken part in church leadership teams. Crossed the globe on numerous mission trips. Coordinated community outreach events. Spoken before groups of hundreds. Taught Bible studies. Lead worship. All rubbish. Pure rubbish. Perhaps I’m hard on myself. Surely there have been moments the Lord has used me to communicate his reckless, crazy love. Surely they are the moments that I was least aware of it. My spiritual pilgrimage is one marked by many a days of rigid, self-disciplined, determined abandonment to the Lord’s path and many a days of tangential, distracted, self-absorbed wandering. I have spent enough days in church to accumulate a vast collection of accessories and trinkets to dress my Christianity, and it is time to clean house. My heart echoes the sentiment of Henry Thoreau: “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner…” I wish to rout, to strip away, to excise all from my Christianity that is not Christ. I find myself at a crossroads where I am reevaluating my understanding of Christianity, where I must dissemble my faith piece by piece until there is nothing left but my brokenness and Christ’s wholeness.

That was January 17, 2004. I've been growing since then. There's some deep, bitter cynicism in that voice. Obviously, this was not the draft that was sent to the Academy. But there's also a rawness, a desparate honesty that makes me wish I could sit down with this fellow and talk over a cup of coffee, or something stronger.

I've always been fascinated in taking things apart. Mom has some stories, I think. How do these things work? And now that I'm older, how does Faith work? How does Church work?

This house is still under construction. Oh, the remodeling project has made leaps and bounds since a year ago January. But we haven't finished. The sound of drills still reverberates through the walls. It can be a little obnoxious, and I apologize in advance.

I appreciate Brian McLaren's comment regarding deconstructionism in The Last Word: "If you deconstruct a theory, you're doing it in the hope that a better theory can be imagined. If you deconstruct a social system, you're doing it in hope that a better system can emerge. And if you deconstruct laws, you're doing it in the hope that greater understanding of justice can come" (106).

I deconstruct because I hope. By faith, I take Faith and Church apart because I believe they can be more. I still wish to rout, to strip away, to excise all from my Christianity that is not Christ, so that my time and energy is not wasted on that which truly does not matter. My brokenness. Christ's wholeness. This is the beginning. The foundation on which to build.

The constant jackhammering rumble of deconstruction can be maddening. But piece by piece we're building something better here.

posted by Peter at 12:35 AM
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Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Things I've done this week

Estes Chapel
Originally uploaded by PedroBlanco.
  • Cimbed to the top and stood inside the steeple there of Estes Chapel and got a birds-eye view of Wilmore.

  • Learned I have been offered a position as Resident Advisor in Larabee-Morris Hall for next year.

  • Drove out to Ft. Harrod, the first permanent settlement of the West, only to discover that there are state parks in Kentucky without hiking trails.

  • I've been leading a small group this semester through the Wild at Heart curriculum. Tonight's topic was "A Beauty to Rescue." In between video clips from Seinfeld (George: "I've got no hand!") and James Bond crushing the streets of Moscow with a tank in pursuit of his woman, I sandwiched this quote from Joseph Campbell, circa 1949:
    Woman, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known. The hero is the one who comes to know. As he progresses in the slow initiation which is life, the form of the goddess undergoes for him a series of transfigurations: she can never be greater than himself, though she can always promise more than he is yet capable of comprehending. She lures, she guides, she bids him burst his fetters. And if he can match her import, the two, the knower and the known, will be released from every limitation. Woman is the guide to the sublime acme of sensuous adventure. By deficient eyes she is reduced to inferior states; by the evil eye of ignorance she is spellbound to banality and ugliness. But she is redeemed by the eyes of understanding. The hero who can take her as she is, without undue commotion but with the kindness and assurance she requires, is potentially the king, the incarnate god, of her created world.

    I think the quote went over like a lead balloon. Memo for next time: More tanks. Less Campbell.

  • Listened to these humorous takes on "Purveyor of All Things Postmodern" and "Spiritual Director". I seriously know these people. And I salute them. (Thanks, Arlen.)

  • I mentioned last week about a certain evening I spent with some good company. Aaron has now posted some video from that dinner.

  • posted by Peter at 12:23 AM
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    Sunday, May 01, 2005
    Letter from C.S. Lewis to Sheldon Vanauken concerning his question to change his graduate studies from history to theology (from A Severe Mercy, pg. 102):
    We must ask three questions about the probable effect of changing your research subject to something more Theological.

    (1.) Would it be better for your immediate enjoyment? Answer, probably but not certainly, Yes.

    (2.) Would it be better for your academic career? Answer, probably No. You would have to make up in haste a lot of knowledge which would not be very easily digested in the time.

    (3.) Would it be better for your soul? I don't know.

    I think there is a great deal to be said for having one's deepest spiritual interest distinct from one's ordinary duty as a student or professional man. St. Paul's job was tent-making. When the two coincide I should have thought there was a danger lest the natural interest in one's job and the pleaseures of gratified ambition might be mistaken for spiritual progress and spiritual consolation; and I think clergymen sometimes fall into this trap.

    Contrariwise, there is the danger that what is boring and repellent in the job may alienate one from the spiritual life. And finally, someone has said "None are so unholy as those whose hands are cauterised with holy things"; sacred things may become profane by becoming matters of the job.

    You now want spiritual truth for her own sake; how will it be when the same truth is also needed for an effective footnote in your thesis? In fact, the change might do good or harm. I've always been glad myself that Theology is not the thing I earn my living by.

    On the whole, I'd advise you to get on with your tent-making. The performance of a duty will probably teach you quite as much about God as academic Theology would do.

    Mind you, I'm not certain: but that is the view I incline to.

    (emphasis by me)

    Now discuss...

    posted by Peter at 5:08 PM
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