Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back in the Day

Punk Rock Girl by the Dead Milkmen

One Saturday I took a walk to Zipperhead
I met a girl there and she almost knocked me dead

Punk rock girl
Please look at me
Punk rock girl
What do you see?
Let's travel round the world
Just you and me punk rock girl

I tapped her on the shoulderAnd said do you have a beau?
She looked at me and smiled and said she did not know

Punk rock girl
Give me a chance
Punk rock girl
Let's go slam dance
We'll dress like Minnie Pearl
Just you and me punk rock girl

We went to the Philly Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said well no, we only have it iced
So we jumped up on the table and shouted anarchy
And someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox
It it was "California Dreamin"
So we started screamin
On such a winter's day

She took me to her parents for a Sunday meal
Her father took one look at me and he began to squeal

Punk rock girl
It makes no sense
Punk rock girl
Your dad is vice president
Just like the Duke of Earl
Yeah you're for me punk rock girl

We went to a shopping mall
And laughed at all the shoppers
And security guards trailed us to a record shop
We asked for Mojo Nixon
They said he don't work here
We said if you don't got Mojo Nixon then your store could use some fixin

We got into her car away we started rollin
I said how much you pay for this
Said nothin man it's stolen

Punk rock girl
You look so wild
Punk rock girl
Let's have a child
We'll name her Minnie Pearl
Just you and me
Eat fudge banana swirl
Just you and me
We'll travel round the world
Just you and me
Punk rock girl

If you can't smile about these lyrics, then you could use some fixin'!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Trying To Have A Good Attitude...

So I'm hanging out at our local coffee shop typing out a completely new essay for my application to Syracuse University. A very interesting cross section of folks come though on any given evening, but tonight I have a special treat: a christian college open mic night. I am tempted to just leave, but I actually get a lot of work done in here, a different type of distraction than at home. Joanna doesn't get it, but it works for me down here.

So I decide to stick it out. Unfortunately my worst fears are realized. No open mic, just some christian pop quasi-worship cd about being a delicate flower fading. What's up with the Jesus-is-my-boyfriend music these days? Marketing, that's what.

So the coffee shop should be closed, but instead it is just like Wednesday night youth group. Instead of hanging out together in a public place mixed in with (gasp!) the unsaved, they wait until everyone goes home to congregate.

So I'm trying not to have a bad attitude, but they make it so hard. I mean if they do a lot of outreach during the week and want to relax together, then great, but I have the distinct feeling that doesn't happen. It only breeds complacency and indifference to the people on the outside.

I'm waiting to see if anyone comes up and just says hello to me. I'm sure they are just being polite since I am typing, but if others were in here, would they approach them? Not with a message mind you, but with genuine, nonjudgemental love. I hope. I really do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Personal Schism From The Church

So I was flipping through my CD collection (which is starting to date itself as purchasing music has taken a backseat to groceries and diapers) the other night and found a great CD that called out to me again.

Bill Mallonee and The Vigilantes of Love's Audible Sigh

An old friend from working at Kentucky Underground gave me this CD with a lot of enthusiasm, but it really didn't strike a chord in me until months later.

If you haven't heard of these guys, think Tom Petty with a bit of steel guitar and more of a folk sound. Maybe not the best description, but I only have the one CD and that is the impression I get. Emmylou Harris guest stars on the song I want to comment on and the link above directs you to the lyrics.

For whatever reason I find the song Resplendent deeply moving, especially as I have taken steps in recent weeks of moving away from calling myself a Christian and the status quo church.

I'm not sure how people will take my publicly announcing my departure. I'm sure some will meet it with relief and many others with the thought that I am completely misguided and lost. I can't help what people will think, nor does it affect me much anymore.

What I see, have seen, and experienced outside of the church compared to what I see, have seen, and experienced within the church are vastly different and I can only take so much hypocrisy.

The church as most of the world knows it has been sleeping with the wrong partners for centuries all in the name of trying to fix the world. It has become so ingrained in our (read Christian) psyche we can't see that religious power and political power go hand in hand and both are wrong. Both are systems of power that are over people and are to a greater or lesser degree systems of oppression, no matter how benevolent. Both are kingdom of the world power systems and have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, no matter how loudly they say differently or how polished their message may look and sound.

Like Luther, Bonhoeffer, and Mother Theresa, I feel I must take a more public stand against those types of power systems. I must also start doing the work Jesus commanded us to continue, the work of lifting the up the oppressed. I have a sneaking suspicion there has always been a true church, an underground church that continued the work of Jesus, but did the work quietly.

I'm starting to wonder if the church we see today took the deal the devil offered Jesus in the wilderness, dominion over all the kingdoms of the world. While Jesus would have made this place a utopia, it would have been a utopia with a power system over people. The Kingdom of God is about creating a power system that supports people. I can't claim that idea for myself, Greg Boyd talks about this in his book The Myth of a Christian Nation. The link will let you read the preface and the first chapter.

To be sure, I think various religious leaders throughout time advocated becoming involved with whatever political structure was in place to hopefully change the world for the better, but as we have seen time and time again through our history just the opposite is true. The Kingdom of God will never be able to merge withe the kingdom of the world, its like oil and water, no how matter how hard you shake, it may look blended together, but it will eventually separate.

As I keep looking back at Luke 17 and Jesus warning those who want to be his disciples to consider the cost of doing so and also the mention elsewhere of the narrow path that few find, I saw neither of those things happening when I was involved with a status quo church.

What I did see was the opposite of those things. Why? Because going to a status quo church is something everyone does. Doesn't sound like the narrow path few find to me. Sounds more like the eight-lane superhighway meant to hold those Ford Expedition churches with 1000s of members. I'm just saying...

What I can't stomach anymore is what my friend calls the plausible deniability of the church. Basically, the vast majority of its members do as they are told, do not research for themselves or even study much about their faith. Such blind devotion is good at keeping the masses coming through the doors because nothing is required except their membership dues of 10%. How many people know there was more than one tithe in the Hebrew tradition? And why is it that the tithe is the one command that happened to not get washed away with the old laws?

And why is fear used to get people to get 'saved'? Turn or burn? Turn to what? A prayer and then on with the same old life? Football and consumerism with a pinch of church attendance throw in as 'fire insurance'? I don't read about Jesus using that tactic or recommending indifference as a good policy of comforting the oppressed and downtrodden.

Peace and wisdom,

yeah i remember the dark clouds
raining dust for days on end
blew all the earth out to california
and just left us here with the wind
in desperate times you know everybody's part
but it's your own lines you're like to forget
'til what you were meets what you've now become
grins and says "hey, haven't we met"

lost my firstborn that winter
and my wife on the first day of spring
and so i poured my sweat into the earth
yeah to see what that harvest would bring
and i remember howling fury
just like a plague of locusts
egypt's punishment for sins of pride
is that now what has come over us

how much of this was meant to be
how much the work of the devil
how far can one man's eyes really see
in these days of toil and trouble

honey we're all resplendent
yeah honey we are all thrift store
i'm like a wino with a twenty dollar bill
yeah forever and eternally yours
i can make you promises
if you don't expect too much
yes and i will run the distance
if you'll please please excuse my crutch

how much of this is failing flesh
how much the course of retribution
my my how loudly we plead our innocence
long after we've made our contribution

Written by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) �2000

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I can live with this rating

Sure I only post somewhere along the lines of once every couple of months, but I'm haapy to report my words seem to be intelligent. And we all know how accuarte online wigets are...

cash advance

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is there something better than the name 'Christian'?

So a little background info before the link. I'm not sure if one can say I have no faith left because I have questioned so much, or if I have more faith, but few outward signs that would indicate that I am a 'christian'. The more I dive into the muddied waters of church history, the more I am realizing how flawed the church has become. Many would argue against me with great passion, but in a world that uses passion as a replacement for truth in an attempt to win an argument, I don't put much stock in passionate talking points without truth to back them up. My concern comes from the fact that it seems we have built flaw upon flaw or human ideas upon human ideas so that there is little foundation left that we can say is secure without scrutinizing and inspecting every aspect of it. Obviously, and I hope this to be the case, much will be found sound and solid, but I fear more may be weak and unsupportable than we realize.

I am reading a book that is attempting to look at the Christianity between the death of Christ and the writing of Paul. There is about a 2 decade gap that the New Testament has no record of; nor are there many historical documents in general. Dominic Crossan, the author, brings up one question that has haunted me almost daily, especially since I have so much time on my hands driving. The question is this: "What was there in the first church/fellowships/gatherings of the followers of Christ that warranted the persecution of Paul?"

Seriously, what do we know about those first groups of believers right after the execution of Jesus?

I have found myself exhausted by the search for truth to the point of giving up, of turning away and embracing a benign life of 'good living' instead of being associated with all that has been done in the name of 'christianity'. I am searching out something more than a title or label.

One of the things that has concerned me is the general lack of knowledge that most people have concerning their faith. So much has been taken for granted. So little is known about our origins that we could be fed anything, and think it was truth. I think that is why it feels like I have no faith; I have torn everything down past the foundation in order to build it up again.

With that being said, and if it opens up questions and dialog I am truly glad for the company. I watched this video and I saw a glimpse of what it might have been like for those early believers. Let's face it, when Jesus was doing his thing and he had followers, he was a rabbi, so a vast majority of his followers were Hebrew. I'm not necessarily saying we all need to become Jewish, but I wonder if you too see a glimpse of what that first group faced; being shunned, ridiculed, mocked, and generally looked down upon.

Without further ado: