Monday, August 31, 2009

Sojournings: Reflections on Communion

Exodus 24:9-11

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

This is an intriguing passage. Right after Moses and the Israelites enter into a covenant with YHWH the elders sit down and eat a meal in his presence. The ESV Study Bible notes on this passages add some interesting insight as to what is happening.
"Ex. 24:9–11 Moses, Aaron and his sons, and 70 of the elders partake in what the peace offering (v. 5) signifies: fellowship and communion in the presence of God. The description focuses on the fact that the men saw the God of Israel (vv. 9–11) and remained unharmed. According to 33:20 “man shall not see me and live,” so the “seeing” here in 24:10 was something different from that of 33:20; cf. 33:23, which perhaps denotes a partial, as opposed to a full and complete, vision of God (see notes on Matt. 5:8;John 1:18; Rev. 22:4). The description of the clear surface they saw under his feet may indicate that this is all they saw of God."

I was thinking of this passage at Sojourn gathered tonight as I was administering communion, a meal done in observance of the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus. This was the third straight week I was involved in giving communion, and it struck me this time how edifying it was for me to serve communion and not just receive it, which is obviously an enormous blessing in its own right.
It's very easy to concentrate on how Jesus' blood covers my sin. But to repeat, "The Blood of Christ, shed for you, Brooks, Lauren, Tyler, Jack,...." This transposes the whole thing to a higher key.
It's joyous to remember that "He bore the sin of the many". (Is. 53:11)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Abram or Abraham?

Abraham, worth a righteous one.
Take up on the wood,
put it on your son.
Lake or lamb.
There is none to harm.
When the angel came,
you had raised your arm.

Abraham, put off on your son.
Take instead the ram
until Jesus comes
-Sufjan Stevens, "Abraham"

Abram, either wake up or go to bed
You're sleepwalking with a delirious head
You were programmed a long, long, long time ago
Your stories are old, old and your acclimation is slow
Oh, go to sleep
Not much of what you say makes any sense
Cook up some myths then ask for obedience
Even though you mean well, well most of the time
You've aided delusions and created bias in our minds
Oh, go to sleep
-Jose Gonzalez, "Abram"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Beth Moore is like a walking third edition."
- My Greek prof., discussing Exegetical Fallacies (2nd Edition) by D.A. Carson. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This is how I feel about coffee

"Pleasures of Appreciation are very different.  They make us feel that something has not merely gratified our senses in fact but claimed our appreciation by right. The connoisseur does not merely enjoy his claret as he might enjoy warming his feet when they were cold. He feels that here is a wine that deserves his full attention; that justifies all the tradition and skill that have gone to its making and all the years of training that have made his own palate fit to judge it. There is even a glimmering of unselfishness in his attitude. He wants the wine to be preserved and kept in good condition, not entirely for his own sake. Even if he were on his death-bed and was never going to drink wine again, he would be horrified at the thought of this vintage being spilled or spoiled or even drunk by clods (like myself) who can't tell a good claret from a bad."

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gluten Free Food Review: Dr. Lucy's Cookies

I always am nervous trying new gluten free specialty food.  A lot of it taste horrible, all of it is expensive, and with a lot of brands jumping on the GF brand wagon, it can be difficult to find the elusive baked good that is delicious in its own right and not merely an imitation. 

Recognizing the difficulty, I've undertaken the task of trying to discover all the best brands and posting my findings here. 

Naturally, I am starting with cookies. 

These caught my eye at Whole Foods recently, mostly because of the trendy packaging.  Most GF food looks like it was packaged in the late 80s, so I figured if Dr. Lucy's paid as much attention to flavor as aesthetics, they should be at least edible, (unlike the wretched Pamala's prepackaged cookies of which only the double-chocolate chunk are fit for consumption).  I choose the chocolate chip cookies, which experienced celiacs know is one of the more challenging GF recipes. 

The product did not disappoint.  They had a nice crisp texture and the classic chocolate chip taste.  It was a little oaty, but well worth the $4.50 price tag in my estimation.  I would love to see more brands of this quality. 

Better late than never concert reflection

I had a dream last week that after the mewithoutYou concert in Covington Michael and Aaron Weiss came over to Drew and I and thanked us for coming. 

I checked with Drew and that didn't actually happened, but it was a great show nevertheless. 

Damien Jurado seemed to not be especially amused playing after the Psalters, but his set alone was the worth the drive.  "Ohio" remains one of my favorite songs and I was very glad he played it.

I am not against smoking, but I am against smoking inside a crowded music venue. Its mostly just rude, especially towards pregnant women. Michael Weiss concurred. 

The Mad Hatter is a horrible venue and I hope a band I want to see never plays there again. 

The Weiss Bros. put on a great show sans the rest of the band. The whole schtick was very sing-songy but that isn't undesirable in my opinion.  It was my second time seeing Aaron perform but my first with Michael and I felt the sibling chemistry helped carry the show. 

It saddens me that I never got a chance to see the mewithoutYou that I fell in love with: unabashed, stream-of-conscious emoting/spiritual musing over chaotic guitar riffs. But I'm also glad the Weiss Bros. aren't living in the past. 

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Just saw this on The Rex.  It's good to be reminded that being able to trackstand at traffic lights isn't that special.  

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Winners Sometimes Quit

I started a new job as a barista yesterday.

I have decided that today was my last day.

Without disclosing too many details, I discovered this ostensibly progressive Bohemian coffee house was not the sort of business with which I want to be associated.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Assertive Cycling

The latest issue of the Leo has a very good editorial by Jackie Green, co-owner of The Bike Courier, an area favorite bike store and courier service.

I found his recommendations for surviving in Louisville traffic very beneficial:

"Ride 4 feet away from parked cars. The sudden opening of a door from a parked car will either take you down immediately or cause you to swerve away from it and into oncoming traffic that did not expect you to be sharing the travel lane.

Don’t let local bike lanes lull you into a false sense of security — they are often poorly designed and full of debris.

Adopt a controlled yet unpredictable riding style to keep motorists alert to your presence and maneuverability. Riding predictably lulls drivers into thinking they know what a cyclist is going to do. Cyclists often swerve quickly and without notice to dodge glass, roofing tacks, potholes, missing utility caps, squirrels and pedestrians.

Ride within your comfort zone. If you must ride the sidewalks, ride slowly, carefully, courteously and watch out for motor vehicles traveling alleys, drives, parking lots and intersecting streets. Many accidents and deaths happen when cyclists are hit from behind. At times it is safer for cyclists and wheelchair users to ride against traffic.

Focus on the threats — motor vehicles and road conditions — not the signs and the lights. Lights and signs do not kill cyclists, motor vehicles do. "

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wendell Berry on Tobacco

"[Tobacco] is, to some extent, a red herring. In calling attention to the dangers of one kind of addiction, the tobacco controversy distracts from the much greater danger that we are an addictive society- that our people are rushing from one expensive and dangerous fix to another, from drugs to war to useless merchandise to various commercial thrills, and that our corporate pushers are addicted to our addictions."

-Wendell Berry, Sex, Economics, Freedom & Community (p.58)

Shoe Gazing

Sufjan tickets sold out in the first couple hours, leaving me to once again imagine what it must be like to see him in person while listening to his records alone in my room.

In further depressing news Liverpool dropped their Barclay's Premiership season opener against Tottenham 2-1. Bullocks.

Somehow I managed to spend 300 dollars on textbooks yesterday... with many more still to buy. Man, who thought being a grad student would be so expensive?

Four jobs applied for this week with two more on the schedule for tomorrow. Class starts Tuesday with reading due on the first day.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lesslie Newbigin on Urbanization

"Urbanization is one of the most obvious symptoms of what is called modernization. Before the harnessing of electrical power and the recent developments in electronics, division and mechanization of labor required the concentration of workers in factories, and of factories in cities where goods could easily be moved from one stage of production to the next. Urbanization breaks up traditional family-based communities and introduces people to a world where there is a multiplicity of human networks, each controlled by different purposes. In traditional rural societies, each person is securely fixed in a single human milieu that embraces work, leisure, family relationships, and religion.These all form part of a given world that is accepted as real and within which the individual person has a secure and well-defined identity. In a city the individual is in the presence of multiple possibilities... And to that extent his identity is a matter for his own choice, and so for anxiety and doubt. In the milling crowds of the city, composed of individuals each pursuing goals of his or her own choice, the individual's sense of being in a world without landmarks is heightened- sometimes to the point of despair."

-Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks p. 32 (1986)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Beale on Jesus as the New Temple

"This discussion of Jesus as the beginning of the new temple in replacement of the old in Matthew 21 may also be the best context within which to understand Matthew 27:40, where, in virtual repetition of 26:21, those mocking Jesus say, 'you who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross' (See parallels in Mark 14:58 and 15:29). Then, after Jesus 'yielded up his spirit' on the cross, Matthew discloses that 'the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, and the tombs opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised' (Matthew 27:50-52."
Irony is neatly woven throughout this passage. Jesus is mocked because he said that he would tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days, and at virtually the same time Matthew tells us that Jesus actually was in the process of destroying the temple when he died.... Christ was recreating the temple in himself so that it would finally fulfil its world-encompassing purpose."

-G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

Sufjan Stevens is playing in Bloomington, IA the day before my 22nd Birthday.

This is cause for celebration.


I have returned to Louisville, but not before I got a tour of the brand new OSU library from Badgley. Absolutely jaw-dropping amazing. I felt so very small surrounded by that much information. It's like a Grand Canyon of data. A fitting end to an amazing summer to be sure.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Oh, what'll you do now?

And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'

- Bob Dylan, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Milwaukee Bikes

Creative camera work and killer soundtrack. Breath of fresh air for fixed gear videos.

Milwaukee Bikes Promo #1 from Ride/Relax Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

End of Summer Playlist

This is what has been playing on my Ipod and in the office lately.

So Insane by Discovery. When I hear this song, like Ra Ra Riot frontman Wes Miles, I can't fight-fa-fa-fight this feeling. Can't wait to step to this one at the next dance party.
Two Doves by Dirty Projectors. With lyrical and musical allusions to Dylan, Nico, and Song of Solomon, the song has a delicate complexity that spurns most pop conventions.
Young Hearts Spark Fire by Japandroids. This song somehow circumvents the last 7 years of my life to when I didn't know that punk was dead.
Everything With You - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This song makes me nostalgic for something that hasn't happened yet.
Let Your Love Grow Tall - Passion Pit. This track is sort of hidden in the second half of Manners and it took me a while to warm up to it, but I did. Now I want to join the children's choir in shouting the chorus as loud as I can each listen.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Monday Night Bike Ride

Last night was my tenth and final Monday Night Bike Ride. The weekly community ride goes back more than five years and I personally came out for every ride this summer. Anyway, crazy stuff happens when you get 60+ people together to ride bicycles and I thought I would share some of the more notable experiences:

Crossing a wobbly suspension bridge straight out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Bombing the biggest hill in Columbus. Could be the fastest I've ever gone a bike.

Chased by the Police, via Helicopter on two separate occasions.

Making a complete loop around the Columbus Airport.

Rolling 3 deep with Sojourn Jerseys when Paul and Drew came up.

Straight preaching the gospel at the bar after he ride one week. Most people listening were to drunk to remember what I said.

The Crazy Scot's infamous stories... which went nowhere.

Talking politics with Casey: barista, ride leader, and Columbus expert.

Countless stares of astonishment from pedestrians when our posse rolled by.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

On Considering Birds, Part 2

Lately this blog has been a sheerly intellectual exercise. It's been a while since I emoted.

Ára Bátur by Sigur Rós could be one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, and I do not say that lightly. A hauntingly simple piano line patiently repeats, only to shift into a full symphonic build. By the time the boys' choir joins in it is breath taking. When the brass and strings climax it's unlike anything I've experienced musically. Watching a storm crash against the cliffs of Point Loma; climbing through the clouds to reach the Sumela monastery, built on the nearly vertical side of a cliff; seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time and feeling so very small: these are the only sensory experiences that fit into the same category.

I'm not a post modern, but I like not knowing what the lyrics mean. It might as well be an opera, as I know about as much Italian as Icelandic. The vocals are reduced to mere instrumentation; no meaningful information is being communicated to me.

But nevertheless, I better understand patience because of this song. In its entirety, the song is 8 minutes and 56 seconds, and every bit is fundamentally necessary. The minimalist intro consumes the lion's shares of the song, but lends such greater significance to the euphoria , which eventually returns to stark simplicity. Robbed of its context it would just be pretty noise.

Ephesians 1:11-12 "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."