Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bazan in Bloomington

People who have read this blog long enough know that David Bazan of Pedro the Lion and Headphones is one of my all-time favorite song writers. This evening I had the very bitter-sweet experience of seeing him play in Bloomington, IA.

From a performance aspect the show was great. Headlights was a fantastic opening band and the venue was clean, smoke-free, and had good acoustics. Bazan's skill as a performer is just as compelling as his witty song writing. I was glad to hear him play songs like "Transcontinental" and "Penetration" which I have loved for the better part of a decade.

On the other hand, the concert was a sobering experience for me because of Bazan's blatant rejection of the Christian faith. While much of Bazan's earlier work such as "The Secret of the Easy Yoke" or "The Fleecing" documented his wrestling with faith and doubt, Bazan's most recent album "Curst Your Branches" moves beyond doubt to a heart-felt rejection of Christianity. The concluding lyrics from "In Stitches" show the contempt Bazan has for Christianity's understanding of god:
When Job asked you a question,
You answered, "Who are you?"
That sounds a bit defensive
Did you just bite off more than you could chew?
In the song "When We Fell" Bazan goes as far as to blame god for human sin:
When you set the table, When you chose the scale
Did you write a riddle that you knew they would fail
Did you make them tremble
So they would tell the tale
Did you push us when we fell

What am I afraid of?
Who did I betray?
In what medieval kingdom does justice work that way?
If you knew what would happen
And you made us just the same
Then you my Lord can take the blame
Essentially Bazan has been bold enough to articulate the manifesto that every unbeliever in practice is living out: Who is god to tell me what to do?

As a Christian, I have a very different confession: That Jesus is Lord.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bosch on Pauline Ethics

"The life and work of the Christian community are intimately bound up with God's cosmic-historical plan for the redemption of the universe. It most certainly matters what Christians do and how authentically they demonstrate the mind of Christ and the values of the reign of God in their daily lives. Since the forces of the future are already at work in the world, Paul's apocalyptic is not an invitation to ethical passivity, but to active participation in God's redemptive will. He is charged with enlarging in this world the domain of God's coming world. Therefore, precisely because of his concern for the "ultimate", he is preoccupied with the "penultimate"; his involvement is in what is at hand rather than in what will be.... It is impossible to believe in God's coming triumph without being agitators for God's kingdom here and now, and without an ethic that strains and labors to move God's creation toward the realization of God's promise in Christ."
-David J. Bosch

Saturday, March 27, 2010

B. Anne Jarboe

One of my favorite young Louisville artists is B. Anne Jarboe. Somehow my best friend convinced her to marry him. Anyway, there currently is a fantastic collection of her work on display and for sale at Quills Coffee. Sorry, the still life is already taken.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Anniversary

It's hard to believe I wrote this exactly a year ago.

God is merciful and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is just as much of an encouragement as it was back then.

Bedroom at Arles

This painting by Roy Lichtenstein was one of my favorites at the National Gallery of Art.

First person to tell the artist and painting it is based on (without using Google) gets a prize.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Here's an exert from the prayer of St. Patrick... somehow it neglects to mention any snakes or dyed-green light beer.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bike Snob on 3rd Wave Coffee

My favorite online cultural commentator, Bike Snob NYC, recently offered a rather biting critique of third wave coffee in New York. As a bike-loving coffee snob, I love seeing cross-polination between my rather esoteric interests- even if it isn't always self congratulatory admiration.
Hey, there's nothing wrong with fancy coffee (just like there's nothing wrong with fancy cars or fancy 29ers) but if we really took our coffee seriously in New York we'd still be purchasing it for pocket change and drinking it from paper cups on the way to work. Turning the drinking of a beverage that wakes you up in the morning into a lifestyle is the complete opposite of being "serious." It seems to me that if you want to sit around all day doing nothing except obsessing over the plant you're consuming then marijuana would be a more appropriate choice. Coffee is for working; "Wednesday Weed" is for not working. In that respect we should be copying Amsterdam and not Portland.

Funny because it's true?

Fact of the Day

It's much harder to understand another country's political system when one hasn't extensively studied one's own.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Wright on Luke 24

"The first meal mentioned in the Bible is the moment when Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. The direct result is new and unwelcome knowledge: 'the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked'. Now this other couple, Cleopas and his companion (most likely his wife, one of the many Marys in the gospel story), are at table, and are confronted with new and deeply welcome knowledge: 'their eyes were opened, and they recognized him'. This, Luke is saying, is the ultimate redemption; this is the meal which signifies that the long exile of the human race, not just of Israel, is over at last. This is the start of the new creation. This is why 'repentance and forgiveness of sins are to announced to all nations' (24.47)."
-N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, 653.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Wright on Matthew 28:18-20

"The final promise, that Jesus will be with his people 'until the close of the age", belongs closely within the 'two-age' stream of Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism, and also of early Christianity, particularly Paul. The point here is that the 'age to come' has now been launched with Jesus' resurrection, and that the risen Jesus represents and embodies this new age, and hence becomes the human bridge between it and the present one. His promise to be 'with you always' is thus at the same time the fulfillment of the Emmanuel promise, and with it of YHWH's promise to be with even a small group of worshippers as though they were actually in the Temple itself. It is also the sign that in him the eschaton has come to birth, so that his people are guaranteed safe passage through the present age and into the long-awaited age to come."
-N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, 645.