Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lower Cases and Capitals

A few snapshots and bylines from yesterday's DC trip:
I found the Abraham Lincoln Memorial the most compelling place on the mall. But I'm not sure if that is because of Lincoln's somber, fist-clenched stare or because of his articulate 2nd inauguration address engraved on the wall.
It's been a long time dream of mine to see the Wright Flyer, but the part of the exhibit I was the happiest to see was this gorgeous fixed-gear, one of 5 surviving bikes built by the Wright Bros. I would definitely rock those bars.
The Chester Dale Collection was my favorite part of the National Gallery of Art. This Manet was particularly striking.
This picture is significant because I believe it is the first Pablo Picasso I've seen that I've really like. I particularly love the drab colors, minimal attention to detail, and the clean lines.

The District of Colombia has a really killer coffee seen and I was able to stop by Chinatown Coffee and Peregrine Espresso. Peregrine ranked among my favorite coffee experiences, largely due to a great conversation with a couple of the baristas who were preparing for the Mid-Atlantic Barista Competition next week. I got a double shot of the seasonal Nemba, Burundi espresso, which did not disappoint.

We finished the day at Zest Bistro, a hip new-American restaurant. Just looking at the picture makes me hungry.

I must say I'm very pleased my nation's capital is so cool.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bosch on Salvation in Luke-Acts

"The disciples, those of both the gospel and Acts, turn their backs on their previous life and lifestyle because of their extraordinary encounter with Jesus, for the reign of God is already present in him (Cf. Lk 17:21)... Jesus is, really, the person who invites the cripples and the outcasts to a banquet. He is the Samaritan, who takes pity on his Jewish archenemy. He is the father, in whose heart there is room for both lost sons. Only in his name and in his power are true repentance, forgiveness of sins, and salvation to be found (cf. Acts 4:12).
-David Bosch

Mean Mugging

Actual conversation in a coffee shop recently.

Me: "Could I get that cappuccino in a mug?"
Barista: "No, you can't."
(I pause for a second to see if she was being sarcastic. She wasn't.)
Me: Oh, are you closing soon?
Barista: We close at eight.
(I glance at the clock and see that it's just past seven.)
Me: hmm.
(Grudgingly drink my cap from a styrofoam cup with Starbucks style foam.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Some familiar faces are over at Lang Thomas Photography. Lang had his work cut out for him, but I think he did a killer job.

I sorely missed not being in state for Sojourn's Ash Wednesday service, but thankfully it was thoroughly documented at the Travel Blog. Fasting is probably the spiritual discipline that I am the worst at- so locking arms with my brothers and sisters for this liturgical season is incredibly helpful.

It's weird how once you start preparing to move somewhere information about it starts popping up everywhere. My brother sent me the link to this New York Times article. I'm glad to have a head start on what to do after exhausting sight-seeing. (Granted in Istanbul, my desire to see historic sights will be depleted well before the supply).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Verse of the Day

Meant to post this yesterday, but never late than never.
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.
1 Corinthians 7:8

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Continuing Thoughts on Considering Birds...

Most of us have heard crashing so loud.
We hear a constant wave that spins between our temples piercing content with its sound.
We lost the 20,000s several years ago.
Gradually we feel it washing blank the range in which we hold the things we know.
Put your ear to a hummingbird's wing.
Place the hum against the ring.
Listen to its still and violent motion making.
Treading water.
We are dense waves.
We don't float.
Our stories all just sink below the mess of wake the millions of paddled palms our cupped hands make.
Overhead the goose flies low, necks curve darted straight as compass needle, dislocated from his mate.
He found her body rafting toward the mouth of the river when she disappeared with the current underneath the tree trunk bridge.
Out toward the mouth.
Out with the spilling water.
We saw it coming like a spirit soars directed.
Gunshot smoke and a sinking thereafter.
He fell fast to the ocean while the red painted feathers floated down.
John Audubon thought about the wiring as he swam toward the twisted neck and the broken boat body bobbed.
Examining the belly for the bullet's tiny piercing, he cried, "Oh!"
When a secret fluttered, a migrant hummer detached its grip.
Overhead his heart sped spooked and we splashed as the gail swung cold and some fish folded in the crest slap.
It lapped at our heads, but we received it like a reprimand that we were too consumed by motion to perceive or understand.
John J. Audubon, his gifted replication.
Painted with precision, perfect vision like the shot stain.
And the whole world swam in deaf anticipation til the goose fell like a shed shell from which the humming secret sprang.
"John J. Audubon" by Anathallo

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

mathetes kai adelphoi

"Every disciple follows the Master, but never alone; every disciple is a member of the fellowship of disciples, the body, or no disciple at all."
-David Bosch

Saturday, February 06, 2010

New Music

In less than two months, 2010 has already seen a lot of great music.
The album I've been playing the most is definitely "Contra" by Vampire Weekend. I initially was underwhelmed by the lead track "Horchata", but the quality of the following tracks, particularly "Taxi Cab" and "Giving Up the Gun", disarmed my cynicism towards their new direction. VW has outgrown their Ivy League frat house, but thankfully not infectious pop music.
The Album Leaf has been one of my favorite bands since I first heard their enchanting cinematic music in the old Quills. Although "A Chorus of Story Tellers" never leaves familiar territory, innovation is not a necessary component of a compelling album. In this case, Jimmy LaValle proves you can find a new story exploring the same pages.
"Teen Dream" by Beach House completely blew me away. When Victoria Legrand's haunting contralto bemoans, "More, you want more, you tell me/ More, only time can know you" on "Walk in the Park", it's all goosebumps. Lush synthesizers and flourishing strings provide bewitching incongruity. It's definitely an early contender for album of the year.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Galatians 5: Law and Grace

Tragically, moral failure is not uncommon among Christian leaders. The sins of high and low profile ministers have brought hurt upon many individuals and shame on the gospel and church. I personally have seen the effects sexual sin in particular can have on a congregation. Recently I was told that the secret to avoiding this caliber of moral failure is found in Galatians 5:16, where Paul writes,

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

In other words, walking in the Spirit everyday will keep you from giving into temptation. Conversely, human effort (i.e. "the flesh"), will set you up to fail

This is a fairly straight forward reading of the text, but I believe we run into a problem with the meaning we import into "walking in the Spirit". Typically, Evangelicals use this as short hand for reading the Bible, praying, and having an all around spiritual mindset. These are all things we can choose to do or not to do. Which means that the secret to avoiding mortal sin basically amounts to trying really hard. If you slip up once, you could be the next fallen leader sobbing on CNN.

If we're not careful, this subtle twist can simply have "walking in the Spirit" replace circumcision as the new law with which we try to justify ourselves, but clearly this isn't what Paul is talking about. Backing up to get some context we see in verse 5:

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

In other words, it's faith that connects us to the hope of righteousness and the Spirit is means by which we believe and walk. Although spiritual disciplines are God's ordained means of sanctifying his people, it is believing the gospel that will keep us from gratifying the flesh.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Random Theological Questions

Some questions bouncing around my head lately:

Do believers have one nature or two?

Why was James the half brother of Jesus an Apostle? I understand the significance of the 12 representing the 12 tribes, but 12 - 1 + Matthias + Paul + James = 14.

Can Satan place thoughts in the minds of believers? Are believers morally responsible for these thoughts?