Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

I'm only in the intro, but two themes stood out to me.

"...a woman's right to define the sacred from a woman's perspective."

"... [A] struggle to wake up, to grow beyond old models of womanhood and old spiritualities that no longer sustain."

I cannot shake the conviction that the vitality and vibrancy of women, our stories of women, and women's authentic voices in the church, arts, politics, etc is deeply essential to my hope and future as a man.

To quote the Dakota Fanning version of Lily Owens, in all of it's 14-year-old drama, "My whole life's been nothing but a hole where my mother should have been." A hole where the strong feminine should have been. The "wholeness women have lost within patriarchy" (Sue Monk Kidd's intro again) was devastating to me as a boy and haunts me as a man.


I really enjoy this story. And I appreciate the kindness in Pen's telling it. The thing is, I'm not sure I entirely agree with Pen. It seems like his logic breaks down. I recall giving the same runaway truck metaphor to a friend when I was a teen, and I remember how much harm it felt like it did to the relationship.

I don't think Jesus gives a spiritual equivalent of tackling someone. There's also the tiny detail where I don't think eternal life is anywhere near the main point. How much would you have to hate someone to have been invited into being fully human, fully yourself, growing and awaking to a kind relationship with your Creator, yourself, and your neighbors, and to not extend that invitation onward?

We can't live in a diverse culture if everyone tackles everyone else in the path of their own subjective trucks. It seems like the deeper challenge is the creativity and spiritual sensitivity to dream of ways that Jesus' invitation could be both good and new for our neighbors. What is it about the Gospel that inherently offers grace and life to Pen as an atheist? I'm pretty sure it's not "concur with my theological positions and abandon your own hard-won integrity." I guess I hear this story, and I find the part where the Bible-guy is enjoying Pen and is present with him as a clear, calm, voice of kindness, and I intuitively sense the Kingdom is on the move. When the proselytizing and Bible enter the picture, it feels cold, dead, lifeless. It feels so hard to offer a packaged religious plan that isn't really just personal colonialism. My worldview is better than your worldview and I'll tackle if I have to.

Peter Rollins talks about being an enticing aroma to the world as being about arousing hunger. He points out that we particularly live in a time when people believe they are full. I wonder about evangelism as hunger-inducing, rather than feeding. I wonder about evangelism as asking, rather than telling. What would it mean to come alongside our neighbors with questions that invite them into re-imagining their understanding of themselves and God, rather than answers.

Friday, December 26, 2008

How (Not) to Speak of God, 13 of 23

"The relationship we have with God cannot be reduced to our understanding of that relationship." p. 20

-Peter Rollins, How (Not) to Speak of God

The Shack

The Shack The Shack by William P. Young

rating: 2 of 5 stars
The father as Papa, the heavy-set African-American woman, Jesus, the mid-eastern man, and Sarau, the out-of-focus Asian woman as the Holy Spirit gripped me at a visceral level. The names and characters got me in a primal way. Mother God's kindness and gentleness caught me off guard. I was, again, deeply convicted of the heartless, male, distant God that fills so much of my expectations about God. All of my intellectual notions about God's immediacy, tenderness, and enjoyment of me translate so thinly into my actual experience of my world on a day-to-day basis.

But, beyond the personification of God, what actually fills this book left me cold and bored. Endless god-talk by God. An endless series of pithy pop-theology platitudes, eaten up by a jaw-dropped, golly-gee-whiz protagonist. The author is able to assume the voice of God, dropping an incongruous, quilted-together theology composed of listening to a lifetime of clever Evangelical sermons. The reader is relegated to the dumbfounded, uncritical protagonist's passive-viewer seat. 250 pages of the author's theological observations put into God's voice, offered to a dumbfounded, elated protagonist-reader.

At the core of my being, I hope that a weekend with the Trinity wouldn't be theological Q+A. At the core of my being, I don't believe that propositional, theological statements (from "God", or anyone), are an important venue for healing and redemption.

William P. Young obviously had nothing but the best intentions in writing his runaway best-seller. He is a kind and hopeful author. But I have to hope for so much more in a contemporary re-imagining of the Trinity.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Cards

This is from the (now defunct?) web comic Perry Bible Fellowship. Despite the name, and this sample cartoon, I can promise you that it's not workplace appropriate. Or mom-and-dad's computer appropriate. However, the link I included is, 'cause it's a Wikipedia link :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Font Companies send out emails and catalogs to advertise their fonts. Now, I know that to normal people, the prospect of buying a font seems mind boggling. But, for design snobs, keeping up with the latest fonts is like keeping up with the latest fashions. You don't want to be using a font that is so last season.

I'm typographically challenged, but I love getting my FontShop emails. Most of their fonts they highlight are gorgeous, but, more importantly, the way they use their fonts in their ads makes my head hurt. To add sprinkles on top of the frosting, they also choose brilliant, wonderful contextless snippets of poetry, sayings, quotes, and product specs to use in their examples. Some even as terrifying and exhilarating as this snippet (the paragraph in the middle):

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008


All I want for Christmas...

This is a local photographer. Who's 15. She was on the front page of the PI today. Insane. JT says I'm too old to be a prodigy now.

I want to paint like this