Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Life of Pi

"I know what you want. You want a story that won't surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won't make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story."

ZERA wins

I'll be noting on Facebook in the future.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

So you want another story?

“But for the purposes of our investigation, we would like to know what really happened.”

“What really happened?”


“So you want another story?”

“Uhh… no. We would like to know what really happened.”

“Doesn’t the telling of something always become a story?”

“Uhh… perhaps in English. In Japanese a story would have an element of invention in it. We don’t want any invention. We want the ’straight facts’, as you say in English.”

“Isn’t telling about something– using words, English or Japanese– already something of an invention? Isn’t just looking upon this world already something of an invention?

“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?”

(Life of Pi, p. 302). Stolen from / typed/ selection cut by La Gitana de la Valle

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Life of Pi

I just finished The Life of Pi, and had a lot of fun with it, left it very disrupted and disturbed. It's early treatment of religion is so much fun though. Pi, a teenage Indian boy, asks a priest he meets about the Christian faith. (Selection stolen from Andrew Gray)

The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it’s God’s Son who pays the price?….

I asked for another story, one that I might find more satisfying…But Father Martin made me understand the stories that came before it–and there were many–were simply prologue….

That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand. The gods of Hinduism face their fair share of thieves, bullies, kidnappers, and usurpers. What is the Ramayana but the accoiunt of one long, bad year for Rama? Adversity, yes. Reversals of fortune, yes. Treachery, yes. But humiliation? Death? I couldn’t imagine Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped naked, whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and, to top it off, crucified–and at the hands of mere humans, to boot…

Why not leave death to mortals? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect? Love. That was Father Martin’s answer….

This son…who goes hungry, who suffers from thirst, who gets tired, who is sad, who is anxious, who is heckled and harassed, who has to put up with followers that don’t get it and opponents who don’t respect Him–what kind of god is that? It’s a god on too human of a scale, that’s what. There are miracles, yes, mostly of a medical nature, a few to satisfy hungry stomachs; at best a storm is tempered…Any Hindu god can do a hundred times better.This Son is a god who spent most of His time telling stories, talking. This Son is a god who walked, a pedestrian god–and in a hot place, at that–with a stride like any human stride…What kind of a god is that? What is there to inspire in this Son? Love, said Father Martin….

I’ll stick to my Krishna, thank you very much. I find his divinity utterly compelling. You can keep your sweaty, chatty Son to yourself. That was how I met that troublesome rabbi of long ago: with disbelief and annoyance….

He bothered me, this Son. Every day I burned with greater indignation against Him, found more flaws in him…

On our last day, a few hours before we were to leave Munnar, I hurried up the hill on the left…I booted up that hill…Short of breath I said, “Father, I would like to be a Christian, please.” He smiled, “You already are, Piscine–in your heart. Whoever meets Christ in good faith is a Christian. Here in Munnar you met Christ.” He patted me on the head…I thought I would explode with joy…It was a good smile he gave me. The smile of Christ.

I entered the church, without fear this time, for it was now my house, too. I offered prayers to Christ who is alive. Then I raced down the hill on the left and raced up the hill on the right–to offer thanks to Lord Krishna for having put Jesus of Nazareth, whose humanity I found so compelling, in my way.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009


For this reason I bow my knees before the Mother, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,

that She would grant you, according to the riches of Her glory, to be strengthened with power through Her Spirit in your inner being; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height, and depth; and to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of Goddess.

Now to Her who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Her be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dance of the Dissident Daughter

"They heard me into speech, and loved me into healing."

-Sue Monk Kidd, Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


"Can man honestly give his life meaning merely by adopting a certain set of explanations which pretend to tell him why the world began and where it will end, why there is evil and what is necessary for a good life?" -Thomas Merton, A Letter on the Contemplative Life in Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master

Thank Mr Rice

When is what in season? (in roughly the northern US)

Your Theology May Lack Support

Monday, June 29, 2009


"A pilgrimage is a journey taken in light of a story" - Paul Elie, The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Invisible Guitar

This is from a website called Photoshop Disasters (not workplace/parent's computers safe). Just a reminder that everything is photoshopped. And not always well...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dawkins Part II

So Stefanie loaned me Is God a Delusion, by Eric Reitan, a friend of hers. So, we're back to Dawkins. Anyway, first quote:

"Dawkins may be closer to an authentic religious faith than most fundamentalists: he is devoted to atheism because he is devoted to the truth, because he sincerely wants to believe the truth about God."

Something about those last 9 words haunts me. It feels like a beautiful and daunting invitation. I'm not sure why I don't read it as a cold, rationalistic statement. It feels like I could replace "God" with my wife's name, "because he sincerely wants to believe the truth about Jen."

Something about the idea of truth seeking has been rattling around inside me lately. Not cold, objective truth, but more something to do with courage, trust, and wholeness. A kind of dis-illusion-ment that feels more vulnerable and personal. Having the wholeness of self to ache for honest, clear experience of those around you, your self, your story, your God. It feels different than 6 years ago starting seminary. Less scary, more work.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Thanks to Jessica...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Curse books that aren't searchable on Amazon/Google. At the end of The Life You Save May Be Your Own, Paul Ellie quotes Dorothy Day as saying roughly "A saint is someone whose life makes no sense if there is no God," but for the life of me I can't find this quote anywhere to pass it on exactly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What I do all day

Is the first one too much? Does the difference between the two even stand out?

What kind of organization would you imagine this logo is for? Adjectives?

Friday, June 5, 2009


"The modern self is essentially empty–a 'nought.' The self goes forth in the world in order to fill itself, but swamps the world with its search for selfhood instead. As a result, the self assigns the highest value to the things it cannot swamp with selfhood, things that fill the self and remain undiminished–that have themselves left over. We prize an antique, for example, not becuase it is sturdy or well-made but 'because it is an antique and as such is saturated with another time and another place and is therefore resistant to absorbtion by the self.' Any old thing can make us feel full; but the things of the world that can be swamped by our selves and remain standing, alone, integral, lasting–these are the things worth marveling at, and the self seeks to loose itself in them."

Paul Elie, elaborating on Walker Percy's idea of the modern self, in The Life Save May Be Your Own

Friday, May 29, 2009


"Like it or not, we come to life in the middle of stories that are not our own."

- Paul Elie, The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scott Erickson

Scott wanted something funny for his newest show, and encourages us "don't think too much about it," but I feel like he's succinctly diagnosed and subverted what breaks my heart about the vast swath of Christianity that I know, in a language that is both accessible and lucid to everyone at the table. A haunting parable of an image that I presume will be working in my heart and imagination long after first viewing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


A. I have yet to find a Lil' Wayne song I can stand.
B. I think that Natalie Portman is wearing the coolest sweater ever.
C. I think this is my favorite picture of Natalie Portman.
D. It's from TIME magazine, and I took a picture of it with my phone, sorry for the quality.
E. Probably my favorite picture of Eminem as well.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hidmo Means Home

For anyone interested in community or music/arts in Seattle, I highly recommend this documentary on the Hidmo from the Seattle Channel. Very highly.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


“Grace cannot move with pat formulas and ready-made answers, grace puts us in touch with ourselves-perhaps for the first time."

-Robert E. Webber, Younger Evangelicals

Nod to Kj and her paper :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009


"No one escapes from their own culture. It’s hardwired in us, from birth onward. A consumer society is a consumer society. It may start with washing machines and air-conditioning, but sooner or later we consume each other." -John Burdett

I was searching for this quote (which I had in print, but was too lazy to retype), but came across it plagiarized on a blog. I search for quotes a lot, but have never come across one used as if it was a bloggers own words. Interesting. Plagiarizing that literal seems a wee bit silly in the age of Google.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Viggo V Violence

TIME Magazine does a 10 questions column with random people. A few months back they had one with Viggo Mortensen, and it touched on a subject I've been pondering heavily lately:

Q. Many of your films deal with a significant amount of brutality. What's it like to explore violent characters? Frank Pennisi, BAYSIDE, N.Y.

A: A lot of time the violence expressed onscreen is a metaphor for what's going on inside. I take it seriously, and I respect directors who depict it responsibly. There are a lot of directors who make too much of a joke about it. That lets the audience off the hook.

It's been clear to me for a long time now that most physical violence in our movies is not intended to correlate to actual physical violence in our lives. So, it a metaphor. But a metaphor for what? "What's going on inside" feels a bit vague. Last night JT and I caught a T2 revival at the Cinerama, and I was struck by the heavy-handed and conscious use of feminist and pacifist rhetoric in the dialogue. But I don't believe that the movie is really about either. It doesn't even feel like the film makers are consciously aware of what they're talking about. When the two terminators are throwing one another through walls with blank expressions on their faces, what's being engaged inside us? The endless footage of vehicles and building exploding and being demolished feel quickening and cathartic and hedonistic in our action films. But what is it a metaphor for in our internal landscapes? Is it just Nietzsche's Ubermensch: an unfeeling, unstoppable superman? What is it that we want to destory, and what is it that we want to be indestructible?

I got my first comment in a year last week. Any theories about what violence in our films is intended to speak to?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How (Not) to Speak of God, 17 of 23

"Early Christians were called atheists because their own affirmation of God involved a rejection of the gods advocated by the Roman Empire. Yet the atheistic spirit within Christianity delves much deeper than this - for we disbelieve not only in other gods but also in the God we believe in. We... affirm our view of God while at the same time realizing that that view is inadequate... believing in God while remaining dubious concerning what one believes about God." p.25-26

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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Courtesy of JT

"You could make a cartoon in crayons about a red square that falls in unrequited love with a blue circle, and there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house if you know how to tell a story.”

- Don Hertzfeld

Friday, January 23, 2009

How (Not) to Speak of God, 16 of 23

"In the same way that the sun blinds the one who looks directly at its light, so God's incoming blinds our intellect... While anonymity offers to little information... hypernymity gives us far too much information. Instead of being limited by the poverty or absence we are short-circuited by the excess of presence." p.24

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

Monday, January 19, 2009

To be in a Band

At the end of the eighties, we campaigned for Martin Luther King Day. I remember, in Arizona, we got into trouble, and we had some death threats. Normally, they happen. But occasionally, you get one that the police and FBI take seriously. There was a specific threat: "Don't go ahead with the concert. And, if you do, don't sing 'Pride (In the Name of Love),' because, if you do, I am gonna blow your head off, and you won't be able to stop this from happening." Of course you go onstage and you put it out of your head. But I do remember actually, in the middle of "Pride," thinking for a second: "Gosh! What if somebody was organized, or in the rafters of the building, or somebody, here and there, just had a handgun?" I just closed my eyes and sang this middle verse [Early morning, April 4 a shot rings out in the Memphis sky...], with my eyes closed, trying to concentrate and forget about this ugliness and just keep close to the beauty that's suggested in the song. I looked up, at the end of that verse, and Adam [Bono's bass player] was standing in front of me. It was one of those moments where you know what it means to be in a band.

-Bono (Lead Singer of U2)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How (Not) to Speak of God, 15 of 23

"In the aftermath of God, all of our being cries out in response." p.24

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

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How (Not) to Speak of God, 14 of 23

"The fundamentalist [nature]... refuses to give up its interpretation of God, even in the presence of God." p. 21

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