And… intensity at work, lack of sleep, church home group beginnings, Fall TV premieres, a trip with the lady to meet the parents, and two weeks later, I find myself here, computer atop my lap, typing these words over a bowl of stove-top-made oatmeal. I’m ready to pick this blog post up again after more facebook, blog comments, and text messages than usual asking when the next post would be. This sets up a pressure under which I don’t work well, but it’s a pressure I feel is appropriate to bring up considering the content to follow.
In my last post, I unpacked a bit of my own story which has led me to often be perceived as an arrogant overly-sure man–and indeed I see this in myself often. But I went on to point out how this arrogance is not necessarily at its root sprung from pride or over-confidence, but rather a deep fear and insecurity that at the end of all things I wouldn’t be found pleasing to the God I know I love.
[This was a liturgy I delivered at my church this past Sunday as we concluded our series "in the beginning". Here is the amazing message that followed this liturgy.]
Greeting and Preparation
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Hello, my name is Paul, and welcome to Liberti Church. Liberti Church is a group of people trying to figure out what it means to be a community of believers in Jesus Christ both in and for this city. This may be your first time here–you may have randomly wandered in here or a friend brought you; or, you may be a regular attender here. Either way, we hope you feel welcome to fully participate in this time and space set aside to worship our God.
Thanks to David Sessions, the editor of Patrol Magazine for bringing this all to our attention.
Now, I have remained in the closet for much of this discussion (forgive the pun), though I have spoken of this in-person with others, with varying reactions. For a myriad of reasons, it’s generally wiser to controvert into a half-empty coffee cup or beer pint than it is to do so on the web. But nevertheless, this is a charged issue that demands response, both public and private, from those that have (hopefully) given it deep and communal thought, allowing both time and others to help refine and nuance one’s opinions. I hope I may be so bold as to include myself in those numbers.
For now, I’m still figuring it out, and discussions like the one I want to bring to your attention today both clarify and confuse the issue for me. I find myself agreeing with each article you will find below; a similar reaction Sessions has eloquently articulated in his Patrol article. I appreciate his public candor and can easily relate.
Do we form Social Networks or do Social Networks form us?
That’s the fundamental question raised by Peggy Ornstein’s recent article “I Tweet, Therefore I Am” in The New York Times recently. It’s also the question I want to address in my recent article in Patrol Magazine. So, whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or no Social Network at all, I promise the article has something for you, our culture, and the world in which we find ourselves. Leave comments! Here’s the link:
“Is Twitter Really Killing Us?” – Patrol Mag
You can read all my articles for Patrol Magazine here.
I haven’t written a post in this series in a while, but I’ve been reading William Cavanaugh’s amazing book Being Consumed: Economics & Christian Desire as a counter to Jack Cashill’s Popes & Bankers, which I just finished. It’s pretty remarkable. Every Christian–nay, every person–should read this book.
Cavanaugh is a Catholic and this influences his thought greatly and wonderfully. I’ve only made it through the Introduction and I already feel like I’ve been taken for a ride, with my economic thought swirling. Once I’m done I’ll surely be posting a review here for all of you to enjoy. He has this amazing paragraph in the Introduction I wanted to share here with all of you:
Hello, I have about 5 or 6 separate articles/reviews I’m working on at the moment, and not just for Patrol Magazine, but also this site! We finally have internet at my place, so if I can only find some time (and a little inspiration). But, until those articles get up here, I have more Patrol articles to send you all (you can read my past articles here). This week, I have a sort of review of Christopher Nolan’s new masterpiece Inception. I say “sort of” because it’s more of a reflection on how the movie’s impacted me than an actual typical review. Anyway, read and enjoy.
And see Inception. [Photo credit]
“Inception and the Art of the Review”- PatrolMag
As most people know, last year I gave a seminar/lecture/sermon thingy at my old church, Epiphany Fellowship. The topic I spoke on was Beauty. I spent about nine months doing research, reading, talking, and thinking before ultimately delivering it last August. Recently, I updated some parts of the manuscript for a friend and thought I’d post the updated manuscript. There aren’t too many changes. The main updates happened in the last half of the manuscript. I also updated the language of the manuscript overall to make it more appropriate as a written piece rather than a manuscript for speaking from. I’m hoping to use this as the core of one of the first books I’m working on that I’ll actually finish. After the break is the full “Table of Contents” for each part of the blog series I did going through each individual part of the manuscript. Those blog parts have not yet been updated. Here are the the updated full written Manuscript, the audio of my “lecture”, and an appendix with the Greek/Hebrew breakdown of the words for “Beauty” in the Bible.
My original title for my article this week for Patrol Magazine (before the editorial chopping block) was I’m Calling It: Jack Bauer Will Die (On Morality & “24″). The article concerns the television series 24 and it’s upcoming series-ending finale. My theory? They’re going to kill Jack Bauer, the show’s iconic main character. Read the article to find out my reasons why:
“Jack Bauer Must Die” – Patrol Magazine
It’s far more philosophical than “televisional”, so don’t worry. I did not intend to bog people down with plot minutiae and spoilers. Speaking of, as far as spoilers go, there are only a couple concerning very recent episodes of the current season, and even though are fairly nebulous. Besides, how the story is told is just as exciting (if not more) as what the story is.
Sorry things have been so slow this week on the blog. I’m still trying to find my rhythm for writing while I have this new full-time job.
As of late last week, I am the newest writer for the blogs at Patrol Magazine. Patrol is a great site putting forward some of the best writing available on culture, the arts, and spirituality from the perspective of post-everything twenty-somethings. I am the Thursday contributor to “The Scanner” section of the site. The Scanner is the place for “daily culture, media, views, and blather.” Today, my first article went up. Here’s the link:
Poetry is the Only Thing That Can Save Atheists, Says Other Hitchens Brother
I’m really excited and grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to one of my favorite sites. Like I said, you can see my writing every Thursday there on Patrol Magazine. As I continue writing, you can see all of my articles here.
Does anyone have any ideas for future posts?
[Art above: "The Last Judgment" by Rogier van der Weyden. Just read the article. It'll make sense.]
Sorry. I know this is lame. But, I was organizing some of the files on my computer and I ran across this proposal I wrote last year to the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture for an article. It didn’t get accepted, so I never wrote the article. I thought I’d go ahead and put it up though to see if you all have any thoughts on this topic, or if you’d like to see this article written anyway. Feel free to leave some comments at the bottom of the post.
In the midst of the culture wars, deep philosophical shifts are challenging old ways of thinking. As a culture of post-modernity encroaches upon ground that was previously held by religion, the presuppositions of all faiths are being challenged by new, competing ideas. Religion charges post-modern culture with Relativism — a tenet that religion claims is unsustainable. This critique is not without validity: no philosophy can stand for long that admits its lack of foundation, and does not recognize a need for such epistemological certainty. The relativizing of post-modernity will surely collapse under a generation of those disillusioned by its inability to deliver that which it has no principle nor authority to deliver.