Archive for August, 2007

Restoring Worship: An Example

The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks

My post on Atheist Worship has elicited a lot of spirited feedback, all of it positive. I want to step out on a limb a bit and give a practical example of what I’m thinking about with regards to integrity and growth in the lyrics we sing. Continue reading ‘Restoring Worship: An Example’

Televangelist Birthday Party

…So the other night some folks in our church (and other friends) got together for Jared’s 29th birthday party–and every year he has a themed party. Last year the theme was “super heroes,” and the year before it was…well, I don’t even wanna say. But this year the theme was televangelists! See it as tribute, see it as satire, but it had to be seen–guys and ladies all decked-out in their TBN best. I’ll see if I can get permission to post some of the other pics, but here’s one of me preachin’ it, camera red-eye and all.

Bringin’ Down The House!

Which Theologian Are YOU?

Because I’m lazy today…

Which theologian are you?
You scored as a Jürgen Moltmann
The problem of evil is central to your thought, and only a crucified God can show that God is not indifferent to human suffering. Christian discipleship means identifying with suffering but also anticipating the new creation of all things that God will bring about.
Jürgen Moltmann 87%
Jürgen Moltmann
Paul Tillich
John Calvin
Karl Barth
Friedrich Schleiermacher
Martin Luther
Charles Finney
Jonathan Edwards

Which theologian are you?
created with

I’m not sure I agree with this quiz’s pithy assessment of my spirituality and theological concerns; it is interesting, though. And nice to know I’m not very Augustinian.

What To Expect From Soularize This Year

I’m going to be at Soularize this year; are you? Spencer Burke breaks down what’s going on each day…

Continue reading ‘What To Expect From Soularize This Year’

‘Atheist’ Worship

Sometimes, I feel like an atheist amid worship. The songs being sung earnestly around me are about a god I don’t really believe in anymore. As Shane Claiborne asked, does God really have lightning in his fists, or is this Zeus we’re talking about? “God, rid me of ‘god,'” Meister Eckhart prayed. Many times this is my silent prayer amid circles of saints singing their hearts out to a deity I scarcely recognize.

[September update: For visitors from Jonny Baker’s blog, I’ve included some new thoughts here. Feel free to drop by this post once you’re finished with the present one.]

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy singing, and many songs old and new still resonate with me. I used to be an assistant worship leader in my old church, ages ago. And I still keep track, albeit a bit peripherally, with the “worship world” today. There is much to be commended in the crafting of new music for friends of God in Christ to sing, as there is among those who lovingly revive somewhat older hymns and ancient liturgies.

But to put it bluntly, my worship-life-in-song has not quite kept pace with my spiritual, theological, and social development these past 5-10 years. My journey of apprenticeship to Jesus means that I’m reading, praying, thinking and doing very different things now than I did as a late teenager. At the same time, I’m still singing the same old songs. I don’t know about you, but I’m longing to raise a new song to God, one that integrates a vision of God and humanity, creation and cosmos that I can get behind.

How close are we to such a worship-in-song renaissance within the emerging church conversation? I don’t know. But in this vein, I want to bring your attention–if you’re not already aware–to the inaugural widespread release of one of the newest singer-songwriter kids on the block…Brian McLaren. “What, he sings too?”, you ask. Yep, the epitome of the well-rounded human being, Brian has actually been strumming his guitar and creating original worship since his post-Jesus Movement days. (I always hated those guys in school, the ones who were good at poetry and calculus; some of them are my closest friends, alas…) Songs for a Revolution of Hope is inspired by his upcoming book release, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope and is coming out this fall. One of the tracks, “Atheist,” explores this worship dissonance I’ve been feeling head-on. It’s now on YouTube in a sort’ve “music video” format:

Continue reading ‘‘Atheist’ Worship’

I Confess

…wouldn’t you like to know what I’m confessing to? Then follow me over to my new blog and all will be clear. Please update your bookmarks and subscriptions to Thanks!

God: Other Than ‘Other’

I know it’s cliche, but I’m going to try for some “resting” on Sundays. We’ll see how long at lasts. But for now, I think on Sundays I’ll try and point your attention to some worthy blog posts that have impacted me, regardless of their vintage. Today I have something tasty from my friend Kevin Beck.

Rudolf Bultmann was a great German theologian of the twentieth century. In his sermon entitled Concerning the Hidden and Revealed God, Bultmann imparts this profound wisdom. “If we want to see God, then the first thing we should say to ourselves is that we may not see him as we have conceived him. We must remind ourselves that he may appear to be wholly other than the picture we have made of him.”

Meister Eckhart made a similar observation more than half a millennium earlier when he prayed, “God, save me from God.”


We all have ideas of who God is, where God is, what God is. Our thinking about God is informed by personal experiences and cultural phenomena—as much or even more than our reading of sacred scripture. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is just unavoidable, and in some cases it may be even helpful…”


Continue reading “God: Other Than ‘Other’ ” at Kevin’s blog…


East Orthodox Spirituality, Charismatics, & the New Monasticism

I have a lot to say about at possible commonalities between Eastern Orthodox spirituality, the rhythms of New Monasticism (especially as expressed in the U.K.) and charismatic faith. Want to read it? Follow me to my new blog at! And update thy RSS subscriptions, blog rolls, and bookmarks accordingly. Thanks!


O’ Connor’s Theology & Musical Hope

Anyone hear Sinead’s new album yet? What do you think?

Sinead O'Connor - Theology

I haven’t heard it yet but I’m looking forward to it. Here’s what one reviewer has to say:

The most impressive thing about Theology is the pride, fury, and confidence that O’Connor communicates with her singing. Though she falls prey to the occasional affectations in her voice — which, for the record, have been present from the beginning — she now sounds completely connected to her muse. The material seems to flow effortlessly through her. It’s almost magical. In their passion and intent, her compositions resemble nothing more than the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon. These erotically charged hymns of devotion are expressed in the form of a dialogue between a bride and a bridegroom, and they seem to inform the whole of Theology. O’Connor is fearless in her explorations of the relationship between the divine and the human, and she never once pulls back from her trajectory. Most important, she never expresses her revelations in the form of dogmatic pronouncements or — what would have been worse, still — sentimental Sunday school verse. This is exciting new music of faith that should be given a chance, no matter what one’s own relationship with God and the idea of religion happen to be.”

Continue reading ‘O’ Connor’s Theology & Musical Hope’

Navigating Sea Change – Foresight 2007

I will begin a Masters in Strategic Foresight degree any day now. I’ll blog about this soon. But for now I would like to pass along an invitation to a special day-long workshop on change navigation in Virginia Beach from my instructor and soon-to-be mentor, Jay Gary:

“Are you looking for how to lead others through the fog of the future? If so I encourage you to join me Thursday, September 20th in Virginia Beach for our annual “Foresight 2007” workshop.

Our focus will be on the how our advocacy groups, corporations, ministries, or universities understand the sea change around them, and steer their ship away from icebergs, to find islands of opportunity.

My guest this year, Graham Molitor, spent his career tracking change and doing strategic issue analysis for dozens of Fortune 500 clients, political candidates, and consumer advocacy groups in both the U.S. and Europe. He developed a proprietary way to recognize change on the horizon, 1 year, 3 years or 10 years away. This method is now called the Molitor Forecasting Model. See my blog entry on it.
Continue reading ‘Navigating Sea Change – Foresight 2007’

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    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave