Archives For Sarcasm

An iMonk tweet, pointed to Andrew Marin's post, I Don't Trust Christianity Today. (Andrew is referring to CT, the magazine.)

One of the things Marin responded to was the treatment of Professor Soong-Chan Rah's thoughts and ideas from Rah's book, "The Next Evangelicalism" – that treatment by CT's Managing Editor Mark Galli in this article. Galli quotes from Rah's book, cites it as coming from "(a) leading Asian Evangelical", but doesn't name the book nor properly attribute the quote. Professor Rah's name is not mentioned.

Galli finds himself being called on this, in his post's comment section, as Rah points out in his own post. Galli's defence in his comment response (at 10:48am on Oct 6/09) is to suggest that "careful reader(s) will see how I did this at various points in the article with other prominent people in our movement" – ahh, Grasshopper, the problem is in the eye of the careless beholder. And then Galli plays the C.S. Lewis card. "This is a style of disagreement I've learned from C.S. Lewis …and I think it charitable way to express disagreement..."

That's the ticket. Play the C.S. Lewis card.

Stay tuned here folks. The next time I say something asinine and get called out for it – I'll appeal to that greater authority, C.S. Lewis. But rather than looking to Lewis' Abolition of Man ('cuz I'm not that smart), I'll probably cite Voyage of the Dawn Treader to back my position up. But still, it'll be C.S. Lewis to the defence of my stupidity. I'm good to go.

A Bit More Background
My anger / hackles / ire was (were) raised by these two paragraphs from Galli,

But while acknowledging how firmly enslaved we are, the author repeatedly says things like, "Lessons from the black church or lessons arising out of the theology of suffering can lead to freedom from the Western, white captivity of the church." And in an interview to publicize the book, he says, "In fact, the more diverse we become, Christianity will flourish."

As if the flourishing of church depends on our ability to make it diverse. As if liberation from the thick chains of cultural captivity is had by learning lessons from others. As if blacks, Asians, and Native Americans are not themselves captive to entrenched cultural ideologies. Missing here and in many such worthy efforts is an emphasis on God's power, not human example, to free us from the principalities and powers, and on the good news that it is not we who must build the shalom community but the ones who receive it as gift and promise.

I agree with Rah (as quoted above, I have yet to read his book), rather than Galli. I do this from the perspective of a white male who was ordained in a predominantly African-American church in Pittsburgh – and has had to deal with the sin of my own misguided sense of cultural superiority. I have also spent significant time teaching month long courses in Africa to Africans – where my pale pigmentation makes me numerically part of a minority – but functionally, still part of an elite – primarily because of that pigmentation. My family and I have needed to be intentionally cross-cultural in those situations to break down the historical barriers created by our being part of the paler nation.

It is both the norm and much too easy for the dominant culture to gather together for "church." Of course, all are welcome. Really. Just as long as you stay captive to "our" culture. I am shocked that a white American leader can so blithely state, "As if liberation from the thick chains of cultural captivity is had by learning lessons from others." Apparently not in your case, Mr. Galli. (Perhaps the magazine you edit should be known as Christianity Yesterday. The spirit of C.S. Lewis' writing made me say that. Or maybe it was G.K. Chesterton. Or Evelyn Waugh? Certainly not W.E. Kinnon.)

In St. John's Revelation (5:9), the elders and four living creatures sing a new song that includes, "…with your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." May I suggest that that is what the Christian church should look like.

And. From my family's experience. There is something mystical that takes place (I would suggest it is a movement of the Holy Spirit as we are obedient to the Holy Scriptures) when we are intentional in worshipping and living together as people from every tribe, every tongue, every nation, every age group – as we believe and model the belief that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Gal. 3:28]

Left to our own devices, we will continue the tradition of the Sunday morning church service being the most segregated time of the week.

Two Franks, No Waiting

kinnon —  October 14, 2009 — 7 Comments

Frank Shaeffer, the bête noire of the Evangelical Right, does a good interview with Becky Garrison. (I don't spend a lot of time at Sojourners, I confess, but Becky is always worth reading.) I tweeted an edited version of this quote earlier today,

Personality cults with no accountability and no tradition and no structure to fall back on when the “Dear Leader” dies, or is found to have “fallen” — whatever — are no better than the men and women they’re built on. The “something bigger” you thought you joined just turns out to just be some guy named Rick, or maybe Franklin Graham.

I doubt Frank was referring to this, as the news had yet to spread, but it is interesting that he makes the above statement when it has been revealed that Franklin Graham made over a million dollars in income last year. Accountability indeed.

Apparently as of late last Friday, Graham has told the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that "he wants to give up his pay as head of" the BGEA. He'll try to live on the $535,000 salary (as paid in 2008) from Samaritan's Purse. (There must be a lot of coins in that purse, eh.)

ShaefferPatienceWithGod1.jpg

BTW – I'll probably be ordering Frank Shaeffer's new book, Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Lke Religion (or Atheism). It looks like both a good and important read.

You’ll have to work this out for yourselves. (Insert Smiley here.) (See here and here)

__________________________

I’m Just Asking

kinnon —  May 19, 2009 — 7 Comments

nerdygoof.jpg

Back in the previous millennium, I had an evangelical church-going fellow attempt to rip our company off for $46,000. He only succeeded in stealing 6,000 from us. (His company was receiving a 10% finders fee on work we were producing – but, against Imbi’s better judgment, I foolishly agreed to let the money flow through his company from the client. They had paid him the full amount early in the process which I only discovered after months of his lying that he was waiting on them – discovered when I called the client directly. He completely freaked when I told him I was going to do this.)

He recently asked to connect with me via LinkedIn. The LinkedIn connection point, his thieving company that ended up in bankruptcy. (He apparently suffered no particular harm in that bankruptcy – though I know others who did.)

So. What do you think? Should I link?

One of my loyal subjects readers accused me of ornery hubris last week. I would suggest that’s better than cognitive dissonance. But it’s still sinful. And I will repent. Eventually.

But. In the spirit of “more teapot”, I continue.

A Little Less Honesty, If You Don’t Mind

I heard Paul Young speak @ Refresh last week. Paul wrote a little book that some of you might have read, The Condo The Shack. Unfortunately his little book has fallen precipitously on the New York Times Best Seller List. Where it once occupied the Numero Uno position on said list for more months than certain of the brethren care to admit, it has sadly fallen to the Numero Dos position – further proof that G_d is not behind it. If He were, of course it would have remained at the Numero Uno position. Forever! (7.5 Million Copies in print in English, in case you were wondering.)

Now, of course, Paul is a heretic. At least that’s the opinion of a number of prominent people in the evangellyfish community. (One or two actually read the book.) I even heard it from a sister at St. Paul’s this past Sunday.

Paul’s primary heresy; portraying G_d, the Father as a breakfast-baking, big black woman. We all know that G_d, the Father is a white male, with white hair and a white beard. (Does He wear a red suit? I can’t remember.) G_d, the Father could never be a breakfast-baking, big black woman. Especially since that person plays the Oracle in the Matrix and she bakes cookies. At least Paul Young’s G_d, the Father as a breakfast-baking, big black woman doesn’t smoke.

What’s really odd to me is how many of these prominent evangellyfishes all loved the Matrix and wanted to claim it as a Christian parable. But. When Paul Young dares allow G_d, the Father to materialize as a breakfast-baking, big black woman, HERESY!

However. I’m not convinced that’s really the reason all these white folk (predominantly) think Paul’s a heretic. (Paul Young. Not the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul is only a heretic in certain circles. Which is truly a new perspective.) I think they are frightened by Paul’s transparency.

Last Wednesday night, Wm. Paul Young stood in front of an audience that filled one of the large theatres @ the University of Toronto MedSci building and, metaphorically, stripped naked. (Thank you for doing it metaphorically, Paul.) He revealed himself. As completely as anyone I’ve ever heard.

He must have missed the memo on how Christian males were supposed to be strong and silent. You know. That woman’s voice in 10CC’s I’m Not in Love half-whispering, “big boys don’t cry, big boys don’t cry.” Still waters run deep and all that stuff.

Paul spoke of massive personal failure. And eleven years of healing. And radical transparency with his wife as part of that healing. How frakin’ scary is that? And he did it again on the CBC’s The Hour. Radical Transparency. I think he even scared Strombo.

The only other male I know who is almost as publicly transparent is the Internet Monk. And Michael gets almost as much flak as Paul. He may even have been called a heretic a time or two.

BK-Shattered.jpg

What’s so scary about transparency? Every-freaking-thing!

If I dare to be transparent, then you’ll know just how broken I am. And that will never do. You’ll know I don’t have it together. I’m not that great of a Christian. (Those who read my blog know that about me already.) I’m not much of a father. Or a husband. Or even a friend.

My brokenness will reveal me as a sinner. And I need you to know me as a saint.

Honestly, honesty is overrated. It’s all about the facade. The one with the best facade wins! (I’m not sure what we win, but…) But enough about me.

I Found This Humourous in a Sad Sort of Way

I heard some other good speakers last week. One quoted a friend of mine on the importance of community in missional engagement with culture. What was funny was the friend quoted hasn’t been engaged in any real Christian community for the better part of a decade. But. At least he’s being quoted. Maybe that’s better than community. In a brokenness kind of way.

And Over the Weekend Obama Got A Doctorate from Notre Dame and Spoke Lots of Words

All the nice people said nice things about the President speaking at Notre Dame and how good it was him receiving an honourary doctorate. The mean, nasty people questioned why the most radically Pro-Abortion president in history would be so honoured by a Catholic university. (The mean, nasty people were in agreement with the mean, nasty American Catholic bishops who in this one area are at least attempting to be consistent.)

No doubt about it, the President has got himself some very good Teleprompter™ programmers – the many words were well put together. But. At the end of the day. President Barack Obama is still the most radically Pro-Abortion president ever elected. With a real desire for us all to be nice when we talk about it.

And speaking of those nice people, being the mean, nasty person that I am (which is part of my brokenness, of course) I can’t help but point out how the Usual Suspects marched in lock step with the President in his appointment of completely pro-abortion Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. [HT]

It’s pure Orwellian doublespeak to suggest her “record demonstrates a commitment to results rather than rhetoric on life issues.” Can the “evangelicals” who wrote this statement explain to me how their position on abortion is functionally any different than that of incoming Episcopal Divinity School president, Katherine Ragsdale. I mean, really.

Speaking of Episcopalians

The Presiding Litigator with her Teleological Degree in Marine Biology continues her Blitzkrieg through Episcopal Church Canons whilst bringing suits against any diocese who dares challenge her new position as TEC’s Pope. The former bishop of the smallest, fastest-shrinking Diocese in the USofA claims, “all your base are belong to us” and “sure Jesus might be one of the most bestest ways to God, but you must be some kind of Neanderthal to suggest he’s the only way.” 815 later issued a statement to Neanderthals apologizing for any suggestion that they weren’t as bright as all the people wandering the corridors of the National Office.

Finally A Fish and A Marxist

TommyMertonHead pointed to a very good blog post at the NYT by Stanley Fish that led me down the rabbit hole to a lecture series on Religion and Science by Terry Eagleton delivered a year ago at Yale. Eagleton’s well known as a Marxist Theorist and is one of the funniest essayists I’ve read or heard in a rather long time. He has great fun at the expense of his conflated character, Ditchkins. (Dawkins and Hitchens as one.)

Oh. And This Before I Go

In light of last week’s meanness from me, I thought you might like to know that I was ordained near the turn of the Millennium at a predominantly African-American church in Pittsburgh. You may call me Pastor Bill, if you must. 🙂 Though I’d prefer to be known as Bishop.

I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

TeapotFire.jpg

I’m so sorry.

That was my teapot.

It momentarily hijacked this blog.

‘Twould seem it’s still recovering from the latest tempest that engaled it’s innards. But at least the chai-stained vessel had the good taste to borrow a line from the late Paddy Chayefsky in expressing its outrage. (Why is it that when people are dead we call them late. I know lots of late people who are very much alive.)

But enough of mildly-ineffective, caffeine-delivery devices. Let’s talk about something more interesting. Me.

I took a cheap shot yesterday. At least that’s the opinion of my dear friend, S. Knight Blogmailian – who holds me in the highest regard, of course.

A little background. Out of Ur.

Need I say more?

Well.

Yes.

I do.

Need to.

Say more.

That is.

In my not humble but accurate opinion (a line unceremoniously ripped from the lips of that Piper-peeving, New Perspective on Paul preaching, Panic at the Disco listening, head pastor of the Bishopric of Durham, Nicholas Tom (Almost Always) Wright – and I doubt he listens to P-at-the-D, I just used them for meter), Out of Ur is all about page views. More pages, more filthy lucre from ads that envelop their Out of Url page like the visual diarrhea of a Vegas street scape. (I guess that ends any chances of me ever being a guest writer there, eh. Oh well. Life goes on. But maybe I could still sell them Missional Tribe or shape some form of partnership, at least. The rest of the ‘gators might not be happy, though.)

What better way to generate page views than to scour the purple-prosed corners of Christian blogdom for the latest miniburst of rage. Yesterday, it was village-emerged TJ Bookwriter and his marvelous upset at how badly a future president (or at least that’s what the young man’s name would suggest) had been treated in being denied ordination by the PCUSA. (I thought they were bankrupt. No. Wait. That’s CompUSA. You can understand my confusion. Oh. BTW. The young, future president clarified in the comments that he was only having some difficulty in the process – he hadn’t been outright denied ordination. Doesn’t that kinda wreck the whole story. But. I digress.)

In the midst of that outrage, TJ Bookwriter apparently wrote how in his church, which is called Absalom’s Back Deck or something like that, they ordained everyone and anyone. Even Chauncey Gardiner.

I found this confusing. If they held ordination in such low estate that anyone could be so dained, shouldn’t TJB have been pissed with the future president for deigning to seek such recognition. Rather than being ticked with CompUSA for denying the future president his mess of pottage, er, rightful blessing.

True hipsters that they are, Out of Ur asked whether “Denominational Ordination had jumped the Shark?” What a killer turn of phrase, “jumped the Shark.” (To those of you confused by the etymology of the phrase, it’s what happens when Ron Howard leaves a ’70’s hit TV show and begins directing bad films that attack the Catholic church, while leaving Henry Winkler, who kinda looks like he could be Tom Hanks’ brother, to carry the show on his own.)

Cheap shot artiste that I am, with tongue planted firmly in cheek (which made it difficult to talk on that phone whilst composing my response), I asked whether it was Brother TJ who had jumped said Shark. (Hey, I loved TJ in that series with Heather Locklear Trucker Frank.) I was totally offended that only one person took umbrage. The aforementioned S. Knight Blogmailian.

For is that not what blogdom is all about. At least the Christian wing of the floating pixel universe. UIUO – Umbrage In, Umbrage Out. In our Everything-Must-Change™ microworld of blogdom, our garden littered with bath-soaked babies and the stinking carcasses of sacred cows, where would we be without our umbrage.

Come on, common people. Follow my teapot. More tempests. Or at least miniscule facsimiles thereof.

This Isn’t Working

kinnon —  March 26, 2009 — 1 Comment

I may I have posted this before. I’m posting it again. I see myself singing this to a number of the so-called leaders of the church in North America. Feel free to join me on the chorus.

The Boomers featuring Ian Thomas.

From the Excuses, Excuses file:

I’m up to my buttocks in work right now for which I am very thankful. (The work is paying, for a change.) Though I have a number of posts in process – I don’t have the time or the horsepower to finish them. Doesn’t help that the decaf coffee Imbi and I consumed at a great Danforth restaurant with good friends last eve, turned out not to be decaf. Oh well.

I went rooting around in the archives of this old blog and thought I’d pull up this one from 15 months ago or so – an eternity in blogdom. Please enjoy. Or not.


Adverpacman01 I’m a consumer.

Nothing wrong with that.
I like nice things.
Shiny things.
Techie things.
Tasty things.
Dark beers with a rich foam head.
Did I mention?
I’m a consumer.

So. You want me in your church. Here’s how to get me.

  1. Parking. I need lots of space for my big SUV. And it better be close to the doors. Don’t want to do much walking. So if it isn’t – how about a shuttle.
  2. Nice Building. This is important. I’m not interested in some strip mall church that looks like it’s struggling. Or an old traditional church – unless you’ve done millions in renos. I’m an upwardly model semi-professional. I want my surroundings to reflect my importance.
  3. Proper HVAC. This isn’t important. It’s critical. I want to be cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool. 68ºF to 72ºF – year round. Is that too much to ask.
  4. Comfy chairs. And when I say chairs, I mean chairs. Preferably theater-style. With wide arm rests. Give me some space for my girth – and safe distance from the other arriving consumers.
  5. Be punctual. I’ve already spent too much time getting me and the family ready and there for the meeting. Begin it on time. Have something cool playing on the big screens to entertain if we arrive a little early.
  6. You’ve got an hour. Make good use of it. I want to be in and out in no more than 75 minutes. Maybe a few more if you’re serving decent coffee. Decent coffee that’s free, of course.
  7. Music. Three songs up front. One fast (to get us going). One mid-tempo (to help us be reflective). End with a fast one (that tells us how much Jesus/God/the Spirit loves us – just no Jesus-Is-My-Boyfriend songs. OK!)
  8. Announcements. Get them over after the music. Present them on your big screens so they can be done quickly. This isn’t a time to stick your B-team on the platform to give them some face time. And, unless Larry David is writing for you, avoid humor. Have the Final Cut folk edit your marketing stuff down to 15 second bites. If it works for Sony, it’ll work for you.
  9. Offering. Now. It’s up to you where you put it. If the preacher is great, after the sermon might work better. If not. Go for the money after the announcements. (Maybe show some shots of starving third world kids in the last announcement. Heart-string-tugs work for Compassion and World Vision – why not your church.) “God loves a cheerful giver” and the Malachi 3 verses and the 100 fold blessing are important reminders. A good story of how tithing worked for someone would be great. No more than 90 seconds though.
  10. Sermon. Twenty minutes. Did I make myself clear. 20 Minutes. 20. Twenty. We have the attention spans of gnats. Keep that in mind. Make it practical. If I wanted systematic theology, I would have gone to seminary. Use humor. Steal from the best if necessary. I want to leave feeling built up. And it’s a bonus if I can use the jokes/stories you told at work tomorrow.
  11. Final song. Let the band rip on the last song. Feel good, happy-clappy works here. You want us wanting to come back for more next week.
  12. Benediction segue. Let the band lay back and under as you Bless Us. Speak multiplied blessings over us – and then do a fast pitch for whatever product you need to sell. I did say. Fast pitch.
  13. And then the band amps back up. This is the place for guitar or sax solos as we head out the doors to the shuttle bus or book store or free coffee. It’s okay to charge us something extra for Lattés.

Like I said. I’m a consumer. Oh. And a sort of a Christian. If you build this, I will come.

Or so you’ve been told.

Larger version of AdverPacMan available here. Do feel free to use it.

I’m Just Asking

kinnon —  December 17, 2008 — 1 Comment

Is this artwork the backdrop for this “presentation.” I’m just asking.

(Make a point of noting the “product number.” I’m thinking of starting a site called nakedcreativepastors, or maybe creativenakedpastors – a mashup of E.D & David, Whadda ya think?)

John Frye has found the truly secret message of the Jesus conversation/movement/narrative thingyThe Emergency Conversation: New Movement of One. No more missional confusion. No more emerging Emergent™ emergence stuff. A perfect movement of one. Consider joining the non-conversation. You’re not invited. Here. I feel a new publishing empire coming on. (With Rupert Murdoch salivating in the wings – Zondervan’s racing to sign John up for his books as I write this.)