what is church? a few thoughts…

Pseudo Notre Dame

this is in response to a current conversation i am in asking the question whether we can exist as a church without mission or if they are intertwined. check it out — Wrecked Article

also church to me is a metaphor for community (i am looking at church from a theopoetic standpoint) and it can include those who might not even believe (jesus doesn’t delineate who is gathering, its just a gathering in his name; and your name in that culture meant who you were and what you stood for; so then, it becomes about when we meet with people who have a similar Christ-ethos they are living out)

maybe the book of acts is a metaphor for how the world was meant to live and work in harmony or as the author of that book says “they were in one accord.” maybe its about the reality that we have to fall off of our horses to find Jesus. that enlightenment and discovering who God is a letting go and sometimes can be hard road that may force to you be blind for a few days before you come to see the ‘light’ (God). maybe that’s what Paul’s story is about. maybe that’s what our story is about….

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CSW welcomes inquiry into Burma crimes against humanity

CSW welcomes inquiry into Burma crimes against humanity.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide has welcomed the UK Government’s support for a UN investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma.

British ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyell, yesterday backed the recommendation by the UN’s Special Rapporteur to Burma earlier in the month for a commission of inquiry to be set up.

He said the UK Government would support the referral of a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Because Burma is not a state party to the ICC it would require the Security Council to make a reference, and I don’t think the Security Council is sufficiently unanimous in its view to allow such a reference to happen. We of course would support such a reference,” said Mr Lyell.

CSW has pressed for a commission of inquiry for several years and last week reported fresh evidence of serious human rights abuses.

CSW’s East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said: “We are delighted that the United Kingdom is showing leadership on this issue, and has pledged strong support for the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations.

“It is vital that in the run-up to the regime’s fake elections, its crimes against humanity and the prevailing culture of impunity in Burma are addressed by the United Nations, and action is taken to end the regime’s campaign of rape, forced labour, torture, destruction, killing and terror.”

Alice in Wonderland Review: the need for a messiah??

A great review on Alice in Wonderland and the new interpretation of the need for the new storyline to be messianic. Click on the title below to be taken to the author’s blog.

Infantilizing children by K-Punk

alice_in_wonderland_tim_burton.jpg

Burton’s Alice In Wonderland is such a travesty that it makes the 1951 Disney version seems like a masterpiece by comparision. Perhaps that’s because animation seems ideally suited to rendering the onto/logical leaps in Carroll’s psychedelic fiction, whereas CGI puts all its energy into being “realistic”, without creating any sense of reality at all. But the most serious problem in Burton’s version is Linda Woolverton’s screenplay. As many reviewers have noted, Woolverton effectively grafts elements of Oz and Narnia onto Wonderland. It was perhaps the Narnian influence – via Harry Potter – which induced Woolverton into introducing the messianism which so fatally betrays the spirit of Carroll’s fiction. (The same kind of cheap messianism also corrupted Russell T Davies Dr Who.) In Woolverton’s Wonderland, Alice becomes a Prophesied Champion who will liberate the oppressed people from the tyranny of the Red Queen by defeating the Jabberwocky. Nothing could strike a more false note than the imposition of this facile binary onto Carroll’s beyond good and evil schizofiction. Throughout the film, questions are raised as to whether this is the “proper” Alice, but the viewers are never left in any doubt that this is the True Alice; she must only have to learn to recognise herself and her Destiny. Yes, this is a film aimed at children – but must children be infantilized to this degree? All of the troubling problems of identity and reference so crucial to the original novels are ignored. At some point, it’ll be worth thinking through why this messianism plays such a key role in neoliberal culture, but, for the moment, it will suffice to identify why its presence is toxic to Alice In Wonderland. In the Alice books, there is the feeling that Wonderland is Alice’s world alone, yet she has no place in it. She is always late, in the way, misunderstanding what ought to be obvious … In this way, Carroll is the precursor of Kafka, and ultimately Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland has far more in common with The Trial and The Castle than with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe or The Wizard of Oz. K’s blundering attempts to penetrate the court and the castle, his exasperation and impotent acts of rebellion, echo Alice’s frustrations in Wonderland. The adult world as seen by children is, precisely, a Nonsense world, incomprehensibly inconsistent, arbitrary and authoritarian, full of bizarre rituals. Alice’s friendlessness is central to this: but in Burton’s version the caterpillar, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat are no longer autists but companions helping Alice achieve her Destiny (Depp’s “Mad” Hatter is the film’s lowpoint – the Depp/ Burton relationship has long been one of mutual indulgence, and so it proves again). It’s notable also that Burton’s version downplays the linguistic anomalies which were so central to Carroll (they are represented only by the eccentric speech of Tweedledum and Tweedledee). Yet Caroll’s Wonderland was a world of words, constructed from the excrescences of the Symbolic (doesn’t this also account for some of the power of Carroll’s tales – they view the Symbolic from the perspective of one not fully integrated into it?)

I’ll confess that I’ve actually not seen what is reputedly one of the best versions of Carroll, Jonathan Miller’s 1965 film for the BBC. Watching the tea party in Miller’s version, you can’t help but reflect on the similarities to the entropy of Miss Havisham gothic wedding breakfast. Pip’s (non-)relationship with Havisham and the other grotesques of the adult world anticipates Alice. Indeed, much of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland recalls the opening sections of Great Expectations, in particular, in which, remember, the young Pip is menaced by cows who seem to talk. Note the longeurs and the catatonia in Miller’s rendering of the tea party (this and Ravi Shankar’s music put me in mind not only of “Tomorrow Never Knows” but also “I’m Only Sleeping”…)

walking away from oppression : notes on Easter

nothere2

a few notes i wanted to share as i am looking up a theopoetical (metaphorical) approach to the death and resurrection of jesus.

                                                                    ‘the stone that was rolled away’ (context)

MEANINGS (In Hebrew/Aramaic):

stone (Eben) — oppressive governments or regimes, indicated as weapons, also things used for execution and also God, YHWH

roll (galal) — commit, roll away troubles, intentional, idolatry and excrement (sh*t)

if we place these words back in context —

it becomes something more like this:

Easter could be about how we need to intentionally dissolve, walk away and plan against oppressive against governments and oppression in general. that the act of rolling the stone away is the ability to consciously be a voice for the voiceless (not passive nor aggressive). and when we intentionally seek equality over oppression we help usher in the beautiful act of resurrection. But stone also means God. I think this is a two-parter, I think we can only (personally) experience resurrection (rebirth) when we give up all of our concepts of God, when we realize that our concepts of God are limited and maybe even excrement at times. And if we don’t than we embrace idolatry, I think its also important to see that we embrace idolatry when we sit back and do nothing to respond to oppression. our silence perpetuates the sh*t that is oppression.

so maybe Easter is about giving up our concepts of God and finding resurrection in that process. and then finding creative sustainable ways to respond to oppression (in all of its local and global forms) and when we do both of those we can expect new life. rebirth. resurrection.

rolled —

learning from god in process.

The Message

The moment you read this a moment that you can never take back has just passed. Time has moved forward, it has progressed above and beyond our control.

The petal that just fell off the flower that you and I weren’t around to see will never fall again. No matter how many winters this flower may experience, there will never be another petal like that ever again.

The breath you exhaled in the middle of the conversation you had earlier will never be the same breath you exhale from that moment forward. In a sense, you have breathed your last breath in that moment.

Time moves forward, it progresses, it breathes and flowers through our existence. Everything is in process. All of life is in process.

The first time I scraped my knee, I learned to make sure that the next time I scraped my knee that it wasn’t for the same reason. I learned, I progressed, as we all do.

What if God does that too?

Process theology says that God evolves. Which is very much in line with Eastern Judaic philosophy that defines perfection as something that perpetuates. Perfection progresses. God is in progress. God learns, he evolves.

There are several ambigous places in scripture that seem to support this.

In the conversation with Abraham about his nephew Lot who lived in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah; God was willing to barter and debate with Abraham on the value of a soul. Which I truly think is the point of the story, not whether a city was historically destroyed or not.

Then God changes his mind in conversation with his friend Moses, a leader of the Israelite people who challenges God on his thinking. Almost essentially accusing God of being close/narrow-minded. And God backs off.

There are a handful of others where demonstrates that he is in process.

Another example is in the fabled creation narrative where the author describes the world as being formless. The word in Hebrew for formless means wasteland. It assumes something was there before. That God could have possibly created another earth(s) before ours and was in the process of learning.

Again, in the eastern mindset perfection was demonstrated in growth. And this is incredibly encouraging because it allows us to see that we ourselves should not have to feel guility about ‘arriving’, in fact if God hasn’t ‘arrived’ according to our definitions than maybe it means that life isn’t about ‘arriving’ or coming to all the answers, maybe what it means is that life is the endless beautiful journey where questions lead us to better questions and so on and so forth. Maybe this is what means to learn from a God in process.

mike morrell on love.

My friend Mike Morrell who blogs here (http://zoecarnate.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/sunday-devotional-god-is-love-love-is-real/) showcased this brilliant and creative thought on 1 John. Check it out!!

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

“God is love and love is real.” – mewithoutYou

and so

could it be?

God is patient

God is kind

God does not envy

God does not boast

God is not proud

God is not rude

God is not self-seeking

God is not easily angered

God keeps no record of wrongs.

God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

God never fails.

I Corinthians 13 remixed

See also:

childhood obesity as a social justice issue.

Full-Figured Man

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-tipler/childhood-obesity-is-a-so_b_518083.html?just_reloaded=1

My teaching career began in a suburban high school where the lunchroom was a happy place. Posters advertising fruits, vegetables, and exercise covered the walls, and every day the kids could choose from a hot meal or the salad bar. The line for the salad bar was often longer than the pizza line. Few of the kids were overweight, even fewer were obese.

I spent the next two years teaching at an inner-city high school where, as my friend Sarah put it, “half the girls in my Algebra class are too obese to fit in their desks.” The cafeteria served hot meals, but fruits and vegetables were few and far between. Posters advertising cookies and pizza covered the walls. Instead of a salad bar, there was a slushy machine.

Michelle Obama’s recent decision to make childhood obesity her personal cause struck me deeply. Childhood obesity isn’t just a public health issue, it’s a social justice issue. It disproportionately affects the poor and minorities. It’s also one of those rare cases where the major domestic challenges of our time — education, health care, poverty — intersect, and where small changes can have a big impact.

Consider this: a study published this month in Health Affairs found that children from poor families are twice as likely to be obese as children from well-off families (45% vs. 22%). Minority children are far more likely to be obese than white children (41% of black and Hispanic children vs. 27% of white non-Hispanic children are obese). Regardless of race and class, kids who grow up in neighborhoods with rundown housing are more likely to be obese than those in neighborhoods with less decay (36% vs. 31%).

Poverty and minority status don’t just cause childhood obesity, though. The biggest problem with childhood obesity is that it doesn’t end when the kids grow up. Obesity can lead to a host of medical conditions throughout the lifespan — diabetes, hypertension, asthma, gallstones — and even to poverty itself. That’s right: obese children are more likely to become impoverished adults, spawning a vicious cycle in which poverty begets obesity, in turn leading to further poverty.

How do we break this cycle? The first step is to make healthy food more affordable and available. Not only did my inner-city students have limited options at school, many of them came from neighborhoods where there were literally no grocery stores that sold fresh produce. If kids can’t get fruits and vegetables at home or at school, they’re not likely to find them elsewhere.

Another step is education. Researchers at NIH and the University of Pittsburgh found that parental education has more impact on children’s’ eating habits than household income. In other words, if you go to college, your children are less likely to be obese regardless of how much money you make.

Targeted nutritional education can also help. School-based programs to combat obesity show promise — a recent initiative in the Philadelphia public schools reduced the number of overweight students by 50%, but unfortunately had little effect on obesity. We’re learning how to mitigate the problem, but we don’t yet know how to solve it.

Our First Lady is right to tackle this issue head-on. As our nation works to combat childhood obesity, we must focus especially on low-income and minority communities. We need to ensure that healthy foods are available and affordable, and that all parents understand the consequences of their children’s diets. Those of us working for educational justice need to create schools where salad bars, not slushies, are the norm.

Finally, the results from school-based programs show that we need to do more research on what works, especially in communities where many parents haven’t completed high school or college. Our children’s future depends on it — so too, by the way, does our national health care bill.