Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The U2 Masterpiece

One cannot say I have no need of you.



For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 

If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? 

But now there are many members, but one body. 

And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it

But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

I Corinthians 12:12-27



If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

David Brooks: The message is the person

From here:

The audio is here.

I thought I’d want to talk about is how to be religious in the public square. What does the culture need from you? At least in my opinion.
Now I grew up in a slightly different atmosphere than a lot of people in this room. I work at what I think of as the greatest newspaper in the world, but being a conservative, religious person at The New York Times is a bit like being the chief rabbi in Mecca. There’s not a lot of company there some days.
I grew up in a very left-wing household in Greenwich Village in New York. Nonetheless I went to Grace Church School. I was part of the all-Jewish boys’ davening choir at Grace. We sang the hymns, but to square with our religion we didn’t sing the word, “Jesus,” so the volume would drop down and then come back up.
I went to the University of Chicago, which we called the Wheaton of the Southside. The best line about Chicago: it’s a Baptist school where atheist professors teach Jewish students St. Thomas Aquinas.
I’ve lived much of my life in the secular culture. And it’s an achievement-oriented culture. If you go to the elementary schools in my local  neighborhood in Washington, DC, you see the kids coming out at three in the afternoon, they’ve got those 80-pound backpacks on. If the wind tips them over, they’re like beetles, sort of stuck there on the ground. Lines of luxury cars come up, usually Saabs, Audis and Volvos because in my progressive neighborhood, it’s socially acceptable to have a luury car so long as it comes from a country hostile to US foreign policy.
These creatures come out, I’ve written about in one of my books, called “Über-moms” who are highly successful career women who have taken time off to make sure all their kids get into Harvard. And you can usually tell the Über-moms because they actually weigh less than their own children.
They’ve got little yoga mats stapled to their hips, you know in the moment of conception they’re doing little butt exercises to stay fit and trim. During pregnancy, they’re taking so many soy-based nutritional formulas that the babies plop out, these gigantic 14-pound toothless defensive lineman, just boom.
Über-moms cutting the umbilical cord, flashing little Mandarin flash cards at the things, getting ready for Harvard. They have their spiritual yearnings which they express mostly through food. So they go through Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, the progressive grocery stores that all the cashiers look like they are on loan from Amnesty International. And my favorite section is the snack food section because they couldn’t have pretzels and potato chips…that would not be spiritual. So they have these seaweed-based snacks. We had bought veggie booty with kale, which is for kids who come home and say, “Mom, Mom I want a snack that will help prevent colorectal cancer.”
And these kids turn into the junior workaholics of America. I teach them at Yale. I only teach at schools that I couldn’t have gotten into. And by the time they’ve applied to schools, they’ve started six companies, cured three formerly fatal diseases, played obscure sports like Frisbee golf. When I ask my students what you are doing Spring Break, it’s like “You know I am unicycling across Thailand while reading to lepers.” That sort of thing.
They have tremendous faith in themselves. In 1950, the Gallup organization asked high school seniors, “Are you a very important person?” And at that point 12 percent said yes. They asked the same question in 2005 and 80 percent said, “Yes, I am a very important person.” Americans score 25th in the world in math, but if you ask Americans, “Are you really good in math?”
We are number-one in the world at thinking we are really good at math.
Time magazine asked Americans, "Are you in the top one percent of earners?” Nineteen percent of Americans are in the top 1 percent of earners. So they have a lot of self-confidence. And the great desire for fame. Fame used to be low on a value. Now fame is the second-most desired thing in young people.
They did a study, “Would you rather be president of Harvard or Justin Bieber’s personal assistant, a celebrity’s personal assistant?” And of course by 3 to 1 people would rather be Justin Bieber’s personal assistant. Though to be fair I asked the president of Harvard, and she would rather be Justin Bieber’s personal assistant.
And so this is an achievement culture. A culture of people striving and trying to win success. The way I express this contrast, this hunger for success is by two sets of virtues, which you could call the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. And the résumé virtues are the things you bring to the marketplace which you put on a résumé. And the eulogy virtues are the things you get expressed in your eulogy. And these are non-overlapping categories. So the eulogy virtues are to give courage, to give honor, what kind of relationships do you build, did you love.
And in my secular culture, we all know the eulogy virtues are more important, but we spend more time on the résumé virtues. Another way to think about this is the book Joseph Soloveitchik, the great rabbi, wrote in 1965 called “Lonely Man of Faith." He said we have two sides to nurture, which he called Adam One and Adam Two, which correlate to the versions of creation in Genesis.
Adam One is the external résumé. Career-oriented. Ambitious. External.
Adam Two is the internal Adam. Adam Two wants to embody certain moral qualities to have a serene, inner character, a quiet but solid sense of right and wrong, not only to do good but to be good, to sacrifice to others, to be obedient to a transcendent truth, to have an inner soul that honors God, creation and our possibilities.
Adam One wants to conquer the world. Adam Two wants to obey a calling and serve the world. Adam One asks. “How things work?” Adam Two asks, “Why things exist and what we’re her for?”
Adam One wants to venture forth. Adam Two wants to return to roots.
Adam One’s motto is “Success.”
Adam Two’s motto is “Charity. Love. Redemption.”
So the secular world is a world that nurtures Adam One, and leaves Adam Two inarticulate.
The competition to succeed in the Adam One world is so intense, there’s often very little time for anything else. Noise and fast, shallow communication makes it harder to hear the quieter sounds that emanate from our depths.
We live in a culture that teaches us to be assertive, to brand ourselves to get likes on Facebook, and it’s hard to have that humility and inner confrontation which is necessary for a healthy Adam Two life.
And the problem is that I have learned over the course of my life that if you’re only Adam One, you turn into a shrewd animal whose adept at playing games and begins to treat life as a game.
You live with an unconscious boredom, not really loving, not really attached to a moral purpose that gives life worth. You settle into a sort-of  self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You follow your desires wherever they take you. You approve of yourself as long as people seem to like you. And you end up slowly turning the core piece of yourself into something less desirable than what you wanted. And you notice this humiliating gap between your actual self and your desired self.
So this secular world may look like Kim Kardashian and vulgarity, but I am telling you it is a river of spiritual longing. Of people who are aware of their shortcomings and lack of direction and in this realm.
They don’t have categories, they don’t have vocabularies, but they know the gap.
They know the gap because none of us gets through life very long without being knocked to our knees either in joy or in pain. And a bunch of activities expose the inadequacies of an Adam One life.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Investiture of an Archbishop

Tonight at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) is the official investiture of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.  Watch it live!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

October



October
And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care

October
And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on, and on.

U2

Thursday, October 02, 2014

All bets are not off! Scientists compete to sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into journal articles!



From here:

It all started 17 years ago in 1997 when Swedish scientists John Lundberg and Eddie Weitzberg from the Karolinska Institute penned a Nature journal article about intestinal gasses. As huge fans of Bob Dylan, the pair couldn’t resist titling the paper ‘Nitric oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind.’

"We both really like Bob Dylan so when we set about writing an article concerning the measurement of nitric oxide gas in both the respiratory tracts and the intestine, with the purpose of detecting inflammation, the title came up and it fitted there perfectly," Weitzberg said

A few years later, a librarian spotted another Dylan reference in an article by two different medical professors from the same university. Jonas Frisén and Konstantinos Meletis had published a paper in 2003 on how non-neural cells could generate neurons in mice and humans, and called it ‘Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate?’

The four scientists quickly got in touch and a bet was made.

"The one who has written most articles with Dylan quotes, before going into retirement, wins a lunch at the Solna restaurant Jöns Jacob," Lundberg explained.

Shortly after, a fifth person, Professor Kenneth Chien, also joined in on the wager after discovering there were other Dylan-loving scientists on campus. In 1998, long before he met or knew about his colleagues, Chien had already published ‘Tangled up in blue: Molecular cardiology in the postmolecular era.’

"We're not talking about scientific papers - we could have got in trouble for that - but rather articles we have written about research by others, book introductions, editorials and things like that," said Weitzberg.

Weitzberg told The Local he didn’t want Dylan’s lyrics to detract from the importance of the scientists' work, but admitted that the competition so far has been fun.

"We really are not the only ones who try to be smart and catchy in our headlines," said  Weitzberg.

"I would much rather become famous for my scientific work than for my Bob Dylan quotes... But yes, I am enjoying this."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Today at the Cafe: My Back Pages




Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
“We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said I
Proud ’neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
“Rip down all hate,” I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
Girls’ faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now
B. Dylan 1964

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How deep the Father's love for us ...



How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss -
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life -
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart -
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Stuart Townend 1995



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This week at the Cafe: Brìgh gach cluiche gu dheireadh

Yes, my grandfather's mother, Margaret Minford, was a Scot—and there are Highland and Lowland Scots all over the family tree, so watching with interest the vote coming up in Scotland on Thursday. Wonder what the ancestors would say?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Shepherd, show me how to go ...

As some of you may know, I was raised in the Christian Science Church, as was my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother. As a teenager I witnessed the conversion of my mother when she decided to place her trust in Jesus Christ and no longer in the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy.

In the autumn of 1974, I began to attend a Christian coffee house near where we lived in San Diego and met more people whose lives had been transformed through a personal relationship with Jesus. Such things I had never experienced as a Christian Scientist, though my favorite hymn in the Christian Science Church spoke of a shepherd, a shepherd who was nameless. 


Shepherd, show me how to go
O’er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,
How to feed Thy sheep.
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.

Thou wilt bind the stubborn will,
Wound the callous breast,
Make self righteousness be still,
Break earth’s stupid rest.
Strangers on a barren shore,
Laboring long and lone,
We would enter by the door,
And Thou knowest Thine own.

So, when day grows dark and cold,
Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,
Take them in Thine arms.
Feed the hungry, heal the heart,
Till the morning’s beam;
White as wool, ’ere they depart,
Shepherd, wash them clean.

Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science Hymnal #304, 1887

It is very much a Christian Science hymn because the emphasis is on the shepherd as the "Way-Shower," and not as The Way, our Redeemer, our Lord. 

Even today in Christian circles, we are sometimes taught that Jesus is an example, but it is overlooked that he is our redeemer. It is difficult to see him as a redeemer, if we do not know we are in slavery, in prison, lost.  It is not that he shows us the bread of life, to feed the hungry, heal the heart.  It is that He is the Bread of Life.  

I did not know I was lost until I was found.

The cross is hidden, missing from those teachings and so is missing from our lives—as it is still missing from every Christian Science Church (and its descendants) across the globe. 

Jesus is very clear when he teaches what it means to "follow" him.  It’s not just that he shows us the the way to go, it is that he is the Way.

And what does he actually say? “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) 

Deny myself, take up my cross, and follow him.The cross— we are to pick up our cross?  I have a cross?

Are we not just to follow, but to pick up our own cross and follow? Are we to walk the road of suffering just as He did?  That part, the picking up the cross part, was missing from my life as a Christian Scientist.

Now when I hear Shepherd Show Me How To Go, I long for the missing verses. Where does the Shepherd go but to the cross? And how do I carry my own?

Jesus the Shepherd does not just feed His sheep, He lays down His life for His sheep. He is not only the Shepherd, but He is also the Lamb, the shepherd who became a lamb, one of us. 

The surprise about it all is that the cross, where the “Lamb of God” suffered and died looked and felt like a failure to those who followed Him. Most ran away.  It wasn't even enough for Jesus to merely follow on His own, but to do the will of His Father. And so He went to the Cross. 

Reading through the stanzas again of a song I still have memorized from babyhood, I see that imagery is meant to comfort, but it is distorted.  We are not washed in the morning beam, we are washed in the Blood of Christ, an image that reminds us of His sacrifice. By His wounds, we are told, we are healed.

So what is the new song?  What hymn is there to redeem this song of my childhood, to teach me how to carry my cross and follow Jesus?  

In the early hours of my own conversion in that coffee house in San Diego I heard a song.  This hymn recalls some of the thoughts of that song of my childhood—oh but the good news, the Good News of Jesus, my Shepherd, my Redeemer, my Lord.

To pick up the cross and follow Jesus, even though it may, no, it will be a path of suffering, is redeemed because Jesus is risen.  We do not follow a nameless Shepherd, but the Risen Jesus, who saves us, redeems us and fill us with the Holy Spirit. That is how pick our cross and follow him.

The cross, that looked like a failure is a reminder that we are loved.  When we pick up our cross we are reminded of the amazing love of Jesus. When we pick our cross and follow him, we are free.

   

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Charles Wesley, "Hymns for those that Seek, and those that Have Redemption," 1747

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today at the Cafe: Remembering Robin


UPDATE: Just read one of the best written and thought-provoking pieces on Robin Williams. It's by Russell Brand - please read it here.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Exodus 15

Been praying for Canon Andrew White today and this song came to mind. Please do continue to pray for him, as well as for the people of Iraq.