I finally did it

•July 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

We’ve been packing up, sleeping lightly and heading back (but, not the same).

It is true, Nikki and I (and the little one joining us in January) have relocated back to Fresno.

What better time to move my interweb presence than when we have severely downsized our space, hid from the midday heat in my parents’ pool, and are still figuring out our place in this valley?

I present Guardian of the Abyss. A blog dedicated to the things in life that I like. I hope you come around. Don’t worry about your shoes, I leave mine on. If you can’t get the cabinets open, don’t worry… we are baby-proofing.

See you on the other side…

:epistle:

•March 17, 2009 • 2 Comments

Tim Haydock and Will Frei to those on the margins of belief, to those who doubt like their faith depends on it, to those who have no epistle. We write to you who have one foot within a community of faith and one foot outside, and so, have nowhere to stand; we write to you as people who find themselves in the same nowhere.

Yet, we know that we are not without our prophets, our wise men and women, those who can give shape to the liminal spaces we inhabit. Whether they know it or not, they open up for us new possible futures.

We write to remind you of Zizek’s words on violence. Zizek exhorts us to remember the systemic violence within every structure. Violence is not just bloody murders, military brutality or clerical abuses of the powerless. We have been called to explore the ways that anonymous systems enact violence. We have been called to rupture this faceless violence.

So, we offer you our response to this call in visual form, in the hope that it will spark further experiments in violence. Violence done to the violent systems of late capitalism, the very systems that have made us exiles instead of pilgrims.

Water, flowing from Northern California, bypassing farms in the Central Valley, to make its way into Southern Californian sinks, swimming pools and golf courses. Fire, that decimated a local community just blocks away. In both cases, capturing images was strictly prohibited by official mandate. Our film represents a violent breaking of this locally established order that asks us to forget. The music from Eternal Sunshine represents the double violence of (un)memory.

People, funneled from their cars into the trams that will deliver them to the gates of Disneyland. Christ, perpetually crucified in the midst of the world’s largest Evangelical Seminary, largely forgotten. What does it mean when people stop to take pictures with Mickey Mouse, but ignore a statue idolizing torture?

More than wanting to provide answers, we want to provoke furthers questions and creative responses. As Rollins would say, “let’s see God not as the bandage, but as the wound.”

Peace be with you.

movement on the horizon

•March 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hi friends.

My web presence is under negotiation. If you squint, and use your hand as a shade from the bright sun, you can see me moving in the distance. I’m collecting sticks and stones, making mud. Trying to build a place to keep me warm, a place to invite friends to. A place to call home.

I have started blogging for a community of bloggers of sorts. My friend Chris has set-up a place for people (most of whom I don’t know) to submit essays on various themes. My first entry was a fun little diddy. I like that sort of writing. I will be writing for him a couple times a month.

Stick around. Visit this place again because I will likely be asking you to join me at the next place I inhabit. I have ideas. Ideas are best shared with good people like you.

Class Blog

•January 6, 2009 • 5 Comments

Below is an assignment for a class I just started. I will most likely be starting a new blog for class purposes with a couple of classmates, so I won’t be cluttering up this (largely) unused space with class-talk that may or may not be important to you, dear readers. Please, continue to keep it real. 

 

Easy to get upset about modernity’s dirty underwear forced onto locals naked bodies to cover the human (dare I say God-given?) parts that we in the West like to suppress, harder to see the underlying reality in more (post)modern approaches: that our religious attempts at civilizing savage local communities is still lingering in desperate ways.

            We invade Iraq because we have democracy that “they” don’t. We make the biblical message “relevant” because it is the best of the holy texts out there. We film Africans in desperate situations of poverty and war that need our help. I’m not arguing for less help or a dis-engagement. I’m just concerned that we acknowledge the lingering colonial attitude, the economic imperialism, the religious arrogance. We, Christians in America, still think that we are “the best” the free world has to offer. Our more openly violent brothers and sisters from years gone by were simply open about their superiority complex. 

Name it Jeremiah! Or the fate of the first born of ’09 Or the new(er) covenant

•December 31, 2008 • 1 Comment

Every year there is a strange, albeit short-lived, fascination with the first child born in the New Year. Every local paper has a picture or article mentioning the baby born just after midnight while people around the city embrace, kiss, and toast the upcoming year.

 

This year, some brave American family should name their son or daughter Jeremiah, because Jeremiah is exactly what America needs.

 

Jeremiah started his prophetic ministry during Josiah’s reign. Josiah “found” a book of the law and started all of these great reforms that were associated with obedience and favorable ways of relating to YWHW. The religious cult was enforced, idols obliterated, all of the things that had previously added up to financial success and military safety for the Israelites. And Jeremiah, like any good prophet would, loved it. He was giving Josiah fist bumps and talking about all these good figs and their reforms that YHWH would love. Israel seemed pretty safe and faithful and Jerusalem probably looked something like Leave it to Beaver: black and white, cute, well-groomed lawns, looking safe and secure.

 

But, the Persian Empire wasn’t paying attention to Israelite reforms and after Josiah died, and the Persian troops were knocking on the door, Jeremiah (speaking directly for YHWH, mind you) changed his tune. “Oh, well, you know… the good figs are those that will get sent away. YHWH likes to send people into exile, it’s part of his plan.” Jeremiah basically undid everything that the Israelites knew and had been told and experienced: namely, that if you are obedient to YHWH you will be safe and blessed. Now, they had been faithful to the covenant and were still being sucker-punched by the Persians. Jeremiah deftly explains it away by promising a future hope after a long and painful exile. He flips his metaphor, explaining that YHWH has a plan to prosper the good figs, those sent into exile (most likely referring to the Davidic line sent away in 587 BCE). This isn’t all excuses, of course, this, for better or worse, is another step towards universalism in the Israelite religion; worshipping YHWH becomes more personal, available to outsiders, possible outside of Jerusalem.

 

The prevailing wisdom found over here in the US of A is that hard work, a puritan ethic, will pay off, everyone should get their hands on what is “rightfully” theirs and not worry about others. It is an individualistic, capitalistic ideal that is never questioned, blessed by the God of Christianity, and “proven” successful by the economic wealth stockpiled by the red, white and blue. Churches and politicians of all leanings uphold this system. But, as we now know, the free market wasn’t worried about our faithful hard work, God’s blessing of commodification, our past experiences with the power of the almighty dollar. The free market came on in and sent our leaders into exile, removed folks from their homes, and finally stripped humanity of value apart from production.

 

Much like the economic and religious reversal that Jeremiah communicated and lead for ancient Israel, American Christians need a prophet propelling them into a new covenant, a new understanding of God and economics. We need a young Jeremiah to grow up and lead through the popular reforms of a President about to take office that will assuredly not go far enough as our economy continues to sputter. We need our Jeremiah to introduce us to socialism. 

state of this blog

•December 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

rethinking

Hope I see you…

•December 3, 2008 • 3 Comments

 

This Sunday, December 7th, Over the Rhine will play Travis Auditorium, Fuller Theological Seminary. The show is hosted by the Brehm Center, Empty Frames Productions, and Arts Concerns.

 

Please be sure to stop by the Q&A time from 3-4 in the Psych Lounge. It will be moderated by Barry Taylor. Tickets for the show can be purchased here.

Let’s make some memories…

 
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