Monthly Archives: March 2011

Warwick Davis is my hero


I love cheesy horror movies. In honor of St. Patrick’s day the Syfy channel is having a marathon of the Leprechaun movies, easily my favorites of the bad horror genre. As I’m sitting here watching Leprechaun 3 (which takes place in Vegas, awesome!) I decided to look up the actor who plays the Leprechaun, Warwick Davis, on imdb. This guy has been in everything! Not only is he my favorite horror character, he was also Willow and Wicket the Ewok! He’s been in all the Harry Potter movies, the new versions of the Chronicles of Narnia and Star Wars: Episode 1. I will celebrate his amazing career by continuing to watch the Leprechaun marathon while singing the Ewok song.

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Pete Rollins and Creeds

A couple weeks back I had the chance to meet Peter Rollins while he was in LA for a few days. My friend Barry invited me and some classmates from Fuller over to his church for a conversation with him as we tried to process through some of our ongoing theological thoughts. I really enjoy Pete and what he’s doing. He’s a refreshing voice in what can often become a perpetual spew of vanilla theological jargon. Here is a little clip of him talking about the use of creeds in the emerging movement:

I think that one of the main reasons for this viewpoint is that the church is no longer a place of authority or perceived as the guardian of truth and so people have a hard time accepting statements of certainty. Faith itself is an uncertain practice and so anything that claims definitive answers is seen has misguided if not disregarded. Where I think creeds are helpful, and Pete gets at this a bit, are as conversation starters and historical markers of faith through the ages. It’s unrealistic to expect a person of faith to ascribe to something written and adopted in the forth century without questioning it and testing it against one’s own experience and contemporary theological thought. Unfortunately the church has fallen so far from the public consciousness that anything seen as traditional or dogmatic has been stained in the eyes of emerging believers. The statement “I’m spiritual but not religious” speaks to this mindset… people are interested in exploring the divine but are unsatisfied with the tools and institutions that claim that purpose. I appreciate creeds and their thoughtful search for the divine and I believe that their use in our context is to further the conversation of how faith is being expressed as we pursue the unknowable.

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Land of Confusion

For some reason I had an itch to listen to Genesis today as I was writing a lecture for my religion and pop culture class. I hit shuffle and the first song that kicked in was “Land of Confusion” with it’s awesome Phil Collins-echo-snare intro. I still prefer the Peter Gabriel Genesis stuff to the uber pop the band produced once Phil Collins took over but this is easily one of my favorites (“Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” is still the tops). The song provided some inspiration and perspective to my lecture on how pop music often times reflects what’s happening in the zeitgeist and allows us to see our current situation from a different, and often needed, perspective.

The song is a perspective on the greed and uncertainty that surround the Cold War while still holding out hope for a better future. I remember the music video growing with all the distorted caricatures of famous people but never really got the point… in my defense I was 6. Listening back to the song now there are a lot of parallels to our times of uncertainty and “too many people making too may problems.” I guess that’s something that will never go away as long as there are people. It’s nice to know that in other times of confusion people are inspired to reach out with hope and deal with the mess surrounding them. Now it’s back to work…

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Art + Theology

I just finished up helping with a class on Theology, Art and Film. Interesting loot at art and artists using film as a lens into the life of the artist and the creative process. Of all the classes I help out with, this is the one that I know the least about because I’ve had no professional art training. I like being able to sit in class and learn right along with the students and here the conversation that comes out of our studies.

I loved being able to look at both art and theology as meaning making systems that are both attempting to make sense of life. There is an attempt by each to shed light on what it means to be human and how we interact with the world and with the divine. Art provides opportunities and challenges to our beliefs that are often missed because we approach art with a mindset of aesthetic like or dislike. Most of my favorite art is because of the reaction it inspires inside me. I love the photographer Andres Serrano because of his provocative nature and how the images challenge my preconceptions of the subject matter. (I’ve included some of his work below… be careful if you google search his work) Theology is similar to art in that it words to create meaning and understanding of what it means to be human in a world created by God. Where it differs is that theology has achieved this primarily through reason, following patterns of consistency in order to form a rational systematic theology.

This is where the primary area of tension between art and theology comes into play. We have a tendency to try and fit art into our prescriptions of how the world works when art does not function or live withing the realm of reason. Instead of having our theology inform how we approach and understand art we would be better served to bend our theology to encompass and embrace the arts. Here are some of my favorite works that have challenged my theology and understanding of the divine.


Francis Bacon – Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X


Andres Serrano – Madonna and Child


Marc Chagall – White Crucifixion

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Lent Soundtrack

I have a love/hate relationship with Lent. On one hand it’s my favorite time of the liturgical year because we are confronted with our limitations and mortality, something I find myself thinking about a lot in regards to faith. But Lent can also become watered down with what feel like spiritual new years resolutions or diminished by the knowledge of a coming Easter. I tried giving stuff up, one year I gave up all beverages but water which is quite a sacrifice knowing how much I love coffee and beer. After my time of sacrifice I didn’t get a new spiritual understanding or connection with the divine, instead I was irritable and well hydrated.

So this year I decided to make a play list from one of my favorite musicians and theologians Nick Cave to help encompass what this time means to me. There is a lot of questioning, a lot frustration but also a hope that there is ultimately something beyond our frustration. These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs but ones that inspire me to think and reflect about what it means to be a person of faith when faced with the reality of life. I hope that you all have something to focus your thoughts for these next few weeks and that your process is more than just giving up chocolate. Here’s my Lent soundtrack:

1. Get Ready For Love
2. We Call Upon the Author
3. Supernaturally
4. Spell
5. Wonderful Life
6. O Children
7. Carry Me
8. Abattoir Blues
9. Bring it On
10. The Ship Song
11. Into My Arms
12. Death is Not the End
13. God is in the House

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Burgers, Video Games and the Telecaster

Some really fun things came through Twitter today that I thought you might get a kick out of. The first thing comes from LAWeekly and their quest to try 30 burgers in 30 days. They have been doing this search for a while and just posted their 5 best burgers so far. I haven’t tried any of these but going to a place called the Lazy Ox Canteen for the “Best Char Burger” sounds like a good plan for the weekend.

Tomorrow is the first day of March and so begins the only time people pretend to really care about college basketball. The real fun is when the NCAA tournament field is released and we get to fill out our brackets to prove how much we know but eventually lose in the tournament pool to someone who bases their picks on school mascots. Doug Gottlieb from ESPN radio has provided us with an awesome bracket to vote on to tide us over until selection Sunday, the sports video game bracket. The #1 seeds are hard to argue with; Techno Super Bowl, NHL ’94, NBA Jam and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. I like Punch Out to take the crown but wouldn’t be surprised if NFL Blitz and RBI Baseball upset some of the favorites.

Finally, the Fender Telecaster celebrates it’s 60th birthday and NPR has a great article celebrating the people who have used the Tele to wail. While I love Telecaster users like Johnny Greenwood and Springsteen I decided to post a video of the man that made me love the Tele, Andy Summers.

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