Last October a group of us may have not made the best decision. Jordon points to a tragedy as an indication we may have put the novelty of the event ahead of better judgment.
Archives for February 2008
A second “stream poem” inspired by Nude Truths. The project is the product of sisters Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen and Kristi Ylvisaker. Their artwork in this installation turns on the poetry of Denise Levertov. I was particularly taken by #6. The confluence of viewing this installation, reading N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope, and thinking about the Lectionary Texts for this past Sunday form the nexus of this attempt.
Chancing the Pilgrim Sandas
My feet have often been the focus of attention
Attention drawn to a lack of uniform perspective
Perspective fixed by standards of “normal”
“Normal” leading to conformity
Conformity to substance and style determined by others
Others’ measure of and fixed forms intended for preservation
Preservation of a way, not “the” way, a way
A way that for many stands as “the way”
Way of a system once inspired to transform
Transform not so much
Much posturing, much politicking, much pandering
Pandering to others, away from The One
The One who subverts everything
Everything is in range, not just some things but all things
Things considered shielded by present infirmity
Infirmity reaching to a core allegedly untouchable
Untouchable by The One until “That Day”
“That Day” reserved for the climactic
Climactic act as though the life, death, and resurrection of The One is somehow anti-climactic
Anti-climactic due to the depth of damage to the image
Image bearing now shielded until That Day – Some Day
Some day we will find our feet
Feet no longer fixed, and flat
Flat as in unprepared, unresponsive, unmoved
Unmoved by the plight of “the other”
“The Other” who “is us”, who is “not us”
“Not us” but part of us – interrelated
Interrelated by the bearing of The Image
Image obscured by decisions – ours and others
Others’ images to be seen as those bearing the image of The One
The One who first donned the Pilgrim Sandas
Sandals holding infleshed divinity – the Son of Man
Man yet God – incarnated
Incarnated, journeying in and out, down and back
Back – where we hope to go to a future yet unknown
Unknown in its specificity, known in its purpose
Purpose bound in the Pilgrim’s Story
Story giving power to life, giving hope
Hope inspiring the feet, feet now moving
Moving in ways bringing life “the other” – poor and rich
Rich in gentleness and respect
Respect for the image buried
Beneath our ruined journeys
Journeys now shared
Shared by chancing the Pilgrim’s Sandals
Sandals of hope and peace
Peace from the Giver of Peace and His Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage chancing the Pilgrim’s Sandals
In 1987, or 1988, Scott G. wanted to see if we could host a Larry Norman concert in Southwest Dallas. He worked hard. Scott secured Duncanville High School as the venue and the date was set. Not only would we get to host the “Father of Christian Rock” but we would host him at our church the following Sunday morning and share a meal at John G’s home after worship.
The concert was great. We wondered why we could not get a better crowd. Likely due to the fact that Larry did not get much air time on the “Christian” radio stations. It was hard, if not impossible, to find his stuff in stores, especially Christian bookstores.
Sunday came and it was time for Larry to sing. He arrived a bit late. He sang, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” Lunch was fun too.
I was saddened to read Larry went “somewhere beyond the sky.” I felt the same as Michael Spencer who wrote,
I love you, Larry. Family- many are praying for you. He really helped me see Jesus. Thatâ??s about as good as it gets.
Go over and follow the links to Spencer’s posts.
One of the exercises we were invited to engage at Brian’s Everything Must Change Tour came when Linnea charged us with writing a “stream poem.” I enjoy poetry. I could not be confused with a poet. Here is my first attempt.
Endless come the images provoking reform
Reform kept at bay by uncertainty
Uncertainty mounts as the wind carries
Carries us swiftly and unskilled as we look to land
Where conviction intersects action
Action evidencing conviction
Conviction to finally take a step without reservation
Reservations as identity is often confined to labels
Labels intended to stymie, constrict and de-personalize
De-personalize denying the image bearing nature of we humans
Humans made in the image of God to reflect not themselves but the God in whose image made
Made for loving God and loving others
Others without reservation giving illustration of a reservation-less love for God
I met Brian at the very first National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego. Evangelism formed the nexus of his “breakout” during the conference. I can still see the image of the bridge in Central America after a recent hurricane. The photo taken by a National Geographic photographer captured in a photo image what Brian suggested our evangelism efforts had become – a bridge that did not connect people with the Good News. Brian would go on to write More Ready Than You Realize, his description of a way forward with the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
Patty and I attended an “Advance” with Len Sweet who invited Brian and Grace to be the special guests. We spent a couple of days on Orcas Island. Beautiful. Thought-provoking. I will not forget Grace wrestling with the profound implications of thinking afresh about what it means to follow Jesus. The emotion was palpable. She voiced what many around the room were both feeling and thinking.
Since that time we have had a number of encounters over the past years since that retreat – Emergent Conventions, Emergent Gatherings, phone calls and e-mails. Despite the baggage that goes with “Emergent” and the regular criticisms, the deep appreciation for Brian’s honest wrestling with how Jesus may be Good News today stirs me more deeply than the rampant misunderstanding and label mongering that follows.
This evening and tomorrow I am in Dallas for Brian’s Everything Must Change Book Tour at Cliff Temple Baptist Church. I read an advance copy. I met Shawn and Nathan this evening, a couple of fellows from Frisco, TX. We enjoyed several planned “conversations” thinking about a segment of the meeting. We talkd about things we agreed with and those we thought may be over-simplifications. After all, those who attend these things are not automatons who hang on every word. Instead we have continued to think long and hard about issues raised and how we might bring the Good News of Jesus to bear on the world and among those with whom we serve.
My friend Ed loves to use the phrase, “money quote.” Well, one of the money quotes that has implications much broader than the context in which the comment came was, “We need to stop sub-contracting our brains to political parties.” Surely you may see where this quote could also go. Too many have been told what to believe – outsourcing as it were their very convictions to those either considered smarter, older, or deader (if that is a word). Contextualization demands we engage today, it is the eternal moment we live in that needs redeeming from ruin and to be found as it is lost – lost in any number of ways.
We were challenged to think what it would take, what action we may consider that would result in personal change. The one thing I am mulling at this late hour is an abandon to the way of Jesus that leads with passion and gentleness and respect. Put another way, thinking about the implications of Philip Yancey’s, The Jesus I Never Knew, and what Paul told me is that same theme on steroids in Wright’s The Challenge of Jesus, it is time to help people see more than a caricature of Jesus. More than what one Damah Film submittal referred to as, “The White American Jesus.” Leading in this vein will not come without a personal commitment to an abandonment to the way of Jesus that transcends the cultural box, or sub-cultural box, in which Jesus often seems trapped.
For those concerned by this post, this is not the place where the slippery slope gets me. It is not the place to suggest an abandonment of orthodoxy. Rather, it is a re-affirmation that to maintain orthodoxy without right practice is a hollow game leading people away from the transformative work of the Triune God. A game I gave up long ago.