Friday Electronic Music Blogging

fat meloncholy

Many people in blog land have 'special' posts on Friday. Some people do "Friday Cat Blogging," and others do some very rad "Friday Metal Blogging." I'm going to see if I can try my hand at posting various videos having to do with electronic music and electronic music creation, seeing as I listen to far too much of it and have at times dabbled, myself.

This video is of 'Spyrofunk' using FL Studio to do a simple, but highly impressive scratch by Portishead.

Moving to a new blog: update your links!

The day has come. I am leaving livejournal. But, I'm not leaving blogging. And, I'm not ditching my LJ friends list, either. So, if you'd like to keep reading my stuff, follow me over here:

And my RSS feed that you need to update (if you use feeds), is:

Or, if you'd rather just syndicate me through your LiveJournal friend's list, I've made a syndicated feed account:


See you over there!



Sunrise of the 80's

Lots of Robots
Absolutely gorgeous 3D artwork:
Sunrise of the 80’s- After the end of the year 2006, I had more free time to spend thanusual so I started to work on my new personal project. I call it“Sunrise of the 80’s”. It took me about 3 weeks of work, mainly duringthe nights and creative moments of the short winter days. In thebeginning it was planned as night street scene but during one week ofplaying with lighting and testing I reached sunrise once again …

More here. Check out, especially, 'Street of Memories' and 'Heritage'.


Telling God's Story

abstract: stained glass
Check out Jamie Smith's very kind words about my pastor's upcoming book called Telling God's Story, which is coming out in May. Also, check out the other blurbs by Ray Anderson, Stanley Hauerwas, Marva Dawn, Brent Laytham, and Ron Benefiel.

This book on preaching is slated for May 2007.

I had the opportunity to see Eugene Peterson today during PLNU's annual Writers Symposium by the sea. Peterson is most well-known for his translations of the Bible called 'The Message,' although he's more properly known in pastor circles as somebody who publishes much more on the topic of pastoring. I don't have the time to recount all the wonderful and funny things that Peterson talked about today, but he focused a lot on narrative and story for pastoring. Great connections between what these two gifted people are doing in witness to Christ through story-telling. When it is posted, I'll try and remember to post a link to the video to today's and yesterday's event (Anne Lamott was here yesterday) on the UCSD TV website.


Flower Bee
From A GodSpy interview with William T. Cavanaugh:
GODSPY: What do you think best characterizes the essence of your thought?

Cavanaugh: What I'm trying to do is make connections between Sunday on the one hand and Monday through Friday on the other. In other words, to make connections between Church life--especially the Eucharist-and everyday life. I want to bridge the gap that shouldn't be there but is.

How are you trying to bridge the gap?

I reflect on mundane things like consumerism, politics, that sort of stuff, all through the lens of liturgy. That's my main preoccupation.


You've written that Catholics should draw on the liturgy to inform how they participate in political life. How does that work?

I gave a talk at Notre Dame last year on the social meaning of the Eucharist. The first thing I said was, "If I tell what the social meaning of the Eucharist is, you have to promise me you won't stop going to Mass." The point being, if you reduce the liturgy to a meaning, why keep doing it once you've got the meaning down?

Unfortunately people fall into a "this means that" sort of approach when they're trying to connect the liturgy to everyday life. Like the Offering means we should give of our gifts, and that kind of thing. That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the liturgy as a deeper formation of how we see the world and how we act in the world. It's also an invitation to see the Church as a body, the Body of Christ, which is a kind of political and public body in the world, not just a private club.

One example might be the way the Body of Christ transcends national boundaries. We should come to see people all over the world as fellow members of the Body. We should understand that this is more determinative than the borders of whatever nation we happen to live in. For us, it's more determinative that we're members of the Body of Christ, not citizens of the United States of America. Our primary loyalty is to Christ. All other loyalties are secondary, like our loyalties to the nation we live in and all those other things.

Note the the usual response that follows, fretting about theocracy (and not without reason, mind you). Or, charitably, perhaps like my previous post, maybe the interviewer acts as a devil's advocate -style interlocutor, much like how Kierkegaard (or take your pick from 19th-century writers, or, er, Socrates) often writes:
It almost sounds like you're advocating a kind of Catholic theocracy. Isn't our loyalty to the Church on the level of faith and morals, and doesn't the political sphere have its own autonomy, "render unto Caesar" and all that?

No, nothing like a theocracy, if that means Church control of the state. The Church should not seek the means of coercion, and should do penance for seeking it in the past. The only proper sense of "theocracy" is the simple recognition that God rules the world.

I think people misread the "Caesar's coin" episode in the Gospel as if Jesus were setting up some kind of modern division of labor between God and Caesar. The coin Jesus was looking at, after all, would have borne the inscription "Tiberius, Son of the Divine Augustus." That is, the emperor claimed to be Son of God. Jesus did not wish to divvy the world up between two Gods. "The whole earth is mine," says the Lord (Ex. 19:5). As Dorothy Day said, "If you give to God what is God's, there is nothing left for Caesar."

And when asked, "What sorts of choices have you made in your own life that reflect your critique [of negative freedom and globalization]?" Cavanaugh says,
We're not perfect, but my wife and I really try to do something as a family. There are a lot of opportunities here in the Twin Cities. We belong to a co-op and also own a share of a community supported farm. There's another farm co-op of family farms that markets through our church where we buy things like eggs and cheese each month. We buy fair trade and try to reduce consumption as much as possible. I bicycle to work, we only have one car, and we've insulated the house. We don't watch much TV, don't have cable, no internet at home, you know, that sort of thing. And we always try to buy local, even though there are many times when you can't. Finding a pair of shoes that aren't made in China or Thailand takes a lot of effort. But we try to do these things as part of our spiritual life. It's part of our spiritual practice to make these concrete, everyday sacramental choices.

This is an extremely readable interview, and highly recommended. (via la nouvelle théologie)

The appeasement of 'the public square'

abstract: stained glass
Well, I hesitate to blog about this, because it touches on some extremely heated discussions over the past few years up until the present, but here goes.

First, exhibit A:
John Edwards creates consensus!, posted by Carl Olson, author and blogger at the Ignatius Press' blog called "Insight Scoop." If you're bored and are not familiar with the debate thus far, there are plenty of links offered by Carl to catch up.

Second, exhibit B:
Donohue and the Jews, a blog post by Dave Neiwert at the blog Orcinus, a blog that tirelessly reports on hate crimes, pseudo-fascism, and eliminationalist rhetoric in America.

Now, let's see if I can be very careful about this. I love both of these blogs. Concerning Ignatius Insight, Roman Catholicism, etc.: while I am what might be described as a "Eucharist- and Christ-centred Nazarene," I am not, as a protestant, anti-Catholic. Those who know me know that I have great Roman Catholic friends and have blogged over the past couple years about my involvement with friendships with Catholics and ecumenical talks -- especially recently. Also, to get some "stances" out of the way, I am completely pro-life in the "whole fabric of life" sense of the term: for having children (thus, against abortion), and for harmonious, active peace in the world (thus, a non-passive pacifist against war: see Hauerwas, Yoder, et. al. on this). All life is a precious gift from God, and it is not ours to decide what we want to do with it. And, concerning Carl Olson, I believe strongly that his apologetic efforts in his books Will Catholics Be Left Behind? and The Da Vinci Hoax are invaluable services to the church catholic.

Concerning Dave Neiwert and the work he does on his blog and in his books, I think he also offers a wonderful service to those concerned about eliminationalistic rhetoric on the airwaves. He tirelessly documents the continuing sins of things that should "never happen again": the Japanese internment during WWII and those that continue to want to get rid of the current 'undesireables' of today in similar situations (e.g. Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, et. al.); hate crimes continued in parts of the country enacted through the preservation of some arbitrary barrier whether it be race, borders (thus, immigrants), anti-Muslim hate crimes; etc. His series on Newspeak, Pseudo-Fascism, and Eliminationalism are carefully documented historical looks of where America has been, what it's doing now, and how pervasive elements within society continue to reactively spread hate, lies, and violence. His work is not to be missed because most people just do not report about it or even care.

But, I am disappointed in two of my favourite bloggers tonight.

All this reactive nonsense dealing in 'the public square' really clouds people's vision, I think. Yes, I think the comments the Jonathan Edward's hired assistants were execrable. Yes, Mel Gibson, his father, and their schismatic form of Catholicism (and I mean this quite seriously that he is a schismatic) have continued to prove that sadly, he and they are vehemently anti-semitic.

But what is this all about? Why are people so up in arms about this stuff? Why do people care? There are a lot more anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic fish in the sea. Everybody is a bigot. Bill Donohue is a bigot. Mel Gibson is a bigot. John Edward's assistants are bigots. Rush Limbaugh is a bigot. Da Vinci code is bigoted. Pat Robertson is a bigot. This is all true, and seriously so. But that word has lost all meaning at this point, don't you think?

Aren't we all sinners?

"Oh but wait a second, Eric, you can't bring 'sin talk' into this! We're talking about The Passion of the Christ and a Presidential campaign here. These are important issues about a very popular movie and about a potential presidency. That rhetoric of sin misses the point."

Oh, does it now? (i.e. ORLY?) What point?

"The point is that first, you can't chaulk this stuff up to 'sin' in the public sphere, and second, you sound an awful lot like you're just trying to gloss over the issue and give everybody a pass! Which side are you on in this? Either you're a liberal defending Edwards and the likes of Dave Neiwert or your a theo-con defending the Roman Catholic church, Mel Gibson, and Rush Limbaugh!"

Oh, am I? I'm not saying we should keep sinning: by no means! What I'm talking about here is this primacy of 'the public sphere' and how it distracts us away from what is really important: loving God with all our being and loving our neighbor (including our enemy) as ourself.

"Oh, you can't just simplify it down to that!"

Why can't I? I'm trying to change the question here. My question goes something like this: How can we most faithfully love and worship the Triune God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourself, which includes loving our enemy? I'm not asking "how can we best" do these things, because God does not play favorites, but meets us each where we are in our varying times and contexts. In engaging in the works of mercy by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the shelter-less, being with the sick, and visiting the prisoner, I don't see what a presidential hopeful and some bigoted assistants have much to do with this being faithful.

"But presidents make decisions on the federal level that affect all of this so you can't say that he has nothing to do with this."

Sure I can. Even if, heaven forbid, the president declared that we couldn't feed the poor, etc., we'd still find a way to be faithful. We only serve one master, and it isn't Caesar. Even the local 'Republican' leadership in San Diego has done much to hinder our efforts to feed the poor and clothe the naked in the downtown area, yet the church I am a member of barely knows how to give out all the food donations we know receive. We do our best to submit to authority, but that is not equal to obedience. A Christians faithfulness is never determined by his or her worldly liberty. I am in no way advocating for mass incarceration, but we easily forget that so much of the New Testament was written from prison! One's true liberty is always found in their faithfulness to the Father by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Instead, the question that dominates the airwaves and the blogosphere goes something like this: because these public things like the office of the presidency, Hollywood movies* have such an [top-down] 'impact' on life in America, how can we do our best to rally around or against these hotly-debated topics so that we can control the conversation? Admittedly, this is only implicitly asked, but I'm convinced it is there -- why else would people get up in arms about stupid movies, lite-bright marketing tactics in Boston, or even whether or not we demand that some presidential hopeful aid's get fired? Get rid of them! Get rid of Mel Gibson! [Dave Neiwert never says this, but I'm not sure what he'd offer to help the Gibsons.] Put those 'hoax' device planters who aren't taking their actions 'seriously' in prison and make the Cartoon Network pay! Glad the President of the Cartoon Network resigned -- good riddance! Fire those bigotted aids of Edwards'! Don't try to offer them the transformative love of Christ!

Mix that in with varying degrees of blogger snark, malice, the anonymity that the internet often provides, and everybody just ends up pissed at each other.

"So you just want everybody to hold hands and sing 'Koom-bai-yah'?!"

Don't put words in my mouth. And no. Heck no. No, instead, I might begin by offering the analysis of William Cavanaugh up on this. His essay called "The City: Beyond Secular Parodies" offers a great analysis of what happens when people start putting 'liberty' before love, or as John Milbank has put it elsewhere, the contract before the gift. The gift does not anull the contract, nor does love anull liberty (as critics seem to repeatedly [mis]argue), but when these things are rightly ordered, the contract and liberty are radically transformed in light of Christ. So, as Cavanaugh puts it, instead of being a Church-facing people, we Christians have instead become a stateward-facing people.

Thus, we don't resolve things in light of our baptism in Christ or in reconciliation as we partake of the Eucharist, but instead we look to the 'public sphere' to hash these things out: sue your neighbor, or get sued and don't reconcile and end up in prison "until you have paid the last penny" (Matthew 5:23-26)**; hash it out on 24-hour cable networks over a movie about Christ, or about celebrities and their anti-Semitism, or about any number of controversies about the state, or the federal government, or whatever is the hot-button issue. No wonder people are pissed that the news networks wouldn't stop covering the death of Anna Nicole Smith -- they wanted to (rightly) switch back to the "things that matter" which are, you know, all the presidential hopefuls announcing their candidacy.

Not that any of these things aren't important. Of course they are important. But, so many Christians--Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Othodox alike--place so much primacy on this stuff that they forget to be Christian. Is Christianity really something that is enacted through laws, movies, executive fiat, and even dare I say, Christian flags?*** Or, is Christianity something that, regardless of where one finds oneself, a faith in Christ to love the "least of these", the downtrodden, and the poor? As my friend Charlie just reminded us, and as my friend Dan continues to remind us, we Christians bear witness to a kingdom of God where the last shall be first and the first shall be last, and where we are to journey alongside the exiles of our society in mercy and love, bearing each other's burdens and forgiving one another along the way.

"But Eric, in making this post, aren't you, in turn, reacting to the events in the 'public sphere' and thus letting it dictate you, albeit negatively?"

Well, yes, to a degree, and that's why I hardly post about this stuff anymore. But sometimes people think my silence is consent or think I don't care, or think I'm not "being responsible" or am giving into the "sectarian temptation," all of which are false. All responsibility is a responsibility toward something or someone, and I'm trying to remind Christians (including myself!) that we need to change the question about responsibility-- or better yet, allegiance and faithfulness first to God and to God's church is the question that should order our lives.

I think a Karl Barth quotation would round out what I am trying to say rather well. Karl Barth once said to
take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible." Newspapers, he says, are so important that "I always pray for the sick, the poor, journalists, authorities of the state and the church--in that order. Journalists form public opinion. They hold terribly important positions. Nevertheless, a theologian should never be formed by theworld around him--either East or West. He should make it his vocation to show both East and West that they can live without a clash. Where the peace of God is proclaimed, there peace on earth is implicit. Have we forgotten the Christmas message?

* How ironic is that it is often that those constantly bashing Hollywood and how 'secular' it is get extemely defensive about the supposedly 'Christian' stuff that does come out of Hollywood from time to time? Could it be that we are more committed to celebrity worship than we are to Christ worship? See Charlie Pardue's fantastic post on this here: Celebrity-Christians.

** It is interesting here that Christ assumes that the people he is talking to are not the ones doing the accusing (or suing).

*** Why do Christians even need Christian flags? They're already inspired by the American flag as it is, and even then, 99 times out of 100 they're flown lower than the American flag. And even considering all that, why would a Christian need a flag anyway? Seems more of a Constantinian impulse anyway, does it not? Are we not known for our love? (or at least we should be, even though we have continually messed this up)

Some Movies I Saw

fat meloncholy
  • The Island, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, directed by Michael Bay. This movie was recommended by my brother Andrew, and I really enjoyed it. I'm not a fan of all Michael Bay films -- *cough* pearl harbor, armageddon *cough* -- but this one was quite enjoyable. Sure, it had some extended chase scenes that didn't particularly move the story along, but even those were done pretty well. It was amazing to see the lengths to which the wealthy will go to protect their mortality here on earth. What I loved about this one was that it was a modern-day retelling of Plato's allegory of the cave. I hope that's not giving away too much, but there are certain scenes in the movie that confirmed this for me (THX 1138 is like this as well). But this time, instead of shadows and forms, it's a tale of the horrors of cloning. Great Sci-Fi / Action.

  • Pan's Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro. Wow, what a striking, amazing film. Yes, don't take your children to this movie (or even children who don't belong to you), for it is a very dark fantasy tale. My only regret is that I wish I knew more of the history about the Spanish Civil War going into the film, but it is clear that that is not required to witness the violence of the real world in this movie. The main character Ofelia is a girl with a hyper-active imagination, yet the fantasy world that she encounters is not just a product of her mind. It seems like the fantasy world of faun's, pale men, and faeries is much more real than the monsters of reality. I love Guillermo del Toro's work, but this is nothing like Hellboy. It's a much more mature and horrific look at the evils of humanity, and how an imaginative narrative can help lead us away from those horrors. Although, it didn't seem like Ofelia was 'fleeing' from reality, as much of what she was doing in the fantasy world was to help the 'real' world (i.e. her pregnant mother).

    I can't help but engage in some meta-review, here. Three things. First, I was stoked to see that one of my favourite animators of all time, Krishnamurti Costa, animated some of the main creatures in the movie. It reminded me a bit of the joy I felt when I found out that Neil Blevins began working for Pixar. Second, it just so happened that while I was waiting for the movie to start while reading Heidegger's "Letter on Humanism" in the dimly-lit theatre, my philosophy professor (who assigned the Heidegger) and her husband sat right in front of me -- perhaps some of the most insightful people to talk about such a movie, which I only did briefly with my professor yesterday. And lastly, I've got to link to Christianity Today's review of this movie. It's a rather surprising review, perhaps because in contrast to Landoverbaptist's wonderful parodies of typical "Christian movie reviews," CT provides a rather mature and careful look at this disturbing and beautiful movie.

  • Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Clive Owen. This came also as a highly recommended, and I saw this with Tiana. This was an excellent movie about England in the year 2027 when about 18 years earlier, the entire world went infertile. In the opening scenes, we see the news that the youngest person on earth has just died, and many of the people are giving up hope. This is a war-torn world and in this distopia, England fashions itself much like the U.S. is these days as the last bastion of peace and freedom, but we soon see that this is hardly the case. There is still much violence, and like the U.S., mass hatred of 'immigrants' who are never treated first as human beings, but always as 'illegals'. People are in cages everywhere and there are vigilante groups vying for power. Yet, as the main character soon finds out, there is one person found to be pregant, but even being near this person is a deadly existence, as everybody wants her for some sort of politcal gain. Like my friend Rusty (minor spoilers in link), my favorite scene was not the final one, but one near the end.

    From a cinematography standpoint, this movie was amazing. I loved that all the future technology depicted in the film was very subtly embedded within the shots and didn't try to over-do it. There were also some shots that were very long (without cuts) that made the scenes feel more real -- not something you see very often these days, either. From the director of Harry Potter 3 and Y Tu Mama Tambien, no less -- brilliant!


Ezekiel 4:12 Bread!

I'm getting a kick out of this. Has anybody seen that Ezekiel 4:9 bread? I have the 'Low Sodium' loaf sitting next to me. I actually think it's good stuff. However, the former fundamentalist in me remembers that God did not give Ezekiel a 'Low Sodium' recipe. Ehem.

Also, it appears that there is a 'Sesame' version as well:

But, this guy takes issue with that. Not only was sesame not part of the original extra tasty cripsy recipe, he suggests they show the full context of the verse and create the following:

At least this crap is organic.

Voltaire tries not to vomit on Ezekiel

night somber
Cited in Margaret S. Odell, Ezekiel: Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary, p. 73:
Here, my brethren, is one of those lovely and striking prophecies: the great rophet Ezekiel saw the northern gale, and four animals, and wheels of chrysolite all full of eyes, and the Eternal said to him: "Arise, eat a book, and then go off."

The Eternal orders him to sleep for three hundred and ninety days on his left side, and then forty on the right side. The Eternal ties him up withe ropes; certainly this prophet was a man who should have been tied up--but we are not yet finished. Can I repeat without vomiting what God commands Ezekiel to do? I must do it. God commands him to eat barley bread cooked with shit. Is it credible that the filthiest scoundrel of our time could imagine such excremental rubbish? Yes, my brethren, the prophet eats his barley bread with his own execrement: he complains that this breakfast disgusts him a little and God, as a conciliatory gesture, permits him to mix his bread with cow dung instead. Here then is a prototype, a prefiguration of the church of Jesus Christ.

Voltaire, "Sermon of the Fifty," trans. Peter Gay, in Deism: An Anthology (ed. Peter Gay; Princeton, Van Nostrand, 1968), 152-3.

My prof opened up the semester reading this quote. That pretty much sums up just some of the nuttiness in this book. And this, also on Ezekiel:
"There is much in this book which is very mysterious, especially in the beginning and latter end of it."

-John Wesley (Explanatory Notes, 2281)


Lindbeck After Wittgenstein?

Church and Pomo
Over at the Church and Postmodern Culture blog, I've posted an excerpt from a paper I wrote last semester that attempted to tease out some of the things I mentioned in my previous post on Lindbeck, Burrell, and Hauerwas. Namely, that Lindbeck's The Nature of Doctrine and his subsequent use of Wittgenstein cannot be rightly conceived apart from his life's work on Christian unity. It was fun to hear at the conference that Lindbeck affirmed that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification as well as much of his other work is very much in the form of Thomas' quaestionis in his Summa. While I don't dig into this in a tit-for-tat manner concerning that form, I think even cursory looks at his work exemplify this, and this is where I, taking pastor John Wright's lead, would emphasis the 'Thomist' in Lindbeck's self-described "Wittgensteinian-Thomism."

But heck, what do I know apart from my community, so if you feel so inclined, go over to C&P and drop me a comment with criticisms, suggestions, comments, or any insights y'all think I might be missing. It's a bit long (for casual blog reading), and it's also only an excerpt of three major sections from the paper (thus even longer), so if you're interested and don't mind the fuller treatment, I've also posted the full thing over there. Danke Schön.

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