Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good lecture from "Theology After Google" conference

One of my favorite profs from seminary (Philip Clayton) was instrumental in getting this conference together, which I didn't go to, but was interested in.  I just watched my first lecture from the conference, and was impressed with Barry Taylor's lecture:

h/t Callid Keefe-Perry

Monday, May 17, 2010

My own personal Jesus.

I've always thought that the intersections/battlegrounds between consumer culture and religious culture are  worth my interest.  In ways that have been more fully fleshed out by great minds like Wendell Berry, Jay McDaniel, John Cobb, and Jonny Baker (among others).  But since I am interested in being condensed tonight, I'll just say I think it is one way that the church is in the midst of a new kind of empire in this day and age.  This empire wants to colonize your mental space and enslave your mind as much as the Roman empire cared to colonize your homeland and enslave your body.
When the tension between consumerism and Christianity are expressed in art, I take note.  I saw on Jonny's blog  a link to the new "Mickey Christ" statue unveiled at a Beijing mall.  It speaks quite well to the tension itself, and then the comments below the picture are also enlightening.
The statue reminded me of Banksy's "Christ with Shopping Bags."  Also worth examining.
I recall using the Banksy thing for something one time, and a person in an older generation than my own was worried about promoting the image by using it.  The person's concern evidenced a real difference between generations, I think.  I believe my generation is much more intuitive about irony and less likely to be offended by it.  I realize that is quite a blanket statement, and don't claim that is an airtight theory.  It just seems that irony is a lot more utilized (especially in consumer culture/marketing.) in my generation and younger.  Would you imagine Burger King so gleefully suggesting to the consumer that they are ripping off McDonalds in any other generation?
 Commercials used to be so earnest!  They were the real thing! and now what we have is so smarmy and snorting.  (But, I really do prefer the smarmy snorting kind of commercialism to the one that attempts to tap into the Zeitgeist of a generation and market that to itself......or, is that just what today's brand of consumerism is as well, young grasshopper?)
As you can see, my own mind is colonized.  Commercial taglines like "Give me a break" or "Dr. Pepper, You make the world taste better" frequently echo out of my subconscious and out of my mouth with the gusto of the original jingle singer. As I link up those two references, I imagine that they will resound down into the canyons of your own subconscious too, dear reader.  Woe is us!  Being that this is our mental/spiritual landscape, who are we to deny the Spirit's bucking against the shitstem like an angry bull?  That's what I see happening in those art pieces.  Some people, get caught up in their own sense of indignation about images that confound them and fail to see the truth conveyed--not the Truth That Is, necessarily, but the truth we've made.I don't say that with any sense of "holier than thou" attitude--perhaps the generational thing is simply reflective of a my own genration/culture being more thoroughly warped by consumerism..  Whew, this was supposed to be a brief post....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weird Clouds after a funnel cloud.

We missed one pretty big tornado by about 12 miles tonight.  For someone who lives in the heart of tornado alley, I've never gotten used to them.  My sister has actually been in a couple of pretty bad ones, though I never have.  Fortunately, we kept electricity throughout the storm tonight, so I could watch our trusty weather man give me assurance through the whole thing.  Maybe you've heard of how much we love our weathermen in Oklahoma.  "Just listen to Gary England, baby, he's gonna tell us when things are o.k!
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. After the worst of it had passed (including a big funnel cloud that passed just to the north of Morris, turning the sky a weird color and revealing the cotton ball looking clouds that seemed to be hanging out of the gray sheet), everyone was out in the street looking at the sky.  Some guy I didn't know waved at me as I walked back into the house.  Morris was destroyed by a tornado in 1984, and it's for this reason that we don't have a  pretty downtown with historic brick buildings and all that.  I imagine folks see something like that pass us by, and it reminds them that we are a community.   This has been the first big tornado event of the year here, most of them have sprung up to the east of us.  Isn't it an El Nino year?