Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Paris Hilton targeted in CD prank

Paris Hilton targeted in CD prank
Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton's album entered the UK chart at number 29 last week
Hundreds of Paris Hilton albums have been tampered with in the latest stunt by "guerrilla artist" Banksy.

Banksy has replaced Hilton's CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For?

He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog's head.

A spokeswoman for Banksy said he had doctored 500 copies of her debut album Paris in 48 record shops across the UK.

She told the BBC News website: "He switched the CDs in store, so he took the old ones out and put his version in."

 It might be that there will be some people who agree with his views on the Paris Hilton album 
HMV spokesman
But he left the original barcode so people could buy the CD without realising it had been interfered with.

Banksy is notorious for his secretive and subversive stunts such as sneaking doctored versions of classic paintings into major art galleries.

His spokeswoman said he had tampered with the CDs in branches of HMV and Virgin as well as independent record stores.

He visited cities including Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and London, she added.

A spokesman for HMV said the chain had recovered seven CDs from two Brighton shops but was unaware that other locations were affected.

Artistic leeway

No customers had complained or returned a doctored version, he said.

"It's not the type of behaviour you'd want to see happening very often," he said.

"I guess you can give an individual such as Banksy a little bit of leeway for his own particular brand of artistic engagement.

"Often people might have a view on something but feel they can't always express it, but it's down to the likes of Banksy to say often what people think about things.

"And it might be that there will be some people who agree with his views on the Paris Hilton album."

A spokesman for Virgin Megastores said staff were searching for affected CDs but it was proving hard to find them all.

"I have to take my hat off - it's a very good stunt," he added.

Monday, July 27, 2009

test-run: intro to archetypes atlas

People are like snowflakes, 

individual, 

irrepeatable, 

unique.


So listen up, Snowflake, your individuality isn’t just something for you to feel good about, it’s a key component of your identity and mission in this world.


That’s right – who you are, in large part, will help you understand what you’re supposed to do.


God made people to look after this world, and to look after one another, and to look after ourselves in relationship to Him.  God designed us as stewards – like butlers for the Earth-mansion – and our primary task in this life is to be obedient to God and His designs for our lives.


What – specifically – are those designs?  Well, we get to choose.  

Based on our personality, 

our experience, 

our learning style and our kind of intelligence, 

based on our spiritual gifts and our sacred pathways, 

we choose what we want to do 

to cooperate with God 

in healing the world 

we choose what we want to do 

for work 

or play 

what our hobbies and our interests are 

who we will love 

and what we will wear.


We get to choose a lot.


But to be good – to be good stewards, good lovers and followers of the God who made us all – every choice we make should be in service to this one ideal: 


healing the world.


The world is sick, 

hurting, 

starving, 

fighting, 

dying, 

deceptive, 

confrontational, 

manipulative, 

commodifying, 

depersonalizing, 

commercializing, 

ugly, 

foul, 

vulgar, 

coarse, 

and icky.


In short, it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.


It’s not the way God made it.


That’s where you come in.


Snowflake.


Your unique gifts and abilities, 

your singular perspective on this world, 

in this life, 

with those around you 

has been given to you by God 

so you can cooperate with Him 

in healing the world 

in setting everything wrong back to rights 

big and small 

near and far 

noticeable and unnoticed 

but present nonetheless.


So this book, Archetypes, is designed to help you figure out who you are and what you should be doing to be obedient to God, to your calling as His steward, and to love every minute of it.


So get crackin’, Snowflake, the world’s going to hell in a hand basket unless you decide to dive in and do your part.  Good news is, once you learn your part you’re gonna love it, you’re gonna rock it, and pretty soon it’ll be you who gets to poke and prod, provoke and plague the newbies about their need to get in the game too.


Cheers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Americans know this will end in schism

Support by US Episcopalians for homosexual clergy is contrary to Anglican faith and tradition. They are leaving the family

In the slow-moving train crash of international Anglicanism, a decision taken in California has finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Both the bishops and deputies (lay and clergy) of TEC knew exactly what they were doing. They were telling the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other “instruments of communion” that they were ignoring their plea for a moratorium on consecrating practising homosexuals as bishops. They were rejecting the two things the Archbishop of Canterbury has named as the pathway to the future — the Windsor Report (2004) and the proposed Covenant (whose aim is to provide a modus operandi for the Anglican Communion). They were formalising the schism they initiated six years ago when they consecrated as bishop a divorced man in an active same-sex relationship, against the Primates’ unanimous statement that this would “tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level”. In Windsor’s language, they have chosen to “walk apart”.

Granted, the TEC resolution indicates a strong willingness to remain within the Anglican Communion. But saying “we want to stay in, but we insist on rewriting the rules” is cynical double-think. We should not be fooled.

Of course, matters didn’t begin with the consecration of Gene Robinson. The floodgates opened several years before, particularly in 1996 when a church court acquitted a bishop who had ordained active homosexuals. Many in TEC have long embraced a theology in which chastity, as universally understood by the wider Christian tradition, has been optional.

That wider tradition always was counter-cultural as well as counter-intuitive. Our supposedly selfish genes crave a variety of sexual possibilities. But Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachers have always insisted that lifelong man-plus-woman marriage is the proper context for sexual intercourse. This is not (as is frequently suggested) an arbitrary rule, dualistic in overtone and killjoy in intention. It is a deep structural reflection of the belief in a creator God who has entered into covenant both with his creation and with his people (who carry forward his purposes for that creation).

Paganism ancient and modern has always found this ethic, and this belief, ridiculous and incredible. But the biblical witness is scarcely confined, as the shrill leader in yesterday’s Times suggests, to a few verses in St Paul. Jesus’s own stern denunciation of sexual immorality would certainly have carried, to his hearers, a clear implied rejection of all sexual behaviour outside heterosexual monogamy. This isn’t a matter of “private response to Scripture” but of the uniform teaching of the whole Bible, of Jesus himself, and of the entire Christian tradition.

The appeal to justice as a way of cutting the ethical knot in favour of including active homosexuals in Christian ministry simply begs the question. Nobody has a right to be ordained: it is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace. The appeal also seriously misrepresents the notion of justice itself, not just in the Christian tradition of Augustine, Aquinas and others, but in the wider philosophical discussion from Aristotle to John Rawls. Justice never means “treating everybody the same way”, but “treating people appropriately”, which involves making distinctions between different people and situations. Justice has never meant “the right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire”.

Such a novel usage would also raise the further question of identity. It is a very recent innovation to consider sexual preferences as a marker of “identity” parallel to, say, being male or female, English or African, rich or poor. Within the “gay community” much postmodern reflection has turned away from “identity” as a modernist fiction. We simply “construct” ourselves from day to day.

We must insist, too, on the distinction between inclination and desire on the one hand and activity on the other — a distinction regularly obscured by references to “homosexual clergy” and so on. We all have all kinds of deep-rooted inclinations and desires. The question is, what shall we do with them? One of the great Prayer Book collects asks God that we may “love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise”. That is always tough, for all of us. Much easier to ask God to command what we already love, and promise what we already desire. But much less like the challenge of the Gospel.

The question then presses: who, in the US, is now in communion with the great majority of the Anglican world? It would be too hasty to answer, the newly formed “province” of the “Anglican Church in North America”. One can sympathise with some of the motivations of these breakaway Episcopalians. But we should not forget the Episcopalian bishops, who, doggedly loyal to their own Church, and to the expressed mind of the wider Communion, voted against the current resolution. Nor should we forget the many parishes and worshippers who take the same stance. There are many American Episcopalians, inside and outside the present TEC, who are eager to sign the proposed Covenant. That aspiration must be honoured.

Contrary to some who have recently adopted the phrase, there is already a “fellowship of confessing Anglicans”. It is called the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is now distancing itself from that fellowship. Ways must be found for all in America who want to be loyal to it, and to scripture, tradition and Jesus, to have that loyalty recognised and affirmed at the highest level.

Tom Wright is Bishop of Durham

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On Women Leaders: The Hierarchy piece

The issue of women in church leadership is about a prickly as a briar in your beachshorts. Everyone who cares about it cares about it a lot. Everyone who neglects to care neglects the key issue for young leaders within Western Evangelicalism.

It’s a big deal.

We’ve been working through this issue at the winds painstakingly for over four years. Currently, we do not permit women elders at the winds. In order for that to change we need unanimous approval from the current elders.

We’re close.

The remaining issue for us concerns the order of creation, or “hierarchical argument” as it’s sometimes called. In this piece, I present and dissect the argument, hopefully moving our Church ball down the theological field a little further.

There are three main scriptures in which the hierarchical argument is rooted. I’ll cite each, explain briefly the corresponding arguments, and then undo some of the confusion. Please note: this paper only deals with the hierarchical argument and not ANY of the other aspects pertaining to women in leadership (such as women teaching, women’s silence in church, authority, or female disciples of Jesus).




Genesis 2. 21-24
The LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman’ for she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.



Now, the basic argument that relies upon this scripture maintains that men are elevated above women because the man was created first, and the women second. Furthermore, God created Adam from the earth but Eve was created by removing a piece from Adam, thereby making Eve only a portion/derivative of God’s first person. Most scholars are careful to notice that Eve’s derivation doesn’t mean she’s worth less than Adam, just that her position in God’s hierarchy is subordinate to that of her husband.

There are some problems with this argument. First, I’m not sure the “order of creation” means everything we think it does about hierarchy, value, or authority. Just because Adam was made first doesn’t mean that Adam has more authority than Eve…at least, the scripture certainly doesn’t indicate that here. Furthermore, if earlier creation was proof of greater authority that would mean that all people are subordinate to every tree, plant, animal, star, and even the earth itself…something that Genesis 1.28 (fill the earth and subdue it) seems to directly contradict.

Additionally, we should probably note that the substance man and woman are made from are irrelevant in their value and position. Man is made from dirt (2.7), but woman from man (2.21-22), yet both are called “one flesh” (2.24). This “one flesh” means there can be no “first flesh” or “lesser flesh”…they’re one…they’re the same.

Finally, it’s important to notice that when God makes Adam a help-meet the Hebrew word (ezer) means something very different than it might at first appear. We typically think of a helpmeet as being a June Cleaver-type personality (apron on, in the kitchen, with muffins fresh from the oven), but that word (ezer) most commonly refers to God Himself…which certainly means that the helper is AT LEAST AS POWERFUL as the person receiving the help. Translators were careful to make this plain when the Bible was first put into Greek (in the LXX, Septuagint, version of Scripture), making sure to translate this passage as a “helper suitable unto himself” rather than just as a helpmeet.




1 Corinthians 11.8, 11-12
For man did not come from woman, but woman from man…In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman, and everything comes from God.



Here St. Paul apparently goes along with the hierarchical argument (in fact, for most scholars, Paul is the first biblical writer to actually make it), saying in verse 3 that the head of every woman is the man. However, we must notice the inclusion of verses 11 + 12 in this same passage which seem to reverse this argument almost completely: for as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman and everything comes from God. In other words, Paul is saying that Adam may have preceded Eve but – ever since – every woman has been necessarily preceding each man. Furthermore, Paul points out that this chicken-before-egg argument misses the point of authority completely because all authority ultimately comes from God anyway.

This is probably a good time to point out that – even though God often seems to pay special attention to things like hierarchy and birth order in the Old Testament – God frequently bypasses these hierarchical patterns. God instead of Esau, for example, used Jacob, even though Jacob was the second-born. Moses, too, was preferred over Aaron (his older brother). David, youngest son of Jesse, was elevated above his father, his family, his country, and even his existing King to serve as God’s chosen representative for Israel. This pattern calls to mind Jesus’ words in Mark 9.35: if anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.




Genesis 3.16
To the woman God said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.



This passage of Scripture describes the curse God lays upon Eve for her disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Of key importance is that her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over (her).

However, this ruling-over should certainly be read as part of the curse resulting from sin, not from God’s original intention for His creation. Furthermore, this ruling-relationship is not something that the woman will desire – she will desire her husband, but in exchange will only receive his rule – it is something that the man will aggressively take from his wife. Still further, we should be very careful about attributing God’s blessing to the man’s actions as part of this curse. God is speaking prophetically, not prescriptively here: the man will rule-over, but not because God wants him too…God’s desire for mutuality has already been made clear in the earlier parts of Genesis. This ruling-over is a distortion of God’s creation, not an addendum to it. God has no desire for the man to rule-over – at least, the text certainly doesn’t say God wants that to happen, only that it will as a result of the sin committed.

As to whether or not this consequence should (or even does) endure, we might wonder about the role of Jesus’ atoning death. Jesus came to restore God’s original creation.


For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
ROMANS 8.20-21


Jesus came to undo the effects of Sin and the Curse upon the world. He came to reverse the work of the Fall and we have been buried with him through baptism and raised now into the life designed for us by God (Romans 6.4). The Curse, then, is not binding for lovers and followers of Jesus – he has freed us from that Curse forever.




There is more than can be said both in favor and dissent concerning the hierarchical argument. This brief summary covers the main points, with more to follow if further discussion based upon the biblical text is required.

Please be in prayer for our elder team as we thoughtfully and respectfully continue to review the issue.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

comedy of errors

i performed a wedding today - jennie timmons became mrs randy sottovia - and it was beautiful.

there were, however, a few gaffs behind the scenes; though, thankfully, the bride and groom never learned about any of my antics.

first, i went to open the communion wine with my ever-handy corkscrew (kept neatly in my glovebox)...only to find it missing...10 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin.

so i began to work the cork out with my car keys...which broke (the keys, not the cork).

when i finally popped the cork (down into the wine, not outwards like i'd planned), i dropped the bottle onto the ground.

i bent down to pick the bottle up (thankfully it hadn't broken) and knocked over my bible in the process, spilling old sermon notes everywhere.

frustrated, i stood up to quickly gather my notes before they blew away...and hit my head on the car door, cutting it open.

finally having gathered all my stuff, i took the wine down to the pier to pour it into the special cup the couple had chosen for the day...except the wine wouldn't pour because the cork kept plugging the hole...so i used my keys to push the cork out of the way, but then the wine traveled down my key ring and spilled all over the white table cloth.

it was now 2 minutes until starting time.

as i began to blot up the wine with my shirtsleeve, the wind took hold of my wedding book and sent all my papers (again!) sailing into the lake behind the pier.

including their wedding vows.

this is when i swore 3 times, quickly, under my breath...only to discover my lapel mic was on.

awesome.

luckily, the PA system was not on, so my lapse in holiness will likely only be recorded for the wedding party to enjoy on their video later.

i ran to my car, grabbed my 5-iron, and fished their vows out of the lake.

then i (re)filled the wine goblet.

then i affixed my holy-pro smile and performed a pretty fantastic ceremony, in which only a select few (scott h, nate, amanda, tim) had any notion that i'd spent the previous 15 minutes as Mr. Bean.



that is all.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Home from Disney

Just finished an absolutely fantastic vacation with Jake, Anna, Carmel, Mom and Dad at Disneyworld. It was super co for my kids to reconnect with twir grandparents, and C and I both loved seeing them rocked by the awesome combo of anticipation and stimulation.

To paraphrase Hugh Jackman in that magic movie where he kept killing himself "it was the look on their faces."

There are those who perceive a Disney vacation to be too commercial, too cliche, and too predictable.

Those people are dumb.

We had an awesome time together and I am incredibly thankful and grateful to God for the privilege.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

wow...so busy

i haven't been much of a blogger lately. of course, these things come in fits and starts, and i tend to be fitting and starting more via twitter these days.

and i've been busy.

super busy.

super home busy.

re-did my basement office, so it's totally dumbledore right now.
re-painted all our patio furniture, so it's totally brooding black and badness right now.
re-acquainted myself with my les paul, so i'm totally jimmy page right now.
re-shocked-the-crap-out-of-my-dog-with-the-new-electric-fence, so he's totally wimpering right now.

yup.

been busy.

going to disneyworld tomorrow for 8 days, then home to do jenny timmons and randy sattovia's wedding outside grand rapids.

so i probably won't blog again for a while.