Katie and I have been walking at the Spanish Banks every night (since they're about 4 min from our apartment by car) and tonight we decided to take the camera and sit on the beach as the tides came in-- so I added some new pictures in our Vancouver album.
My summer courses end tomorrow and we are headed to Michigan to meet up with my family for vacation. In all our summer madness before we moved to Vancouver, it seemed like we saw everyone except my family. It will be nice to hang with my sister, brother-in-law, & nephew, & my folks. PLUS-- we get to see THE ISEMANS on Saturday.
I don't know what kind of internet access I'll have while we're gone, so things here could be spotty. Hope everyone has a great weekend.
For my Ecclesiastes and Film class we watched thirteen films and put them in dialogue with themes from the book of Ecclesiastes. The exercise was exceptionally stimulating both spiritually and intellectually. I fell in love with directors like Kieslowski, gained a deeper appreciation for directors like P.T. Anderson and Peter Weir (even though his films aren't my favorite). Below are my favorite films-- some for their visual appeal and the brilliant artistic creativity; some for the profound theological questions they raise; some for both.
Also, Katie and I were fortunate enough to see Born Into Brothels in a theater here in Vancouver. Joe Thorn has written an excellent piece on the documentary here, and I highly recommend checking out both the film (currently available on DVD) and the Kids With Cameras website.
For those of you that are still have the forge paper issue in your mind, Stephen Said has an excellent interview with Alan Hirsch here. Said also indicates that Hirsch has committed to a regular podcast on his blog, so grab his feed and look out for more in the future.
Many people have emailed me and asked me why I haven't posted a review of the Sufjan Stevens show Katie and I went to last week. I have several reasons for this beyond the fervency with which Gordon Fee lectures:
I have not yet learned how to speak of things that I'm passionate about without using piles and piles of superlatives. Repeatedly saying that Sufjan is one of the most creative musicians I have ever seen; that his show was the most phenomenal, colorful, brilliant, etc. will only lead people to think I have a man-crush on Sufjan (which Katie suggests I do).
Sufjan now has a fansite. I don't want to detract from their traffic. A quick Google search will show that there is no stop to the proliferation of blog entries singing Sufjan's praises. They write better than I do. Here, for example, is a Vancouver music blog that makes some comments on the show.
There are more reasons...
However, I did want to point your attention to Sufjan's appearance on KCRW's show 'Morning Becomes Eclectic.' Several of the Illinoisemakers appear alongside Sufjan(though they are much more subdued in the radio set than they were when we saw them). The appearance includes interviews interspersed within a six song set:
“Casimir Pulaski Day,” “The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts,” “Chicago,” “John Wayne Gacy Jr,” “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “Jacksonville.”
You can watch the entire appearance (clocking in at just under 40 min) here
Now comes the pitch: McCoy has taken my advice and is reportedly loving his new record. The weekend is almost here, you have worked hard, summer is on its way out the door. Go out and buy a Sufjan record
UPDATE :: I just had this excellent review from Paste Magazine emailed to me which nails Illinois.
Byron Borger is the owner of Hearts & Minds bookstore in Dallastown, PA (small book shops & tobacconists are two rare breeds that I love deeply). Byron has started a blog for brief notes/blurbs/reviews of his books as a way to showcase his stock. Yesterday, he decided to let people eavesdrop as he talked to other customers about books...and in return we get The Missional Church-- an amazing list of book and comments on missional ecclesiology and a mission shaped church.
If the internet is telling the truth in this regard, I'm in trouble. The Cafeine Web. Be sure to check out the Cafeine Calculator, and their interesting study on the effects of various substances on Spiders.
The article puts Driscoll's book, Radical Reformission, in dialogue with two other current books. The brief article, hardly a full-scale review, is a quick read. Also interesting in the article is Rex Miller's book, The Millennium Matrix.
In his excellent article, Why Your Church Needs Conflict, Eddy Hall explains the necessary productive and generative roles that conflict should play within the community of faith. Furthermore, Hall goes on to (rightly) argue that churches who avoid conflict not only miss out on the momentum and creativity that flow out of well-pastored conflict-- they will grow increasingly dysfunctional.
Relational conflict is what the Bible calls sin," reads a discipling manual I came across recently. That says it pretty straight, doesn't it? But there's a basic problem with this take on things: It's not true. While, of course, sin does breed some conflicts, others grow out of nothing more sinister than differences in experience or personality or even spiritual gifts.
Not all conflict is bad. Much tension is life-giving--inviting us to grow, learn, or develop intimacy. Churches that habitually run from conflict (and there are lots of them) don't just miss out on these growth opportunities; they end up sick.
Hall argues that in the absence of conflict, the church will make lowest common denominator decisions; settle for shallow relationships; sink into irrelevance; and live in complacency.
"One of the most important responsibilities of church leadership", I said, "is to create tension. And you do that by making your people highly conscious of the gap between the way the church is and how God wants it to be. Make your people so aware of the something more that God is calling them to be that they can no longer be content with the way things are." In a complacent church, it is the job of the leaders to increase frustration, to introduce conflict.