Thursday, February 23, 2017

If I haven't been accused of being an atheist lately, I'm a bad Christian/pastor

If I haven't been accused of being an atheist lately, I'm a bad Christian/pastor.
See this below from Eugene Peterson. ( Related: see also my  "Occasional Atheist; Coffee, Not Jesus" and  "I am in sin if I avoid the appearance of evil"):


The atheist is not always the enemy. Atheists can be among a Christian’s best friends. Atheists, for instance, whose atheism develops out of protest: angry about what is wrong with the world, they are roused to passionate defiance. That a good God permits the birth of crippled children, that a loving God allows rape and torture, that a sovereign God stands aside while the murderous regime of a Genghis Khan or an Adolf Hitler runs its course—such outrageous paradoxes simply cannot be countenanced. So God is eliminated. The removal of God does not reduce the suffering, but it does wipe out the paradox. Such atheism is not the result of logical (or illogical) thought; it is sheer protest. Anger over the suffering and unfairness in the world becomes anger against the God who permits it. Defiance is expressed by denial. Such atheism is commonly full of compassion. It suffers and rages. It is deeply spiritual, in touch with the human condition and eternal values.

Ivan Karamazov is the most famous literary presentation of this atheism of passionate protest
He carried around a notebook in which he copied down every instance of innocent suffering  that he had heard or read of.  There were terrible things in his notebook:accidents and torture, cruelty and agony, malignity and despair.   He specialized in the suffering of innocent children.  The accumulated anecdotes served up an unanswerable indictment against the existence of God.  But he was always talking about the God in whom he did not believe.  He was haunted by the Christ that he rejected.
His very atheism was a grappling with the holy; with love, with meaning.  His atheism had far more spiritual depth than the conventional pietism of people who burn incense to mask the world's stink of suffering and cheerfully sing tunes about the sunshine of God..

..Pastors encounter [a] kind of atheism fairly often.  My response is to probe further.  I ask, "Tell me about this God you don't believe in.  What is he like?'  After listening to what follows, I can usually agree: "I don't believe in that God either.  Given the material the way you present it, I also am an atheist."
-Eugene Peterson, Earth & Altar: The Community of Prayer in a Self-Bound Society, pp. 107-8.
Later refashioned as Where Your Treasure Is: Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Holy Rembrandt!"


portrait
     "I was in England during World War I,  moneyless and miserable.  My wife, who is younger and more courageous than I am, said 'Let's go to a museum for relief.'  There was destruction in the whole world.  Not only were bombs  being dropped on London--but every day we heard of another city being destroyed.  Devastation, ruins, the annihilation of a world becoming poorer and sadder.  That was bitter.  I looked at Rembrandt's last self-portrait: so hideous and broken; so horrible and hopeless; and so wonderfully painted. All at once it came to me: to be able to look at one's fading self in the mirror--see nothing--and paint oneself as the  néant, the nothingness of man. What a miracle, what an image! In that I found courage and new youth. 'Holy Rembrandt,' I said.  Indeed, I owe my life only to the artists."
-Oskar Kokoschka, in  Horst Gerson, Rembrandt Paintings, p. 478.
 Told in Henri Nouwen and Walter Gaffen's "Aging," p. 91

Saturday, January 07, 2017

No Flippies in church


From MennoKnight:

 "No flippies.  Scripture interprets Scripture, sure, but the main focus of the way I study the Bible is to draw meaning from the text at hand.  That means no flipping to other chapters, unless you’re told otherwise.  Most Christians love to toss out the “Scripture interprets Scripture” line, but in practice it becomes an excuse for what I call “concordance exegesis”: using a concordance to interpret the text rather than the nouns and verbs in their various ascending circles of context (sentence, paragraph, pericope, logical argument, book, testament, theology, history, geography).  One should never use one verse to “interpret” another just because they share a common term in an English translation.  Dragging the meaning of terms from one passage, in an entirely different context, into another, is a guaranteed way to misunderstand whatever text is  currently in front of your eyes.  It’s a horrible interpretive habit that has become sanctified simply because it’s common."
link  1 Corinthians 11:2-16 – An interactive Bible Study

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PS.speaking of flippies:

pastor plants a church by flipping a double bird (at Jesus' leading)


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Zappa and Xenochrony: Stangetime synchronizations-- ξένοχρόνi

photo
From Wikipedia:

link
Xenochrony is a studio-based musical technique developed at an unknown date, but possibly as early as the early 1960s, by Frank Zappa, who used it on several albums. Xenochrony is executed by extracting a guitar solo or other musical part from its original context and placing it into a completely different song, in order to create an unexpected but pleasing effect. He said that this was the only way to achieve some rhythms.

..The word derives from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), strange or alien, and χρόνος (chronos), time.
Link
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Article:

 Temporality, Intentionality, and Authenticity in Frank Zappa’s Xenochronous Works
by Andre Mount;
Excerpt:

Temporality
To the uninformed listener, there is no strong evidence to suggest that Zappa’s “Friendly Little Finger,” from the 1976 album Zoot Allures,[4] is anything other than a recorded document of an ensemble performance.

The piece begins with a brief introduction featuring a repeated riff performed on guitar, marimba, and synthesizer. An extended improvisation with electric guitar, bass, and drums fills out the lengthy middle section before the track concludes with a quotation of the Protestant hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves,” arranged for a trio of brass instruments. Despite its apparent normalcy, however, “Friendly Little Finger” combines materials from four distinct sources spanning three years of Zappa’s career.
The primary recording—a guitar solo with a droning bass accompaniment—was recorded in the dressing room of the Hofstra University Playhouse as a warm-up before a performance on October 26, 1975. Several months later, Zappa added an unrelated drum track originally intended for use on a different song (“The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution”[5]) and a second bass part recorded at half speed. These three recordings, all appearing in the middle solo section, comprise the xenochronous core of the piece. To this, Zappa superimposed two additional recordings. The introduction comes from the same session as the added bass part, and the coda was recorded several years earlier, during a session for the song “Wonderful Wino.”
As Example 1 makes clear, the result of Zappa’s editing is a moderately dense network of temporally disjunct recordings. How is it that such seemingly disparate recordings happened to come together in this way? What inspired Zappa to take such an approach to manipulating recorded sound? Of course, examples of overdubbing in American popular music can be found at least as far back as the 1940s—recall Sidney Bechet’s One Man Band recordings in which each instrument was performed separately by Bechet himself. But while such tricks had become old hat by the mid 1970s, xenochrony stands out for it also has obvious ties to the twentieth-century art-music avant-garde.
Despite his continuing reputation as a popular musician, Zappa was remarkably well read in the theoretical discourse surrounding avant-garde art music, particularly with regards to musique concrète and tape music. He expressed an ongoing interest in John Cage’s chance operations, for example, trying them out for himself by physically cutting recorded tapes and rearranging the pieces at random for the 1968 album Lumpy Gravy.[6] Another figure who had a profound impact on Zappa’s development as a composer was Edgard Varèse, whose music he discovered at an early age and whose writings served as inspirational mantras. Given this fascination with the avant-garde, xenochrony may be best understood as a conscious attempt by Zappa to model himself on these influential figures. His own approach to music and composition would therefore require an analogous theoretical foundation.
Xenochrony is closely tied to Zappa’s conception of temporality. Zappa often described time as a simultaneity, with all events occurring at once instead of chronologically. Toward the end of his life, in an oft-quoted conversation with cartoonist Matt Groening, Zappa explained that the idea was rooted in physics:
I think of time as a spherical constant, which means that everything is happening all the time. […] They [human beings] take a linear approach to it, slice it in segments, and then hop from segment to segment to segment until they die, and to me that is a pretty inefficient way of preparing a mechanical ground base for physics. That’s one of the reasons why I think physics doesn’t work. When you have contradictory things in physics, one of the reasons they became contradictory is because the formulas are tied to a concept of time that isn’t the proper model.[7]
 continued here


----------------------------------------------- Interview:

Bob Marshall: In your work with "xenochrony", are you satirizing editing, the way you put things together, besides the technical innovation of doing it? 

Frank Zappa: "Xenochrony" means strange synchronizations. Am I satirizing editing? I don't know whether the technical process of editing is enough of a commonly understood phenomenon that you could satirize it. You can't made a joke about something that people don't know exists. So, I would say that's not part of it. 

Bob Marshall: How would you relate "xenochrony" to the time/rate thing we discussed earlier? 

Frank Zappa: Well, a classic "xenochrony" piece would be "Rubber Shirt", which is a song on the SHEIK YERBOUTI album. It takes a drum set part that was added to a song at one tempo. The drummer was instructed to play along with this one particular thing in a certain time signature, eleven-four, and that drum set part was extracted like a little piece of DNA from that master tape and put over here into this little cubicle. And then the bass part, which was designed to play along with another song at another speed, another rate in another time signature, four-four, that was removed from that master tape and put over here, and then the two were sandwiched together. And so the musical result is the result of two musicians, who were never in the same room at the same time, playing at two different rates in two different moods for two different purposes, when blended together, yielding a third result which is musical and synchronizes in a strange way. That's xenochrony. And I've done that on a number of tracks. 

Bob Marshall: What is the idea behind that? Or is it just an interesting sound? 

Frank Zappa: What is the idea behind it? Suppose you were a composer and you had the idea that you wanted to have a drum set playing expressively and intuitively, eleven-four, at a certain tempo while an electric bass player is doing exactly the same thing in another tempo in another time signature, and you want them to do this live on stage and get a good performance. You won't get it. You can't. You can ask for it, but it won't happen. There's only one way to hear that, and that's to do what I did. I put two pieces of tape together. 

Gerald Fialka: Do you realize it by chance though? Or do you say "I'm going to try this"? 

Frank Zappa: That's what I do every day. I'm going to try this, and the stuff that works you keep and the stuff that doesn't you throw it away. I thought that one worked. That's why it's on the record  Link

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Video



"The Hell-Raiser":New Yorker Documentary on Rob Bell (13 min)


Saturday, December 24, 2016

kenosis in transitional/liminal space

 Martha Reineke in René Girard and Creative Mimesis:


Winnicott's work proves useful at this juncture.  As his work is interpreted by Ulanov, religion is  an environment "provided by a God who holds us in being."  This environment is healing to humans because each human's infancy and childhood inevitably has included gaps which have led them to falter in their reconnoitering of transitional space.  Ulanov finds Julian of Norwich's words descriptive of God's work: God "knits" humans into divine being, "oneing" them into God's being.  Likened to a mother, God stays with humans through all their ruthless attacks, surviving these attacks
"out of her own resilience" and, remaining empathetic, "mothering us into one whole persons living through her shared experience with us."


..Winicott's vision, Ulanov claims, has profound theological implications. She understands that “good enough parents” can facilitate in humans the development of a capacity for a capacity for symbol-making that supports creative explorations of being within transitional space ...In conversion,
new relationship is forged by a God who "eternally, graciously, enduringly offers relationship."  Ulanov describes in precise ways  how the Christian community of faith supports transitional space.

To meet God within this space, one must undergo kenōsis, emptying oneself in ways that mirror Christ's emptying himself in order to enter into human life. -René Girard and Creative Mimesis
pp. 45-6, link

Thursday, December 22, 2016

update on Sonya...and the "I'm a mess but I'm in love" guy

Those poor doctors and others who predicted Sonya Wainscott
would be dead by now.. Sorry, they don't know my wife the warrior-princess . It looks to be a lot of years until that day .

That doesn't mean it's been easy on me , and she would be the first to tell you that I need prayer and love big time . I'm a mess but I'm in love ! Why do I need prayer? Well, let me answer with one of my favorite The 77s/ Michael Roe lyrics: "I know your strength is in my weakness/But my weakness is gettin' a little strong" (song below).

Thanks to everyone for praying . Here below is a new update on St. Sonya Wainscott and Sonya Wainscott's Healing from Cancer: prayer and fundraiser:

https://www.youcaring.com/sonya-wainscott-488471