Sunday, January 22, 2006

Worship: the splattered paint canvas.

And if beauty is hard or impossible to describe where does that leave creativity?

Some would say that creativity is as impulsive and essential as breathing. Really? Maybe. Probably not. I would say that it is more important then breathing.

What is life? It is only the result of a creative process of combining carbon and protein into long twisted hexagonal chains of genetic information that make up a staggering 100% of carbon based life which, I’m told, excludes Pam Anderson, Twinkies, and paint. Life. A byproduct of creativity. Interesting to think about isn’t it? I trust you find it fascinating.

It is no wonder people are trying to bring back the baby mullet, jump canyons on motorcycles, wear silk underwear, write follow-up film scripts to blockbuster films, and photograph pregnant nudes and hang them – the photographs - in coffee shops (which was an unusually stimulating caffeinated experience for me). Why are such tragedy’s allowed to happen? Autonomy, diversity, and creativity. Apparently, creativity is like that greased up potbelly pig that nobody could ever quite catch at summer camp; you just can’t quite hold on to it long enough before it slips away and paints a beautiful masterpiece or drives a scientist mad.

Funny thing about creativity – it belongs to no one and everyone.

Worship is a creative act, thought, or moment where time slows and maybe space is tweaked enough that the velocity of our creativity is pointed towards something….something…..something, lets say, significance, irreplaceable, or otherwise. Have you noticed what happens when creativity is pointed at something? Life. Life happens. Not the kind of life that is found under a scientists microscope, but rather, the kind of life that evokes the mystery, longing, and enjoyment of something beyond the basic sensual. A spark in someone’s eye, hope in someone’s heart, dreams in someone’s cerebral, and life in someone’s life. We don’t get creative in how we worship; we worship when we get creative.

Creativity births life.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Snow Report: Deep.

This morning I woke up to sunshine and 36cm of fresh snow at Mt. Seymour!
I could describe how it looked, what it felt like, and the sick lines, pillows, drops, and cliffs we pillaged all day.


I don't think I could ever really describe it's beauty; today was purely something that you should experience at some point in your life in order to understand it.

I'm not sure beauty is something that can be described.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Worship: the insignificant.

Did you know that the average oreo is 29% creamy icing and 71% cookie? I love oreos.

I have a family of five furry farrell squirrels who live outside my window. Did you know that squirrels can climb trees faster then they can run on the ground? I love my family of five furry farrel squirrels.

American soldiers in Vietnam sometimes used Slinkies as radio antennas. I love Slinkies.

The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, has a 6,000 year lease. 6,000 years! That’s at least a little bit weird. Whoever forged that deal loved a little too much of their druidy-celtic-moonshine.

Isn’t it so interesting how we use the term love? We often say that we love a certain brand of 1984 Swedish station wagons, how we love a certain brand of pen, or how we love a book, a flavor, a color, a design, a hairstyle, or European men in spandex at the swimming pool. Why do we love things that don’t love us back? Shouldn’t what we love at least have the capability and the capacity for loving us back for it to be genuine love?

Now begin to use the grey matter between your ears and imagine that this might be the highest ranking qualification for love – something to love back. It severely limits what we actually can love: people, a god (if you were to believe in such a thing), and maybe a few species of animal that seem to show love and affection back to mankind. So, in reference to Worship: the instinct, if what we worship is really based on our value system and our value system places the most value on something other then people, a god, or Rover and Flipper > then that object of worship is an insignificant piece of worship. Why? Because it is incapable of loving back.

The truly sad thing is that insignificant worship leads to insignificant meaning and purpose in life.

It seems as though many people worship in a world of insignificant.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Worship: the instinct

Humans are hardwired for worship.

Humans see beauty, greatness, natural phenomenon, mystery, the terrible, vastness, and enormity and can not help but to stand in reverent disbelief, disgust, appreciation, or awe. Our response to anything, no matter how flashy or mundane, is the same; we place value on it. Try as we might, and we have tried, humanity cannot get away from the inescapable furrow of placing value and importance on the many possessions, ideologies, relationships, and knowledge that is the atmosphere we breathe and clog our lungs with. We subscribe to each thing some tidbit of value and appreciation, which, would suggest that we value some things more then we value others, which, would suggest that we value one thing most and one thing least. What we value most is what we worship; what we value least is its adversary.

Humanity possesses this bottomless myriad of these deep and internal motivations to move, to create, to communicate, and to express themselves all the while attaching worship or adversary to these actions. Each of these internal motivations, with there cling-on attachments, is actually ruled and fed by the old adage, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” And so it is with worship; humanity will take upon themselves the insurmountable task of attaching worship or adversary to every move, creation, communication, thought, and action. We have to worship something – it is hardwired into the very make-up of the human existence. Don’t believe me? Try and not give value to something.

Nobody should have to teach us that, when our stomach rumbles and we have this undeniable ache and desire for food, we are hungry; in fact, it is impossible to teach hunger. Hunger is simply known.

Worship is simply known.

In fact, worship is so wired into the humanness of humans that some people even go to the great extent of building a religious belief, icon, or image just to have something to worship.

Monday, January 09, 2006

In Definition of: in definition of.

Given a chance, language would try to kill us.

Words and phrases strung together to create brilliant sentences and paragraphs by the equally brilliant word-smiths behind them, who, in their engineering prowess, have only a limited idea of the effect of those words.

Not that language could kill us, but it would try.

Words and phrases gathered together and made coherent by commas, apostrophes, and exclamation points to create morsels of communication that only sometimes generate the idea behind the sentences and paragraphs.

And try as it might, language will never win.

Words and phrases jumbled, mixed, diced, and fried together in a sauce pan of conflicting idea and thought which has nullified and neutered the meaning of words and language.

Taken the chance, we have killed language.

A Conclusive Mess

People get fired, bombs get dropped on the wrong people, (assuming there are good people to drop them on), Sunday morning church people miss the point completely, and mapquest makes you turn right instead of left. One generation looks in confusion at another generation, high school girls across the country are crying in bathroom stalls at this very moment, and people trying to figure out spirituality see it about as clear as the colored air hovering over Vancouver. Why? Simply, we have killed language to the appeasement of the gods of poor communication. This is a problem of blockbuster proportions.

True enough, the hollow shell of it does still exist; we have great pieces of literature, a million emails a day, libraries of unread doctorate papers, text messaging, and, if you like scarves art shows and finger gloves – there’s emo music. But, what has become of the depth, the width, the height, and weight of the meaning of words?

Who is it who is issuing the license to drag the meaning of words up to le guillotine and steal the life and meaning from them? I would submit that the hooded executioner is anyone who uses language and attaches new ideas and definitions to words. The collapse of definition leaves room for the building of a gloriously sexy but severely contradictive and handicapped mosaic of conclusions.

If we are not working from the same definitions, then we will come to very different conclusions.

Augustus' Toto

In my spotlessly clean bathroom, sitting beside an impressive stack of G-rated magazines, I have a toilet.

My toilet is not so G-rated. Proudly advertised on the back seat of this modern day porcelain throne, is the name of the company that makes this particular masterpiece of indoor plumbing: Augustus by toto. I see this logo every single time I make use of my toto, thinking, “Augustus. Hmm, that’s kind of a witty throw back to centuries and centuries of people who sit on thrones.”

An east Indian friend of mine decided that he needed to use my bathroom. Fine. However, the sound coming from the bathroom while he was using it, was, well, unusual and a bit disturbing - I heard giggling. I made a mental note to turn the music up next time he used my bathroom and to mention that it was a lavatory and not a laboratory. He opened the door all smiles.

“Do you know what your toilet says?”
“Yeah – kinda witty hey?”
“How do you know?”
“Well, Augustus and thrones, and it’s not that funny…”
“No man – do you know what toto means?”

Someone in the marketing department of Augustus by toto is smugly smiling right now.

A Handy Position on Importance

What are words?

Really, they are just names that we attach to concepts….that’s it, nothing more. What we’ve done, in the name of efficiency and ease in order to shorten the length of communication, is that we have taken these big ideas and concepts and put them in the little package of a word. Why do these big ideas and concepts have names attached to them anyhow? In a word; importance. They were concepts important enough to name, unfortunately, somewhere along the way the name become more important then the concept.

If we really have killed language and let the empty shell of it walk around casting its shadow on nearly nothing and we simply use words to fill up space with no meaning, then nothing that we say is important.

Words like justification, sanctification, redemption, and grace are no longer important. With their importance no longer important there is no reason to have to deal with the implication of these concepts.

It’s not the words we are trying to get across, it is the idea and concepts we are trying to get across.

Culture has got language by the toto.

In order to understand particular conversations, see particular metaphors, or engage in bits of language and formal discourse – it is necessary to have more then a superficial acquaintance with the language being spoken. Language and words are intimately entangled and in bed with culture. A firm grasp of the culture in which the language is embedded in is obligatory to understanding language as much as the syntax of the language itself.

Culture loves to change the definitions of words, and, unfortunately for language (because of the handy position culture has got on it), it is pressed and squeezed to agree.

We will never get the ideas and concepts that words are trying to tell us if we also don’t know the culture that is attached to those words and concepts!

The Sameness Factor

How does this play out for the church?

Some will die, some will hitch a ride on a passing wheelchair, and some will change their vision, values, and purpose with every new pastoral or culture shift. Some will thrive and live in culture, some will try to stop culture from changing, some will try to change with culture, some will try to change culture, and some will just simply lose importance.

What will happen to these churches will happen to these churches.

The challenge really is this: how do we read the culture and effectively communicate the big idea concepts so that we can start from the same definition and journey towards the same conclusion – Jesus?

Somewhere, somehow, and somewhen there is a lowest common denominator for everything; we must find the highest common denominator and then maybe language, life, truth, and authentic Jesus-centered-spirituality will live again.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

In Definition of: Misinterpretation

Misinterpretationa disaster in progress. 1. A result of not listening, not caring, not paying attention, or not having the energy to get it right, which, in some circles, is also called “laziness”; 2. May be used as a tool for a) manipulation for the gain of power, b) avoiding reality for the gain of an alternate hallucinogenic and sometimes hyper-spiritual reality, c) an excuse for the gain of anything needing excusing, or d) an obnoxious reason to be a power hungry magic mushroom eating blame-shifter, which, in some circles, is also called “all of the above”; 3. A thief of the author’s right and authority to interpretation, which, in some circles, is also called “stealing”; 4. A major contributing cause to the writing of the majority of the New Testament, which, in some circles, is also called “the inspired word of God”; 5. A description of lazy all of the above inspired word of God thieves, which, in some circles, is called “false teacher” and “cult leader”.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

In Definition of: culture

Culturethe mold and form that shapes our understanding and outlook. 1. A collide-a-scope of actions, ideas, and thoughts direct from the inner wirings of the strange, the odd, the peculiar, the nut-job, the internerd, and the rest of the walking-breathing Adam species mixed with their polar opposite…math teachers; 2. Local structures of living influenced by local and global history; 3. Global structures of living influenced by many local and global histories; 4. An interesting and frightening colored sludge found in your typical goggle-tanned-fresh-out-of-high-school and slightly malnourished snowboard bum’s refrigerator; 5. What began as perfect in a garden, became a twisted and assorted mess of rubbish in desperate need of fixing, and ends as perfect in a city.