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Feb
17

“For:The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Steven’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

 

 

Link to creative project song: www.vineyardcrossroads.com/donny/My%20God.mp3

 or try this other link: http://www.danwilt.com/essentials-blue-spring-09-vineyard-creative-projects/

 

So…the last question lead us to creating something that would benefit the local church and possibly abroad. I decided on writing a song…finally one squeezed out of me! It’s still in pretty raw form with hopes of being a sort of skeleton that a full band can wrap rock beats, groovy back ups, a crunchy but smooth distortion…your typical rock song. If it doesn’t make it that far well then I guess there is always room for a slow classical. All these particulars are really neither here or there…I wrote the song after digging in a bit. After careful introspection I admit that I remain at the mercy of God and the wonder of the cross. By nature of vocation I often find my self coming home after rolling in pools of unmentionables and in the end, through the exhaustion of it all, I continue to find my refuge in only God and the cross. By nature of being human I find myself falling short of grace only to be lifted up out of my sin, even the smallest of unwarranted lies. Having seen everything I have seen it remains a wonder to me how God doesn’t give up on us his creation and still continues to use us to somehow glorify His name and His ultimate end. It is that kind of unmerited favor that I found my self jotting down notes…plucking a new progression…wondering if maybe someone might actually listen and be drawn to God for the sake of giving God thanks for also extending that same favor toward them. Well at least that is my hope. At the end of the day it really is His show so to speak. Hope who ever listens to the lil jingle will feel the same.

Technical note: Much thanks to Donny the easy button C. for helping me convert the .wma file and not giving me the boot. Thanks bro! I still think Paula, Randy & Simon would have not passed me.

Oh yeah, in case someone can not hear the words due to my howling 🙂 the lyrics go something like this:

My God. By: Antonio or Tone Bone © 2009

V1: And I see you on the cross. My God, My God. Ransom paid for all my sin. My God, My God. More than my word will ever say. Again on my knees Lord I pray.

V2: And I see you in the crowd. My God, My God. Just one look I feel your Love. My God, My God. But here I am in all my shame. I’m down on my knees Lord, I pray.

Chorus: The awesome creator who is my loving savior, who…With all of my heart I come and worship you. The Alpha & Omega who death had no hold on to. I come before you God just to sing my praise.

V3: And I hear you call my name. My God, My God. My life’s in your hands today. My God, My God. Forever I’ll cling to you and say. My loving savior have your way.

Bridge: Be my hiding place, Be my refuge, Be my everything.

Feb
16

 

 
 
 
 For the past 5 days my mind has been wrapped around a massive crime scene and in all honestly it has been the only thing on my mind. Every now and again I have been able to make it to the comfort of my home and sleep in my own bed. Sleep depraved and all it’s a wonder how much the human body is able to function under stress and constant cognitive analysis. That said putting my thoughts down for this class is a much better place to be, I have missed being able to read everyone’s input and the sense that we are not just taking this class to put another certificate on a wall. For those saying a prayer for me they have meant a lot!

On to the meat of the my answer to this weeks question…if I may quickly digress, right now I find myself in the kitchen sipping on a glass of wine with Bishop Wrights “Simply Christian” book open to the first page my finger landed on. I do not recommend the practice, but in this case it did land on one of my favorite paragraphs on prayer. Page 163 bottom right begins by saying Sometime, of course, prayer within the Jewish and Christian traditions feels exactly like the prayer of Option two, As the Psalms themselves bear witness. It ends by saying “Wake up, YHWH!” shouts the Psalmist, like someone standing at the foot of the bed, hands on hips, looking crossly at a sleeping form. (That is of course how the disciples address Jesus, asleep in the boat during a storm.) “It’s time to get up and do something about this mess!”

That said and looking back at the origin of man. Who are we? And what are we to do about this mess?

Both Bishop Wright and the Bible amass that humans…are made in God’s image. [1] But if we take a moment to look around, stare at a few in the crowd, view the local news and rightfully take a good long stare at the mirror we see a strange effect of both beauty and a reminder that something indeed has gone wrong all at once. Left to our senseless selfish desires we reach the point of being far from a true rendering of imago Dei[2]. In short “all have fallen and are in dire need of God completing what He has begun and being rescued from being lost and enslaved into this present world.” [3]

This present world then is empty without being rescued and being about the business of completing God plan. Those that take part then find themselves living within a dominion ruled by God and yet acted out by personal human ability. We get to do the works of God here in the now so to speak. A combination of heaven on earth is then found within the community of those who work to advance the Kingdom of God.

In conclusion as Bishop Wright reminds we are to be a “people through whom the rest of the world comes to hear and respond to that voice as well.” [4]

It is then my prayer that perhaps we as a local and world wide worshiping community come to the foot of the cross, which without it make the above-mentioned null and void and are left powerless and prone to human error and above all aggrandizing the value of our accomplishments never giving glory to the only one deserving God.

Our God.

 

1. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 36

2.Wilt, Dan, Essentials In Worship Theology: The Nature Of Human Beings, The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies

3. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 46

4. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 218

Note: Instead of comentary related to this answer…a creative project was completed. I just need to figure out how to post it on here or elsewhere. Thank you all for your continued patients.

Feb
16
“For:

The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Steven’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

 

 Fully Human – What Does It Mean To Be A Human Being?

We’re a quirky bunch, we human beings. In the whole of the created order (at least on planet earth) we uniquely bear the imago Dei, the image of God, expressing God’s benevolent kingship in the world through governing, loving, stewarding, relating and tending to this world and one another.

In 250-500 words, begin to define what it means to be human. In a sense, we’re exploring who it is that we lead into worship. Use words, phrases and ideas from Simply Christian, and the vids and media in your piece. In other words, present a brief theological + anthropological (meaning “focused on humans) reflection that articulates what human beings are all about. Feel free to integrate ideas about the Garden, the Fall of humankind, etc., but you will spending more time on those ideas in the next weeks.

Here is a suggested outline to help you (optional):

1. Fully Human: What does it mean to be a creative being (beauty + work of our hands)? – 125 words
2. Fully Human: What does it mean to be a relational being (community + relationships)? – 125 words
3. Fully Human: What does it mean to be a just being (society, leadership + stewardship)? – 125 words
4. Fully Human: What does it mean to be a spiritual being (worship, eternal + made for heaven and earth)? – 125 words

Answer: There is no question in my mind that we are indeed created in the imagio Dei and as such we have been infused with creative abilities, relational attributes, a longing for justice and spirituality all still remaining in the shadow of the cross. To abuse these abilities (or gifts) would only smack God in the face as a spoiled child breaks a brand new toy just bought and demands of its parents “Buy me another! NOW!” Indeed we are new creations but often, if not careful, not far from the latter example.

On creative being, Bishop Wright explains it best when addressing creation; “wise Christian worship takes fully into account the fact that creation has gone horribly wrong…image bearing human beings are meant to take care of it.” [1] So we live in a broken world and left to relate to one another through our brokenness. Thus a move onto relational human being.

I like how Bishop Wright keeps it real, exclaiming: “It’s time to wake up and do something about this mess!” [2] Albeit, this reference used in relation to the disciples calling out a loud S.O.S. while Christ is asleep, suggests that we are after all human and not God. In other word through our brokenness we cry out, lets’ make this right! I might have shouted, throw me a life vest! Like the disciples (also relational beings) we are at best seeking a way out of our brokenness and either helping or hurting one another along the way. We are reminded we are not alone thus our shout for help and our relying on God is not a self journey. We need each other.

Absent God, humans “being” are nothing, enter stage right the just human being. Bishop Wright announces holy orders that convey “It’s about being an agent of God’s new world – workers for justice, explorers of spirituality, makers and menders of relationships, creators of beauty.” [3] and “the cry for justice in the world, then, must be taken up and amplified by the Christian church, as a proper response to the voice of the living God.” [4] pretty much surmising the responses of those seeking justice. What we really want to do is get to the storm to stop!

Last but not least the spiritual human being.

To not be like the spoiled child we affirm that we are in desperate need of God. And yet we are not left to sink as we originally thought to begin with. Bishop Wright out rightly states “God himself is groaning from within the heart of the world, because God himself, by the Spirit, dwells in our hearts as we resonate with the pain of the world.” [5] This then should be the business of the spiritual being who is attune to the overlapping of heaven and earth, placing emphasis on the fact that apart from God there is nothing in us left to motivate any other kind of response.

1. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 149
2. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 163
3. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 189
4. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 227
5. Bishop N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) p. 162

An After thought:

“Human Being.” Easier said than done. Please humor the following tangent; Sometimes I wish would have been one of the rocks on the side of the road when Jesus said “I tell you, if they were quiet, the stones would cry out!” Luke 19:40 (ISV) Not for the sake of the birth of rock per se, but for the sake of being the first stone to worship Jesus after already upsetting a few having announced he is God. This lends to the probability that recent studies in physics might be on to something as presented by leading physicist Brian Green of Harvard University on matters of string theory. Which in return begs the question of how did the string (subatomic vibration) get there and how was it created?

As humans we wonder about these things then go and try to make it happen, we might be in a crowd when these things are mentioned (mob relation), we might deeply cry from the heart to make sense of it all (spiritual at best), we possibly decide to once and for all get all the facts straight so as to stop all arguments for or against and possibly just accept the probability that is (restoring justice abroad or an attempt to make things right.)

Following that tangent…that hard rock, I regard, would have worshiped like no other, possibly frea people out and perhaps become infamous!

But the rock was not given the opportunity…so what to make of the Human Being business? What does it mean, what does it mean? The remainder of my commentary derives from Bishop N.T. Wright’s book “Simply Christian” and has already been posted in the form of an answer to a question (please read above.)

On a separate side note the jury is already out on “Laminin” as presented by Louis Giglio’s “How great is our God” college tour. Our DNA gives actual appearance of being held together by God and only God. Tiny little crosses if you will. Serious watch the video! It is and amazing presentation. Having said that there is no question in my mind that we are indeed created in the imagio Dei and as such we have been infused with creative abilities. To abuse these abilities (or gifts) would only smack God in the face as a spoiled child breaks a brand new toy just bought and demands of its parents “by me another now!” Indeed we are new creations but often not far from the latter example (as already stated.)

[End of commentary]

 

Jan
25
(If I make no sense it is only because I am tired.)

Question#2 Part A: How has your understanding of the theological phrase, the “Kingdom of God” been challenged/shaped by this section of Simply Christian? Part B: What particular theological idea (within one of the four theological ideas on the Nature of God presented in Dan’s material) do you believe has the most importance for the next 10-20 years of worship leadership? Why?

Answer:

To surmise, as best as I can, my understanding of the theological phrase “Kingdom of God” has not been challenged during my reading of the section two (2) of Simply Christian authored by Bishop N.T. Wright. If anything it puts to words much of what I have embraced over the past twenty five (25) years of doing my best to live a simple Christian life. Often I found myself recalling old sermons, camp side lectures, personal studies or very long conversations with both clerical and lay people as related to this business of being a child of God. Note: The term business is used only as a noun to aid the flow of thought.

If anything what was addressed in section two (2) serves as a reminder and often a “good swift kick in the ass” (pardon the writing liberties) to be about doing the “Kingdom of God” instead of just holding on to it. Sometimes living and letting God shine through oneself so that God is given all due glory is easy. Other times it appears that the only reason you got out of bed was to hang on to grace at the end of the day. Both ultimately giving God all honor and all glory. After all it is His grace and not mine (or ours.) I remain in debt to all God has accomplished with and through me. All that said, it is always a good thing to reflect back on the history and birth of “Christianity”. What lead up to it, what preceded it and what remains to date of it since the Kingdom of God is at hand indeed.

Moving on to what particular idea (as presented in Mr. Wilts material) do I believe has the most importance? Again torn at the seams wanting to say they are all just as equally important I resolve (after much thought) that a focus on God as Creator (the God who creates) has the most importance. Why? In short, we live in a time and age where everything is rapidly outdating the last billion seconds it took me to think about this question, thus the plight of a postmodern age. Current culture wants things faster, greater, more thrilling, etc. 8tracs, cassettes, Lps, CDs a thing of the past, Mp3’s, Ipods are the cool way to go (for about another 6 months.) it makes me wonder if we already live partially in the Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (nah…not yet.) In short, through my outlook, there is still wonderment though (as related to the natural mind.) People are curious about the origin of things and how they got to be what they became and it is only a matter of time that those things break and need fixing (this would include broken hearts, dreams, hopes, etc.) So a focus on creation might not just convey the God of all creation but also lead to His love displayed through death on the cross, the trinity and ultimately His Sovereignty in all that is yet to be discovered. On a lesser note, the very act of creating a new song cries out creation. What a privilege it is to be a part of that process where (for a lack of better words) “the product” so to speak lands on fertile ears yearning for more, more, more.

On a side note: Since the idea is to shy away from digital theology and toward analog theology…I just hope I don’t have to throw away my GT10 (such and economical tool for being digital.) I think Donny and Dan got together on this one.

[End of answer.]
 
 ADDITIONAL COMENTARY (an afterthought):

 I find myself half asleep and wanting to go straight to bed. Working 101 hours the past two weeks should be against the law, but try and tell that to my supervisor. It will do me no good to complain and really in the end I am thankful that I have a job. I arrived at home this Saturday morning Jan 24, 2007 at 3:00 a.m. and without excuse I just could not type nor dare type any afterthoughts. At best it would have amounted to jibber jabber and so many miss spelled words. Enough with tardy excuses.

That said, let me grab my thinking hat.

There is really nothing more to add to the first part of my answer. If anything I am just constantly being reminded, whenever I look over our course working material “Simply Christian” authored by Bishop N.T. Wright, to ask my self what have you done today to expand the Kingdom of God? The motivation is enough to cause at least a prayer to be offered up.

Regarding the second part of my answer…well, soon after my last post I decided to brush up on the vernaculars of philosophy and encourage other to do the same (as it may come as a surprise to some that a term such as metaphysical [in terms of philosophy] isn’t the same as the mysticisms applies to a common worldwide following of metaphysical believers.) Huh? What you talking about Willis? 🙂

Yes I was a bit surprised to learn of this from my first Humanities professor.

While doing a little research I came across an article that commented on a book authored by David Harvey. THE CONDITION OF POSTMODERNITY: AN ENQUIRY INTO THE ORGINS OF CULTURAL CHANGE. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1990.

The following paragraph stood out so I include it as a whole (please bear with me.) It reads:

“In Part IV, Harvey evaluates postmodernity as a historical condition, still seeing historical development through the prism of an economic-financial analysis. He sees characteristics in the postmodern culture that are not unique although they are distinctive. They emerge in his view from the dynamics of capital overaccumulation (p. 327). He connects crises of overaccumulation with strong esthetic movements, including the estheticization of politics. An era turns to esthetics and away from scientific and moral reasoning under conditions of confusion and uncertainty, which we see in extreme compression of time-space as in the 1960s. He says that since 1973 “the experience of time and space has changed, the confidence in the association between scientific and moral judgements has collapsed, aesthetics has triumphed over ethics as a prime focus of social and intellectual concern, images dominate narratives, ephemerality and fragmentation take precedence over eternal truths and unified politics, and explanations have shifted from the realm of material and political-economic groundings towards a consideration of autonomous cultural and political practices.” (p. 328) [NOTE, 22 August 2001: 1973 was the year the Bretton Woods accord on the control of international capital ended. Both Fredric Jameson and James Mittelman date the start of the postmodern period from 1973.]”

It’s the underline portion that stood out to me. It begs the question(s) “What? You mean to tell me that someone else out there opines that there is a turn away form that which is time tested and true? Did I hear that the touchy feely [Mp3’s, Ipods are the cool way to go (for about another 6 months] and everything that contributes to the feel good attitude seen abroad in today’s culture are set in higher regard than that of common morals? And what is this bit about capitol overaccumilation? When is too much, too much?

Unless I am mistaken there is a hint that the way things are [referring to common pop culture and cultural capitalism or if you will the plight of postmodernism] (and possibly not very different form recent years past) in short sought after simply because it makes one feel good. Yeah that makes sense…e.g one would rather eat a bowl of ice cream because it taste good and not eat a real worm because it taste bad. Albeit the worm having some nutritional worth. Please humor my example as I regard any dairy product does hold nutritional value. How about a bag of gummy worms instead of ice cream? Really the crux of postmodernism is much more diverse than my weak example.

So, what does this have to do with the Kingdom of God and a focus on God as Creator (the God who creates) having the most importance. In short I opine that [there is still wonderment though (as related to the natural mind.) People are curious about the origin of things and how they got to be what they became.]

If what Mr. David Harvey presupposes that “An era turns to esthetics and away from scientific and moral reasoning under conditions of confusion and uncertainty” holds any worth, then what is to be said of today’s era filled with greater distractions, greater emphasis on the fast, the cool, the state of the art and all in greater abundance with hopes to aid an escape from confusion or uncertainty.

In short what feels good, feels good. People are either drawn to it or they are repulsed by it. Other people just take a little bit of it, but not too much (even though they have already taken a bit) and it appears as though that which is the ultimate good is set to the side because it camps on the side of morality. Still curious people are looking for something more and move on to the next when they have had their fill of the first.

Oh the beauty of God’s creation!

To help aid my point, as submitted [it is only a matter of time that those things break and need fixing (this would include broken hearts, dreams, hopes, etc.) So a focus on creation might not just convey the God of all creation but also lead to His love displayed through death on the cross, the trinity and ultimately His Sovereignty in all that is yet to be discovered.]

Again everything breaks (case in point, world economic crisis) and only God can bring true healing. If a new song is how God would like to do this particular work, then it is my prayer that we as a corporate community will be infused by God through music, the arts, etc… and that leaders of the same would be God lead in reaching today’s broken yet beautiful creation of God.

As the psalmist sang in the past: Psalm 38:18-19 “18If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. 19Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.” Let the same it be sung again today.

Perhaps in a moment of brokenness welcoming ears will listen as David sang his song praising God creation: Psalm 139: 7Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?to be out of your sight? 8If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! 9If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, 10You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting! 11Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” 12It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. 13Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. 14I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! 15You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. 16Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. 17Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! 18I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!”

[Bible verses used are from The Message as written by Mr. Eugene Peterson]

In the shadow of His cross I remain.

Jan
17

“For:

The Institue Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Steven’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt“.

Additional comentary an afterthought included in this blog.

Question #1: Wright opens our course with ideas related to the four echoes of God in the world. Which of these echoes most deeply resonates with you as evidence of God’s reality, and how does that particular echo reflect what you believe to be the biblically expressed personality of God?

From here, answer how the four ‘echoes’ relate to the theology and worldview represented in the worship songs that you have used/sung in the past year? (Seek to be positive in your answers, but also reflective – i.e. this question is meant to engage our theological thinking related to worship songs, not to create a song-bashing session).

Consider the second half of the question less in the light of “what songs am I doing that match these echoes,” and more in the light of “how is the contemporary worship song body of work doing at giving voice to these echoes – the celebration of creation, the longing for justice, the magnetism of relationships and the hunger for spiritual reality.”

Use ideas from the readings & media to answer the question, and feel free to incorporate ideas outside of our study.

Answer: On 1/14/09 I posted the following answer to the first question of the essentials blue course. It reads:

Echoes in general suggest a point of origin. If I allow my imagination to engage for a moment I picture a small child in wonderment as he or she for the first time hear for them selves this phenomena called echo echo echo. Perhaps the child will grow up and become a world renowned physicist to study sound waves and such. In contrast perhaps it is the gut wrenching scream of someone who has just learned that a loved one has passed away never to been seen alive again. One can feel the pain swell and weaken the soul if someone close and near to their hearts has recently died by natural causes or killed in some violent manner.

Life, in all its beauty and shadowy existence, as we know it comes to an end for all.

The 4 echoes, as address by N.T. Wright, bring to mind a combination of palpable attributes that are both the work of God in the world and what one as a follower ought to be about the business of doing or living, expressing, lavishly replicating so that in the end the only resounding echo heard is that God (no matter which personified personality) without argument or question echoes God. The utmost of all echoes being the cross upon which my God suffered and died for my sins. My sins.

Finding it difficult to choose just one personality echo over another leaves me to resolve that they all blend in one against the other. Often it appears one personality is more pronounced over the other but in the end one finds (if honest) they all resolve into describing one awesome and most powerful God. There is justice. There is creation. There is relationship. There is an over powering God desire for us to be at one with Him in spirit, in mind, in heart, in life. I regard that should be our aim and goal when we begin worship.

The song : Everything that is beautiful. begins using the following lyrics: With rain, with sun, with much, with less, with joy, with pain, with life, with death. Only things that satisfy come from you. Everything that’s beautiful, wonderful, every perfect gift comes from you. It continues with: Your grace, heart, voice, touch, word, peace, hope, love and adds 1000 words could not explain, 1000 worlds could not contain! It concludes with from the Father of lights… giver of life … heavens above… straight from your heart… to the people you love.

In the hopes of concluding a sort of ramblings or rants…to my ears this song appears to hit on all those point mentioned and then some. Just re-sing it full blast when you are driving alone. Perhaps one might conclude the same or at least regard the following: Falling short of grace or exceeding all spiritual expectations (short of become arrogant idiot) and all that falls in between we are loved, created by God, in relationship with God, drawn to His spirit by God and over all justified through love (the origin of all echoes.)

[End of answer.]

 

ADDITIONAL COMENTARY (an afterthought):

Considering all the other post by many others (worldwide) I noticed I was among few that were not able to settle on just one (1) echo to resonate the personality of God (as best as we could.) For some it appeared to be an easy task…for others it was perhaps an arduous task (but they did manage to point out just one.) I for one applaud their efforts and responses.

As I attempt to look at world culture, world trends, world struggles or world limitations and influences on justice (after all we are only human.) The draw toward Spirituality. The desire for an intimate and personal relationship (only girls allowed, sorry dudes!…hey now, one can never sure these days) and the wonderment of all creation or that which appears as beautiful. I keep coming back to one resolve. The cross.

The cross, in my world view, remains the one and only central focus point that echoes loudest. All other “religions” tend to either embrace in part or reject in full. Albeit whatever seems to be that which is being sought after e.g. elements of justice, beauty in creation, relationship (and the lack thereof) or spirituality (the something or someone grater than and bigger than this world) each one in and of itself become empty without a refocus. I submit one must re-focus.

What then is it that gives each different element more substance and more importantly a value with a price tag no money could ever buy?

Borrowing from my short but deep dive into classical philosophy (Major Criminal Justice, Minor Philosophy) Both Hiedeger and Hegel (as tackled by Cambridge Companions aid to understanding each…each became like my unabridged cliff notes that now collect dust on my shelves) hint at fully understanding and becoming “alive” so to speak by embracing death at its basic level (e.g. dead is dead) and from that point move on to the business of living through a series of thesis and antithesis (Hegel) or being (Hiedeger).

And what the heck do two (2) metaphysical philosophers have to do, in the form of suggestion, inside a worship “symposium” of sorts? (as Mr. Wilt hinted on “Vineyardites” taste for good beer, Smithwicks and Bass becoming my recent favorite.)

Note: Were it not for a comment made by Mr. Peter Fitch “kings seek it out” (and don’t even think for a second that I consider my self a king, far from it and no hold desire to aim at that title) I would have tossed out the following afterthought altogether. Thanks Mr. Fitch.

Well, between understanding angst (Hiedeger) and a system of antithesis (Hegel), both have influence my thinking on many levels of thinking and sometimes living. Moreover, both inadvertently became responsible for causing me to embrace the death of Christ in a manner that has moved and shaped my worldview to one resolve.

My resolve, in short is that apart from the cross and death of Christ all other compartments and facets of life become empty. More so with any common “religion” or set of rules regulations and traditions. It is the cross of Christ, His ultimate end and keeper of the last faint whispers of life, that quantifies social justice and personal justification (because at best we are broken helping the broken if we do not involve God), it is the cross that makes creation that much more beautiful, it is the cross that makes our earthly relationships (and ultimately our relationship with a risen savior and the mystery of it all) that much more meaningful…that much more ALIVE!

Note: Since only Christ has risen from the dead…perhaps Hegel and Heidiger are rolling in the grave debating over angst as related to the maxim seen in concentration camps and such (Heidiger) or a wanting to yell that a system of antithesis was only supposed to be a tool to aid and filter simple and complex logical arguments (Hegel). Not the cross. Sorry dudes but thanks for the synergistic and priceless value in shaping my thinking!

So, to surmise what I present now only skims the surface of my thoughts and my approach to life in general. To digress and address my commentary in more layman’s terms…

We come together as corporate (silly me wants to spell this cooprate) or as individual to worship an almighty God and we do so alive. My guess is that at the end of the year this world wide group will do just as Mr. Wilt suggested in the first call by the following four (4) ideas: 1. Community (water) or heart and connecting with others like water to the deepest part of the heart. 2. Formation (green growing fields) good seed is going to be sewn. God is dropping seeds in every heart in this field and it will bear more fruit. 3. Creativity (fueled, inspired, enthused creativity) flaming the flame of creativity. Asking questions, many of them! 4. Influence (stars in the night sky) offer the gift of everything the Vineyard movement is about to the rest of the world wide church and give it away. And keep things to ourselves as God guides.

What a privilege to do so with imperfections and all.

But back to my thoughts. It is the cross that brings more than unification, absent forgiveness. I, for one, would be dead to sin with out Christ and the cross. I think we all (those taking the EB course) would agree. Every last one of us share a room with the hanging thief asking “please don’t forget me.”

Note: I am not suggesting that we literally steal per se.

What I find as an ultimate resolve is that without God and the shadow of the cross (as I call the greatest of echoes) one, at best, will end up in a heap of selfish altruisms (I insert this as an example of one possible paradox stemming from the desire to both help but also want credit for, sadly in some cases past efforts have ended with historical notoriety.) As example and only as an example one can consider the great works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being shadowed long after his assassination by being a womanizer and having multiple affairs. NOTE: Really quick before I upset many I only repeat what became public knowledge years after the fact. It is possible such knowledge was altogether rumor at best. Fact or fiction one must resolve to this end, as wonderful and timeless as his works rippled across time and intentionally affecting the future, many today are finally able to yell we are free at last, free at last. And to think that the proudest moment of American history is just around the corner. You have to give Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the credit that is due! Thank you my brotha from another motha!

My point is this: apart form the cross we are all empty and left with nothing to offer, much less nothing to cling on to and hope for as evidence of our faith in that Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world and on that day God the father (grieving at best) filled with joy did echo a loud well done, well done, WELL DONE!

In short, if not for the cross then everything (and I mean everything) is done in vain.

By nature of vocation (or “Career” as they say here in Capitalistic America) I continue to investigate crimes both small and large. Many involve putting to rights many wrongs. Others involve just making sense of what went wrong and finding the bastard that thought ending ones life was the best thing to temporary problems we humans often bring on ourselves. Sadly, even with all the facts in the favor of the state, Justice is sometimes served but taste like a half diluted glass of lemonade that makes you wonder if you asked for fresh squeezed spring water. At least put some ice cubes in it! Hello do I get a slice of lemon with this? Regardless, all investigations have in common one thing and that is to get to the bottom line and really sift out the facts. Just the facts maam! Just the facts. One cannot lock themselves into a solution until the weight of evidence pulls you entirely into one direction. Otherwise you arrive at a false end begging one to scramble to make the theory fit (sometimes this appears as an arrogant idiot trying to save face after being the arrogant idiot claiming to have solved the problem in the first place.)

So… enough rambling of thoughts and meaningless rants.

I resolve that one particular murder resulting on one (1) cross gives meaning to evidence that God is at work in our time, both then and now (the term murder as related to the cross is borrowed from Mr. Lee Strobel and his book and film “The Case for Christ.”)

Giving second reflection to the 4 echoes address by N.T. Wright: 1. Justice 2. Spirituality 3. Relationships and 4. Creation /Beauty. They still appear as being all inclusive of each other and in my opinion continue to be in the shadow of the cross. Or at least they should be.

I regard that at some point or other, in life, as the four echoes intermingle with one another one is left to actually fleshing out the echoes [and again be about the business of doing or living, expressing, lavishly replicating so that in the end the only resounding echo heard is that God (no matter which personified personality) without argument or question echoes God.]

Naturally, once you realize “hey this is no joke!” one gravitates to resolve [The utmost of all echoes being the cross upon which my God suffered and died for my sins] the need for a personal relationship with God. And to begin that relationship one must come to the foot of the cross.

Naturally my first inclination was pulled toward that of justice but after much thought (as I have attempted to explain above) I couldn’t just hold on to one and not the other. In other words, putting wrongs to rights, having a desire for the spiritual and more out of this life, being among others in unified relationship (those that agree with you and those that do not) or left to appreciate and be amazed at that which holds beauty (weather it fades or lasts…usually the former out last the latter and sometimes it really is the opposite) they all pale in comparison and at best become a sort of vapor without something more. Within the shadow of he cross.

To repeat: [Often it appears one personality is more pronounced over the other but in the end one finds (if honest) they all resolve into describing one awesome and most powerful God.]

Moreover I regard that the powerful symbol of the cross (symbol because to some that is all it is…never know who might read this) demands further questioning, demands all introspection, demands a second closer look, demands all our worship. Without it I would be nothing.

To conclude, the cross is the ultimate expression of love that ought to be our only source for and desire to worship. Yes there is a whole lot more to include in worship and whole lot more to motivate our actions as a form of worship. But absent the cross, what do we have?

One last thought, certainly I do not regard my answer as being the answer. Thank you everyone that had the ability to stick to just one echo. There is a lot to glean from each individual answer. I suppose as time goes by I might be able to do the same or maybe I will just remain a stubborn fool seeking independent thought. Well, at least that is my hope to be able and grasp just one echo instead of being the fool making my own.

Comments, concerns, corrections are all welcome.

p.s. Oh if it was only easier to live out what I know, embrace and understand as true! Any perfect non humans out there? Cuz I could sure use a hand!

(Whew! I think I’m ready for a cold Smithwicks…nah I’ll wait until dinner time…actually I need to go buy some! 🙂 Ha!)