A Review: @odonovanaiofe and @evieladin at @thechapelsf
Posted December 11, 2013 @ 11:59am | by Tripp
Last night I made my way across the Bay to hear a concert at The Chapel. I love the venue. It was my second time there for a concert. It's an old mortuary that has been converted into a concert venue and restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco. The restaurant is called The Vestry. The juxtapositional play on church, food, and music appeals to me. Imagine. They even put "a little 't'" on your wrist when you enter.
Yeah, I love this place.
Evie Ladin opened the evening with her creative Old Time sound. Formerly a member of the Stairwell Sisters, she is a local artist with a loyal following. I enjoy her interpretation of Old Time music. Banjo or guitar, a great voice, and flat foot make for a fun solo performance. She's also known for her work in "body music." Her partner Keith Terry also made an appearance, the two of them blending body music with a little Old Time music to wonderous effect. If you get a chance to hear Evie, take it. If you can catch some of their body music work, do that too. It was great.
Aiofe O'Donovan is well known for her work with Crooked Still and her appearance with The Goat Rodeo (here's my post on that concert). She's an astonishing vocalist and song-writer. NPR likes her stuff placing her "Red & White & Blue & Gold" on their list of top songs in 2013. I had a chance to shake her hand after the show and share my appreciation. Sadly, my prepared remarks never made it out of my mouth. Ha! What I wanted to say went something like this: Her interpretation of the song is what catches me every time. Her use of unusually long vocal phrases adds a certain power to her performance. She can hold a phrase and support a tone like no one else that I'm listening to right now. Long, dramatic, demanding something of the listener...even a little surprising. I think she's the best singer-songwriter out there right now. Such a beautiful performance. Instead, I said "I like how you sing." True. I do. Just. Yeah. Nevermind.
No music review of mine would be complete without a nod to the eschatological or apocalyptic. Sure enough, it was here as well. Both artists opened with a tune about the promised city, the end of days, and God's coming. I didn't have a chance to ask them why, but a couple of things seemed obvious to me. Both tunes (I need to start taking better notes) were rhythmically interesting and melodically compelling. They were simply great opening numbers. But that sent me to musing on beginning with the apocalypse.
The eschaton is the beginnning. I keep saying this. Beginning with the ending is simply good form. It's theologically and spiritually arresting. There are no endings, just more and more beginnings.
Back to Aiofe and Evie, I want to simply offer up what I said in the post on The Goat Rodeo. Though it's about Aiofe's performance at The Greek, it applies to both artists, "Pitch perfect, tonally flexible, emotionally charged," these are two incredible musicians.
Get to a concert. You won't regret it.
I Am Not A Good Christian
Posted December 10, 2013 @ 9:46am | by Tripp
"I'm a nice neighbor, kind to dogs and cats. That's enough for me," we may say. It's a good thing, to be certain, but that's not even close to what is asked of us as Christians.
What makes one a good person? Additionally, what makes one a good Christian? I have been spending some time wondering about this as news of Mandela’s death has been making it’s way across the planet. Was he a good man? I think so, but how do we measure that? How do we know? And if, as some have claimed, his greatness stemmed from his willing embodiment of his Christian faith, I need to know if he was a good Christian.
Guy Sorman writes of Mandela:
“The Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, founded by President Mandela and led by Bishop Tutu, is perhaps the most concrete example of Mandela’s Christian faith. Instead of the vengeance and reprisals that were expected and feared after years of interracial violence, the commission focused on confession and forgiveness. Most of those who admitted misdeeds and even crimes—whether committed in the name of or in opposition to apartheid—received amnesty. Many returned to civil life, exonerated by their admission of guilt.”
Mandela is exemplary not because he was perfect, always kind to everyone he met, an ideal husband and father, but because of these larger virtues that he also attempted to live out. He lived into these virtues...all of them, large and small, and all of them incompletely. But in the attempt, he showed many of us what is possible if we try to be a Good Christian. We sell ourselves short when we keep our call to goodness domesticated, living into "small" virtues. We sell ourselves short when we tell ourselves that our efforts in the larger things will not matter, that our humble place is unexceptional and unworthy of the attempt of such virtue.
"I'm a nice neighbor, kind to dogs and cats. That's enough for me." we may say. It's a good thing, to be certain, but that's not even close to what is asked of us as Christians...as human beings in general, in my not-so-humble opinion. It is not nearly enough. It just barely scratches the surface.
Mandela was in a prison cell. It became his monastery, writes Sorman. Mandela was cut off from the places of power, born an outcast in his own country, and became its President. His story is not the story of a great man, but of a person who recognized that “smallness” and “greatness” are a false dichotomy. One is simply called to be good wherever one is, in all the ways that goodness could be offered. And that kind of goodness is often terrifying and even sacrificial. It may ask a great deal of anyone.
To avoid my own fear, I often put the act sacrifice before the virtue. This may also be a common mistake. I am afraid of what I might have to sacrifice, so I go ahead and sacrifice without embodying the good. It’s a false form of self-denial. It’s false humility. It’s a response to the imaginary fear rather than the real situation at hand. And it actually undoes any goodness that may have been needed in the moment. It’s an act of control and not sacrifice.
To be a good person, to be a good Christian, one must live fully in the world. One must respond to what is actually set before us...the real injustices and not the imagined ones and make the real sacrifices and not the veiled attempts at control.
It takes discernment.
On Sunday, my homily to the children and youth at FBC was about Mandela. We have been talking about Christian symbols and the Chrismon tree. So, I spoke about that pesky Jesus fish and then about people who can become symbols of God. Mandela might be such a symbol for people. I made a few ornaments for the Chrismon tree from photos I found of Mandela. I want the young people at my church to recognize how challenging goodness can actually be while instilling in them the hopefulness that must accompany such courage.
The courage to be good is founded upon hope.
I wish to be a good Christian. I wish to be a good person. Like many, I am afraid of what that may actually entail. I am afraid of the sacrifice that comes in the living.
Still, it is Advent. I am called to stand on hope.
Monday Videoblog: Advent Carol Service
Posted December 9, 2013 @ 3:41pm | by Tripp
This one will take some time. More than an hour long, I encourage you to get comfortable and listen. I love this stuff.
Fearing Mary and Popish Baptists
Posted December 8, 2013 @ 9:11am | by Tripp
Blessed are you, O God,
truly you work wonders over all the earth
and from age to age you extend your gracious mercy.
You looked with favor on your lowly servant,
the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and through her you gave to the world
Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
the author of salvation for humankind.
Once again, we find our attentions drawn to Mary. Baptists are terrible at this. We don't want to make that "Catholic mistake" of divinizing her. She's just Jesus' mom, after all. Then she disappears. It's a shame, really. We gloss over her life so casually in our attempt to avoid "popishness."
Fortunately, there has been a reclaiming of Mary, a renewed interest in the Theotokos, the God-bearer, as a prophet and apostle. Bill Leonard this week offered up a powerful column in the Associated Baptist Press about Mary and how he's afraid of her and her message.
"This Advent we need to hear Mary sing the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) - half praise-chorus, half socio-economic manifesto - one more time. The Latin Vulgate starts it out like this, Magnificat anima mea Dominus, while the New English Bible exults hauntingly: "Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord, rejoice, rejoice, my spirit in God my savior."
He goes on to write of his guilt over his own economic practices, offers up a little Merton, and even refers to the present Pope's practice of dressing in only his priestly clericals (rather than the Papal white) and feeding the homeless at night. That's a lot of popishness in one Baptist opinion page.
We Baptists can be salvation blind. We are blind to everything but our own salvation. Our entire theological world view can hinge on faith (getting the theological ducks in a row) and salvation (the results of right faith in Christ Jesus as Lord). In the process, we can ignore the implication of Jesus' life, the lives of those who followed him, and particularly of his mother's life. Her song of praise and justice becomes secondary, a nice idea, but not the crux of the Gospel.
But the truth is, when we dig a little deeper, when we look to those who embody the faith (yes, even the Pope), we see that Mary's song is the very center of the Gospel. Jesus incarnates it and calls us to do the same. To have faith in Jesus as the Way, Truth, and Life, is to embody Mary's song.
To lift up the lowly,
and cast the mighty from their thrones.
This is why Bill is terrified.
I See Liturgy Everywhere Now
Posted December 7, 2013 @ 10:31am | by Tripp
I can see the liturgy everywhere
(an occupational hazard,
in the liner notes of old albums,
and in the articles from
With each new issue, a new Book of Common Prayer,
and Napster (of Holy Memory)
plagues my imagination,
it’s promised liberty creating
more problems in solving
One Big Problem.
Your rites flit from place to place,
and iPod litanies.
And the congregation wonders
why church is never as “good”
as the concert they heard last night.
Once we started singing into a can,
as far as I can tell,
though there’s an excelent case
for hymnals (mass produced)
or wandering holy jongleuers,
sponsored by a Crown,
our liturgies wandered about
free of control.
We held Councils in the West.
In the East, we coralled them up in other ways,
“our liturgies,” they said.
Ever-changing, ubiquitous, inspirited,
unchained, unhindered, uncontrolled,
they flit about, and people do what they will;
this is The Liturgy
in the liner notes of an old Christmas album
or the digital booklet on
The Gospel Truth #poetry #advent #kisses
Posted December 5, 2013 @ 10:41am | by Tripp
That is the word
that I am looking for.
A levitical move,
to be sure.
The barriers break down
and all comes crashing 'round;
and the reasons,
and they all go mad,
and call it
I was watching a movie
where a child ran
through an airport
for a kiss
a taste of love and a future
(the future is everything)
in the present moment.
Security, they chased him down.
No one was hurt. No child left behind.
Just an officer's scowl and a father's grin.
I love this movie.
And yet, every time I watch it,
this scene, this glorious fruition of what actually
is all around (love, that is),
strikes me as the one lie in the film.
I have never escaped this feeling.
The barriers are circumvented
and a kiss is bestowed upon a child.
The planes wait. The adults are in cahoots with grace
(a sales clerk is the anonymous hero).
No holiday special with its dancing snowpeople
was ever so bold
in reframing what is real,
what is true.
The world is aflood with Love and
the only way to show us
is to lie.
This is the gospel truth.
Evangelical Silos: Accentuate The Positive
Posted December 4, 2013 @ 11:44am | by Tripp
Forgive me if I get frustrated. My own siloing is getting in the way.
Everyone silos. It's a way of keeping oneself sane in a world that has always been on information overload. Everyone silos. It is a way of keeping our communities a reasonable size. It's also a way of keeping ourselves "pure" - whatever that means. We Christians have been really good at this over the millennia, too. It ain' just the American Evangelical who manages to do this. All the various Christian sects have taken a turn at this particular way of being human. Everyone silos.
We need to work hard at overcoming the habit.
One of the reasons I posted what I did about the Evangelical habit of siloing is because I find myself in the middle of working with Evangelicals who are trying to undo the habit. It's strange that because I am partnering with Evangelicals I notice the habit. Suprising. Ironic? Nah...just...surprising.
So, to accentuate the positive: There's a lot of good work happening. Emergence, for example, is not only evangelical. Transform Network is much more than evangelical. So are the UNCO conferences and the Wild Goose Festival is getting better all the time. So, kudos to all for what is happening. Truly.
The thing I am increasingly aware of is historical legacy, mine, my evangelical friends', and the rest of us Christians. Christianity in American is a convoluted mess of immigration patterns and the sociopolitical strife that people brought with them. Whether from England and the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Africa, or Eastern Europe, we still tend to embody these habits; colonialism, slavery, racism in a variety of forms. The American Evangelicals, my good friends, have the legacy of a tradition that was attempting to be the first indigenous form of American Christianity informed by westward expansion frontierism and American exceptionalism (bootstraps and all). They too have a socio-political legacy that influences their theology and polity.
Such a broad statement deserves a bibliography, I know.
Continuing nonetheless, the colonial traditions (for example, Episcopal, Methodist, some Baptist, UCC, and Lutheran a.k.a. The Mainline) held social power for so long. "Ecumenism" is generally understood to be the conversation between these traditions, the Catholic Church(es) and The Orthodox Church(es). The National Council of Churches is not structured to adequately account for the presence of American Evangelicals. Their polity is too localized. This is a problem for the NCC to tackle. There is a tremendous number of Christians who are not invested in the work of ecumenism and cannot be adequately included even if they are invested.
That said, thankfully, the new ecumenical conversations are beginning to include the American Evangelicals. Outside these older institutions like the NCC, new conversations are taking place. Thus I, as a long time ecumenist, am pushed around. Again. That's a good thing.
I have been in the ecumenical mess for so long and am still getting used to having my Evangelical sisters and brothers in the conversation. I am having to get used to a whole new set of habits and points of view. Forgive me if I get frustrated. My own siloing is getting in the way.
What I wonder is how we might talk about this shared habit, the historical legacies that inform it, and how we might break free from the distrust and confusion.
This post is following up on The Evangelical Silo.
Sermon: The Beginning Is Near
Posted December 2, 2013 @ 1:33am | by Tripp
I don't know when it was that I learned about longing. It's an ambiguous kind of emotion. Longing. It is bittersweet, I think. Excitement and anticipation wrapped in unfulfilled desire. It's something like that. One might long for a kiss from a lover. One might long for home.
Everyone in this room has a story about longing, that deep feeling of . . . "UGH!"
Maybe we long for something that once was.
Maybe we long for something that we know can never be.
Maybe we long for something that might some day be . . . if . . . only if.
It's so near!
This is the thing about longing for me that always surprises me. No matter how far off in the future the object of my longing may be, the sense of it is so close.
For example, I long for the day that my dissertation is completed. It feels so close. But there are many, many days between now and then. I promise you that the day is not close, and yet I can taste it. I can sense it, feel it in some way.
It's like a terrible case of "Senioritis" that begins Freshman year of High School.
It's like counting down the days until your eleventh birthday beginning the day after your tenth birthday.
It's right there and yet out of reach. There's nothing you can do to hurry it along. You can only live in the hope of it, the promise of it, knowing then, too, that the promise itself may be . . .
The vision of what is to come is blurred in some way. It's imagined, and though our imaginations are powerful and can help us articulate how we feel and even, once in a while, get some of the details right, our imaginations never quite get it all.
Maybe it's a little magic we're looking for; a scryer's dream or a magician's trick.
We want a little certainty. Is that too much to ask? A little certainty? A little control?
If only Dr. Who would come to me in his TARDIS and take me to that day, then my longing wouldn't be so much trouble. Then I would know and in the knowing I would not long so very much.
I want an end to longing. I want control.
God knows this about us, too. This is what Isaiah and Jesus both knew to be true: God hears the deepest longings of our hearts. And God never fails to respond.
But how does God respond? With a vision.
A vision: the closeness of knowing and the product of faith.
This, my friends, is Isaiah's word for us this morning. He's brought us a vision, the product of longing and imagination, the sense of what it means for God to show up in the here and now and yet to witness it still unfulfilled. Isaiah has brought us a vision of what might be if, if, if . . .
. . . if we would just reach out and embrace it.
Isaiah longs for peace. Peace. Plain and simple.
He longs for what destroys (swords) to be turned into what builds up (plows). He knows that the nations, like you and like I, will always be at war with one another, finding some way to compete, to get the best of one another, to hurt one another through all manner of violence, financial or military. Isaiah knows this. He knows we're trapped in this thinking, in this desire for an end to longing.
And he knows the way out.
God shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
For me, this is the power of Isaiah's vision and the way he imagines a response to his longing for peace. He allows his faith to inform his longing. This is so wise. I forget to do this all the time. I forget to let my faith inform my longing. Instead, I let all kinds of other things inform my longing. Departments stores. Government officials. The GTU Dean's office. . .
I become impatient. I insist on my own way. I insist upon control. I become the Judge of All Things. I want an end to my longing. Sometimes my broken heart informs my longing, or my bitterness, my impatience, my memory of something unrequited. So, I want an end.
These things are usually what informs my longing. I forget my faith so easily. Isaiah, on the other hand, is wise and his vision is powerful. He foresees something else. The response to longing is transformation, a beginning and not an ending.
Isaiah foresees a time where God arbitrates, where God decides for us and God's decision is generous to all. God doesn't pick sides. God reconciles us to one another. God turns our tools for cruelty and bullying into tools that will help us to grow all that we need to sustain ourselves and to love one another.
God ends nothing. God begins everything.
This is what Isaiah longs for. This is what he sees. This is his faith.
And he knows that this far off time is available to us in the present moment.
"O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!"
The response to longing is transformation, a beginning and not an ending.
God ends nothing. God begins everything.
It is a marvel to me, wonderful, really, that the earliest followers of Christ understood this to be the Character of Jesus' ministry, as well. Jesus also had a vision. Jesus also longed for a beautiful future, a peaceful world, a Peaceable Kingdom. And they knew that Jesus brought that world into being wherever he went and to all the people who met him.
They knew Jesus to be someone who lived into what he longed for. He didn't just sit on his hands while the world around him fell apart. No. He cast a vision and he lived into it. He met the longing of his heart with a vision of God and then lived into that vision. He walked in the light of the LORD and invited all to walk with him.
He transformed what would destroy human communities into what would build them up. He wanted humanity to thrive . . . to thrive together and not at one another's expense. So, he preached that vision. He lived that vision. He named it for what he understood it to be from reading the Hebrew scriptures: God's vision.
Like Isaiah, Jesus knew the way out and the earliest followers of Jesus knew this about him. Jesus knew the way out, out of the systems that destroy, the systems that fail us, that cause us to sell one another in any manner of ways. We bully one another. We do it in the name of commerce, security, expediency, and even progress, but we do it.
It is a failure of vision that plagues us.
We envision endings while Christ still envisions beginnings. Christ envisions fulfillment. Longing is met with fulfillment and not some end.
God has a vision for us. God has a longing for us. God has shared this vision and longing with us through the person of Jesus the Christ.
And so this is Advent. Advent is the time for beginnings. The coming of God is never the end, my friends. It is always and forever the beginning.
The beginning is near.
Thanks be to God.
Music Is Social Life?
Posted November 30, 2013 @ 11:00am | by Tripp
After all these years, I am still searching for the "music of my youth." I never found "that band" or "that sound" that captured my attention. I liked U2 and even put up a few posters, but I never saw a concert or devoted what little income I had in allowance and the occasional hay season (yes, I worked on farms). I was never a devoted fan. Not U2, The Cure, INXS, Bruce Springsteen, New Wave, or any movement. Not any one movement or band ruled the day for me, became that identifying sound for me.
I tried. Truly. I thought I was supposed to have a favorite band and be a fan. Who knows why.
In college I fell in with the choir geeks, the beautiful assortment of nerdists and misfits who could sing like no body's business. Business majors, music majors, and everything in between sang in the University Choir, Schola Cantorum, and The Chapel Choir. I devoted myself to these groups. I had not sung in High School (we didn't have a choral program to speak of) and this music was a revelation to me.
It was the end of the 1980's and the Early Music scene was catching on. I was a choir nerd and my voice lent itself well to the aesthetic. That's where I found work, too.
So, I put a lot of time and energy into that music. I even became a fan of a few of the groups like some people are fans of rock bands. The King's Singers, The Tallis Scholars, and even the avant-garde Kronos Quartet were the focus of my fanboy attention. Composers such as Byrd and Dowland were beloved. Arvo Part is a contemporary composer that I fell in love with. Oh, and Tavener. Let's not forget him. Good grief that music is so beautiful to me.
I did not pick up a guitar until I was 24. Irish music or even Southern gospel and Old Time came much later. I picked up the mandolin at 30 and the banjo at 37.
All of this, not surprisingly, was somehow attached to the life of The Church for me. That scene guided much of my musical sensibilities, the eclectic-ness and the myopia.
Now, U2 continued to be an interest. I finally saw them in concert when I was 41. There are a great many bands and sounds that I'm interested in. And as a member of a generation, I embrace the assumption that I am still listening to the music that was popular in the 1980's.
An aside: I'm completely ignorant where Grunge is concerned. I missed that movement entirely. I was living in a religious community and up to my eyeballs in a cappella vocal groups and missed the whole damn thing. When Cobain died, I asked, "Who is that?" Yeah. Music is social life.
And that brings me to why I share this and how what I am trying to work out are connected. I am thinking about how, why, and when people listen to music, how they make music, and by doing so, how they self-identify as members of communities of some kind whether that be a generational cohort or some kind of alternative group (Goth, Punk, etc).
To make music is to make community. Music is a form of social life, says Thomas Turino. To be in a "scene" is to make friends and adversaries.
Thus, I'm thinking about my own habits and friendships and how I too have experienced this. The hope is that I will slowly develop a better sense of how music-making and listening are both ways of crafting community. Our affections and affiliations reveal themselves in musical practices.
Just pondering. Thanks for reading this far.
Come Let Us Adore?
Posted November 29, 2013 @ 11:39am | by Tripp
The lyric "It's a marshmallow world in the winter" is running through my head as the rain falls from the sky in Laguna Beach, CA. This is a kind of self-inflicted cognitive torture. From whence it comes, I cannot say. But it is clear to me that there is no one to blame but my own muddled consciousness.
The wood crackles in the fireplace. I'm barefoot. The percolator is gurgling and skipping on the countertop. We are lounging around with our friends recovering from yesterday's dietary excursions.
We made new friends, renewed connections with old ones, and managed to eat our weight in stuffing and pie. I think I would like another piece of pumpkin pie, to be honest. I love pumpkin pie.
This Sunday's sermon is slowly coming together. The text is from Isaiah:
2:1 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2:2 In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 2:3 Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 2:4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 2:5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
My first thought:
This is the time.
This is the place.
This is the season.
We are the people.
I don't know what this means quite yet. I'm thinking about how this season is a season of adoration, of little baby feet and a cute Jesus. Yet the first followers of Christ, the early community, tied the ministry of Jesus and all the prophetic tales (even this latter tale from Matthew's gospel of a manger and seers from afar) to this Peaceable Kingdom, this apocalypse where swords are beaten into something that, you know, feeds people, that grows things. We will not tear down. No we will build up.
So, Advent is a time for building up. Or something like that. I have more thinking and such to do on this. I want to step outside of the historical critical method habits. I want to get into the prophetic present.
We can decorate. We can "adore him." But whom we adore is the God of Jacob.
"Come let us adore him" becomes, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths."
The Evangelical Silo
Posted November 26, 2013 @ 10:45am | by Tripp
There appears to be, to me, a willful forgetfulness or disregard of Christian history and connection for American Evangelicals.
Here I sit at my breakfast table in Berkeley, CA. I am comfortable and happy. There are no ice storms swirling about my home. My family is at present safe and warm. The mandolin is tuned. The banjo still sounds like it's 100 years old. I am slowly but surely mapping out my comps process now that the proposal is approved. It's an archaic process, but I have found it rewarding. So, in general, I am supremely happy right now.
There is one thing, however, that is bothering me today and I'd like to talk about it here on the old blog. I am frustrated by a habit I have detected among my evangelical peers off and on over the years. Like some kind of addiction, some are in recovery from this habit. Others are aware and are seeking help. Others are, sadly, still blind to their plight.
Yes, I made that a verb. I'm in a Ph.D. program. I have to invent words all the time. So, yes, "silo" is a verb this time. It's the generous habit of building walls around yourself that reach every higher into the sky. By doing so, you separate yourself from the rest of those who would be your allies and friends while at the same time give yourself the illusion of prosperity, intellectual, spiritual, and relational.
Is this too harsh? I hope not. We all do it. It's a common problem. Presbyterians know not what Methodists are doing unless CNN decides it's news. American Baptists try to steer clear of Southern Baptists. I get it. We all silo. But today, I wish to speak of the peculiarly strong tendency among American Evangelicals.
I have had this conversation with my evangelical friends. Steve Knight, for example, has suffered greatly from my angst. So, this is not particularly new.
Here's my quick list-like take on what's afoot:
1. American Evangelicalism is anti-institutional, and. . .
2. . . .disregards other institutional forms of Christianity in America as somehow irrelevant, which leads to. . .
3. . . . a profound habit of isolationism or, wait for it, siloing.
4. Thus, they are constantly reinventing The Church with each generation.
5. Relatedly, American Evangelicalism's more conservative iterations proclaim to be The One True Church. Ah well.
All of this leads me to the constant frustration I have with my beloved (and I mean that) progressive Evangelical friends. Topics like multi-culturalism, human sexuality, ecumenism, monasticism, or contemplative prayer are somewhat new to some of their communities. Yet, because of the above habits, they enter into the ongoing conversations as if they themselves discovered the connection, say, between feminism and theology or between prayer and social action, or even individual people like Walter Rauschenbusch.
They make only infrequent inroads to forming relationships with the communities already engaged in this work. They value only their own insights. Then, and this is the part that may actually bother me, they present their findings to other traditions as if we too were somehow lacking before The Evangelical Discovery.
There appears to be, to me, a willful forgetfulness or disregard of Christian history and connection for American Evangelicals.
There is a habitual distrust of other Christian communions and what they have offered over the years. From the ordination of women, interfaith cooperation, the reframing of global missions from colonialism to activism, much of what we outside of American Evangelicalism have been doing is being ignored.
American Evangelicals are "inventing" a new form of Christianity that has been around for more than a century in the United States.
If you want to know why Emily Saliers is so cool, talk to her dad, Don Saliers. Please. He can be found at Candler School of Theology on the campus of Emory University. If you cannot make Wild Goose in 2014, do not despair and check out The Chautauqua Institute. It started off as a music festival and camping vacation for progressive Christians.
This is the first of what will be a few posts on this irksome habit of siloing. Kimberly Knight is going to pick up the subject on her blog next.
Bro Love and The Light Fantastic
Posted November 25, 2013 @ 10:46am | by Tripp
Krumbine is on it. This is hysterical and, well, beautiful.
Seems he had a little trouble catching me in a comic, but Spouse says that he nailed it. Too funny.
This was a whirlwind of a comic, inspired by the opening lines of a blog Tripp wrote a few days ago, titled 'Letting Theology Go'. He posted it on the 19th and posted the comic at about 2am on the 23rd. Crazy.