Archive for June, 2006|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2006 at 7:23 pm

every time i’m on the verge of eguating relevant magazine with 7ball

they publish an article by one of my friends or provide an unexpectedly provocative post. their recent interview with dick staub, author of the infamous christian wisdom of the jedi masters, is a perfect example of the latter. if staub’s upcoming book the culturally savvy christian: a manifesto for deepening faith & enriching popular culture in an age of christianity-lite is half as interesting as this interview, it will be well worth reading.

in this little snippet staub explains one of the concerns he has regarding the use of movie clips in worship services.

“Too often having demonstrated our inability to exegete the Bible, resorting to proof texts, we’ve now expanded our incompetence to incompetent interpretation and applications of filmic texts. The majority of evangelicals are driven by the redemptive mandate not the mandate of creation, so they see film as an evangelistic tool more than an artistic expression. I am encouraged that a remnant of mostly younger Christians are seeing film for the art first … may their numbers multiply.”

read it again. now, go read the interview and have a nice afternoon.


In Uncategorized on June 30, 2006 at 2:11 pm

mid-morning time waster

last friday one of my co-workers sent a company wide email out asking whether anyone would like to purchase her extra ticket for the upcoming barbara streisand show at the soulless banknorth boston garden. the co-worker also extended an invitation to dinner before the show and stated that she was only asking face value for the ticket. the only catch? the face value cost of the ticket is $1,000.00.

now, i don’t want to criticize the upscale, urban, gordon gecko aping baby-boomer set who thought funny girl was fantastic and the prince of tides deserved an academy award, but i think paying $1,000.00 to see this paragon of plastic surgery prattle through a few songs is absolutely ridiculous.

that being said, i would be willing to pony up $1,000.00 to:

1. experience the beatles epic return (provided God resurrects john lennon and george harrison from the dead) to shea stadium

2. travel back in time and see johnny cash play folsom prison

3. see led zeppelin (including a miraculously resurrected john Bonham) play red rocks

ok, i’ve showed you mine, now show me yours. pick one category of events (i.e., concerts, sporting events, evangelical stadium events, etc.), that you would pony up $1,000.00 to experience. Feel free to be creative, but note well that listing an experience that is anyway related to american idol will be mercilessly ridiculed and anyone referring to world series experiences in 1985, 1987 or 2004 will quickly and quietly be erased. have fun!

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2006 at 5:07 pm

be sure to bring your friends

revival. i have serious issues with that word. the mere sound of those three syllables reminds me of the church-ianity of my youth.

revival. how can i hear the first syllable without thinking about the time my home congregation hosted a week of services and the youth group was challenged to see how many souls we could slip into the pews and get saved? if memory serves, i brought six souls with me, most of whom were already believers and one of whom i didn’t even like.

revival. how can i hear the second syllable without reflecting on the heaven’s gates, hell’s flames altar calls that always lead off the lock-ins (i guess we needed to get saved before getting cranked on store-brand cola) and concluded the evening camp services that were sponsored by my friend’s free-will baptist church.?

revival. how many assembly of God churches on i-44 proudly boasted that their revival had been goin’ on for 12, 23 or 46 weeks as though enduring an endless number of unscripted services is the ultimate mark of renewal?

revival. as soon as the word rolls of the tongue i start to think about churches that are as desperate for new members as vampires are for blood and i shudder at the thought of unknown pastors, who won’t even remember my name in the morning, slapping my back as though they’re my new best friend.

revival. God forgive us for the way we try to harness the winds of your Spirit in order to direct the SS church towards our own ports of call.

revival. if we never pop another tent for the purpose of manufacturing new members then the world will probably be a better place.

revival. it brings tears to my eyes and an abrupt turn to my stomach to admit this, but God how we need it.

revival. renew our body by restoring a healthy connection to our Head, strengthening our hands to serve those in need and hardening our feet so that we might continue on this narrow road that winds its way towards your Kingdom.

revival. fill each of the members of your body with an extra measure of the Spirit so that we might cast of the hidden anxiety, self-absorbed ambitions and narcissistic desires that cover us like a blue suit carefully conceals a rotting corpse.

revival. breathe life onto these dry bones so that we can live as an incarnation of your compassion for the poor, proclaim the presence of your Kingdom among the captives of his self-absorbed fiefdom, share a table with our enemies and subvert the hydra of death that is constantly seeking to swallow up life.

revival. on second thought, maybe i can stand the sound of it.

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2006 at 3:27 pm

kevin smith clark’s salute to corporate recruitment

Today is my last day at my job in beautiful Toledo, Ohio, just a stone’s throw from the muddy banks of the Maumee River, and not far from Tom Noe’s recent indictment (if you don’t know Tom Noe, google him…an interesting story). For the past year, I worked for a recruitment process management company, doing job sourcing and screening for a large-scale construction company. Thus, the funniest part of my job has been the items people actually list in their resumes. I have compiled a “greatest hits” for your amusement (in no particular order and completely unedited):

1. One individual spent a summer “humping materials on the job site”

2. One worked as a “Hot beef pusher,” and another was looking for employment in the adult film industry (but not as an actor)…I wonder if these guys were one in the same?

3. One needed a proofreader…”Iam looking for work I have 12 years in the carptners union and 14 years in the maintance 7 repairs of conmerchal and resabental repairs done each stage from start to finish excipt for painting i hate to paint name James taylor i live in banning i have tranportshion denpable it not a truck but a turbo volvo wagon that is reliable then any other”


5. (not from a resume) If you get a chance call Dell’s Den 334 756 3336 and listen to the message

6. One had the gift of pleonasm…”I am also the full time substitute, so when there are teachers out sick, I take over their class”

7. One was gunning for a Pulitzer (lengthy and unaltered, but worth it)…At The End Of This Resume, I Have Enclosed A Short Synopsis And A Few Paragraphs Of Writing From The Novel To Give You A Sample Of My Writing Style And Creativity. Even If You Do Not Wish To Consider Me For Employment, I Do Hope You Will Take One Minute To Read The Writing Sample. If You Like Mystery / Suspense Novels Full Of Quirky Characters And Off Beat Humor This Might Be A Novel Which You Would Enjoy. There’s A Cat Named Mr. Puddles, A Big Guy Who’s A Wimp Named Zed, A Woman Named Melissa Wigglebenny, A Garbage Man Who Looks Like A Viking, A College Student Who Daintily Sips Soda Like A 1930’s Movie Star, A Female Belly Dancing Instructor With A Beard Who “Resembles Castro On A Bad Hair Day” And Lots Of Other Quirky Characters.

8. And, perhaps my all-time favorite, the many abilities of this candidate:

– The ability to quickly make coordinated movements of one hand, a hand together with its arm, or two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects
– The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing
– The ability to exert one’s self physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath
-The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly
-The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences
-The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person
-The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting
-The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2006 at 2:26 pm

out of context

“everybody says they need just one thing,
and what they really mean is that they need just one thing more
and everybody seems to think they’ve got it coming
well i know that i don’t deserve you
still i want to love and serve you more and more
you’re my one thing”

~from my one thing, rich mullins

lately i’ve spent a lot of time thinking that i need just one thing to make my life complete. so i’ve spent many an hour wondering if that one thing’s an MSW, a certification to teach high school english or the opportunity to craft effective sermons and inspire people in the pews.

into the midst of this confusion, the words of this song spoke, reminding me that God – and all of the love, compassion, community, commands and complications that come with Him – is my one thing. this thought has wrecked me and i wish i had the words to explain…

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2006 at 1:33 pm

memorandum from captain random

have you seen 9 to 5, the working girl epic that starred dolly parton, lily tomlin, jane fonda and dabney coleman? if so, you probably remember that it featured a most startling scene in which the boss was enslaved as a s & m gimp. well, i haven’t seen 9 to 5 in probably 20 years, but i’m beginning to suspect that the sequel is taking place before my very eyes. since i was scarred by the sight of dabney coleman in taut leather and have no desire to see the scene replicated here at lightway’s world headquarters i’d like to offer the following admonition: johnny, you’re up to your neck in estrogen and have done little to stem the tide. if you don’t learn to play politics and mind your p’s and q’s or you’re going to be sporting chaps, hooked to a restraining wire and choking on a rubber ball before the month is out. i wish you the best and want you to know that once they crack the whip i can no longer be of any help.

just this morning, the st. louis post-dispatch announced that the cardinal’s theme song of the summer is simon and garfunkel’s slip sliding away. let the record show that i foresaw this collapse during the winter of 2004-2005 and find my prophetic abilities completely unfulfilling.

see, i told you so: just say no!

today, working lightway feels like overseeing a garage sale. i’ve spent the morning retroactively applying discounts, assuaging our customers’ “buyer’s remorse” and reminding them that we’re here to make fucking money so they can take those items they want to return and shove them up their ass. i suppose i’m a wee bit frustrated at the moment.

the only substantial difference between gentry circa 1996 and the gentry you see baring his ass before you today is that the former would have “snapped, thrown the country A-K rack out in the middle of the street and gone to work in a virgin megastore” at the drop of a hat, while the latter merely fills his cube with profanity, pours another cup of coffee and keeps his hands firmly attached to the plow and his eyes fixed straight ahead.

hey there julia. misery loves company.

i’m the most unoriginal internet surfer ever, am getting a bit tired of the sights i frequent and need new ways to waste hours at work. if you know of any sites that connect with (what you perceive to be) my interests and include interesting writing, please comment below.

props to rick for bringing this all things considered article to my attention. i had no idea that evangelicals reacted to roe v. wade in such diverse ways and never would have guessed that an exalted southern baptist like w.a. criswell would have said the following: “W.A. Criswell, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, expressed his satisfaction with the Roe v. Wade ruling. “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” the redoubtable fundamentalist declared, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” i’d encourage you to read the article and consider picking up randall balmer’s thy kingdom come (which, if it is half as good as mine eyes have seen the glory is definitely worth a read.

the wedding singer on broadway?! pathetic.

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2006 at 5:20 pm

stream o’ consciousness

i’ve spoken quite a bit lately about how frustrated i am with my occupation. i’ve bitched about commerce, poked incessant fun at sentimental somethings and generally refused to put on my big girl panties and deal with it. out of fear of being dooced, most of these posts that discuss these matters were displayed only for a couple of hours and are now languishing in “draft” status. if for some reason i am fired again or decide to move on, these blatherings might spring free from blogger purgatory for your reading pleasure, but until that time you’ll have to trust that they’re there.

anyway, i’ve been bitching a bit about my occupation, but have spoke nary a word about my vocation. as for the latter pursuit, i must admit that my conceptual horizons are expanding, my spirit has been buoyed by fellow travelers upon the journey and i am learning to enjoy life as a provocateur and part of the kingdom instead of as an overseer of an institution. a number of experiences, conversations and circumstances have been reshaping my understanding and embrace of my vocation, but i only have time to mention a few.

one of the most intriguing conversations i’ve had over the past month was with steve holt at the recent emergent co-hort meeting. after we had finished our burgers and we’re making headway on our second beers, i asked steve what he and his wife chrissy’s vision for their ministry was. to this rather limiting question he gave a beautiful answer: we want to participate in God’s Kingdom in boston. he could have said that they wanted to plant a church, or feed the hungry or proclaim the gospel, but instead he suggested that they moved out here to participate in God’s thing, in God’s way, for the good of God and those who are created in His image. as i’ve reflected on steve’s statement over the past couple of weeks i have been overwhelmed by it’s beauty and simplicity and, in all honesty, have begun to realize how well his words provide shape to my own experience and calling. i used to have my sights set on a number of pursuits such as planting more home churches, increasing the percentage of people in our community who serve with beverly bootstraps and finding a way to speak on behalf of the poor and help provide them with a voice for the 40 hours of my occupational week. i still think those pursuits are important, but i’m now beginning to realize that they are all by-products of a life that is dedicated to finding, investing in and celebrating God’s Kingdom. i seriously doubt i can express how important this line of thought is to me.

by the way, in the midst of a conversation with my spiritual director last night, i stumbled across another little epiphany that was alluded to up above. that is, the Kingdom of God is something that is found – like a treasure in a field – not something that we can construct – like a certain tower that we’ve all read about (and, irony of ironies, i’ve heard a mega-church has included a reproduction of in its children’s playland). i suspect that individuals and communities that seek to find this Kingdom alongside sinner and saint, rather than trying simply provide seekers with our theological, communal and psychological constructions, will be much healthier than not.

here i’m tempted to talk about how i also suspect that Jesus was much more focused on deconstructing institutions (think of prophecies concerning and actions within the Jerusalem temple) than we’ve ever realized so that he could truly welcome us into the missional movements of the Spirit and the ever-expanding confines of the Kingdom…but i probably don’t have the theological expertise and definitely don’t have the time to talk about such things.

finally, a number of my friends are reminding me that henri was so right when he suggested that leaders need to be led. throughout the last couple of months, a number of my friends have been challenging me to let go of my fear, be who God has created me to be and persevere on this road of faith to which i have been called (and not a few of us share). their companionship has been reshaping my understanding of self and enabling me to serve God’s Kingdom and people more effectively. words cannot express my appreciation for these brothers.

now i’m going to do what i almost never do: post without editing and/or revising. my apologies.

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2006 at 4:20 pm

hey, hey, ho, ho, go, go, go!

hey you bible college boys and girls, seminary drop outs and holy rollin’ hep-cats should know, our internet crooners and cronies are puttin on one smokin’ theological show. check it out:

beth over at until translucent is providing some punchy, pitch perfect reflections on the imprecatory psalms.

meanwhile, for two days dustball has been showing off his theological chops by riffing on the wrath of God and the down-home, finger-lickin’ goodness of the gospel.

finally, steve holt is fusing tunes new and old and jammin’ on about about the christian political soul.

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2006 at 3:13 pm

the way of a pilgrim

last winter over dinner at an overpriced, franchised, suburban incarnation of a texas roadhouse, i asked my uncle how work was going. my uncle is more likely to randomly interject his roadrunner impersonations into a conversation than to take a question seriously, so i was surprised we he said, with his eyes as well as his voice, “you know, i wish i would have found a way to do something i actually like with my career.” then, as though he sensed reality could not withstand too much of his gravity, he gave me a goofy smile and said “youknowwhatimean, vern?”

that was just one strand of a conversation that took place over mediocre cuts of meat, but i’ve returned to it many times since. i love my uncle and deeply appreciate the way he provides for and deeply loves his family. but, in my occupational life, i do not want to follow in his footsteps. in fact, i suspect that one of the best ways to express my affection for him is to learn from his experience and find some kind of work that i can love.

of course the latter is easier said than done. ever since i was unexpectedly ousted from i’ve been working a job that i hate and looking for work that i can love. i wish i could reveal what the latter work is, or at least tell you that i know what steps it is going to take to get there. but I can’t.

at this point, all i can affirm is that i am struggling to fix my sights on an occupation that can mesh well and maybe even dovetail with my vocation. moreover, once i find what i’m looking for (or at least something close), i am going to work like hell to make it happen.

why am i telling you this? because i need your help to make it happen. already, within the past week a number of you have listened to my bitching and kept me from capitulating to the fear that could keep me from moving forward and convince me that i should stay in a place that is as dissatisfying as it is safe. thank you for lighting a fire under my ass and reminding me that fear is a shitty master. i am also grateful for my more contemplative companions who are struggling through prayer and conversation to help me set a course. i am still hopeful that, with you’re help, i’ll find some sort of work that not only utilizes my gifts, but, much more importantly intersects with the interests of the body of Christ and the deep, desperate needs of the world. finally, i cannot thank the pixie enough for putting up with my oft dissatisfied self, pushing me forward and constantly reminding me that it is no small thing to live an ordinary life for Jesus. without her i would be utterly lost.

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2006 at 4:22 pm

this week’s middle finger goes to…rodgers and hammerstein

last night, while chatting with ms. aubuchon she casually mentioned that she was going to see a community production of the king and i later in the evening. in response to her revelation, i immediately mentioned that the slap-happy optimistic tone of their musicals inspired me when i was twelve, but now the mere thought of happy talk from south pacific makes me want to do some blow and blast a cap in some unsuspecting joe. of course, ever since that conversation i have had do re mi, the farmer and the cowhand should be friends and, most egregiously, bali head* stuck in my head. so for plaguing my day with catchy tunes and american pluck, i must denounce rogers and hammerstein as two stupid ____.

*my father has long sworn that this song will someday be played at his funeral. i hate to upset his expectations, but chances are good that when he’s dead i’ll be presiding, leaving him pretty much of luck.

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