My Week in Review

nonimmunitaecclesias.jpg Update 7-Oct-08: If you’re arriving via the link from Kelly “Beefcake” Hughes’ weekly email update, welcome. And just so you know, cat blogging is *not* the norm around here. Poke around and see for yourself.

The sign in the photo reads “Non gode l’immunita ecclesias,” which means, “Does not enjoy ecclesiastical immunity.” The sign removed a church’s right to offer asylum. The image just struck me though… the phrase “ecclesiastical immunity” hit me in a very different way when I discovered it mid-week with the photo, and I wanted to do something with it but didn’t know what. So which of us is immune, or can do whatever we want by virtue of our position in the church? Sadly, there are those who feel they are entitled, and who act that way even if they wouldn’t come right out and say it in those terms. These are the type who take God’s name in vain, which is what clicked for me at the end of the week.

HoMY 30: O Holy Night

Dietrich Bonhoeffer My series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth continues with the Advent edition. The carol I’ve selected for the week is, strictly speaking, not an Advent carol, but a Christmas carol. However, this being the start of the second week of Advent, the theme is Peace, and I’ve selected a carol about peace: O Holy Night. I realize I’ve written about this week’s carol before — twice last year. Once giving a nod to the hymn’s origin and once to plug a beautiful version of the song from the now-defunct Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

The hymn was written by Placide Cappeau, a French wine merchant, as “Cantique de Noel”, a poem commissioned for Christmas mass in 1847. It was set to music shortly after by Cappeau’s friend Adolphe Charles Adams, and by 1855 had been translated into many languages — into English by American abolitionist, John Sullivan Dwight.

HoMY 15: When the Roll is Called up Yonder

Angel with Trumpet My series “Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youthâ€? (â€?HoMYâ€?) continues with one of those “imaginary St. Peter” numbers written by James M. Black in 1893.

Black, a Meth­od­ist Sun­day school teach­er in Wil­liams­port, Penn­syl­van­ia, was call­ing roll one day for a youth meet­ing. Young Bes­sie, daugh­ter of a drunk­ard, did not show up, and he was dis­ap­point­ed at her fail­ure to ap­pear. Black made a com­ment to the ef­fect, “Well, I trust when the roll is called up yon­der, she’ll be there.� He tried to re­spond with an ap­prop­ri­ate song, but could not find one in his song book:

Random Acts of Linkage #21

This one feels more random than some… can you have degrees of random?

  1. Robbymac’s Elder and Younger are out for a beer again… another good conversational post, talking about flattened leadership structures. I really enjoyed the parts when they get down to the idea of the Third Space.
  2. Photography, you say? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Some great images of the World’s Most Interesting Bridges; and of course some photographers will do Anything for the Perfect Shot! How about photos of photographs of sewers, drains and tunnels taken by urban spelunkers?
  3. Signs of Emergence: A Vision for Church That Is Always Organic/Networked/Decentralized/Bottom-Up/Communal/Flexible/Always Evolving (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith) Scot McKnight’s post Analogies to “churchâ€? discusses Kester Brewin‘s book, Signs of Emergence: A Vision for Church That Is Always Organic/Networked/Decentralized/Bottom-Up/Communal/Flexible/Always Evolving.
  4. Kester is also interviewed at The Ooze. Opening question, “How do you define hospitality to the stranger?” I like how he defines the church near the end. Simple.

More than Words

Words aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be… often we’re crowded with too many of them — and the wrong ones, too frequently. Expression is possible without them, and not infrequently a wordless expression teaches us to stretch and experience in a new way.

I remember teaching once on prophetic ministry, and we were discussing the fact that sometimes the prophetic unction needs to be expressed without words… sometimes there’s an act or an action that can communicate something more effectively than trying to explain your point. We had musicians in the group, and one of them asked about whether or not they could play their instrument in this way. “Of course,” I replied, explaining that a good musician can improvise his expression of a word or a feeling in a way that words have difficulty explaining. In this way, music can gather people together into a common place, connecting them somehow. I explained how in jazz and blues, you have entire genres of music dedicated to expressing an idea or an emotion through music which often had no lyrics.

Random Acts of Linkage #15

Saturday morning, and I find myself in a rare spot for a Saturday: I’ve got the day to myself. I’m listening to Stuart McLean on CBC, and if you’ve not discovered it yet, find a time and stream to listen online. You’ll be glad you did. This post purports to be my weekly links post — and it is — but I’m going to mix in some personal update bits. It’s my blog, I don’t need to ask permission. ;^)

Music, Transcendent Beauty, & Taking Note of the Holy

Last week the Washington Post ran a story which set about asking and answering the question, “Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour?” The idea was to have virtuoso Joshua Bell take on the role of a busker, albeit one playing a 1713 Stradivarius (prime even among Stradivari) worth $3.5 Million. Not your average street musician… but among 1,070 passers-by over 45 minutes, 7 stopped to listen and 27 made donations totaling $32 and change. Seth Godin admits what most of us will know to be true of ourselves… he too would have ignored Bell and passed on by. The video clip with the article (or the full performance) provide enough audio for even an untrained ear to tell that this is beauty out of place.