The Liturgical Bob Dylan

tangledupinbible-dylan.cover.jpg Back in the day, I was a college freshman with
Mike Gilmour at the same institution where he’s now a New Testament professor. I didn’t know at the time that he was a Bob Dylan fan, but he’s since written a book about the biblical themes in Dylan’s music, so I guess one could say he’s well-versed in the topic. I imagine books like his Tangled Up in the Bible: Bob Dylan & Scripture (CBD Link) represent an awakening to the spiritual themes ushered forth from places long-considered by the church to be simply “unspiritual.” This is a good thing, but let’s come back to it.

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.

Come to the Table! — Who, Me?

howison_cometothetable_cover.jpg I read Jamie Howison’s new book, Come to the Table on the weekend — or part of the weekend, as it’s only 76 pages. It actually began as a paper exploring the basis for the practice of “open table” at St. Benedict’s Table. Open table refers to the practice of serving communion to people who present themselves to receive the elements, regardless whether or not they have been baptized. Now, this is not a very Anglican thing to do, since strictly speaking, traditionally those who expect to receive communion should have been baptized and confirmed. None of this is really an issue in evangelical circles, but in others I understand it’s pretty much grounds for scandal. Indeed, “from my evangelical days, baptism is not viewed as inherently for regeneration,” so the question seems a little farfetched to some, but with a bit of thought to the subject, one realizes that the communion table has actually been the dividing line between many a denomination or church group.

What Worship Cannot Provide

worshippers.jpg I’ve had a curious thought about the worship movement. Yes, “worship movement.” It seems to me that out of the Vineyard movement and similar neo-charismatic movements have come something that could be called a “worship movement,” that trend that is infiltrating a wide array of church traditions these days. You can tell by the ignoring or absence of hymnals in favour of the projection of lyrics on a screen. The selection of hymns is drastically reduced as well, giving way to choruses from the Vineyard, Hillsong, Integrity/Hosanna, Matt Redman, Third Day, and a cross section of people with soul patches. Not to mention that wherever church organs remain, they’re getting dusty. Not only have guitars and drums invaded, there are now bongos, conga drums, and djembes involved.

Death Cures Everything

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Sometimes when I stop in to refill our water jugs, I bump into Mike Koop from St. Ben’s, as I did the other day. He mentioned to me that he had uploaded some videos on YouTube, including his song “Death Cures Everything,” which I’ve mentioned before. The first time I heard it was in a small performance in a small bookstore where everyone spontaneously started singing along on the chorus. It was just the tiniest bit surreal.

Jesus you got this
lame man up off of the ground
The lepers are thankful
but anxious to quit this ol’ town
and catch slow moving pictures
that tell a story they just can’t live without

how death cures everything
by that I mean
come on in ’cause no one gets out

He Walked: A Christmas Song for All Year

Footprints in Sand Now that we’ve wrapped up our brief look at John’s Prologue as an introduction to the themes of Advent and Christmas, I wanted to dwell a bit more on the canticle I used for the compline in the fourth week of Advent, which was unfortunately too short this year. I carefully selected a song by Mike Koop of St. Benedict’s Table fame. John’s prologue is a hymn for Christmas and all year long, and if you wanted to know what an updated song for Christmas and all year long would look like if you wrote it with your head filled with gospel images while staring at the prologue to John (1:1-18), I think I have the answer. It would need to be something written as an epiphany, like John’s gospel — portraying Jesus’ entry into, accomplishment of his task, and exit from the temporal scene with the transcendence of an Eternal God stepping in and out of time at will. It would need to reflect the fullness of both his Godhood and his humanity, in the same breath wherever possible.

Random Acts of Linkage #27

Full Gas Gauge I’ve got a lot of catch-up to do… and I’m still about a week behind in my blog reading, having spent too much time this past week wrestling with blog upgrades, updates, migrations, and fixes. Should all be a thing of the past soon, then back onto “normal.” Interesting occurrence of the week — we spent a half-hour on a Skype call, video-to-video with family friends in China. Our two girls and their two girls were tickled to see each other on the computer as we talked, and they took us on a virtual narrated tour of their flat. Cool. I remarked to my buddy later that in all the movies and television I’d seen where video telephony was commonplace, there seemed to be a lot less giggling and waving than what my own personal experience suggested. He explained that it wouldn’t look right for James Bond to be talking to M with both of them waving and giggling into the camera. I had to agree of course — thought I stipulated it may have been more in character for Lazenby or Dalton perhaps, but not Connery, Moore, or Brosnan. Alright, on to the linkage, which this week is followed by a fine selection of quotations found around the Interweb:

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.