Since meeting Alan Roxburgh last year and attending Allelon’s missional order gathering last October, I’ve been gradually becoming more familiar with Allelon and their work. Recently, I’ve been looking at Allelon’s Mission in Western Culture Project based on some of the material they’ve published on their site. While I was out of town, Alan Roxburgh published an update and appeal concerning the project and their meetings this August in Zambia (coincidentally where Todd Heistand is right now).
I was just rereading Todd Hiestand’s post that asks, “How Does the Church Engage the World? Build an Ark?” He critiques an old song by the Gaither Vocal Band called “Build an Ark,” the lyrics of which talk about bundling your family and friends into an ark where they’ll be safe from the world around them, with its villains and “killin’s.” Like Noah… “safe from the world around us.” Hoo-boy. You can just imaging what Todd said (or better still, go read it) and what I think… pretty much agreeing with Todd (except I think he means the Essenes, not the “Essences”).
I was certain I had mentioned this a while back, as I recall hearing the story a year or so ago, but Justin Baeder mentioned it just recently and I couldn’t find where I might have mentioned it in my archives. Justin links to an NPR story about the discovery of baroque sheet music in Jesuit missions in the Bolivian jungle. Long-forgotten, some of the music dates to the 17th century, and is original to the people of the area. Apparently the original score of one of the pieces recovered is on the Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone with the London Symphony Orchestra. I’ve been listening to — and loving — that soundtrack on CD since 1986, and it’s probably time that I picked up the DVD and watched it again.
I’m not sure quite how I was struck by the thought, but something occurred to me about the way we learned to fly. Early attempts at flight were clearly based on an examination of birds. Contraptions designed to allow a human being to fly would typically employ a device whereby the aviator’s arms and legs would power a “flapping” motion of the wings on the machine. Da Vinci designed such a device, as did many others — some of whom tested them with varying degrees of success. Perhaps “varying degrees of failure” might be a better way to phrase that. It seems that the best case scenario was flight for a limited distance off the edge of a bluff or small cliff and lasting for as long as the aviator could maintain the frantic flapping that would delay or diminish the pain at the end of a potential plummet.
There’s one thing from the Seabeck gathering which impacted me quite deeply, but about which I’ve really said nothing so far… the language of revolution. Much of this comes from a brief talk that Al Roxburgh gave on Wednesday morning, but for those who weren’t there, it also features in an article on the Allelon site (Page 3 in particular. It was also part of the subject matter for a walk around the mall with Papa Al and Brother Maynard. (Sara Jane dubbed it, Paparazzi Bill publicized it.) If this post is of interest, I recommend chasing down some of the longer explanations and discussions in the links I’ve provided. In the nature of the zen story which is told and retold orally in part because it is then shaped by the experience and understanding of the storyteller, here, mostly in my own retelling, is what I got, which I relate under the question with which Al opened his brief address at Seabeck: “How do cultures change?”