Archive for March, 2006

Aught six, Usher wanes,
Pharrel sleeps, Will.I.Am wakes.
Timberlake waxing.


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Immigration status

Some thoughts that rose to the surface after 500,000+ folks gathered in LA to offer their suggestions for immigration reform:

I’ve been thinking about J’s concern that if Protestants really start reclaiming the Tradition, then we start having to deal with issues of apostolic authority, and then we have to really consider whether we can take part in and contribute to the one, true, apostolic church without allowing for its authority in our lives. If you want to claim the fathers, do you have to obey the pontiff if you want your mother to speak to you? Cardinal Newman said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant” (and D.H. Williams wants to prove him wrong).

Maybe, though (and surely I’m not the first to say so), I want to be a Protestant, that is, a Protester – not a not-Catholic or a post-Reformation Christian, but a believer in the line of the apostolic tradition whose position is a stance of dissatisfaction from within that tradition, or, Tradition. It’s still my tradition/Tradition, but there are some points at which I object to the direction of the self-designated mainstream, even though I still carry my membership card. Now, there is the problem of claiming a line that doesn’t claim me on some points, but that’s the beauty of being a Protester. I keep my card as an act of conscience.

Granted, being a Protester sounds like it could get tiring. But 500 years has accumulated a lot of support to draw from, and the last 100 give me reason to believe that we might be accomplishing something more like reform and less like dissension, factions, et al. It would do me good to keep in mind what exactly I’m standing here for (and be sure I can do no other): out of love for what stood before me . I am standing in a mass of folks who believe we are citizens of the Kingdom, although our position in the Church is not always on paper what it appears to be in practice. A eucharistic mass, if you will.

More and more, I get the feeling that I need to cling to this whole history if I’m going to make sense of my faith. The effective strategic response to the “threat” of post-Christendom is not that we find social legitimacy though political power, or establish that we founded and sustained the society everybody’s now enjoying, but that we are in a legitimate, continuing family line going on 2,000+ years (whose author and finisher did found the world we’re enjoying, as a matter of fact). There’s just a few ancestors with whom I have a beef, which I express in peaceful protest by my Sunday pew, in hopes of accomplishing my purpose of sharing citizenship with (most of) them when my protest is heard.

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Hewson/Coyne ’08.

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hippity hop music

Speaking of cultural currency, in a seminar discussion last week we were responding to a presentation on hip hop culture. Someone quoted a Reformed faith-and-pop-culture scholar and critic as saying that he realized there was no longer such a thing as “youth culture” when Mick Jagger turned 60.

I get what he’s saying, if he said it, but the irony in the context of this conversation is here’s a bunch of white, protestant, pre-middle aged theology students getting the tip-of-the-iceberg-for-dummies on hip hop culture.

The revolution has been bought by Viacom, and youth will be viewing it in prime time this fall.


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We went to Saddleback Sunday, Rick Warren’s purpose driven congregation of thousands. I have a lot of appreciation for that community and for Warren (although I got a little miffed when he pushed so hard to get a massive ministers housing allowance cleared that he nearly pushed the federal govt to cancel the benefit, which is the only reason many less well-situated churches can afford to keep a full-time minister).

He threw me, though, when he started talking about how little cultural currency he thinks Christians have. Here he is, preaching to thousands of suburban OC upper classmates in this unbelievable facility on the solid foundation of his perpetual mainstream national bestseller and its bazilion spinoff sensations, and he is telling us that the unchallenged success of Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code is evidence of Christianity’s cultural disenfranchisement. I would reckon that, if anything, the success of DC (dare we say the moderate boxoffice success of Brokeback Mountain?) is due in large part not to a nation of godless dunderheads but to evangelicals defying their pastors’ well intended warnings – and a bit from the joy many take in celebrating what they hear the right thinks is wrong with them. Doesn’t this kind of talk nurture an ethos of us-against-them power struggle while NOT creating an impulse to confront the grinding human needs at our combined front doors?

Dear Rick,

George W. Bush is president of the United States.



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