Archive for January, 2007

This morning on the way to the LA Central Library (which I highly recommend), I heard on the radio about Scientology leader David Miscavige naming Tom Cruise the “chosen one” of the religion.* While drinking coffee before the library opened, I had a conversation with a likeable man named Dash, who told me that when he was 3 years old his parents took him to see L. Ron Hubbard personally,** who declared that Dash would one day be the head of his own religion.***

*I don’t know if this is remotely accurate.
** I have no reason to doubt this.
*** This may already be true.


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I saw a clip of Eddie Van Halen the other day, and I thought, man, Eddie makes Keith Richards look like Kathy Lee Gifford.

The Coachella headliners are, once again, 1995’s hot ticket item. I went to see U2 with a friend in 92 or 93 (whatever that tour was before it blossomed into ZOOTV), and Public Enemy and the Sugarcubes were opening. Being late to that show (on the 110 in an overheated GTO – hey, same guy as the beached Datsun!) is number four of my missed live music regrets, right after not going with a friend to see Smashing Pumpkins in a Hamburg club in 1991. I think I thought I’d get another chance to do that.

And, as it turns out, maybe I will. Sort of.

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Ken used this great quote from G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy this morning:

It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again,” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again,” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

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MLK’s sermon at the National Cathedral came up yesterday in class, as we discussed the sermons of anti-apartheid pastor Peter Storey. Storey says, “sometimes we let our institutions do our sinning for us.” Here are a few exerpts from King, or read the whole thing, where he stands in our national pulpit and takes on America’s institutional complicity in poverty, racism, and an unjust war in Vietnam.

On those who say change will come with time: “Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God. And without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

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I just figured out that I was posting from the future (the two posts below this one were originally dated tomorrow). All this time I should have been noting the weather, or put in something from the Business section.

It occurred to me this week that if every valley will be exalted and every mountain will be made low, then perhaps the day of the Lord will look a lot like West Texas.

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My wife showed me a clip of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” she’d watched with the young’un about what people call their grandparents. First, he played a recording on a tape recorder (which is not magic, and Mister Rogers did not go into and talk out of, but somebody invented) of grandparents telling what their grandchildren call them. The tape played, “Our grandchildren call me Pap Pap, and their grandmother Grandma,” and Mister Rogers gently smiled at us and said, “Pap Pap and Grandma.” Then we heard, and he repeated, several others.

He continued, “Have you ever asked your friends what they call their grandparents? It’s fun to hear all the different names children have for grandparents. I called my dad’s mother and father Grandmother Rogers and Granddad Rogers.” Then, with his same sweet and steady sincerity, “And I called my mother’s mother and father Nana and Ding Dong.”

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If you didn’t already take time to hear the Reverend Dr. King speak, it’s always a good day to do it. If you’re not a TV watcher, Larry James posted the text of “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” on his blog.

When I’ve tried to illustrate what difference the biblical vision makes for how we are Christians in the world, I play the closing section of this speech and compare it to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Both dreamers, but when it comes down to it, Lennon’s vision depends on you and me getting the job done. We’re not the only ones, and God bless John Lennon, but it still isn’t enough. King reminds us that, front or back of the bus, every hill will be laid low and every valley is being exalted. We won’t get anywhere if the roads we’re building don’t match the shifting landscape. And in his dream, those hills and valleys aren’t just metaphorical – they are the topography of America, a place where the Kingdom of God could do a lot of beautiful damage.

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