iPod Shuffle – 10:30am

One might think that all I have on my iPod today is Natalie Imbruglia, Sarah McLauchlin, or Sufjan Stevens, but it is not the case. It seems that Shuffle has a tendency to hit the same songs (or artists at least) often. Anyway, here is the list…
1. Natalie Imbruglia, Intuition, from ‘Left Of The Middle’
2. Sarah McLachlan, Fear, from ‘Fumbling Toward Exstacy’
3. Sufjan Stevens, The Transfiguration, from ‘Seven Swans’
4. Kat Williams, Stand By Me, from ‘Compilation’
5. Sarah McLachlan, Drawn To The Rhythm, from ‘Solace’
6. Noral Jones, Those Sweat Words, from ‘Feels Like Home’
7. Sarah McLachlan, Last Dance, from ‘Surfacing’
8. The USSR Ministry of Culture Choir – Peter Tchaikovsky, Amen, And With Thy Spirit, from ‘Sacred Treasures I’
9. U2, Elevation, from ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’
10. Natalie Imbruglia, Butterflies, from ‘While Lillies Island’
and then, just to show that there is some more stuff to listen to
11. Sufjan Stevens, The Upper Peninsula, from ‘Greetings From Michigan’
12. Aimee Mann, Humpty Dumpty, from ‘Lost In Space’
13. Sugar, Helpless, from ‘Copper Blue’
14. Moby, Everything Is Wrong, from ‘Into The Blue’
The rules, for bloggers who want to play:

Get your ipod or media-player of choice, select your whole music collection, set the thing to shuffle (i.e., randomized playback), then post the first ten songs that come out. No cheating, no matter how stupid it makes you feel!

Idea originally from Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things


I was listening to Condoleezza Rice this morning. She was commenting on, actually criticizing, some of the conclusions and suggestions of the Baker-Hamilton Report.
She commented specifically on Baker’s suggestion that we talk to our enemies – like Iran and Syria.
Baker and Hamilton have compared the current situation with the former policy of talking to are enemies, like our former arch-enemy the Soviet Union. Rice believes the comparison is invalid, for various reasons. One thing she suggested about former policies of engagement with the Soviet Union was that our goal concerning the Soviets was centered on changing their behavior. Likewise, she suggests that the refusal to talk to countries like Iran or Syria is intended to illicit the same result – a change in their behavior.
I was struck by her repeated use of the word “behavior.” The goal of the present administration is to force these countries to change their behavior. The next thought that came to mind was the intent of the Religious Right to change the behavior of American citizens. Their intent is to change “homosexual behavior” into “heterosexual behavior” or at least no sexual behavior, to change “pro-environment behavior” to “pro-business behavior”, to change abortion behavior, fornication behavior, and adultery behavior – lots of other kinds of behaviors, too.
All laws are for the purpose of changing behavior for the well ordering of society. All law is morally determined in some way or another. However, this present administration, supported and encouraged by the Religious Right, is intent on changing (or forcing the change of) the behavior of our citizenry. They are intent on changing the behavior of whole other countries.
The question that doesn’t seem to come up a lot, or at least in public, is WHY people or countries behave in certain ways. To understand why, it seems, would go a long in better understanding how to respond and react. To understand necessitates talking and LISTENING to the other person or country. There are reasons why people and countries behave in certain ways. Some of those reasons of legitimate and some aren’t. In the development of foreign policy, or even domestic laws that emphasize one moral position over another, to talk to the “enemy” will only benefit the cause a peaceful existence. I think Baker and Hamilton are right. We need to talk to even our enemies.
The problem is that those with their hands on the levers of power do not believe talk and listening are appropriate with some. There is no reason to talk to domestic or foreign “enemies.” They already know how people and nations aught to behave, so there is no point in listening to why or how or to think that they might misunderstand or be wrong. How about changing our behavior – why do we not ask why, talk and listen? It seems a wiser course of action and behavior than to bomb and invade and demean others. In the long run, this may be our best course of action against international terrorism!


Ambrosian Rite traditional chant. It is different from Gregorian or Anglican chant.
Via: Dappled Things.
Some examples of Anglicans chanting and singing in America:
The Lord is my shepherd: Hylton-Stewart (Calvary Episcopal Church)
This is the day which the Lord hath made: Anonymous [16th Century English polyphony] (Calvary Episcopal Church)
Christus factus est: Bruckner (Calvary Episcopal Church)
Ave Maria: Parsons (Church of the Redeemer Chamber Choir)
O Magnum Mysterium: Victoria (Church of the Redeemer Chamber Choir)


Ever since college, I have been enamored by the political and social philosophy of Libertarianism. I might even say that I tend to be a Libertarian, but in a qualified way.
The Libertarian Party, the largest third-party and only other national party besides the Democrats and Republicans, is an interesting mix of people. During the 1980 presidential election, the Libertarian Party decided to field a national campaign on par with the Republican and Democratic parties. They had a large national convention and poured a lot of money into national advertising. Ed Clarke, their presidential candidate, was a telegenic and competent speaker. The party steered clear of the more controversial issues that fringe Libertarian Party members champion – like the legalization of drugs – and really did mount a solid national campaign. If my memory is correct, the party garnered 5% of the national vote. It was quite a good showing for a third party, particularly during an election year when John Anderson conducted a very successful independent presidential bid. The party hasn’t done nearly as well since, although they still field a large number of candidates and do win some local elections (I think they have one member in the Congress).
Most people who know anything about Libertarianism consider them to be “Conservatives,” but frankly the political philosophy is something in-and-of itself – different and distinct from conservative and liberal philosophical traditions. Most philosophical-Libertarians situate themselves within the Republican Party primarily because of general agreement on governance issues – they are opposed to government intrusion into citizen’s lives, they favor small government, federalism, free-enterprise, and most fundamentally individual liberty. These points have been traditionally shared by Republican conservatives, although the Republican Party right now is controlled by a cadre of people who I don’t think are truly “conservative.” I don’t know what they are, but some have termed them “neo-con’s.” In today’s political and social climate, Barry Goldwater might well have described himself as a Libertarian rather than a Conservative.
The thing that generally separates most Libertarians from run-of-the-mill Republicans is a more live-and-let-live mentality when it comes to social or moral issues. This belief gets them into trouble with current-day Culture-War Republicans who have replaced economic issues with morality issues as the party’s primary focus (aside from the “War on Terror”). A lot of philosophical-Libertarians who do not belong to the Libertarian Party (because of the traditional problems with all third-parties – lots of kooks as members) have become more and more frustrated with Republican Party leaders and the neo-con rank-n-file who are determined to impose a very narrow and sectarian view of morality upon the rest of the citizenry.
I was listening to NPR the other day and a fellow from the CATO Institute (a Libertarian thank-tank) wrote a piece in the current issue of The New Republic musing over that fact that philosophical-Libertarians are beginning to look to the Democratic Party as a viable alternative to the Republican Party, which they view as having rejected traditional conservative ideals of limited government, economic freedom, and personal liberty – thus, the “Liberal-tarian” moniker.
When it comes to social and moral issues, I think Libertarians will find themselves more comfortable in the more moderate Democratic Party (strongly liberal-minded Democrats have become the minority in the party). The problem many Libertarians will have with many Democrats will be over personal responsibility and liberty issues. Libertarians are far more likely to take a strong stand on person responsibility over life decisions and livelihood then some more “democratic-socialist” minded Democrats. Really, if the Republican Party still stood of solidly Conservative principals, Libertarians would still be right there in the midst of the party.
It will be interesting to see where Libertarians end up. It all depends, I think, on whether traditional conservatives will take back the Republican Party from the Religious Right and Neo-Conservatives. It also depends on whether more leftist-minded Democrats begin to exert more influence once again on the Democratic Party. The country is far more conservative than it was back in the ’60’s and ’70’s. While most Republicans askew Libertarianism, it is still a constituency with enough Republican members to make or break some elections. Perhaps, perhaps the Libertarian Party could take advantage of all this and become a true third-party alternative. I think we need a strong alternative, but that party has a long way to go to be an honest option for most Americans.

Nice and ethical

This morning, I read through Eugene Peterson’s introduction to his rendering of the Bible in The Message, which has become very popular particularly among Evangelicals.
He studied and became a seminary professor of Greek and Hebrew and intended to remain a scholar. Something happened along the way and his vocation turned to the pastorate. He is a Presbyterian.
Upon taking his first church, he discovered that most people where not at all interested in Scripture, or if they once were they were bored by it. This seems odd to me, after all Presbyterians are perceived to be more “of the mind” and studious. He said that he found himself being a translator between two world languages – that of the Bible and that of the world. He was surprised be this realization, since he figured the worlds were the same.
This brought up thoughts in my mind about how so many Christians function in this world. Even among the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, so few really have a strong grasp of Scripture. Most, frankly, either aren’t interested or will not take the time to read and study the Bible. This skews their perception and experience of the Christian life.
A strong statement: It is not possible to live within the Way of God without having an understanding of Scripture. It is through Scripture that we peer into God’s intent for the human life, a way of living that is best suited for us. It also has the power to transform our carnal minds into minds set on Christ and a way of life that is eternal. It forms us, changes us, and guides us. It is part of the equation that takes us and over time makes us into the image of Christ. As good Anglicans, Scripture is understood through Tradition and Reason. Just want to make that point!
Too many people, I think, perceive the Christian life as being issues of niceness and ethics. Yes, being nice and ethical are very good things, but anyone can be nice and have well formed ethical behavior. Being nice and ethical are good results of a Christian life, but they are not the definitions of what life in Christ is all about. Besides, most non-Christians or unchurched people have the perception that the Church and Christians are not frankly very nice or ethical! We focus too much on those things that may be expedient or comforting – self-justification and guilt soothing – but we do not allow for the transformed life.
We are famished as Christians if we attempt to live life in Christ unaware of Scripture, God’s Word to us. We are famished, even as we gorge on all manner of things: entertainment for distraction, self-actualization for “completeness,” identity-politics, ethnic diversity that confuses us into believing that we understand the Middle-East because we eat at Zaytoon’s, and so on.
The Sacraments are of primary importance, as is fellowship, but they alone do not complete the equation. We remove from the equation the very instrument God has supplied to us to reveal His will. We exclude the written source – our primary source document. We need to study the Word of God to understand what it means to be a Christian, to see the reality of the Kingdom of God, and to know how to move within that swirling milieu called the Way.
One of the big responsibilities of priests, pastors, and teachers is not just to be translators, but to teach the people in our charge how to translate for themselves to the point where translation is no longer necessary – they are fluent in the language of the Kingdom of God. Then, they are able to fulfill a primary role of the laity – to be translators to those living in this chaotic and messed up world.
Are we fluent, yet?

Miroslav Volf
, theologian, said something along the lines that we need “to think of faith neither as simply a system of propositions to be believed, nor as merely a set of energizing and healing techniques to be practiced, but as an integral way of life.”

Revolution Church

I’ve been following, kind of, the change and progress of “Revolution Church” that used to be based in Atlanta, GA. It was started and pastored by Jay Bakker. (Whenever you see two “kk’s” in the word name, Bakker, one may wonder – Jim and Tammy? Yes, the son of those Bakker’s). I’ve found his life and ministry very compelling!
I just discovered today that Jay has moved the church to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn – the nearly new hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn, on the East River, by the Williamsburg Bridge. Vito and Monique Aiuto (who used to live in my apartment and favorites of Fr. Cullen) are pioneering a new Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg – Resurrection Williamsburg. It is only a hop-skip-and-jump from our neighborhood of Carroll Gardens.
Anyway, Jay’s church – Revolution NYC – is up and running. I also discovered that he is the focus of a new “reality” documentary show on the Sundance Channel called, “One Punk Under God“. Go to the site and watch a couple clips. The whole show is available on iTunes.
The funny thing is, this is really me in many ways. This is kind of the sort of perspective I honestly do have – generally. Being a data analyst is about killing me – I’m not a numbers guy. The creative aspect in what Church is, what the Gospel says, the way of presenting it all to unchurched people, to new generations, to those folks who seek. That’s what I want to be doing. Now, couple this way of things to High Church Anglicanism and I’ll be in heaven!!!
I’ve got to give the guy a call and try to get together with him.
Oh, and there is an article about him I found today in this week’s Advocate. Is this the face of the future of Evangelicalism, or something completely different? More Emergent, perhaps?
It’s kind of funny to think of how people see me, if I can be a good judge of that. I suspect most people these days see me as a fairly convention guy, a bit traditional. If those who know me now knew be back when I was working in campus ministry they may well have a very different perspective. I have always been a bit rebellious – I’ve been labelled rebellious by former pastors I’ve worked with. It really is in may nature to not accept anything at face value, to always try to see a third way, to try to understand the perspective of my opponents, and not fall into what is commonly expected of me. The world is too varied and interesting to fall into the trap of conventionality. I am in my own way quite rebellious.
That is why I find myself in a more-progressive Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian church. I am bucking convention and rebelling against the “established” order. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
I think this is where Jesus would be if he were here today.

iPod Shuffle – 11:00 am

Oh great iPod, give it to me.
1.Sinead O’Conner, Mandinka. from ‘Never Mind The Mainstream’
2. Sufjan Stevens, Rifts & Variations An a Single Note for Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, And The Kings of Swing To Name A Few, from “Come And Feel The Illinois
3. Anna Nalick, Breath (2AM), from ‘Breat (2AM) Single’; (The words “Rain” and “Breath” intrigue me. “Rain” that brings refreshing, life, and cleansing; “Breath” is life, the Holy Spirit, the Breath that interred us…)
4. Aimee Mann, Par For The Course, from ‘I’m With Stupid’
5. Underworld, Surfboy, from ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’
6. Aimee Mann, Video, from ‘The Forgotten Arm’
7. Moby, Bring Back My Happiness, from ‘Everything Is Wrong’
8. Natalie Imbruglia, City, from ‘Left Of The Middle’
9. U2, In God’s Country, from ‘The Complete U2’
10. Kate Bush, Rubberband Girl, from ‘The Red Shoes’
I’m including the next two songs, too, for reasons.
11. Gary Newman, Cars, from ??? (When I first heard this song, I though, “My gosh, an alternative to Arena Rock and Disco!!!!!! I was in New Wave & Punk heaven.)
12. Sufjan Stevens, The Predatory Wasp Of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us!, from ‘Come And Feel The Illinois’ (This is simply an amazing song!)
The rules, for bloggers who want to play:

Get your ipod or media-player of choice, select your whole music collection, set the thing to shuffle (i.e., randomized playback), then post the first ten songs that come out. No cheating, no matter how stupid it makes you feel!

Idea originally from Fr. Jim Tucker of Dappled Things