Why it’s cool to go to church

An interesting little piece in the Huffington PostWhy It’s Cook to Go to Church.  In addition, it is interesting that he went to Union and seems to have such an attitude toward the ancient and enduring Traditions – Catholic and Apostolic.  These are generally not the norm for Union students.  I wonder why he attended a seminary for his degree?  What initially brought him even that far?

“Then, in seminary, taking classes on monasticism and ancient
Christianity, I began to strongly feel the presence of God. I got
inspired to visit monasteries and very ancient churches, first in the
U.S., then researching and filming hermits in Egypt, then in Greece and
Eastern Europe, and finally in Russia. I met hermits and monks, and
they let me film their descriptions of the inner Christian life. They
took me to their monastery churches. My studies in Christian mysticism
and ancient texts grew deeper and deeper. I discovered a prayer, the
Jesus Prayer, or Kyrie Eleison — “Lord have mercy,” or “Lord Jesus
Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.” (Some add “a sinner” at the
end.) I loved ancient church so much that I’m making a movie and
writing a book about them, coming early next year (Mysteries
of the Jesus Prayer
is a not-for-profit feature film, the result of
my studies and renewed love-affair with Jesus Christ and church).”

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‘Till Tuesday

I loved ‘Till Tuesday – the name, the music, the look, the album covers.  I’ve followed Aimee Mann long after the band broke up – have all her albums.  She has been referred to as the “last of the tortured artists” and an “artist’s artist”.  I remember in the mid-1980’s sitting in the studio working on my graphic design projects listening to this album.  “Coming Up Close” is easily the best song!  New Wave, female vocalists with low voices… I had a platonic crush on Aimee Mann.


Well, she really needs to have a guitar in her hands in this video – not so good at free dancing.  This was when MTV had “VJ’s” and actually played videos – all day!  Then, of course, there was the keyboardist.

In the “Inventive Age”

Here is the quote:

“I think there is something much bigger going on than finding a niche market and asking how should we position this product of the gospel so that those people will appreciate it, and will like it, and will accept it. We’re really asking a deeper question about who we are in a changing cultural environment when it comes to the way think, the values we hold, the tools that we use, and the aesthetics that are meaningful to us.” –Doug Pragitt (describing the concepts behind his new book, “Church in the Inventive Age“)  
Pagitt is the pastor of Salomon’s Porch Church.

This is the melee in which I desire to be and where the Imago Dei Society has a real place within the greater arena of Anglicanism. Well, actually, this whole way of considering and thinking has had a place within Anglicanism, but to understand how we continue to do this thing called Anglicanism (this Christianity) in emerging cultures and with emerging generations are the questions we need to continually ask!

I came across one of the ministries that has as its purpose (or its obsession) the condemning of the “Emergent” side of the Church as being heretical. I don’t know whether it is simply their inability to understand enculturation and that we are all raised within a cultural system that forms us in the ways we collectively think, the way we understand the world around us and our place it in, what we consider to be aesthetically pleasing or appropriate, and even what we consider to be moral and ethical.  I don’t know whether they are simply ignorant of disciplines like anthropology, sociology, etc., or what is really going on within them.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the divine Logos do not change, but we certainly do, our cultures certainly do, and what we consider to be self-evident truth certainly does.  So, groups like this, I suppose, either honestly not to understand, are being willfully ignorant (and as a former teacher, this is an astounding tragedy), or are intransigent in their beliefs – fundamentalists, in other words. 

What is this particular ministry, you might ask?  Apprising Ministries.  I don’t know anything about this, really, and perhaps much of what they do is really good, but with regard to Emergent stuff, they have a thorn in their craw!  So, make up your own mind. 

Our Times

Thomas Chatterton Williams in his book, Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,00 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture, wrote: “Nietzsche believed the greatest deeds are thoughts. ‘The world revolves around the inventors of new values,’ he wrote.  For more than thirty years the black world has revolved around the inventors of hip-hop values, and this has been a decisive step backward.” (p. 218)

In his book, Williams describes his experiences growing up with increasing allegiance to those inventors and the hip-hop culture, until discovering a much broader world when he went off to college – and more importantly due to his father’s constant influence and love.  Certainly, not all of hip-hop is negative, but much of it is.  For many, many black people, according to their own testimony, the more gangsta forms have had a devastating effect on black culture and those forms are the “new values” taken up decisively by a generation.

Williams goes on to write that his generation, in order to pay the debt they owe their ancestors for all they suffered through in order to make possible in his generation a black President, who is a counter example as a “nuanced thinker” of hip-hop culture, his generation must take up the challenge to do things differently and make things right for the sake of the new generations coming.

I see in Williams’ description of his experience and the “new values” of the hip-hop phenomina a similiar experience of another generation and another racial group – the overwhelmingly white Baby Boomer generation.  The “1960’s” generation proclaimed a new morality with a whole set of “new values.”  In their belief that their generation’s purpose was to usher in a Brave New World, the age of Aquarius, they have been relentless in overturning anything they perceive as getting in their way.   As Nietzsche said, the world has revolved around this new morality and their new values.

Like hip-hop, not all that this generation has done is wrong or bad.  Many aspects of white, 1950’s culture needed to be upended – racism, the “Stepford Wives” expectation of women are examples.  The proverbial baby was thrown out with the bathwater, however, because of an unnuanced rejection of all that came before them.  We are beginning to reap the whirlwind. 

One predominate characteristic of this generation is their rejection of the notion that their ancestors, or even their parents’ generation, have anything worthwhile to say to them or to teach them, and as a result their generation is known as the first one to cast off history and lessons from the past as informants of how things should be. This may be a bit of overstatement, but not by much.  What is even more sad is that the generation in the aggregate does not acknowledge or perhaps even realize the tremendous sacrifice and denial of self past generations have endured for their generation’s existence.

I am hopeful when I read the demographic trends of younger generations.  They will have their own problems, of course, but there seems to be a reclaiming of history and past experience as informants for figuring out how to live life.  As Williams claims it is up to his generation to overturn the very negative influences of hip-hop on African-American culture, so is it up to his generation, including all races, to overturn the negative aspects of the Baby Boomer zeitgeist for all Americans.