:: Saturday, April 12, 2003 ::

David Hopkins marks a year on the blog
Congrats, David. Marshall would be proud.

:: Andrew 11:49 + ::

I'd forgotten how much I love Jars of Clay's first CD...
...until I popped it into the CD tray this morning. Good stuff, even after 8 years.

:: Andrew 11:33 + ::

Evangelical Views of Islam
The results of the Beliefnet-Ethics and Public Policy Center poll show that "81% of evangelical Christian leaders say it is 'very important' to evangelize Muslims in other countries." The tables in the Beliefnet story also reveal some interesting attitudes of evangelical Christianity toward Islam. Old-school evangelism seems to be of prime importance to the evangelical Christian leaders polled. Asked, "How should the evangelical community interact with Muslims?" 89 percent said it was "very important" to "insist on truth of the gospel," and 83 percent said it was "very important" to evangelize Muslims in the United States. Link via A Kingdom Space.

:: Andrew 11:26 + ::
:: Friday, April 11, 2003 ::

Friday Five: behind the music
How fitting, on the day after the Dove Awards, a musical Friday Five.

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?
Okay, time to feel old. My first true rock concert was Styx in 1974 or '75 -- whenever it was that Loralei (wav file) was a big hit -- in Kirksville, Missouri. The opening act? Why, Head East, of course. (This was before John Schlitt or I, either one, had left our secular ways.)

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?
Too many to list here, but off the top of my head:
The sacred: Rich Mullins, U2, Paul Coleman Trio, Salvador, Pierce Pettis, Third Day, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews Band, Phil Keaggy, Rebecca St. James, Switchfoot and many others I can't think of right now

The profane: The Clash (of course), Talking Heads (of course), U2 (ditto), Blondie, Bruce Springsteen (of course), Nirvana, Ramones, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews Band, Wallflowers, the Eagles, Johnny Cash, Santana, Willie Nelson, Pretenders, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Linkin Park, Pink Floyd, Dave Brubeck, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin, John Mellencamp, Southern Culture on the Skids, the Bodines, Elvis Costello, Moby, Beethoven, Bach, Bill Munroe, Allison Krauss, and so many others I can't think of right now

3. What's your favorite song?
Again, there are too many to list. I'm not even going to try.

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
I can play two instruments: guitar and bass. But I would like to play both better.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?
Joe Strummer of the Clash, because he was a purist, and there aren't many of those around. He's dead now, btw.

For your blogsurfing pleasure, here are some random Friday Fives. Enjoy!

:: Andrew 16:08 + ::
:: Thursday, April 10, 2003 ::

Web marketing actually works...
...as long as you leave the geeks in charge. Keep the marketeers away. An interesting article on web marketing from Fortune. Link via Doc Searls.

:: Andrew 20:09 + ::

And I thought lectio divina was tough!
Update: Be forewarned: the following post may offend you, as it has at least one reader who emailed me privately and questioned my reasoning for posting it. I'm not going to post my reasoning for it. (If you really want to know, then email me.) Original message follows.

A new spiritual discipline! Boob grabbing and smoke reeking. Not for the faint of heart. Link via DJ Chuang.

:: Andrew 20:03 + ::

PBS documentary on Peter and Paul tonight
This looks interesting: A two-hour documentary on PBS tonight about the early church and its two predominant leaders. Filmmaker Margaret Koval claims on the >PBS promotional site that she tried to make a historical, not religious, documentary. "It is structured around the career of Paul, mostly, and his evolving relationship with fellow Jesus followers such as Peter," she says. "That personal journey is our central storyline. It's full of great conflicts and dilemmas that enable the film to introduce other topics which, inevitably, take a back seat to the story of Peter and Paul." Link via ChristianityToday Weblog, which notes that the film will portray early Christianity as a Jewish sect because, as Koval explains, "Christianity as we understand it today simply did not exist. Paul certainly joined forces with the new sect, but it was very self-consciously a Jewish sect."

:: Andrew 08:39 + ::

My dear Alphonse...
Eighty-four years ago today, on April 10, 1919, my father, Alphonso Careaga, was born in Laredo, Texas. He died one month short of his 71st birthday, on March 10, 1990.

Here's a little story/prose-poem influenced by his life and death. It actually won an award and was published in a literary anthology. This essay, about how my father's career path cosmically influenced my decision to go into writing, has never been published anywhere but on the web. "Baseball 1971" was a father-son story based on a Red Sox game my father and I attended when I was 10. It was actually published sometime back in the mid-1990s in a tiny litmag called Fan. A columnist for the local newspaper wrote a nice little blurb about it, starting the piece something like this: What do Bernard Malamud, W.P. Kinsella, Ring Lardner and Andrew Careaga all have in common? They've all written about baseball.

Here's the opening for "Baseball 1971":

He was years away from his three-thousandth hit and the time when the fans of Boston would again cheer him. But today Yaz looked as old and weary as my father. Today the boos were raining down on him, weary old Atlas, adjusting his helmet, digging his cleats into the batter's box, holding his bat aloft, the way only Yaz could do it, high and straight and outstretched, like a club to fend off the catcalls from above.

Mickey Lolich was pitching for the Tigers. He was past his prime too, but today he pitched like it was Game 7 of the 1968 World Series all over again. Read more...

:: Andrew 08:11 + ::
:: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 ::

End of an error
Yesterday afternoon, I and two witnesses signed two copies of a letter releasing me from my contract with Huntington House/Vital Issues Press for my book E-vangelism: Sharing the Gospel in Cyberspace in exchange for forfeiting all past due and current royalty payments. I mailed the letters back to Huntington House last night on the way home from work. Once HH's publisher signs and returns my copy, I will once again hold copyright to E-vangelism, and then this whole ugly mess will finally be behind me.

I can't say I feel any better about the situation right now. I had to hire an attorney to write a letter to get HH to do anything, and that's left a bitter taste in my mouth. That, and the fact that HH was more than 2 1/2 years in arrears on royalty payments due me. My January post about the problems did result in a $20 check from HH as a show of "good faith," but I soon decided, after consulting with many good people in the legal community, online and off (thank you all!), that the best course of action would be to try to get out of the contract, get the copyright back, and work on a substantial revision and update of the book. So that's what I'm now pursuing, slowly but surely. Right now, it's still mostly an idea formulating in my head; not much actual writing has been accomplished. (See this post for thoughts on E-vangelism 2.0.)

I really do want to put this entire episode behind me, but I would be lying to say I don't feel bitter and resentful about it all. I know, I know. Forgiveness. I'm working on it. But it isn't there yet.

Thanks for your prayers, then as now.

:: Andrew 10:39 + ::

A touching tribute to a professor
I'm a sucker for tributes to teachers. So I was happy today to see Gael Cooper of Pop Culture Junk Mail fame take a break from her usual wackiness to post a poignant tribute to one of her favorite professors, the Rev. James Whalen. Rev. Whalen died April 8 at age 78. I didn't know Rev. Whalen, and didn't go to the same J-School, but having graduated from one of the finest journalism schools in the nation, I had the privilege of learning under the same types of old-school journalism profs. It's obvious from Gael's tribute that Rev. Whalen had a lasting impact on her life -- the hallmark of any great teacher. As she writes: His loss is felt by hundreds of non-thumb-sucking ink-stained wretches the world over, including this one. Thank you, Father, for making the road less traveled seem not so frightening after all. Those lines in themselves attest to his influence.

:: Andrew 10:16 + ::
:: Tuesday, April 08, 2003 ::

PoMo Ponderings
Or should that be panderings. Kevin Miller, the guy whose essay Nomo PoMo -- A Postmodern Rant caused quite a stir several weeks ago, is at it again. This time, he asks 10 questions about postmodern ministry. Link via Rudy Carrasco.

:: Andrew 15:41 + ::

How do we present ourselves? (And God?)
I really liked these comments that Tim Bednar, Len Evans and Mike Todd shared about an earlier posting of mine about making the church in our image. I'm pleased to see some readers pondering the entire issue of image. (Of course I'd expect nothing less from Bednar, who, like I, makes a living trafficking in images and messages.) So, with the few minutes I have here between meetings, I'd like to expound on this issue a bit. (By the way, this whole topic was sparked by a Dean Peters post. Credit -- or blame -- where it's due.)

Church culture is so saturated by media and so enmeshed with our consumer-driven society that we accept uncritically the "marketing" images and messages of churches as simply part of our culture. Even "alternative" churches or "emerging" churches are marketed as, well, alternatives or emergences. What actually emerges, however, is an idealized version of reality. As Tim Bednar states put it in his comments, "Marketing and advertising never deal with reality. It is how I want reality to be perceived as both the designer and consumer. I manipulate it; actually, I can create 'reality'. In truth, the designer and consumer create reality together; think of it as a sort of pact of delusion."

How, then, can we have "authentic" church in our consumer-driven, image-laden society?

And about the "image" thing. Does anyone besides me ever consider the possibility that our emphasis on images to convey our messages -- and on images of Christ (for more on this, see this article -- might even border on idolatry at times?

Well, speaking of image and idolatry, I've gotta run. Got a marketing committee meeting to attend.

:: Andrew 10:16 + ::

Wisdom is with the humble
If you've been wondering why I haven't been posting much about my lectio divina disciplines lately, it's because I haven't encountered many profound revelations, or what many would consider profound. Throughout most of my readings lately -- in Psalms, with an occasional foray into other wisdom books -- the Word from God has been about obvious stuff, and I guess I'm a bit embarassed to post on some of these no-brainer points, the kind of stuff you'd think would be obvious to any follower of Jesus and any reader of Scripture. But sometimes it's the obvious stuff that we overlook.

Over the weekend and against yesterday and today, I've been contemplating a snippet from the opening lines of Proverbs 11:

When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom.

Isn't it amazing that we'll look high and low for wisdom -- we'll look everywhere for it. Everywhere, that is, but among the humble. (Or, in the KJV, among the "lowly.") We'll travel to seminars and conferences. We'll read books by the hot, trendy authors. We'll buy tapes and CDs and pump their teachings into our brains. We'll discuss issues and exchange ideas with those who are well educated, like us. But will we listen to the lowly among us? Will we seek wisdom from the humble?

:: Andrew 09:57 + ::
:: Monday, April 07, 2003 ::

Josh's back!
...and he's okay with this blog's "secular poo." (Hmmm...I'm thinking "secular poo" would be a good name for a blog.)

:: Andrew 08:33 + ::

Who says we never agree about anything?
In a unanimous vote this morning, everyone in my office agreed that the first Monday after Daylight Savings Time takes effect should be declared a national holiday.

:: Andrew 08:30 + ::

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Look Your Best Pink Tuscadero: Look Your Best

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I Am  Not Afraid Of  You And I Will Beat Your Ass Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

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The Lemonheads The Lemonheads: The Lemonheads

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We Are The Pipettes The Pipettes: We Are the Pipettes

Surprise Paul Simon: Surprise

Sev7en Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners: Sev7en

A Hundred Highways Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways

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News and Tributes The Futureheads: News and Tributes

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Broken Boy Soldiers The Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers

The Life Pursuit Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit

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