TV: Hit Me Baby 1 More Time: Week 2

The older kids are in bed, so Kerri and I are indulging in a trip down memory lane. We’re unashamed children of the 80′s. We missed it last week, so this is a nice treat.

Tonight’s Performers: Original Hit Performed: Cover Performed (iTMS links embedded when available)

: :

: :

Tommy Tutone: 867-5309/Jenny:

The Motels: :

: :

While the studio audience it voting I’ll weigh in with this thought: I’m pretty sure the majority of the audience and the host only know the original hits from VH1 flashback shows.

Tonight’s Winner: Vanilla Ice (by a mile) $20K will be donated to Make a Wish Foundation

He’s a lot harder and edgier than back in the day, and his reprisal of Survivor was entirely his own. (The other covers all seemed pretty faithful to the originals, though I am not familiar enough with Toxic and Don’t Know Why to be certain.) I certainly enjoyed his performances and am not ashamed to admit I was a fan back in the day.

A Response: Does Prayer Change God’s Mind? (A Poetic Interlude)

Let me share this wonderful song from the late Rich Mullins. His last album was released posthumously as a two disc set. The first disc consists of acoustic demos recorded by Rich on a portable tape player in an old country church. The second is a tribute album; each of the demos has been fully produced and recorded by other artists. Personally, I recommend the demos over the tributes almost universally.

Do you who live in heaven

hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth,

who are afraid of being left by those we love

and who get hardened in the hurt?

Do you remember when you lived down here

where we all scraped

to find the faith to ask for daily bread?

Did you forget about us

after you had flown away?

Well, I memorized every word you said;

still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath,

for you’re up there just playing hard to get.

Do you who live in radiance

hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin?

We have a love that’s not as patient as yours was,

still we do love now and then?

Did you ever know loneliness? Did you ever know need?

Do you remember just how long a night can get

when you are barely holding on and your friends fall asleep

and don’t see the blood that’s running in your sweat?

Will those who mourn be left uncomforted,

while you’re up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows.

And I know you feel our pain.

And I know that it would not hurt you less

even if it could be explained.

And I know that I am only lashing out

at the one who loves me most.

And after I have figured this song out

what I really need to know

is if you who live in eternity

hear the prayers of those of us who live in time?

We can’t see what’s ahead and we

cannot get free from what we’ve left behind.

I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears,

all these words of shame and doubt, blame and regret.

I can’t see how you’re leading me unless you’ve led me here

to where I’m lost enough to let myself be led.

You said you’ve been here all along. I guess

It’s just your ways and you are

just plain hard to get.

Hard To Get from the album “The Jesus Demos” by Rich Mullins. ( /Amazon link)


Does Prayer Change God’s Mind: Part 1

Does Prayer Change God’s Mind: Part 2

Does Prayer Change God’s Mind: A Poetic Interlude

Does Prayer Change God’s Mind: Part 3

Does Prayer Change God’s Mind: Part 4 (Last)

Question: Book Recommendation

As I mentioned in my review of Rounders, I’m reading thru Palmer’s work, Let Your Life Speak. In it Palmer has introduced me to a new way of looking at sin, a way that is as foreign to my experience as it is essential to his understanding of vocation. A quote from the first chapter:

Vocation, the way I was seeking it, becomes an act of will, a grim determination that one’s life will go this way or that whether it wants to or not. If the self is sin-ridden and will bow to truth and goodness only under duress, that approach to vocation makes sense. But if the self seeks not pathology but wholeness, as I believe it does, then the willful pursuit of vocation is an act of violence toward ourselves – violence in the name of a vision that, however lofty, is forced on the self from without rather than grown from within.

One more, slightly longer, from the second chapter:

I first learned about vocation growing up in the church. I value much about the religious tradition in which I was raised… but the idea of "vocation" I picked up in those circles created distortion until I grew strong enough to discard it. I mean the idea that vocation, or calling, comes from a voice external to ourselves, a voice of moral demand that asks us to become someone we are not yet – someone different, someone better, someone just beyond our reach.

That concept of vocation is rooted in a deep distrust of selfhood, in the belief that the sinful self will always be "selfish" unless corrected by external forces of virtue. It is a notion that made me feel inadequate to the task of living my own life, creating guilt about the distance between who I was and who I was supposed to be, leaving me exhausted as I labored to close the gap.

Today I understand vocation quite differently – not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received. Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice "out there" calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice "in here" calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.

My question: Can anyone recommend a book or two that further explores Palmer’s approach to sin and the self? In particular, I’m hoping for one that examines this idea in the light of Scripture.

U.S. Debates Available Thru iTunes

The first presidential debate and the vice presidential debate are both available as free downloads thru iTMS.

  2004 First Presidential Debate: Bush Vs. Kerry (9/30/04)

 2004 Vice Presidential Debate: Cheney Vs. Edwards (10/5/04)

If you don’t have iTunes installed, the links above will take you to a download page for the iTunes application. Alternatively, the debates are available directly from here

Who Would Jesus Vote For?

My friend, Seth, and I have been engaged in a conversation via email for a few weeks now, and this post over at Radical Congruency has finally motivated me to blog about it.

The question being asked there is this: If God, and therefore the Christian, is (should be) neither a Republican nor a Democrat, as many are wont to claim, then what is he (should we be)? Everything suggested so far (See the comments.) is a hybrid, some position on the political continuum between liberal and conservative. No one, however, seem to be particularly satisfied with the results so far.

Now, mine isn’t a novel idea, but my take – my “third way” – is to recapture Christian ambassadorship. As I see it, the Christian is no longer a citizen of the nation she lives in, but an ambassador to that nation. She is a citizen of Heaven, representing her king to the citizens of the nation she lives in.

This doesn’t imply that the Christian should be uninvolved with his resident nation. “By no means!” to borrow Paul’s phrase. Without doubt, a good ambassador engages the nation she lives in, though not in the same way as a citizen would. The ambassador works as an outsider. She represents her King.

She might influence her nation of residence by advocating his positions. “Back in my country, we do things this way,” she might say. She might concentrate on living among the citizenry modeling the life of her heavenly homeland, bringing “foreign aid” and relief. She might do it by speaking against the positions and policies of the nation she lives in.

Now, being ambassadors does not absolve us from having to work through many of the issues. I’m not trying to be escapist. I’m aware that there is much discrepancy among citizens of Heaven regarding just how our King would do things, and we must work out his ways. Ambassadorship does, however, free us from ties that might bind us and hijack our faith.

So, to answer the question, who would Jesus vote for, I say: No one. I don’t think he’d vote. He is truly neither Republican nor Democrat. He – and His – are foreign ambassadors. Voting is a right reserved for citizens of democracies; Christians are citizens of a monarchy. In fact, they are more than citizens; they are members of the royal family!

My friend, Seth, doesn’t buy it. He expresses it this way:

Before I was a Christian I didn’t participate in anything political. After all why should I? Everything was just my opinion. My thoughts weren’t based on anything firm, granted I grew up in the church and pretty much knew right from wrong. There was no foundation to my “beliefs” so why should I impose them on others? Now that I am a Christian I have a Firm Foundation to my beliefs and opinions. I have backbone behind my stances. Now I want what God wants and I oppose what God opposes…. He has put us in this great free nation that has given us the ability and responsibility to participate in the government, from voting to running. He has put us here with these freedoms for such a time as this, with these decisions to be made. And if we truly are his ambassadors to this world and nation, with the given ability to have our voices heard by the “hosting nation”, then shouldn’t we let them, the nations leaders, hear God’s voice! After all, we are speaking and voting on His behalf if we are truly his ambassadors. Eh? (emphasis his)

There’s probably room for Christians to hold both positions. God is wonderfully (and frustratingly) ambiguous at times, refusing to give the hard and fast, black and white guidance we so often desire. What do you think?

From Outta Left Field

I’ve been ripping our CD collection to iTunes this summer. We have a number of worship CDs circa mid-1990s from the time that my wife worked at a now defunct Christian bookstore. (At least they shut their doors in our neck of the woods.)

While returning the CDs to their jewel cases, whose name should I stumble across? From “Chants of the Taizé Community: Come to Worship, Come to Pray” by The Cambridge Jubilate Deo Singers comes this liner note:

The Worship Singers from the Taizé Community are directed by Maggie Dawn and recorded in the Chapel of Westcott House Theological College, Cambridge, England.

Could this be the Maggie Dawn?