Friday, April 21, 2006

I won't be able to make it to the rally, anyone willing to go for me?

I'm over in Jolly old England so there is no way for me to rally against Genocide. This is really important, with all eyes focused on Iran, with talk about Human Rights in China, the current killings have once again been hidden behind the headlines of the day.
One cry only.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Religion Map

I saw these cool demographic maps of religion in the States. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The books I got from Spring Harvest

You may ask, what caused Chris to give up a week of vacation time to work at a Christian book store? For one I was excited about the idea of going to Spring Harvest, and I was intrigued by the idea of working at a book shop (after all I’m a bookworms bookworm). But the other incentive was 75 quid worth of books! And here is what I got.
Gods Politics, by Jim Wallis
A Generous Orthodoxy and The Church on the Other Side, both by Brian McLaren
John Calvin: His Life and Influences, by Robert L. Reymond
Simply Christian, by Tom Wright
The Christian Handbook (by Augsburg Books, this was the only book I found at the shop by a Lutheran Publisher)
Pastors under Pressure, by James Taylor
Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell
Emergingchurch.intro, by Michael Moynagh
And The Gospel According to Tolkien, by Ralph C. Wood
As you may have noticed a lot of the books are about the Emergent church. The Emergent church is a movement that is big in the UK and is starting to catch on in the States. I don’t know what to think about them, their opponents hurl all kinds of attacks against them, one has even said they are too Lutheran, so I want to decide for myself what they are up to. Beyond reading the books I intend to find an Emergent Church and go there sometime, be it in Cambridge or the heart of London.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I’m back from Spring Harvest

I spent the last week in Skagness working at a Christian book stand, Wesley Owens, at a Christian event known as Spring Harvest.
Spring Harvest was exhausting, exhilarating, non-liturgical, phony, and deep.
It was exhausting, we worked a full day, and this last day a 10 ½ hour day. Starting midnight last night I stood "security" for a Christian rocker named Chip K. as his Christian-punk fans got stuff signed. As the british would say I’m cream crackered/ shattered/ and nackered.
It was exhilarating. I met a ton of new people who I found really cool. From Peter, a Nigerian who’s invited me to a missions conference in his home country next year, to Mike and Rachel, two Londoners who love America and I could see them one day immigrating to the Carolinas.
It was non-liturgical. Holy week was not a good week to go to Spring Harvest. There were so many hustle/bustle Christian events going on that no one seemed to know it was Easter (let alone Good Friday etc) until I told them. Also the worship was very, very, very evangelical (well, to be fair it was an evangelical event) people holding their hands up high, people talking about Glory, without Cross, redemption without exile. Still, the songs and the atmosphere is quite energizing, and I very worshipful.
It was phony. Somehow evangelicals have a way of cheeping faith and a way of mimicking the culture around them (not that Lutherans don’t, it is just a different type of mimicking). For example there is bible for everyone, the Woman’s Bible, the Man’s Bible, the Extreme Bible, the Slacker Bible, etc. And by and large the only difference is the cover, and a few pages in the front of the Bible. Further the Christian bands seem to all be described as "it’s like X, only Christian." For example, one of the bands that signed CD’s, TBC, was "like the Spice Girls, only Christian."
It was deep. There was a "debate" on the Trinity at one point. Afterwards two members of the audience who had asked anti-trinitarian questions were hanging out outside discussing things. One guy was a Christadelphian, think Baptist that sees the Devil as our evil inclinations and believes the Holy Spirit is simply a) God’s actions and b) Jesus’ spirit. The other guy was an eclectic, believing YHVH was simply a deity among deities, who all work for "El Elyon," the Most High. Most of the other deities drowned in the Flood (Gen. 6. Sons of God etc), YHVH was the only one who made it, and Jesus showed us how we can be without sin, but we are not allowed to explore his other gospels because of Constantine. But in fact he chilled with the Essene and probably went to Asia. As a Religious Studies guy I found his interesting, it was like I had an Essene in front of me, just projected through modern/historical critical eyes… Then that all crumbled away when he started sighting The Davinci Code.
I ended up chilling with the Christadelphian. We discussed our faiths (you see a Lutheran is just as weird sounding as a Christadelphian to the English), and sparred a little. He made some good points about infant baptism, I made some good points about the Holy Spirit (as base he couldn’t explain Pentecost and Paul’s Trinitarian language).
Overall it was a good experience, the only thing I regret is the timing, and that couldn't be helped.