Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I do think Advent is a very important season, however, and we need to practice it more and better. Advent is the season of expectation, of hope, of wonder, of longing. It's the time that we wait not only for the coming of the Christ-child at Christmas--the incarnation of the invincible God as vulnerable human baby--but also expecting the second coming of the incarnation, the coming of the Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed was near (more thoughts on what that second coming looks like later).
In our hyper-driven, you-must-be-busy-to-be, instant gratification society we have lost the ability to wait. We have lost our capacity for anticipation. We no longer know how to long for something. It is very important that we practice longing because it fuels our dis-satisfaction. We are not supposed to be satisfied by the world as it is; rather we are to long for and thus be motivated to help incarnate the world as it should be.
Here's where the second coming comes in. We have gotten too fixated on the symbolic language of the second coming in modern Christianity and have forgotten the incarnational language of the second coming. While the scriptures talk of Jesus coming on clouds from East, they also speak of the church as the Body of Christ, the physical manifestation of Christ's presence here and now in Christian community. The second coming is as much about the second chapter of the book of Acts as it is about the book of the Revelation. The Second Coming is when the Kingdom of God is incarnate in the peaceful and just society foretold by the prophets and by Jesus.
Therefore longing, hoping, waiting with growing expectation, is important. It's important because it makes our frustration with the fallen principalities and powers ever greater. It makes us cry out "How long, oh Lord, how long." It drives our unrest to the point that we can no long sit but must act-- economically, socially, and yes even politically, but always peacefully--to bring about the kingdom the diverse, beautiful, just kingdom, where all have enough and no one is denied justice.
Advent is also the Christian New Year. So this Advent I hope and I challenge you to make a New Year's resolution to make time for waiting. Literally sit and wait. Survey the world around you and note where you would like God to come into it. Then pray that God move you into that space to be the body and blood of Christ for that space.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
My favorite Robin Williams interview was when he was on Inside the Actor's Studio. Robin was so hilarious that one person from the audience actually had to be taken to the hospital. She apparently laughed so hard she got a hernia.
However, when I watched the episode, I remember thinking wow, he just made us laugh for two hours but revealed extremely little about himself. The interview was longer than the episode. Apparently they cut down what was a four of five hour interview into two hours. They couldn't get it down to the normal one hour. So he managed for hours to keep people laughing and rarely revealed anything about himself. I guess the humor was his was of hiding the pain. Often with depression or any other mental illness, as a person's ability to make healthy choices decreases their ability to hide the illness increases.
There have been a lot of posts on social media encouraging people to get help if they need it. I even made such a post myself. But there is still a lot of stigma about getting help. I know it exists because it stopped me from getting help for a long time.
For about 3 quarters of the last year I have been seeing a therapist. Beyond my Senior Warden and Bishop, I have told very few people in my congregation or diocese. I haven't told people partly because I didn't want their pity or their worry. Mainly, however, I was concerned about how it would effect my ability to lead. Would people trust a priest that was being treated for mental illness? (I guess we'll find out now.) But I decided to share this because the stigma needs to be removed, and it will only be removed with greater understanding of mental illness. Mental illness is a medical problem. For me to lead my congregation I need to be healthy, and it is responsibility of leadership for me to take care of myself. I try to eat right and exercise to maintain my physical health, and when I am physically ill I see a doctor. Mental health is no different. I have a responsibility to maintain my mental health so that I can be the best priest, husband, dad, citizen, blogger, preacher, composer, leader and so forth that I can be. So, just as I go to a doctor when I have the flu, I go to a doctor for my depression and anxiety too.
The rub though is that it easier to know I need to see a doctor when I have the flu. When the mind is the diseased organ its harder. That's where we start having a responsibility to care for each other, to avoid denial, and to not be fooled by evasive humor.
I encourage us all to learn more about mental illness. I encourage us all to be vigilant in caring for our friends and family learning to look beyond the coping mechanisms so we can address the real problems. And if you need help, if you are making a plan or setting a date to harm yourself or others, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone.
Friday, April 04, 2014
So, I am continuing to explore superCollider. I was playing around with it a bit tonight mainly working on how to schedule events/notes/sounds and such. I decided to do a twelve-tone piece. It isn't serial in that the pitches aren't repeated in a set order; rather a random generator is spitting out the 12 pitches three times. First time through is from A3 to A4; second is E4 to E5; and finally A3 to A4 again. Definitely, this is more of an exploration than an aesthetic achievement, but expiration is the fun part of composing anyway.
Here's the code:
arg freq1=57, freq2=69;
out = SinOsc.ar(Rand(freq1,freq2).midicps, 0, 0.1);
out = (out + FreeVerb.ar(out, 0.44, 0.7));
out = out*Line.kr(0.5, 0, 1, mul:3, doneAction:2);
out = PinkNoise.ar(EnvGen.kr(Env.perc(0.01, 1), doneAction: 2));
out = (out + FreeVerb2.ar(out, out, 0.7, 1))*0.07;
Out.ar(0, Pan2.ar(out, 0)
var t_c = TempoClock.default;
Synth.new(\sine, [\freq1, 64, \freq2, 76]); 1.0.wait;
Sunday, March 30, 2014
I have recently begun to learn SuperCollider, an audio synthesis and music composition programming language/environment. This is my first complete etude using it. I cannot by any means claim it to be my most sophisticated composition. However, it is a lot of fun to have a new outlet for my creativity. I hope you enjoy.
For those interested, below is the code. I broke it into two main sections: instruments, and loops. I built 4 instruments:
- a kick drum,
- a wind sound which starts like a rushing wind and ends sounding like a nail scraped across a gong. I called this one woosh (not very creative maybe, but it's descriptive.)
- a lead synth pad with a built in glissando
- a woodblock with a random feature on the timbre so the sound randomly changes on a continuum between a woodblock and a crotale.
Friday, February 15, 2013
This week a very large portion of the Church of the Resurrection begins the Unbinding the Gospel E-vent, our Lenten Bible Study and Small Group program. We are reading the book Unbinding your Heart by Martha Grace Reese, individually praying the forty day prayer journal, and meeting in small groups for prayer and discussion.
Tonight, I was doing the first journal exercise, and it asked to remember all the times God has been present with me, blessed me, challenged me, healed me, or guided me. At first, I didn't think I would come up with much. In my heart of hearts, I confess, I often wonder why God would bother being with lowly me. But I took a breath and followed the book's advice to ask God what I needed to remember. After some silence I started listing and soon the couple of inches of space for writing was completely filled. I had to move on to the margins and kept listing events and names of people. Name after name of people from the Church of the Resurrection, from camp, from college, seminary and home. I couldn't help but at the end realize just how often God has been present with me, and ministered to me through faithful people around me. It simply goes to reason that if this has happened before, then it will happen again. God is at work in and through me, in and through all of us at the Church of the Resurrection, and in and through North Omaha.
I could not help but write at the top of the page in big letters when I finished, "WHAT'S NEXT?"
I am overwhelmed with excitement for what God is going to do next in and through the Church of the Resurrection. Buckle your seat belts, my friends, something big is coming. God is at work!
Monday, July 09, 2012
Moments ago the House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops on two resolutions involving equality for transgendered people: one to extend equal place in the church and the other to open the ordination process to the transgendered.
There are hosts of reasons to agree or disagree with these resolutions but I wanted to tell you why I voted to approve them.
I voted yes because I am a sinner. I often feel more than discomfort in the presence of transgendered people. It is sinful of me to be disconnected from fellow children of God. It was important for me to vote yes for these resolutions to open up hope that those like me will have a chance to get to know and make connections with transgendered members of our congregations. I pray that Jesus may work through those relationships to heal me of my sin and reconcile me with both himself and my transgendered brothers and sisters.
I am proud that my church challenges even me, a member of its clergy, to confront my sin and expand my understanding of God's love.