McLaren & Grenz

McLaren & Grenz
Originally uploaded by drdjp11.
The only photo I have of Stan Grenz from the San Diego Conference. Stan was patiently biding his time while Brian kicked off the proceedings. I love the look on Brian's face here.


New Digs

As threatened a few posts ago, I'll be moving over to Typepad, thanks to Adam of Pomomusings and the buy one give one free Typepad offer. The new blog is up, but I don't have time to tweak everything yet, so it's a bit rudimentary, but I'm very excited about the possibilities of a more flexible framework. It will still be called Disaster Area because I really like the name...


Advent Calendar Finale

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington (DC) and the National Cathedral have been running an online Advent calendar. Each day has been a wonderful surprise. The final item is a nativity scene from Mexico. Each day has a highlighted giving opportunity, the Daily Office readings and a meditation. Here's today's meditation.

So next up: Christmas Day
After that: Boxing Day and front row seats for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker. Maybe I'll even get pcitures of me all dressed up in my tux.

Over and out.

Merry Christmas Everybody

It's been a fun year starting blogging so thanks for all the new friends I've made. I look forward to meeting some of you in person over the next year.

As the clock is about to tick over to Christmas Day, I offer a prayer of consolation to the family of Johnny Oates, one time Texas Rangers manager who passed away at 2 am Christmas Eve. Johnny was 58, and died three years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

As the clock is ticking over, on a lighter note I'd like to offer you this cast list for a worldwide favorite Christmas movie:

Emma Dreaming, Arthur White, Chris Muss,
Jess Like-Dee, Juan Swee, Hugh Sterno,
Wendy Treetops-Glissen, Anne Chilled-Wren, Liz Anne,
"Two Ears" Laybelle, Cindy Snow,

Emma Dreaming, Arthur White, Chris Musswit,
Avery Chris, Miss Carr, Dai Wright,
Mayor Dazeby, Mary-Anne Bright,
Ann May Hall-York-Rhys, Mrs. B. White.

(courtesy of a Goodies annual from way back when...)


iPod Love

Here's an insanely brilliant home made iPod mini ad, created by a high school teacher. Here's an article about the background on Adrants. Of course the high school teacher would just love a job in advertising... and he'll probably get it. The ad is beautifully synchronized to the music - the Darling Buds' Tiny Machine. Anyway, check it out - I guaranteee you'll be impressed.
Now, wouldn't it be impressive if we could do church ads that good and that much fun?


A Woman's Position is...

...in Church Leadership.

Lots going on right now in the emerging church "conversation".

The NJ emergent cohort meeting kicked off a whole conversation on Adam's blog about the (relative) lack of female involvement, then Bill Arnold (who attended that meeting, along with his wife) asks the question "What do you want emergent to be?", particularly who's in and who's out and who gets to decide? Just for reference, you can always see the OFFICIAL VERSION of the emergent vision on the emergent village website...

But it seems like nobody can be bothered to pay that any attention. As for me, I think it's a great working definition. Why not let the conversation take place around that? I would ask:
What's missing, if anything?
What's no longer true or relevant, if anything?
What should be emphasized?
How far have we come in living into this ideal?
What "entities" do we need to further the cause?

Then up pops Jenell's review of A Generous Orthodoxy, looking at it from the point of view of female involvement. To be fair, a substantial part of the book is a compendium of influences on Brian, so history is what it is. It's perhaps not remarkable that the female influences on his spiritual journey are much fewer and farther between than those of men. It's been a while since I read it, but I know I would be somewhat blind to what's missing too.

Prompted by the review to look back at my own spiritual formation, I see that in my own experience women have been incredibly influential in my spiritual development. Without my wife I would never have even got started. Women have been far more influential than men actually, but then I've never been one of the backslapping, poker playing, beer and cigars kind of guy. Well, maybe the beer part ;)

Jenell writes:
You can only be formed by that which you're exposed to, and you can only cite or write about who you read and hear. Which books are in our libraries, who is on our blogroll (so many men's blogs link almost exclusively to other men!), who preaches, innovates, and makes decisions in our churches? Who feels entitled to express their opinions publically, or to speak in public?
That's an interesting note about blogrolls. I just did a quick scan of mine and it's remarkably even. Of the ones I read religiously though, a large preponderance are female (Maggi, Jen, Karen H, Karen W, Dylan). No, I'm not looking for a medal. If anything it's simply a testament to the fact that there are very articulate women out there with something to say, and they should be listened to.

Actually, that reminds me, I need to get Rachelle's blog on there too. Her article on why it's tough to be a Woman in Ministryshould be required reading and study for, well, everybody with pretensions to emergent leadership.


Gmail and emergentYS

Whew, finally tracked down a gmail invite, thus the new Gmail link on the right.

As for the other, I registered for the emergentYS conference in San Diego in February, so I hope to see a few of the people I only know electronically so far. And I must say that the YS website and registration process is, um, absolute crap. Given the tech-savviness in the emergent world it's particularly distressing that the process should look and feel like it might have on the web in 1995 using Mosaic.

And then there's the fact that you can't register as an individual - you have to be on some larger church account (and the system throws a real wobbly if you try to create a duplicate one...)

Oh well, I guess it will probably work OK. Also talked to Karen Ward last week and CotA will be bringing a group of six down, so there'll be at least a few of us from the great Pacific Northwest.

Flight's booked, hotel's booked, registration's paid. Now all I need is a rental car. Anyone interested in a minor road trip diversion while we're down there? (The Taylor guitar factory is just down the road in El Cajon...)

Added Haloscan comments

Hmm, I didn't realize it would wipe out all previous comments... Oh well, these things happen... At least it gets rid of the awful blogger comment box.

Maybe Typepad wouldn't be a bad idea after all...


Musical Influences Top 10: #10 - Wishbone Ash

I tried desperately hard to cut my list down to ten and it was next to impossible, so I may cheat a little along the way. Also, I am going to generally try to select influences that are off the beaten path rather than the more common ones. However, I will also point out some common influences that just didn't do it for me. And finally, rather than trying to list them in order of importance (nigh on impossible) I'm going to work in chronological order.

So, that said, let's get to the first (or technically the tenth) one. I was hitting my mid-teens about 1970. As the oldest kid in my family, I didn't really connect with the whole sixties thing - I was too young. My wife, who is a smidge older than me, was into all that sixties stuff. Why? Because she had an older brother and sister. So she's a serious Beatles fan. Me? Not so much. My first serious musical interest was what is now known as classic rock. Back then it was known as just "rock". My first band of choice was Deep Purple, and in fact the first LP (that's Long Play record) I bought was Fireball. Oh, sure, I liked Zeppelin and some of the more popular bands, but I never really cared for the Rolling Stones.

But all this was just laying the foundation.

The first album that really stunned me was Wishbone Ash's Argus. Up to that point Ash were mostly a blues band with twin lead guitars, one feature song (Phoenix from the first album), a weak vocalist and a whole bunch of mediocre blues songs. Somehow, somewhere, out of absolutely nowhere, God blessed the band with an album of pure inspiration. And then right after that, the band dissolved slowly and never came within a million miles of the pinnacle again. It was as if they knew they'd never top this, so why even try?

As the band members said at the time Argus wasn't exactly a concept album, but it did have an overarching theme of weariness with war, especially side 2 (yeah, you used to have to flip those things over in the middle!). Well, what was so great about it?

First, the guitars. Ted Turner and Andy Powell were guitar players with two very different styles and tastes, but here they meshed and complemented each other beautifully. Second, while Martin Turner's (bass player, no relation to Ted) voice was a bit weak for blues, it fit much better with the ethereal lyrics of Argus. Then there was his "lead bass" style. It really sits up front in the mix and he played a lot of lead-like riffs that intertwined beautifully with Andy and Ted's work.

The result was an album with a hint of a theme, decent lyrics and vocals and flat out wall to wall guitar excellence. Of the seven original tracks (let's not sully the album's memory with the "bonus track" added to the first CD release...) six have guitar solos/duets that are so jaw droppingly good that all of them would make my top twenty of all time. The other track is a pretty acoustic ballad that serves as a nice change of pace in the middle of the epic side 2 tracks.

I've been listening to the album a few times this week as I've thought about this list, and it still stands the test of time. It's only reinforced the fact that since forever and a day my favorite guitar track of all time closes the album. Throw Down the Sword is the band's finest hour on its finest album. At six minutes it's hardly a radio friendly track, but it just means the build up to the two minute guitar duet finale is nicely paced. And while Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers featured some stunning dual lead guitar work at times, I don't think anything they ever did matches the power and emotion of Throw Down The Sword.


Top Five of the Year

OK, so I got my arm twisted to join in Bob Carlton's Best Five posts of the year deal, so here we go (and this was tough...)

I just read through almost my entire output since I started blogging in May (and kudos and thanks once again to Adam Cleaveland for being the inspiration to start...)

First, my first really serious post...
Serious Stuff

Then I'm a huge Ellen Degeneres fan, so this made sense to add in...
On The Other Hand...

It was alt-worship that got me into blogging, so I had to keep this:
Waiting In The Starlight

And the whole PoMo Mojo deal here was a natural:
Mo' Pomo Mojo

And finally, who could leave out the Bishop's visit?
Episcopal Oversight

It's been an amazing experience, so thanks everybody out there :)

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