Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Guitar Hero

I have a new guitar hero. I've been reading Stephen Nichols book called "Getting the Blues; what blues music teaches us about suffering and salvation".  

There are several very compelling themes that he unfolds but among the best is a short discussion about a song Blind Gary Davis sings called "Crucifixion".  If you have a rhapsody account you can find it and listen to the song.  

I started there and couldn't help but listen to a series of songs and just come away with this sense that (a) this man loves the salvation the Christ brings from the brokenness of this world and (b) man this brother can play a guitar the way its supposed to be played!

I can't seem to post any of the you tube videos at the moment but search for blind gary davis and you'll find some cools stuff (unfortunately youtube doesn't seem to have crucifixion).

Great Songs:  Death don't have no mercy; Trying to get home; I belong to the band

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What I'm really reading. . .

It's been so long since I updated my reading list that I can't remember how to do it!!

So I guess I'll delete it and start over.  I find that so often I get only part way through books and that so many of them are on my shelf unfinished.  I have to read based on my mood.  When I'm tired I find I can only read history.  I've been tired a lot lately.  

So the Sweet Land of Liberty, a history of civil rights in the north; The Forgotten Many, a re-reading of the depression and FDR New Deal era; and Pillar of Fire by Taylor Branch (2nd of 3 part trilogy about America in the King years).  I usually get about 20 pages read in a sitting.  

Then when I'm feeling reflective I continue to wrestle with tougher short theologies such  as Bruggeman's Prophetic Imagination and Wolterstorff's Until Justice and Peace Embrace. 

I've also gotten through Reconciling All Things (Rice and Katongole) which was really helpful discussion and purchased another book in the series called Living Gently in a Violent World by Hauerwas and Vanier.  Also started but haven't gotten too far in Race, a Theological Account (J. Kameron Carter) which will clearly be the most difficult book I read this year.  

Lastly I am reading a small book from the Acton institute on Justice and a great little book by Stephen Nicols called "Getting the Blues".   Wonderful stuff.  hope I can finish them all in the next couple of months!! 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

End of a great Bridge Builders week

After my rant last  month about short term missions (STM) not always being a good thing. . . I need to share about our projects and approach this past week.  

First let me say that probably all STM projects have some really cool, redeeming aspects and that ours clearly is not perfect.  But I will say we have gone out of our way to work really hard to make it biblically based, wise, effective and community oriented. 

We hosted about 80 folks from 5 different schools:

Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids MI
Judson University, Elgin, IL

Furman, Greenville, SC
Kennesaw State University,  Atlanta, GA 
Emory University, Atlanta, GA 

The 3 southern schools came as a part of Reformed University Fellowship groups. . . 

Here is what we did:

We spent nearly 20 hours in large and small group settings learning, talking, praying, thinking about themes related to our community. The history of the community.  The cycle of poverty. Issues surrounding race and ethnicity.  Understanding causes of and responses to the poor.  

We spent a similar amount of time in various work projects.  We built a fence (and rebuilt it as the neighbor kids tore some of the posts out the first night!) We hired a local artist to create 3 mural designs and the students did the painting.  We nearly finished one, and got started on a second.  They are awesome,  beautiful, community affirming projects that will be mounted very publicly in our community.   We made significant efforts to support Christ Bible Church in repairs in the food pantry, cleaning in the church and other things that the church helped identify as needed projects. 

We continued work on a community mapping project in which we are using google maps to document the foreclosed buildings in our area. . . something that will allows us to work with local neighbors to stay on top of the huge numbers of buildings that are threatening the stability of various blocks.  We started an ebay store! 

We sent the students into different parts of the city, connecting with about a dozen different ways God is at work in the city.  In short we cast vision for what it means to effectively understand, love and join God at work in the communities of the city. 

Praise God for a great week.  Thanks ya'll!!!