Led by the Howling

One last video of Andrew Osenga covering Rich Mullins from a recent “tribute” concert.  It’s one of those songs that only Rich could write and pull off, really.  But Osenga does an admirable job.

I really want to post the video for Andrew Peterson’s newest song (from his forthcoming Resurrection Letters Volume 1), but I kind of want to wait until closer to Easter to view and listen.

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One Trailer Closer to Infinity

Just over a month away from this . . .

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Harry Potter and the Resurrection

Today brought the third quarter of the school year to a close.  The quarter both started and ended with a chapel (which I think is pretty rare).  After spending most of the quarter with different speakers walk through the fruit of the Spirit, we wrapped the quarter up with a look at the resurrection of Jesus and encouragement to go to church over spring break.

Part of the time involved setting up, showing, and debriefing this clip from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, where Harry finally opens the golden snitch and uses the Resurrection Stone.

The clip was then contrasted with this snippet from C. S. Lewis’s “What Are We to Make of Jesus” essay:

Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, ‘The importance of the Resurrection is that is gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.’ On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door, which had always been locked, had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into ‘ghost’ and ‘corpse’. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

Definitely an interesting take from Lewis, if only because it reminds us that the “surviving self” has been around for a long time . . . and that the resurrected Jesus stands in stark contrast to it.

All in all, I’m very glad that the quarter is over.  The grades are done.  I have one more speaking responsibility tomorrow.  Then I can get on with planning how to spend spring break.

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Listening to the Last Words

Much as with Advent and Christmas, it can be difficult not to jump ahead to Easter of the season of Lent.  Particularly now that we are almost two weeks away, the hope of Resurrection morning gets a little brighter.  Not only that, but spring break is about to start, which means we have one chapel left before two weeks of vacation.  So tomorrow, during our last chapel of the quarter, we’ll be talking death and resurrection.

Here’s a third song from Andrew Peterson’s Resurrection Letters: Prologue.  This one, “Last Words (Tenebrae)” sneaks up on you quietly, making you wonder why no one seems to have done this kind of song before.

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Feeling Out of Town

It’s the last week of the quarter, so it’s all about grading and meeting and trying to wrap things up as much as possible before the final bell rings Thursday afternoon (though I also have a pretty cool speaking opportunity Friday with a co-worker through school).

In light of all that, here’s a clip of a great song from Andrew Osenga.  It’s biographical on Osenga’s part: his walk of faith from early in his life to the great flood in Nashville a few years ago.  It’s a great companion piece to the song “Cary (Where Were You)” on his forthcoming album, The Painted Desert.  Here’s “Out of Town.”

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Reading Great Lent: Quick Lenten Reflections

Great LentYesterday I had the opportunity to preach at my home church.  As it was the fourth Sunday of Lent, I tried to bring out some of the Lenten themes in the lectionary readings.  After a quick look at the idea of the interconnectedness of things (a la the spiderweb, something that worked much better in chapel last semester, I think), we spent a few minutes with the three main readings: Numbers 21 (the bronze serpent), John 3 (Jesus and the bronze serpent), and Ephesians 2 (the grace-saved church on display).  It was good to get to draw connections between the three passages of Scripture, particularly as it points to what is fitting and appropriate for us in our part of God’s story.  As is often the case, though, I walked away unsure of how well anything really connected from an audience perspective.  That’s something I have the work on all the time, really (and will tie into my thoughts on community and church when I get back to that thread).

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This past week or so I’ve spent some quality time with Alexander Schmemann’s Great Lent (which I first read about in this post by Rod Dreher).  It was definitely the right book at the right time.  Written from a Greek Orthodox perspective, there were a lot of things (terms and traditions) that were utterly foreign to me (see chapter three of the “presanctified gifts- a real stretch for a “memorial” guy like me).  And while I don’t see myself converting to the Greek Orthodox church anytime soon, I do feel some connection with the more mystical approach they take to the season.  From the introduction:

If we realize this [that we have embraced a nominal Christianity in need of repentance and renewal], then we may understand what Easter is and why it needs and presupposes Lent.  For we may then understand that the liturgical traditions of the Church, all its cycles and services, exist, first of all, in order to help us recover the vision and the taste of that new life which we so easily lose and betray, so that we may repent and return to it . . . For each year Lent and Easter are, once again, the rediscovery and the recovery by us of what we were made through our own baptismal death and resurrection.

One of my favorite parts of the book came early in its content, when Schmemann discussed the themes that precede Lent (which means that your prepare for Lent just like  Lent is used to prepare for Easter).  “Before we can practice Lent we are given its meaning,” Schmemann asserts.  This meaning is found across five Sundays focusing on desire (Zacchaeus), humility (the Publican and the Pharisee), return from exile (the Prodigal Son), the Last Judgment, and forgiveness.  All of this points to the “bright sadness” of the season, something that can be difficult for the even the most faithful practitioner of the season to remember.  All of this preparation for preparation sounds like pre-season conditioning (which I know little-to-nothing about).  Schmemann continues:

Such is the degree of our alienation from the real spirit of the Church that it is almost impossible for us to understand that there is “something else”in Lent– something about which all these prescriptions [“formal, predominantly negative, rules and prescriptions”] lose much of their meaning.  This “something else” can best be described as an “atmosphere,’ a “climate” into which one enters, as first of a state of mind, soul, and spirit . . . Let us stress once more that the purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to “soften” our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden “hunger and thirst” for communion with God.

I suppose I feel about this Lenten season much the same way I felt last year: that I’m learning a lot to try and process and perhaps put into practice next year.  If anything, it is the idea of “atmosphere” that strikes me as something necessary for the season.  It is an atmosphere of preparation on multiple levels that can help us better understand and celebrate that which comes next.

(image from amazon.com)

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Sunday’s Best: Daylight Savings Fail

Here’s today’s FoxTrot by Bill Amend, a nice reminder that I live in a place that doesn’t do daylight savings time.

Daylight Savings Fail(image from gocomics.com)

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