New Blog

So, I have decided I need a new blog –  I will explain in a couple days. Here is the new link. http://neosoulist.wordpress.com/

Perspective: The Rhythm of Silence

The difficulty with silence is the noise of not talking. The sound, which drums up from our soul once the melody of speech, has decrescendoed out of our lives. It is often we misunderstand this melody – the things that we say, articulate, and produce – as the primary part of our personhood. And although it takes much skill and revision to produce a melody – be it simple or complex – the melody simply gives color to the drumming core of the soul. The things that are lived as rhythm. The things only heard by those listening for the baseline, can only be altered by silencing the melody. But when the melody is sliced we must confront the pulsating self, whose tones are sometimes dark and whose sounds clamor. The rhythm, which seemed on point with the melody’s overlay, is understood to be jumbled, wild, and superficial. When listening carefully to the rhythm we see that the harmony between who we are and who we present ourselves to be exists only in snippets. We realize there is a deep disconnect and that the rhythm is plagued by mistakes, unnatural improvisation, and inconsistency. It is only when silencing the melody that we can learn allow God to work in our lives – through our hard work, wisdom from others, open eyes, etc. – to synchronize our self with His symphony.

Perspective:Excitement

A.W. Tozer, in his book Of God and Man, writes;

If He is who and what the Christian message declares Him to be, then the thought of Him should be the most exciting, the most stimulating, to enter the human mind.

What Tozer calls us to is to first, see God as who God is not as who we have made God to be.  And to second,  be excited when we those real thoughts of God come into our life. Taking these words to heart is imperative for living a whole life. We, as Christians, want to be excited at the thought of God, but what often happens is that our minds and hearts are convoluted with negative thoughts about what we perceive God to be rather than who God is.  We sometimes get lost in thinking God is a divine police officer who is waiting behind the billboard so he can arrest us for speeding. Sometimes we see God as a cosmic vending machine who simply provides what we need in a non-relational way (and we then get upset, disappointed, or disillusioned when he does not respond with what we want when we push E7 = going to church or A5 = service). Both of these views – and many others – take the relational aspect of God away and are the product of the god our culture – and subsequently churches and theologies – have shaped. God is more than just relational, but God is also always relational. He does not turn off on trait for the sake of another, they are in a constant mix. Although God as judge may at a time be more potent than God is father, He is indeed both at once.

Another implicit value within Tozer’s words is the ability to listen and be aware of God.  Before we can be excited, we must listen. I cannot be excited about my relationships with my friends unless I am taking time to listen to them or to think and remember – listening to the past –  who they are. This is true in our relationship with God, we must remove the distractions, silence our hearts, and find excitement in the now and then presence of God.

The Soul of Hip-Hop

I cannot exclaim how excited I am to add another book about Hip-Hop to my library. Not only will The Soul of Hip Hop sit well next to Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, The Hip Hop Wars, Total Chaos Where You’re At (which I plan to someday review), and  others on my office shelf, it will add vital insight to the rich spirituality and faith within Rap music and, more broadly, hip hop culture. Full disclosure , the author, Daniel Hodge, is a friend of mine and I had the honor to have him for a professors while I was studying in Los Angeles.  Nevertheless, I truly believe this book will – for those to take it seriously – provide a strong apology of the compatibility of hip-hop and Christianity. Additionally, Hodge’s analysis will opens us hip-hop to be understood and approached as a culture – with then all the positives and negatives – rather than just a popular phenomena portrayed within popular media.

I just received by book in the mail this afternoon and it has quickly jumped to the top of my reading list. Anyone interested in understanding the depth of hip-hop and its relationship to faith would do well to pick up this ethnomusicological examination.

To get a glimpse of the book find it on google books and check out Hodge’s article on the Fuller website.

Commentary: Mosque Con’t

I found this video of Keith Olberman.

Amen.

Commentary: Ground Zero Mosque

I am sure most everyone has heard about the potential “mosque” near ground zero – in reality it is an islamic-based community center open to all peoples. Newt Gingrich and other primarily politically and socially conservative public figures have becoming increasingly outspoken about their disdain for this idea and claim that it is offensive and un-American – ignoring that 10 percent of those who died in the attacks were Muslim and that the American quilt consist of Muslims. Some have lighter opposition and simply do not want the mosque close to 9-11.

To speak truth, 9-11 was the result of a terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims. The tragedy is terrorism not Islam. Yes, they were influenced by passages in the Koran, but it is kin to Christian slave owners proliferating modern slavery in colonial and early America. These Christians were inspired by and utilized the Bible as their defense. Slavery, not Christianity, was the issue. Now I am not making a plea for the theological correctness of Islam and I am not an unitarian. Arguments towards such ends are mere strawmen. I believe that the Christian faith, towards which I am unwaveringly committed by the redemption that is in Christ, is concerned with hospitality, even towards those who are quite different. Christianity is concerned with love, even towards – if not especially – towards those who do not know the love of Christ. Christianity is concerned with reconciliation. This reconciliation is perhaps the most potent of points. The terrorists want us to be like them, evil in its simplest, wants to beget more evil. Unjust war begets unjust war. Hatred begets hatred. oppression begets oppression. This is the cycle of sin of transgression. This is the reason why the Father God sent the Christ incarnate; to reconcile us to take us out of the cycle and put us back into right relationship with God. Allowing . . . welcoming, the Islamic center, is a picture of that reconciliation. It is not the full reconciliatory process which we receive through Christ  – to suggest that is blasphemous -,but it is a mirror of that ultimate reconciliation and a means for Christians to be Christ-like and to show the world who the Christ is and what the Christ has done for and offered us all.

Commentary:Farrakhan

I am not a particular supporter of Louis Farrakhan or his ideas, but I do believe he has some wisdom in this clip.

There are a hodgepodge of ideas in this clip, but what do you think about the main issue of influencing culture through hip-hop and his comments about the influence hip-hop culture has on the world?

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