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Posts from November 2003

Gluttony? What did you say? has an article that will probably be IGNORED completely by the majority of churches. Those influenced by a postmodern mindset should take it seriously, and have possibly already developed a holistic understanding of the body-spirit connection, and a theology of the body to match. But for many of the churches in the old paradigm of segmentation and dualism, (of sin = sex/drugs/rockandroll + nothing else) the article is worth a read and some serious consideration. Its called Are Churches Too Skittish to Address Gluttony? Here are a few "meaty" quotes from the article:
- With a fork in one hand and a Bible in the other, some choose to praise God and pass the pastries simultaneously. They give their hearts to Jesus and their bellies to Krispy Kreme while catching worship on the cafe's big screen.
- Through the ages, these vices came to be known as the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust.
- Buddhists call it a lack of mindfulness. Early Christians called it gluttony – the most likely of the Seven Deadly Sins to cause heart disease. For centuries, the world's religions identified undisciplined eating as a spiritual problem.
- But many pulpits are silent on the issues, even though 63 percent of the population is overweight. For millions of believers, overeating is not a sin, but the American way of life.
- "Pastors don't preach on this because they're not living it," said Lisa Young, who developed the Walking with Weights exercise program and Body for God Cookbook sold at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, where her husband, Ed, is pastor.
- "God wants us to go overboard," said Dr. Patella, who teaches at St. John's School of Theology. "It's a day to rejoice in creation, to realize that it's a gift from God. If we can't be generous with ourselves, we can't be generous with others."
- "Gluttony," Jim Dawkins said as he sat in the Prestonwood cafe. "That's not a word used in the Bible."
- They don't just overeat; they buy oversized cars and houses, confusing the goods in life for the good life."That extra jacket in your closet doesn't belong to you, but to the poor," said Father Martin, a Jesuit priest. "We've lost that connection."
- Muslims, Jews and Buddhists are known for food restrictions. So, too, are Seventh-day Adventists, Latter-day Saints and Catholics. Many world religions tout the spiritual benefits of fasting.
- Some congregations are promoting diet plans. . . . "We're also helping people make better food choices," Ms. Young said. The church's cafe is being transformed to "serving foods that honor God."
(Full article needs a subscription)
Article? What article?


Big meal, Monty Python marathon, 2 Turkeys, Lazy day of eating and cooking. This Thanksgiving was more American than most - since we invited other Americans to join us rather than internationals or locals from Prague, as we did last year.

The wildest Thanksgiving we ever had was with the street kids in San Francisco. i just found what I wrote about it a few years back, and I posted it here for you to read. Enjoy. And dont take me too seriously.

A snippet from "Free Range Turkeys":

"Commercial turkeys, like the big fatties you buy at the supermarket, are born to be big. They are genetically configured through scientific engineering to look just like the prototype commercial turkey. There is no such thing as individuality. They all look just like their Turkey in the Test Tube God. No differences. No originality allowed. No mutations.  No variations. No room for a turkey with freckles, or birthmarks, or dreadlocks. No "I just want to be me" attitudes. No "I did it my way" songs. Just total conformity to the prototype.
 My voice had risen an octave or two and I could feel the pulse of the crowd rising. I kept going." Keep going . . .

Man With a Movie Camera

mancover.jpgI need to decide where to take my wife tonight on our “date” and I am presented with two great options, each one a treat and well worth attending.
1. Alternative culture festival with film and music and art – all in the Czech language.
2. A viewing of the early Russian avant-garde film “Man With a Movie Camera”, by Vertov, followed by a lecture on, presumably, the impact of Vertov on comtemporay culture. This will be hosted by Anagram Bookstore. And its all in English.

What will it be?
Number 2. Of course. Because when all is said and done, everyone likes to hang out with their homies. And my English-speaking x-pat, geeky intellectual homies are getting into Vertov tonight. And we will join them. This is a good example of my "Homies Unit Principle"

[My Homies Unit Principle finds some inheritance from C. Peter Wagner’s Homogenous Unit Principle, a church growth theory that proved controversial in a postmodern environment. Wagner was one of my teachers in Seminary.]

But back to Vertov. I have been reading of his contributions by new media theorist Lev Manovich, who claims that many of the computer-age tools and concepts can find their first usage in films like “Man With A Camera”. The “cut and paste” command, for example, is a new use of montage that Vertov pioneered.
I am sure the guy giving the lecture tonight (Keith Jones) will be expounded on this and Vertov’s concept of “Kino-eye” – the idea that the tools of technology and cinematography can be used to gain a new understanding of the world.

Having said that, maybe it will just be a really good movie and night out with my wife.

Writing my book

Today I'm getting stuck into writing my book. I am carrying large loads of books on new media and postmodernism and systems theory down into my rarely used office. The book will be on the global emerging culture and I hope to release a preview online on Christmas day - but no promises!

Dresden, Germany.

Dresden. We were here on Friday. Some of the team had to get their visas stamped again and so we just took everybody across the border. We had a really good time, and for all the details you can go to my sister Sarah's blog entry and read all the gory details (the goriest being the drive by all the hookers in their lounge-room parlours at the Czech border and the google eyed 12 year olds in the back of our car).
As for me, walking around Dresden is a sobering experience - this is the city that we bombed - we, the allied forces, the English/NZ/Australian/American/my tribe- we bombed Dresden out of anger, at the very end of the war, when we didn't need to bomb anyone, and we did it to get back at the Germans. It was wrong! i have been to many places where abuse took place but very few of them were places where MY SIDE were the abusers. Dresden is one of those places and I am the bad guy.

So I read through picture books of the flattened, smoky Dresden in a bookstore and looked again at the damage we did, images of rubble and steel . And I walked through the streets and thought about the families we killed and the children we burnt and the orphans we made. And I became, as I said, quite somber.

But on a brighter note, I scored a turkey and a pumpkin (see photo) which we desperately need for Thanksgiving next week. And the day was great. Bruce and Sarah felt a real lifting, spiritually speaking, and that was something that was really needed for them. And the kids got a break - a 2 hour trip to another country. Great day! They even let us back in the country - smuggled turkey and all.

69,000 pilgrims in Spain this year

From a News article this morning:
"Over the past two decades, the recorded number of pilgrims trekking to Santiago de Compostela has soared from just 120 in 1982, to nearly 69,000 this year. An expert on the pilgrimage, Olivier Cebe, says the surge has been astonishing, particularly since most of the pilgrims are Europeans, and church attendance in Europe is plummeting. . .

"Father Garcia says pilgrims may not tell strangers the truth, but the truth is written on the church's registers. He says more than nine out of ten pilgrims who receive their certificates cite religious motives for their journey.

"Indeed, the growing number of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela is fueling the Catholic Church's ongoing effort to get some sort of religious reference into the new European constitution now being drafted. Next April, Church leaders will host a conference in Santiago, on Europe's spiritual roots. The timing coincides with the entry of 10 new countries into the European Union and with a special Holy Year of St. James in the Catholic Church."

If you were following my old blog, you would know that we walked part of the Camino in July this year and had a fantastic, transformational time. I just posted a few photos that I stole from Teresa's old Europe Blog.

It's Sunday morning and I am listening to Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble? from the album "Cutting Edge" by Delirious