Saturday, December 17, 2005

All I Want is U2!



I know all the words to all the songs. I know the band's mannerisms, collectively and individually. I have concert DVDs. I have live bootlegs. I've read "U2 Show" cover to cover, enough to see countless grammatical errors. I know what a U2 show should look and sound like. Yet I'd never experienced it. Until now. I had to drive through snow, skip work, cough and hack, and lose sleep to do it, but I'd do it again without hesitation.

When U2 announced plans for the Vertigo Tour to stop in Omaha, I just had to have tickets. The band had never played in Nebraska, and tickets sold out in 20 minutes. I search on eBay for months, but didn't see antyhing I wanted. It was all upper deck tickets.

I'd given up hope, even though Becky said she'd help me look for tickets. It just didn't seem to be working out. With the show coming Thursday, I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday getting outbid for lower level seats on eBay. When I was out shooting my stories Wednesday, I kept eBay up on my cell phone, and was refreshing at every possible minute. Wednesday night I had a church Christmas party. I even got online there looking for tickets. I pretty much gave up, and shut the monitor off on the computer. There was one auction with 2 GA tickets, but I didn't think it would work out. Well, my phone vibrated (I hate it when people leave their annoying ringers on all the time). I missed Becky's call, but couldn't believe it when I found out she'd won the auction I'd turned off.

I hadn't been feeling well, battling a cough and pleghm for a week. After the youth group party at church (where we had 200 middle schoolers, which is about 199 too many) I hit Perkins with some friends. But a plate of appetizers at 11:00 pm didn't sit well, especially with the cough and pleghm, and anxiety about finally seeing U2. I didn't have to lie to call in Sick Thursday. I was sick.

I told my friend Sara she could come with me if I got tickets. She's not a huge U2 fan, but she's a good music fan, although she leans a little more to the pop side, but she gets it. We took off about 10am Thursday, and quickly encountered snow. The previous two days had temps in the 40s, so that it was a setback to see snow flurries, although it wasn't bad. After some lunch, we set off to find the Qwest Center, which turned out to be pretty easy. It's right off the interstate. Thanks to my web-enabled phone, I'd been emailing Becky, who in term emailed Jerry to find out what I could about the Omaha tour stop. I love Gmail, and I've learned to like having it on my phone.

Brother-in-law Matt emailed: Do you have your "Please let me play drums with you" poster? That made me laugh!

Jerry informed me the parking lot was opening at 3, and some people had started lining up at 10PM the night before. We drove by Qwest Center Omaha at 1:45, and did not see a sole line up. Not a one. That was discouraging. After a pitstop, we drove around for a few minues, and when we came back, around 2:10, the parking lot was opening. The parking lot is seriously across the street (a narrow 4 laner) from the arena. It was probably 27 degrees out, not horrible, but certainly chilly. The prospect of standing in line was not a pleasant one. Fortunately, the good folks at the Qwest Center were smart. The building also houses a convention center, so we lined up in the big lobby area of the buidling. The fans I met were generally pleasant. There was one dude with no filter, who thoguht through everything outloud, like some naseous, braying jackass. He was trying to ditch his GA tickets and get seats, but only if his friend wouldn't be mad, but his friend just layed on the ground and zoned out, and the dude talked non stop for 20 minutes about it all, and finally they left.

Around 5 they lined us up, roughly by number. I was 183. When the lady with the bullhorn hollered to get ready, we didn't get into exact number order, but no one cared. Then they announced they were forming two lines, including one for fan club members. Turns out the tickets I got were fan club tickets! Score! We moved up quite a distance from where we'd been. The line then progressed into an empty convention room. Finally it looked like some real organization, with lines, and barricades and all. They scanned our tickets as we went through, which was a relief. I had the print-at-home ticketfast variety, which was a source of concern, until I was waved through. Then we sat in line for an hour. Vendors were set up in this area, but unfortunately that meant not-so-cheap cheap beer. The Bud Light was especially popular with the guys a short distance ahead of us. Around 6 the line finally moved, and the laptops were in place. I handed my tickets over, but no ellipse. All the same, with the low number, we were in good shape to be just outside the ellipse. We went to the far left side of the ellipse, on The Edge's side. I wasn't at the front, but only had one, sometimes two people in front of me, so my view was pretty much unevaded.

The place filled up, but I didn't see anyone I knew. I spotted a guy with a red star on his hat, and then it struck me that it looked like a VOL hat, so I asked, and sure enough, it was.

On the stage sat about a half-dozen black wooden folding chairs. That intrigued me. Why would Kanye West have that? I wondered if he had a string section, but someone else mused that's where the lap dancers would be. I hoped I was right. Turns out I was. Several young string players, all female, none older than 25 I'd guess sat down. There were two cellos (I think), four violins, a DJ, and even a harp.

Kanye West came out, no music playing, carrying a beat-up boom box. He set it on a table, set a mic next to it, and said he had a tape he wanted to play. He put a tape in, hit play, and started with "Hear 'em Say", with a track playing the Maroon 5 singer's part. I didn't realize I knew the song until then. To start the second song, "Gold Digger" he went back to the boom box, and did the same tape routine. But he went back to he well a few too many times, and the gimmick ran dry by the end of the set. Obviously his tracks weren't coming from there. It was clever the first time, amusing the second time, and by the end, it was just plain annoying.

Of the musicians, all seemed like typical orchestra players, accept one, who threw her hands in the air and waved them like she didn't care when she wasn't playing her violin. It was pretty annoying. She was way too, well, not black to get away with it.

Everyone near the ellipse chatted away between sets. There were a couple of guys who were seeing their 10th concert of this tour. One had seen 11 on the Elevation tour. And the others around us were all newbies, so it was a nice mix. To my left, in the front row I could see Pete Ricketts, of Ameritrade, a Republican candidate for US senate. Maybe someday he'll run for governor, and Paul Scurvy can be his running mate. And a few rows behind him is our attorney general Jon Bruning who loves the spotlight, and is prosecuting a 22 year old who got a 13 year old pregnant, then took her across state lines to marry her in Kansas, where that sort of thing is apparently allowed. Two Republican politicans were the only people I knew in the crowd. How sad is that?


Setlist:
City Of Blinding Lights
Vertigo / Jesus Walks (snippet) / She Loves You (snippet)
Elevation
I Will Follow
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / In A Little While (snippet)
Beautiful Day / Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (snippet) / Happy Christmas (War Is Over) (snippet)
Original Of The Species
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / Torna A Surriento (snippet)
Love And Peace Or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah (snippet)
Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / The Hands That Built America (snippet)
Miss Sarajevo
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Where The Streets Have No Name
One / All I Want Is You (snippet)

Encore 1:
Until The End Of The World
Mysterious Ways
With Or Without You

Encore 2:
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
Crumbs From Your Table
Yahweh
40

The energy was amazing, especially for the first several songs, up to and including Beautiful Day. I Will Follow especially rocked, and sounded super tight. I had so hoped they would play that, and it was blistering. If you walk away, walk away... wow. It was good.

After throwing in a little Happy Christmas, things slowed down, and Bono explained the only reason they'd scheduled Omaha was to make it to Warren Buffet's Christmas party. Then he dedicated Original of the Species to the Buffet family.

Love and Peace is by far my least favorite song from How to dismantle. After reading Jerry's report about Atlanta's lukewarm audience participation, I was nervous about Omaha, a town U2 had never played. But the fans stepped up and sung along with Sunday Bloody Sunday as I'd always dreamed. During SBS, Bono said it was our song now, and it led directly to Bullet the Blue Sky, which is an amazing live song.

After playing One, The Edge started playing the riff to All I Want is You. I went nuts, as did a few others I could see. Then Bono started singing, and people got into it. But after a verse, and chorus, the song ended, Bono said goodnight, and they walked off.

Until the End of the World is right up near the top on my list. I was so hoping they would play it, and it sounded great. Mysterious Ways, like Love and Peace, could have been left out. I would have liked to hear at least one song from the Zooropa / Pop era. Mysterious Ways just felt tired.

I knew there would be a second encore, and apparently everyone else figured it out too. Bono said they'd only played Crumbs a handful of times this year, but it sounded good. Yahweh went well, and 40 was amazing. Everyone sang along right on cue. Bono left, followed by Edge and Adam, until it was only Larry pounding away as we sang along. When Bono left, he put a cross necklace on his mic stand, and propped his handheld spotlight up to illuminate the cross. That was cool. We kept singing that line "how long must we sing this song" even after Larry left. It started to die down, as people left for the exits, but when the house lights came up, the song had a resurgence, and kept going.

From our spot, we could see the Edge very well, especially when he played the piano. Bono stopped by us on the ellipse several times, and Adam passed us too. Larry was about the only one who were never really saw up close. Although the view of him on the video wall was about the same as the view I had from where I stood, so I can't complain.

Before U2 took the stage, I counted at least a dozen spotlight operators who ascended above the stage, seating in the rigging with their lights. It was cool to see that with all of the computerized lighting they rely on a dozen spot operators just above the stage. That's not counting the spotlights in the house. I think it added a real human element to the lighting, and looked more fluid. The video sreen was a horizontal screen above the stage, which usually had four pictures, one of each band member. There were several different kinds of lights that were drop from the rafters. The coolest were the light beads. I kind of though they could be some sort of LED capable of acting like a video wall, and I was right. But it was better than a huge video wall, because you could still see through it. Someone has pictures here: http://www.u2-vertigo-tour.com/show1345.html

I was close enough to see Bono's sweat, and the stitches on his leather jacket. Several times he ran right past us. The set list was pretty good. There were only the 2 songs I would have ditched. I couldn't have asked for much more.

Of course, I had a 2+ hour drive home, including a detour. A 3 mile stretch of interstate was closed, but of course you had to go 10 miles out of the way to get around it. But I got home at 2:30 am, and was asleep by 2:45 am, and was out of bed by 8:30 to get ready for work. I suffered all day, but it was so worth it.

As Sara said, I crossed another milesone off my life list. I have seen U2!

Of course, now that just means I have to see them again ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is worth the price of admission.

It doesn't have the great battles of The Lord of the Rings, nor does it have the magic of Harry Potter. But it has a heart those don't.

It's wonderfully done, and faithful to the book. I really hope they make more of these movies.

If you want to find out more about C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia, I would highly recommend checking out Into the Wardrobe, the best Lewis resource on the net.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I just got home from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. More thoughts later, but suffice to say it's not safe, but it's good.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
We've been hounded by howling winds (60 mph+) and snow this week, leaving huge drifts and often whiteout conditions. It was fun for about a half-hour, and then I got sick of it. It cleared up for a day or two, but it's snowing again now. Tis the season I guess. They closed the interstate the other day. Of course, the TV station called and asked me to drive down there to shoot video. Nothing like driving on ice covered roads to get a shot of a road no one's on. Guh.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I've become a Google addict. I google everything. Every story on the news has at least a few googles to it, I would guess. What did we do before Google? So I added Google ads to this blog. The first one? Here's what it says (in case it's gone by the time you read this):

Paintabll Sniper Guns.
One Shot-One Gill Destroys Enemy.
Long Bow Paintball Sniper Guns!

A) I don't really like paintball.
B) I'm not a sniper.
C) Long Bow Paintball Sniper Guns?? That sounds creepy.

Why can't I have Google ads for U2 tickets, or Photography websites, or something like that. Stuff I actually like. Butterflies and kittens. Who cares. Anything other than Long Bow Paintball Sniper Guns. Of course, by writing the phrase Long Bow Paintball Sniper Guns so many times, it'll probably think I actually like them. Why not ads for Curious George memorabilia, or stuff related to The Chronicles of Narnia? Anything related to CS Lewis, or the first film, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe would be nice. At least I'm not so addicted to Google I would buy a paintball gun. But I would buy an Aslan doll, if it tried to sell me one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Time wasters of the week:
  • Make a Flake seems appropriate, on this, the first snowfall of the year
  • Not quite as fun, but there's always Create a Flake
  • This one's addictive. It's the Grid Game. Not holiday related, but I can't stop clicking on it!
  • The Rumble in the Jungle King Kong Jump game was fun, but I got tired of it fairly quickly.
update. no snow yet, just really windy. we're talking 50 mile an hour winds. it looks pretty hazy out there, but no snow. just lots of debris in the air, so why did I get up early to check?

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's 39 and rainy right now, at 11:55 pm. Hopefully sometime over night that will become 32 and snowy. I'm going to work late tomorrow, so I kinda hope it does snow. That would be a fun present on a day where I'm planning to play around in the morning anyway. Some pictures of fresh snow would be nice!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Worn. That's the topic of this week's Photo Friday and for some reason this picture came to mind. This man seems well worn, but not worn out.
There's nothing quite like the atmosphere of big time college football. Nebraska's not quite as big time as it used to be, but still, it's a sight to see. I got to work the game yesterday versus Kansas State. Being on the sidelines is electrifying. Standing beyond the end zone, watching guys try to get where you're at. I shoot a lot of high school football, but it's nice once in a while to bring the camera to a game like that.

Friday, October 21, 2005




Toaster Oven from my kitchen. That's my entry for this week's Photo Friday

Sunday, October 02, 2005

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

Friday, September 30, 2005

drool.... I just played the sweetest video game. Actually, it wasn't a game. It was some a computer-based deadly force simulator. You're in a room with a projector, watching a scenario play out. You make a traffic stop, and the car pulls into a store parking lot. You approach the driver's window and the guy is irate. "This is bullsh*t. Stupid pig."

The passenger reaches for something... will he grab his wallet, itching his rear end? He's got a gun.

Drop the gun! Put your hands up! If you don't put your hands up I will view that as a threat and will be forced to shoot!

bangbangbangbangbang

I got him, he didn't get me

Now that was fun.

I missed the Taser a couple of weeks ago :( But this made up for it. Plus we used simunitions -- simulation ammunition. Real live exercise, with real guns (modified of course) that shoot what are basically rubber bullets, with some paint inside. Kind of like paintball, but with real guns. That was cool too. I got shot in the arm, but didn't really feel it, but now that I look at it, it did leave a mark.

I'll miss next Thursday. That'll be K9 and SWAT tactics. Dang. But the week after I get to do pursuit driving!

Woohoo! This community police academy has been a blast. We even covered the physiology and psychology of deadly force situations, and how that dictates training, and how police don't really shoot at paper targets so much anymore. They do, but that's just for accuracy and to get real-gun experience. The simunitions and computer scenarios though get the heart beating thumpthump-bu-da-thump and having to talk to people and decide when to shoot.

Even during shooting simulations, many of the scenarios play out with no reason to draw a gun. That's intentional. Police rarely have to draw or shoot, and training reflects that too. But that one time they have to... they'd better be ready.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005



punk kid folds his hands in prayer

Friday, September 09, 2005



The Grand Canyon

Saturday, September 03, 2005

After the storm, podcasting is there. Allan Aguirre podcats from Dallas, and checks out the stream of victims pouring into Reunion Arena. Check out the podcast at the Zany Aguirres site.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google Talk is out now. Just downloaded it. Playing with it now. It's like VOIP and IM combined. I'm swhite 7 6 @ g mail . com with no gaps, no underscores, nothing. Just slam that together and you've got me!
Coldplay's X&Y has been in my stereo lately. I'm digging it thus far.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Audiscrobbler has been reborn as last.fm. That's a link to my page. It's a cool site, because it charts what you've been listening to on winamp, windows media player, iTunes, whatever. And it shows you who has similar interests in music and stuff like that. A fun site.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Church Marketing Sucks is a site I've been checking out lately. Talks a lot about, well, marketing the church, good and bad. Intersting stuff, covering everything from graphic design and websites to megachurches and being good neighbors.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I picked up The Chronicles of Narnia today, re-reading "The Silver Chair"

Can't wait for the first Narnia movie this Christmas!

Monday, August 01, 2005

This weekend I watched Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

and

Finding Neverland

Enjoyed both. Sky Captain was a fun return to the seriels of the past. The stuff that inspired George Lucas to create the worlds of Star Wars and Indiana Jones is the same stuff that inspired Sky Captain. Stuff like Buck Rogers, etc. It was a fun movie, visually. Ok, so the story didn't blow me away, but it was a fun popcorn movie, heavy on style, and that's always fun.

Finding Neverland, on the other hand, was a character-driven drama, and a good one at that. While Johnny Depp was good, I've been very impressed with Kate Winslet. Between Neverland and Eternal Sunshine, she's put out some good stuff lately. Neverland is a slower moving film, once again with some cool filmmaking stuff in it. There are some neat vignettes, that visually just jump right off the screen. It was very well directed, and has a good story and fine acting. Some kids I talked to thought it was a little slow, but I didn't mind it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005



My first ever entry for Photo Friday. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The trailer for the summer blockbuster-to-be The Island seemed eerily reminiscent of another movie to me. Guess I'm not the only one who sees a similarity to a film MST3K riffed on, called familiar to Clonus. Some other people think it's more than coincidence. Parts: The Clonus Horror is one of my favorite MST3K episodes. I liked the storyline. The execution and acting is what stunk.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mommy Knows Worst is the forthcoming title from James Lileks.

If it's anything like his past two books, The Gallery of Regrettable Food, and Interior Desecrations, you will want to check it out.

Pop culture insights that could only come from a guy born in Fargo.

Friday, July 15, 2005

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

75%

Emergent/Postmodern

68%

Neo orthodox

57%

Reformed Evangelical

54%

Fundamentalist

46%

Classical Liberal

46%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

36%

Modern Liberal

32%

Roman Catholic

29%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hockey's Back! and I'm probably one of the few who actually cares about it.

Monday, July 11, 2005


What if teens ran church?

That, kind of, was our topic at bible study tonight. It should be noted there were only two guys (one is in the picture with this post), and another leader type besides me. I want to do a few weeks talking about the church, so I wanted to get the students thinking about what the church is, which is we are the church, and what that looks like. A lot of this is pretty surface-level stuff, but hopefully the discussion can grow in the coming weeks.

What do students like about our church?

The variety of people. We're a big church, so we have a diverse congregation. Students appreciated that everyone’s accepted. They feel our church is welcoming and creates a safe environment for new people.

One thing they really like is the focus on young people in our church. Between high school and middle school youth group, we have a few hundred kids who come every week during the school year, and hundreds of elementary age kids too. We have an active nursury and children's ministries. Students like that young people are included in things. They think the church does a nice job of nuturing young people

On a practical level, they like that there's stuff to do. It’s fun. There's always stuff going on. Youth group has lots of activities. The church has volleyball, roller hockey, even putt putt golf that a lot of men show up for. They think this stuff builds relationships.

They feel the church services go beyond preaching. They say there are opportunities for hands on ministry. They also feel the church encourages them to make relationships, and meet in small groups.

There's a sense the church is willing to try new things. The students say it's important for the church to speak in their technological context. They like that the youth group has an active website, pastors use videos during their sermons, there's good sound and lighting.

Community outreach is something the kids value, and say our church is pretty good at.

There's a focus on missions. This year alone, the church will or has sent teams to Mexico, the Bahamas, Chicago, Germany, and Africa.

One student said they like that the church is not being a closed community - not segregated. Welcomes new people.

Youth group and other ministries are open to everyone, regardless if this is their church home (or if they have a church home).


So what don't they like?

The amount of people. Don’t get to know people. Can’t know everyone. "I don’t know half our church," one said.

You know people from your ministry, but not others. Hard for new people, hard to adjust to big church. This was a common concern.

Music always comes up in these discussions. I got the 'we need more hymns' line that I expected. And the 'we have too many hymns' too.

The preaching is hard to listen too, they said. 20 minute sermons are hard to listen too. They're not interactive enough. It's easier to listen in Sunday school where they bounce ideas around.

The service needs interactivity. It's a very segmented service – too predictable. Everyone knows what's coming next. It would be cool if things were integrated better. And if there were more opportunities to participate during the service.

So what do they value about church?

They value the church's relationship with the community

Students think it's important for staff to know the congregation

Relationships – personal connection between people is important

Prayer is important facet of church life. Something we probably don't think about enough. Students think we get stuck in a rut and don't think about prayer enough.

One guy said he likes it when the pastor leads singing. Having a pastor involved in different things is something they value.

What could we do as a church?

Build an addition for youth and kids

Newer technology. Podcasting, online community, stuff like that is stuff the students say they'd connect with if we had it

The open field by the church should be used for something

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I got to spend some time with Allan Aguirre and his family at Cornerstone. Make sure to check out his podcasts. They're really amazing. http://www.podcastmedia.net Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Ok, so I shot like 300 pictures of Mute Math in 15 minutes. It's not that I really, really like the band. In fact, this was the first time I'd seen them. Problem is, my buddy Brian didn't want to shoot another band, so he handed me his brand new digital SLR, a Nikon D70, and I went crazy. 300 pictures in 15 minutes crazy. Posted by Picasa

Ah yes, two mainstays at Cornerstone. The punk nun, and the drum circle. They came together Sunday afternoon. The pink nun handed me her camera and asked me to shoot some pictures of it :) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Covered Main stage tonight, which was fun. I was up there briefly the other day for Andy Hunter, but this was my first full fledged main stage duty. It's cool being up there with the big boys, especially since I got to borrow a Nikon D70, so I really did feel like a big boy.

I'm not familiar with Jeremy Camp, but he was ok. I hadn't seen Jars of Clay forever, so that was nice to be up there shooting them. A pic of them I took several years ago was actually on the splash page to their website for a loooong time, which was always cool. Then I had to go off the stage, because Audio Adrenaline wouldn't let anyone on the stage. But that's ok, I shot some stuff in front of the barricade, and the lead singer leaped into the crowd anyway.

The highlight of the night was when Ashley Cleveland joined Jars for a few songs. I have to post some pics now, so I'll have more later!
Beyond Absolutism, Pluralism, and Relativism: Brian McLaren 7/03/05

I. Jane Goodall story

She loved Tarzan novels, wanted to live in the jungle, but didn't; go to college. She was a secretary. But this guy game to her, looking for someone with no education, a woman, to go and observe chimps.

Why someone with no education? Because what you focus on determines what you miss. She didn't know what to look for. She just looked and took notes.

She named the chimps. Got used to the chimps. One day, David Greybeard held her hand. It went from observation to a relationship.

Goodall ended up not only studying, but serving the chimps.

II. The Shift
Jane represents the shift from modern to postmodern. In the modern era, you had to label, dissect, take things to the lab, study them on our terms. That was "objectivity".

Goodall wasn't like that. She met them on their terms.

So the question is, how do we engage others? Conquest and control? Or understand on their terms?

McLaren says it's a shift that takes us closer to the way God sees things.

God is personal. Nothing is objective, because it's all his. God sees and knows everything and cares about it all. It's all relevant to God. We've been formed to the modern world. But we should be nonconformists.

If we think of everything as God's, it should change our perspective.

Don't treat people as objects, but as family.

We need to live in the universe God created.

III. Other stuff people asked at the talk's end...
(By the way, I'm putting these notes into an outline format. That's not how McLaren did it, but I did it to break it up for those not having the benefit of hearing these talks.)

What about going out into the world? What if I want to go into bars and minister, but friends are afraid I'll get drunk?

McLaren responds there are a lot of dangers in the world, and drinking and all that stuff are bad. But so is consumerism. Having the biggest CCM collection can be bad too.

The thing is to overcome evil with good -- go into the world with a sense of mission.

The factor worker doesn't go to work saying 'I hope I don't cuss today', but instead says, 'I hope serve somebody', etc.

Then McLaren touched on the difference between acceptance and approval, and how accepting people doesn't mean we approve of their choices and lifestyles.

McLaren was asked to talk about consumerism. He says commerce is good, even says money is ok.

The love of it is bad.

The idea of commerce he says, is that we use money as a token, to show I'm exchanging my strength for your strength. In that sense economics is a beautiful thing.

Part of the postmodern transition is that postmodernism is post-national. The nation has less important than it was.

When government exists to serve economy it doesn't represent justice.

And that's about all I took notes on, so enjoy!

Watched some of Switchfoot's set Saturday night. Clearly the biggest name and biggest night of the fest. I didn't stick around for the whole thing though, because they weren't allowing any pictures by the stage, and were even asking people to put their video cameras away. Management seems pretty sensitive, probably in light of a new album coming out soon. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Apologetix, complete with the "Vote for Petra" shirt. Posted by Picasa


Beyond Absolutism, Pluralism, and Relativism: Brian McLaren 7/02/05

I. Why do Christians want to destroy other cultures?

Remember when the Taliban destroyed those Buddhist statues in Afghanistan?

What if the U.S. ran Afghanistan, and not the Taliban at that time. Brian McLaren says suppose Franklin Graham was VP and Tim LaHae was Secretary of State, just to throw some names out there. Would it have been ok for them to destroy Buddhist art? Is it morally permissible?

If you say it's ok to keep the art, then you have a post-absolutist view.

The Christians have a mixed history. They destroyed Viking art, but preserved the Greek and Roman culture.

What does the Christian do when encountering other faiths?

What kind of story is the Christian story? Does it want to destroy another story?

Why do we preserve some cultures in the name of Christ, but not others?

McLaren tells the story of a Korean seminary student, who came to Mars Hill, despite already having a divinity degree. In Korean seminary, he had learned Christian culture was good, and everything else bad. And for some reason, Greek, Roman, and European culture needed to be learned, but not his native culture.

It wasn't until this student was in the U.S. that he picked up a book of poetry by a notable Korean. He couldn't put it down. He stayed up all night reading it. He came to appreciate his own culture. That doesn't mean he put this poetry on the same level with the bible, he just understood.

II. Eliminating the other stories?

The problem with meta-narratives, McLaren says, is that they are totalizing. They want to get rid of the other stories.

But McLaren says, it my narrative kills millions, I'm not happy about it.

He makes it clear, "I think relativism is a bad thing. It is a poison."

McLaren is not suggesting what works for you is ok, even if it doesn't work for me.

Instead he suggests...

III. The redeeming story

The Christian story redeems.

Some meta-narratives (big stories) want to bulldoze all other stories -- blow them up. Fundamentalist Islam is like this. Some Christians are too. McLaren doesn't care for that.

Following 9/11 McLaren was afraid there would be retaliation against Muslims. There were four mosques in the area, none of which McLaren had ever visited. He decided to write them a letter, and hand deliver them, expressing his concern for violence against Muslims, reassuring them he did not condone it, and could help any way he could. Mosque after mosque had its gate closed. But the fourth one had it's gate open -- just to let a news crew out. McLaren gunned it, and made it in.

This must have scared the clergy there. But when McLaren talked to one, the man welcomed him inside.

Now the two men are friends. McLaren says it's "not a betrayal of faith, but an expression of faith" to have friendships with non-Christians.

Anyway, they decided to hold a multifaith service, where various clergy, and their congregations were invited. Each clergyman was to answer the same question. What is my duty to my neighbor according to my religion?

It was held in a mosque, women in one room, men in the other. To McLaren's chagrin, some of his church members showed up late... and women included wandered into the men's room, but no one said anything.

IV. Consumerism

Consumerism is the power of the economy based on greed. It's the ultimate meta-narrative, McLaren says. It's very dangerous.

Christians who fall into relativism can fall prey to militaristic consumerism he feels.

It turns everything, faith included, into a commodity. Popularity is all that matters.

It's seen in the popular eschatology of the day (the view of the end times) -- i.e. Left Behind. McLaren fears this fosters a sense that Christians don't fight injustice, because there's no reason to. Just head for the lifeboat.

But McLaren hopes for another solution...

V. Redemption

The solution is to see the Christian faith not as a meta-narrative bent on destroying all other stories, but as a redeeming movement, to redeem those stories.

He points to Handel's Messiah, the Hallelujah chorus.

The kingdom of this world is become
The kingdom of our lord, and of his Christ

Not, we wiped out all the other kingdoms. No, we redeemed them.

It's a radical eschatology. It's a redemptive story.

VI. Redeeming Islam

McLaren had an interesting talk with a well-known Christian, who probably would not want it know that he has the following theory...

Mohammed was born about 600 AD. If we go back to the second century, there was a vibrant Christian church in Syria. They gave, fasted, and refrained from pork to God's glory.

Anyway, the Syrians rebelled against Rome. It was brutal. The Romans had more force, and launched a massive counter attack. So the Syrians fled to Arabia.

Around this time, AD 323 Rome officially embraced Christianity.

Syrians didn't like that, because they weren't in the Roman Empire. So connecting Christianity to Rome made them traitors to Arabians. They isolated themselves from Roman Christians.

This is the world Mohammed entered. This Christian McLaren talked to has this idea... Mohammed started as a polytheist, but embraced one God. In fact, he may have been a Syrian Christian, head of the church, but he didn't claim the Christian title, because he didn't want to be associated with Rome.

If we want to redeem Muslims, we need to tell our stories, and see where they intersect.

Admit that Christians have a problem. We were silly to affiliate with Rome and kill your ancestors. We acknowledge our historical failure.

However, if you want to get out of the problem of violence, Jesus has a lot to say.

That's the story we need to tell...

to be continued...

Sorry! Posted by Picasa

Andy Hunter busted a dope beat. Or something like that. Mainstage didn't know what to make of it, what was left of the crowd, I should say, but it was cool. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005


Fabulous like you Posted by Picasa

Digging for life in Berlin City Posted by Picasa

waving the banner for Cornerstone Posted by Picasa

People of all tribes and flags take part in Cornerstone Posted by Picasa

Beyond Absolutism, Pluralism, and Relativism: Brian McLaren 7/01/05

"Check your fly."

That's the advice Brian McLaren received, after asking his first Cornerstone audience what advice they had for him.

here are my notes from McLaren's first talk:

I. Pre-modernism -- the time before 1500, before Martin Luther. People listened to "the authority", i.e. the church, government, etc. The belief was truth resides in people, and people tell me what's true.

Until...
Copernicus, Galileo, and Martin Luther. The first two questioned epistimology on the basis of science (philosophy), with the later did so based on theology. This "unleashed the modern era" that "truth is determined by individual reasoning.

II. Modernism -- All of this lead to all the nastiness between the protestants and Catholics. McLlaren shared the story of a bridge in Prague, where there was a large crucifix. During a battle between the two sides, Jesus was beheaded. This deep sense of unrest in Europe also showed up in places like France, with Rene DesCartes. He was concerned about war. He said the best way to defeat the enemy is with the weapon of the enemy. Defeat doubt using doubt. "I doubt therefore I am."

This lead to the enlightenment project and the age of reason. Knowledge and reason are the foundation.

III. Foundation of Post-moderrnism -- fast-forward to post war Germany. The atrocities of the holocaust came in a country that was once the center of reason. This nation was intellectually brilliant, morally evil. What went wrong?

People questioned this. Not just the holocaust, but Stalin, the decay of colonialism, and other forms of oppression: racism, slavery, economic concerns.

They said something is sick about our culture done in the name of reason. The Jewish intellectuals repented, but McLaren says Christians didn't.

In modernism, there was "excessive certainty" and that lead people to rape, kill, and steal. Overconfidence lead them to do horrible things.

McLaren went on to define meta-narrative. It's not just a "big story", it's a big story that legitmizes those in power to stay in power. Just as propaganda has negative connotations, McLaren says meta-narrative does too. He calls it a "polluted, violent word."

IV. People began to critique excessive certainty. This is post-modernism. Seeing excessive certainty as a cancer. Chemotherapy is dangerous, but sometimes needed. This chemo, McLaren says, has two facets:
a) Pluralism - realizing not everyone sees everything the same way.
b) Relativisim - all are more or less true, more or less false. No one has the upper hand.

V. Where we are now? The world has pre-moderns (most notably the Middle East, maybe Latin American). The moderns are headquartered just down the road from McLaren in Washington, D.C. The postmoderns are in Europe.

McLaren agrees excessive certainty is a cancer, but points out chemo can kill too.

"My belief is the church in America is caught." he says. "How do we proclaim the kingdom of God?"

Do we capitulate to pluralism? No. "I believe the solution is not to go back" to the age of reason he said. "Something unarticulated", in this case, the Kingdom of God is the solution. "I don't believe anybody can save the world but Jesus Christ." We need to see our selves as whole people. John 17:17.

We need to trust in God, not trust in what we think we know about God. Proverbs 3.

Oh, and he doesn't like a lot of this modern worship music. Says it "makes my skin crawl" to know Jesus is feeling him, or whatever the music is saying :)
I ended up walking 13.06 miles yesterday. And probably the same the day before. 25 miles in two days seems like a lot. I'm sure I'll do the same today. I'm assigned to cover the seminars, so that'll be fun. I'll probably sit in and listen while I'm there. I think I'm going to take in the Brian Mclaren talk.

For more photos and thoughts, check out Brian's Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2005


I see this guy at Cornerstone every year. He's gone through a few hats in that time. He used to wear the John 3:16 hat, featured in an old b&w photos somewhere from 1998 or so. Turns out he blogs too. http://jesusisthesavior.blogspot.com Posted by Picasa
My Vans are dusty but still intact, after 11.79 miles today. I've walked probably 20 miles in two days. According to my super de duper pedometer I've burned about 2000 calories today, just from walking.

Anytime you wake up at Cornerstone not in a sweat, you know you're off to a good start. It was almost cool when I woke up, very pleasant in any case. No line for the shower. Not a bad start to the day.

Made it to the RMC BBQ for the 11 am hour. Might be the smallest one I can remember. We're missing Matt & Becky and Robert & Lisa and Chris and, well, everyone who didn't come who normally do.

Noon meant photographers meeting in the web trailer. Then off to my assignment, to find volunteers in action.

I grabbed my notebook and even grabbed a few quotes, and wrote a little piece on volunteers and youth groups. That should be hitting the fest website later.

Thursday night we had perfect weather for Cornerstone. I actually threw on a hoodie, and was more than comfortable.

No Apologetix sightings yet. We're on the look out for any 'getix presence, so Jerry can kick them in the nuts.

Caught a couple of bands tonight -- The Lonely Hearts and Lovedrug. Both were good shows, by tight bands. I already had the Lovedrug disc, but I picked up the Lonely Hearts CD.

My back is sore, my feet are getting tired, and I'm not sure how I'm still up and going, but I am. I don't think I'll be able to stay awake much longer. I need to grab some food to replenish myself and then back to the joys of tent life.

And to cross the 12 mile threshold for the day, before I ditch my Vans for the night.

Somebody better put the ambulance on call in this campsite, where these geniuses placed a trampoline under a tree, so they could bounce off it. The guy on the edge has a sharpie, so he can keep track of how high the jumpers get on the tree. Posted by Hello

This may be my favorite shot of the day. Remember, I'm shooting on a point and click digital camera. Not an SLR, so getting something like this takes patience, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Posted by Hello

These volunteers are part of a camp in Illinois. You can tell it's still early in the Cornerstone week. They've already survived oppressive humidity and 100 degree heat and are still smiling Posted by Hello

A little rain on the fest grounds made the garbage crew happy Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cornerstone Day One:

Miles Walked: More than five, just between 5 and 9pm

Miles driven: More than I care to think about

Pictures taken: 137

Hours slept: not enough

More later

just back from Iraq, this National Guardsman is enjoying his wife, his Harley, and Cornerstone Posted by Hello