Jesus, sad music, and bad jokes
"Consider these questions: Did Jesus ever suggest by word of example that we should aspire to acquire, let alone take over, the power of Caesar? Did Jesus spend any time and energy trying to improve, let alone dominate, the reigning government of his day? Did he ever word to pass laws against the sinners he hunt out with and ministered to? Did he worry at all about ensuring that his rights and the religious rights of his followers were protected? Does any author in the New Testament remotely hint that engaging in this sort of activity has anything to do with the kingdom of God? The answer to all these questions is, of course, no."
Greg Boyd - Myth of a Christian Nation
The woman in the blue coat approached me by the United Nations building yesterday, and said: ‘There is an interesting man around the corner that you should photograph. I don’t know his name, but everyday he stands directly across from the UN, and says ‘God Bless You’ to everyone who walks past. I’ve always sort of viewed him as the conscience of the world.’
'Let's go together,' I said, and she agreed to bring me to where he was standing. When we finally found the man, I asked for his photo, and he cheerfully agreed. But he pointed at a nearby wall:
"Let’s take the photo under that scripture," he said.
"I’m just trying to live through this problem man created. Nature didn’t create the problem. Man created the problem. And I’m going to be honest, I’m going to say it, it was the European man who created this problem. European man invented the gun. Then he made a bigger gun, and he said: ‘I’m gonna keep this big gun for myself, and I’m gonna sell this small gun to you." And ever since then, he’s been keeping the big guns, and selling the small guns. So everybody’s got guns but none as big as him. And I’m through with it. I’m blind in one eye from Vietnam. If you want to die for this garbage game, that’s your fault. I’m through."
We filmed some clips of recording and practicing over a weekend in March for Further Sky. Livingston Studio 1 was an incredible place to record and we would love to go back one day.
We leave for Australia really soon, and a bunch of shows have sold out so if you’re looking for tickets go get them here. We can’t wait to go back, it’s crazy to think it’s nearly been 2 years since our first tour down under. We will have copies of the Further Sky 7”, a bunch of new merch and a few interesting items.
Talking of Further Sky, Run For Cover still has pre order bundles up here, and if you are from the UK or Europe Banquet Records is also selling the limited purple copies (only 71 copies left). You can pick one of those up here.
Regarding our USA tour the only show that has tickets is the NYC show at Webster Hall, you can get them here. Thank you in advance to everyone who has already bought tickets, we are incredibly grateful and cannot wait to play in America again.
See you soon.
"I’m always sad."
"Are there certain thoughts associated with the sadness?"
"No, the sadness is under the thoughts. It’s like when you’re on a camping trip, and it’s really cold, and you put on extra socks, and an extra sweater, but you still can’t get warm, because the coldness is in your bones."
"Do you hope to get away from it?"
"Not anymore. I just hope to come to peace with it."
"What’s happened in American Christianity is that the ethics of how we hold our beliefs becomes eclipsed in a triumphalism of identities competing for claims over the socially acceptable ethic. “So should people be allowed to self-identify?” This is troubling for Americans in general because we like to believe that you get to say what you are. Self-determination is the idolatry of American culture. Are there markers in your life where I can judge whether or not you’re a Christian based on your actions and relationships? The response is always “well, God knows my heart, not you.”
So the idea that I can say to you, “I’m not sure what you call yourself but Christian is probably not the right designation” is offensive. And this became tremendously important after 9/11. When people fly planes into buildings and call themselves Muslim, we have to be able to sort out whether or not my self-declaration is an accurate depiction of what I actually am as a person. Because you would never with a serious face in Oklahoma say the word “Christian terrorist.” But these people say all the time “Muslim terrorist.” So should we trust people at their word when they say, “I’m a Christian,” “I’m a Buddhist,” “I’m a Jew?” Or should we look at their lives and at what they do?
In other words, if you’re not going to practice the ethic that lines up with your system of beliefs, are you not obligated to practice remotely what you say that you are? Americans have a weird relationship with worldviews. “What is it about this particular tribe that makes them this tribe?” In American culture, the marker is the idea of choosing. Choice becomes the dominant way that I exist. This is sacred for us; it’s integral to who we are. So when I’m subjected to scrutiny or criticism that’s going to nullify the choice that I’ve made to self-declare, that runs counter to what we believe is the American experience—the human experience. Suddenly I get to say what I am and only God knows my heart… well that’s not very helpful for trying to relate to people. Do Muslims really fly into buildings and kill innocent people? If you can’t insist on some fundamental level of behavior, then why even call yourself anything at all?
The point is that if everything that matters is internal, and I can’t ever know what you actually are or pretend to be, then calling yourself something isn’t defining anything at all. We should be much more comfortable in a world where we know what to expect from people based on how they act towards others rather than letting people dictate our expectations. Look at how conservative Christians treat Obama’s Christianity. “He’s not Christian, he’s a Muslim!” What people wants to say is, when it’s necessary, I can Other other people. But when it’s me, or when it’s my tribe, I’m going to expect as much grace and leeway as possible."
Greg Horton and Tripp Fuller, “10 Not-So-Shocking Things You Learn in Religion 101,” Homebrewed Christianity, 11:25-29:40 (via lukexvx)