Great Find: Third Way Magazine

by Chris Lorensson on 29 October 2007 with comments

Somehow I stumbled upon this UK Christian Magazine, Third Way. I requested a sample copy, which I recommend you do as well. They have very good interviews, tend to focus on real-world issues such as environment and politics, but they also have great interviews with people such as Douglas Coupland and David Suchet– who are by no means ‘Christian’, as it were.

Here’s a list of some of the main interviews they’ve had. If you’re looking for a new type of Christian literature without all the pretence (and unnecessary Relevance, if you will ;-) , check out Third Way.

Christian Meditation

by Chris Lorensson on 23 October 2007 with comments

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the idea of meditation. Not in some mystical, philosophical way, but just because I feel like I need a way to find some peace in the midst of my chaotic life. I did a bit of Googleing and found some really helpful sites. I hope they can be helpful to you, too. Some of these sites talk about actual ‘Meditation Groups’— as in Christians getting together to meditate. While I find this a cool idea, I have a hard time with corporate Christian anything— but that’s just a stigma of my own.

Maranatha thespiritualsolution.com

This is probably the best one I found, as it seems to be a bit more culturally relevant and I can certainly relate to it perhaps more than the others on this list, what with the dude on the front with tattoos and all. They have stuff about meditation and your body, how to meditation, what it means, even a 6-week outline on Christian Meditation.
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303: Advent

by Chris Lorensson on 21 October 2007 with comments

Here are some really interesting thoughts about our relationship with Jesus, loosely as it concerns Advent. Don’t know who the author of this blog is, but it’s worth reading, even when not a rainy day!

http://303.typepad.com/303/2006/12/advent_21.html

Mules vs. Free Men

by Chris Lorensson on 17 October 2007 with comments

Holy crap– this is amazing. Sorry all my posts have been about this book I’m reading, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but to be honest, this book is full of thoughts and principles that constantly challenge me about today’s Christendom.

This quote is from pages 190-191 (1976 Corgi edition), and requires a little premise: The ex-teacher is reflecting on dropping the entire grading system in his University, and when he refers to the ‘Church’ he’s talking about this University, ironically in our case.

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more about Home

by Chris Lorensson on 14 October 2007 with comments

A couple thoughts I had tonight

  1. Living in the middle of an urban European city can be kinda sucky: when you look up, and it’s been overcast for days, and you can’t one damned star because the clouds are all lit up with the economy orange street-lights the city can barely afford, you start to think “Geez, there’s got to be more to life than this”
  2. and also, don’t smoke Lucky Strikes– they’re nasty as hell

Expanding the Roots of Traditional Reason

by Chris Lorensson on 14 October 2007 with comments

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into ValuesI’m about halfway through re-reading Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and I want to give you another (forgive me, but long) excerpt from page 160-161 (1976 Corgi edition) where the main character – ex-Phaedrus – continues talking about the assembly instructions of a rotisserie and how the instructions relate to one’s passion for the work they are doing:

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Importance of Context in church-work

by Chris Lorensson on 9 October 2007 with comments

If one were commissioned to produce an alt.worship service for a bunch of creative young people in his church one could run into the problem of context. In Big Church, we tend to create services out of our own context; let me give you an example:

  • I arrange access to the projector, buy candles and invite a monk to play a foreign instrument during worship and a Hindi Indian woman to sing praise songs off-the-cuff. I tell everyone we’re meeting in the basement of an abandoned art gallery downtown and to bring an item of significance in their lives to submit to God through creative worship. I light the candles, loop the group’s VJ’s meditation video and the foreigners start playing. People show up and we serve beer and light incense. It is an evironmental post-modern nu-Christian masterpiece of an atmosphere. We begin to worship.

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the right way to revolt

by Chris Lorensson on 9 October 2007 with comments

Here’s another excerpt from the book I’m re-reading, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The previous excerpts can be found here: Creativity using the ‘Death-Cycle’. This excerpt is from page 94 (1976 Corgi edition)

But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.

This passage make me think about the ways I, as a nu-Christian or post-modern Christian, try to effect change in Big Church. It seems the way we (especially in the West) address issues is to band-aid the problem rather than addressing the cause. Think about it, we’d rather swallow a pill that suppresses our ability to think negatively (Prozac) than go through a process of healing and prayer. We’d rather put everyone through intrusive body-cavity searches before letting them go a plane than think about why our country is producing terrorists in the first place. This is all backwards.

But back to effecting change in Big Church I’m not interested in interpolating our current (sometimes narrow) set of church-ways into an alt.worship set, I’m interested in finding out why we’re not naturally practising our own personal ways of worship in the first place. I’m not interested in coaxing contemporary Christians into attending our art-groups, I’m interested in what art they’re doing (or worse – NOT doing) at home and in their spare time. I could go on, but you get the idea.

I think this concept of addressing the root of the issue is practical and obvious, but at the same time daunting and difficult. Especially in the context of our comfy Western-Christianity today. Do we have the courage to address things the right way? Will we ever learn the right way to revolt?

Reflections on ‘home’

by Chris Lorensson on 8 October 2007 with comments

I have moved a lot. I grew up in various locations in Southern California. First, I spent several years in a growing desert city East of Los Angeles, then I moved in with my father in Orange County, was squatting for a bit on the beach, then lived in 3 more cities before going back home at seventeen. While back home, I lived at 3 different places, then moved back to LA. In the last ten years of my life, I can count thirteen places I’ve lived – that I remember. No wait, fourteen.

It changes you – moving a lot.

It warps what sense of ‘home’ you may have had, and it changes the way you feel about it. Now, even being quite happy and feeling as ‘settled’ as I’ve felt in years, I have a hard time finding a sense of home. The more you move around in such little time, the further that feeling of security and safety feels.

What is it about home that’s so important? I read of cultures who have been nomadic for centuries. Do they know the feeling of home? Is home about a certain place or a group of people? Is it about family or friends? Is it about time passing and gradually becoming more familiar with that particular space? I don’t know. But whatever it is, it can be fleeting, and apparently can take years to get back– if you get it back at all.

Are we meant to have safety, security, family and friends? After moving continents I’ve realised how much I relied upon what little I had. Now I feel the pressure, insecurity and ‘placelessness’ of unfamiliarity. The only thing that remains the same, the only comfort that can be had in times like these is the knowledge of God’s amazing love for me– that He has plans for my life that are good.

Creativity using the ‘Death-Cycle’

by Chris Lorensson on 8 October 2007 with comments

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m re-reading Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The following excerpt from page 77 (1976 Corgi edition) says

When analytic thought, [which Pirsig refers to as] the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process. That is fairly well understood, at least in the arts. Mark Twain’s experience comes to mind, in which, after he had mastered the analytic knowledge needed to pilot the Mississippi River, he discovered the river had lost its beauty. Something is always killed. But what is less noticed in the arts—something is always created too. And instead of just dwelling on what is killed it’s important also to see what’s created and to see the process as a kind of death-birth continuity that is neither good nor bad, but just is.

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