Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Want My BTV!

My cousin, CJ, is a editing, animating genius. He lives in Chicago with his lovely wife Jill, and their young son Spencer. He is a raving mad Cubs fan who lives on the North Side. Hence this wonderful little snippet.

Spencer reverses the curse! from CJ Dugan on Vimeo.

Let's hope that Spencer does the reverse the curse so in 30 years he won't live with an impending sense of doom come every October.

A couple more videos from the creative mind of CJ. Here's one of the boys' favorites.

Parenting Fear #14 from CJ Dugan on Vimeo.

This is one my fav. It's the announcement CJ sent out to let us know he and Jill were expecting.

DC Preview from CJ Dugan on Vimeo.

As you can see, this is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill dude messing around with digital video on his computer. Dude has a degree from Columbia (Chicago) and free-lances putting graphics together for commercials, TV shows, and the like. Haven't figured out a way to exploit his talent for my own selfish gain, or at church, but that day is coming. I ruined my back throwing him around in a hotel pool when he was about 6, so he owes me.

It's been years since David Letterman was must-see TV for me. Probably since before Max was born. I share part of the blame for my lack of Letterman interest. I'd rather just go to bed or watch NBA games. But part of the blame should be shared by Dave, who, in his own best interest, started treated guests well so they'd come onto his show, lost a bit of his edginess.

Well, last night after getting stood up by John McCain, who decided to use the time to appear with Katie Couric instead, Dave was vintage Dave. Funny. Angry. Sharp. Edgy to the point of making his audience uncomfortable. If you missed it, here it is.

Also caught this interview.

Ummmm.... maybe she'll get better. At least she's energized the Christian Right of the Republican Party. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if that proves to be enough to get McCain over the top.

(Let's just say that if she keeps up a performance like this one, the prospects will be unlikely.)

This is the video I left a link for on my post yesterday. Paul Solman is the economic analyst on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. Speaking as a dummy, I think this "Economic Crisis for Dummies" presentation is a pretty good one.

Here's another good interview, from 60 Minutes, with David Walker, the Comptroller General (Lead Accountant) for the US Government. Walker has been beating the drum that the current economic policy being pursued by the Federal Government is unsustainable. That the amount of money it will take to not only repay our debt, but fund all the mandates we're committed to can't be raised unless we act now.

Walker's cause has been taken up in an independent film called IOUSA, which (of course) isn't coming to Lima anytime soon.

In it, he and others (like Warren Buffett) lay out the coming monetary crisis, the tip of which we're only starting to see now. You can't keep monetizing debt and driving down the dollar, and hope that it will all turn out OK in the end (a message Ron Paul has been trumpeting for quite some time). At some point, when the dollar becomes too weak, it becomes a bad investment, and people holding dollars start dumping them and buy something else (like Euros or Pounds, which are right now eating our lunch). In any event, the movie is being lauded on both the right and the left. Maybe we can bring it to Beantown soon.

The Christian church (you were beginning to think I was only going to talk about economics and politics again, weren't you?) has been engaging in the kind of false optimism that we're beginning to see fall apart on Wall Street: belief that the economy will grow infinitely, and pick us all up in its wake. The difference is that churches either preach this message from the pulpit (in the form of "health and wealth" theology), or keep quiet as on issues like materialism and greed as they accept millions of dollars for new projects.

This kind of happy/slappy theology has been packaged largely as an intrigal part of contemporary worship. As newer non-denominational churches, and mainlines like the one I serve, have traded in traditional worship for something more contemporary, we have begun to buy into the notion that each week worship needs to be "uplifting" and "spirit filled". The fact of the matter is that there are huge tracts of scripture are "spirit filled", but definitely not "uplifting". Contemporary praise music, because its essentially a form of pop, largely ignores the reality of the difficult side of faith: personal sacrifice, suffering, lamentations, and denying oneself... a point raised by Brian McLaren (a post-modern Christian thinker and writer) as a part of a new series of shorts he's producing. In this one he takes on "the worship industry" (which is a term I've never heard before).

McLaren is touching on something deep. You can feel the pendulum starting to swing in Western Christianity. When I was still engaged in youth ministry five or six years ago, Ron Luce's organization, Teen Mania, was reaching its apex. The mission of the organization was largely to mobilize teenagers to take up the batter of the culture wars that evangelicals have been fighting in this country ever since the pendulum last swung in the early eighties from the Sexual Revolution, to the Reagan Revolution. But now, a new teen Christian organization, based out of Great Britain is mobilizing steam. Hope for Justice is looking to mobilize teens not to fight the culture wars, but instead take on the issue of human trafficking.

Steve Chalke, the pastor in the second video is behind this movement, believes that if the church is to remain relevant globally, it will need to get out in front of serious social justice issues because largely, that's what people in the world care about, and ultimately what matters to Jesus. To engage in false optimism in a world fearful of the future will only serve to alienate further the church from the culture at-large. It'll be interesting to watch how this begins to shape worship, church administration, and program as more churches - some out of sense of mission, and others out of a sense of survival - start moving in this direction.

Ok, gotta go to bed. Enjoy BTV.

No comments: