» Huffington Post: Just Follow Jesus: Interview with Christian Singer Derek Webb
OK, so I visited my parents up in North Richland Hills earlier in the month - sorta coinciding with their anniversary, sorta coinciding with Christmas, and spot-on with the High School football championship games at Cowboys Stadium. I booked a few extra days around those games, so we had quantity, if not quality, time together. As a result, there are two of the most irritating questions in the world: a) "How was Dallas?", and b) "How was your Christmas?".
I did not visit Dallas. I did not in the course of my trip ever, once cross the county line into Dallas. And as anyone who has resided in Tarrant County for any amount of time will tell you - Tarrant County ain't Dallas. Secondly, the trip to see my parents was, for all intents and purposes, my Christmas. As for the actual date of December 25th, I slept through abut 90% of it. I think I woke up to rummage through the fridge in the hopes of maybe getting some food into the finely tuned ecosystem that is my body - but it didn't happen. I kept a few books to read in case insomnia ever kicked in and I didn't want to get out of bed - but that didn't happen, either. Instead, I just slept a lot. Emphasis on "a lot." Take your pick on which version of "my Christmas" works better for your understanding.
That rant aside, I'd like to point out that this Q&A with Derek Webb is a pretty nice Christmas present even if it comes a day after Christmas. Obviously, I'm not being too choosy with my chronology these days.
Anywho, here's a taste of what Derek has to say these days ...
What place do you see Christians having in such a religiously diverse culture? How should Christians respond to things like anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence?
Again, my first response is that Christians need to see ourselves as the same as those we're pointing our fingers at. The exact same thing goes for the conversation on religious diversity. We have got to see ourselves as the same as those we might perceive as our enemies. Not only is that a good idea; I think it's a direct commandment from Jesus.
That is counterintuitive to me, but Jesus says we are to be preemptive about how we love. I think Christianity has a very unique position in these arguments to demonstrate what we believe, to where we might not even have to tell people about [Jesus] and that his primary message was love, if we demonstrated it better.
I think this is an especially important moment and conversation. At a time when everybody in our culture is talking about tolerance, it seems that tolerance has the highest premium of any response -- "If we just tolerate one another..." But my feeling is: Who wants to be tolerated? People don't want to be tolerated; they want to be loved.
I don't want to be tolerant of people. I want to move toward and love people, to know them and know their stories, and to tell them my story. I think, if we did more of that, we'd all learn that our stories aren't that different, and that there might even be a bigger story -- a meta-narrative -- that we're all tied up in together.
Like I said ... good stuff. Merry Christmas. Whatever day you're celebrating it on.
Apologies for the Christmas AWOL blogging. I'll merely note that the last couple of months have been a lot busier than expected and that's placed my blogging time for this fair site as the primary victim. Among those things keeping me busy recently was the volunteer gig at Ecclesia. Christmas Eve had me waking up with a cold and a scheduled three-peat performance of running media for services that night. As much as I was looking forward to it, I was ready to be conked on the head with a mallet to be put out of my misery by the end of the night.
Among the factors that led to that was that the Christmas Eve service was, I believe, the most extensive media-heavy service we had. The playlist of everything from the lyrics of each song to videos to bible verses to everything inbetween was the longest I've seen. Or maybe it was just the fact that I was a bit woozy all night. Dunno. In any event, this was the first video on the list for the Christmas Eve service. It's pretty cute and it seemed to have been a big hit at each of the 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm services. May it extend your holiday cheer a little longer into the final week of the month.
The schedule for this weekend:
Christmas Service Schedule
Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24 at 5, 7, or 9 p.m.
There will be no Saturday service Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25.
Sunday, December 26 we will have services at 9, 11, and 5:30.
As good fortune would have it, I get to run media for the Christmas Eve services ... all three of 'em. I'm looking forward to that.
Interesting to see this in the local paper ...
The church's existing building, a sanctuary/art gallery/coffee shop on Taft in Montrose, holds five crowded weekend services and has been a place for the community, especially artists and the homeless, to gather outside of worship.
"It places itself in the midst of homelessness, and it's very important for the new building, too. When they were looking for a new building, that was a priority," said Laura Pettibon, 23, who has attended Ecclesia for a year and half. "It has such a focus on 'the least of these.' "
Church leaders hope to carry over the same themes of art and hospitality while incorporating a culinary element to the new location. They want to include a pay-what-you-can restaurant, where homeless people can eat for next to nothing and diners who aren't in need can spend a few bucks extra.
A new waiting period begins as Ecclesia starts planning for how the new space will be renovated.
The first call for volunteers to start working on the buildout happened to fall on the weekend I'm out of town. Not that I'd be particularly handy with sheet rock or plumbing or whatnot. The sidebar to the story mentions that there are three services on Christmas eve. As luck would have it, I'm working the "V" side of the AV booth for all of those services. Fortunately, I do know my way around ProPresenter a bit better.
By way of adding another datapoint to demonstrate how certain political movements attempt to deify their cause, the fine folks at the 10th Amendment Center offer this from a pastor and "Tea Party" activist:
I believe the current Tea Party movement is ordained by God. As you rise up with others to reclaim our nation, you too will have your place in history. It’s our turn now. Let’s go forward for God.
That comes at the end of a lengthy justification to connect today's Tea Party movement not only with America's founding fathers, but also with the House of Israel and - brace yourself - Jesus Christ.