Tuesday, June 27, 2006

United by the Net

Sunday evening Deb and I had a wonderful time getting to know some folks who have met and been assembling "virtually" for a while via the internet. Several of us live in Cincinnati, and we've gathered once for happy hour at Applebees. We all share a fascination/obsession with notions of God and spirituality, and have often found ourselves outside the orthodox thinking of mainstream Christian expressions.

Julie Bogart has some details on the formation of this motley crew on her blog, but we are currently all subscribed to a Yahoo group entitled "Pomoxian" for "Postmodern Christians". Dave Blakeslee is the founder of this virtual group (circa 2002), and he and his wife Julie were in southern Ohio for a wedding, so the Bogarts (Jon and Julie) hosted a real-life gathering, which also included Brian and Tywana Smith. Deb and I had met Brian through the area Emergent Cohort, and he shared our enjoyment of all things theological.

Although most of us spent former years in fairly conservative or moderate religious groups/denominations, our individual past experiences are not that similar. But we do find ourselves presently at a similar place in life where we still are seeking to be the best we can, and believe that spirituality and God have something to do with that. We just can't express things in the same fashion as we once could, and are much more open to other ways of experiencing God.

Conversations flowed freely and honestly, as if we had known each other for years. We plan to continue our conversations online and in person whenever possible, providing a safe yet challenging environment in which to work out our faith and lives with fear, trembling, hope, and joy.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Blue Man Group is Touring!!

A good portion of my DVD collection is dedicated to music - documentaries and concerts. By far the most played DVD in my collection is "Blue Man Group - The Complex Rock Tour Live". Deb and I went to Las Vegas a few years back, largely to take in a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows. On the spur of the moment, we also decided to see Blue Man Group. Cirque du Solel was fantastic, but I was even more captivated by these blue men. It was a communication experience, with the voiceless men allowing the audience to vicariously experience the event through their eyes and senses. I immediately bought the DVD, and found it more immersive than even the stage show. I'm still unpacking why, but I'm convinced there are important lessons for communicators - churches, organizations, artists - to learn by experiencing their show. "The Complex" is all about deconstructing our experience of attending a rock concert - examining the physical actions, mental games, etc. And the music is downright tribal and exhilarating.

So I was excited to see in the local newspaper this weekend that the Blue Man Group is touring this fall, and will be hitting Cincinnati on October 8th. Tickets go on sale July 31. This will be the show of the season as far as I'm concerned (even though we also have tickets for Steely Dan/Michael McDonald and Cirque du Soleil). The fall tour is titled "How To Be a Megastar - Tour 2.0". Highly recommended!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason

I've been a moderate Bill Moyers fan for many years. Most probably it is partially connected with growing up in the south and appreciating that intelligent commentary and reporting can come through a southern accent. So I was excited to see info about his newest PBS series, "Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason". Moyers took advantage of the PEN ((poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists) World Voices Festival 2006 gathering to interview contemporary writers on issues of faith and reason (the actual topic of this years festival).

An interview with Moyers appeard this past week in the San Francisco Chronicle, and he discusses the background of the series. Several quotes in the interview appealed to (and apply to) me:

"I practice what the Italian philosopher [Antonio] Gramsci called 'the pessimism of the mind' and 'the optimism of the will'. As a journalist, my job is to see the world as it is, without whitewash or illusion. But as a husband, father, grandfather and citizen, I don't know how to be in the world without expecting a confident future and getting up every morning to do what I can to help bring it about."

Speaking of his famous series "The Power of the Myth" and Joseph Campbell, he says:

"What [it] did for me, David, was to awaken me fully to the power of metaphors. 'Change the metaphors,' Campbell told me, 'and you can change the world.' "

I consider myself a "metaphor-driven" person. With a strongly intuitive temperment, I'm more often than not motiviated by inner or hidden meanings and metaphors rather than hard facts or single events.

The DVR will definitely be set for this series. It begins June 23 on PBS. You can find out when it can be viewed in your area here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Brangelena Baby Pics

So I havn't posted for a month, and here's what I pick to post on - what gives???

I've just been struck by how "right" it seems for the lucky parents to secure 4 million plus for African charities by taking advantage of the general public's appetite for vicarious living. It's almost Robin Hood-like - a great one-off approach for redistribution of wealth.