Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Link of the Day: All About the Accordion

Paul Grant, author of the forthcoming Blessed Are the Uncool, is all about the accordion these days. His two most recent posts are exploring the cultural phenomenon of cool in ways that brush up against accordion playing. Post one includes an insightful deconstruction of the Weird Al Yankovic video "White & Nerdy," which I keep making my wife watch because it's so dang funny. You can watch the video while reading Paul's stinging critique. Post two picks apart a USA Today profile of some youth in middle America who are learning the accordion as a means of carrying their ethnic heritage forward. Shame on them, suggests the author of the article. Shame on the author, suggests Paul.

I happen to own an accordion; I thought they were decidedly uncool until I heard REM use one--and then Jars of Clay, and then Counting Crows, and then the Decemberists. Turns out, as Paul points out, that the accordion was there at the beginning of rock n roll, in the tail of Bill Haley's Comets.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Economoholics Anonymous

From Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution:

We are a community of struggle. Some of us are rich people trying to
escape our loneliness. Some of us are poor folks trying to escape the
cold. Some of us are addicted to drugs and others are addicted to
money. We are a broken people who need each other and God, for we have
come to recognize the mess that we have created of our world and how deeply we
suffer from the mess. Now we are working to give birth to a new society
within the shell of the old. Another world is possible. Another
world is necessary. Another world is already here.

From Steve Martin's The Jerk:

I don't want the money . . . I just want the stuff!
From "Overheard in New York" online:

Hobo: Spare some change?
Yuppie woman: Sorry. But would you like some prosciutto with melon?
Hobo: Yeah, okay.

--96th & CPW

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ketchup on My Reading

Carolyn (like "Bono") tagged me a while ago to respond to this survey. I'm finally getting around to it because I am an A-grade slacker. But then, you already knew that. I'll tag Dan Webster, Amena Brown, Kristi Reimer and Mike King.

One book that you have read more than once: Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose. I keep forgetting what it says . . .

One book that you would want on a desert island (besides the Bible): What to Eat on Desert Islands, and How to Eat It.

Book that made me laugh: Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. (What was the question? Tee hee. I'll say Heretics by G. K. Chesterton.)

One book that made me cry: The Kryptonite Kid.

One book that I wish had been written: The sophomore release by Comic Book Character author David A. Zimmerman. Sigh.

One book I wish had never been written: I have no response to that.

Fact or fiction? I swing toward fact.

One book I am currently reading: Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

Awesome book that is empowering me: The Message of Samuel (The Bible Speaks Today).

Book I've been meaning to read: No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Bird Is the Word

I read an article on five-fingered praying--each finger on your hand representing people to pray for and about, from you (your pinky) to the most marginalized people in the world (the ring finger). Guess who gets the middle finger?

Pray for our leaders. Pray for leaders in the faith community, your local
leaders, your country’s leaders and the world’s leaders.

Man, I am so immature. Go to MethodX's Young Adult Network for a more adult sensibility about the practice.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

From the forthcoming Viking/Penguin book Righteous, an outsider's look at young conservative evangelicals, by journalist Lauren Sanders.

Christian youth is deinstitutionalizing the American church for the first time
in about 400 years. This evangelical movement isn't just about internally held
principles, it's a matter of lifestyle. Young evangelicals look so similar to
denizens of every other strain of youth culture that, aside from their religious
tattoos, the difference between them and the unsaved is invisible. After all,
shared culture is an opportunity for people to connect and gain one another's
trust. Culture -- your favorite music, sport, pastime, style, you name it --
presents an opening for evangelism. Once bonds are forged over a beloved band or
football team, then the Evangelical "message" can work its way into a
relationship. Once the message is heard, a world opens in which God's love, as
well as your cultural predilections, provide spiritual isolation from the
secular world. It's hard to imagine an aspect of secular culture lacking a
Christian counterpart: one can choose from Christian hip-hop ministries,
Christian military intelligence classes, or Christian diet groups in this mirror
The evangelical culture is rooted in place, and it's expanding every
day to swallow a generation whole.

I'm not sure the embrace of contemporary culture among evangelicals is all that new, and I'm pretty sure it's not based entirely on evangelitic strategy. I'd argue that evangelism is changing because evangelicals have embraced much of the broader culture, actually, and because I'm geeked out on Andy Crouch (see my post at Strangely Dim) right now, I'd very quickly prescribe exercises in creating new culture rather than simply assimilating or coopting the same ole same ole. I'd also be inclined to edit the grossly mixed metaphor of the last paragraph. But I could be convinced otherwise.

In any event, it's always interesting and a bit scary to hear how others describe you to one another. How close does this assessment of young evangelical subculture come to your assessment?

Spam of the Day

I've been afraid to follow the link, but I am fascinated by what distinguishes "violent cooperation" from everyday, run-of-the-mill cooperation--or violence, for that matter. I suppose the Hulk was a member of the Avengers for a while, and the only cooperation you can really count on from the Hulk is going to be violent, I guess. Maybe that's what they're doing: recruiting amoral, rage-driven superheroes. Any thoughts? Anybody daring enough to make the leap?

TO: Reggy Eartha (aka me):
SUBJECT: Job in USA (that's "Jahb" not "Jobe")

Good day Sir/Madam,
We inform you about new vacancies in Violent Cooperation Company.If you are interested in our offer, please, write an e-mail to our manager Donald Albanese and visit our website http://violentcooperation.us/job_offer.htmlto receive a Representative Contract and detailed information about this job.
Best Regards,
"Violent Cooperation" Company