A Theological Interpretation of Radiohead’s Supercollider

The below video is my final project that I did for my Religion and Media course at LTSG in August.  I used the song Supercollider by Radiohead and attempted to interpret it theologically into a video.

Thoughts and feedback are welcomed.

Now that my class has completed, my hope is to continue to blog as time and space allow.  If you’d like to continue to follow my posts, I’d encourage you to subscribe to my rss feed.

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YouTube Theologians

Over the course of the last couple weeks we have spent a lot of time talking and reflecting about the way religion and media relate and interact to each other.  Especially over the course of the last week, we’ve spent a bit of time looking at various religious clips that have been generated through websites like YouTube.

Earlier this year one of these clips went viral.  Through the view count and conversations this clip started it even gathered the attention of major media outlets.  NPR published an interesting article discussing the role of media making tools and Christianity.  In the article David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group had this to say,

“Anyone could be a theologian as long as you’re persuasive, able to create a great Internet video, and the luck of the draw that your video gets selected out of the thousands that are uploaded,”

This gave me pause, not that I don’t think that we all have the capability and capacity to be theologians, but I thought is the theology that could become the most viewed or talked about, the best theology that Christianity has to offer the world?

What internet videos or clips that have talked about faith/religion/spirituality have been particularly meaningful for you?  Share your clips in the comment section below, and feel free to talk about what made it memorable for you.   

 

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a small step. a giant leap.

Last Saturday I was sitting at a wedding when my phone vibrated.  I glanced down to read that Neil Armstrong had passed away.  Now I wasn’t alive when Mr. Armstrong first stepped on the moon, but when you look at the footage you get a sense of how many people were a part of this historic moment.

I read a great article today reflecting on Armstrong’s achievement and the reason that it still resonates so strongly with us today is because there was a common commitment everyone was invested in getting to the moon.  There was a consensus about what needed to be done, and it became a reality.

Parker Palmer in his book To Know As We Are Knowntalks about consensus.  He says,  “Consensus is the practical process by which we practice obedience and troth. Consensus is not a democracy of opinion in which a majority vote equals truth. Instead, it is a process of inquiry in which the truth that emerges through listening and responding to each other and the subject at hand is more likely to transcend collective opinion than fall prey to it.”

It’s not hard to see that, especially here in the United States, we are living in a time when we could benefit from a little more consensus.  I believe that those of us who apart of the church are called to help model and engage those around us with an aim of building more consensus.  The apostle, Paul, writes to the Ephesians about Jesus equipping his followers to help build up the body of Christ.  This isn’t just for edification for those who are Christian, but this consensus building is meant for the entire world.  

So I believe a small step for us would be to actually live into a space where we truly listen to each other.

The giant leap?  Who knows, but if you believe they put a man on the moon, with God anything is possible.  

 

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Too Big to Fail?

Today in our Religion and Media class we spent the day talking about and reflecting on what constitutes the church.  We offered up different ideas and analogies about the church.  Among the many different aspects of church that we talked about the question about does the church function for the individual or for the community caught my attention.

As most good Lutherans would respond, the answer is both.  The church functions as the space for individuals to be nurtured and cared for, and to hear about the unconditional and saving power and love that God has for all of creation.  The church also functions as the space for those who need to receive this good news (which is all of us!) and are thereby strengthened and transformed to become a part of this good news and to share that news with the rest of the world.

As we look to our culture, in particularly here in the United States, I believe that there is a fundamental debate taking place in our political sphere around this issue of individual and the community.  It would be foolish of us to think that this can easily be categorized as a red or blue thing, or a democrat and republican thing.  Yet, sadly, this is how it is being framed in our daily dialogues(if we can really call them that) with each other.

There was an interesting article that I read talking about five things that the government does better than you.  In this piece the author is advocating that things that are better managed when people have access to more information, and that the more information that is shared better decisions can be made.

Some people are willing to put their trust into that system, while others are a bit more skeptical.  There’s a great example of this at the end of this piece, discussing a decision made by the people of Colorado Springs in regards to taxes.  Two pieces that I want to pull out from that are,

“…[B]y combining our resources, we as a community can actually accomplish more than we as individuals.”

“That prevailing sense that government won’t take care of our money, that brings somebody to the conclusion that, I’ll take care of mine. You go figure out how to take care of yours, because we don’t trust government to do it for us.”

I think I can agree with both statements, and here’s how.  I do believe that as a community we can accomplish more than we can as individuals. I’m often reminded of this when I’ve been on mission trips and reflected on the human hours invested in a particular ministry or project and realizing that I would have only accomplished a fraction of the work on my own.

I also agree that people want a sense of accountability and trust when they share their resources with another, and I feel that can sometimes be lost in a larger system.  This sense of “I’ll take care of mine, you go figure out how to take care of yours,” is seen through a large inclusive lens from my perspective.  I want to collapse this sense of you and mine and replace it with ours.  I have been given things that are entrusted to me, but I may think it’s mine, as a person of faith, I know that it is God’s and as a part of those who claim and confess that all is God’s I need to share with mine, yours, and anyone else’s.

So here’s a question worth pondering, is the Church too big to fail?  How do the functions of the individual and the community impact your faith and the way you engage the world?

 

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Taking ’em to church

Spike Lee’s about to drop a new movie.  Red Hook Summer chronicles the story of a boy from Atlanta who comes to spend the summer with his Grandfather in Brooklyn.

In our Religion and Media class we spent some time talking today about how faith is passed on.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that our churches are aging.  Let’s look at the ELCA for example:

Asking Spike Lee about church he had this to say “Any church whose members are senior citizens and there’s no youth coming behind, they’re going to die out,” Lee said in a roundtable discussion with reporters.

“Now that goes for synagogues, mosques, temples too — any institution,” Lee continued. “You got to always try to have that infusion of youth. They might not be as smart but youth has energy.”

We’re living in a day and age where the church must now compete to keep youth involved, as well as our adults.  Increasingly there are more households that are unfamiliar with being involved in a faith community.

As part of our discussion today we focused on how faith formation primarily takes place in the home.  The challenge is to help parents understand that they don’t need to be experts to create spaces and opportunities for faith to grow.

One of the examples that was shared about families engaging in faith practices with their children involved reading 40 bible stories during the 40 days of lent.  Taking a few minutes each night to pass on these stories, helps to familiarize and solidify some of the important stories we find in scripture.

What are your some of the ways you share your faith in the home?  How can we utilize and encourage our youth to use their energy to live into and share their faith?

 

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Shame on?

Have you shared your Dog’s dark secrets yet?  Have you revealed their sin(s) for the entire world to see?

I caught an interesting news story from WTOP a news radio station from Washington DC about Dog Shaming.  I’ll admit they are kind of funning and amusing, and I’ll go ahead and assume that the actions they are being labeled with are most likely true.

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But I mean come on let’s make this is a fair fight, it’s not like the dogs can really defend their behavior can they?

And what if the roles were reversed.  I can see it now, a picture of you seated on the couch watching tv, your dog has spelled out in dog food, “I only walk the dog once a week” or “I farted and blamed it on the dog.”

We increasingly find ourselves in a culture that loves to seize on those who do something wrong.  People who do wrong things quickly become whipping posts for the wider public to line up, weigh in, and have their say.

At moments like this I’m reminded of the encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees when they brought a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery and wanted to see her stoned.  Jesus’ words remind us that none of us have lived unblemished lives and that we all have things in our lives that we are ashamed of.

Now we are called to be accountable and hold each other accountable for the things we say and do, but perhaps we all might benefit one another if we acted with a bit more grace before we tee off on each others transgressions.

As for the dogs, we’re cool.  But I’d really appreciate it if you could try to cut down on the number of times you’d like to stick your nose in my business.  Thanks.

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Image of Jesus: On the road to Emmaus/The Second Mile

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The Second Mile by Michael Belk from Journeys with the Messiah

As part of my Religion and Media Class I have been asked to select an image that was either a favorite of mine or something that was provocative.

The reason I selected this particular image was because it was a picture as opposed to some other artwork medium.  There aren’t many pictures that are used as art to represent Jesus.  This picture tells the story of the walk on the road to Emmaus, which takes place after Jesus has been crucified.

What I find interesting to reflect about this particular image centers around who Jesus is walking alongside of, a Nazi solider.  Jesus is even carrying the knapsack and gun of the soldier.  On the one hand I can see how the photographer is trying to show that Jesus is revealed to all, and that all may be opened to hearing and receiving God’s redemption.  On the other hand, I find this image to be very troubling because of the role that religion was used by the state during the reign of the Third Reich.  This idea of Gott mit uns (God with us) being used as a means of authority for the actions they took.  I imagine that this image may be especially troubling for our Jewish brothers and sisters.  This represented image of Jesus could be interpreted as collusion between Christians and the Nazis.  If you don’t know the story and the meaning about what takes place on the road to Emmaus, it is unclear how Jesus and the Nazi soldier relate to one another.

What do you think?

If you are interested in looking at other Images of Jesus by this photographer feel free to check out his website.

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