Somehow I missed the month of June – skipped right over it. We had a great fifth work camp, painting 6 houses. Great to see how God has blessed our efforts there over the past several years. The following week I presented a paper entitled, “G.I. Joe and ‘Bearded Lady Jesus: The Challenge of the Empire’s Signs and Rituals to Christian Young People” at the Christian Scholars Conference in Nashville, TN. It was a neat experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. Heard a quite impressive presentation from Barbara Brown Taylor and definitely enjoyed a presentation entitled “Contesting the State’s Narrative: Why Teaching U.S. History May be a Heresy” by Richard Goode. That fell quite in line with the work I had done. I’ve submitted my article to Restoration Quarterly, so hopefully I’ll be able to reference the article in publication there soon. Had to hurry back for a wedding, then took a couple days off last week to recoup. Having trouble getting back after it this week . . . we’ll be in Tennessee next week to visit Mary Beth’s folks. Summer is always so scattered!
On the reading side of things, I have been digging into Nathan Hatch’s classic: The Democratization of American Christianity, which directly addresses the political ethos underlying the American frontier Christian revival movements of the early 19th century – a designation my Churches of Christ background relates to directly. I’m just getting into it, but its a very interesting study. Also, each night I’m putting myself to sleep with one of Peter Rollin’s parables in his The Orthodox Heretic. I love this book! I will be putting together a review of that one soon. (You can see my review of Hirsch & Frost’s ReJesus at http://www.wineskins.org under reviews).
Over the next few weeks I want to be posting some thoughts on the sermon series my co-conspirator, Anthony, and I have been working on together. We kicked the series off this past Sunday with a message from Paul’s experience in Athens. Many people have referenced Paul’s actions in Athens as a guide for how Christians are to interact with American popular culture today. Never quoting Scripture, Paul utilizes themes and messages already present in culture that highlight the message of God, (“as some of your own poets have said . . . “) I’m going to try and get these messages added to the sermon player here and on the church’s website. Hopefully Sunday’s will be up later today.
Consequently, over the next two months we will be immersing ourselves into several movies searching for God in them. His nature and character and teachings are there, we just have to be able to watch with the eyes of an outsider instead of as an insider who is unable to examine the culture critically. It should be an interesting and challenging series as we are asking folks to do something pretty foreign to them. We kick things off this week with a look at the providence of God and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.