Bunch Of Phonies Mourn J.D. Salinger

CORNISH, NH — In this big dramatic production that didn't do anyone any good (and was pretty embarrassing, really, if you think about it), thousands upon thousands of phonies across the country mourned the death of author J.D. Salinger, who was 91 years old for crying out loud. "He had a real impact on the literary world and on millions of readers," said hot-shot English professor David Clarke, who is just like the rest of them, and even works at one of those crumby schools that rich people send their kids to so they don't have to look at them for four years. "There will never be another voice like his." Which is exactly the lousy kind of goddamn thing that people say, because really it could mean lots of things, or nothing at all even, and it's just a perfect example of why you should never tell anybody anything.

[From The Onion]

Power Point Slides and Lectures

From now on, look for powerpoint slides and lecture notes on the our.MHGS site for this class. I'll post other sorts of interesting things upon this site, so take a look from time to time.

Also, I will try to get the slides up before class so that anyone who is interested can take notes on the slides. Hopefully that will happen consistently.


Tierra Nueva Mural Artist: Troy Terpstra

In class last week, a few people referred to the mural found at central ministry building for Tierra Nueva, up in Burlington, WA. Here is the link: Troy Terpstra Mural.

Rachel Beatty also sent this helpful explanation. Rachel, thanks for sending the link and the words from the artist! This is truly a prophetic and theological work of art. I hear and see many of the images and metaphors that we discussed in class this last week in this painting. Enjoy:

Here is an explanation of the piece from Troy before the mural was completed, that speaks of the water as baptismal. It is from the Tierra Nueva e-testimony blog:

"At the center of the mural is Christ. He will be tattooed, appearing to be an ex-con. Jesus is an ex-con of sorts, but the idea is inspired by drawings done by prisoners and given to the staff here at Tierra Nueva. Many prisoners feel a deep sense of shame and inadequacy when invited to know a God they have always perceived as judgmental and harsh. This portrayal of Christ as a modern day convict aims to contextualize the Gospel into our present culture. Jesus of the ghetto, Jesus of the barrio, is the Jesus of Nazareth. We want the men in the Skagit Valley Jail to know the Jesus who rolled with his society's misfits and outcasts, and who longs to be with them today. On the left, the character of Jesus embraces a young prisoner in a county jail uniform. The jail chaplaincy has been an amazingly fruitful ministry, and I am continually amazed at the stories of healing and renewal that come out of the jail every week.

On the right, Jesus has his arm around a campesina (female farm worker) who stands in the strawberry fields. She is weary and a palette of harvested fruit rests on her hips. Much of Tierra Nueva's ministry is to farm workers, who continuously move to follow the seasonal work, uprooting their families and working sun-up to sun-down for less than minimum wage. Our Family Support Center assists these people in finding housing, obtaining legal help, and in many other basic needs. I want to honestly portray the labor endured by migrant farm workers, as well as the closeness to the heart of Christ they have.

At the top of the wall, the Hands of our Abba pour out the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is made of water and takes the shape of a dove. The waters pass through a gaping wound in the torso of the living Christ, the self-giving sacrifice of love which conquers death. Many characters, addicted, accused and accusing, rich and poor, liberated and bound up, undergo the baptismal outpouring. Chains, addiction, resentment, guilt, and death itself drown under the waters.

Coming up from the waters (the wings of the dove) two joyful worshippers emerge, a woman pounding the drums of mercy and a man blowing the horn of justice, crashing through the oppressive orderliness of the vertical prison bars and the horizontal field rows. I love the idea of the Holy Spirit breaking into prison. The prison cells sit under the night sky of a city contrasted with the field under the full sun of a summer day.

I have taken over a year to settle on the design, and I don't think I quite understood the process of mural making when I began this project, so the slowness has been very educational. I have drawn and redrawn this design several times, and God willing I am nearing the day when I will begin to paint it.

Bruce Cockburn has a line in his song 'Mystery' that goes "come all you stumblers who believe love rules – stand up and let shine." I like to think that this e-testimony is addressed to the 'stumblers who believe love rules.' Come by and check out the mural if you are in the neighborhood."

Olbermann's Sorry

“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”
Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British Prime Minister during World War II

Jon Stewart sets Keith Olbermann straight. Would any of the Republican pundits ever apologize or admit mistakes, not counting mistresses or pay offs to girlfriends?

Webster--"Revelation, Sanctification and Inspiration"

I hear that there is some frustration with the Webster article. Here is a short summary for you, I hope it helps:

Webster's "Revelation, Sanctification and Inspiration"

OK. Here is a short summary of John Webster’s essay, “Revelation, Sanctification and Inspiration,” from his book Holy Scripture. In this essay, Webster identifies a key problem with how Scripture has been handled and understood within recent history (say the past 200 years or so). He believes that the idea of what Scripture is has been isolated from the Doctrine of God. In consequence, Scripture has been subjected to unnecessary qualifications to prove that it is indeed a text given to the church by God. The central issue, as he states it, is how to prove or even talk about how a human document can contain divine wisdom and self-disclosure with surety and integrity. What is at stake is how we live with Scripture as a trustworthy and authoritative text within the community of God.

The solution to this problem, according to Webster, is to locate our thinking about Scripture within a dynamic trinitarian doctrine of God. He does this through the interrelating of three concepts: 1) revelation, 2) sanctification and 3) inspiration. The most important of all of these concepts, if there is to be a kind of prioritizing, is sanctification because it is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that God has consistently communicated himself to humanity. This self-communication of God includes both the writing of the words of Scripture as well as the interpretation of those words within the community of God. Thus, what is most important for Webster to set out in his doctrine of Scripture is not the veracity or the reliability of the words themselves (such as the concept of ‘inerrancy’) but, instead, the very presence of God with us.

As you read through this article (I did warn you that it was difficult) focus on the definitions of the three main terms: 1) revelation, 2) sanctification and 3) inspiration. Sanctification is the most important of the terms. You may not understand the entire article. If you only come out with his definition of the sanctification of scripture, then you will be in good standing.


Tax the Churches

“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) writer

California’s Proposition 8 legal challenge exposes the churches not so secret attempt to influence politics and law. Religious experts who supported the church’s stance have since withdrawn from the case, I am guessing because they cracked under questioning and admitted that some churches contributed to discrimination against gays and that religion also has been used to justify discrimination against African Americans and women.

According to the LATimes article, documents unveiled that Catholic and Mormon churches played a major role in passing Proposition 8.

This further makes the case that churches need to pay taxes, both property and income.

January 20, 2010: Notes, etc. for Class

Hello All,

Here are the lecture notes and the power point slides from today.

I'll do another entry for the artist from Tierra Nueva.

Thanks for diving into the projects today. I love the posters!!


Reading for the Pub Quiz

OK, for all you folks who like to read ahead, I have finally figured out the page numbers for the Pub Quiz based on Stan Grenz's The Millennial Maze. Read chapters 3 through 6, pages 65 through 173. In essence, you are reading for the descriptions of the four major millennial views.

Happy Reading!

Rainy Day in LA

“The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), poet

The rain is a welcomed weather change in Los Angeles, expect for those who live near fire ravaged hills. We need the rain and it's unfortunate we cannot order it in moderation.

It has been coming down in proverbial buckets. I pulled the screen off the den window to attempt an interesting rain puddle picture, but instead ended up realizing the multiple colors in my front yard.

Secret Jesus Messages on U.S. Military Weapons

This is what Jesus would have wanted!

See ABC News for the depth of this insidious righteousness.

Books Read in 2009

“If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well viewed.”
Lily Tomlin, comedian, actress

I am bit behind, but here is my annual listing of books read in 2009:

1) Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago
2) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
3) Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun
4) Fifty Days of Solitude by Doris Grumbach
5) Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
6) The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
7) The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
8) The Void Moon by Michael Connelly
9) The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
10) World without End by Ken Follett
11) The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
12) The Little Book by Selden Edwards
13) The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
14) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson (not out in the U.S. until May, but you can order from Amazon UK)

The first book I completed in 2010 was Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving.

Not a bad book in the bunch.

Viktoria Tolstoy & Band Switzerland 2009

Viktoria Tolstoy & Band 19.04.2009 19th of April 2009
Jazz Festival Basel, Stadtcasino Basel

Viktoria Tolstoy: voc
Jacob Karlzon: p
Johan Granström: e-b
Rasmus Kihlberg: d


01. Intro drs 2 3:08
02. Stranger in Paradise 6:30
03. V.T. introduces Band 0:44
04. Kiss that Frog 7:02
05. You can’t go Home again 5:05
06. South 6:58
07. Ti amo Corazon 6:36
08. Home 5:55
09. Aftermath 5:02
10. Love is real 5:52
11. Have a good Time 10:41
12. Outro drs 2 0:15

TT: 63:48

broadcasted by Swiss radio station drs2
on the 21st of August, 2009

Lineage: DVB-S (SkyStar 2) @256 kbps,
48kHz -> mpg -> ProjextX -> mp2

Cover Artwork Fenderjazz


I was reading Sarah Coakley's article: "'Femininity' and the Holy Spirit?" (found in the "Feminist Theology" folder on our.MHGS) and came across an unfamiliar word: 'otiose.' According to Webster's, otiose means: "producing no useful results."

What a useful and descriptive term! It is an important theological task to discern between ways of thinking that we disagree with and other ways of thinking that are truly otiose, really do not produce any useful results. One is a difference of opinion while the other identifies a way of thinking that should be discarded.

January 13, 2010--Lecture and Power Point Slides

Here are the links to the lecture and the ppts from today's class.


Thinking about the Holy Spirit

Here are some theologians and some "pithy" statements describing their pneumatology.


1. Augustine: The Spirit is the bond of Love between the Father and the Son.

2. Irenaeus: The Son and the Spirit are the two hands of God.

3. St. Basil: The Spirit is the perfecting cause.

4. Richard of St. Victor: The Holy Spirit is the motor outward of God.

5. Wolfhart Pannenberg: The Spirit is a force field. (NOT like on Star Trek!)

6. Jurgen Moltmann: "wherever there is a passion for life, there the Spirit of God is operating" (Karkkainen, Pneumatology, 126)

7. Karl Barth: the Spirit is always in relation to Christ, mediating Christ (the Word of Christ) to people's hearts OR the dude I wish had a more robust pneumatology...

8. Clark Pinnock: The Flame of Love OR The sex dude... (the definition from the group!)

9. John Zizioulas: Eastern Orthodox. The Trinity as an Ontology of Communion. The Spirit and the Son work in parallel: "The work of the Spirit is not the subordinate to the work of the Son, nor is Pentecost a continuation of the incarnation but rather its sequel, its result." (Karkkainen, Pneumatology, 109)

10. Elizabeth Johnson: The Holy Spirit as Sophia, or wisdom.

11. Karl Rahner: The Spirit has a universal orientation. He talks about 'anonymous Christians', as people who are Christians but just don't know it yet. In other words, the Spirit is at work in them.

12. Robert Jenson: Lutheran theologian who believes that the Spirit is moving Christianity back to being one Holy catholic/Catholic Church.

13. Stan Grenz: We are made in the image of God, therefore we have been created for community. The Spirit constitutes and dwells in the Community of God.

14. Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza: Feminist theologian/biblical scholar who rigorously and passionately argues for the recognition of women in the establishing and forming of the Christian tradition. The Holy Spirit moved women into prominent positions in ministry back then, why not today?

15. Mark I. Wallace: Green or Ecological Pneumatology.

Free Plug for Vampire Weekend

I like them, so I don't mine promoting them.

Another View of the Getty

Art has a double face, of expression and illusion, just like science has a double face: the reality of error and the phantom of truth.
Publilius Syrus, writer of maxims, flourished in the 1st century BC

I have been so unexpectedly absorbed by the Getty Gardens. I had been there twice previously and never noticed the gardens. There is so much to take in when you first arrive at the top of the hill and enter the main plaza.

There is the breathtaking view. Facing east you can see downtown LA and walk across the plaza and you see the Pacific Ocean. In between there is Westwood, the South Bay, and the hidden homes in the hills surrounding the 700 plus acres of the Getty conservatory.

It was a beautiful day in January that daughter and I visited. The flier listing the day’s activities suggested the Garden tour. Had I not taken the tour I may have never noticed that from one angle a row of trees stand as one. A step to the side reveals a row of trees.

Bing.com Commercial (The Shining Spoof)

Awesomeness, even if I still prefer Google (and I do).

Getty Museum's Central Garden

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.
Elizabeth Murray (1940 – 2007), painter, printmaker, and draughtsman

I spent two days at the Getty Museum, well, four plus hours on Tuesday and three hours on Wednesday, and photographed the Getty Garden. Even though the trees were stripped of leaves there was still plenty of muted color, as it turns out by design.

The garden fascinated me. I thought it was just from a photographic point of view. From the museum store I purchased the book “Plants in the Getty’s Central Garden.” I read one of the early chapters "A Gardener Meets an Artist" and I was amazed at the planning, designing, investigating, and positioning to create a garden that most people will walk through and admire, but will never investigate further the years of punctilious perfectionism that created the Central Garden and the Stream Garden.

I will share notes from the book as it relates to my photos. I love the serendipity of going to the Getty the first week into 2010 and taking pictures of trees and shrubs purposely designed to heighten winter’s effect in California’s deciduous climate. I will go back again in March, April, and May. Oh, but I want to see how the canvas will change further in June and July. The New Year is already off to a sterling start.

Enjoy the photos, but real thing is an inspiration.

Doctrinal Position Papers

Three necessary components to a Doctrinal Position Paper:
  1. Formal Structure: Introductory paragraph that includes a thesis statement, a body, and a conclusion.
  2. Engagement with the assigned readings.
  3. A thoughtful attempt at an articulation of the doctrine you are addressing.
An exceptional paper will integrate your engagement with the assigned readings and your own articulation of the doctrine.

You only have two pages so it is imperative that you are brief and to the point. Personal reflection is not a necessary component to this paper and if used excessively will hurt your paper.

You may feel that are not in a place to articulate a doctrine - my encouragement to you is that risk taking will be rewarded. Take a chance - put your thoughts down.

Rebekka Bakken + Band Munich Germany 2009

Rebekka Bakken + Band Munich Germany 2009


01 Sometimes 3:54
02 Ghost In This House 5:08
03 Powder Room Collapse 5:52
04 Any Pretty Girl 3:49
05 In The Early Morning Hours 5:41
06 Title 3:57
07 Hard To Be A Loser 3:46
08 Why Do All The Good Guys Get The Dragons? 5:40
09 Say Goodbye To What Is Gone 5:52
10 If You Hear This Song 3:17


Rebekka Bakken,voc
Karlsson Christer,key
Sebastian Nyland,g
Sven Lindvall,b
Martin Jonsson,dr

2009-December-02 München, Germany,
BR, Studio 3, 2009

Bitrate 320

Welcome and Reading Lists

Hello to you all. Welcome to Theology II, the study of the Holy Spirit, the Church and the Last Things.

I wanted to make available the reading lists for the different "Theologian Groups," so here they are. We will discuss these the first day of class, so you will be able to sign for a group then:

African American Liberation Theology
Ana-Baptist Theology: Thomas Finger
Baptist Theology: Stan Grenz
Beginning Theology: Mike Higton
Church Fathers: Christopher Hall
Eastern Orthodox Theology
Feminist Theology
South and Central American Liberation Theology

Reform Theology: Jurgen Moltmann

See y'all on Wednesday Morning at 9:30AM.


411 on the 405

"If it used to take you 15 minutes to get over the Sepulveda Pass, just automatically tell yourself that it will take twice as long. It's the new reality."

15 minutes? In what reality is that even possible? I would LOVE for it to only take 30 minutes to get through the Sepulveda Pass!

Check it out: three years of construction on the 405.

Musical Typewriters

"I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop."
Clarence Budington Kelland (1881-1964), writer

My computer is acting like a typewriter... This morning the keys were just singing.

Are there any musicals where they make computers look fun? Most of the time they are a take off on the evil HAL from "2001."

And my all time favorite that I only discovered after B2 recommended it.

Rush Limbaugh -- A Man to Trust

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”
Andre Gide, (1869-1951) writer, humanist and moralist, 1947 Nobel prize for literature

Rush Limbaugh after he was admitted to a Hawaii hospital for chest pains "found absolutely nothing wrong," according to the radio host. Obviously they did not check his head.

"The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer," he said. "I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine."

Hmm, let’s see – a multimillionaire, mouthpiece for right wing nut jobs everywhere, one of the most famous radio personalities in the country – what hospital would not provide their best care? NONE!

Maybe he should try my local hospital; my town is very conservative, hell we even have Mecca for conservatives – The Reagan Library. If he was not famous or rich, he would be assigned to the waiting room whether he came in via the ambulance or not. If he were lucky a doctor might look at him, but most likely it would be a nurse.

Yet sadly, millions of Americans, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers will agree with the blowhard conservative that there is nothing wrong with our health-care system.

Joshua Redman Quartet Munich 1994

Recorded on 13th July 1994 at the Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich


1. Blues On Sunday
2. The Deserving Many
3. Sweet Sorrow


Joshua Redman, tenor saxophone
Brad Mehldau, piano
Christian McBride, bass
Brian Blade, drums

Bitrate 320