Monthly Archives: July 2011

love or irresistible passions??


Once I went to a music school called ‘jazz studio’, where they tried to teach me how to play jazz. Something must have gone wrong, since I’m still not able to play jazz, and I’m still very bad at reading notes… But I do have grown a good musical theory background though, and a repertoire of jazz standards that get stuck in my head from time to time.

One of them is called ‘softly, as in the morning sunrise’ and has been stuck in my head for days now. I’ve never played it myself, but I’ve seen several ensembles playing very different versions of it, from bossa to very slow ballad style:

(very oldschool version, put it real loud to scare away real masculine macho men, cool teenagers and hipsters away!!)

Softly, as in a morning sunrise
The light of love comes stealing
Into a new born day
Flaming with all the glow of sunrise
A burning kiss is sealing
The vow that all betray

For the passions that thrill love
And lift you high to heaven
Are the passions that kill love
And let you fall to hell

So ends the story softly,
as in an evening sunset
The light that gave you glory
Will take it all away

With this song being stuck in my head I’ve been thinking about the view of love this song expresses. Seems to me like a rather tragic expression of extreme romantic myth. All is reduced to very strong passions, which seem impossible to ignore and which take us into and out of love, while vows seem impossible to keep.

So we are not in control, the passions are in control and take us to both heaven and hell. I know in the worldview of the romantics this would be seen as freedom, but the church fathers would call it slavery and bondage to our passions.  Post-Freud a lot of people do indeed assume that there’s nothing we can do about both sexual urges and ‘falling in love’, but I really doubt that. (Especially as a Christian, who should have faith that the Spirit will help us with selfcontrol, being one of the seven fruits of the Spirit!)

I do believe in love that trancends all those ‘passions’, and I do believe in vows that can be kept. In love that lasts through the night and is strong as dead. But I don’t think that we could ever convince people of that just by arguing with words. They might see it in our lives as we live it out.  In our rellationships and marriages, but also in our friendships. Vows are there not to be be betrayed, the world should be able to see that in us.

What is our reaction to this kind of worldview as encountered in the lyrics of this song?

peace

Bram

Random Links I liked lately 1


I don’t know a which frequency I’ll be able to post in this series in the future, but here’s the fist collection of articles, blog posts and other internet stuff I liked lately or at least found interesting… It’s very randomly compiled, chaotic as my mind is, and if no-one reads it it’s still a good way for me to remember those links… Subjects may vary in a lot of unexpected directions, just as in the regular blog…

So here we go:

Am I the only one who likes articles called Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: On Disenchantment and the Demonic? It could’ve been a Sufjan Stevens song title…

I’ve been blogging recently about Mr. Driscoll and his problem with effeminate worship leaders (still don’t know what that’s supposed to be though) but something probably more troubling is his famous older statement “I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.’ . Dianna E Anderson explains in her blog post A Jesus I can beat up one of the important problems with that statement, and I don’t think you need a hardcore Anabaptist to get the idea that the point of the crucificion is that Jesus just was beaten up…

If this is true it’s really sad and it makes me angy: Monsanto’s Agent Orange Being Used to Clear Brazil’s Rainforest

Some music from a young Belgian band I liked: Lunar rays – do you know Maybe if they played more music like this on the radio, I’d listen to it once in a while…

For those interested in my radish pod curry with tree spinach, and stir-fried daylilies, let google translate do something with the post on my dutch blog with the recipes. (Which might be very funny bad English) Or just look at the photographs…

Also very interesting for those who like philosphical theology: An Open Theism Theodicy by David D. Flowers: Gregory Boyd on the Problem of Evil. I like this approach…

I used to hate this song when I was a teenager. Now I just find it very strange but slightly entertaining. There are some gabber influences, a phenomenon was something with very fast techno music and weird bald people that only did exis in the benelux mainly in the nineties.

I love this new album by the restoration project, which can be listened and bought @ bandcamp It’s a beautiful concept album based on the beautitudes. I reviewed it for cultuurshock.net, but again only for those who can read the noble dutch language…

Some false gods are really dumb and annoying, like igod, the chat-bot.

Possibly my favorite Christian female blogger Rachel Held Evans has a point with her waring ‘Beware of overcorrecting‘!

One timeless piece from the onion: Rock Fans Outraged As Bob Dylan Goes Electronica

Michael Gungor isn’t only a very interesting musician who wrote the God is not a white man song that I post on my facebookwall sometimes, but he writes very interesting blog posts too, like this one called Love and Justice about God beling love and how it connects to His justice…

The End of the Sexual Revolution, or in case you haven’t noticed, almost all of these songwriting insiders writing the soundtrack for teen femininity are middle-aged men.

That’s all for today folks

God bless

Bram

The cultural problem of Mark Driscolls effeminate worship leaders…


I’ve seen some consternation about a facebook status of Mark Driscoll about ‘effeminate worship leaders’. I’ve never been a fan of his gender ideas, and I mostly don’t even see where they come from, since his culture is not mine. I never got why he used the word ‘effeminate’ for example, but now I’ve got that piece of the puzzle straight, thanks to Diana on Jesus needs New PR: It’s supposed to be biblical, and comes from some English translations of 1 Cor 6:10.

Now there’s a reason I didn’t know this, even though I do know that verse very well in my own language: No dutch translation does use a word that means anything remote like ‘effeminate’ in this verse… (I would say ‘and rightly so, but I’m no Greek scholar so I don’t have much authority to say that.) You’ll need an English one for that. So only an English-speaking person, using certain bible translations, could ever have this discussion… For a dutch-speaking person this discussion could not even exist in this way. The dutch word ‘verwijfd’ is used to denote men who are looking and behaving too much like a woman, or gay, but there’s no connection at all with the bible…

So even his use of the word ‘effeminate’ as something biblical problematic is very culturally shaped and linguistically relative…

And the  word is degrading to women. There’s nothing negative about being female, and having ‘feminine’ traits. Those are very cultural anyway, what one culture sees as ‘masculine’ could be seen as ‘feminine’ or even ‘gay’ in another one. The most ‘manly’ men can have something very ‘female’ about them to me anyway. If anything could be called ‘effeminate’ to me, it would be a dandy… We have a Moroccan community here in Antwerp, and they find it very macho to walk around in a pink shirt, which Flemish people might consider gay… It’s just culture. And God doesn’t care more about the fashion of American conservative culture than he does about Moroccan shirts…

But in the end, as genesis says both man and woman both reflect the image of god in their own way, and so does the (according to some) ‘female’ side of men or ‘male’ side of women. Even Jesus compared himself to a mother hen.

There might be people that act and dress unnaturally for their gender, but I don’t see what gender confusion has to do with worship leaders. Everybody can see the gender of people leading worship as far as I know. And I don’t see why people would be scared of the loss of manliness. The only real danger for our masculinity that this world has are hormones in food or tap water, not behavior that’s culturally not seen as ‘male’. Such things are so relative… Your penis won’t fall off from wearing a pink shirt or drinking kriek beer. And in the end even a eunuch is still a man, and not a woman, no-one will deny that…

I guess that I wouldn’t be considered very ‘manly’ by those prophets of biblical manhood. When I read ‘men are from Mars, women from Venus’ I felt like coming from Jupiter, or better, Earth. I’m better in being friends with women than with men sometimes. I hate violent sports, don’t care about cars and noisy machines. I like art and flowers and whatever… but hey ‘I was born this way’*.  Men can differ from each other in their personalities much more than a man and a woman are different. which is good, God made diversity.

No 2 men are the same. No 2 relatonships are the same. Just let them be instead of making rules of what should be a ‘christian’ man (or a ‘christian’ marriage, No way in the world it would be a good idea to let my wife ‘submit’ to me…).

As for Mark Driscolls actual effeminate worship leaders, I have no idea what he’s talking about. Like I said I’m not part of his culture, and I have no idea what exactly he’s referencing.  If he would mean someone like me who’s just not at all macho his ideas are completely off. If he would mean something like artificially androgynous male worship leaders it’s more understandable he’s irritated somehow. I’ve never seensomething like  an androgynous worship leader., maybe it would irritate or at least distract me too… I don’t know.

But the whole use of the word ‘effeminate’ here is not needed at all. It’s degrading to one half of Gods image.

Shalom

Bram

* Kriek = a fruit beer that we have here in Belgium, made from cherries, and which is stereotyped as a drink for girls. Most men consider it mere lemonade with a bit of alcohol in it.

* I am aware that this piece of Laday Gaga theology is a very slippery statement that could be very dangerous. Psychopaths could say the same…

related:
Christianity should not at all be sexist…
‘Male christianity’ vs Mother Teresa

RIP Willie Cools juli 4th 2011


to desire hapiness, the most neglected duty

Willie Cools

Willie Cools, my grandfather and painter

Willie Cools, painter, known person from Duffel (the little town in Belgium which gave it’s name to the Dufflecoat) but above all grandfather and human passed away very suddenly and totally unexpectedly.

It’s still uncomprehensible and very strange to me and I suppose everyone else of his friends and family. We will surely miss him. He was a man who tried to really live, a freethinker of a type that’s becoming very rare, living on feelings and emotions, somsthing which is very clear for those who know his art.

one of his paintings, in the livingroom of our former appartment

For those who know him mainly as an artist. A always found that a lot of nonsense is written about his work. If the things he had to express would have been able to be expressed in that kind of expensive words, he probably would’ve done that. But they’re not and he didn’t. He only could fixate the feeling in colors and shapes, with the female bodies as a motif that’s mainly used as an exuse to express himself in those expressionist painting.

Rest in peace, we will all miss you

Bram