Moving On Over

February 16, 2009

I’m no longer blogging at this site.  I’ve moved to http://erikullestad.blogspot.com/

(For those who do the rss thing, here’s the new feed — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/blogspot/erikullestad)

Why move?

I’m tired of explaining the “godsnowhere” gimmick to people.  I need a break from WordPress, which is an awesome blog site (probably the best), but the features are limited if I don’t self-host my website (which costs money)…and requires a certain level of tech-savvy that I don’t have.

I’ll be doing the same kinds of things at the new site.  I would be much obliged if you’d join me over at KOINONIA.  Thanks…


Music Video Divina

February 3, 2009

Chris Scharen, my new favorite scholar / theologian, introduced a new term to us at the Extravaganza — music video divina.  (Similar to lectio divina.)  We used the U2 / Green Day video “The Saints Are Coming” as our focal point.

Some additional input on the intended meaning behind the video (from Wikipedia):

A music video for “The Saints Are Coming,” directed by Chris Milk, was released on video site YouTube on October 27, 2006. The music video shows the two bands playing at the Abbey Road Studio and at the Louisiana Superdome (though the footage from the live performance at the Superdome has been overdubbed with the studio version of the song), intermixed with news footage of the displacement of residents after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The second half of the video shows an alternate history in which George W. Bush redeployed troops and vehicles from Iraq to New Orleans to help victims of the hurricane, with the military personnel fulfilling the titular role of the “saints.” According to Chris Milk, this was done to “make a commentary on the Katrina disaster … from the standpoint of how things can and should be done in the future.”[4] The video ends with military support vehicles fading out as the camera pans to a sign that reads ‘Not as seen on TV’, alluding to the criticized response to Katrina while also parodying media deception on rescue coverage. The video had more than two million views on YouTube five days after its initial upload. Various critics, including some YouTube viewers have commented on the logistical impossibility of the hypothetical movement of certain pieces of military hardware from Iraq on such short notice as well as the actual functional capabilities of the aircraft digitally edited into the video.

Amazing.  Powerful.  Prophetic.


Unexpected Inspiration

January 23, 2009

I’m a sports junkie; as much as any church worker I know.  This is not something I’m bragging about.  Sometimes I wonder how much smarter I’d be if a significant part of my brain hard drive wasn’t already bogged down with names, stats, and stories related to sports.  In the grand scheme of life, my devotion to the world of sports is completely and utterly worthless.  I know this; and yet I can’t cut the cord.  

I listen to sports talk radio whenever I’m in the car (the kids HATE it!).  In the past year I’ve subscribed to no less than eight daily or weekly sports podcasts.  I’ve gotten it down to a more manageable number lately — 3 hours a day of the Dan Patrick Show, 30 minutes a day of PTI, and 2-3 hours a week of the B.S. Report.  I just finished listening to Bill Simmons (aka, ESPN’s “The Sports Guy”) and J.A. Adande from the L.A. Times talk about two of my favorite topics — basketball and socio-political culture.  If you are even remotely interested in these topics, or if you just like hearing intelligent people talk with each other, you should carve out some time to listen to the podcast.  (iTunes or Sports Guy’s World)

I realize I sound like a meat-head when I give props to degenerate sports writers for their political insights…but trust me on this.  I have no problem saying this is one of the best sports / race / American culture / Obama conversations ever recorded.  (I didn’t agree with everything that was said – but it was entertaining and enlightening.)

This is especially relevant for people who might be flying in the next few days and want to listen to something on the plane between…say…I dunno…Iowa and New Orleans!!!  Only 4 more days…


Did You Know?

December 28, 2008

The fam spent much of the day in our Hyundai Elantra going to & from Osage, IA.  The kids traveled pretty well, for the most part.  While they were watching a movie in the back seat, Allison and I came up with a new version of a game my parents used to play on road trips.  Back in the day, when my sisters and I were listening to our Walkman’s and filling out our Mad Libs books in the back of the van, my mom would read Trivial Pursuit cards to my dad.  As we got older, they would occasionally ask the kids some of the questions they thought we would be able to answer. 

Anyway, with the use of my Blackberry Curve and an unlimited data plan, Allison found a random assortment of trivia questions on various websites.  It was a lot of fun…something I’m sure we’ll do on future trips.  One question that stuck with me all day, as we drove past 300+ miles of farmland, was:

 

What percentage of the cost of produce goes to the farmers —  5%, 15%, 25%?

Sadly, the correct answer was 5%.  

 

*Sighs*


Overheard at Panera

December 7, 2008

I was disappointed to overhear a bigoted conversation between a couple of seemingly sweet old ladies sitting behind me at Panera the other day.  

  • The reason Jews haven’t been wiped off the face of the earth is because Christians have protected them.  Israel exists because of us!
  • Barack Obama is a Muslim, I don’t care what he says, he’s a Muslim.  I mean, his middle name is Hussein, for God’s sake!
  • I see the crowds Obama attracts, and it reminds me what happened at Jonestown.
  • I don’t despise Obama, I’m scared to death of him.  I don’t trust him.  I don’t know him that well, but just because he’s inspirational doesn’t mean he’s a good man.  Look at Hitler – he was able to inspire people.  I feel like the same thing is going to happen with Obama.
  • We’re not the United States of America – we’re a united global society because we welcome all these immigrants.

I’ve taken a break from politics since early November…and I have no desire to re-enter the discussion any time soon.

 


Single Issue Christian

November 20, 2008

If you followed the presidential election circus, you likely heard pundits talk about “single-issue voters”.  Often times, for Christians, the single issues that get the most traction have to do with abortion and gay marriage.  Tony Campolo, my favorite Baptist, appears to be a single-issue Christian…but on a decidedly different topic:

 

The fact is there are 2,000 verses of scripture that talk about caring for the poor.  I don’t care what else you’re into, but if you ignore what the Bible is really about – helping poor and oppressed people – you’ve missed the message of Jesus.

 

The only description that Jesus gives of judgment day is how we treated the poor.  On that day, he’s not going to ask you theological questions.  It’s not going to be, “Virgin Birth: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree.”  Here’s what it’s going to be – the 25th chapter of Matthew.  “I was hungry…did you feed me?  I was naked…did you clothe me?  I was sick…did you care for me?  I was an alien…did you take me in?  What you failed to do to the least of these, you failed to do unto me.  Because I’m not up in the sky somewhere, I’m waiting to be loved in people who hurt.  When you relate to people who hurt, you’re related to me.”

 

There is no Christianity that doesn’t tie us up with the poor and the oppressed of the world.

 

More from Dr. Campolo:


Used To Be

November 20, 2008

I ran across Lost And Found’s “Early Years” boxed set earlier tonight and unearthed this forgotten treasure:

 

Superman was killed in Dallas.  

There’s no love left in the palace.  

Someone took the Beatles lead guitar.  

Have another Chevis Regal.  

You’re 12 years old and sex is legal.  

Your parents don’t know where or who you are.

 

It used to be the hero of the ballgame would take the time to shake the loser’s hand.  

It used to be that failure meant you didn’t try in a world where people gave a damn.

 

Great big wars in little places.  

Look at all those frightened faces.  

But don’t come here, we just ain’t got the room.  

Love they neighbor’s wife and daughter.  

You cleanse your life with holy water.  

We don’t need to bathe we’ve got perfume.

 

It used to be a knight in shining armor didn’t have to own a shiny car.  

Dignity and courage were a measure of a man, and not the drugs he needs to hide his scars.

 

Can your teacher read and does your preacher pray and does your President have soul?  

Have you heard a real good ethnic joke today? 

Mommy took her speed and Daddy ran away, but you mustn’t lose control.  

They say the kids are wild we just can’t tame ’em, but do we have a right to blame ’em?

 

We’ve fed them all our indecision and we’ve raped their minds with television.  

But what the hell, they’re too young to feel pain.

 

But I believe that love can save tomorrow.

And I believe that truth will make us free.

Someone tried to say it, and we nailed him to a cross.

I guess it’s still the way it used to be…

 

They sang it at Church Youth Fest a few weeks ago…I forgot how much that song means to me.  Now I can’t get it out of my head.  “Used to Be” and “Goodbye” are currently the two songs that have the best chance of making me weep these days.  As always, I remain grateful for the music and ministry of Mike & George.

 

***UPDATE***  Here a recording…the visual quality is a little like an acid-trip, but the audio is decent.  It the only thing I could find…