Posted by Paul Soupiset on Monday, November 30, 2009 at 10:12 PM in Art/photography, Arts, culture, man, Christian Year | Advent, Justice, kingdom stuff, Moleskine sketches, My life / family, Peace / war / resistance, Poverty, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, Religion, Theology, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
[via http://www.whitehouse.gov ]
two of my stations of the cross from last year.
i miss that harmony guitar.
photographed by reallivepreacher
i'm available by commission to finish the other twelve.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 08:30 PM in Art/photography, Arts, culture, man, Christian Year | Easter, Christian Year | Lent, Ecumenicism, catholicity, Emerging church, Miscellany, My life / family, Poetry, Pop culture / consumerism / ultramodernity, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, Religion, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Lord God Almighty, we thank you for the earth which you created,
how in spring and summer out of dust, out of our selves,
our work, our living, our dying, comes food for another year,
food to bring us from autumn, to winter, to spring again.
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you the Lamb of the world,
who in dying as the trees in autumn, shows us that in resurrection,
in new creation, in the splendor of your kingdom we have no fear of
eternal winter, but may rest present in the coming spring of salvation,
when we will be gathered at that great feast, of which this humble meal
is but a sign.
Holy Spirit, we thank you that you are present in our lives and in our world
at all times, in all places, and ask that we realize your presence here
within our gathering. May you bless all such gatherings.
i'm putting my vote on the guy who penned this.
you can have the war-monger.
I'm on my way out of the office, heading home, but I wanted to post this really quick since I didn't have time the last 2 days.
Lunches have always been really good alone time for me to muse, draw, photograph, be alone with my thoughts, pray. Yesterday I stole away a few blocks south of here to San Fernando Cathedral (this church is the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the U.S. and the official geographic center of my home town). I walked their stations of the cross and then headed across the courtyard to their little café for a $1.95 grilled cheese sandwich.
At lunchtime the day before, I headed a few yards north of me to the Southwest School of Art & Craft (next door to our design studios) and stepped into another thin space -- the courtyard at the school has this little hand-cut limestone fountain that I really admire. Before heading into the Copper Kitchen (the century-old refectory at the former convent there on the school campus), I took a slew of tiled photos of the fountain and its surroundings with my little iPhone camera, hoping to merge them later.
Later, while I was busy doing other things on the Mac at work, I let Photoshop auto-merge the pictures. It detects edges and, depending on the settings, tries its best to create a seamless panorama.
I ran it through several different ways, and it's fascinating to see how the computer rendered the composited scene Two different auto merged files are shown here (click on each thumbnail for a larger view):
believe it or not, back in 1990 i was a young, relatively thin and tan summer counselor at singing hills, the elementary-school-aged summer camp at laity lodge youth camp (LLYC) — an amazing 1900-acre encampment nestled
in a canyon along the frio river. that's me in the white hat.
there i taught 6 and 7 year olds how to properly use a carabiner, how to tie abseiling harnesses from scratch, how yell to their belay and rappel off cliffs; i prayed with homesick kids, played guitar in nightly "round-up" worship services, got in shaving cream fights, played a lot of dodge ball and capture-the-flag, snuck the kids out to secret midnight popsicle parties that were really over about 9:45pm, worked on art projects with them, and painfully worked through the most immature, insanely jealous stage of my fledgling relationship with a young, beautiful girls counselor named amy, but that's another conversation. the memories go deep there. and in short, i grew to love the place.
now its almost two decades later and i still have this affinity with that land, with the water and the hills and the people i've met.
this weekend we made one of at least three yearly pilgrimages back to leakey, texas, back to LLYC, and specifically, back to the camp's annual work weekend.
it's a blast, despite that "work" word. a lot of alumni families, current staff, work crew and random folks who have been associated with the youth camps for the last 40 years bring multiple generations of their own families there to pool their energy for a weekend and come together to put the finishing touches on the camp just prior to opening day. we sweat, we work hard, and in exchange, we get fed like kings (e.g.: saturday evening was beef tenderloin), we get to stay in the same cabins as the campers, and we worship there along the banks of the frio, singing many of the same old-school worship songs we did 18 years ago, replete with hand motions and silly inside-joke asides. whether you're back east, in the deep south, or up in the texas hill country, any camp that's survived 40 years builds up a lot of traditions. we sleep, we laugh. we talk.
this year's work weekend, i was on the grounds crew. weeding flower beds and later raking acorns out of a volleyball sand pit. harder than it sounds. in prior years i've hauled heavy equipment out of their winter storage barns, climbed precarious ladders to clean cobwebs off of huge wagon-wheel chandeliers in the ranch-house, hauled speaker mains and monitors into place in their pavilion, worked with six or seven men to drag unbelievably heavy pontoon docks into the water for the swimmers ... that kind of thing.
we go home and then, two months later, we'll take our kids to be campers there. this year, three out of our four kids will be old enough to attend. we can only afford the one-week session, but the kids love it nonetheless. amy and i have this years-old tradition with the kids. on the last stretch of the highway, just before arriving at camp, we pass a road sign for the haby ranch.
"Hey, Mama…," I call in a really over-the-top vaudeville voice.
"Yes, Daddy?" she sweetly comes in on cue, knowing what's next.
"Say, that's the sign for the Haby Ranch … do you know who used to live at that ranch?"
and then as an answer — to the younger kids' delight and to the older kids' chagrin — the whole mini van launches into an overly loud version of Bill Grogan's Goat, a call-and-response kids' song we used to sing for our campers back at singing hills:
Bill Grogan's Goat (repeat),
Was feelin' fine (repeat),
Ate three red shirts (repeat),
Right off the line (repeat).
Bill grabbed a stick (repeat),
Gave him a whack (repeat),
And tied him to (repeat),
The railroad track (repeat).
The whistle blew! (repeat),
The train grew nigh (repeat),
Bill Grogan's Goat (repeat),
Was doomed to die (repeat).
He heaved a sigh (repeat),
Coughed up the shirts (repeat),
And flagged the train! (repeat).
the song is timed by daddy to wrap up just as we arrive on the camp property. the kids get dropped off, we drive home, and miss 'em and send them care packages.
then, one week later, we drive back to pick 'em up and hear the crazy camp stories that we used to tell our own parents. and we remember that camp is ineffable. we remember getting frustrated with our own parents' line of questioning following camp. so we don't pry too much, making sure to leave camp a sacred mystery. i am already predicting that kate, who shares my tendency for waxing nostalgic, will weep much of the ride home because of the painfully beautiful experience and the inevitable departure. it is a thin space, to be sure.
but this place, part of the HEB Foundation, is more than just a youth camp.
many of you are aware of the related adult, ecumenical retreat center there on the same property, overlooking the river, a couple of hours' drive from san antonio. heck, this summer alone (!) you can catch the following at laity lodge's adult retreats: lauren winner, j.i. packer, marva dawn, gordon macdonald, david dark and sarah masen, michael card, gordon atkinson, ashley cleveland, charlie peacock, and cynthia clawson. whew; that's just a partial list. now, a friend of ours, john, has started a family camp there at laity lodge as well. this is in addition to everything i've already mentioned, plus free foundation camps for groups during the year.
in a few weeks, it'll be time to pull the kids' camp trunks out of the barn and start filling them with flashlights, rain ponchos, and travel-sized toothpaste. there will be health forms to get signed and more gasoline money spent than we'd rather.
and somewhere out there tonight, there's probably a college grad student googling for capture-the-flag, just making sure she's got the rules straight in her head. and somewhere out there tonight, there's probably a school nurse biding her time until she can spend nine weeks with "camp" instead of "school" in her title. and somewhere out there tonight, there's probably a young, relatively thin and tan college kid, making sure he's got picks and backup strings and capos packed tight in that hard-shell guitar case.
let the summer begin
for about a week i had facebooked a 'maybe' as to whether i'd be able to make it to the netzer co-op and its shindig (worship/food/table/fellowship experience) tonight. turns out i was able to attend, and boy was i happy to have gone. i brought the girls with me as well, and it was good for their soul and spirit.
the netzer co-op is an intentional community with its epicenter in downtown seguin, texas, not far from texas lutheran university. its denizens seek a life in Christ, times of shared word and table, artistic alt.worship, and a balance between inward (contemplation and worship) journey and outward (missional engagements with the poor, for example) journey.
since shortly after its inception, i've been blessed to call these folks my friends, and surprised that i've found a place in their community as guide, mentor, elder, and spiritual director, the latter distinction neither by certificate nor official training but with fear and trembling.
it was great taking the girls to a shared meal with a new community, to let them see their friend 'mister tim,' michael and bri leading a group in worship; to sit at the feet of brianna while she painted; to listen to jeff and tim playing simple worship songs. good for them to see reiley and t.j. from covenant there as fellow guests and participants. the gathering was taking place in the unfinished space above the chiro-java coffee shop. what started as a dream for the netzers more than a year ago, to sink roots at this location, is coming to fruition. the quite-affordable group housing they're looking at is only a block away!
there were three eastertide stations corresponding to Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again. abigail was very interested and engaged at the stations; we prayed together and i helped her hammer a nail into a wooden cross after discussing the symbolism; at the second station we helped each other light a votive and add it to the growing points of candlelight' the third station had the collage i had made (the one which tim used in chapel on wednesday) and asked us to consider what we should do next.
i left feeling hopeful about the next generation of Christ-followers, including the twentysomethings i left behind in seguin, and my passel of pre-tweens as well.
we proclaim this mystery:
Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 01:11 AM in Christian Year | Easter, Emergent San Antonio, Food and Drink, Jesus Christ, Mis Amigos, Miscellany, New monasticism / intentional community, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Rain, illness, travel and other hurdles had kept me from coming back to the labyrinth site until today. I borrowed my dad's gasoline-powered weed-eater and went to the back of the property this afternoon.
It was very peaceful. I was the only one there. It was really nice to be alone.
So for about the first hour this afternoon I used the weed-eater to chop off a bunch of dead shin- and knee-high grass. By about 4:00 it looked like this. The clump in the foreground is about an inch tall.
Next, I used this $4 rake to clear the dead grass away. This took about twice as long as I had planned; I got twice the number of blisters I had planned… But then, just as the sun had dropped below sight, I had finished — well, at least enough to rest. Just in time for a metaphoric shabbat.
If you squint, you can kind of see the circle of the labyrinth starting to take shape.
the Prayer Walk, off in the background of this photo will lead straight into the Labyrinth.
The center of the labyrinth will be where the surveryor's flag and dog tie-out are located, there in the middle of the composition.
It's only after periods of exhausting physical labor that the God-phrase "It is finished" comes to mind. I think of Christ's work on the cross, and I think about the YHWH's work in the creation accounts. I think about resting after work, and I think about saying, "It is good" and letting it apply both to the end result and to the process of having worked hard.
It came in today! My advance copy of Jesus for President, the new Shane Claiborne + Chris Haw book for which I contributed 40 or so watercolor illustrations; designed by my friends Holly and Ryan over at SharpSeven. I'm really geeking out over how cool it turned out, thumbing through it like a little kid. It's cool to finally see the other contributors' work (several artists, photographers) and see how the whole thing comes together.
Please consider buying a copy.
It's four-color throughout, but somehow the price is less than $12 over at the big box place. I'm sure VivaBooks will sell it as well.
Here's an illustration I did, which you can see closer when you buy the book:
file under: filet'o'fish'o'war
Here's designer Ryan hard at work with his other love. This is fresh footage BTW:
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:26 PM in Politics, AIDS, Art/photography, Arts, culture, man, Books, Church & state, Current Affairs, Economics, empire, consumerism, Ecumenicism, catholicity, Emergent U.S., Emerging church, Environment / Creation Care, Fair trade, Graphic design, Jesus Christ, Judaica, Justice, kingdom stuff, Mis Amigos, Miscellany, Missiology, Moleskine sketches, My life / family, New monasticism / intentional community, Peace / war / resistance, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Poverty, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, Relational tithe, Theology, Theology of war, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Gordon shows the prayer walk, circa 2006.
This is the path that leads to the labyrinth site.
Cool! Janine is handmaking prayer beads, rosaries again.
Please visit her store, but just promise to not buy this one. Cause I have my eye on that. Amy.
"In our world of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture and country, from their neighbors, friends and family, from their deepest self and their God, we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found." - Henri Nouwen
My college-mate and former Trinity House denizen Pete Z is currently off at grad school (Wake Forest) and experiencing community with the folks at Dogwood Abbey in Winston-Salem: "…we meet once a month so far and hope to up that within a bit to move to meeting for communion and prayer one week, skip a week, then full service...then skip a week."
Their monastic model is described like this :
The Abbey will be a...
1. Center for reflective theological exploration. The Abbey will be an open space for conversation about God where anyone can participate.
2. Center for spiritual direction. The Abbey will provide individual and group spiritual direction via retreats and/or personal appointments.
3. Center for contemplative practice. The Abbey will be open daily for folks to come pray, and will hold regular retreats and studies on prayer and contemplation.
4. Center for ecclesial experimentation. The Abbey will be a place where the traditional church can experiment with new ideas in community and worship through use of space, apprenticeship, and through staff retreats with Abbey leaders.
5. Center for deep ecumenical friendship. The Abbey will host regular ecumenical gatherings for fellowship, dialog, and activism.
6. Center for community engagement. The Abbey hopes to blur the lines of the sacred and secular dichotomy by partnering with local businesses, farmers, and artisans in whatever ways we can.
Sounds beautiful, huh?
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 04:00 AM in Emergent U.S., Emerging church, Justice, kingdom stuff, Mis Amigos, Missiology, New monasticism / intentional community, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, Relational tithe, Theology, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
I imagined tonight a labyrinth course that one could journey upon with eleven stations and six elements (each would be visited/considered twice). My theology herein may not be perfect (as if) and it's still a seed-idea, but maybe:
After praying silently for a few minutes, you are ready to begin. As you embark on your journey, pick up the mirror placed near the entrance. Study your face. Thank God for your life, for your very breath. Exhale onto the mirror and watch the vapor condense onto the glass. God is present with you on your pilgrimage; as close as your breath. Now set aside the mirror: on this journey you must decrease; God must increase. Continue in silence.
A little further along, you see a bound copy of Holy Scripture. Open to the bookmarked passage from Mark's Gospel; ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you read. You do not seek to master the text, but rather seek to be changed by the text, as you meditate over the passage several times. Pray that God would open your eyes as you continue the journey in silence.
On your journey inward to God's Table, you stop in front of an audio player. There are two chants on the playlist. Listen to the first chant marked "Veni Sancte Spiritus" — participate by quietly singing along with the choir if you are comfortable doing so. The Latin words are an invocation or sorts, asking the Holy Spirit to come and fill us. You may find it easier to sit down while the selection plays.
When you arrive at the next station, there will be a small table full of votive candles. As you continue in prayer, take and light a candle for your journey, representing the light of Christ, the Word of God. Worship blends Word and Table. Continue your journey towards the center holding the lit candle.
In this, the last station before you reach the Table, you have an opportunity to be completely honest with God, about your iniquities, your sin-nature, your fears, your failings. Take the paintbrush and create an image representing the thing or things serving as a barrier between you and God. His forgiveness is at hand.
[the communion elements are made available here at the middle of the labyrinth: the actual feast should be tailored to the eucharistic tradition of the facilitating group.] Individuals should take as much time as they want in adoration/contemplation, for here, Christ is present.
Return to the painting you made earlier. Since encountering Christ, has your perspective of the painting — of your burden — changed? Why or why not? Ask yourself whether you're being called to repent of an earlier sin, or to lay down a burden that you no longer need to carry. Continue along your outward journey a little lighter.
As you return to the table, place your candle in the votive holder — let the light from your journey blend with the other candles already there. Spend a moment contemplating the community of faith surrounding you, where you live and worship. Continue in your journey out into the daily rhythms of life knowing you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
On your journey outward from God's Table, you again stop in front of the audio player. Listen to the second chant marked "Alleluia" — participate by singing along with the choir if you are comfortable doing so. Consider the words ("God be praised"). Afterwards, continue your journey prayerfully.
Here again is the bound copy of the Bible. Open to the bookmarked passage from Mark's Gospel; ask the Holy Spirit's continued guideance as you read. You do not seek to master the text, but rather seek to be changed by the text. As you meditate over the passage several times, thank God for the change that's already happened in your life today; and ask for God's strength to continue to change, to proclaim the gospel, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world.
As you trade this journey for the next one, look into the mirror you earlier placed on the ground. Study your face. Thank God for Creation, for this journey, this pilgrimage-in-miniature. God is present with you on your outward journey as well: as close as your breath. Be on your way.
- paul soupiset
september 26, 2007
Just returned from helping facilitate the second Franciscan spirituality retreat out at Covenant. I was blessed to part of the first one back in March, and it was good to return to the rhythms of fixed-hour prayer with others, good to contemplate a rule of life. Tim Heavin is really doing the organizing, with several members leading vespers, compline, lauds and terce; I'm left to plan some of the canticles and other music.
i went ahead and also added a makeshift prayer station, sort of inspired by something lily lewin would do. it had a good set of headphones playing chants and choral settings appropriate to the canonical hour. i also found use for the century-old, rusty, square nails i had pulled from boards recovered from Sue and Tom's house in Galveston: we set up a little silver dish offering the nails that folks could take as a memento/artifact from the retreat (jokes about stigmata ensued).
Our family's spiritual journey has led us to the community here at Covenant — a simple community; cross-generational, ecumenical (generously incorporating practices and cues from everything from Baptist to Wesleyan/Holiness to Anglo/Catholic), self-described as "a place where the less than perfect are more than welcome", and one with a growing contemplative culture. Here Amy feels loved, valued, and welcome; and the kids are loved, and engaged with friends. I'm healing and re-engaging and worshiping God here. We joined the congregation as members today.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 02:12 PM in Ecumenicism, catholicity, Emerging church, Justice, My life / family, New monasticism / intentional community, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Trinity House (2005-2006): an experimental missional Christian community, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
this one is for my [fraternal] twin brother, mark. i missed you today. the watercolor circles [above] i drew this evening remind me of an order of worship [below] i created in Adobe Illustrator last year. It was a program for the sunday worship service that served the trinity house community. just now i went back and found it, buried in my 160GB digital scriptorium, and will paste it here. it's funny how you don't realize until the end of something that it can remind you of something else you created so recently. i like both these illustrations, but for totally different reasons. but i suppose both have to do with love.
if you're interested in alternative worship, you already know about smallfire.
it had been a while since i'd visited, and was again amazed by all of the creativity and collaboration across the pond. here's some screen grabs. thanks steve collins, for all the work you've done documenting this phenomenon.
"Alternative worship is what happens when people create worship for themselves, in a way that fully reflects who they are as people and the culture that they live their everyday lives in.
Because most forms of church have become culturally disconnected from the wider world, alternative worship can seem like a radical break with conventional church practices. It uses the technologies and media of our everyday lives - TV, video, CDs, computers - things that we take for granted in a domestic environment but seldom see in churches. It takes much of its content from the secular world - the music, the language, often the imagery - because it sees the presence of God in these things, and knows that spirituality has to make sense in the context of our secular lives if it is to nourish us and help us be salt and light.
At the same time, alternative worship searches the traditions of the Church for resources that fit the needs of the present. Christianity has rich storehouses of spiritual treasures. Many of these lie neglected or forgotten, but have renewed relevance - others have been exhausted by overuse and need to be rested, or have become irrelevant to the current needs of church and world. Alternative worship tries to interpret tradition faithfully into new contexts - but this may mean changing the form in order to preserve or revivify the meaning.....
Alternative worship is deeply concerned for community. Community is a place of honesty, commitment and support, where people grow through relationship. Community is essential to living any kind of authentic Christian life in societies which work against it in fine detail. Community is not clique, but reaches out to others, maybe locally, maybe globally. Whenever we meet as God's people we are aware of those not present who are also God's people. And we are aware of those who do not consider themselves God's people but are, more than they ever think.
Alternative worship is intensely concerned with creativity. Partly this is because reinventing worship requires it; but more because of a belief that creativity is essential to human wholeness and should be offered back to the Creator in worship. Since we are made in the image of a creator God, we are all creative - but life, and often sadly the Church, conspires to tell us that we are not, that we have nothing worth offering. Alternative worship offers people the chance of creative expression in worship. Not just the team making things to be admired by the congregation, but the congregation making things as worship, to be admired by the team...."
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Sunday, January 28, 2007 at 08:20 PM in Art/photography, Arts, culture, man, Christian Year | Advent, Christian Year | Easter, Christian Year | Epiphany, Christian Year | Lent, Christian Year | Pentecost, Emergent Gatherings, Emerging church, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
I'm back from a blogging hiatus. The iMac was in the shop. (Yes, even Macs can have faults. My logic board needed replacing.)
Jordan's weekend camping trip with my father and me was called off due to cellulitis stemming from an insect or spider bite on my son's thigh. Enough to make one afraid. Bed rest. Two days. Meds. Time will tell. Please pray. Thank you. I'll try and update you in 24 hours or so.
Some eight to ten years ago I read Godric by Frederick Buechner. And I hung upon every word.
Then maybe two or even three years ago I was rummaging through a garage sale in Austin and ran across a 1958 Knopf First Edition printing of Buechner's third novel, The Return of Ansel Gibbs. Even though the dust jacket printing was sun-faded, the hardback book itself was in good condition. I think it could possibly sell for fifty or sixty bucks, but I picked it up for fifty cents.
I think at the time I wrote to my friend, musician Eric Peters — a huge Buechner fan, check out Eric's music too — that I was starting to read the book, but I only cracked the first several pages and moved on to something else.
Finally I took the time this last week to go back and read …Ansel Gibbs and again I found myself hanging on Mr. Buechner's words. No time for a review. But it was a good read. I'd like to re-read Godric over the Christmas break, godwilling.
I did realize, after the fact, that my reading Gibbs coincided with Robert Gates' confirmation hearings.
(Gibbs is about a presidential cabinet nominee's decision to/not to pursue the post)
Tonight Amy and I fashioned a Leif Ericson costume for Jordan who will 'become' this famous Icelandic explorer for a day tomorrow at school. Leif is thought by some to be he first European to sail to the New World, no offense, St. Brendan. Jordan's costume looks really good and was essentially free — it was cobbled together from a coarse cloth pirates' shirt, a brown faux-suede tunic we cut and wrapped with a leather belt, wash-in red hair dye, birkenstocks with added cloth strips criss-crossed up the calf to mimic a roman-influenced sandal, a silver cross on a necklace (Norway's King Olaf insisted he take on Christianity; Leif settled for polytheism, just in case) ... we're still looking for his old plastic sword.
Monday I had a lunch with a friend who is a pastor at a large church in town. He spoke some very healing words and I've come again and again to realize how much we need others in our lives speaking truth into our daily rhythms. I am sad to say I haven't had that for months. So it felt like living water.
Then today I had lunch with a friend who I'm just getting to know, it seems. And we spoke some very simple words to each other that again brought healing to me. Plus, we ate at Radicke's Bluebonnet Café, a place I suggested that I hadn't been to in six or seven years. Good roadhouse comfort food. Chicken Fried Steak. That sort of fare.
This afternoon I got to use my Spanish to speak to Claudia, who speaks about as much English as I do Spanish. I classify myself as "Functional enough to get out of danger" — but it reminded my that I love Spanish and languages in general. Weird, huh. I love semiotics and contexts and puns and cognates and inferences and plays-upon-words.
Like Ansel Gibbs, I'm less a man of action than a man of words. Then again I'm 37 and a father of four and no one's given me permission to call myself a man. What happened to bildungs román? Rite of Passage? Calling out into manhood? Gauntlets?
I have a lot of work to do these next few weeks, so I shouldn't have even blogged this long. I need to be a man of action. MIssional, even. Yes, Bishop Newbigin, there is a Stanta Claus.
Thanks Mark. Thanks Joseph. Thanks Frederick.
a spiritual forebear of mine, John Wesley, used the term to describe a spiritual awakening:
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ I felt my heart strangely warmed
- John Wesley, writing in 1738
i'm using it for more mundane purposes tonight, but in any case, for the first time in a long while, my heart is strangely warmed tonight — i was able to welcome into my house a dear old friend and brother, waldemar, and catch up for a few hours since he's passing through san antonio on business. we talked about our journeys, about the joys and trials of work and family (they've got five kids which must make our four seem like childsplay) and his relocation to phoenix, and many other things. the french press coffee did well tonight, which is also a good thing, and we're entering into monday with a more or less clean house, which is remarkable. to top it all off, i just checked email and got to see photos of baby sophia burns to boot; here's one, below:
here we see young casey and even younger sophia sharing the same smile.
this morning at trinity house we tried something i called unchained church — kind of a tip-o-the-hat to unchained radio (not the reformed baptist radio station, but the older idea of a free-form radio broadcast wherein you might hear Willie Nelson, Wham!, Yo Yo Ma and Dave Matthews Band in the same segment). i digress. okay. there were three boxes in the middle of the worship space, each painted to vaguely correspond to 'prayer' / 'word' / 'music'. inside each box were folded slips of paper with various worship cues, instructions which the community unfolded, read and followed — they essentially participated in the leading of worship today.
the 'word' box had all the lectionary readings on various slips, for example; the 'prayer' box had prayer cues (one slip said 'the Lord's prayer' while another directed the body to pray for our church, and still another simply said 'silence'…); the 'music' box had slips reading 'hymn' or 'chant' and allowed the 'chooser' to either pick a song or defer to the worship leader's choice if they didn't want to pick. get the idea? it was an interesting experiment in worship. it still contained a fourfold ordo of greeting / word / table / dismissal, and was surprisingly chaos free (at least for our chaos-friendly congregation), and meaningful, not just novely for novelty's sake, but wanting to make a point about participatory worship, about the importance of the consitiuent pieces of a given service, and to hopefully have a service stick in one's mind past noon on that given Sunday.
today (call it bad planning) i actually drove not once, not twice, but thrice to our grocery store.
please pray for my grandmother, lorraine. she fell today and fractured her hip.
"…On our own, we conclude:
that there is not enough to go around
we are going to run short
we should seize the day…
seize the goods…
seize our neighbor’s goods
because there is not enough to go around
and in the midst of our perceived deficit;
You come giving bread in the wilderness
You come giving children at the 11th hour
You come giving homes to the exiles
You come giving futures to the shut-down
You come giving Easter joy to the dead
You come … fleshed … in Jesus
And we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing.
We watch … and we take
food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbors who sustain us
when we do not deserve it.
It dawns on us, late rather than soon, that
You give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
By your giving,
break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance...mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.
Sink your generosity deep into our lives
that your much-ness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving, we may endlessly give,
so that the world may be made Easter new,
without greedy lack, but only wonder
without coercive need, but only love
without destructive greed, but only praise
without aggression and evasiveness...
all things Easter new...
all around us, toward us and by us
all things Easter new.
Finish your creation...
in wonder, love and praise. Amen.
Let my worried heart be calm
Let my anxious striving cease
— Pamela Neumann 3/8/06
My friend Pamela still urgently needs support—of the financial ilk—in order to make her impending move to Nicaragua (to work with Food For The Hungry) happen. I will ask you on her behalf: please give generously. Many readers of this blog are more than capable of a one-time gift equivalent of a nice dinner for two out on the town. Or the cost of an annual magazine subscription that you'll never really read. Or a month's supply of lattes. Consider donating a monthly amount. Click here to donate and learn more.
Daily, Lenten MP3s from the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin, starting Wednesday:
PRAY-AS-YOU-GO for Lent
Fr. Peter Scally, SJ, at Jesuit Media Initiatives in London is running a trial for the whole of Lent this year of a new project called pray-as-you-go. Some of you may remember that Peter, while still a Jesuit Scholastic, was working at the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin when Sacred Space was launched as "something to do for Lent". In fact, it was Peter that came up with the name, Sacred Space.
The idea is to provide daily prayer in the MP3 audio format for the many people who travel to and from work every day on bus, train, tube or subway - using music and scripture to guide them through a ten minute prayer session every day. It is downloadable for free from the internet, so that you can take it with you ....
The trial begins Ash Wednesday, March 1.
Editor's Note: the
RSS feed for this podcast has been updated to: http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/mp3/rss.xml
guys, sorry i couldn't make it down to jeremy's tonight. sounded like a fun time.
here's a photo i took a while back (if any of you saw the "ex voto" painting down at alazan creek, this is the shot it's based upon). btw, shutter space is mark m.'s venture featuring several photographers.
good night y'all.
O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
and a compline from northumbia community
forgive me father for i want to have my cake and eat it too i want to have concepted the cake and sketched it out i wanted to have enjoyed shopping for its ingredients i wanted the experience of cracking the eggs sifting the flour scraping the batter and licking the frosting. i want to have my cake and photograph it too in medium-format black and white and then write a poem about the cake that inspires others i want to paint a painting that will capture the cake for posterity i want to celebrate other cake-bakers and create an online forum showcasing their recipes and after writing a clever short story about cake-bakers i want to return to my poetry journal and set my cake-poem to music with just the right meter just the right chords just the right key just the right instrumentation and i want to record my cakesong in the studio with other musician friends and in so-doing i accidentally will distance myself from me.
(this is how i am)
our community is using the prayers of Sacred Space, the Irish Jesuit prayer guide, as a corporate way to contemplate and commune with God during Advent. I noticed today that Sacred Space offers a one-day online Advent Guided Retreat (requires a minimum of four hours; PDF or Word doc or in-browser). I'm interested in taking a personal retreat sometime this season, and I think I've just found my source.
so now on to the good stuff: people, food, conversations @ Emergent Gathering 2005.
i'm going to mention a lot of names of a lot of special people whose names probably won't mean a thing to most readers, but they're traveling partners, sojourners, and i've linked to their blogs or websites whenever i could, and the listing is mostly for my benefit, for my future recollection. but enjoy...
the high points:
+ the new monasticism / intentional community: new friend, michael james tupper is a methodist minister who has been asking a lot of the same questions our community has about the new monasticism. so much so that he's taken a twelve week sabbatical to visit the various communities mentioned in School(s) for Conversion he and another new friend, presbyterian pastor karen sloan (see more on her and Dominican experiences below) led a conversation on the above topic. it drew a really great and thought-provoking group of folks ranging from (all these are new friends too!) denizens of communality in lexington, ky, to the people of oak grove abbey in austin (more on both of these below too). additionally there was a couple involved with the order of st.anne there were a few skeptics who had grown up in intentional communities and bore some woundedness, and i'm processing their cautionary words but left with more hope than anything: all the warnings revolved around ingrown community that was existing to fortify "from" rather than to focus, missionally, out onto/with the community-at-large. i'm going to try to connect to Michael's post-sabbatical "report".
+ our wonderful housemates. great experience. we lived in and helped host one of the gathering's "houses of hospitality" -- large cabins with quarters for families and singles -- the houses had large common kitchens, dining and living rooms where other Gathering folks (the ones who either camped or stayed in the hotels or apartments) would come for shared meals.we bought groceries (my foray into santa fe to find rice for lunch and quinoa [KEEN-wa] for shelly p. was my first trip to a Trader Joe's ). I got to know and appreciate Troy Bronsink even more (friend from WALP, and a great singer-songwriter-thinker-speaker), had really great conversations with Sherry Maddock and Jennifer P from Communality; and reconnected with Baylor friend Greg Willis, and met Jolie Willis and Heather Taylor all from Oak Grove Abbey (see link, above) ...got to know and listen to Ryan and Holly Sharp (more on a possible house concert in support of their excellent CD very soon), have great conversation with Tim Conder, met and instantly clicked with Glen Barbier from Austin, listened to great stories from Lisa Scandrette, who, although wasn't an official housemate, had taken shelter there to knit along with Laci Scott who I kept mildly amused with a running soundtrack. Lance White (aka HumanFuel) was on-hand to serve as a counter-point to our conversations, and Tim and Saranell Hartmann with baby Simeon were a great encouragement and a lot of fun to chat with... Jen, Damien O'Farrell (we found this wounded puppy... that's another story) and I know I'm missing folks (sorry)
+ we fell in love with the joneses. debbie and andrew jones have some amazing kids. five to be exact. we basically adopted the wonderfully effervescent hanna jones who stayed in our bedroom most of the nights, and jordan lived at the jones' cabin for 2 days, hanging out with sam. I got to hear elizabeth jones' camino de santiago pilgrimage story ... and hear firsthand the beautiful, poetic story of debbie's dreadlocks -- a talei had heard a while back... i didn't get to really talk to andrew at all -- he was surrounded by people the whole time wanting a bit of his time. their nonchalant hospitality is my new benchmark. would that God let me be that carefree, flexible, and genuinely free to love.
+ hope and encouragement for emergent cohorts. cliff and i have been leading this emergent learning community in san antonio for about a year now; at the Gathering, some of us were able to share learning community stories... tim hartmann (baltimore md cohort) and i facilitated a discussion with other cohort leaders and curious parties. one notable outcome, i think, will be that we decentralize the cohort responsibilities a bit so that tim conder doesn't shoulder all the burden. also, if glen and others step up to the plate, you can expect to see an Austin cohort by year's end.
+ practiced liturgy of the hours and had a great discussion - the aforementioned karen sloan is a self-described "young evangelical Presbyterian pastor [who] ended up spending quite a bit of time around communities of men in the Order of Preachers, or as they are commonly known, Dominicans." Each night she led evening prayers in a simple liturgy modeled after the Dominicans' liturgy of the hours; she is writing a book about the story of the journey of her last year and IVP will be publishing it in the winter of 2006 i believe. I'd love to have her down to Viva Books for a book signing.
+ more? grace mclaren is great. doug pagitt's new book is great, too, from the excerpts i've heard. It was great to finally hear CIVA mentioned in an Emergent circle. Got to meet Cincinnati Heidi, got to talk a couple of times with the instantly-likable Randy Buist (met him at WALP).. good conversations with Nate from Houston cohort; Michael Toy rocks. Will Samson, as always, encourages me and spurs me on. Amy really connected with Jen and Sherry and Jolie and Heather; we're considering field trips to their communities.Rick Bennett gave me two cigars, one of which I'll pass on to Cliff. the 'garden party' was a truly memorable time of worship and sharing. i didn't get to actually go into santa fe, save that trip to the grocery store and back. note to self: next time, wake up earlier to experience breakfast at harry's. the guys and gals at Trinity House reealllly would benefit from coming next year. got to met rusty interning in roswell.
+ processing it all. i'm decompressing, processing, and will go a little more in-depth on a few of the topics soon.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Friday, October 14, 2005 at 11:39 PM in Art/photography, Arts, culture, man, Emergent Gatherings, Emergent U.S., Emerging church, My life / family, New monasticism / intentional community, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, Theology, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
i need to go to bed because i'm waking up early for a client meeting so maybe if i do one long run-on sentence it'll go down quicker paul thought and wrote like caddy compson's benjy moments in long streams, long streams to catch you up starting with friday perhaps yes friday night where my parents kept the kids and amy and i had a much-needed date night and had a great time and made a pilgrimage to the apple store in san antonio's latest temple to consumerism: the shops at la cantera and then was saturday when hurricane rita came and we moved furniture most of the day and soccer games were canceled and sunday came and our missional community went to san pedro manor and spoke and learned and loved and remembered and grew and welcomed mark and rachel with open arms and jordan made me proud and devin made us all proud and my six-and-a-half-month-old baby stole the show and the beautiful and wise and weathered nursing home residences drank in emma's soft, round baby skin cheeks and fair smile and i watched and met betty who came from new orleans and hadn't found her hurricane-scattered children and she had been in the superdome and had heard the worst and then mark amazed me the way he could embrace strangers so easily y se puede hablar en espanol con las abuelitas y yo sitting there in contrast, forgetting mis palabras y no puedo recuerdo mucho and grace, and love, and later selfless susan serving spaghetti, starbucks, and birthday cliff and birthday ginger and casey started his blog and hannah and kate had laughing moments and amy made that chocolate cake and love and lethargy mixed and kids played pool just like river-city, and mike was there and i was there and we were late for soccer practice and i waited with jordan instead of going to mosaic roadtrip but that was okay, and i got to talk to george and that was good and then mark came by for some furniture and i made grilled cheese for jordan and i had a really good talk about our missional community and church and how important he is and watched grey's anatomy on abc tv and read two blog posts from cliff and they got my mind wheels rotating and a typed in a long comment and asked myself some questions and isn't it warm for september and my wasn't our electric bill high and isn't the wild goose fluid and good and beautiful and isn't she worth following?
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Sunday, September 25, 2005 at 11:20 PM in Apple / iPod / Macintosh, Arts, culture, man, Books, Emergent San Antonio, Emerging church, Missiology, My life / family, New monasticism / intentional community, Pop culture / consumerism / ultramodernity, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, Theology, Trinity House (2005-2006): an experimental missional Christian community, Worship / Liturgy etc. | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
+ in the experimental worship leading i've been doing at my old church, i led a song that they were all familiar with, but i didn't let them proceed with the usual rendering of the lyrics, which to me always smacked of self-congratulations and a sort of worship metonymy wherein the professed zeal of the lyric-writer is sung corporately and then assumed to be true among the singers. So instead of the lyric "I will" (as in "I will praise you" or "I will bow down before you" or "I will give my life for you" or "I will love you all of my days") I substituted "Will I ?" and reframed the lyric as a question, with the intention of provoking soul-searching. Of course I warned them to be expecting this before starting the song. As my friend Travis said, we do a lot of singing that sounds like "God is holy and I'm right up there with him". So: reframing and subtly shifting existing lyrics may be a great way to address Brian McLaren's Open Letter to Songwriters and the astute John Mortensen Unauthorized Postscript to Songwriters. (in which John penned this memorable line: "can we agree to a ten-year ban on rhyming “adore you” with “before you”? ")
+ i was charging my son's iPod shuffle this morning when I happened to
look over at the Playcount column in iTunes. It was a window into my
son's listening habits. Before I thought twice about privacy, etc., I
saw that his most-played songs -- the tunes he's hit 'repeat' for and
not shuffled past -- mirrored my own tastes. Which made me initially
happy -- although his playlist is esentially culled from my larger
playlist anyway, the types of tunes he lingers over are they same ones
I do: The Jayhawks, Coldplay, Josh Rouse, Something Like Silas, Moby,
Innocence Mission, Tim Booth, Dar Williams, etc. Then it got me
wondering: is this just a parroting or is this cultivated? Is this
similar to a child echoing his parents
' taste in music faith, for example? Will he venture
out and find his own aural turf?
+ friday nite i art directed a :30 TV commercial for a local restaurant. my first broadcast attempt beyond directing and filming a music video for the fabled and now-extinct band love coma in the mid 1990s. i'll stick with print and web for now.
+ picked up the kids from camp on saturday. they had a good time; man i missed them.
+ my friend, illustrator Von Glitschka, has a new site you should visit if you doodle often: http:doodlearchive.com -- request a doodle card and get those doodles published!
been meaning to carve away some solitude?
For Emergent SA this past Saturday, i modified a silent retreat handout from last year (virusdoc, this will look really familiar to you) and thought i'd list it here as well.
The assignment, if you missed the meeting but want to still benefit was, after reading the silence and solitude chapter of The Sacred Way (3, I think), to actually carve away some time, an afternoon, or at least an hour, and practice hesychia, attentive silence before God.
Download this PDF from your friends at EmergentSA as your guide.
(NOTE: PDF is 444KB)
yesterday six of us from the cohort met in a little art gallery within viva bookstore in san antonio. we met travis, who is new to our group (that's encouraging: almost every week there's someone new; now if we could only build some continuity); what's funny is we talked for a long time about silence. [easier to pull of than being silent about talking.] about the practice of silence and solitude. we're going through tony jones' the sacred way, and it was my week to facilitate the discussion.
here are some quotes i had come across, regarding silence, solitude, hesychasm, etc.:
"Silence is not simply the absence of noise or the shutdown of communication with the outside world, but rather a process of coming to stillness. Silent solitude forges true speech. I’m not speaking of physical isolation; solitude here means being alone with the Alone, experiencing the transcendent Other, and growing in awareness of one’s identity as the beloved. It is impossible to know another person intimately without spending time together, Silence makes this solitude a reality. It has been said, ‘Silence is solitude practiced in action.’” — Brennan Manning, quoted in Worship without Words, Patricia S. Klein
“In this silence, unbearable to the “outer” man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose…” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1992
“True solitude is the home of the person, false solitude the refuge of the individualist … without a certain element of solitude there can be no compassion because when a man is lost in the wheels of a social machine he is no longer aware of human needs … One can escape from men by plunging into the midst of a crowd! Go into the desert not to escape other men but in order to find them in God.” — Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (chapter 11 of this book is excellent)
Regarding physical position and controlling one’s breathing, etc., “[a]ll these things have but a very secondary importance. The only question is whether they may prove helpful and facilitate what is essential.” — Anon., Orthodox Spirituality
“‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So
they went away by themselves … to a solitary place.” —Mark 6:31,32
+ my friend danny in Kansas owns this cool painting to the left. His drawing instructor, josh cross, did the piece. note to self: buy more cool art. i have a great waddy armstrong painting on my living room wall, but it belongs to a friend's collection. it's on loan.
+ i think i'm going to buy a penny whistle.
+ an old college friend emailed me today. She's living in Tegucigalpa (which, of course, is fun to say). She's getting ready to move to Madrid (not as much fun to say, but easier). Jenn, thanks for writing. And yes, your son is right: you should blog :)
+ both of the above mentioned people are reading Blue Like Jazz currently. It's on my list of books to complete. I love the opening. need to make time to read it now that:
+ I'm getting ready to start a book discussion group on Guder's Missional Church.
+ My friend Waldemar gave me Repenting of Religion. (Boyd?) Anyone read it? I think it's from Baker. I'm going to go thru it. He deals with some Bonhoeffer themes.
+ today was Random Music Day for me. in some ways, every day is, but this seemed especially random. been listening to dixie chicks, thompson twins, energy orchard, astrud gilberto and then a whole bunch of shuffled songs on iTunes.
Posted by Paul Soupiset on Monday, May 09, 2005 at 04:23 PM in Art/photography, Arts, culture, man, Books, Current Affairs, Emerging church, Graphic design, Missiology, My life / family, Non-sequiturs & ephemera, Pop culture / consumerism / ultramodernity, Postmodernity/postmodernism, Prayer / prayers / devotional life, San Antonio / Austin / Texas, Theology, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
and somewhere low is where i looked
head bowed, un-known
in shot glasses
in two columns
form two lines:
(two lines form)
and lonely low is where i looked
also a stranger
slipping back into the night
ash wednesday, 2005
ash wednesday, a little liturgy for the soul.
liminal, liminal, liminal.
would that i could
walk through the post-and-beam
into the new unbox
into the next unroom
thy will be done
thy kingdom come,
and i'd participate
and meld and merge
and rediscover your own you.
i am ready, willing, able, and
unready, faltering, hamfisted.
i am tongue-tied like Moses.
o for loosened tongues .
could i request a cross
made of popsicle sticks
yet not my will