This past week Nightline stage a debate on the topic “Does Satan Exist?” where Deepak Chopra (the enlightened one) and Carlton Pearson (“The friendliest, trendiest, most radically inclusive” one) “faced off” with Pastor Mark Driscoll (hip pastor of Mars Hill Church) and Annie Lobert ( former prostitute, founder “Hookers for Jesus” ).
[If you missed it you can watch it here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/faceoff ]
Does Satan exist?
– Chopra- NO (no enlightened person has a need for Satan; the enlightened hold no clear distinction between good and evil);
– Pearson-NO (unless you want him to exist–then YES for you, but NO for me; except when someone comes to me possessed by demons, then for that moment, YES there are demons and Satan, but once I cast them out, NO; and since Chopra, my new buddy, says NO, and since I really want to hang out with him more, cop his vibe, get some of his readers in my camp, and get on Oprah, then I am going to agree with him.)
– Mark Driscoll – Yes (Satan is a fallen angel, defeated by Christ, allowed in this world until Christ comes again)
– Annie Lobert – Yes (personal encounters with the demonic; life radically changed when she embraced Christ)
According to an article in the Parade section of the newspaper today 1 of every 31 adults in the U.S. is either in prison, in jail, or on supervised release. Senator Jim Webb (D, VA) want to attach blame for violence, drug abuse, mental illness, gang activity, and moral decay in general on a faulty prison system. Really now? Unfortunately even when our prisons do a good job at correction, they are sending people back into broken homes, bad peer situations, poor family situations, unhealthy relationships and pressures to conform back into the brokenness that landed the person in jail in the first place. The solution to moral decay is not then better prisons. The solution lies in fixing families, making sure people have work, are properly educated, are physically healthy, and have good mentors on which to model their lives. Faith, certainly, can be an ally in providing models for living that aid in both prevention and if necessary in correction.
I had picked up Nick Cave’s “The Flesh Made Word” (recorded for the BBC in 1996; full text) recording a while back and decided to sit down and give it a listen. His key focus is on discovering in Christ the heart of creativity.
God is a product of a creative imagination, and God is that imagination taken flight. … Christ, who call himself both the Son of Man and the Son of God as the occasion warranted, was exactly that: a man a flesh and blood, so in touch with the creative forces inside himself, so open to his brilliant flame-like imagination, that he became the physical embodiment of that force: God. … What Christ shows us here is that the creative imagination has the power to combat all enemies, that we are protected by the flow of our own inspiration. … Just as we are divine creations, so must we in turn create. Divinity must be given its freedom to flow through us, through language, through communication, through imagination. I believe this is our spiritual duty, made clear to us through the example of Christ.
I also took another look at Cave’s intro to the Book of Mark (published by Canongate, 1998; full text) in which he echoes this sentiment–at one point saying:
The Christ that emerges from Mark, tramping through the haphazard events of His life, had a ringing intensity about him that I could not resist. Christ spoke to me through His isolation, through the burden of His death, through His rage at the mundane, through His sorrow. Christ, it seemed to me was the victim of humanity’s lack of imagination, was hammered to the cross with the nails of creative vapidity. … Christ understood that we as humans were for ever held to the ground by the pull of gravity – our ordinariness, our mediocrity – and it was through His example that He gave our imaginations the freedom to fly. In short, to be Christ-like.
While Cave tends to be a bit more esoteric in his approach to Christian faith, I appreciate his recognition of the creative nature of our God in Christ.
I was trolling the web last night and came upon The Words: Jesus of Nazareth site. I’ll blog more about the site specifically at a later day. What caught my eye was a quote by David Tibet, “This is the area we need to hold to our hearts–those who think that Christ is somehow a complacent and hypocritical deity for a society which has the same faults. Christ is always rebellion–no-one and no-thing can hold Him.” He is talking about the words of Christ, which is the focal point of the project. But, again, what is interesting here is that Tibet (a name given him by Genesis P’Orridge) is the driving force behind Current 93 and a former member of the band Psychic TV. His religious path has taken interesting turns from an interest in Aleister Crowley, to becoming a member of the Ordo Templi Orientus, to Tibetan Buddhism, to esoteric Christianity and Christian mysticism. Enough there to keep a person busy on Wikipedia for an entire evening. The path makes sense in many ways. In fact in an interview I had with P’Orridge a number of years back many of their beliefs could be seen as variations on Biblical teachings. Would be interesting to find out what has prompted the path in Tibet’s life. He has done some work recently with the likes of Nick Cave–who also has plenty to say about Christ. Will be interesting to see where all this leads. Note also there are lots of interesting people tied to The Words project including Ricki Lee Jones and Mike Watt of the Minutemen.
The first post is always the hardest. You want to say something clever. You want to sound like you’ve got something to say. Something creative. Something original. In the case of a blog called “Radical Christ” I should probably be saying something radical about Christ or at least telling you how radical Christ was. But then again, this is just the first post. Soon to get buried underneath all the other posts. Never to be seen or heard from again. To close. I hope to post some interesting thoughts about faith, life, creativity, God, Christ, life as image bearer and all that. Until next time. Adieu.