Posted by: Andrew G | May 22, 2010

Be Thee Warned!

Change is happening!

There’s a-doin’s a-transpirin’!

Be Thee Warned!!

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I’m moving. Things are getting bigger, and with any luck, a littler stranger and a little sillier.

Starting (probably) next week, you will be able to find me and my ramblings at either godwillbegod.com or at omglols.com .

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Subscribers: I will send out personal emails to make sure the love is still there.

Regulars: please keep surfing and check out my new digs. It might take a week or two to get everything where it should be. Feedback and help always greatly appreciated.

Trollers: yes of course there is love for you too.

Shannon and Zippy: well, you already know what’s up and you are coming along for the ride.

See you at the new domains!

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew G | May 19, 2010

The Transformation Movement

While doing some good ol’ fashioned surfing, I recently came across the World Transformation Movement. Have you heard of this group?

The founding members seem to be from Australia. And I have not watched all the videos or made a real considered effort of analysis or anything like that. But at the same time, their brief description of the Human Condition did intrigue me. (The second video on site. Their videos are a bit lengthy and drawn, so you can scan through the introductory video and not miss much.)

When it comes to worldviews, I like to use four words as kind of helpers. Generally speaking, worldviews come with these four things: symbol, story, ritual and community. Each part is important in the sense that the individual can use each to relate to the larger society or group or even the world, but also the world uses each of these four things to relate to the individual. Relationships go two ways. Sometimes. With any luck…

Anyway, the Transformation Movement has developed a new worldview. All I’ve seen so far is what I think could be put under the story category. They are trying to remove the idea from our psyche that we are eternally bad. Instead, we are made up of a kind of duality that can be understood with the light of science and the guru of nature.

For the complete description, please go to the website and make up your own mind. But in it’s simplest form, here is their story and message:

Genes can orientate but are ignorant of nerve’s need to understand.

Yep. That’s it. Nothing to do really with good or evil, or soul management.

Jeremy Griffith, the main writer for the movement, does have an extended analogy to explain further this story, or our Human Condition. He uses the migration patterns of storks to illustrate the genetic orientation we have as living things (which was neat for me because Shannon did a Happy News story about a couple of storks in love a little while ago). But, a conscious brain is essentially unsatisfied with the genetic routines in place and seeks new paths, new curiosities, and better understandings.

Like I said, I haven’t examined all of their material or measured their evidence in the balances yet. I will say this, however; Jeremy Griffith, as their spokesperson, does not come across as a natural-born public speaker. This isn’t a slick, greasy-smooth delivery or pitch at all. This guy hasn’t been to the Seminary of Sales, if you read me.

It’s funny, but for some reason I tend to take people more seriously when they are uncomfortable or when they stumble on words. That’s just me though. I’ve been hoodwinked by all sorts of shams all the same…

In first impressions, my mind went immediately to ideas of hero mythology and Joseph Campbell during the explanations on how our conscious nervous system seeks out new understandings and new paths. So in many many ways, this is not the creation of a new story at all. It is framing some of the old ideas within a few biological terms and a modern understanding.

The Movement does not seem too concerned with the spiritual side of humanity, but it does seem to want to address the emotional side of humanity. And so I do reserve the right to change my impressions after I see the rest of their story, of course. I really don’t like the use of the word “orientate“. I admit it —  I’m prejudice against that word. What kind of a word is “orientate” anyway?

Please, by all means explore for yourself and then tell me what you think.

Do we need a new story?

And does this satisfy our needs?

Is it just too dangerous to see things under new lights?


Posted by: Andrew G | May 17, 2010

A Salute to Dan Piraro

Over the weekend I have been messing a little more with video and audio. Some of the writing may be clearer if you just watch it on youtube instead of here, or just make it larger.

Please tell me what you think!

Dan Piraro’s blog can be found here.

Zuul’s Evil Disco — I don’t really know if they are still together as a band, but the website is still up.  Seriously, for the small and uninspiring bar it was, ZED put on the most amazing live show. All energy, all party, all go. I had to buy a cd.

Posted by: Andrew G | May 14, 2010

Returning to Leonard Cohen

Last night I was eating my rice and salmon and flipping through channels when I stumbled upon Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen. It is a kind of documentary/interview with the man in the grand ol’ time of the mid-60s. (45 minutes of black and white! And not just for effect!)

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It’s funny, you know, but we used to stumble upon stuff all the time, but now when we do it there is an official sanctioning in place because of interwebbing. We used to dig things, if you dig, but again that’s the old form, daddy-o. Today, we digg.

I’m just saying that we haven’t changed the meaning so much. We are just starting to change the ritual.

Anyway, I was really happy to get this little reminder from the old tech tv (does it even get capitalized anymore?) because I didn’t really know what to do for Friday’s post. That’s how I remembered  Leonard is always there for me.

Some time ago I posted Curing, a mash-up of some my ideas over a Cohen song. Today I present for your view and commentary, another mash-up. And as I asked before, what song do you figure this is inspired by?

Crossing

By Andrew Gilchrist, with cred to Cohen

And you want to travel with him
you want to travel blind
and you think maybe you’ll trust him
For he’s touched your perfect body
with his mind
-  Leonard Cohen

I was born like this, I had no choice.
- Leonard Cohen

I hear you now, a strong voice from the tower,
I sit in the alley, patient head bowed lower.
Desperation, longing, I want to understand,
The practice is over and you excuse the band.

Says one man from his lonely tall tower,
You see a drowning man but I can see a sailor.
But down the track there stands another tower,
Where a woman and a memory can make of you a singer.

The angels tied you down to a table you say,
Or was it at the crossroads of a Holy Roman Causeway?
You see there is something I feel I need to know:
How do you speak so sweetly from your window?

That Cistine sailing ship called Bounty, State or Splendour,
Has saved a man or two from the drowning water.
This Cistine oil tanker with righteousness in tow,
Stains like a bug smeared on the reflection of a window.

Tower of the Broken G-d and Tower of Song,
What did you get from suffering so long?
I guess you already know, anyone could have told you,
It can get pretty lonely if you’ve got that kind of view.

She is still, she is longing, holding up that mirror,
Telling you it’s taller than any vaulted tower,
You can see the bridges burning deep in the reflection,
And the poor keep selling off the license to their station.

Can you build a bridge that makes a cross over the water,
High enough to let pass any sailing ship or tanker?
Could anyone direct such a traffic jam from above,
The water and the mirror, the causeway and the tower?
Did you see this coming like lovers too close together?
Can you see the crossroads being built by love?

Then you ached and your hair turned grey.
Have you travelled too long on your Holy Roman Causeway?
You see there is something I feel I need to know:
Is this why your voice sounds so sweet from your window?

This Cistine sailing ship can glorify the water,
That Cistine oil tanker can make a mess of the mirror.
On reflection that bridge better be built on something strong,
To hold the traffic of a causeway and a mighty tower of song.

Sail on, sail on, sail on…
- Leonard Cohen

When you’ve fallen on the highway
and you’re lying in the rain,
and they ask you how you’re feeling
of course you say you can’t complain-
Leonard Cohen

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All blessings! Have a good weekend!

Posted by: Andrew G | May 12, 2010

The Presence of God and Music

I have never felt the presence of God because of music. Maybe I should qualify that–  I can’t recall a memory of ever thinking, “This music is so amazing it must come from some inspiration of God.”

In some ways, it’s kind of sad. It must be an incredible, emotional feeling. I’m sure there are people out there that have had such an experience.

It just seems weird to me. I mean, I’m a preacher’s kid. Music lessons were a must-have according to my mom. And, I do think about or practice music in some form almost every day (not always the case, but some fixations have returned). I’ll even admit that I’ve cried because of music. Not often though. And only in the past, like when I was a child. I mean it. I’m not like that now (Come on, I’m a guy. I’m trying to be open and honest, so please allow me this hasty return to macho).

I’ve certainly felt connection. The bonds between my friends and I because of music are very different from any other form of relationship. Sometimes more nurturing, sometimes more intense. Certainly not always better, but different for sure. :-)

Come to think of it,  my personal experiences of God have been few and far between. Two come to mind, and neither were particularly convincing.  Just, sort of chances to be reflective rather than imperatives to receive a message. I would put it this way: a little too coordinated to be just a coincidence but still way too natural for any need to jump to the supernatural. If anything both felt like, to steal a line from alcoholics, a “moment of clarity”. Both were very short moments where I could consciously see a way to align myself with the world as it is. Let things be and see things as they are rather than find a personal way to gain from it, or move myself to the winning team, or anything like that.

In some ways, they were experiences that brought me to respect Taoism a great deal more than pursue some monotheistic deity’s divine plan.

What has been your experience with music?

Is there a piece of music that you just swear is part of some divine plan?

What music is keeping you going right now?

Posted by: Andrew G | May 10, 2010

Hearing With New Ears

I had some fun this weekend exploring music.

Here is a remix of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Handel’s original has maybe four lines in it, but I only really liked two of them.

“Hallelujah” (Sab over at Triangulations reminded me of the history of the word on one of his recent posts)

“King of Peace” (a reference to the Christian Messiah – I’m just a big fan of irony).

Christians certainly haven’t cornered the market on irony, but they have perfected the art in way too many ways.

So, without much more ado, here ya go –  my first youtube video. Please tell me what you think.

Posted by: Andrew G | May 7, 2010

Bobby McFerrin to the Rescue!

I’m a little behind on my schedules, so I’m pulling out an oldie-but-a-goodie.

Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale at the World Science Festival.

Have you ever had a moment like this, where everyone in a crowd just seems to come together and share a moment with music?

[Also -- please check out the happy news! I have a new-found respect for Seattle, so awesome!]

Posted by: Andrew G | May 5, 2010

The Power of Music

A little while ago it was very important to Shannon that we go see The Soloist. Shannon has an incredible gift for tuning into the important things in life.

It’s likely we will never be able to solve all our friends’ problems, but that is not really in the job description anyway. We are to be friends when just being a friend is what is needed most.

Here is a TED talk from Robert Gupta of the L.A. Philharmonic, speaking on his experiences with Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, the inspiration for the movie. Mr. Gupta is quite the dramatic speaker (artists – always so overly emotional, you know what I mean? :-) ). Please watch to the end. He gets out his fiddle.

“A year ago, I met a man who was down on his luck and thought I might be able to help him. I don’t know that I have. Yes, my friend Mr. Ayers now sleeps inside. He has a key. He has a bed. But his mental state, and his well-being, are as precarious now as they were the day we met. There are people who tell me I’ve helped him. Mental health experts who say that the simple act of being someone’s friend can change his brain chemistry, improve his functioning in the world. I can’t speak for Mr. Ayers in that regard. Maybe our friendship has helped him. But maybe not. I can, however, speak for myself. I can tell you that by witnessing Mr. Ayers’s courage, his humility, his faith in the power of his art, I’ve learned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in. Of holding onto it, above all else. Of believing, without question, that it will carry you home.” – Steve Lopez

Posted by: Andrew G | May 3, 2010

Creation Stories and Tolkien

I mentioned on Friday that May is going to be Music Month for me.

So please forgive me if I end up rambling a little more than I should with words rather than getting to the important stuff. I just wanted to make sure I started in the right place, and what better place to start than with Creation?

I want to look at how creation stories are understood. I’m going to try and tie together some ideas from the Christian, Jewish and Hindu traditions and compare them with the creation story written by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I am picking Tolkien for really quite deliberate reasons. I adore his work. Plain and simple, I get a sense of genius every time I read something by him. He is the architect of many modern storytelling archetypes  (just wanted to fit both words into a sentence — architect, archetype). But also, we know that the fiction he wrote is, well to be redundant, fiction.

Also, the man was a great collection of contradictions. He could be a very close friend but he could also be a jerk, especially to his closest friends. He was a devout Catholic but he loved languages and mythologies with very pagan roots. And what I find most important is he tried to create a mythology for his beloved people, the Britons, in order to harmonize his Catholic beliefs and his pagan inspirations.

Ok. So the Christian creation story is one of turning void and chaos into order and form. And it’s done by commands:

“Let there be Light!”

This fits really quite nicely with the Christian idea of the “Lord”, an authority in charge and making things so. The Word of God isn’t just “Word, yo!” It’s a declaration and a command. And even more than this, once something is named or given a word, it then can be harnessed to really mean something.

The original Hebrew is something more like an exalting (or exulting?) exclamation:

“Light!”

[Little note here—I don’t know ancient Hebrew, so I’m just borrowing this ‘translation’ and idea from Jack Miles]

God is figuring out something, and creating some needed thing, and also celebrating its existence all in one.

In the Hindu tradition, there is a cyclic creation and destruction to all things and all worlds. A sleeping Vishnu, in some incarnations of the tale, gives birth to Brahma, and then Brahma as a faithful servant fulfills Vishnu’s request to create the world.

A lot of stuff goes around and around in Hindu. And when you look at how the world works, it isn’t really that big of a surprise where the Hindu idea may have come from, right?

Why bring all this up? Well, I just think that whether you literally believe something, or just metaphorically believe something, it has a real effect on how you see the world. I’m going to be way too general here, but if your creation story is a story about an authority giving commands, that will affect how you see the world. And what has the Christian authority been obsessed with since about 400 CE to the present day? Being in charge, being right, and having control. Just sayin’.

Now, Tolkien was a genius at language. He must have known just how precisely the Christian and Jewish stories were put together. But he went on a very different path when he wrote his own creation story for his own little invented world. I want to quote the first three paragraphs of his creation story because, well… I’m just going to keep repeating myself but it’s genius. (It’s a 20th century writer using a very archaic style, so I didn’t gender-neutralize the text or anything like that.)

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad. But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only that part of the mind of Ilúvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony.

And it came to pass that Ilúvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Ilúvatar and were silent.

Then Ilúvatar said to them: ‘Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I will sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song.’

What happens if in your creation story your God is most interested in song? More than that, what if your God is particularly interested in teaching the song and making sure each thing has a part to add to the song? And what if your God is even looking forward to how the song might be improvised upon once people really get into it?

Would it make you look at the world any differently?

I believe in song.

I believe in music.

I believe in Music.

How about you? What do you believe in?

Last bit, from TED – Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir – ‘Lux Aurumque’.

185 voices  from 12 countries around the world come together to share a moment of music and song.

Posted by: Andrew G | April 30, 2010

It Became a Deliberate Mistake

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Otto: Um, how are we going to get out of here?

Homer: We’ll dig our way out!

Wiggum: No, dig up, stupid.

The Simpsons, in episode Homer the Vigilante


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Whenever you find yourself stuck in a hole that you dug for yourself, how do you get out? Well, keep digging.

That’s what I found myself in this month. I had a lot of fun. I got my head more organized. But there are some pretty important lessons too. I hope they are of some use to you.

Lesson: There is a lot out there. And you can go very deep. But you have to allow what you find to affect you.

I’m willing to explore all the depths, and I’m willing to dig deep for my audience. We can’t afford to be satisfied with soft, simple stock-answers anymore when it comes to how we are all going to live with each other, and trust each other, and make this world awesome.

Even though I had a lot of fun this month, a lot of time was used up on just thinking and ‘booking’. And I really think the four books I looked at this month could make a great college course—maybe something like “Contemporary Issues and Visions in Western Religious Thought”. But processing about 1200 pages in a month is a bit much. I just felt I had to at least show some respect to the original authors’ intentions and efforts.

In the future there will be more book reviews, but only every other month or something. I’ll leave this up to the audience actually. Direct me, and I will take your collective direction. I will even take suggestions of books that need review. (Well, to a point. I need access to the book and I need time and, admittedly, some ounce of personal inclination/motivation).

Lesson: Blogging is one thought at a time. One paragraph at a time. Often enough, one sentence or phrase at a time. That’s it.

I’m changing up once again. So much for books, for now. I will be using bits and pieces of the four books, but just one little bit  or piece at a time.

Since I buried my nose in books, I didn’t stick my nose in other people’s business – meaning I didn’t really get out and read other bloggers’ stuff much at all. I really want to make contact and join in the conversations already going on. So that means more time on other people’s sites and a little less on my own. I do have a lot of changes planned for my site, and they will be plunked in bit by bit over the month, but that’s another matter…

What I’m sayin’ is “Bloggers beware!” I’m gonna be in your backyard, and I’m bringing my shovel!

Lesson: A lot of other little things (like money…) got ignored or left to fend for themselves.

As long as nothing gets hurt or put in danger, that’s fine. But I need to think about rent and so forth. I have to pull back now, and make sure all those other little things don’t fall off the shelf, or get lost down the sink, or pile up in the laundry basket, or clutter the backyard. Housecleaning is next to soul-cleaning, my mom might try to convince me…

And so in my usual distracted fashion, I think I will make May Music Month. When I was a kid I actually got out of a lot of chores if I was willing to practice my music. It’s a curious lesson for a kid – you have a choice of this duty or that duty. And, it’s a sneaky trick by a clever mom – giving a choice of practice this or practice that. So, let’s see how the digging goes. Remember, we’re trying to dig ourselves out of this hole. Keep those shovels up!

To end, some fun snippets from The Simpsons. (The best modern storytellers for the lessons to learn!)

Homer Points out the obvious flaw in God’s request for one hour of your time:


God talks about his troubled son:


Have a great weekend!

 

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