Congregants at a church in Georgia did a double take during a recent sermon. Filmed with a high-definition camera, pastor Andy Stanley's face on the screen was so lifelike that some thought he was there with them. Not so. "Godcasting” is when churches use remote feeds, either live or by DVD, to bring a pastor's sermon to several congregations at the same time (Christian Science Monitor, May 18).
I struggle to make peace with Jesus ordering the sea into peace. If we were to stumble across a time traveler’s videotape and find that it all happened just as Mark reports, I’d still be troubled. Because this isn’t the way the world works. People don’t go around saying, “Peace! Be still!” to the wind and the waves, and find that the wind and the waves obey. And I don’t like the “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” business. Of course Jesus’ disciples are afraid!
When I read the lectionary texts for this week, I was disappointed. Give me texts of David sinning, Amos raging against the “cows” of Bashan or Jesus again in trouble for loving outcasts. These I can run with. But don’t give me Paul always confident, walking by faith and not sight, apparently really feeling he’d rather be at home with the Lord than in his body, regarding no one from a human point of view.
The war in Iraq has begun to shatter the ranks of the neoconservatives—the faction that gave us this disaster. The most prominent turncoat is Francis Fukuyama, whose forecast played no small part in the neoconservative project of a war that was to make the Middle East safe for Halliburton and Republican political consultants. America at the Crossroads is Fukuyama's apologia for apostasy. He has much to regret.
In the two-CD effort Why Not Sea Monsters? Songs from the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament, (Carpet Square) Justin Roberts steers clear of any ham-fisted agenda while staying faithful to the power and majesty of the Bible stories, and making them his stories. On the “Hebrew Scriptures” CD, Roberts gets things off to a clever start with “Why Not a Spark?” Singing in a style that suggests John Lennon, James Taylor and Glenn Tilbrook, Roberts lays out the tale of creation as if God were a smiling child in a swirling cosmic sandbox: “On the fourth day / God said, Where are the stars? / Where’s Mercury, Venus and Mars?/ Where’s all those old rusty cars? / Wait, that’s later!”