Elliott Smith Autopsy Results, Finally!

smith.jpgApproximately two months after the death of Elliott Smith, one of the best music artists in my opinion, the LA coroner’s office has finally come to a conclusion about the cause of death — inconclusive. Apparently there were two stab wounds (I didn’t know that) and the coroner says they could either have been self-inflicted or inflicted by another person. So they just don’t know. Although the death was classified by the LAPD as a suicide, they still consider the case to be open.

Here’s the article: “Smith Autopsy Inconclusive” -Rolling Stone

A Very Strange Distortion

tomwright2.jpgAs anyone who knows me and knows who N.T. Wright is will tell you, I am a big fan. (I tried to hunt him down and get his autograph when I was in London. I’m such a nerd!) I’ve only read two of his books (Jesus and the Victory of God and The Challenge of Jesus), but they’re great and I’m aching to get his newest, The Resurrection of the Son of God. This man is a brilliant Jesus scholar, but he does something most Jesus scholars do not: he makes his discoveries about Jesus relevant for the Church.

That said, the Reverend Canon Doctor Wright has a penchant for expressing an ugly disdain for certain Christians that gives me pause. My pausing actually is not due to a disagreement with his views, but to a surprise that he would publicly denounce certain individuals or groups for their interpretation of Scripture (which, while naïve and culturally ignorant, is not heretical).

I am sure part of my worry is also due to the fact that the kind of Christians he seems to regularly harangue is the same kind most of my friends are.

Wright’s latest knock was actually against Tony Blair, supposedly a “born again” evangelical (cf. this Guardian article, “And on the seventh day Tony Blair created…”), and his decisions concerning the Iraq conflict. Now, I’ve consistently disapproved of the Anglican clergy for what I see as an over-involvement in political affairs. Wright’s latest statements, however, are beyond the pale. He focuses on Blair’s Christianity (or “very strange distortion” thereof) as part of the problem he has been in terms of British involvement in GWII.

As I said, I think I actually agree with Wright on a lot of things concerning Protestant evangelical Christianity, but why such haughty disdain? And why is it the cause of Britain’s grief vis-à-vis the Iraq war? I remember reading some remarks of his regarding the wild popularity of the Left Behind books which were to the effect that the vision of Revelation on which those books are based represents an ignorant and wrong-headed reading of Scripture, a sin of which many Americans are guilty, no doubt. I wonder if this evangelicalism is resented as yet another way America influences the rest of the world. In Britain, Blair has often been seen (in the media, at least) as Bush’s puppet or “lap dog.” Bush also happens to ascribe to this “very strange distortion,” as Tom calls it in an article entitled “Blair acted like a ‘white vigilante’ by invading Iraq, says bishop”.

UPDATE: Read this article and you’ll see why N.T. Wright is such an awesome guy. So intelligent! “The Monday Interview: The bishop of Durham”

UPDATE #2: Here is the original interview in The Independent with Wright in which he calls Blair and Bush “white vigilantes”: “Bishop attacks Blair as ‘white vigilante’”

Hey! It’s BAGD!!!

Happy Christmas!

I want to wish a happy Christmas to all who read my blog. May the divine light of the enfleshed Logos illuminate your life! (Wow, that was a little new agey, huh? I stand by it nonetheless!)

I hope, later on today (I’m actually about to go to bed, but it is technically Christmas here in socal), in the midst of preparing to go to the relatives’ and delivering gifts to various people, to post some reflections on the event we celebrate on December 25th.

xmaspope2003.jpgUntil then, your assignment is to peruse two readings. The first is John Paul II’s Christmas homily, just delivered at midnight (Vatican time, of course!). Check it out on the the Holy See’s spiffy web site. The second piece of reading is an article about Bono’s trips across America to promote awareness of AIDS in Africa. The article has some interesting quotes about God becoming a human in a sacrificial act. He also talks about why he doesn’t feel like he can call himself a Christian. Really interesting! Anyway, it’s called “Bono Issues Blunt Message for Christians”.

My favorite quotes:

-JPII: “O Child, who willed to have for your crib a manger; O Creator of the universe, who stripped yourself of divine glory; O Redeemer, who offered your vulnerable body in sacrifice for the salvation of humanity! May the radiance of your birth light up the night of the world. May the power of your message of love thwart the proud snares of the evil one. May the gift of your life make us understand ever more clearly the worth of the life of each human being. Too much blood is still being shed on the earth! Too much violence and too many conflicts trouble the peaceful coexistence of nations! You come to bring us peace. You are our peace! You alone can make of us ‘a people purified” and belonging to you for ever, a people “zealous for good deeds’ (Tit 2.14).”

-Bono: “That there’s a force of love and logic behind the universe is overwhelming to start with, if you believe it, but the idea that that same love and logic would choose to describe itself as a baby born in shit and straw and poverty, is genius. And brings me to my knees, literally. Christ’s example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here. If it wakes up to what’s really going on in the rest of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn’t, it will be irrelevant.”

Okay, read those two pieces and I will try to get something original out of my head and into pixels. I’m not promising anything, but I’ll try!

Have a blessed and happy Christmas!

Il Papi Lo Gradisce!

Pope John Paul II has seen Mel Gibson’s controversial movie, The Passion, and apparently uttered five words of approval: “It is as it was.”

Peggy Noonan has an article/editorial on the WSJ’s “Opinion Journal” here.

passion_jesus.jpgThe story of this movie has been very interesting because of its many socio-religious implications, and not just on the gospel/narrative level. Of course, the most publicized and discussed implication is the anti-semitic one, but another is hilighted in this turn of events. As you may know, Gibson is a “traditionalist” Catholic, not recognizing the second Vatican Council and any Pope after it. I wonder if that was partly why il papi gave such an abbreviated response. Or maybe it was just because he has been ill. Interesting, though.

No Friends!!

Last night I felt like I had no friends after spending hours of browsing friend networks on Friendster. I have ten friends on my page with two still unconfirmed (what’s taking you guys so long anyway??). Everyone else has like half a billion! It’s not fair…

I’ve often wished I had more friends, but I’m just not a person who makes them very easily. I like people a lot in general, but for some reason I am not good at talking to them… Go figure.

Thanks Shmo!

My friend Shmo gave me ice cream mochi tonight when we were working on sets for a Christmas production for our church. Thanks Shmo! You are too cool.

I’ve been working on getting together a response to a talk I attended given by Dallas Willard. I’ll try to get that finished. Check back soon!