Archive for the 'art' Category



Ok, so it’s 17 days late but oh well. WH Auden’s, September 1.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In the euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages;
May I, compose like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

WH Auden


Holy Sonnet

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.


Some Hope

Last night 25 people, mostly teenagers, were shot and wounded in Chicago. How tragic. As violent crime escalates in parts of the city, there are some who are risking their own lives to help bring hope and change. They’re known by some as The Interrupters.  I just watched a film that chronicles their amazing and heroic efforts to make a difference in the lives of young people tempted by and drawn into violent lives.  The film is well done and moving but not for the faint of heart.  Perhaps it’s time for some of us to open our eyes to reality and try to understand what is going on and why.  The problem is not just “guns” but rests with the brokenness of human lives.  While the footage is raw, the work of The Interrupters is inspiring and worth knowing about. We need more people like this — men and women who care for their communities not just in the city but everywhere. I’m praying for these courageous men and women. 


The Low Anthem

This is not a new band, although they are new to me. The Low Anthem blends an indie folk hymn-like sound with beautiful harmonies. If I could sing falsetto this is what I’d want it to sound like. Through the lyrics of their song Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, it seems the group struggles with the “broken system” of our world and natural selection’s ultimate meaninglessness. My good friend Dave Swanson offers a thoughtful summary of the band in his review on Rednow.

Set the sails I feel the winds a’stirring
Toward the bright horizon set the way
Cast your reckless dreams upon our Mayflower
Haven from the world and her decay

And who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin
Fighting for a system built to fail
Spooning water from their broken vessels
As far as I can see there is no land

Oh my God, the water’s all around us
Oh my God, it’s all around

Who could heed the words of Charlie Darwin
Lords of war just profit from decay
And trade the children’s promise for the jingle
The way we trade our hard earned time for pay

Oh my God, the water’s cold and shapeless
Oh my God, it’s all around
Oh my God, life is cold and formless
Oh my God, it’s all around


Prayer by CS Lewis

“Master, they say that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since you make no replies, it’s all a dream
– One talker aping two.

They are half right, but not as they
Imagine; rather, I
Seek in myself the things I meant to say,
And lo! the wells are dry.

Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The Listener’s role, and through
My dead lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.

And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talking, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.
– C.S. Lewis, 1964


Coming this weekend

You do not want to miss these two artists…All Son’s & Daughters coming Sat & Sun to PCC….


April 21st mark it down

It was last September when I first heard All Sons & Daughters at a conference in downtown Chicago. I found the music of David Leonard and Leslie Jordan fresh, honest, thoughtful and moving.

In a very unique and uncharacteristicly me move, I said to my colleagues Dave and Steve, “We need to get them to come to Parkview.” Well, they made it happen. On the weekend of April 21 & 22, All Sons & Daughters will travel up from Nashville to Glen Ellen. Saturday evening will be a more subdued interactive worship type experience while Sunday morning will feature All Sons & Daughters leading the church in all three services. Mark down the dates Parkview – you don’t want to miss this two day event.  Invite some guests – you won’t be disappointed.


made me smile

Here’s another short indy film that made me smile. It’s an award winner about Ben – a nice but shy sign-holder who loves his job but is working his his last day before his career moves to a new level. Great message about friends and encouragement.


Winning film awards

Director Nathan Clarke is the founder of Fourth Line Films and his recent documentary Wrestling For Jesus is winning awards at film festivals all around the country.  I’m not a wrestling fan so for me considering it a ministry for Jesus is odd and a little unsettling.  However, Clarke seems good at inviting us into something that is quite different from what most of us experience.  I’m intrigued. Wrestling for Jesus is the story of man from rural South Carolina who started a professional wrestling league and how his passion and vision for it are tested when his life begins to falter.  Other films by Clarke include “Family” a story of young gang members in Central American prisons and “Neighbors” the story of two men in Nigeria caught in a community wide conflict. 

It just so happens Clarke is a Christian but I love how he asserts that “Christian” is a bad adjective for art.  He says, “I have no fear of judgment by my Christian peers.  I actually feel more fear about judgment from the secular world that this is just another piece of Christian propaganda.  Ultimately I wanted to create a piece of art that would be taken at face value, that would be judged because it’s a piece of art, not because a Christian created it or didn’t create it.  I believe God has made us to create things — that is what I want to do.  What I want is for people to watch the movie  and talk about that, not talk about me.  I just want to create something that causes people to stop, think and maybe consider their life a little more deeply.”

Keep up the good work Nathan Clarke!


Christmas Love and Logic

“The idea that God, if there is a force of logic and love in the universe, would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty…a child…I thought: Wow! Just the poetry … Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. God incarnate. There it was. I was sitting there… tears streaming down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of God picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.” [Bono: in conversation, NY: Riverhead Bks, 2005].

re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL. you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
October 2020

Thoughts gone by

"No problem can withstand the assault of substantial thinking." Voltaire