Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Evolution of God

I have been thinking this morning about the evolution of God in the Bible. Yesterday, as part of our communal gathering, we read a passage from Deutoronomy. Parts of the text really bothered me because the writer painted God as nothing more than an ethnocentric tribal God, making war on "bad" tribes on behalf of this singular "good" tribe. The passage even went as far to say that no other tribe in the world knew God.

I am hugely skeptical of some of these kinds of passages / notions of God.

Reading Wilbur's Theory of Everything has caused me to really see that most people and communities and tribes and societies move from egocentric (self-centered) to ethnocentric (community-centered) to worldcentric (globally-centered). This morning I was thinking about how that particular idea in Scripture intersects with this. Perhaps the writers' understandings of God evolve down this same path throughout the text.

I am reminded that both early Judaism and Islam (and perhaps you could make a case for Christianity as well) came out of widely polytheistic societies. When Abraham got the call from El-Shaddai (God of the Mountain), it's largely possible that he took that call as though this was one of many gods in the area...only later to realize that this was YHWH. Muhammed was called by God out of the polytheistic Arabia only to realize that this connection was a God much larger than the Arabs, it was Allah (the arabic word for GOD). Christianity, similarly was formed out of several Judaic sects and in the midst of many Roman civil gods. Perhaps a case could be made that it, too, came from a sort of polytheistic society (if you feel the need to classify these as unique religions with their own distinct beginnings).

My point is this: Most all of these began with a personal or egocentric connection...perhaps animistic (like Abraham) or exclusive (like Muhammed) or personal (like the first followers of Jesus)...and then moved to ethnocentric like the formation of Israel, Islam, or Christianity.

In ethnocentrism, my group is right and yours is wrong. Simple as that. And, unfortunately, that is where most of us stand these days.

But there must be something beyond this...something beyond mere tribal co-existence, don't you think? Worldcentric is a scary place to go. It suggests that there is something universal, but it is never contained in one tradition, tribe, person, what-have-you. That seems a scary place to many of us. But it's also a place of much greater possibility.

And, all of these traditions (despite their tribal form today) suggest that there is a single, universal most all religions. But how do we reconcile our idolatrous understandings of God in our heads with the God of the Universe?

It might be helpful to take a look at the Hindu metaphor of Atman and Brahman. When asked how many gods there are in Hinduism, you might get a response like "300 million gods" or "1 God". There is nothing but Brahman, everything else is merely a manifestation of Brahman. Each of these 300 gods is nothing more than "Brahman in our context". There is only one real Source.

I wonder how that might affect our understanding of God. Rollins, in his book HOW (NOT) TO SPEAK OF GOD, talks about taking an a/theistic approach to theology, where we attempt good theology while knowing that any construction of God we come up with is just our own (or our community's own) construction of is not REALLY God. And to think so would be idolotrous. So, we must not believe (hence the atheistic approach) in the god we construct in our heads...whether informed by sacred texts, experience, or revelation.

Interesting. I'm gonna leave it there. Thoughts?

Thanks Denison

"White is not surrender
Despite what you've been told;
It's clouds of hope..."

- Little Flowers by Denison Witmer

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Food and TV and Such

Sometimes we starve ourselves and end up wanting to act out more often than had we attempted a moderate balance.

Sometimes I feel like I've been starving since we moved to SF. We eat a whole lotta veggies and homemade soups 'round here. Yum, yes. But sometimes I want some richer, more meaty foods. Like meat. I want more meat (even though philosophically I could easily be vegetarian).

Sometimes I crave the television. I curl up with a good book and then spot the remote and I'm reminded that I have cable. Oh God.

Sometimes we just want sugar and caffiene. Perhaps our nursing friends could hook us up with an IV?

Oh, I should never talk about "living into greater wholeness".


So, I've been washing my hands alot lately. There are certain seasons where I wash them so much that my skin starts peeling and getting all nasty.

So what do I do when my hands start feeling nasty and peely?

I wash them more...and for an instant they feel clean.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Host a House Show?

Listen, we're doing a short tour to Southern CA next week and have a night (or two) free if you'd be interested in hosting a house concert. The "buy in" is pretty low...invite your friends, supply some "adult" beverages, and play nice host...oh, and perhaps let us crash at your place.

What d'ya say?

One (or two) potentially available nights...

Friday, June 8th - preferably Orange County
(Tuesday, June 12th - LA County or just north of there)

(Also in July/August - Bay Area / Northern CA)

If you're interested, please get back to me ASAP as the dates are quickly approaching!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Weekend o' Album Release Parties

What an incredible weekend. Wow. It was just such an amazing time.

Also, just posted a house remix of Unified Theory on The Cobalt Season website if you'd like to download it. Enjoy! And I also did a podcast that is posted on Craig's site from Saturday.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Sometimes I get in a funk. Actually, I get in a funk alot. I pacify myself by quoting obscure proverbs about those who know too much end up with a good deal of grief. Then I ponder why that is...probably because they know more than they ought.

In this age of information, anyone can feel substantially informed on all things global: poverty, economics, history, etc. But how often does it actually empower us to make any sort of difference?

I talk of changing the world
But I just keep changing the channel
Some distraction
God, give us this day our daily distraction
Forgive us our laziness
We wanted to live well
We wanted to change the word
We wanted to be one as you are one
But we cannot even change ourselves
And without change, there can be no unity
Untie these loose connections
Anchor us to real connections
Don't anticipate efficiency or speed
The spiritual path is a downward path
Enlightenment is at our feet
It is not in the air

Enlightenment is at our feet
It is not in the air

God, I can be so full of shit.

Listen: Don't listen to a word that I say or type. Ever. Except sometimes. Now, stop reading and live! (while I keep reading)

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Favorite Bumper Sticker

"Romans and Pharisees for Bush"

Ha! Brilliant. I looked online and couldn't find it for the life of me. Anyone know who's behind this sticker?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Nice Weekend

This has been a nice weekend thus far. We had friends in town from Sacramento. They came out Friday night and stayed with us. A good friend in town watched Pax after he was down so that we could go out to dinner like normal people. It was nice. I almost didn't know what to do with myself.

Paxton has been sleeping fairly bad for several weeks now. Part of it is that we're in sleep training, so we're all re-negotiating our expectations; part of it might be something else like teething, new developmental stuff, etc. But he did okay the night they were here.

It was fun showing them around the city, grabbing some Blue Bottle Coffee (it's been a while), walking Golden Gate Park, talking politics, religion, church, development and how people change, vocation, ideals, and actualities.

I am often reminded (in conversations with friends like these) that the road of imagination and goodness and actualization is often a difficult road to walk. It is much easier to make money and just "vegg out" in life, falling "victim" to the American Dream, Canadian Dream, Europen Dream, whatever. Being the change we want to see in the world is much more difficult. Yet it comes with its own rewards from time to time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Album Release Parties (and CA tour)

Aw geez, haven't I said anything about these? Hope it's not too late!

Maps are available at

Okay, album release parties...

05/25/07 8pm Casa Milos (House Show) - Palo Alto, CA $10 (includes free CD!)
05/26/07 8pm Casa Burnett (House Show) - Oakland, CA $10 (includes free CD!)
05/27/07 7pm Album Release Party @ Goat Hall - SF, CA $10 (includes free CD!)

And a short tour throughout CA ($5 donation for most shows)...(still taking bookings)

06/03/07 5pm Flood w/ Mark Scandrette and Adam Klein - Sacramento, CA
6/06/07 7pm Casa Wissink (House Show) - Fresno, CA
6/07/07 7pm ArtWalk - Riverside, CA
06/08/07 7pm Casa Devries (House Show) - Orange County, CA
06/09/07 7pm The Village Abbey with Adam Klein - Santa Ana, CA
06/10/07 10.30am Mission Gathering - San Diego, CA
06/10/07 7pm Casa Evans (House Show) with Adam Klein - San Diego, CA
06/11/07 7pm Casa O’Farrell (House Show) - Riverside, CA

If you can make it to a show (or two!), let me know, yo. It'd be great to hook up. And here's an e-flier for the SF album release party...

Slacking on Pontification (and Some Thoughts on Flatness)

I know, I don't visit my blog just for computer and Cobalt Season updates. There was a time when I thought out loud here quite often...and we all shared some thoughts. The time is coming back soon, I do hope.

I continue to read (albeit slower than I'd like) Ken Wilbur's A Theory of Everything. (You can read a snippet here for free.) His writing continues to move me and inspire some great conversations. Lately, I have found myself learning/talking a bit about holarchy vs. hierarchy. The idea works well with the Spiral Dynamics model of human development that he borrows for the book. Holarchy seeks to transcend and include, not just move linearly and, well, hierarchically. So while a great many of us shun the idea of power structures (hierarchies) and long for flatter relationships in organizational strucures, we might do well to take a look at holarchies and what Wilbur calls "nested hierarchies".

I feel like I have been a part of a great many experiments these last years that have attempted to be completely flat...or almost flat. All voices are valid and valued (this is straight-up green meme in Spiral Dynamics) and no one can pull power-plays, no matter how many times you've been around the block.

It's become a difficult thing for several of us to manage...saying that we are all equal in opinion vaue and really trying to live that out. Sure, sure, we all wanted to get away from marginalization and power structures, but perhaps pure flatness is not much more helpful than hierarchy. (Perhaps it is...I'm not sure...but even employee-owned co-ops aren't entirely flat...they get more value the longer they've been there.)

What I'm getting at is that by completely flattening all organizational structures, you might breed an approach to subjects/ideologies/projects that is privileged, lazy, and assuming. If you say all voices are equally valued, you might run into someone like me running my smack about corporatism (something that I actually know very little about)...and while perhaps my voice is valid, it's not as valuable as someone who actually knows something (firsthand) about the subject.

Wilbur says that there is more beauty beyond what he calls flatland pluarlistic relativism (the green meme). That beauty beyond is what he calls integration.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ole Scandrette

Mister Mark Scandrette is back blogging again. His latest poem struck a deep chord with me. You ought to find your way over there and read it slowly.

Mark is a dear of the key reasons we decided to move to San Francisco. He and his wife Lisa have been friends (and something of mentor figures) these last 4 years as we have deconstructed all that we held as fundamental and foundational. They are caring, pastoral souls with prophetic lives and powerful (and well-chosen) words.

When Mark said he was going to write a book, I think many of us wondered if he could bottle his charisma and dynamics into a written account. There is something to actually being in Mark's presence that made me wonder if that would translate. He just vibes off a crowd so well, interacting, shifting here and there to "keep it real" it were.

It worked. He bottled it well. Perhaps in a way equal to seeing him in person...yet uniquely different. Holly and I have enjoyed reading it aloud to each other. And now we are nearing the end of his book. And like Mike wrote, we had to slow ourselves down, lest we take the whole book in in one big gulp. The stories are moving, mobilizing and empowering.

I'd say the most core theme of this book is the same theme of our recent album...namely, that EVERYTHING MATTERS. Someone recently asked me what I meant by that and I replied that the personal, business, social, spiritual, economic, political choices we make all ought to help bring greater goodness into our world. We ought not act one way for our spirituality and another with our economics. They are all tied together and of equal value in the Kingdom of Love (or at least I think they are).

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy here at Amazon, at our SF album release party, or email him yourself. Help support the lives that are acting as guides into the theatrics of the Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mountaintop Removal

A friend in KY put together a video about the insanity of mountaintop removal. I was reminded how devastatingly powerful we are in this present age. We have built machines that can process and move with great power and efficiency.

Will brings some good information to the table and offers some suggestions on what to do...all to the soundtrack of "American Empire". How fitting.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

CDs in hand!

That's right, as you can see, we've finally got the new CDs in hand. Pretty exciting. And we're shipping today!

For the rest of the month, we're offering a little incentive...if you purchase a CD ($15) or Digital Download ($10), we'll give you a link to download 2 bonus tracks.

And since you're a reader of the blog, we're offering an additional special schmucky is that?

$25 for 2 copies of the to keep and one to gift to someone. I know, I know...and you're welcome. You'll need to click here if you want that "deal".

Any social connectors out there? Please help us get the word out. We really want this album can be a sort of soundtrack for the peaceful revolution that seeks to reconcile all things, love all things, question and care about all things. Please blog about the album, post on your myspace, write letters to your Congressperson, etc. Pass the news to your friends and family...and enemies.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Upcoming Shows

So, we've a few performance upcoming that I thought I'd let you in on...for more details, check out

May 12th - Mark Scandrette's book release party in San Francisco (we'll play a couple tunes)

May 25th - Album Release Party in Palo Alto
May 26th - Album Release Party in Oakland
May 27th - Album Release Party in San Francisco

June 1-15 - Planned tour through CA (Redding, Sacramento, Fresno, Riverside, Santa Ana, Mission Viejo, San Diego, etc.)

If you're intersted in having us into your home, church, venue, or whatnot during that June CA tour, please contact me and we can talk about details and itinerary. Cool? Thanks.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Emergent Village Podcast

I don't listen to many podcasts (except of course Out of Fellowship), but I happened upon the latest Emergent Village one. It's really great. Scroll in about 1/3 of the way and start there, where Doug's talking about the kind of Christianity he inherited. It's good stuff from there on in.

(As Doug pointed out, there is good stuff from "word 1", but if you're limited on time, just follow my instructions and skip the banter about who coined "ReImagine" first and where everyone is from...after all, who needs context? It's a hermetically-sealed podcast.)

Great conversation about how, "It’s possible that our dilemma in Christianity is not a marketing problem. It could be a message problem."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Josh Ritter is Genius

If you're not turned onto him, please check him out.

"If what's loosed on earth will be loosed up on high / It's a helluva heaven we must go to when we die."

"We need faith for the same reasons / That it's so hard to find."

"Heaven is so big there ain’t no need to look up / So I stopped looking for royal cities in the air / Only a full house gonna have a prayer."

"The lake was a diamond in the valley's hand."

"The keys to the Kingdom got lost inside the Kingdom."

Wow, this is an amazing, dark, hopeful album.