Making Music

One of the things I’m most proud of about 2012 is my return to making noise/music. It’s something I missed, and finding my way back in has been fantastic. My finished products are available at luxeed’s bandcamp page, while I have some finished songs and some works in progress and other experimentations on my soundcloud page.

It’s been fascinating, getting into the different sounds, seeing what directions I go. Below, you’ll find my last song of 2012, “Unknowing,” and my first song of 2013, tentatively titled “Spacebient01.” I hope you enjoy.

Constructed from a mutable stuff

There is an element of irreducible indeterminacy and instability built right into creation, so that creation is going to be continually exposed to re-creation. What God has formed is able both to come unformed, to break down or come unstrung – that is the bad news, the downside of the risk – but by the same token and for the same reason, things are also able to be reformed, reconfigured, and reinvented, which is the upside, the more creative and re-creative side in things. There is a deep structural mutability and transformability inscribed in things by these narratives that works both ways, which is what we mean by a risk. It can undo the best-laid plans of God and humankind, even as it keeps the future open. Things are deconstructible just because they are constructed from a mutable stuff to begin with. That is why life is a risky if bracing business, and why the Talmudic author points to the “radical uncertainty” in things, while God is keeping the divine fingers crossed, hoping that it all works.

John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God, p. 64

On building temples

Kester Brewin writes:

The city, our whole world, is a rich resource for enquiry and inspiration. We need not to build temples, but to see the world as a temple. To see each thing as sacred, as having the potential for beauty, for transformation, for guiding our thoughts.

The last sentence quoted above could well be a summation of my goals in life. To be aware of the sacredness of everything in every moment is something I strive for. In contrast to Kester, however, I think it is precisely this reason that we do need to build temples.

The voices that surround me are those that tell me the world is mine to be bought and sold, that it is a dangerous place in need of taming, that it is crude matter trapping a higher spirit. The world is a material to be formed into a product and escaped. To be transformed by the sacred beauty of the world I must train myself against those voices. I must learn to identify the sacred over the commodity. I must grasp beauty over usefulness.

When advertising is the dominant feature of both the landscape and the discourse, how do we reorient toward the sacred? This reorientation is goal of the temple. The temple is the place in which focus on the sacred is the goal. The temple is the part of the landscape in which the focus is necessarily on the sacred. The Temple is the site of resistance to the desacralization of the world. It does not (or should not) define itself as a sacred space in the midst of the profane, but as a point of focus on the sacredness of the world.

The temple is the training ground.

I pray daily. I set aside time to sit and be in the presence of the divine. I break out of the patterns of the day and put my focus on God through contemplation. I learn to experience the presence of God.

This practice does not imply that at all other times I am outside the presence of the divine. Rather it teaches me to become aware of the presence at all times. I don’t pray and then define all other activity as not-prayer. I pray so that all activity becomes prayer. I sit at my altar and practice specific forms of prayer so that I can orient my entire awareness toward prayer.

This is the goal of the temple. It is a space in which to learn to see the sacred, not so that everything outside the temple is excluded from the sacred, but so that outside the temple we can see the sacred in the face of all that tells us to deny it.

We build temples not to exclude the world from them, but to learn to see the world as the temple that it is.

Some things I’ve been reading

I lieu of sharing my own thoughts, here are some other people’s writings that have impacted me lately.

Awkward from Carl McColman.

Jesus Walking On The Water: A Sermon Sarcastic and Serious from Nadia Bolz-Weber

Reading Revolution: 14 Marvelous Modern Libraries

Just Another Woman at Michfest from Alice Kalafarski

A Prayer for Humility by William Barclay

Greenbelt Sermon from Nadia Bolz-Weber

Worshipping God Through Our Sorrow from Caleb Wilde

Encountering The Monster That I Am from Peter Rollins

The Trash of the World: Paul And Universalism from Peter Rollins

“What We Need Is Here” by Wendell Berry

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.