Ted Jennings on Advent

From Homebrewed Christianity.

What we do is pretend that we have hope, and joy, and love. What we yearn for is what stands under those names. Hope and joy and love, but which we dare not hope for. Advent is a time when we have a chance, if we want to take the chance, of getting in touch with what we deeply yearn for and do not have. We live in a culture of optimism, that thinks that things are going to turn out well, and yet we know in spite of all of that that things do not, in fact, turn out well. We all die. We all experience disappointment, destruction in our personal and familial lives. And yet we think that’s the way things are. We console ourselves with that is what is part of our life, part of reality.

I think one of the things that Jesus does when he comes into Gallilee preaching and goes ultimately to Jerusalem is to tell people not to take reality lying down. Not to take what is real, what is actual, what is possible, what is factual as what is given, but to awake in them this wild, crazy desire. Yearning, which is always already there, for that which is impossible. For bodies to be healed. For the brokenness to be brought into wholeness. For the disasters of our world to turn into actual peace.

And Advent is a time when we can say “That’s not enough. That’s not good enough. That’s not REAL enough. What we want is something that far exceeds what is within our grasp, what is within our experience.” It is only if we really enter into Advent that we can be surprised, astonished, blown away by the coming of that which so far exceeds what is possible, what is programmable that we can actually break loose in tongues, in rejoicing, in rejoicing that has no words.

There are those who are poor, who are broken, who are destroyed everyday who can sing and sigh and yearn, “O come, O come, Emmanuel.” Can we? Dare we? That is the challenge and the promise of Advent.

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

More new noise!

Last week I built my first contact mic (tutorial to come later, I hope), and since then I’ve been recording anything and everything I can get my hands on. I finished two songs over the weekend with my new toy, and I’m excited to share them.

The first is “The Trees Themselves Are Marching,” a rhythmic noise piece that’s sourced from a small tree in my front yard. It was lots of fun learning how to “play” the tree, finding the different sounds I could get out of it, and how to find a (mostly) consistent beat.

The second song, “Ride ‘Round Back,” is a 30-minute noisy drone piece that I sourced from my bicycle (a sweet, single-speed Schwinn cruiser) and some feedback (the contact mic allows for some really cool feedback).

I hope you listen and enjoy. I’m having a blast with this stuff. So many ideas for future works!