Empire & The Multitude (Rev 7)

Lamb-slain

Here is the message I shared at College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC on July 31, 2016. Cross posted from my medium blog.

The Rally

Thank you for inviting me here this morning [my name is Wess Daniels and I’m a Quaker minister and teacher at Guilford College] and I am glad to see that, after the last few weeks we’ve had, you haven’t all moved to Canada.

Many of us have running in the back of our minds the past two weeks with the RNC and DNC. If you’re like me, I’ve been caught up in all the news, the speeches and taking notes on how not to prepare speeches, and have been interested in the protests and the scandals.

I’ve been closely following twitter hashtags like:

#DemsinPhilly

#RNCinCLE

#BernieOrBust

#ImnotsayingImoutoftouchbut which had less to do with politics but was still funny. Like my friend Greg who tweeted:

#ImNotSayingImOutOfTouchBut when people talk about Minecraft, I always think they are talking about Minesweeper – Link

If you watched any of the two conventions you’ll know that there were a lot of words spoken, and those words, depending on the speakers perspective, tried to explain away or explain causes of things such as: continued gun violence in this country, ongoing terrorist attacks, poverty, issues around women’s rights, immigration, and marriage equality. Continue reading Empire & The Multitude (Rev 7)

Brother’s K, Liturgy and Broken People

10964124593_96108e9f80_k
Old Truck and Shed via Flickr

 

“But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.” (Revelation 12:11)

The work of the People

One of the signs of a true artist is a willingness to work patiently and lovingly with even the most inferior materials. -David James Duncan

David James Duncan’s novel “The Brother’s K,” is about a family that lives in Camas, WA. The place where I pastored for 6 years before moving to Greensboro. Papa, one of the main characters in the book, is a paper mill worker who has gone semi-professional in Baseball. He does fairly well as a pitcher for his team until he has his thumb crushed in an accident at the mill.

Consequently, he falls into depression and begins to abuse substances. So in an attempt to regain ground and find some life he builds a shed in the backyard where he begins practicing his pitching again. Continue reading Brother’s K, Liturgy and Broken People

Revelation is Remix (Revelation 21-22)

Remix and Bob Dylan's Self-Portrait
Remix and Bob Dylan’s Self-Portrait

The ‘Self-Portrait’ as Remix

A couple weeks back I showed you this image [Bob Dylan’s album titled Self-Portrait]. The cover image is one that Dylan himself painted. I couldn’t find any mention of who the cover was supposed to be, but it has a certain resemblance to Pablo Picasso’s own painting also titled “Self-Portrait.” When you line these two images side by side you can see that there is a borrowing or adaptation from the one painting to the other.

There is a second way that Dylan adapts and builds upon the works of others to make up this “self-portrait” album: It’s mostly a collection of other people’s songs slide*.
Continue reading Revelation is Remix (Revelation 21-22)

Economics, Poverty and Crashing the Beast’s Party (Revelation 13, 18)

Andy Warhol Mark of the Beast

Making Heads and Hands of the Mark of the Beast

If there is one aspect of Revelation that has been overused, abused and fallen prey to our constant temptation to make John’s first century letter a document that predicts the future it has to be the mark of the beast. What was the mark of the beast? What does 666 stand for?* There are many questions come up when we read passages like this.

When I read this I automatically gravitate to this unknown feature in the text. What are some of the things you have heard the Mark of Beast represented as?

Mikhail Gorbachev’s Birthmark, Obamacare, Enforced Sunday worship, One world government or The UN, Refers to a specific year, Verichip, Credit Cards

It raises a level of fascination that can be fun to imagine, but there is a problem with trying to figure out the mark: we don’t know the story behind the story. And when we don’t know the story behind the story we begin to read into it our own worldview, our own prejudices, and assumptions and this can really skew our reading and understanding of scripture. So it is essential that when we read this we remember that there is a story behind the story. Continue reading Economics, Poverty and Crashing the Beast’s Party (Revelation 13, 18)

Revelation 12 : Liturgy as Formation – What Are We Creating?

Shed
Image from hellojenuine.

“But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.” (Revelation 12:11)

The work of the People

One of the signs of a true artist is a willingness to work patiently and lovingly with even the most inferior materials. -David James Duncan

David James Duncan’s novel “The Brother’s K,” is about a family that lives in Camas. Papa is a paper mill worker who has gone semi-professional in Baseball and does fairly well until he has his thumb crushed in an accident at the mill. Consequently he falls into depression and begins to abuse substances. So in an attempt to regain ground and find life his healing he build a shed. Continue reading Revelation 12 : Liturgy as Formation – What Are We Creating?