New Years Revolution


I got that from somewhere (I remember…from my good friend Rod Garvin).  Can’t remember where at the moment.  Joining in on the time-honored practice of laying out the new year.  Hopes, dreams, and plans.

I have contributed some writings to two books coming out this year.  I am in high anticipation of the conversation these works will spark in communities in and outside the emerging church:

An Emergent Manifest of Hope

and

Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live by Lisa and Will Samson

Writing.  Currently, slowly, working on book proposals.  I don’t see how writers do this.  Got a chance to spend a little time with the National Coordinator of Emergent Village, Tony Jones at the recent Charlotte Youth Specialities  Conference last month.  Tony offered some great wisdom.  Paraphrase: discipline!  I have my excuses though.  Career, four children involved with various things, a wife with a demanding career, and other activities.  Pray for a brutha.  However, this year I remain committed to spending more time in writing.  Getting up earlier and blogging more.  Trying to figure out how to fit early morning routines (Daily offices, getting the  kids ready, etc.).  Solution: get up earlier!  That sucks.  But I feel compelled to do this.  Don’t see this as drudgery.  Actually it seems quite exhilarating.  What to write has been a challenge.  For those of you who read this blog I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Some of you know me and how I think.  What would you like to see in print from me?  I have my own ideas:

– A book based on this blog.  Picking particular posts and turning them into meditations.  I have been captivated by the writing style and substance of writer James Baldwin, the music of jazz artist Cannonball Adderly, and Hasidic rapper Matisyahu.  I’d love to write meditations like Baldwin paints the American landscape with his pen, the way Cannonball tells sacred stories with his saxaphone, and the way Matisyahu spits the Exodus story and prays the Psalms with hip-hop/reggae beat.  If you can imagine that particular aesthetic in conversation with the emerging church, missional thinking, post-evangelicalism, post-liberal theology, liberation theology, womanist theology, Pentecostalism, post-colonialism, post-Civil Rights black church, pop culture, hip-hop, neo-soul, Matisyahu, specific Christian practices and disciplines, liturgy, imperialism, race/racialization/racism, the Powers, white-ness/blackness, what a Christus Victor atonement theory can learn from hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, grass roots/organic theology, and postmodern Hush Arbors (my ongoing attempt to imagine a postmodern black Church)….let me know if that sounds interesting to you.  That’s what I’m feeling right now.

or

a book dealing with one topic or issue.

  • Reading.  

Areas of interest:

-Womanist/Feminist perspectives.  Just read The Female Brain by Louanne Brizendine and Blacks and Self-Esteem by bell Hooks.  Creating a reading list as I go in this area.  bell Hooks in particular is ministering to me.  Her writing has helped to apocalypse my everyday conscious/unconcious habits of patriarchy. 

– Theology.  Scot Mcknight’s The Real Mary.  I continue to be encouraged by Scot’s hospitality, generosity, and leadership in the emerging church movement. I continue to be interested in the direction of the writings and theologizing of James K. A. Smith on a postmodern (c)atholic faith and practice (I highly recommend his latest book, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernistm?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church).  Smith’s writings (along with others) has helped create a comfortable nexus between the theological worlds I inhabit:  black Pentecostalism, post-liberalism, Evangelical Protestantism, liberation theology, and postmodernism. Jewish and Christian mysticism.  His writing style makes the complex and often pidantic work of postmodern philosophers understandable and accessible to a layperson like myself.  You can read up more on the conversation between postmodernity and the church here.

Regarding Jewish theology I just finished The Hebrew Prophets by Rabbi Rami Shapiro.  Great stuff.  Here’s a great quote on the mission of the prophet:

The prophet is one who hears God’s call and responds: Hineini, Here I am.  This is the response of every truly spiritual person: ‘Here I am at this very moment read to meet the challenges of the moment that I might bring forth justice and compassion.'”(p. 4)

  Thinking about the Patristics as well.  Also…John Howard Yoder’s work has been very transformative for me over the past couple of years.  His non-foundationalist, catholic, Evangelical, Anabaptistic faith has captured my imagination.  Hope to read more of his texts this year.  Need to finish up his book Preface to Theology.

-Philosophy.  Feel the need to get a better handle on the epistemology debates inside/outside the emerging church movement.  Continuing to read the canon of Western philosophy (Plato, Medieval folks, philosophes, Postmodernists).  Doing intensive reading of Africana philosophy.  Right now reading James K. A. Smith’s book on Derrida, Jacques Derrida: Live Theory.  An insightful introduction to the father of Deconstructionism and is also a great dispelling of some of the myths created by reactionaries.  Smith gives us something other than the normal  presentation of Derrida as a gang leader of the barbaric relativist postmodern horde.

-Church.  Which is related to theology.  But continuing to imagineer an ecclesiology for my context.  Hoping to attend the 2007 Emergent Village Theological Philosophical conversation that will be hosting philosophers John Caputo and Richard Kearney.

Plan on picking up a couple of reads that capture the direction of the kind of worship/community/ecclesial spaces I feel will be necessary for ministering in my context.  I have been thinking along these lines….the work of folks like Augusto Boal I find as a possible template for the kind of ecclesial spaces needed in particular areas.  Especially urban areas and the growing number of Suburban ghettos being created by the gentrification of urban centers.  I think urban-minded missional Christians can learn something from Boal’s idea and practice of the Theater of the Oppressed.  I see potential there for those of us reflecting on creating culturally redemptive discipleship spaces in urban environments.

– Family. Slowly orienting my family to the rhythms of the Christian year.  We celebrated Advent this past Christmastide.  Wreaths, candles, and all.  The kids really enjoyed it.  As a family we definitely were spiritually renewed during this past Advent.  We constantly asked ourselves how Christ is coming into our lives.  A couple of trips home to Birmingham, Alabama to see family (hope to visit the Birmingham Emergent Cohort while I’m there).  Thinking about taking the kids to the beach on their Spring Break.  Committed to taking my wife on a date at least 2-3 times a month. 

Career.  I work for the Social Security Administration.  This years goal is promotion to Claims Representative or at least putting myself in a postition to be promoted.  We’ll see.  Lately, I have been imagining life as a writer, speaker, and community activist.  As I sit in my cubicle I’ll continue to imagine.

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4 thoughts on “New Years Revolution

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  1. Anthony,
    I too feel a tug to get up early to write. There’s a book in me, but I don’t know what it will be yet. There are so many passions in my life that I want to write about. I hear those themes in your post. Keep writing, keep dreaming. And whatever you do, don’t forget those dates 2-3 times a month :o)

    PS I miss our talks over wings at Midtown on Tuesday night. I’d love to hear about your journey towards nailing that book down.

  2. Anthony: I’m really glad to hear that we can expect more from your pen/word processor. Your voice is very much needed! What you describe here, the nexus of…

    “conversation with the emerging church, missional thinking, post-evangelicalism, post-liberal theology, liberation theology, womanist theology, Pentecostalism, post-colonialism, post-Civil Rights black church, pop culture, hip-hop, neo-soul, Matisyahu, specific Christian practices and disciplines, liturgy, imperialism, race/racialization/racism, the Powers, white-ness/blackness, what a Christus Victor atonement theory can learn from hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, grass roots/organic theology, and postmodern Hush Arbors (my ongoing attempt to imagine a postmodern black Church)…

    –add a dash of the Cardinal Newman and the Oxford movement and this pretty much sounds like the kingdom of God to me! Blessings on your labors.

  3. Got turned on to this blog by Tony Jones – as a writer, I recommend talking with myself and other writers at the Philosophical Conversation. You have a lot of great thoughts out there but it’s a Q of matching your thoughts with what publishers are looking for in 2008. I had a book poropsal ready to go. So, I posted an essay on the Ooze that summarized the key points and I loved the buzz. But a publisher wanted something else entirely. So, I’m doing that book. Also working on another book that is a variation of what I wanted to do. At it’s best, it’s a dance and so far, with these two books and my first one, I’ve been lucky to find partners that don’t step on my toes. Wish you the same.

    BG

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