Sunday, April 25, 2010


Lifehouse's Everything Skit

I love this. In light of "Paradise Lost," "The Pilgrim's Progress," other attempts throughout history to depict, allegorize and explain just what it is that Christ does for us, tell me: Is there any reason why this shouldn't make me weep? Is there anything in it that is suspect?


The fundamental representation that Christian has no effective agency of her own and is at the complete mercy of a gnostic battle between good and bad.

And the psychological impact of emotionally driven pop music to manipulate the experience.

My eyes teared up, too.

"Paradise Lost" GOT me, dude, even though I know what it is, and what it is not.
Paradise Lost is fairly incredible. It took time for me to get over Milton's puritanical personality in order to enjoy the poem. I've also come to deeply enjoy The Divine Comedy and Dante as a poet and figure as well. At my Divinity school, it was the rage because of the presence, for two separated stretches of Peter Hawkins.

Now I'm trying on the Aeneid - which, apparently is not counted quite as worthy as Homer and Dante. We'l see.

Other long poems that I'm collecting are Byron's Don Juan, Wordsworth's The Prelude, and Spenser's The Fairie Queen (though Spenser may not be worth it for me.) The long poem has often been a difficult challenge for poets, but many have been able to say things in long poems that cannot be addressed in short. Others of note: Elliot of course, Pound's Cantos, Berryman's Dream Songs, Zukofsky's "A", Ginzburg's Howl, Walcott's Omeros.

What are some others? Or is this TMI?

April IS poetry month after all. And this thread seems to belong to just you and me.
William Carols Williams' Patterson is fabulous and should not go unsaid, and (I'll end) Olson's Gloucester Poems. Wild, wild, provocative, allusive stuff.
Crap. I forgot about Poetry Month!

DR. ER introduced me to Wm. Carlos Williams, via a bowl of plums. Not quite an epic.

The only other epic I've read is "Prairie Ocean: An Epic Poem of the Santa Fe Trail" (1982), by Thomas Welborn Hope, a fascinatin' fella:
Unless "Pilgrim's Progress" is a poem; I'v read it but so long ago I've forgotten the form.
bowl of plums and the red wheelbarrow are key moments in American poetry.

Pilgrim's Progress is a narrative allegory.

Have you ever read The Waste Land?

By the way, I've been listening to Ryan Bingham and Steve Earle of late. (Count Basie, too, but he's not a candidate for being a redneck).
Williams' Paterson is beautiful.

Basie might well have been a redneck, considering the bands' names for some of their more famous tunes. . .

And Steve Earle is awesome as a musician, but in person is a dick, from all reports I've ever run across.
to answer the question: "Is there any reason why this shouldn't make me weep? Is there anything in it that is suspect?"

i teared up too. very powerful representation of what i view as a traditional Calvinist model. Namely, we are won over by the irresistible love of Christ (elected, so to speak) yet "the world" tries to pull us away and because we are easily distracted (totally depraved in other words) we're gonna stray. yet when things get really rough, we best turn to Christ and he'll take it away.

so i do see some pseudo gnostic elements, but it's not total like Feodor states. Paul and John are pseudo-gnostic, i mean that stuff had to come from somewhere... my critique here is two fold: 1st agency and 2nd community.

while this is a powerful performance, like all performances it has somethings it just can't depict in the narrative. i wonder at the woman's agency and what her motivations are to look toward these other things after having such a great initial relationship with Jesus. that would be a good thing to explore. if she has no agency then she shouldn't be able to look away... but she does, and that's why she strays! so maybe a dramatic denouncement of Christ for one reason or another... thus we would have a pure "born into the faith, rejected, and born again" model that evangelicals eat up but is also present in mainline denominations as well, albeit with different language.

2: where is her church community? does she have one? what if her representation of Jesus led her astray. like her church steps in and tells her about Jesus and Jesus is shaking his head the whole time but the church won't listen and the girl gets fixated and leaves. i think the play goes along with that "Christian Libertarian" myth that i talked about earlier today.

i'm a fan of the skit however, and feel that it's very creative and powerful as is. if i were to do it on my own, i'd develop it a bit. but it is sound in foundation.
Thanks, Luke. Part of mty misty-eyedness, I think, is because it is a dramatic portrayal of the theology I grew up with as a Southern Baptist, andf those kids remind me of myself at that age. It is at *least* as useful, and blessed, I think, as "Paradise Lost," "Pilgrim's Progress" and many and any artistic efforts to communicate the Gospel.
BTW, I've started listening to Christian music again, and I have to be careful. For all the occasional fluff, and the occasional appeals to biblical inerrancy, etc., I think I have been delivered the anger I felt toward the fundie folks for so long -- and the songs rock, and I have to be careful because I get so dang teared-up my contacts float, which is uncool when yer driving!
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