Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bono in Rolling Stone Magazine

If you're a U2 fan you gotta get yourself a copy of the new Rolling Stone. Here's a little taste:
Rolling Stone: What is your religious belief today? What is your concept of God?
Bono: If I could put it simply, I would say that I believe there's a force of love and logic in the world, a force of love and logic behind the universe. And I believe in the poetic genius of a creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in "straw poverty"; i.e., the story of Christ makes sense to me.
Rolling Stone: How does it make sense?
Bono: As an artist, I see the poetry of it. It's so brilliant. That this scale of creation, and the unfathomable universe, should describe itself in such vulnerability, as a child. That is mind-blowing to me. I guess that would make me a Christian. Although I don't use the label, because it is so very hard to live up to. I feel like I'm the worst example of it, so I just kinda keep my mouth shut.
Rolling Stone: Do you pray or have any religious practices?
Bono: I try to take time out of every day, in prayer and meditation. I feel as at home in a Catholic cathedral as in a revival tent. I also have enormous respect for my friends who are atheists, most of whom are, and the courage it takes not to believe.
Rolling Stone: How big an influence is the Bible on your songwriting? How much do you draw on its imagery, its ideas?
Bono: It sustains me.
Rolling Stone: As a belief, or as a literary thing?
Bono: As a belief. These are hard subjects to talk about because you can sound like such a dickhead. I'm the sort of character who's got to have an anchor. I want to be around immovable objects. I want to build my house on a rock, because even if the waters are not high around the house, I'm going to bring back a storm. I have that in me. So it's sort of underpinning for me. I don't read it as a historical book. I don't read it as, "Well, that's good advice." I let it speak to me in other ways. They call it the rhema. It's a hard word to translate from Greek, but it sort of means it changes in the moment you're in. It seems to do that for me.

Ain't that the truth? I heard Kierkegaard used to sleep with a copy of Job in his bed. I love that image, and it kinda makes sense to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cathleen Falsani of the Sun-Times interviews Bill Hybels - Willow Creek Community Church in the News

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a two part interview with Bill Hybels this weekend.

Here's a bit for your reading pleasure:

Q. Did you imagine that Willow Creek would be what it is today?

A. "Truthfully, we were seven days away from extinction every week for
five years. There were so many times when we said, "Well, this is probably going
to be the last service we're ever going to be able to do." So in terms of having
grandiose thoughts of how this would develop, it was blocking and tackling and
trying to survive week after week after week.

Virtually every day that I drive on our campus I think, "Who would have ever thought?"

Q. Is today's most pressing spiritual need the same as it was 30 years ago?

A. No. Thirty years ago, we argued about what was true. Was there physical evidence for the resurrection of Christ? Or whether or not there was reason to believe the Bible is a valid truth source --there was arguing about what is true. These days people seem to be asking, what's real? What's powerful in my life? What will work? Because the alternatives to religion are getting exposed for what they
really are, which is certainly less than the real thing.

There's an escalating hunger for that which is real and powerful and transforming.

Q. So the search has shifted from the head to the heart?

A. Absolutely. I am so convinced of the biblical truth of Christianity,
and convinced of its power, that when people feel its power, they will
eventually be convinced of its truth. So, I really don't spend any sleepless
nights wondering if someone powerfully touched by Jesus Christ is going to wind
up with their head on straight about the absolute truths associated with it. I
believe they will.

Twenty-five years ago or so -- in that era, when Easter came around . . . people came [to church] and said, "Do you expect me to believe that a 33-year-old carpenter who was killed came back to life? Persuade me. Convince me. Show me your evidence." And if I delivered on that, hundreds of people were affected enough to continue to investigate Christianity.

Now people come on Easter Sunday and they're hoping against hope that something will touch them deeply, and they're wide open to whatever it is. They're just hoping
this [world] is not all there is. Because if this is all there is, then that
just leads to despair.

Q: Will Willow Creek alter its aesthetic to appeal to a new generation of seekers, like the coffee-house-style worship services with candles and couches that are growing in popularity?

A: "I have seen so many . . . variations, flavors or styles of gathering places. I was in a church recently filled with people in their 20s and it was wooden pews and
stained glass, and they thought it was retro and cool. Thirty years ago, we were
in a movie theater and thought it was so cool because we were finally delivered
from the horrors of stained glass and wooden pews.

"So I see churches these days in bowling alleys, in warehouses, in storefronts, in aging cathedrals that were given to them for a dollar lease. More than anything, people want the reality of the discussion at hand. If what is going on in that building is the real thing, if the transforming love and power of Jesus Christ is being experienced, you can sit on a metal folding chair or in a plush theater seat.

"The real deal is always going to win in the end."

There's also a side bar on Mars Hill and the Emergent movement, some stuff about AIDS and activism, and Bill's reflections on cultural relevance in churches yesterday and today.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

"Sharing Faith Closer to Home" - Willow Creek Community Church in the News

The Chicago Tribune has this great article about the McHenry site and Willow's recent emphasis on neighborhood ministry.
Long famous for the orange-vested traffic guides ushering thousands into its parking lot on Sundays, Willow Creek celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend with a new focus on local--smaller--services and neighborhood volunteer projects.

The emphasis marks a shift for a church that a decade ago rented the United Center for an anniversary celebration and last year expanded its auditorium to seat 7,200.

Church leaders say the approach still reflects its original goal of making Christianity relevant and attractive to the unchurched.

Willow Creek's research on the needs of Generation X showed that young people aren't content to simply sit back and watch the live music, drama and high-tech services that put the church on the map.

"There's a desire to experience religion rather than sit and listen," said Sue Dunn, one of a dozen community pastors. "The new generation coming up wants to experience the service, stand up, sing, communicate--which means being in the neighborhood."

A Story of Two Churches

That WCA church's anniversary celebration that Bill spoke at is the topic of A Story of Two Churches over at the very interesting Church Marketing Sucks.

Friday's Random Ten

  1. La Cienega Just Smiled - Ryan Adams (Gold)
  2. No Surprises - Radiohead (OK Computer)
  3. Mistake of My Life - Caedmon's Call (Long Line of Leavers)
  4. Look Away - Big Country (Best of...)
  5. Not Sorry - The Cranberries (Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?)
  6. Healed - Nicole Nordeman (Woven and Spun)
  7. Chameleon Me - Bill Mallonee (Dear Life)
  8. All Bow Down - Chris Tomlin (Arriving)
  9. Cleaning Windows - Van Morrison (Best of...)
  10. Junkie Doll - Mark Knopfler (Sailing to Philidelphia)

Most Beautiful Song - #6
Best Workin' Song - #9

Nice Girls Don't Change the World

The Chicago Sun-Times has a review of Lynne Hybels' book, Nice Girls Don't Change the World. I think it's supposed to be available through Zondervan soon, but until then you can get it at the WCA site.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Happy Anniversary

I don't care what Slate says, I think it's beautiful.

Willow Creek Community Church is 30 years old this month! Thirty years ago the term Megachurch didn't exist, and now it's the subject of jeopardy questions and Daily Show reports;

[one megachurch] "begins in Georgia, goes up through the Carolinas and then just
touches on Eastern Kentucky. It's huge, Jon, towers of glass and steel,
thousands of seats, a food court. It even has its own red-light district."
Apart from the jokes and the controversy, Willow is home. I'm so grateful for all the memories, the relationships, and for all the men and women who have sacrificed so much to make it happen.

Some anniversary links:
Furr Journey
A WCA church celebrates it's own anniversary
Every Day People Finding God
Inside Out

Feel free to share your favorite memories!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

By this time next week Mom and Dad will be in their new apartment, Steph and Mark will be in their new house, and I'll have three times the space for my "studio."

I can almost see it now - bright overhead lighting, a huge table for workspace, and all my books in one room. Heaven. I plan on painting the walls dark, dark brown, and painting all the trim and furniture a very pale cream. Steph's a little nervous about it, but the room is so big I think it can handle the color.

But first we're going to do new floors in the living room, dining room and master bedroom. And we've got to paint the entire first floor because it's covered in wall paper. I'll try to get pictures of the before and after for the blog.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Katrina Update

The Daily Herald has done a pretty in-depth look at the Willow and Heartland efforts in Waveland, Mississippi.

Friday's Random Ten

This is a no-frills Random Ten this week. We're hoping to get the closing done as early as Friday, so it's work, work, work. Hope y'all are doing well and, fear not, I plan to waste just as much time on blogging as I used to once we get things settled.
  1. Time - T. Bone Burnett (T. Bone Burnett)
  2. Crazy Times - Jars of Clay (Much Afraid)
  3. After All This Dust Settles Down- Bill Mallonee (Dear Life)
  4. Don't Think of Me - Dido (No Angel)
  5. I Dare You to Move - Switchfoot (Learning to Breathe)
  6. Sailing to Philidelphia - Mark Knopfler (Sailing to Philidelphia)
  7. How Great - David Crowder Band (Illuminate)
  8. And It Stoned Me - Van Morrison (Best of...)
  9. Andersonville - Vigilantes of Love (Killing Floor)
  10. Fall On Me - REM (Eponymous)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I somehow managed to get sick AGAIN! How stupid! So this week has been incredibly unproductive, but I did get a couple of sketches done. The little boy picking out a pumpkin with grandma is from Better Homes and Gardens and the little girl is a variation on a picture in an old O magazine.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Friday's Random Ten

  1. Coldest Night of the Year - Bruce Cockburn (Anything, Anytime, Anywhere)
  2. Sweet Work of Love - Lost Dogs (Green Room Serenade)
  3. Twisted Logic - Coldplay (X&Y)
  4. Glory and the Dream - Vigilantes of Love (V.O.L.)
  5. Heartland - U2 (Rattle and Hum)
  6. Wonder - Natalie Merchant (Tigerlily)
  7. Erosion - Switchfoot (Learning to Breathe)
  8. People Lead - Ben Harper (Fight for your Mind)
  9. Never Loved You More - Nicole Nordeman (Woven and Spun)
  10. On to Bethlehem - Vigilantes of Love (Cross the Big Pond)

Best Album to Sleep To - X&Y. On Best Week Ever one guy said to the other guy "I'm gonna get that new coldplay album," and the other guy said "why, you havin' trouble sleeping?" Don't get me wrong, it's a great album, but especially great for sleeping to.

Hardest to Find - Cross the Big Pond You'd have to pay almost $50 to get this one at Amazon!