Archive for November, 2006

You’ve been paying off this entry for the last 25 years

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Neuro thinks this is brilliant. I agree. Shows should do this more often. To zing the opposition this well, Matt Groening must have employed Liam McD on his writing staff.

Hans Van Der Meer is a photographer who has been taking photos of football fields all around Europe (including the Phoenix Park). I know that doesn’t sound so interesting to you but seriously, this is as an astounding website.

As I have hinted in the title, it is my birthday today. My middle name is Andrew after the Saint. It isn’t quite St. Patrick’s Day but at least my parents didn’t call me Isidore.

Next Thursday, the Bishop of Durham, NT Wright is speaking in Trinity College on the Da Vinci Code. Tickets are €10. There might be some foolish people out there who are as yet undecided about coming. But let me end the argument by offering this mp3 of the world’s foremost New Testament scholar singing How Many Roads by Bob Dylan. This is not a novelty mp3. This is actually really good.

I know. I make you happy.

Your Correspondent, A boy who swims faster than a shark

Where Zoomtard Experiments With Actual “Blogging”, Part 1

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Leave that final year thesis alone. Forget that breast check. Tell your dying grandma you’ll pay respects at the funeral. The most important thing you need to do is join me in the aural bliss that has returned to the fair airwaves of Dublin in recent weeks. Phantom FM: The reason you have a radio.

You can just take this for granted. Or if you are foolish like me back in the day Phantom was pirate and didn’t broadcast as far as my house, ignore it. But the fact of the matter is that the air around your very dull head is filled with the wonderous sounds of good music, diverse music, music you’ve never heard before and will hate but you are so glad you had the chance to like it. Think about that for a moment. Vibrations in the air encode the sounds of Bright Eyes and Ben Folds and all you need is a resonating crystal connected by a conducting wire to a basic speaker and boom! you get music for free.

Now if a short paragraph on the medium can take your breath away, just think of the joy encapsulated in the Phantom message. Sure they won’t play anything that isn’t hip, but hip is a good start. Damn it I’ll take hip and keep my Old Crow Medicine Show and Jars of Clay habit secret.

I had tiramasu for breakfast. Basically, listening to Phantom for a few days in my car has transformed me from bookish theology nerd into Rock n Roll legend. I now only wear sking tight jeans, eyeliner and “ironic” t-shirts. I would have eaten my breakfast floating in champagne but I squandered all of that on washing the car. I have to take better care of it now that I live in it so I don’t miss any Phantom Radio.

Your Correspondent, He comes in all different flavours…strawberry and curry and that

Then a hot ninja lady befriended me…

Friday, November 24th, 2006

Satan is crushing me with nefarious bacteria. I spent most of the week croaking like a Pop Idol reject and speaking in a drawling, self-pitying monotone like a truculent teen with barbed wire caught in his oesophagus. Usually that means there is a flood of Zoomtards. A veritable avalanche of Zoomtards. But it was strange this week. It is almost like I actually have real responsibilities. Not fake responsibilities like, “If I don’t watch this show I might never understand how a former childrens’ TV presenter could end up eating maggots”. Real responsibilities like, “If I don’t drive over to that hospital and donate my kidney, that baby lamb might die”. So because of the baby livestock and other important duties of mine I haven’t really stayed at home and recuperated.

As a cause of distress, illness has not been lonely in the life of Zoomtard this week. It has had lots of colleagues to spend time with. It definitely ranks high in the top ten list of crappy weeks. Work stress of magnificent proportions, really hard private-wrestling-with-self moments that lead to difficult decisions and a to-do list so cramped that I have had to run on alcohol means that although my throat is much better, I am still very inarticulate. Now, instead of a croaking, when I speak there is a soft sobbing. Its quite pathetic. Even the police officer who arrived to the scene first found time to sympathise with me when asking why I had crashed Cassius (the name of the new car because it floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee) into the sunroom of the local nursing home.

I am puffing up my hair, slathering my self in man-tan and donning a polyester suit on Sunday as I get my televangelist act on and preach to the captive audience of my church. The fools employed me so now they have to sit through my extended rants against the dangers of Christmas trees, Iron Maiden and big hats like the kind Garth Brooks wears. I am also speaking at NUI Maynooth on Tuesday evening. That topic is interesting: The God Delusion: Did Man Invent Religion?. Sure the invitation came late and I was sick at the time and I couldn’t see properly because my eyes were bleeding and there was a pain in my stomach caused by emotional turmoil but I said yes because wherever there is a chance to waffle on psuedo-intellectual themes, Zoomtard is there. I think we can all agree, the word hero applies.

The week after that seems good though. I celebrate a birthday. I am sure you are all planning your own celebrations as well to commerate my parents crowning achievement: me. Feel free to buy me loads of things from here. Now that gift would ROCK!.

I’ll get my coat.

I maintain that the worst driving to be seen on Irish roads takes place in carparks. People go mental and replace their decision making process with the guidance of a magic-8 ball once they see painted rectangles on the ground. Still, cars are less dangerous in car parks than squids in car parks. This is not a party political protest but National Geographic have an amazing web gallery to go along with their documentary on life in the womb in the animal kingdom. Let’s let it slip that they are perpetuating the myth that human beings are not animals and just enjoy the wonder. These photos are astounding. Finally, before I leave to take my medicine, check out just how hip Christian music can actually be.

Your Correspondent, A really cool kisser but not that strict of a Christian

Hello, My Treacherous Friends

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

It has not been a good day for Zoomtard. He was meant to be off visiting a church in Norn Iron and sharing the Good News of Christianity, Irish style but instead he is lounging around his living room with a sick throat. He has also failed to make a fire. He thought he was a Beta Male, but it turns out that he can’t even achieve this.

I was off buying peat and beer yesterday evening when I noticed that the front page of the Times featured an article about Christian students. Well I used to be a Christian student so I looked closer. I am lying. As you can see from the photo, I looked closer because there was a picture of Harry Potter being kissed.

I was so jealous.

Its time for me to admit to those of you too dull to figure it already that I am a graduate of IFES, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, not the election monitors. I worked for two years with IFES Ireland. When I was on staff we used to make fun of our British counterparts because they were uptight and serious and always too intense for us.

Imagine that. A group of people so cereberal that Jaybercrow and me felt the need to mock them for it (out of our insecurity). So the Times is reporting on the fact that 4 Christian Unions are considering suing their universities for prohibiting their acitivity. Christian Unions, by the way, for the uninitiated, are the student-led groups that form together to make national movements like IFES Ireland, CCX in Ukraine, UCCF in Britain or InterVarsity in the US. The opposition these CUs face ranges from not being affiliated with the Herion-Watts University up to Gideon bibles being banned in student halls in Edinburgh University.

Yeah you read that right. Bibles are not going to be placed in their dorms because that is anti-homosexual, allegedly. (Thanks Tg for the clarification)

The mind boggles.

A university is meant to be the place where discussion on every topic is encouraged in an open and free manner. The campus is meant to be a place of intellectual rigor and tolerance. I can fully empathise with the sentiments of someone who has a virulent reaction to Christian evangelism. (I can empathise without aggreeing even a little bit) But banning the expression of faith is not only intolerant, it is hypocritical.

There is no fundamentalism in UCCF. There is no political radicalism being fertilised in their Bible studies (unless they are reading Colossians…). It poses no threat to British society unless you are terrified of brainy Christians beating you over the head with their perfectly sensible and not very good fun approach to doctrine. It is the height of intolerance to resist the reasonable expression of the heart of these students’ lives. But its also hypocritical because the ideas that are driving the CUs out of campuses are held as “faith” by the adherents in their Student Unions. The idea that religion is intolerant is not only ignorant and intolerant, it is hypocritical since it takes the form of a religious belief. It is a moral belief held on faith without any possible rigorous support. That means, by the way, it is a considerably shakier faith than that which is held by the UCCF-ers.

I was part of the founding group of the Christian Union at my university. After a few years we had grown to a quite substantial size. We sought affiliation with the SU and they rejected us for the same reasons that the CUs in Britain have been pushed back- that our constitutional clause demanding that leaders must be practicing Christians is intolerant. We referred them to some EU legislation and argued our point with some pertinent analogies from the maths society, the rowing club and the Young Fine Gael group and we were accepted. Since then, the CU has been one of the most active and positive presences on campus. The Christians who make up that group now are some of the most inspirational young people you can imagine. Their diversity is startling. There is no drawback to having such groups on campus. The only motive for removing them is a secular zeal of religious fervour.

Your Correspondent, He Has Hope Cos Mediocre People Do Exceptional Things All The Time

Put On The Day And Wear It ‘Till The Night Comes

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Hear ye! Hear ye! Zoomtard hereby invites all you Dublin-dwellers to see him act like a 12 year old girl at a Westlife gig. On Thursday December 7th, Dr. N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham will deliver the final talk in a series on the Da Vinci Code entitled “Conspiracy Theories and Christian Theology: Why The Da Vinci Code Matters”. The event takes place in the Emmett Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin and goes on from 7.30-9.00pm. Unless you are a student or staff member of Trinity it will cost €10. Better value than a Westlife gig.

As some of you know, there will be a General Election in Ireland before the summer. As most of those people know, our Electoral Register has rotted from the inside out so that most people are either not on it or get 16 votes. The government have done what governments do and set up a website where you can check that you are actually eligible to vote. It is one of those truly ugly government websites but maybe you should pop over and make sure you will be heard in May (or February if Bertie goes ahead with his alleged plot to invade Greece over their weapons of mass distinction- a tabernacle and some priestly robes that some Greek Orthodox priests robbed when they were visiting a parish in Drumcondra).

I read my first Anne Rice book this week- Christ The Lord, Out Of Egypt. She became a Christian in a large part due to reading N.T. Wright (so be careful before you come to the lecture!). She had written a series of very very very successful novels that sought to make sense of a world without God. I am probably not going to read them though because she investigated it through vampires and incubii and other stuff that makes me think of many-sided dice games. Anyway, its a tasty little read. It is a lamentable thing that I so rarely read books that could be best enjoyed on a beach or in an airport lounge but this is one of those easy page-turners. And no harm for that, say I.

Even if I am saying it because I know it is right, not that I actually feel it…

So Rice writes a 30 page explanation for the novel at the end. There is something very wrong with the state of culture if authors feel a need to justify using Christmas as the basis for a novel. Its the third greatest story ever after Easter and the day Man City beat Man Utd 5-1 in 1989. But she writes about how she began with the standard assumptions- that the Gospels were late creations, not eye-witness accounts, manipulated by a bunch of conniving conspiratists who inflated Jesus, the good liberal teacher of 20th Century-friendly truths into a God. She did what she always did and started researching and the skeptical books she began with shocked her. They were a series of assumptions piled on top of assumptions reaching “absurd conclusions” on scant evidence. I had to read this paragraph out loud to Neuro because I could have written it. It was my experience.

What gradually came clear to me was that many of the skeptical arguments- arguments that insisted most of the Gospels were suspect, for instance, or written to late to be eye-witness accounts- lacked coherence. They were not elegant. Arguments about Jesus himself were full of conjecture. Some books were no more than assumptions piled upon assumptions. Absurd conclusions were reached on the basis of little or no data at all. In sum, the whole case for the nondivine Jesus who stumbled into Jerusalem and somehow got crucified by nobody and had nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and would be horrified by it if he knew about it- that whole picture which had floated in liberal circles I frequented as an atheist for thirty years- that case was not made. Not only was it not made, I discovered in this field some of the worst and most biased scholarship I’d ever read.

One of the major arguments used by the skeptic scholars against the authenticity of the Gospels is that they must have been written after 70AD. In 70AD the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple. It still hasn’t been rebuilt. It was the greatest temple of the ancient world and the very centre of Judaism. It was actually as central to Judaism as Jesus is to Christianity. Its destruction came at the end of a 6 year long war that was preceeded by a Civil War in Rome. These were tumultuous times.

The Gospels, it is argued, must be later than the Temple because in the Gospels, Jesus explicitly predicts the destruction of the Temple (I won’t bore you with an index of verses but email me if you want). That sounds like a pretty solid assumption and it is one I have never had any major trunk with. I think Luke, written in 75AD, is still a hugely solid historical document.

Here is where Rice gets interesting though. The early Christians were mostly Jewish. Christianity at heart claims to be the fulfilment of Judaism. In technical terms, the Gospel writers were members of a Judeo-Christian cult. Like all writers, they were writing with an audience in mind. In the case of the Gospel writers, they were writing for either Jews or the Gentiles who destroyed the Temple (residents of the Empire). The Temple was important because it was where God made his dwelling. It is where he “tabernacled amongst us”. It is a direct and constant claim of Christianity that Jesus replaces the Temple because he is God dwelling amongst us as a person, God “tabernacling amongst us”.

With the destruction of the Temple, the Jews of the world were crying with their hands in the sky for some explanation of why God had abandoned them and why his dwelling place could be destroyed. If the Gospels were written to Jews, after the destruction of the Temple, the authors could make the polemically potent, the simple and elegant and astoundingly strong argument that the Temple was destroyed because Jesus is the Temple. But they don’t make that claim. Its a huge, obvious argument to make and they don’t make it. Why?

Maybe, after all, the Gospels are what they first appear to be- early eye-witness accounts, not late eye-witness accounts. Ah well, it interested me.

With work yesterday I was in a university hosting a free chaplaincy lunch. I was talking to one guy, a witty, smart, arrogant atheist full of the undergraduate swagger I have yet to grow out of. He mocked a Christian friend of his for being closeted and hidden away from the world and insinuated that the reason for this was that the world “out there” would destroy her faith. A Christian girl had to leave early to take a tutorial but she brought food away with her for her lab partner. He had been starving but he refused to come to the lunch and talk to Christians. I don’t know what to make of these two interactions or even if they are connected in reality but it seems to me to be discordant. How can Christians be closeted and at the same time, atheists or strong agnostics should feel a need to closet themselves against us? As we offer them free food. Its not like we were baptising people as we poured them their orange juice.

Baptising adults? What kind of crazy idea is that?!

Answers on a postcard please. About the silly prejudices against Christians, that is. There is no explanation in the world for adult bapists…

Your Correspondent, Cooks his chunk in Gatorade.

Join Me On The Back Seat Of My Car

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

I woke up this morning and sure, like you (or at least you if you live in the Northern Hemisphere) resented the growing confidence of Winter as it nipped at my feet but I was also pretty chuffed with myself. In fact, you could call me positively smug. Infuriatingly so. See, since the evening before, when I had a moment of clarity that us crutch-holding Christians like to call “Joy“, I have been floating around on the recognition that life is sweet.

The realisation came yesterday evening. I had taken the morning off and finished Gilead (more on that later) and started Christ The Lord- Out Of Egypt. Then I went down to the office to finish preparation for a Bible study on the book of Hosea. Hosea is the kind of document I would love to give to the countless people who think that they have “read the Bible”. It tells the story of how Hosea is asked by God to marry a prostitute called Gomer and eventually buy her out of sex slavery (after she has rejected him and run away) so that his life would be like a performance art representation of God’s love for us. Then Hosea starts talking about his country and how angry God is at Israel over the injustice, murder and invasion that they have chosen to embroil themselves in. God promises that he will rot their land like he was a maggot and then assures them that for their horrific sins (things like killing every pregnant lady in a city and setting first sons on fire to appease pagan gods) he would rip them limb from limb like a raving lion. Its so much more interesting than what people think of when the Bible is mentioned. Finally, the passage that we looked at ends with this astounding line:

For I desire goodness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.

Its like the entire Old Testament summed up in one sentence. Its like God’s manifesto for an end of religion and moralism and a radical revolution all in one line. So I get paid to read and think about this passage that interprets and explains the political implications of a nation in the year 733BC. Then I came home and had dinner with Dave (thanks to him for the November banner- the great Jesus kicking ass cartoon) and then my house got all filled up with friends from all around the world who came to talk and argue about Hosea. It was sweet. I have the best job in the world.

Zoomtard impersonates Christopher Lee
Back in the good old days when I didn’t have a mansion provided with my job and instead I spent my days sleeping in Ukrainian hostels and having coffee with 20 year old undergraduates, I used to have a megapass for the cinema. It meant that I could go see any movie any time and not pay any money. Instead my credit card paid a set amount every month. That is practically free, because I didn’t hand over any money.

But now I have a real job and I can’t go farting off to the cinema every time Scarlett Johansson or Hilary Swank appear in a film. So we have recently gone crazy on the internet and subscribed to an online DVD rental system. Our list of almost a hundred films include most of the Oscar best movie winners we never got around to seeing and a bunch of childhood favourites form the 1980s that I totally missed. So for example, this morning The Goonies arrived in the post and I loved it. Karate Kid is sitting on the TV waiting for a few spare hours to teach me, at last, how to do the chicken kick or whatever it is everyone used to do in the schoolyard.

So I learnt how to mimic Rocky last week and a few days ago we finally got to watch the original Wicker Man– a movie renowned as the creepiest, chillingest British movie ever until The Descent (best horror movie ever) got made. Don’t read that Wikipedia article if you haven’t seen it before because it is a delight to watch its eeriness unfold into true horror. Oh it is so good!

I was really taken with it though and I decided I was wasting my life as a Christian and so for a few minutes became a pagan cult leader. There is photographic evidence, provided below, if you couldn’t imagine me in such a role. I made my little Wicker Man sacrifice so that the god of herpes simplex would cure my cold sore and then I celebrated as it burned. It didn’t quite work.



Reliving the Wicker Man, originally uploaded by Zoomtard.

Another Thing Neuro And I Disagree On
Gilead is an amazing novel which I absolutely adored. Neuro is definitely the literature critic in our household but she couldn’t swallow the male character written by Marilynne Robinson whereas I believed it from the first page. The lead character is a dying pastor so there are lots of reflections that just take my breath away. It was the rare kind of book that got me to take out my pen and actually underline sections. I especially (surprise surprise) enjoyed the reflections on Karl Barth. Here is the best one,

When this old sanctuary is full of silence and prayer, every book Karl Barth will ever write would not be a feather in the scales against it from the point of view of profundity, and I would not believe in Barth’s own authenticity if I did not also believe he would know and recognize the truth of that, and honor it, too.

Maybe it is sentimental tosh. But I loved it.

A Call Out To The Ulaanbaatar Massive
I expect that there are a few fans of Zoomtard out there that aren’t my friends in real life (meaning being paid by my mom to invite me to parties). I never expected to get props from a Buddhist monk in Mongolia, but that is just what has happened. “Dreaming Of Danzan Ravjaa” is the weblog of an American Buddhist monk living in Mongolia. I have only ever met one Mongol before (is that even the correct term- the horror if I am wrong!) so I am pretty impressed with this internet thing Al Gore invented that someone all the way over there can read my theological sketchpad and find it amusing.

I guess there aren’t too many things vying for attention at the edge of the Gobi and so he doesn’t find large rambling texts all that boring. Anyway, what is interesting is he contrasts me to an American evangelist working in Mongolia and I come out favourably. Yay for me! Sadly, that is my dad he is talking about in that post. No. Only kidding. My dad sells plastic bags for a living. It isn’t a profitable industry but he has made it his goal to destroy the environment before his death so he is just doing the best he can.

Before I go, can we get political for a moment and give props to America’s voters for becoming sane again? And can we put an end to the terror of neoteny? Seriously, that is a new word you should learn. I read this Stephen Jay Gould article that explains Nicole Ritchie’s terrifying weight loss back in the day and it is fascinating to see it applied in this way. If you doubt it, go to the NY Times source or this photo essay for clear proof that Hollywood starlets’ weight loss is actually an evolutionary trend.

That doesn’t mean its a good thing.

Your Correspondent, Addicted to techno-trousers

Featuring Wycliffe Jean Doing A 25 Second Rap

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

In the flesh, Sufjan Stevens is the most beautiful man I have ever seen except for Ann-dee. The Elder stunned me over the weekend by telling me he was giving me two tickets to the gig so last night I took my lady friend and we had a ball. Sure, Sufjan didn’t play To Be Alone With You or Abraham, but he did shock us all, by which I mean me and Neuro, by opening with Sister and then playing the Transfiguration. He did all the other favourites like Chicago and the Predatory Wasp and Seven Swans and the Supercomputer song but not the one about zombies. There are two kinds of people at Sufjan gigs- the uber-hip shit cool and the totally lame-oid nerds who don’t even know that there is a thing called “hip”. The contrast makes for a really nice crowd. Some people trying to banter and shout at the stage and others saying, “Sssssh. Ssssssh.” I was in the third category; the theological representative who was there to explain the deeper meaning in the songs. I overheard the guy beside me before the gig comment that Sufjan Stevens was “an official Christian”. I need to get myself a stamp or a visa or something.

I used to know all the names of the tracks on albums I loved. Putting the cd in the system meant I would have to hold something and have a chance to read it. Since switching to downloading my music this knowledge has just faded away. 3 or 4 keyboard shortcuts and I have any one of a bijillion songs at my fingertips and now I find myself not knowing the names of the songs and trying to describe them to friends by imitating the tuba noises or saying “Its about 12 minutes in”.

The Revelator
I always imagined that a U2 gig for me would be a transcendental experience. Not in a Shakira gig kind of transcendence but in the sense that over the last few years, U2’s songs have played a major role in shaping how I approach faith. (Ignore that noise. Its just the intellectual and the rigorously Reformed Christians punching their monitors) Sufjan was more like a revelation. My cynicism about contemporary Christian music may run deeper than most people but the diversity that should mark out Christian community should be mirrored in Christian creativity. Instead we have b-grade tosh most of the time. Sure there is a Jars Of Clay here or well, that is all, holding up the tin edifice. All these bands I am thinking about are much more explicit about their faith than Sufjan, Duke Special, Bob Dylan or Bono but they are all much more banal. That makes no sense!

Unless! Unless, music as a creative expression, as dare I say it, Art, need not be explicit. Perhaps the banality comes from the expectation that they jam in a Biblical reference here and an intense “Praise Your Holy Name” chorus there. The revelation came in the silence after the Transfiguration (how fitting), as the 10-piece band wearing kite wings prepared for the next song. Music in church should be this diverse, this creative, this thrilling. Sure, my little church, (which by the way, has an awesome worship team with superb theology) can’t match the guitar virtuoso-dom of Annie Clark (yet) but we aren’t aspiring to push the music into uncharted places. I’m going to verbal process here, but we worship in music because the idea of God stretches language past breaking point. But the idea of God stretches the language of our music beyond breaking point too. Surely we should go searching for new ways of doing things. The Worship Wars of the previous generation were about whether we should let contemporary music into church. In reality, the Worship Wars have given rise to a new hegemony. Where once there were hymnbooks there are now Spring Harvest songs projected on Powerpoint. What we need, what at least we should aspire to, is diversity and creativity. Always playing the same kind of music can produce a cosy little rut for our congregations. Ruts can be comfortable places, but surely they are a barrier to worshipping in spirit and truth?

Discard all of this if it is early morning drivel.

The Significance
Over the last few years I may have occasionally mentioned how superbly smart my wife is. So enjoying a customary post-gig chocolate malt, I am gushing about this and ooohing over that and she goes medieval on my ass. “What’s so freaking exciting about a singer who makes vague references to his faith in songs?”, she said, philistineishly. What followed was a very long debate about the role of the Christian as an artist, or as a producer of cultural artefacts and how culture affects behaviour. It was a brainwrecking battle but I think I came out on top. On the drive home I discovered the weakness in her logic. It couldn’t stand up to sustained, high-pitched wailing. Every time she would make a point, I would screech like a threatened monkey and she came around to seeing things my way.

Sufjan’s music is unique and beautiful. But honestly, the thing I like the most about Sufjan Stevens is that his music is a sincere expression of his faith. He doesn’t set out to write a song about how “just, really like, Jesus is lovely” but there is barely a song where his faith doesn’t poke up somewhere. Our worldviews are the centres of our lives, whether we admit it or not. If one has a Christian faith, then the expectation is that it would shine through in one’s work. There are so few people out there doing that and it makes Sufjan hugely important to me. I am reading a novel called Gilead that won the Pulitzer last year. Except for To Kill A Mockingbird, its the only significant novel written by a Christian which allows their faith to be apparent that I can find since The Last Temptation Of Christ, (which is heretical).

So the personal significance of Sufjan for me is that he is a fellow pilgrim who is letting me in on some of the things he is struggling with or loving as he makes his journey. The wider significance, (just one aspect of it, in fact) is that in a culture totally stripped of grace, and denuded of the “Yahweh principles” like forgiveness and sacrifice, Sufjan is singing Bible stories to 100s of people a night. None of them are about to drop to their knees and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, but that does give me and them a shared language to discuss the Carpenter. If Sufjan had introduced the Transfiguration last night with a theological preamble, people would have been to varying degrees pissed off or turned off. The place for Sufjan to evangelise is the same place for me to evangelise- in the context of loving relationship. But hearing and loving and investing in songs like the Transfiguration is not eternally neutral. It allows people a glimpse at a shadow of something that is all around them.

Or maybe its a glimpse of that which is missing from inside them.

Regardless, the starting-point of Sufjan’s significance is that he is a Christian artist living his Christian faith out with authenticity in his creativity.

Neuro pointed out that for all I know he could be sleeping with a different girl in every city. She always ruins everything. Her and her damned addiction to reality.

Your Correspondent, Talking like this to hypnotise you