Top Three Reasons American Missionaries Leave the UK

Americans have not always had the easiest of times moving to the United Kingdom. One would think the transatlantic move would actually be somewhat of an easy transition, given the similarity between the two cultures. It surprised me to hear that the average stay of an American in the United Kingdom, in any type of industry, was about two years. That’s hardly any time at all. Why is this the case?

Weekend BusLet me start right from the top and say this post is not a result from a large scale survey or replicable experimental model. It comes from my conversations with Brits who have experienced Americans in their culture, Americans who have lived there and moved and Americans who have been able to reside there long term. Basically, anecdotal evidence. So this really is just my perspective but I’ve had quite a few conversations with people from the above three categories (due to an obsession to learn as much as possible from them), so hopefully this information is somewhat on track. Either way, here’s what I have found. Continue reading

Lennon and the Revelator (2 of 2)

Arts and TheologyThis was originally posted on orlandograce.org. This is the second of two posts examining similarities and differences between John Lennon’s Imagine and John the Apostle’s Revelation. Read the first one here.

Last week we looked at John Lennon’s Imagine and John the Apostle’s Revelation, examining the differences in these two works that image the end of history as we know it. This week we move on to where our two Johns overlap.

Similarities

Grotto of the Apocalypse at Patmos

The Grotto of the Apocalypse at Patmos, surrounding the entrance to the cave where John is believed to have received the visions of Revelation.

Before we just merely use Lennon as a foil for Scripture (which is really just the easy way out) we need to ask what kind of similarities exist between the two. Both are highly religious and theological: Imagine by not naming God, Revelation by naming Him. Though one is a secular utopia and the other is the new heavens and earth, both have in mind a perfect society and they both have a hope for humanity. Both are honest with the present world not fulfilling all our needs, affirming that the world as it is now is lacking something. Both have a teleological thrust: there is an end goal to this thing called life, some kind of movement forward.
Continue reading

Lennon and the Revelator (1 of 2)

Arts and TheologyThis was originally posted on orlandograce.org. This is the first of two posts examining similarities and differences between John Lennon’s Imagine and John the Apostle’s Revelation.

At first glance one wouldn’t think John Lennon and John the Apostle would have very much in common. One, a self-proclaimed atheist and pop star, the other, one of the twelve disciples and author of more than a few New Testament documents. Though there are obvious differences, there exist some similarities. We’re going to quickly look at John Lennon’s Imagine and the John the Apostle’s Revelation and see what there is to be gained from both.

John Lennon Wall, Prague, Czech Republic

John Lennon Wall, Prague, Czech Republic

Differences
Okay, it’s obvious, but let’s state it. There are wild differences between these people and their work. This is the easy part to see and understand and doesn’t require much from us. Imagine puts forth the possibility of a utopia on earth through erasing the things that so often divide us as humans: religion, nations, class differences, etc.:
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Recent Online Reading

I’ve come across a few good reads online recently, all with an art or culture angle to them. The first few are from painter Makoto Fujimura, who has a great interview here and here. Fujimura’s works are pretty unbelievable, he uses gold and other precious objects to paint with, creating dense, layered, abstract expressionistic beautiful paintings. He also has a few good mp3 messages online, and was a founding elder of The Village Church.

Fujimura also has started IAM, the International Arts Movement, which is a collection of artists from all types of fields “to wrestle with the deep questions of art, faith and humanity in order to inspire the creative community to engage the culture that is and create the world that ought to be.” Oh yeah, he also has written a book, Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture. Busy guy.

Through IAM, I found The Curator, their online publication. There are some really great articles in here that critically engage the art our culture produces. Right now they have an interview with Pierce Pettis up.

In this same vein, I stumbled over The Gospel & Culture Project, developed by Dr. William Edgar, apologetics professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. There are some great reads here as well, especially the piece on Italian painter Morandi’s Still Lifes and in The Threat of Culture, on how we can positively view culture. There’s also a fascinating snippet of an upcoming documentary on physical perfection and religion. This 7 minute peek likens our manufacturing of mannequins to past culture’s creation of statues used in worship, like saints. Very interesting.

And not on any of these topics and in more shallow water, there’s a slightly old article from New York Times’ The Pour, on how big beer breweries act like their customers are stupid.