Part 1. The Culturally Savvy Christian. Extinct Like an Ivory Billed Woodpecker.

This week I’m heading out to the cabin for what is supposedly one final shot at my next book. The working title is “The Culturally Savvy Christian” the primary theme of which is: 1) There are none; 2) There need to be.

Finding a CSC should elicit the enthusiasm like that of rhapsodic ornithologists who recently sited an ivory-billed woodpecker, thought to be extinct. One compared it to “finding Elvis alive” (the bird was seen in Arkansas) and another said, “It is the most beautiful bird we could imagine rediscovering. It is a magical bird.”

Over the next few days I thought I’d post some quotes triggering my thoughts. Read between the lines and see if you can tell where this book is going. (And if you figure it out, let me know!!!) AND if you get really excited about the release of this book, go to amazon and add it to your wish list—you’ll be notified when the book is released. (Scheduled for January 2007.)


The only demand I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole life to reading my works. James Joyce James Joyce December 7th, 2005?

Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’ll be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pi–ed off.” Tyler Darden, Chuck Palahniuk’s fictional character, Fight Club

We are floundering more–culturally, politically, spiritually–than I can imagine anyone has been in several centuries. It’s hard to imagine that so many people are confused about who they are, what their dreams, hopes and aspirations and desires are–and who’s pulling the strings.” ?Michael Stipe, lead singer REM) Rolling Stone January 6th, 2000

You live in a deranged age, more deranged that usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing. Walker Percy January 14th, 2006

I think an enlightened person is capable, on some level, of making the distinction between the institution of the culture and the culture itself. The institution of Christianity, the way that it’s set up, it’s institutionalized and commodified, and anytime that happens, anytime it’s incorporated, it leads to disaster. I have the same knee-jerk reaction to that kind of culture. Maybe I’m a little more empathetic to it because we have similar fundamental beliefs. But culturally and aesthetically, some of it is really embarrassing.” Sufjan Stevens, on Christians and art, Pitchfork November 6th, 2005

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason. Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish Diplomat, in W.H. A

Led by the lamp of my desire and woe. If thee, my Lord, I may not understand, I am a wanderer in a houseless land, a weeping thirst by hot winds ever fanned.George MacDonald Diary of an Old Soul, April 1st, 2006

Now if someone asks me if I believe in God, I shake my head like I couldn’t give a s–t, but the truth is, I do. I just don’t know what to do about it¢â‚¬¦ Ethan Hawke, James Heartsock, the central character in his novel, Ash Wednesday March 1st, 2006

The significance (and ultimately the quality) of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which we are taking part.” Wendell Berry

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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