commodity vs. gift: the theology of NIN

theslip101

I recently downloaded the new Nine Inch Nails album “the slip” for free.  Living in a post Napster era downloading a full length album over the internet for free usually means it was done illegally but in this case Trent Reznor, the creative force behind Nine Inch Nails is giving away his latest album.

Philip Kenneson’s book Life on the Vine contains a chapter titled, “Cultivating Love in the Midst of Market-Style Exchanges”.  In it he explores our consumerist culture and the many ways in which such a mindset hinders our ability to understand and express love.  For Kenneson God’s love is unmerited and other directed while market-style exchanges put a price on everything and promote self interest.  It is through this lens that I started to think about the profound statement Trent Reznor is making by giving away his music for free.  This action embodies the kind of love, which Kenneson calls Christians to cultivate in the world.

Jesus often ministered to the prostitutes, the lepers, and the widows .  It is through this ministry to those on the margins of society that we understand something of God’s character.  Market-style exchanges are a significant obstacle to this type of ministry because often times the receiving party has nothing to give in return.  This is where a gift is needed because as Kester Brewin states, “a gift always looks for the empty hand”.  So now that I have received the gift of music from Trent I will explore the many ways in which I can give my own gifts to others.

Into Great Silence|Is Spirituality Communal?

In 1984 Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order of monks to make a movie about them.  They responded that they were not ready.

Sixteen years later they told Philip they were ready.  Considering the pace
of life shown in the film, I would say Philip got a speedy reply.

The film is called Into Great Silence and the opening shot is roughly 15 minutes of a monk in his cell praying silently. That is it, no sound, no score, no fancy lighting, just everyday life for some of the most ascetic monks in the world.

I was discussing this film with a friend who has been an overseas missionary for many years and she was offended that the monks did not interact with the outside world.  To her, it was selfish of the monks to devote their whole lives to a personal spirituality.

The reality of the Carthusian monks is actually quite the opposite.

The monks devotion, their prayer, the fact that they get up in the middle of the night, every night to sing Matins and Lauds is actually in service to the rest of the Body of Christ.  I have very rarely gotten up in the middle of the night to pray or go to a church service.  The Carthusian monks know this and that is why they do it for me.

So in that sense their spirituality is not personal but is completely communal.

Poor Reflection

This is a visual meditation on 1 Corinthians 13:12

A Lady and her Rattle

Theo-Drama, this friday

Hope you can join us

SuperBowl Sausage

Okay, Really, I am working on posting some stuff about movies, but in the meantime this is how I prepare for the Superbowl

A New Year, a New Hope (at actually writing on this thing)

If you are reading this I am impressed.  My last post was circa 6 months ago and my list of movies watched but not written about just kept getting longer.  Anyway I think I was trying to formulate my thoughts too much and come up with some polished ideas, which doesn’t lend itself to the blogging format.  So, in this new year I will try to write my ideas as they come with some room for reflection but a priority on getting my ideas down.  So without further ado…



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