Saturday, 23 April 2011

Think of the internet as a sacred space…

I prefer to think of the internet as a sacred space, a place where everything we do is under the watchful gaze of God.

It is already “religious”. Our business, therefore, is to use this space in a way that is consistent with our beliefs about God.

Doing so immediately shifts the focus from preaching about God (whether to believers or non-believers) to worshipping God (something we share with those who do not subscribe to our particular beliefs).

It enables us to be both supremely free and yet sensitive to others. Religious dialogue is often presented as an attempt to minimise difference, whereas true dialogue, of any kind, means clarity about one’s own position and respect for that of the other.

Sister Catherine Wybourne, “The internet as a sacred space

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

A poem for my wife on her birthday

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a poem for [Jen]( that I delivered as a spoken word piece at a party we threw for her birthday. She turned 36. Imagine the delivery described [here]( applied to the words below the picture and you will get the idea…

Jen at the Whistle Stop in Renton

— For Jen on her 72nd Birthday —

We are gathered here for
Jen on her 72nd birthday
We are looking back, less from the middle
and more from the end

We are pushing back, we are going back, way back
We are pushing back, we are going back, way back

Back to the afternoon when the blond girl
Killed that first spider on behalf of her mother
Both of them dancing the sacred spider death dance
Oh no it’s gonna get me
Oh no it’s gonna get me
We are saved, we are saved
It’s OK, it’s OK

Back to the boy and his sword
Who commanded Monsters, Monsters, Oh no, it’s a Monster
Who commanded Monsters out from
That beanpole teepee
His dirt face high pitch grin
Wound a light through the darkness that summer

Those were the days of that old car of ours
With the dent in the fender
That we always intended to fix
(but secretly never wanted to)
The one with that swaggering headlight
That became a sort of family compass
Reminding us of what it meant to wrestle angels
(Do you remember when we wrestled angels?)

That was the afternoon she took the scissors to the coasters
The one when she took shears to her blond locks
It was about 3pm when she stared us straight in the eye
And dared us to forgive as ones who have been forgiven much
That afternoon where midnight began

It was the evening he took the markers and the crayons
To everything in sight
The walls, the chairs, the windows, and the television
The walls, the chairs, the windows, and the television
He colored away all doubters that the rhythm of Adam
Had skipped skipped skipped a beat beat beat

It was the morning that that computer crashed
Like Moses smashing those tablets in his anger
He reduced them to sand and used it to cover all sorts of bodies
Hoping no one no one no one would ever find them
(and while no one ever did, he always thought of them
when he paced that beach, desert, beach, desert, beach, desert…)

Yes, yes — that’s it, I can tell you remember those middle days
As we look back and we recognize now
What was less than clear at the time

That those “I have a great idea” moments
All boiled down to a few constant things

That this life is always a wrestling of angels, angels, angels
That this walk always comes with a limp, a limp, a limp
That this gait always establishes a rhythm, a rhythm, a rhythm

Of loving as ones who have been loved much
Of grace doled out to both the kissers and the betrayers
That is the day we began to recognize
The rhythm of an Imagination not our own

So raise a glass to Jen on her
Seventy seventy seventy second birthday
And toast with me to the beauty of a life well lived
To the beauty of a wife well loved

Friday, 27 July 2007

Tonight is the 6th wedding anniversary for Jen and I. I pulled out a copy of my wedding vows to her to read. A small reminder of where we’ve been and how God has been framing our journey since the early days.

When she misted up as I finished, I turned and said, “Did my poetry to you make you cry?”

To which she said, sniff, sniff, “I have allergies.”

In the immortal words of the 77’s, this is the way love is.

Jennifer —

Before God, our community, our family, I covenant with you — to be your husband. As Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, I vow to love you as my wife and give myself up for you.

I covenant to love you with the deep, wide, sustaining, mysterious, knowable love of Christ —

A love that is bold and broken
A love that is graceful and firm
A love that encourages and challenges
A love that listens and speaks and listens and speaks and listens and speaks and listens…

I vow to trust in God for our provision while being diligent to provide for you and our family with the resources God has trusted me with. I welcome the responsibility of leading and pastoring our family in the truth of Christ — His Word, His Promises, His Practicalities.

I covenant —

To repent when I sin against you.
To be slow to anger when you sin against me
To teach the truth I have known
To be teachable where I have a lot to learn

I covenant —

To ask your forgiveness when my pride wounds you
And to be quick to forgive you when you need to be forgiven
To be obedient to God — even when it is not convenient, even when it is not expedient

I vow to never leave you, nor forsake you. To care for, protect, honor, and love you for the rest of my life. I thank God, you, our community, our family, for the blessing you are to my life.

I have impatiently grumbled to God for many seasons as to what my provision would look like. On this, our wedding night, I thank God for you, my provision, and I must say before this gathering that, you look good.

I look forward, as husband and wife, to being nourished by God’s Joy through famine into laughter.

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Body sketches on zooomr

For the last few months I’ve been exercising the creative side of my brain during the time our spiritual community gathers each Sunday.

For years I’ve been an avid notetaker –– multi-bullet outlines –– lots of structure to chew on the content before me.

It’s been my ongoing effort to digest, remember, and wrestle with talks/music/etcetera that make up the gatherings of the various spiritual communities I’ve been a part of over the years.

Since buying a tablet PC for the main workstation for my new job, I’ve been trying to exercise the creative part of my brain a bit more.

One thing I’ve been doing is using a natural paint program called ArtRage to do sketches during church. ArtRage is one of the coolest programs I’ve ever come across –– it’s free for the base version and $20 for a version that supports layers and photoshop export.

Here’s a link to the smart set I’ve created on Zooomr with all these images.

[One thing to note, I use because Flickr does not allow sketches like this to be publicly viewable. Ergo, I’ve ditched Flickr. I should be able to store my images and collaborate around them online no matter what their subject matter. Filckr penalizing me for working with illustrations or screenshots is horrendous usability (and bad business).]


Friday, 1 September 2006

Friday, 30 June 2006

She Wants to Know…

Related to the previous post about ‘Sex at Gnomedex‘ — also just noticed that I’d never reposted the poem I wrote to propose to Jen after switching over to a blog format. Here is is — rigns as true today as it did when I penned it in 2001.

She Want’s to Know…
by Bryan Zug

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again — then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

– – –

this has always been here
     though we are just now uncovering it

this has always been here
     though we are just now discovering it

– – –

she has just asked me
how i know
that she is the one

and there is so much to say about the past and the future and the moment unfolding before us — sitting across a table eating Saturday morning eggs at the breakfast pub on 45th and Stone

she wants to know
the method of my surety —
     how I have discerned
     its measure is not madness

and my answer is simply this —
i know because i have chosen.

     chosen to dive for these pearls
     chosen to dig for this treasure
     chosen to love her first
     and last
     and among
     all that lies in this middle

and make no mistake
there is much that lies in this middle —
     split tongue undertones
     of compatibilities?
     too soons?
     and happily ever afters?

i will push these half-truths into full light
and say plainly —

     we are not compatible —
     we are wicked
     and only by Grace made able

     we are not going to live “happily” ever after —
     we will be nourished by Joy,
     through famine into laughter

     we will be blessed in restful wrest —
     a marriage bed of ordered mess

i have seen Salvation
i know what Covenant looks like
i testify on the sapphire foundation of Surety —
     i love because He first loved me

– – –

this has always been here
     though we are just now uncovering it

this has always been here
     though we are just now discovering it

– – –

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

“O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.”

Sex at Gnomedex (the luxurious use of the F-Bomb in church)

Am looking forward to participating in Susan Mernit’s ‘Sex & Longing & Web 2.0‘ session at Gnomedex today.

Hope to read th risqué and beautifully provocative poem ‘Hey You’ by Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine that I posted to a publicly viewable church bulletin board back in 2001 — an action that played a part in the chain of events that I call ‘the wooing my beautiful wife Jen’.

Text is below — it’s got a luxurious use of F-bombs — you’ve been warned — now take a quick read while nobody’s looking.

Hey You
by Linford Detweiler

Fuck me, she says,
And it’s not an exclamation
It’s a plea

Fuck me feels different
In the marriage bed
It’s not like it’s forbidden

Fuck can be such a hateful word
But she’s in love
Trying on the name wife for size

Fuck me sort of suits her
She loves to laugh
And she wants something carefree and crude

Fuck me and all of a sudden it’s a playful prayer
We both still want to do something good for the world
We both believe in miracles

Fuck me and there are better words for it
We both know
But the way she says it makes you wonder

Fuck me please I’m soppy and smooth
The world is disappearing
And it’s not so much the please it’s the possibility:

It’s the possibility
That this life is going to break us into pieces
Knock us reeling and silly with painful joy

And the word fuck is suddenly a tiny praise chorus
A slap happy swing at a tipsy God
The joke’s on us

And this is our sweet redeemer
Looking down on a tangle of man and wife
A happily shipwrecked bed

It’s not like he hasn’t seen it before
But he’s even blessed a dirty word
Thank you Lord

. . .
copyright 2000, Linford Detweiler

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Rudy Carrasco at Harambee Seattle

Nancy White’s visual note taking at Mind Camp 1 & 2 has inspired me to try on some new methods in taking notes.

In further efforts to exercise the creative part of my brain (I can never remember whether it’s right or left so I’m just calling it the creative side) — I’ve gotten ArtRage for my tablet PC and begun painting as note taking whenever I hear somebody speak.

ArtRage is a natural paint program with a very fun interface (from the same folks who did the Kai’s Power Goo and original Bryce and Poser interfaces, back in the day) — I open it and go — best $20 program I’ve ever bought.

Microsoft should pre-load it on all tablet PC’s and use it as a marketing tool to spark family creativity — my 3 year old loves it.


This Sunday at Harambee in south Seattle, I got the chance to hear Rudy Corrasco speak. Rudy is the executive director of Harambee Christian Family Center in Pasadena — very engaging talk — quite provocative in a gentle yet untamed sort of way.

Some of the sketch paintings I did are below – the first one is of Rudy, the others are on themes he provoked us with.






Thursday, 16 March 2006

Sorry but I have to leave to meet my man (and his name is Tony Soprano)

I was at dinner with business friends last night. It is a new adventure and we are getting to know each other. What a great time — personal stories — industry stories — personal industry stories — what a fun night.

About 8 pm somebody mentions that they have to be home by 9, and, secretly, I wonder if they need to be home by 9 for the same reason I need to be home by 9.

Someone else (who is not me because I’m trying to be discreet) asks, “Why 9?”


Yes! I am not the only one (oh, how that question drives so many of our internal conversations and decisions) — someone else is having the same affair that I am.

There is a nod of unspoken understanding by half the table as it dawns on us there are quite a few of us having the same affair.

Half the table was traveling when last Sunday’s series premier aired and have been anticipating the rerun like INSERT_FAVORITE_LONGING_METAPHOR_HERE.

The other half has seen it and is itching to talk about it. (They agree to keep mum until the AM — minimal extortion is involved).

In the course of the conversation I mention that I lead film forums on the Sopranos and have a handout that I’ve used in the past. I promise to make it available and so here it is — my Sopranos Film and Culture Handout — haven’t updated it in a couple of years (kids you know), but still use it regularly.