The carnival is God

Despite remarkable popularity and obsessive fans not seen since the head Deadhead died, Insane Clown Posse manages to attract little attention from music critics or cultural commentators. (For the uninitiated, look upon their wikipedia, ye mighty, and despair.) But despite the amazingly off-putting profanity and sexual imagery of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope’s horrorcore lyrics, clearly these two rappers have a powerful ability to connect with what I think it’s fair to characterize as an alienated and disaffected fan base. I think the ICP phenomenon is probably a lot more complex than and interesting than it appears, even though cultural elites seem to disdainfully regard it as something unfortunately endemic among the lower classes like the musical version of methamphetamine. (Then again, there’s probably a lot of overlap on the ICP fans and meth users venn diagram.)

So when the Guardian reported (profane language warning) last weekend that the Insane Clown Posse was outing themselves as “evangelical Christians” I wasn’t entirely surprised. Last year, after seeing a viral video for ICP’s bizarre concert festival, “The Gathering of the Juggalos,” (also NSFW) out of morbid anthropolgical curiosity I spent some time learning about the group. I was struck by how many religious themes the band’s “Dark Carnival” mythos seemed to embrace. Indeed, The Guardian notes that the capstone to a cycle of six concept albums was a song called “Thy Unveiling” that actually caused some controversy among ICP fans when it was released in 2002. The song goes a little something like this:

[Expletive] it, we got to tell.

All secrets will now be told

No more hidden messages

…Truth is we follow GOD!!!

We’ve always been behind him

The carnival is GOD

And may all juggalos find him

We’re not sorry if we tricked you.

How on earth do you square this with so many other offensive and unChristian things that ICP sing about? In June, ICP explained it to a New Jersey newspaper this way:

Violent J has no problem explaining why Insane Clown Posse couched a spiritual message within such violent, profane and sexual language.

“That’s the stuff that people are talking about on the streets. So in other words, to get attention, you have to speak their language,’ he said. “You have to interest them, gain their trust, talk to them and show you’re one of them. You’re a person from the street and speak of your experiences. Then, at the end you can tell them God has helped me out like this, and it might transfer over, instead of just come straight out and just speak straight out of religion.”

That’s interesting, but not a whole lot to dig into and it really doesn’t begin to address the scope of contradiction here. But whereas the quote above is just an aside in a larger article about ICP, the Guardian devoted an entire article to specifically discussing the group’s religion. Beyond the fact they declare themselves Christians, we learn absolutely nothing about the specifics of their faith and beliefs. They’re described as “evangelical” — but why? We’re not sure. Where do they go to church? Why did they decide on this, uh, particular vehicle for spreading the good news? And interestingly, back in the late 90s, when ICP was signed to Hollywood Records — a Disney subsidiary — the label recalled an ICP’s album the day it was released and dropped the band because it appears Disney was concerned about being protested by the Southern Baptist Convention. It sure would be interesting to ask the band about that in light of recent revelations.

There are many specific questions that the revelation of their faith prompts, yet we get nothing aside from some broad platitudes about God’s creation while discussing the band’s infamous “Miracles” video. (Again, profanity.) Since the Guardian outed ICP as Christians a weeks ago almost all of the follow-up pieces have been snarky pile-on pieces from the music press.

I’d always thought that cultural commentators were ignoring ICP at their peril, but now it appears that there’s an interesting religion story that’s being missed here as well.

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  • Jerry

    It’s an interesting story but some readers might not know that NSFW stands for “not safe for work” meaning that some people such as your boss or a co-worker might be offended.

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    And that’s what we mean when we say $&#* scientists. Sometimes they kill all the cool mysteries away. When I was a kid, they couldn’t tell you how pyramids were made…”

    “Like Stonehenge and Easter Island,” says Shaggy. “Nobody knows how that shit got there.”

    “But since then, scientists go, ‘I’ve got an explanation for that.’ It’s like, $&#* you! I like to believe it was something out of this world.”

    I’d love to see the interviewer do a little pushing on this one. I think the Simpsons did it better, when the writers had Ned Flanders declare: “Well, I say there are some things we don’t want to know! Important things!”

  • Dave

    Can we be assured of a position taken by a group known for japery? Perhaps these guys are playing the media like a guitar.

  • http://twitter.com/daydreamlab Adam Bradley

    I agree there’s not a lot of detail here, or, apparently, anywhere else, though that might be because there’s not a lot to talk about–the Wikipedia article quotes one of them saying they aren’t “an ultra religious group,” and that he doesn’t go to church. The Wikipedia Talk page and history reveal a fair amount of controversy over how to handle their religion, especially on whether to trust the Guardian‘s interviewer when he calls them “evangelical Christians.”

    Also, isn’t one of the main markers of evangelicalism, when someone’s actually using that word to mean something, a focus on the believer’s conversion story as an important event? What’s here sounds extremely vague by those standards: they made some “life-defining decisions”–like changing the name of the band–after one of them got out of jail.

    This looks to me like yet another example of a journalist using the word evangelical to mean, “Christians I don’t understand.”

  • James

    This is by far, for me, the most shocking news I’ve seen in years, so I’m having difficulty forming coherent thoughts about it.

    Mark is very right about the lack of curiosity regarding the “nature” of this religion. The interview reveals no indication that the “God” spoken of here is Trinitarian Christianity. There are commonalities – the deity to whom they refer is omnipresent – apparently also one that can “help” us in some manner (so not deistic) – but I’m finding difficulty finding other indications, other than that the two were brought up in Christian families. Other elements seem to be quite heterodoxical – see the bit on “the beast” one faces when one dies in the Guardian article.

    One of the most newsworthy elements here is how long it took for this to come onto the radar screen of anyone outside the juggalo community and “insider” music community. The album The Wraith: Shangri-La (with this “coming out”) came out in 2002, and the lyrics present this track as a sort of long-awaited for revelation of the significance of their previous 5 albums and everything they had been doing. Wikipedia shows a few articles from around that time referring to this, and by a retrieval timestamp on the Wikipedia page dated 2008, one can see that this has been a feature of the Wikipedia page since at least 2008, if not before. Why is this now “newsworthy,” a whole eight years later? What’s even more troubling about the story is the original Guardian story described this “revelation” as “recent”, when it took place eight years ago. The “correction” doesn’t do justice to this egregious error – nowhere in the article is the date of the track mentioned.

    I believe it’s the slant the Guardian is trying to give this story. It’s identifying them as evangelical Christians. It doesn’t provide any motivation for this label – presumably, it’s because there is some form of evangelism present in how they describe their motivations. But all Trinitarian churches have some element of evangelism in what they do, though it may not be particularly emphasized. However, it isn’t this meaning of “evangelical” that makes a story a “hot-button issue” as this has become – the Guardian probably wants its readers to read into this – you know, that weird, ultra-right-wing conspiracy group centered around people like Pat Robertson etc.. But a simple reading of their lyrics and the history of their relations with evangelical groups (like the SBC) should make clear that this “slant” is quite deceptive – as well as some other past quotes – e.g., “We’re not an ultra religious group. I don’t go to church or anything. I like to believe in God.” (http://www.metrotimes.com/music/story.asp?id=13394).

    It seems to me that it’s this new, deceptive slant and no “news” which has the internet – and some of the media – abuzz with this information, and nothing else.

    Religious news reporters would do well to read about the TaiPing Rebellion – the second bloodiest conflict of the past three centuries – and the bloodiest of all religious-inspired wars – which was fueled by a heterodox version of Christianity – one which was as profoundly “evangelistic” and also included beliefs regarding heaven and hell. Previous generations closer to the nineteenth century had some collective memory of the various odd and dangerous movements of heterodoxical Christianity, such as the Oneida Community, which demonstrated the necessity of “good teaching.” This very danger was one of the elements which fueled skepticism – and sometimes even persecution – of various “evangelical” movements (in the old sense of the term) of previous centuries – often combined with the label “enthusiasm” – and stressed the importance of religious institutions, as well as catholicism (with a lower c).

    In our own century, we have seen a splinter group of the Disciples of Christ (the movement around Jim Jones), and a Branch Davidians-related group, devolve into highly un-catholic, and dangerous, outpourings of such “enthusiasm.” Unfortunately, we no longer have the sensibilities to understand the dangers of teaching which is resoundingly anti-catholic. And strangely enough, it’s frequently the groups which are described as “Evangelical” which are most concerned with preventing the excesses of such “enthusiasm” and preserving catholicity, in their attention to critiquing various “new teachings.”

    This article, and the accompanying trend around it, seems to indicate that the word “evangelical” has outlived its fruitful use by the mainstream media, and has become a term which is more likely to confuse than to illuminate. Some sort of new term which is less susceptible to deliberately confusing usage is probably necessary.

  • Hector

    Re: They’re described as “evangelical” — but why

    In the minds of some of the secularist peanut gallery, anyone who has the temerity to believe, say, that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin or literally healed lepers with his touch, is ipso facto an ‘evangelical’.

    I’ve been described as a ‘fundamentalist’ before, on the basis that I actually take most of the New Testament as literal history, which is pretty hilarious (given that I’m an Anglican about two steps west of Rome, and have very little sympathy for most of evangelical theology, nor they for me).

  • James

    I’ve sketched out above some of the underlying presumptions of this story (with the word “evangelical”) and issues related to it which should be important to any news coverage: catholicism (including, e.g., how do these teachings reflect Trinitarian Christianity?) and the dangers of evangelical “enthusiasm” (though this definition is no longer current).

    Some things which the articles here tend to miss which I find essential and rather frightening:

    This whole story reeks of Sheilaism on steroids in a setting not unlike the origins of many heretical sects – profoundly underprivileged (they and their followers are frequently described as “trailer trash”), emphasizing this fact in their various cultural artefacts (all the songs about how miserable I am because I’m so poor and no one understands me, etc. etc..), developing a corporate sense of persecution and isolation, relying on alternative or underground means of propogation (they’re never on MTV, they hardly get any mainstream music press, etc. etc..). One thinks of the Ebionites, the Cathars, the Minorites.

    All the while, they are doing nothing significantly new other than tapping into profoundly ingrained cultural tendencies and bringing these to a new level of intensity – the sex, the violence, the fascination with horror and alienation, the absence of recognizable musical qualities, etc., in what seems to be a parody-of-a-parody-of-a-parody “we’re just ironizing the tendencies of society by pushing the envelope” etc. etc.. This is exactly what we have come to expect from “artistic creation” in this age.

    In one article, they claim that what they are doing is serving God because they can tell people, “God has been helping me all along.” But to what degree are they actually telling people this?

    And how about when they say “the dark carnival is God?”

    Upheaval, overturning, ironizing – these are most certainly a part of Christ’s message, though they, of course, must be read within the context of the whole of Christ’s message.

    One of G.K. Chesterton’s best-known works, The Man who was Thursday, has some striking parallels with this band as a phenomenon. The work is about a man who accidentally ends up joining a small, wacked-out terrorist cell which is bombing various buildings and monuments, and is called at some point to meet the leader of the whole terrorist movement. Who turns out to be a kind of metaphor for God … a very odd story line, and I can’t explicate it here. There’s of course the element of upheaval and overturning – and that of unexpectedness, apparent serendipity, and chaos, which actually turns out to be meticulously planned, ordered, and serving a greater good.

    This is all fine and well, it is a single, short novel which I expect Chesterton wrote rather quickly, and I still question the wisdom behind Chesterton’s choice to publish it. What we have here is an entire social movement of persons identifying themselves strongly as Juggalos and Juggalettes who have immersed themselves in an artistic world of meaningless violence, misogyny, and self-pity in following this rather un-musical movement for whatever reasons of their own, only to discover with the revelation of this “sixth joker” that the entirety of this movement of thousands of brethren was founded with a hope that they would “find God” and thereby find “heaven.” It is like a very sick joke on a mammoth scale, to which the artists involved have given their entire careers. It has inspired a great deal of violence and a few murders.

    And as far as we know, this word “God” isn’t “padded out” – one would think, with all the freakish horror that the movement in its totality has inspired, that the leaders of the movement would want to provide somewhat clearer guidance.

    On the other hand, perhaps it’s also wise of them to realize that they themselves aren’t in much of a position to teach their flock about God, and that Juggalos and Juggalettes will need to look elsewhere. But haven’t they been teaching them indirectly by their own actions? Especially given the “religious” following this band has, as none other (at least as far as I’m aware), and the acts of violence and murder which it has inspired?

  • Franklin Jennings

    Yo, James…

    I know nothing of Juggaloos or what have you, but…

    If you can’t get a basic thumbnail sketch of The Man Who was Thursday correct, if you can hose up the plot that pitifully who are you to question Chesterton’s wisdom in writing it?

    And why should we pay you any heed regarding ICP?

  • James

    Franklin – sorry if I botched the thumbnail sketch, I loved reading it and lent it to a friend 15+ years ago, and he never gave it back. It was still rather unsettling though, and yes, I did doubt the wisdom of Chesterton’s publishing it, even though it was brilliant – btw, how did I hose it, what did I get wrong?

    You needn’t heed what I say about ICP. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Just check the facts. I see I said “minorites” above and someone will probably say I’m dissing all Franciscans when I was rather meaning some subgroup of Fraticelli (again, history I haven’t been over in years).

  • Hector

    Re: The work is about a man who accidentally ends up joining a small, wacked-out terrorist cell which is bombing various buildings and monuments, and is called at some point to meet the leader of the whole terrorist movement

    I don’t think this is an accurate portrayal of the book. (Though it’s been awhile since I read it). If I recall correctly, the anarchist cell TALKED a lot about bombing things, assassinating political leaders, murdering policemen, and starting wars, but didn’t actually commit any such acts. Which was rather the point.

    The six members of the cell all turn out to be police spies, which is part of the humour of the whole story- each one is a policeman who thinks he’s spying on the other five.

    Re: Who turns out to be a kind of metaphor for God … a very odd story line, and I can’t explicate it here.

    I think Sunday is supposed to BE God, not a metaphor for God. Though, again, it’s a difficult, dreamlike and elliptical storyline and I can’t say for sure what Chesterton meant to say.

    Re: One thinks of the Ebionites, the Cathars, the Minorites.

    I don’t know about the Ebionites (and I have little sympathy for them anyway) but the Cathars and the Spiritual Franciscans were, indeed, persecuted, they were hardly a movement of whining crybabies as you suggests. As the saying goes, it isn’t paranoia if the powers that be are REALLY out to get you. Most of the Cathars and many of the Spiritual Franciscans went to the fire for their beliefs, which as far as I know isn’t something that these purported ‘Juggaloes’ have ever done.

  • James

    Hector, thanks for refreshing my memory on Thursday, and I’m agreed completely on the last point. I wasn’t trying to associate the Juggalos too much with these groups – but simply point out the similarity of problems of “alternative Christianities” growing out of marginalized, underprivileged groups – and the comparison stops there. I doubt that these groups indulged themselves in self-pity as one finds in many ICP lyrics – there are obviously more differences than similarities here. The danger is the two charismatic leaders with an intensely loyal following, the lack of connection ot other Christian groups, and the marginalized status.

    Re. my doubting the wisdom of publishing Thursday – I am exceedingly happy that it is published – but I think that if I wrote it, I’d be afraid of its being misinterpreted. And it is, after all, Chesterton’s name that’s on it. So he could have had it published pseudonymously, waited for it to be posthumously published, or somehow otherwise distinguished it from his “mainstream” publications. It’s an allegory, and by the twentieth century, readers weren’t quite so attuned to allegory, and more likely to misconstrue. I’m not aware of any history of misinterpretation of the work, it could be that I am simply a bit too conservative and scrupulous in matters of publication, reputation, and correct interpretation.

    It may seem odd that I am paying so much attention to this phenomenon around a band that’s been deemed the most utterly rotten band in history. A few years ago, I discovered an online community of juggalos within a larger social network. It became evident how much of their lives was devotedly framed around Juggalo subculture and how “tight” that community was. Also, how needy these folks tend to be. If there are any groups that could easily be turned into a rather scary cult, the Juggalos most certainly qualify.

    A Bilthely Charitable reading of ICP

    Two highly underprivileged Christian kids that dig rap-like music get together and envision something. It’s sort of an imaginitive world to itself, built largely upon the imagery of horror movies that their peers have been brought up on. The music isn’t music in the traditional sense as much as a tapestry weaving the various elements together, with concerts being a rallying point for those who partake in this freakish world. This is how they want to “reach out” to other kids like themselves.

    The music is much like an underprivileged and isolated teenager’s own outcry, which sees society as full of evil and alienation, against which this soul cries: “I can be even more freakishly evil, broken, violent, and disgusting than you are.” The lyrics do little more than ironize the existing meme of the tough-guy rapper who won’t hesitate to shoot you if you get in his way (which has been largely embraced by society as “legitimate” and “something for our kids”), by hyperbolizing it into a new kind of rapper psychopath who mauls, maims, and kills with a hatchet for no reason at all. The outcry is: “this is the inner psychopath I have become.”

    It could very well be that mainstream music media loathes ICP precisely because ICP is such a vivid, albeit hyperbolized, portrayal of what music culture has become, on so many different levels – right down to always wearing facepaint. The “music scene” is exposed as being more about dress-up and identity politics than it is about producing sounds. And like the facepaint, its very attempt at projecting personality with all its garish machinations ends up anonymizing and producing social anomie more than it reveals the person or the ideas of the individual who choses to use the music industry to project himself.

    The kids succeed. The phenomenon becomes wildly popular, and the subculture grows across the U.S. Their goal of “reaching out” remains, but being kids … it’s sort of a vague, misty kind of goal. They end up continuing to do what they do best: running the psychotic freak show, for years on end – and since they’re basically living in the middle of a freak show for disillusioned kids, they largely remain disillusioned kids themselves and don’t end up doing those things some folks call “growing up.” There are a few vague references to higher aspirations in a handful of songs, but it’s not exactly like they’re the Rotary Club, either. At some point, they decide they need to “reveal” what they are about, and they find: there’s no better way to do this than to say that they follow God, and that they hope that their followers will come to do so as well. An utterly simple message, perhaps the simplest message one can imagine.

    That message is resoundingly clear; it’s also clearly states that they wish their followers to see this message as motivating all which has preceded, and all that they do. It’s a highly shocking message given the wider context. It avoids making theological claims or demanding specific reforms, and the message is framed as ICP’s message, and not any message divinely or prophetically intuited by a guru or especially spiritually adept person (if there is anything that separates ICP from being likely to evolve into a cult, it’s this).

    The press ignores this shocking message for eight years, and it remains largely something known by those inside the community. And when it is finally revealed by the press, it’s done in a manner intended to further exclude, marginalize, and cast doubts upon the sanity of the juggalos, by deceptively, and very wrongly, casting them as “evangelicals”.

  • James

    FWIW -
    There seems to be primarily one guy who is concerning himself with religion amongst the Juggalo folks, who claims to be an ordained minister. Not much happening on this front, it could mostly be a one-man show type of thing – but it’s a rather long distance from Trinitarian Christianity – it would be much more like a variant of unitarianism, except with the main value being pride in being a Juggalo. See http://www.thefellowshipofjuggalos.com/node/54 .

    There’s no mention of how representative this is of the Juggalo community as a whole, but it’s all I can find regarding religion that concerns this community. The sermons seem to take texts from ICP lyrics and apply them to general religious categories and notions, and to life in general.

    With all the press hysteria going on, one would expect this lonesome dude to be at the center of the spotlight. The “discovery” of ICP’s “Evangelical Christianity” doesn’t seem to be anywhere on this dude’s radar at the moment; this group is so isolated and accustomed to negative publicity, I rather wonder if they’re even aware these things are being said.

    One wonders if this may have been different if, in 2002, some members of the Christian community found fit to reach out to these guys and to help them with their stated purpose of “following God.”

    The mission statement here reflects more the values and beliefs of some “liberal” Episcopalians I’ve known (just replace “proud to be a Juggalo” with “proud to be an Episcopalian”) than it does Trinitarian Christianity (and most certainly not what the press tends to characterize as “Evangelicalism”).

  • Maureen

    “Other elements seem to be quite heterodoxical – see the bit on “the beast” one faces when one dies in the Guardian article.” I bet you that’s one of the basic death scriptures/prayers: Psalm 22, “Rescue me from the mouth of the lion”. It’s also in 2 Timothy 4:13 and so forth.

    A lot of people seem to expect more of musicians and working poets, in the way of theology, than what they’ve actually got to give. They’re a couple of guys who party a lot and are vaguely Christian, just like a lot of people on your block. They just wear crazy makeup and rap, instead of sitting on their porch drinking beer.

  • Hector

    Re: The mission statement here reflects more the values and beliefs of some “liberal” Episcopalians I’ve known (just replace “proud to be a Juggalo” with “proud to be an Episcopalian”)

    I would never, ever say I’m ‘proud to be an Episcopalian’. Pride, of any kind, is not something that’s particularly compatible with Christian faith, of any kind, so it seems vaguely blasphemous to say ‘proud to be an Episcopalian’ (or Lutheran, RC, or what have you). That being said, I’m not sure I agree with the implication here. I’m an Episcopalian (though not really a ‘liberal’ one), I believe in the basic tenets of Trinitarian Christianity (as defined in the three creeds) and I know quite a lot of fairly seriously religious Episcopalians, both of the Anglo-Catholic and the evangelical varieties.

    Re: The danger is the two charismatic leaders with an intensely loyal following, the lack of connection ot other Christian groups, and the marginalized status.

    Yeah, though I’m not sure that really applies so much to either the Spiritual Franciscans or, especially, the Cathars. The Cathars didn’t really have charismatic leaders, as far as I know- who are you referring to? Jean de Lugio? Raymond of Toulouse? Manichaeus? Much more so than a lot of heterodoxical movements (more so than the Waldensians, the early Protestants, the Joachimites, the followers of Fra Dolcino, or for that matter the early followers of Muhammed) they were about a set of ideas more than about charismatic personalities, they were decentralized, and the same ideas would probably have cropped up even if Jean de Lugio and the other Cathar intellectuals had never been born. The ideas grew out of issues that people had with the problem of evil, not really out of charismatic personalities. They reinvented a lot of Marcion’s ideas without any organic connection to Marcion, after all, which tends to suggests that charismatic personalities were rather beside the point.

  • James

    Hector, I know some Episcopalians who are completely dedicated to Christ as well (and I was an Episcopalian when I lived in the USA long ago), and I certainly wasn’t meaning to tar all with the same broad brush – in some, though, there’s a rather serious dearth of Christological reflection and faith, while there is an intensely profound faith in the Episcopal Church itself. Anglicans in general, due to our history and the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral, should see “Anglicanism” as expendable once we’ve reached (or abandonned) our ecumenical goals – I believe ABC Williams has mentioned this once when talking about possible future unification with the Methodists.

    I’ve never done an in depth study of any of the groups I mention – and wasn’t meaning that I believed that all had charismatic leaders – though in the case of ICP, the charismas the leaders have (which seem to be lost on most everyone who isn’t a juggalo) on their followers do raise concern. With regards to the history – before the advent of what Rolland Barthes and Foucault describe as the “author function,” it was common to refer to ideas without precision in reference to their sources; so if there were any charismatic leaders amongst these groups, it’s likely that they wouldn’t have been mentioned in histories.

    You’re right too about heterodoxical movements not really needing profound intellects to think these things up – charismatic leaders, however, do help a lot when it comes to the dissemination of the ideas and practices. This is common knowledge amongst young, aspiring founders of heterodoxical movements and oft repeated in the practical handbooks on establishing new religious movements.

    Note above I corrected myself re. the word “minorites” as having meant Fraticelli. I’m sure some other groups would fit in better here, as well – I only listed a few that came to mind. The Donatists also come to mind re. “underprivileged.”

    What you say about Marcionism is SO TRUE! It keeps popping up like whack-a-mole.

    Back to Journalists & Juggalos, perhaps?

  • Hector

    Re: Anglicans in general, due to our history and the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral, should see “Anglicanism” as expendable once we’ve reached (or abandonned) our ecumenical goals – I believe ABC Williams has mentioned this once when talking about possible future unification with the Methodists

    Oh, I dunno. I like some things about the Methodists, and I admire their broad-mindedness, but I have a number of distinctly Anglo-Catholic beliefs that I think a lot of Methodists would be uncomfortable with. I wouldn’t want to give up my belief in purgatory, or the Assumption and perpetual virginity of Mary, or in transubstantiation, in order to achieve unification with the Methodists.

    As I said, I’m certainly not _proud_ to be an Episcopalian, as I think pride is fundamentally unchristian, but I’m certainly _grateful_ that the Anglican church exists as a via media between Catholic and Protestant understandings. I don’t think I would be really comfortable on either side of that divide.

  • James

    I’m not much for a union of Methodists and Anglicans any time soon either. I think God has a number of things to teach both churches before such a unity would truly be a gift, and fruitful to both parties. I believe the ABC was referring primarily to achieving that unity amongst all Trinitarian churches – for which we can be a via (one amongst many, though we have in the past been a significant one), but we certainly aren’t the telos. Though at the moment, with the problems with Christology in our practice, since we are not very Trinitarian in practice, we are disconnected from both the reformed and the Catholic understandings, and are more like a via toward despair (when one looks at the Communion as a whole – of course, there are many faithful provinces, dioceses, parishes, and individuals – I am looking at our failure in some areas of the Communion, at our Primates and at the Standing Committee). May God heal us and bring us back to Christ so we can do our part in this important mission.

    We are a very odd bunch, Anglicans. We have little upwellings of movements of the Spirit, but in ways that don’t “fit” in the larger church body. John Smythe, the founder of the Baptists, was an Anglican clergyman; and now there are (guessing here) many times more Baptists than there are Anglicans. And of course those rabble-rousing, evangelical Methodists … and that Tractarian movement which was so interesting, but sent so many amongst us Romeward. Though in theory we’re so “broad,” in practice we’re at the root of some of the most prominent splittings – much more profoundly than we have been a gateway toward unity. Though in turn, each of these movements has been an incredible gift and demonstration of God’s love and power amongst those He loves. And … they have remained Trinitarian in ways that we have, in practice, abandoned. Perhaps God’s “real” mission for Anglicans, unbeknownst to us, is primarily as an incubator for new churches which end up becoming holier and more important than ourselves.

    That there went 100% OT. But this isn’t a very active thread, so I’ll go ahead and hit the Submit button.

  • Kevin LH

    Myself being a Juggalo… I’ve seen the religous messages behind some of their songs…They helped me find god and I personally don’t see why its such a big deal… part of being christian is saving others…and is that not what “Thy Unveiling” is about?

  • Chewy

    I’m not a typically religious person, so I tend to enjoy their more graphic lyrics, I understand that its purely entertainment. Kinda like taking LSD; you take it by choice, and you mature yourself for the trip, if you dont like it, then dont do it again…

    Getting to the point. I am quite the opposite of a christian: a proud Satanist actually, I reject most religion for their needy, and desperate flock. But I as a Juggalo can say this, I know better then anyone the meaning of the word “Tolerance” though I did not agree with their religious beliefs, I respected it, and it still moved me more then you could ever imagine (I’m a very sensative person; and not sensative like “Whoa is me” more like I enjoy emotion, its the spice of life. when I feel raw emotion it englufs and seduces me)

    Songs like “Pass Me By” and “Thy Unveiling” are a few of my favorite songs, but not because it means anything to ME. But because it meant everything to them! And I was receptive to their message, before I even heard “Thy Unveiling” I knew of their intentions, I knew what they were hiding, and trying to say…

    But to me, “The Carnival” is beautiful, and empowering, the story of it rivals any religious text, because after all their all storys; literature, are they not? But not in a realistic sense. I dont believe in god. it simply moves me… and I’m stuck in it’s powerful flow… a river which I will drift with for the rest of my days…


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