“This is our battle cry, as the drums of time beat out until there’s nothing left to be reconciled to His Holy mind.”—Part of a spoken word piece called When Grace Came for Biola University Singspo on October 2nd
“The fighting was now imminent, glory was at hand; the time was come when doomed men were to perish there. A din was upraised there; ravens wheeled about; and the eagle greedy for carrion. There was an uproar on the earth.”—Excerpt from The Battle of Maldon. Oh, British Literature I
“The thing that we misunderstand isn’t the Crucifixion. We get how messed up we are. We understand that we brutally murdered the only perfect thing that ever lived. We may not be able to logically explain how it works, but the idea of us tarnishing something Holy resonates far too well with us; yet, I have had so many conversations, within my self and with other people, which conclude in frustration because we keep doing stupid things. We keep doing things that we hate. We look at our life and figure if we are repeatedly committing these wrongs it is only logical that we aren’t in love with God at all and maybe we dont truly understand the brutality of His death. We think maybe we don’t get how awful it was to die on the cross, and yet every night as we lay in our beds we think of every wrong action we carried out that dug the crown of thorns a little bit deeper into Jesus’ forehead. Look, we will not ever undo the Cross. Whether you have sinned one time in your whole life or you can’t seem to make heads or tails of life without sin, every one of us had a hand on the hammer that drove the nails. We don’t overcome sin by meditating on the price of it. The thing we miss out on the most is the Resurrection. We forget that we have been sanctified beyond understanding. I hear people say that they believe Jesus died for their sins, but for some reason they don’t feel like they are living that out. I say to you, Christianity begins in a declaration of two parts. First, that we brutally murdered the Son of God. Second, and arguably more valuable, that He conquered death so that we might have life. To my brothers and sisters who feel spiritually dead, remember the emptiness of the tomb. Remember that Jesus didn’t come just to die in a tragic death, but he came so that we might have life and have it to the full extent. Remember that you were once buried in the ground, a slave to sin, but now you have been resurrected by a power which surpasses all understanding. Abandon this spirit of fear and take on the one of power which awaits you in the name of the Holy Spirit. We need not continually shame ourselves for what was done on the Cross; for the Cross removed all shame. We conquer our wickedness by inviting Jesus to come and conquer it within us, because He has done it before. The gates of Hell could not hold Him, how much weaker are the bonds of your temptations? Go now and have life, my brothers and sisters. Go now and participate in the glorious treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven, for it is being brought down to this earth at this very moment by the power which lives within your beating heart. Christ is here. He is alive. So too are you.”—Christian Tenbrook
“There’s something about the Cross that I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand. It’s one of the sickest torture devices ever created. It was dreamt up to make someone suffer as long and as much as possible before they died. Quite frankly, the crucifix represents everything that is wrong with humanity. I mean, can you imagine nails being pounded through your wrists and your feet? Then hanging your entire body weight on those nails, suffocating slowly? It’s an absolutely disgusting idea. Then my God died on one of those crosses and everything changed. Suddenly, the Cross is no longer this atrocious symbol of punishment and failure, but it is the ultimate symbol of Grace and Redemption. The entire idea of the Cross was flipped on its head because a perfect man hung on it for the sake of salvation. God has a funny way of taking disgusting things and redeeming them. If I ever need evidence of the Kingdom of Heaven, I can look at the cross in a literal way. The cross was an actual symbol for how sick we were, and now it’s a symbol for how loved we are. If the core identity of two beams of wood and three nails can be absolutely redeemed and remade, how much more are we? This is Grace.”—Christian Tenbrook inspired by John Pease from Saddleback Church
“The problem isn’t that you’re unhappy, the problem is that you have no idea what the hell happiness is. I got news for you kid, if you think this world makes you happy you’re gonna end up with a bullet in your brain and your hand is gonna have squeezed the trigger. I could put two broads on the beach with some fru fru drink in their hands and one of them would be happy as a bee in a sunflower patch and other of them would keep buggin’ me to take ‘em to the shoe store. That’s the beauty of it son, you make your own happiness. Life don’t do it to you, your wife don’t do it to you, hell I can’t do it to you. You get to wake up every goddamn morning and figure out what’s going to put a smile on your face.”—The character Two-Tip in my stageplay Life Down the Barrel
“And in that last moment before I fall asleep each night, I understand Everything. The world is one interlocked machine, throbbing and pulsing as a flawless organism.”—Chuck Klosterman in Sex, Drugs, Cocoa Puffs
“We would be fools if we studied the Good Samaritan and said “This is what must be done.” No, my brothers, I firmly believe that the Samaritan’s works are no end at all. They are merely the manifestation of the Kingdom of Heaven. As we grow in all understanding of Grace and Truth, they will incarnate themselves in action. Heaven does not wait for us; it rushes forward in the reconciliation of all things to the very mind of God. Here, now, we are to live. So that we may “show mercy” as the Samaritan did. We are ambassadors of a foreign land. We are agents of harmony. With one foot in the broken and one firmly planted in the Perfection of All Things, we bring eternal Heaven to the dust of the ages. The fullness of God and the fullness of man met in the very body of Christ. That same body was slain in the death of a thief, so that we may live eternally; and in the moment of your initial faith, eternity began. Go now, and live out the Kingdom.”—Christian Tenbrook
“Away, then with those prophets who say to Christ’s people, “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace. Hail, hail to all those prophets who say to Christ’s people, “The cross, the cross,” where there is no cross.”—Luther’s Thesis 92 and 93
Excerpt from "In the Business" by Christian Tenbrook
JACK: What happened to the golden ratio? What happen to mathematics? What happened to Pythagoras? What the hell happened?
CHASE: Pythagoras? Jesus, Jack, this is television.
JACK: So we just don’t have to care about beauty? Because this is television? What is that like a hall pass? Every other industry in the world has standards, but “Oh, hell it’s television, those damn kids.”
CHASE: We entertain. We entertain and we sell people a product; tens of millions of people turn on the TV every week and buy that product. I make that product. You make that product. When the hell did that stop being the goal? When did you lose sight of that? (beat) 30 million, Jackie. 30 million.
JACK: Pablo Escobar.
CHASE: You think they’re addicted? You think 50 million people sat down in front of their TV and watched "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" because they were addicted?
JACK: I think there are 1.8 million people in this country addicted to crystal meth…
CHASE: What are you…
JACK: (interrupting him)…ironically, that’s roughly the same amount of people that tuned-in to the season finale of Nip Tuck. It’s just bad. They know it’s bad. We know it’s bad; but we keep circle jerking each other until everybody goes to bed happy. (beat) I come in here and attack our life’s work and your defense is our market share? This is worse than I thought. Fifty years ago I could have walked into the Gunsmoke writers’ room and asked them to summarize their show in six words and every one of them could have looked me in the eye and said “it’s honest, it’s adult, it’s realistic.” I swear to God if I walked down to our writers’ room I wouldn’t be able to find three people who knew six of our episode titles.
CHASE: What do you want from me? You want me to call up a Marion Morrison and have him say “Good evening. My name’s Wayne” at the beginning of our episodes? Is that what you want? You think our writers will remember more episode titles if we kick off next season with a well written monologue?
JACK: You’re missing the point.
CHASE: No, you’re missing the point. What are you going to change? You think you’re going to make television more cerebral? More beautiful? I got news for you Jackie boy, beauty and TV don’t mix. It’s an ugly business you signed up for, but I didn’t hear you complaining so much when you spent this network’s “blood money” on the $90,000 car you have parked out front. Damnit, this country doesn’t even know what beauty is anymore.
JACK: (yelling) And that’s our fault!
CHASE: That’s their fault. It’s the fault of guys like you who go running around telling people there’s some mythic institution they need to be a part of. Who’s the gate keeper? Hell, you don’t even know what beauty is. It’s been made into some sick pursuit that’s two steps short of masochism. We could walk into a production of the Nutcracker right now and find a good portion of the audience half asleep sitting next to an even greater number of people who don’t even know who the hell Lev Ivanov was; all of them suffering through two and a half hours of something they don’t give a shit about so that they can have the ticket stub to hang up on their cork board. (beat) TV is accessible. We give people places, and characters, and stories they enjoy. People don’t feel guilty changing the channel because nobody has told them the last channel is the “beautiful” one and if they don’t watch it they’re not in the secret club. Jesus Christ, Jack…you’re making television religious.
JACK: Religious? You think people picket outside our studio because we’re not already religious? They’re not pissed because we’re offending their god. They’re pissed because we made our own gods and people like them better.
CHASE: And making beauty more important will change that? At best, that’s just a regime change.
JACK: Something has to be more important. Something has to transcend it all.
JACK: Holy shit I sound like my mother. (beat) I just don’t know what we’re doing. I don’t know what I’m doing. I love television. I mean I really love it. The Queen’s Messenger right on up to today. I love that I’m a part of television. I love that every week people sit down in front of their TV screens and might as well be saying “Be quiet, Jack Horner’s show is on.” For sixty minutes every week, I own them.
CHASE: (chuckling) We’ll consider that for a title.
JACK: No, it’s not that. It’s not vanity. Millions of people just watched our show and I’d be lucky if even half of them even knew my name. I didn’t start writing for television so that people would know my name. I don’t care about that. They don’t know who I am, but they know what I’ve done. (beat) 30 million?
CHASE: 30 million.
(JACK shakes his head, pulls out a cigarette lights it, and nods at CHASE)
JACK: Hell of a show.
CHASE: Good show, Jackie.
(CHASE pats JACK on the back as he passes him and exits the studio. JACK is left standing center stage looking upward, facing the audience)