Monday, September 18, 2006


A few years ago, my friend Scott Laumann and I were scheming with a guy named Bill Burgess to create a subversive arts underground thing like nothing you've ever seen before.

Out of this series of late-night discussions and prayer sessions came several projects, some of which never got off the page, or out of our heads, but some of it did. Like this blog/website for example, and the Parabolic Journal (

I don't know if we were out of our minds or simply too far ahead of our time, but I ran across these old notes and emails the other day and thought it might be worth sharing it with everyone.

Who knows? Maybe you and a friend are just crazy enough to take these ideas and run with them?

After meeting together we determined that was NOT an Arts Ministry, it was a subversive communications ministry.

It's sort of like taking the Gospel and using a revolutionary
method of communicating it that employs elements of Fight Club, Global Frequency, The Blair Witch and Matrix marketing campaigns and Guerilla-Tactics as a delivery system to reach the Culture we live in with the Truth. (Bonus points if you know what "Global Frequency" is).

This is like being a covert agent in a communist country trying to
subversively round up revolutionaries against the oppressive

If this thing had a soundtrack it would be Rage Against The
Machine and POD.

Here's the Manifesto:


OUR VISION is to be a revolutionary-minded group of Christians who are dedicated to communicating the Truth by using the most covert, subversive and creative means possible.

OUR PURPOSE is to facilitate a profound shift in the culture at large and in the Body of Christ to embrace and accept the calling of Jesus.

To this end, we will shock, shake and awaken those within the Body of Christ who are blind to the needs of the lost around us. We will disturb, intrigue and provoke our world with the reality of God’s Truth. We will challenge, question and inspire other Christian artists and thinkers to pursue a life that is surrendered to Christ.

OUR GOAL is to be as radical in the culture we live in, as Christ Jesus was to those He came in contact with.



We will not use our God-given talent to create a "Christian version" of anything.

People need to discover their own faith, not have it spelled out for them.

The mysteries of God cannot be reduced to a bumper sticker.

There is no box.

This is not about one person or any group of people. It is, and always will be, about Jesus.

The Parables of Jesus are the most effective model for how we should approach evangelism.

Dialog is good. Thoughtful, inspired dialog is better.

Today's ecclesia must create spaces of opportunity for meditation, thinking, and safe discussion on matters of Faith.

Art has the power, and the responsibility, to frustrate, confound, and challenge the culture.

It’s often more effective to ask the right questions than to give the right answers.

The Church today needs to wake up and start doing the things that Jesus instructed.

The Body of Christ needs to abandon its empty pursuits and self-serving programs.

We want to emulate Jesus’ model for confronting the Church and the Culture.

OUR VALUES are to be set apart from the world around us, to confront the status quo inside and outside the Church, and to effectively communicate the gospel in unexpected ways.


1-We will employ Guerilla Evangelism tactics through flyers, stickers, websites, magazines, books, articles, etc. that provoke inspire and challenge those who are thirsty for Truth to dig deeper and encounter the living Christ.

2-We will meet in small groups, pray together, and plan creative outreach tactics on a regular basis.

3-We will create various tools designed to awaken the average Christian to the urgency of Christ’s call and the seriousness of His message.

4-We will attempt to contact, identify, inspire and challenge other Christians who have a heart for a radical change in the Body of Christ and the world at large.

5-We will create avenues of dialog with the Culture around us to expose the Truth about God’s character as revealed in the design of the Universe.

6-We will confront the lies of moral relativism in fresh, creative ways.

(Including, but not limited to)
1-Publish short, eye-catching booklets that ask questions and demand serious thought. Then direct readers to a website that also inspires and challenges, but witholds the punchline in favor of asking difficult questions and demanding consideration of logical concepts that align with the Gospel of Christ.

2-Guerilla Evangelism Campaign involving flyers, stickers, posters, t-shirts, websites, graphic design, art, film, etc., utilizing a consistent logo on all materials.

3-Create short, one minute video presentations designed to disturb and challenge Christians, allowing God’s Spirit to trouble and motivate them to action.

4-Publish one-sheet documents that introduce radical ideas of Truth through a dialog.

1-A website presence
2-A name for this crazy thing. (SUBVERSIVE, 42, LATRONIS, PARABOLIC, ETC.)
3-More agents of change to join us.
4-A place to meet and pray, strategize, interact and reach out.


My friend Bill Burgess (see link at left) is a genius. One day I'll have to tell the story of how we met but he is the first true subversive I ever met in person.

One day he sent me this email about a dream he had concerning my writing and the subversive plan to change the culture with the arts.

Here it is:

"Keith I don’t know where this fits into the scheme but the night we met I dreamt about you for most of the night it seemed. it is. (or..“Hit Me” as James Brown would say).

The setting was as if it was the next day after our meeting. In the dream you were somewhat discouraged and I sensed it. The more I started looking at you, (you were standing next to a wall with hands in pockets), the more I could see what you were. It was so clear to me that your WORDS, written words, were like the mortar that held the artwork together. As if each of the contributed pieces (Like Parabolic, but that wasn’t even in the dream) were separate bricks. So I began to excitedly tell you what you were and as I spoke, man did the revelation come. I kept encouraging you over and over and you were beginning to emerge. Kind of a huge sense of self disqualification was heavy over you, like you were struggling to know your part in the very things you had started. The last I saw of you, you had taken on a look in your eyes like, can this really be true? At that point I could see even more clearly that your WORDS were like a steel structure that goes up first, and then the artwork was literally hung like concrete panels on a building, except the building was your WORDS.

I woke up around this point and as I was thinking about the dream and some of that revelation was still with me, although not as intense. I began reflecting on how early 20th century artists like DuChamp and Man Ray and those kinds of guys were big with manifestos and how the statements in their manifestos were the lighting rod for getting their art noticed. Then I thought how as Christians literally our whole lives hang on the superstructure of Christ's words, and creation and alpha and omega hang upon Gods words.

I got up and made coffee and Journaled some video ideas with words I had been thinking of and that was it. I forgot all about it until tonight.. So God speed my friend. I don’t care if you want to forward this to Scott, I didn’t want to do it for you. I think it’s pretty clear. Let me know how your prayer time went this eve and I hope that this is useful to your thinking and your soul.

Press On
-Bill Burgess
August 12th, 2003"

“One role of the artist is to provoke and even disturb us so that we can see in new ways. As the ancient prophets did, art frequently condemns the values and concerns of its surrounding culture-often in a loud, harsh voice. In consequence, the artist is often outcast, rejected, or unpopular.”-- Steve Turner in Image: Journal of the Arts and Religion

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”. –Jesus, Matthew 10:16

“(Christian subculture) is a bad Xerox of the mainstream, not a truly distinctive or separate achievement. Without the courage to lead, it numbly follows picking up the major media’s scraps and gluing them back together with a cross on top.” (GQ MAGAZINE- “What Would Jesus Do?” by Walter Kirn, September 2002).

SO...anyone interested?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

provacative- something to be sent to all the subversives globally. thank you for inspiration. keep these thoughts coming, christ wants to reach people in new and provacative ways- not an arts ministry but a ministry that connects through the arts. serve. serve. serve others the way Christ was a servant.