Ah. I begin Advent again with boxes and branches strewn about my small living room. I just put in the last of what I call the Deadly Poultry Dishes in the dish washer and hope that I have done so prudently enough to keep the infinite number of possible turkey based bacterial death contaminates at bay… I guess we will see soon enough. I worked too many hours selling self described “magic” gadgets to strangers over the past two days and I feel harried and hurried and anxious and I feel certain if I sit down to finish writing this I will once again be late for Church. It appears that I am exactly where I should be to begin advent. Continue reading
Here is a guest post in our series on the culture wars from a friend, one time fellow barista, and former student of mine, Fr. Matt Boulter. More about Matt can be found at his blog: Religiocity.
In about the year 6 AD in ancient Palestine, with winds of revolution blowing in the air, a Jewish militant called Judas of Galileerose up in defiance of the oppressive Roman government, at that time brutally plaguing the Jewish people. In his revolutionary zeal Judas does three things:
Judas the Galilean image from Universität Wien
- Rids the Temple of Gentiles by force.
- Preaches for people to forsake Caesar in favor of hi view of the Kingdom of God.
- Calls Jews to refuse to pay some taxes to Caesar.
Shortly after his anti-Imperial mutiny, Judas was summarily attacked, captured, and executed. His revolutionary followers, thus, disbanded and went home. Fast-forward the story about a quarter century, when we encounter one Jesus of Nazareth who does some very similar, and yet entirely different things. Continue reading
Bumper sticker car parked in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What good are bumper stickers? So far in my life I have never seen anyone pull the car over and say to the passenger, “You know what? You CAN’T hug the world with nuclear arms, can you?” or, “I just visualized world peace and it was awesome.”
They are not really arguments, let alone compelling ones. Bumper stickers don’t really change people’s lives. Nevertheless it is nearly impossible to go anywhere for a short drive in just about any town and not see the simple black “W,” a Shepherd Fairey, “Hope” illustration of Obama, a name followed by a “2012,” or a pithy statement about how just such-and-such a position makes the most obvious moral sense or that ridicules the opposition. So I’ve been wondering, if these little traveling slogans don’t really change things, why do they keep showing up everywhere, and more importantly, what are they really trying to tell me? Continue reading
Posted in The Impossible Will Take A little While., Uncategorized
Tagged Christ, christian right, church and state, culture war DMZ, culture wars, God, Gospel of Matthew, Great Commandment, hope, jesus, liberal left, Obama, United States
When I was young I would go to camp or a youth service where I was told that what I needed was a personal relationship with Jesus. It made a kind of sense as a lot of things do for children because I was still relying on other people to teach me how to make sense of things. So I agreed, with no regrets.
Buddy Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, I happen to be the kind of person, and have been since childhood, to throw myself headlong into the task at hand whatever it may be. So I was bound and determined to have the most personal relationship with Jesus a person could have. This is a dangerous prayer. The trouble began when I took it so seriously it started to take my life in some surprising if not shocking directions that none of my youth pastors had anticipated. Continue reading
Posted in Faith for Reasons.
Tagged Accept Jesus, accepting Jesus, apologetics, Bible, Christian, Christian theology, Christianity, Church, Evangelism, First Epistle of John, God, Interpersonal relationship, jesus, John, John 4, kingdom of God, love, personal relationship, trust, works of mercy
J. Douglas Harrison. The Patient
In the next few weeks I will occasionally be posting some reflections on what it can mean to have faith in a time when the Christian faith may seem, at least to many people, quite unreasonable.
I won’t try to provide irrefutable evidence in favor of the Christian faith. I will not be presenting argumentative ‘facts’ or try to show that Christianity is obviously intellectually superior to everything else as others may have tried to do. I have nothing here to prove. I have nothing here to buy or sell. Instead, I believe there are different genres by which we come to see what moves people to live as they do. Continue reading
There are somethings we can mistakenly embrace about Easter that distract us from the real hope that can help shape our lives. These things are worth evaluating, not to deflate us, but to focus us on where the real hope lies. Continue reading
Posted in Living in Easter
Tagged Benedict, Community, Courage, darkness, death, Easter, gifts, hope, Jerusalem, jesus, lent, repentance, Resurrection, trust
It is harder than it looks to know how to take Easter. On the one hand it feels like an easy home run, a touchdown, a triumphal entry. But those were the kinds of thing we were celebrating last week. How then is this week different? For one thing it amazes how few people to whom Jesus appeared after the resurrection.
The first to arrive.
One would think he would be taking out billboards all over town that said, “I told you so!” but he doesn’t. The first to see Jesus would be the last we would expect. It was not the disciples, not even his family, but one of the worst outcasts of all of his company: Mary Magdalene.
Posted in "Disappointed with God"
Tagged Christian, Easter, God, heart, Holy Week, hope, Jesu, jesus, Joy, kingdom of God, lent, Mary, Mary Magdalene, palm sunday, repentance, trust, violence
ora et labora
It is springtime and it seems the hectic demands I usually have around Christmas are beginning to over take Holy Week as well. Besides my normal work obligations I have time sensitive art projects, volunteer work, some important events with my friends and of course, church services. I feel like I am waging my own personal war on Easter trying to figure out what the most Christian choices I can make are. I suspect that I am not at all alone in this. I find myself asking familiar questions about what Christianity is all, “about,” Continue reading
Posted in "Disappointed with God"
Tagged Benedict, Benedictines, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Community, Easter, God, grace, heart, Holy Week, jesus, Martha, Mary, Mary and Martha, Maunday, Ora et labora, Prayer and work., Work and prayer
Nearly every Palm Sunday sermon I heard growing up emphasized the inevitable hypocrisy of those who would be shouting Jesus’ praise on one day and crying “crucify him!” just days later. During these sermons I always pictured the crowds as wicked bearded villains (perhaps with pirate hats?).
I most certainly never pictured them being anything like me. That is why it was so confusing when, without any sense of irony, we all picked up Palm leaves and cried, “Hosannah!” just like those bearded hypocrite-pirates that we knew turned on Jesus later. I knew that there were sides but I lost track of whose side to be on. Sunday? Friday? Continue reading
John’s body was less like mine than anyone else’s in the room. In that room full of people with some very unique bodies and abilities, that was saying a lot. It was the end of a weekend I spent on retreat with L’Arche, which is a set of communities of people with disabilities and the people who choose to build a life with them.
A picture of another celebration at L'Arche Antigonish, Canada
L’Arche retreats are celebrations that, in some ways, put Burning Man to shame in creating an environment where everyone can unapologetically be themselves. I knew the people in room were experts in living with unique limitations and gifts, but I still could not imagine how the evening would unfold in a way that John could fully play along. Continue reading
Posted in Tohu-Bohu
Tagged burning man, Community, Dance, disability, disciples, foot washing, grace, hands, jesus, Joy, L'Arche, lent, Serve, Service, wheelchair, withered