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Showing posts from February, 2015

February 2015 Pop Culture Roundup

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Five items for February...

1. I was given Eager to Love by Richard Rohr as a Christmas gift, and have been reading it little by little the past few weeks. It's actually my first encounter with Rohr's writing, although I've been meaning to check out some of his stuff for a while after a lot of glowing recommendations by colleagues. In this work, Rohr examines the lives and witness of Francis and Clare of Assisi, as well as their enduring influence on religious orders and Christian practice in general. I'm a longtime Francis fan, and this has been a fascinating and inspiring look into the spirituality behind what he and Clare were trying to do in their movements. They were both devoted followers of Jesus, and while their approach seemed radical in their own time, I think it still would today.

2. When I finished all of the episodes of Parks and Recreation available on Netflix (read: all of them save the season currently airing), I thought that the final episode of last sea…

Saint Francis and Doctor Who

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"Wherever we are, wherever we go, we bring our cell with us. Our brother body is our cell and our soul is the hermit living in the cell. If our soul does not live in peace and solitude within this cell, of what avail is it to live in a man-made cell?" - Francis of Assisi

I've been thinking about this quote from Francis quite a bit lately. Part of the reason he's remembered so much for his connection to nature is that he was always out in it, out wanting to commune with the world rather than spend all his time in a monastery room. We don't need a cell in a special building, he said. Our own bodies are our cells. They go places, as they're meant to do. They interact and connect and bump into others. We ourselves are a sacred room in God's great big monastery. And we should seek comfort within ourselves in order to rest peaceably there.

We carry our cells with us. They're always present, not to retreat into but to live within comfortably.

So naturally, …

Five Reminders for a Meaningful Lent

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. Lent is one of the holiest times of the church year, a season of 40 days and 6 Sundays leading up to remembering Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. It also seems to come with some misconceptions from both observers and non-observers alike. I thought that it might be helpful to share a few reflections and remembrances to help clarify what Lent is. Hopefully it will aid those making this journey toward Easter.

So here are some things to remember about Lent:

1. It's about self-examination, not self-flagellation. Many people recoil at this season because it just seems like such a downer. Who wants to sit around beating themselves up? The larger point is to take honest stock of yourself, and that includes habits, behaviors, and attitudes that don't line up with God's vision. You're invited this time of year to examine yourself, and to identify and seek God's help in transforming those things that hinder …

An Invocation for Transfiguration Sunday

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Faithful God, we come together to this moment where we are most obviously and visibly the church. Here we are your gathered people, seeking a sustaining and empowering word from you and from each other. And yet when we leave this edifice of brick and mortar, remind us that we are still the church, less obvious and less visible, but no less connected to Christ and to our fellow pilgrims. By what we receive in this moment set aside as sacred, inspire us and challenge us in the week to come to make other times sacred as well, by reflecting your love to a world in need of a new vision. Amen.

The Gift

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For as long as I can remember, I've been told that I'm good at empathizing with others; that it's one of my gifts.

One of my father's most treasured memories of when I was maybe 3 years old was a moment when he was seated as his desk, the burdens of the world weighing heavily on his shoulders, and I climbed into his lap and just cuddled with him. I apparently sensed what he needed, and I provided it as best as a toddler knew how to do.

I'm glad for that story, and I've mostly been glad for this gift that I've apparently been given. I don't really brag about it, because I don't think it's something brag-worthy. It's not only the nature of the gift, you understand. It's also that I haven't always been proud of it, or wanted it.

I was the kid on the playground who got upset when watching two classmates fight. I was the sensitive guy in high school who was the safe confidant for those around him. I was the guy basically holding pastoral…

That'll Preach...Someday

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"Daddy, build something."

My son and I are sitting on the floor of his room in front of a tub of LEGOs. I played with most of these exact pieces when I was his age, and I've been excited and proud to see him so interested in them as well. This is a typical afternoon, the two of us huddled over these little blocks and accessories. As much as he likes to tinker with them himself, he wants me to be involved; to try to capture some of the old inspiration that these gave me to make something new. He wants to watch the construction process, and whatever I come up with will surely be a part of the epic LEGO battle to follow.

So I set to work. Running my hand through the bin, I find a piece I might be able to use. And then I find another. My continued rummaging eventually finds me quite a pile of interesting, unique bricks and supplementary pieces. They get me thinking of how I can use each of them in different combinations, my mind popping with possibilities.

Eventually, it…

Small Sips Knows Who It Wants to Take It Home

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Yes. This. So much this. All of this. I'm still sorting through my thoughts on some things related to Emergent before I post them. My colleague Emily Heath has some good words to share in reclaiming the term "progressive Christian," and remembering that it's actually different from "Emergent Christian:"
But here’s the challenge; in the very recent past the term “progressive Christian” has come to be conflated with “emergent Christian” and “post-evangelical Christian”. And I’m not saying that you can’t be one of those things and also be a progressive Christian. This is a big tent movement, and you can. But I am saying that it’s not right to co-opt a term that has been used for several generations to define a theological movement for your own benefit. And it’s especially not right to do it when you are not familiar with, or not willing to honor, the values that progressive Christianity has been trying to model for the larger church for years.  My elders in th…

Show Your Power - A Prayer for Epiphany 4

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Based on Psalm 111 and Mark 1:21-28...

O God, we aren’t always able to see what you see.

We’re not always able to pick up on the bad spirits that influence us: the systems we enjoy, the injustice to which we turn a blind eye, the advantages we exploit, the prejudice we hold. When we consider that you do see these things, we feel the sting of shame and are slow to confess. You call us to new sight: to see these spirits for what they are, and we seek the power and courage to call them out.

We’re not always able to see the good, either: the joy of new life, the refreshment of sacrament, the opportunities to serve, the gifts we’re able to share. When we consider that you do see these things, we are renewed by their potential and are eager to point them out to one another. You call us to new sight: to see these gifts and blessings for what they are, and we seek the peace and resurrection that they bring to our world.

We wish to see what you see, both the need for healing and the blessin…

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