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I don’t watch TV, I don’t read the paper, and I really don’t even read the news online—so I had no idea that it was Fat Tuesday until I looked on Facebook. Good thing Facebook is a great source of news and information.
The Baptists didn’t emphasize Lent when I was growing up—at least not in my hometown. But my Catholic friends gave up something for Lent each year, and it was usually something unpleasant and unappealing to a kid, like gum or candy. Every year I remember thinking, I’m sure glad I don’t have to do that.
Well, I’m giving up something for Lent this year, and just because I want to. I need a time of prayer and fasting. More Here...
As you probably know, yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the Lenten season. Whenever this season rolls around I always make time to consider how I will observe Lent, but this year has been a bit different. I have also spent an unusual amount of time reflecting on how I observed Lent last year.
If you’re one of my newer readers, last year I observed Lent by fasting from blogging. You can check out my explanation for that decision here, which probably conveys what a big deal it was for me. Any bloggers knows that the fastest way to lose your readership is to blog sporadically. But I knew it was the right decision. I needed to place my writing before the throne of God and recalibrate my motives.
This week I had the privilege of hearing from the Executive Director of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity. She provided an introduction to the Center, as well as a brief look at the major issues confronting bioethics today.
Many of the bioethical questions of our time do not have clear-cut answers, so she offered some guiding principles for thinking through them in a constructive and Christian way. Of the suggestions she made, I found one to be especially insightful. When it comes to the bioethical issues in our own lives, she encouraged us to begin with the following question:
A rallying cry in the Reformed community is the place of the gospel in the sermon. According to a widespread and conventional view in the Reformed churches, a sermon is only properly called a sermon if its subject is the gospel. Any passage of scripture preached on must be mined to find its oblique reference to Christ. This led Nietzsche to cynically applaud Christians for their ability to find a cross in every piece of wood, and a resurrection in every cave.
But Luther was emphatic on this point, and when his parishioners asked him why we preached the gospel every single week, he responded that “I preach the gospel every week because every week you forget it.”
So mainstream Evangelical preachers like Rick Warren are criticized for “not preaching the gospel.” I am not familiar enough with Warren’s sermons to comment on this point, though I plan to download a few from the website to listen to and hear for myself. But I would not be surprised if I discover in them aspects of the gospel that my Calvinist brothers and sisters would not recognize as the gospel. More Here...
It never rains in southern California. Apparently we’re in a cloudless bubble apart from the rest of the world. Something like LOST island. It’s become commonplace that I wake up each morning and never for a second wonder if I should grab an umbrella before heading out the door, or a raincoat, or goulashes. Do people still wear goulashes? What are goulashes?
So on those super rare days when the smoke monster runs rampant it does rain, I’m thrust into an unexpected panic, and everything crumbles from my neatly orchestrated schedule.
But…but…I was supposed to go for a run today! I was going to journal at the park for hours! I was gonna lay on the grass and stare at the ever-cloudless sky, hoping to witness the Lord’s return from the best vantage point imaginable. More Here...
"...For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return." - Genesis 3:19(b)
Today, as you go about your day, you might see something a bit strange on the foreheads of some of the people around you. You might think it is a smudge of dirt and suggest your friend go wash his or her face. In actuality, it is a cross drawn in ashes. Today is, after all, Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is a tradition celebrated throughout many factions of Christendom, a day that marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. During this season, many Christians pray, fast and sacrifice something of perceived importance -- such as a favorite snack, trips to Starbucks, smoking or, for the more technologically addicted, Facebook -- as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross on Good Friday. More Here...
Here are some passages that I see that I have been wondering about. One is in Luke 4:33-37:
33 Once when he was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon—an evil[a] spirit—began shouting at Jesus, 34 “Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
35 Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further.
36 Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!” 37 The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region.
Here it seems as if with a short word the demon left the man with just a word. More Here...
1. Blogging is a time sucker. I have developed this uncanny ability to block out all sounds and happenings around me, to the point where my kids wonder if something’s wrong with me when they find me in this trance-like state in which I appear fascinated with the screen in front of me.
2. Blogging causes me to care too much about the numbers. I can’t help clicking over all the time to check my stats, the number of Facebook likes and shares, how many comments I have—all things I really wish I didn’t care about. Maybe I’ll just stop caring right now.
3. Blogging distracts me from book-writing. It’s funny how the whole reason I started a blog is because I wanted to write a book and I thought I’d just see if anyone cared to read my stuff. And now I don’t work on my book at all. I’m too busy blogging. What the heck????? More Here...
I had some encouraging feedback from a designer about Creative Theology a little while back. They let me know that they appreciated the fact that the book was done well, both written well and designed well. I would like to think that it’s written well but the full impact from the book is felt because of the design. I could have written the book in a standard format, and it would have been okay (I talked more about why I didn’t do thatin an interview with Jon Fulk). But the content dictated the format, and a standard book wouldn’t do. I needed something more.
This was appreciated by the designer because of the current lack of content being produced that’s…not ugly. It seems that for whatever reason, there is a lot of content (now more than ever) from the faith perspective done poorly. Blogs are written poorly, books are designed poorly, an so on. I don’t claim to have a corner on this market. However, I think we need to be mindful of the problem with ugly. It turns people away. More Here...