The Sabbath and Healing

Sabbath title

A friend of mine runs what are called ultra-marathons.

When I hear ultra-marathon, I just hear a lot of pain.  I’m not sure any human should put themselves through something like that.  An ultra-marathon is basically anything more than a traditional marathon.  Not being a runner, I naturally have a lot of questions when it comes to trying to wrap my mind around training for something like this.  My friend actually ran a 24-hour marathon and so I asked him some questions about what it takes to do this kind of marathon.

One of the questions I asked about this kind of running was, “What is the most difficult part in running a 24-hour marathon?” [Read more...]

Who Was St. Patrick?

Patrick

We all know about St. Patty’s day, but very few of us know anything about the history behind the holiday.  For most of us, our knowledge of the Saint Patrick’s day rarely extends beyond green clothing, lepurchauns, green beer, some Irish music, and the occasional shamrock shake.  But, believe it or not, behind all that makes this holiday popular is a holiday rooted in Christian faith.  Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a celebration of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  And more specifically, a celebration of the missionary, Saint Patrick.

St. Patty’s day is a day to celebrate missions.

I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Patrick

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The Christian Church Looks a lot Like Detroit

Church detroit

The Christian Church looks a lot like Detroit.  Detroit is a city that to most of the world appears dead and dying.  The buildings are abandoned, the windows are boarded up, and the yards are left unkept.  The city may have once had its day of influence, but those days are long gone as the city has now declared bankruptcy.  Detroit may have been something, but those days are past.  People still like to talk about Detroit.  The media will still send reporters into the city, filmmakers will come and showcase the city, and photographers will be excited to photograph the abandoned buildings.  But while people are interested in talking about Detroit, far fewer are interested in making their home in Detroit.

The Church is seen the same way.

Christianity is seen as a dead and dying religion.

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16 Kisses that are Better than 20 Strangers Kissing

16 Kisses
Have you seen this video yet?  It currently has over 16 million views on youtube and that number will probably be even higher by the time you read this.  It’s odd, strange, and intriguing to say the least.  Tatia Pilieva, a filmmaker, captures 20 complete strangers – gay, straight, old, and young – sharing a first kiss.

As this has gone viral, it’s been seen as inspiring, beautiful, and compelling.  Time said, “What could have been intensely uncomfortable throughout was strangely romantic.”  Perhaps the beautiful people wearing trendy clothes made this compelling.  Or maybe it was the quality of the filming.  Or maybe it’s the soundtrack for this short film.  Please note, the video shows this variety of couples making out and it may be offensive.

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Good Theology Says Nothing New

Nothing new

I love new things.  When I got my new Macbook, their was a sense of excitement as I opened up the box and carefully removed the plastic over my shiny new piece of technology.  Anytime an entrepreneur puts out a press release or makes a keynote announcing their innovations, I can’t help but be excited about the new possibilities.  When an internet start-up launches a new social network, I am quickly intrigued.  New is exciting.  When brands, business, and individuals create, innovate, and push the boundaries, people get excited. Because innovation and creativity are exciting. We love new.

Unless we are talking about theology.

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Art, Stories, and Faith: An Interview with Austin Kleon

Austin faith

Ministry is art.  Some of ministry is what we traditionally think of as art: things like music, design, writing, and preaching.  And some of ministry is less often seen as art: things like counseling, getting to know a student, or mourning with a family who has lost a loved one.  All of these require creativity.  They require the creativity in choosing what to say and what not to say.  Creativity in deciding what stories to tell, how to tell them, and when they should be told.  This is art; we are telling stories.  We are sharing our own stories, the stories of others, and the story of Scripture.

This is the work of an artist.

I recently got a chance to talk with a brilliant artist and author, Austin Kleon and ask him some questions about art and faith and how the two interact.  I’ve been a huge fan of Austin’s work.   As a preacher and writer, I’ve been inspired by both Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work.  Since Austin just released his new book, which has already hit the New York Times bestseller list, I thought it would be interesting to ask him some questions related to creativity and faith.  Although Austin doesn’t do his art for the church, I think those of us making art in our churches can learn a lot from Austin’s insights.

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Theology for Everyday Life

Theologyeveryday

When most people think of theology, they think of something that is reserved for the academics or the dead guys who wrote big books a long time ago.  But theology isn’t reserved for the academics or the dead guys, theology is for everyday life.  Theology may not be a popular word, but it is something for all of us and it should flow into all of life.  Our theology should shape the way we raise our kids, relate to our spouse, and do our work.

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The Gospel According to Bacon

Bacon title

Bacon is proof that God loves us.  Seriously.  Imagine what life would’ve been like in the days of the Old Testament.  The smell of fresh cooked bacon floating through the air as the Israelites camped out in the wilderness… never an option.  The pigs that jumped off the cliff because they were possessed by demons… imagine all the quality meat that could’ve been had if Jesus just said, “Let’s eat.”  Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the Israelites complain about the manna and want meat instead.  God’s people just want themselves some bacon.

The reason they couldn’t eat bacon came from some simple rules in Leviticus regarding their dietary laws.  Leviticus includes all kinds of rules about how God’s people should dress, what they can or cannot eat, and all kinds of details about how to properly make a sacrifice.

“Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you…And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.” – Leviticus 11:4-5, 7

This was the rule for thousands of years.  No bacon.  Bacon came from pigs and pigs were unclean, therefore bacon was off the table, literally.

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Where is your blue dot?

Blue dot

If you’ve ever used a smart phone for some sort of navigation, you’ve likely encountered the blue dot.  You know, the indicator that shows up on top of the map you are looking at as a way to make it clear to you, “You are here.”  The blue dot shows you at any given moment the exact coordinates of your location.  It tells you the city you are in, the street you are traveling on, the neighborhood you are entering, and the driveway you are approaching.  The blue dot makes it very clear that, “You are here.”

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