Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's a Sabbath?

Yesterday I started pondering the idea of a weekly "sabbath" with the self-convicting question of whether two half-sabbaths (a few hours on Saturday, a few hours on Sunday) could "count" as a sabbath day -- bearing in mind that the Sabbath was created not for God but for us (Mark 2:27).

Long story short, I don't think ".5 + .5 = 1" will cut it.

This morning, a friend of mine reminded me that the original Jewish Sabbath "day" was defined as sundown to sundown.


Sundown on Saturday to sundown on Sunday wouldn't help get past the work involved in administration of our Adult Sunday School (which is the thing that keeps Sundays from being as "restful" as they might be otherwise)... but sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday just might work.

That only makes sense when a "sabbath" is defined not as a legalistic absence of any sort of labor or exertion and is taken instead as a focus on personal renewal. The deciding question could (should? might?) be "Will I draw energy from this activity or will it drain me?"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tweet from: @GordonMarcy

From: @GordonMarcy
Sent: Oct 11, 2011 1:32p

God favors collaboration. Unified for His purpose and glory, seemingly impossible feats will be accomplished.

sent via TweetDeck

On Twitter: http://twitter.com/GordonMarcy/status/123828212676558848

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NT tithing affirmed?

Matthew 23:23 NIV

""Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices???mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law???justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

See it at YouVersion.com:


Introversion and Spirituality

A rare cross-post against both my sites, but I want to be sure I can keep track of and follow up on these articles on introversion…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cataphatic Prayer

A young minister I respect mentioned cataphatic prayer in passing, which caused me to Google it, which caused me to find a bunch of conservative sites complaining about it, which caused me to think there's probably something good and valuable about it.

Here's some background, from http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue83.htm

"Seeing is Believing promotes ???cataphatic prayer,???48 a version of mysticism that involves using mental images of the human imagination to supposedly help a person experience God more profoundly. The following is a definition of cataphatic prayer published in a Creighton University article:"

Another form of prayer, called cataphatic, honors and reverences images and feelings and goes through them to God. This form of prayer also has an ancient and well-attested history in the world of religions. Any sort of prayer that highlights the mediation of creation can be called cataphatic. So, praying before icons or images of saints; the mediation of sacraments and sacramentals; prayer out in creation - all these are cataphatic forms of prayer.49

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Creation and Destruction

A thought occurred to me this morning and figured I'd pop it in here because 1) it relates to spirituality in some ways and 2) none of my friends will see it because nobody reads this.

I've been participating in an online conference/webinar the past couple days and it's not as engaging as the same series has been in past years. But I've still really enjoyed it. Why? Because I'm working really hard to glean useful information from it. And that's a choice.

Being analytical is good -- it's an important (and, it seems at times, rare) skill. But the danger of "analysis" is that it turns to "criticism" (in the most negative sense of the word) no matter what you do.

I heard somewhere recently: It's harder to create than to destroy.

So, in the spirit of "appreciative inquiry" or keeping an "attitude of positive regard," let's make sure we're using our critical minds to improve the world around us -- and not to simply knock down what we don't like.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


[http://a1.twimg.com/profile_images/421699034/eric-mod-white_normal.jpg]Eric M. Larson (@emlarson)
7/19/11 9:50 AM
"Create a community of inquiry" per @jrhode at #USTblended - wise, but volatile and hard if the environment isn't truly safe.

I think every community has a set of unchallenged assumptions that are taboo to question. What kind of ostracism do participants face when they start to wrestle with those openly? Workplace? Sunday School? Family?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Christian discouragement?

I'm not sure this is right:

"Those who are truly regenerate know that the more they consider themselves, the more discouraged they get."

From "Critical Issues Commentary: Monvee???The New Evangelicalism about Me"


Thursday, April 28, 2011

From the 1662 Book of Common Prayer

"We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, have committed by word, thought and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So what's that parable really mean?

I've heard the "eye of the needle" one a lot. Did Jesus mean it's impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven?

Urban Legends: The Preacher???s Edition

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A logical structure in the abortion debate

Granted, questions of abortion are rarely grounded in logic which makes political debate difficult, but here's a tool for the rare cases where they are:


Sunday, April 24, 2011

The mind-body problem...

An article approaching one of my favorite topics...

Dreams of Meaning: Where Religion and Neuroscience Can???t Compete

Monday, April 11, 2011

Really? A song?

When Ruth starts quoting lyrics at me, I pay attention...



[http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/images/navigation/bug_nrteam.gif] "Graduation Day" Lyrics [edit]
by Kenny Marks | from the album Another Friday Night


Graduation day, there were tears in their eyes,
Photographs and promises; they threw their hats goodbye,
Graduation day, and the sun was shining bright,
A piece of paper and a heart full of dreams,
It was the best day of their life.

On their wedding day there were tears in their eyes,
Words of love and promises,
They threw the rice and waved goodbye,
It was the best day of their life.

Oh, we search for a moment to cling to, but there seems to be too few to find,
In the span of one life, in the dimness of night, we search for the meaning in life.

It was an ordinary day and there were tears in their eyes,
God's word of love and promises took them by surprise,
'Cause on that ordinary day there was an answer shining bright,
All those days of searching for truth had faded in the light,
It was the best day of their life.

Oh, we search for a moment to cling to, but there seems to be too few to find,
In the span of one life, in the dimness of night, we search for the meaning in life,
In the span of one life, in the dimness of night, we search for the meaning in life.

We search for the meaning in life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thoughts on Sanctification

I just found a found a reference to this show and, while I don’t remember exactly what was going on in my head when I first heard it, I trust my past judgment that it was worth noting (and, as I replay it, it sounds good…)

Anderson asks:  “Compare yourself to a house for sale ‘as is.’ God purchased you at a very high cost – the life of his son. Now he owns you and it’s time to begin the work of claiming and cleaning up what he has bought. .. How’s it going in your life? Which rooms are started and which ones are done? Are there still some rooms you are keeping locked and guarded? Or have you opened up everything so that God can sanctify you through and through?”

Monday, March 28, 2011

A "contradiction" infographic

Here's a discussion of an infographic that was circulating, which covered supposed "contradictions" in the Bible.  A very pretty chart (you can find it elsewhere), but the text on it sure doesn't say a whole lot -- things like the number of angels at Jesus' tomb and such.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Different faith?

At 17:30 into this Joel Osteen podcast you hear the distinction between "delivering" faith (where God gets you out of something bad) vs. "sustaining" faith (where God helps you cope with something bad).

Interestingly concise summary. I like it.

Podcast Title: Joel Osteen Audio Podcast
Episode: Hold On To Your Peace
Media URL:

Podcast feed URL:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The conviction of being a "functional universalist"...

From T. Elliott Welsh's blog post about Rob Bell comes this convicting commentary:

We show we are functioning universalists when we do not share the Gospel with our unsaved friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors.

My response there?

Great insights! Just came across this from a reference at the mlive.com article and you've hit the nail on the head for something I've found personally convicting for a long time.

It's like the old metaphor of, "If you _knew_ you had the cure for cancer, wouldn't you tell everyone you knew and do everything in your power to make them listen?" The reality is, we don't live that way when it comes to Jesus. Why? What variation of "lack of faith" does that come from?

Friday, February 18, 2011

A different kind of Bible study


A random thing for me to research in my free time: a missions pastor spotted my Bible cover and said he believes it's a very typical African woven pattern and from Ghana in particular. He also said he thinks it's especially common in the Kumasi region and may be the Kente cloth of the Asante people (or Ghan).

Wow. And I just thought it looked cool. The cover itself was a gift that happened to be identical to one I'd seen in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1995 but passed up because it was too expensive to splurge on. Then I had that non-buyer's remorse feeling of, "Oh, I should have gotten that when I had the chance..." ...and then it turned up as a Christmas/birthday/etc. present months later.

So, I think it'll be fun to learn more about its background...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Christian radio as virtual community?

Another article for "spare time reading" (which I feel like I'm falling more and more behind on, but that's a topic for another day)...

Web Giants Encroaching on Local Christian Media Territory | Christian Media 2.0


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hint... Hint...


- - - - - -
Typed by thumb and sent from my St. Thomas BlackBerry Wireless Device

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some random reading

Watching a progress-bar march along and came across Arloa Sutter's blog -- some interesting reading here:


Monday, January 3, 2011

The meaning of life...


I post this with full knowledge that it's an unfairly incomplete picture of academic life... But I was struck by this collection of dissertations, which represents thousands and thousands of hours of work.

I know that work came to more than this, but when pictured this way it seems awfully empty.