Posted by Dave Montrose on April 13, 2013
“We live in a world that celebrates superficial beauty and rejects ugly, yet God sees beauty in all of us despite our ugliness. Jesus loves us just the way we are.” - Pastor Jamie Stilson, Vineyard Community Church of Cape Coral (Fla.)
Today was the first “summer” day for the kids.* We broke out the sprinkler and the heretofore unused inflatable wading pool for the purpose of joyful splashing and scampering. But after a few minutes of Daddy demonstrating how to properly jump through a sprinkler and Mommy placing Jacob (16 months old) in the wading pool, the experience ended up turning into Jacob toddling around the driveway, and Hannah (2 years) taking pleasure in using a sprinkler-free hose to water whom- or whatever she could find.
Once again, my kids have taught me a lesson in Christian living.
“Okay, we’re ready to get out and play now.”
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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Family, Jesus, matthew, society | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Dave Montrose on January 16, 2013
“It matters very little to me what you, or any man, thinks of me – I don’t even value my opinion of myself. For I might be quite ignorant of any fault in myself – but that doesn’t justify me before God. My only true judge is the Lord.
The moral of this is that we should make no hasty or premature judgments. When the Lord comes he will bring into the light of the day all that at present is hidden from darkness, and he will expose the secret motives of men’s hearts. Then shall God himself give each man his share of praise.” – First Corinth 4:3-5 (J.B. Phillips)
Many of the culture war salvos of the past week have been launched in response to evangelical pastor Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from president Barack Obama’s inauguration. Giglio, who heads Passion City Church in Atlanta, stepped down after liberal activist website Think Progress posted a link to a mid-1990s sermon with some less-than-flattering statements about homosexuality.
Did this have to happen? Was this a case of the president appointing a bigot or censorship of conscience?
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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: baptist, Barack Obama, Catholic Church, civil rights, evangelism, homosexuality, Jesus, louie giglio, mormons, Paul, rick warren | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jessica Coblentz on July 1, 2009
“…I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do…”
My gaze lowers every time the Penitential Rite begins at Mass. I wish this was a gesture of reverence. It’s actually an act of embarrassment: Despite growing up in the Church, I don’t know the words to this prayer—this prayer that many recite every Sunday at Mass! I’ve simply never belonged to a community that regularly recites it in the Mass, so I never learned it. I’m an employed Catholic minister, though, and a theology student, so naturally I’m a little humbled, even embarrassed, by my lack of the fundamentals here.
One blessing of the Rite’s unfamiliarity is that I am compelled to actually pay attention to its words rather than unthinkingly delivering them like many habitual prayers at Mass. Every time I hear it I listen closely, trying to memorize it as I stare at the floor and pretend to lip synch the words (watermelon, watermelon, watermelon…). There is one early line I never miss. I actually say the words out loud because I never forget them: “I have sinned…in what I have failed to do.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Jesus, listening, Liturgy, love, Penitential Rite, Radical love | 3 Comments »
Posted by Lacey Louwagie on March 24, 2009
We hear proponents of sexual purity often bemoaning the fact that we “live in a sex-saturated world,” and yet, certain Christians seem to be as obsessed with sex as the secular society. A few days ago, I received an anonymous, complimentary Christian newsletter that had a very fundamentalist, evangelical slant. There was a two-page spread about “What God Says about Sex.” It was then divided into various sexual “sins” (fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.), with Biblical verses used to back the “sinfulness” of each one. Several things about this article struck me.
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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Jesus, sex, sexual sins | 16 Comments »
Posted by Lacey Louwagie on August 19, 2008
Last Sunday, I arrived at Mass feeling a little less-than-enthusiastic. I was in the midst of reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd, in which she writes about moving from traditional Christianity into a more woman-centered spirituality. There wasn’t a whole lot in the book that was “new” to me, but it did make me extra sensitive to the patriarchal nature of the established church and the liberal use of “He” and “Father” as God and “men” as people. So I was going through my own internal dance that is familiar to me and probably familiar to many who write for and read this blog: Why do I really stay here? Is this really my faith?
I should have expected what happened next because it’s happened to me so many times before. I was called to reconsider.
When the priest reflected on the Gospel reading about Jesus and the Canaanite woman, he talked about how, in the reading, we see Jesus “change his mind.” His initial response to the woman was that his mission was to save the Jewish people, but she convinced him that his mission was to minister to all people. The idea of Jesus being convinced of his path through another human or the idea of Jesus changing his mind at all are intriguing concepts in and of themselves, but I’m not going to dwell there. Because what really spoke to me was what came next: the profession that over time, things change. The priest said, “In fact, over time, even religion changes. As we learn more, we’ve been called to change. And there are lots of people who think the Church should change, and perhaps, like Jesus, we’re being called to change our minds rather than called to keep upholding the past.” It didn’t hurt that the priest went on to say that if he were designing a new church, he’d put a statue of the Canaanite woman at the entrance to remind parishioners that Jesus came for everyone.
And in that short homily, I once more got the answer about why I stay: Because, despite the way it sometime feels, I’m really not alone, even within the more organized Church.
I was still thinking about the homily throughout the rest of Sunday. Of course, I had plenty of ideas for what could change! I thought, “Ah, he’s talking about ordination! Birth control! The dignity of GLBTQI people!” But because he was vague (which is the way of this particular priest, to be quietly revolutionary in a way that heartens hungry souls like mine but doesn’t alienate the more conservative among us), I’m left pondering what things I might be called to “change my mind” about, or at least to re-examine. I’m left wondering what the others in the congregation assumed the “changes” the priest referred to were: the translations to bring the Mass closer to the Latin form? (which I’m still against, but had to to chew on a bit nonetheless). And perhaps what was beautiful about it was the fact that it could have meant something different to each of us without ever ringing false. Because change is part of life, and our Church is a life-giving, life-sustaining Church. It’s just the how and what of the changes that are debatable. I think I will stick around for that debate.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: change in the Church, Jesus | 10 Comments »
Posted by Julia Walsh on July 17, 2008
I am not a fan of division. I figure this is a good thing, since it seems to be in line with Jesus’ main teachings of peace and love. Often times unity seems to be the direction we’re are supposed to be moving towards while we live our gospel lives.
Unity is awesome. When it doesn’t exist, or when something is drastically divided, it causes me great pain. Like say, within the Catholic Church, or the greater Christian church. And then there’s the whole country, the good ol’ United States of America. How united are we, really? I don’t know, but I’ve seen a lot of passionate people scream at each other in the past few years, instead of forgetting their differences and embracing one another.
Since I like unity so much and I find division to be painful, I find it hard to make a stand sometimes. Also, it’s tough to associate with organizations that seem to perpetuate the division more than work towards unity. (Frankly, this is why I have mixed feelings about Call to Action.) I prefer to fence-sit on really controversial issues, and be present to both sides as a friend and a listener.
Earlier this summer, I was blessed to hear the prophet and Jesuit priest, John Dear, S.J. speak at a Peace Conference. I listened to him passionately and effectively rally folks around the beatitudes and how our guide is the non-violent Jesus. He told tales of how he had been arrested for being a peacemaker and making a stand, and how he’d been asked to step away from ministries and parishes because he was too controversial for taking Jesus literally.
At the end of the day, I stood up and thanked him, and agreed that peace and love are great, but what about division? Isn’t division a form of violence? How can we take a stand and not put up a wall?
His response was just as challenging as his entire message. He encouraged us to think of unity as the starting place and not the destination. The fruits of unity, he said, are peace and love and not the other way around. So, to be peacemakers and to be aware of the unity that we already live within, we must be mystics and contemplatives.
And we must sit with the great question of Jesus, “Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51)
It’s not unity we’re going towards. It’s God. We’re already there.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: contemplation, division, Jesus, John Dear, mysticism, Peace, unity | 3 Comments »