Lent A – Z

I urged you all to read Melinda Selmys's series on "making Lent hardcore," but I hinted that I had various caveats or places where I wanted to stick my own oar in. You guys know that my whole shtik is that there's no one best way, no Esperanto of the spiritual life. I lack self-restraint and temperance (if only there were a Christian practice that could train me in these virtues!) so I decided to give you all this Lenten feuilleton, an alphabet of ways you could think about Lent. You're welcome … [Read more...]

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“Stephen King’s Doubt”: I review “Revival”

for AmCon: There’s a cheap rhetorical move you see a lot in religious debate, where the God-pusher retorts, “But don’t you ever doubt your doubt?” The hero of Revival, Stephen King’s 2014 novel of loss and obsession, could reply in tones of trembling horror: “All the time. God help me, I doubt my doubt all the time.”King has always loved to wring horror from Americana: the bad hot dog, the classic car, the prom. In Revival he takes on the Methodist Youth Fellowship, where, back in the mid-’6 … [Read more...]

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The Only “A” You Need Is the “A” in JESUS

Just a quick post about the readings for today.The first reading s really personally meaningful t me. I looked at it every day when I was quittng drinking: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live[.] And that's what has happened for me in sobriety: I have more life now. More time. I work more; I pray more. I have more friends and more responsibilities. I have a life that is better spiritually--but also bet … [Read more...]

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“Being Single Shouldn’t Mean Being Alone”: I’m in the Washington Post

doin' my thing: If you saw Pixar’s “Inside Out,” you may remember the charming short cartoon that played before the film. “Lava” features a shaggy old volcano in the middle of the ocean. He’s surrounded by happy couples: Two gulls arc overhead, two fish leap in the water. But he sings miserably all day about how he longs for “someone to lava.”In despair he sinks to the ocean floor — but lo! A lady volcano (a much younger and more attractive peak than he is, I’m just saying) bursts forth and … [Read more...]

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“Meet the Gay Christians Who Are Swearing Off Sex”: Two Dudes You May Already Know And One You Might Not

Mic.com quotes Ron Belgau and Wesley Hill, who may already be familiar to my readers; but to me the most poignant and powerful lines were from Seth Crocker, whom I've read now and then but tbh haven't followed as closely:Seth Crocker, 28, is also a celibate gay Christian. A blogger for Building Bridges in War Zones, Crocker referred to his decision to abstain from sex as a "personal thing," which stems from his belief that being in a relationship with God means making difficult … [Read more...]

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“The Sinner Teodora” Takes Viewers Inside a Romanian Women’s Monastery

Last night I watched "Pacatoasa Teodora" (The Sinner Teodora), an elliptical documentary by director Anca Hirte. It follows a young woman named Teodora as she prepares to make her final vows (? this was not a documentary big on explaining situations or helping the viewer) at a women's monastery.This is a haiku-like, compressed film, with lots of overlapping conversations about nothing in particular and lots of very tight close-ups on Teodora's lips or eyes. It's a sidelong glance at monastic … [Read more...]

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From Jean-Pierre de Caussade, “Abandonment to Divine Providence”

For example, let's take a piece of stone destined to be carved into a crucifix or a statue. We might ask it: "What do you think is happening to you?" And it might answer: "Don't ask me. All I know is that I must stay immovable in the hands of the sculptor, and I must love him and endure all he inflicts on me to produce the figure he has in mind. He knows how to do it. As for me, I have no idea what he is doing, nor do I know what he will make of me. But what I do know is that his work is the … [Read more...]

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