Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #5

iPhones

The Sermon on the Mount hit home in a practical and difficult way for me today. I've been struck lately by how distracted I am by my iPhone. The iPhone is a fantastic invention, remarkable really, and a boon in the hands of some folks. But, for me, the iPhone plays right into my natural impatience (instant access to Google and email), my desire for distraction (Words with Friends), and the ever-present temptation to isolate myself from my community--including my friends and family. I've noticed that lately it has been getting harder for me to concentrate on my reading and writing. I even … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #4

Rand

Reading the Sermon on the Mount has become a great way for my wife and I to spend some quiet time together in the morning before the day kicks into high gear. Today, she and I talked for a while about some patterns we saw in the "you have heard it said…but I tell you" passages in Matthew 5:21-48. We remembered that the familiar "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" (Matthew 5:38) refers back to commands in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. The laws of ancient Israel authorized retaliation for injustices, but they also restrained the scope of vengeance. Retaliation was reciprocal. If I … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #3

jm_200_NT2.pd-P20.tiff

A few of us are reading the Sermon on the Mount every day during Lent. (You're welcome to join us!) What stood out to me as I read this morning is the placement of that familiar command: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) It appears toward the end of a passage about not being anxious about the necessities of life. Perhaps because of some experiences my wife and I had recently related to family finances, what came to mind as I read that verse in Matthew 6 was a separate passage in the book of Mark. In Mark 10, … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #2

This morning I read just past the end of the Sermon on the Mount, where it says that the crowds were amazed at Jesus's teaching because, unlike the scribes, Jesus taught as one who had authority. I almost took that as an invitation to go back and re-read the sermon...this time with feeling! One thing I struggle against is that the Sermon on the Mount is so familiar, and it's full of so many well-worn phrases -- light of the world, turn the other cheek, go the second mile, lilies and sparrows, pearls before swine, do unto others, the house built on the rock -- that they have become … [Read more...]

Lenten Reading: Sermon on the Mount #1

As Chris mentioned in a post yesterday, a group of us are reading the Sermon on the Mount every day for Lent. (We set up a Facebook page, if you'd like to join the conversation.) Throughout the Lenten season, Chris and I will be posting occasional thoughts here about our experience with this extraordinary passage. My wife and I read Matthew 5-7 out loud to each other yesterday morning (Ash Wednesday), and I ended up thinking about it all day. In particular, I remembered some of my early experiences with the Sermon on the Mount. When I was a teenager, I was taught--for the life of me, I … [Read more...]

Hungering and Thirsting After Righteousness [Guest Post -Thomas Turner]

Via Wikimedia Commons

Thom Turner is a friend and regular contributor to The Englewood Review of Books. Thom is also an adjunct lecturer of English at Nyack College and the Senior Editor and Publisher of GENERATE Magazine. He has recently been doing a wonderful series on his blog on a Christian ethic of eating, which has some important connections to our Slow Church project. I invited him to guest post here, and he offered this great reflection for the present season of Lent. When Christ tells us to “hunger and thirst after righteousness” or to pray that God “give us our daily bread” our full, first … [Read more...]


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