Faith Without Formulas

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Beaster725

In 1968 or so, when the rest of the world was reeling with revolution, someone gave me a Jesus Person Pocket Promise Book, a slender little paperback with a list of quotations. Each was a biblical promise. Every promise portended a bright future for me. Every promise promised that things would be okay.I grew up with formulas—as you probably did, too. Study hard, and you’ll get a good job. Be good to others, and they’ll be good to you. Raise a child in the way he (or she) should go, and when h … [Read more...]

Keep a Quarter in Your Pocket

CaineReidge

Deeply felt spirituality. Who wouldn’t want that? Reckless abandon. Religious ecstasy, even.This sensibility lies at the heart of the American religious experience. During the most famous American camp meeting, the Cane Ridge Revival of 1801, one observer looked on in amazement:To see those proud young gentlemen and young ladies, dressed in their silks, jewelry, and prunella, from top to toe, take the jerks, would often excite my risibilities. The first jerk or so, you would see their f … [Read more...]

Welcome, Black and Blue Saints

The moaning woke me up. A deep moaning, somewhere between anguish and pain. I lay still on my back for a few moments of unknowing, staring at the ceiling above our bed, at the shoddy patch that ran from one wall to the other above our heads, a sloppily mended crack. Our first house: lavish with wood beams and chandeliers but with a dank basement, a leaky roof, ascetic electric wiring, and a thoroughly questionable neighborhood.Why hadn’t I fixed that ceiling with a baby on the way, I w … [Read more...]