Posts

Showing posts from September, 2017

Filling the Space

I know a guy who would consider himself an evangelical Christian.  At the end of the day, he is a good guy.  While conservative, he's not a flame-thrower.

But, here's the thing about this guy, this evangelical Christian.  He lives his life on the basis of the principle that the goal of this life is to make as much money as one possibly can.  He has said so on numerous occasions, in both private and quasi-public settings.  Sure, he cares about his family and about his religion, but the primary,day-to-day objective of his life is maximizing his personal wealth.  He spends a great deal of time thinking and strategizing about how to make the most money in his current situation.

More specifically, he recognizes that the best way to make money is to put yourself in the same environment as other people that have money and/or are in a position to make money come your way.  So, he makes a point of being around those people, openly sucking up to them and trying as hard as he can to ing…

First, and Last, Confession

Barring some unforeseen development, on Sunday Bishop Thomas Breidenthal of the Diocese of Southern Ohio of the Episcopal Church will officially pronounce that I (and about a dozen other folks) have changed denominations and officially joined the Episcopal Church.  As I sit here, 48 hours from this event taking place, I have some unorganized thoughts about where I am and where I might be going.  This is, perhaps, a "confession" in the classical sense of the term.

If I had to pick a single reason for deciding to make this move, it would be that I wanted to live my faith with greater authenticity and personal integrity.  As time has gone on, it is has become increasingly clear to me that I simply don't believe some of the things that the Roman Catholic Church insists that I believe.  I recognize that many people can, happily and with great personal integrity and self-assurance, believe and live those ideas and principles, and while we can debate the impact of some of those…

Three Thoughts on Rebuilding the Church

Image
1.
Early on in his journey toward God, St. Francis found himself near the small chapel of San Damiano (St. Damian), about a half mile south of Assisi.  St. Bonaventure's Life of Francis says that San Damiano was in disrepair, "on account of its great age."  First off, we should probably put "great age" in perspective.  The original San Damiano probably dates to the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th Century, so by the time Francis comes upon it in 1205, it is 100, maybe 150, years old.  That's certainly not nothing, but from the perspective of the history of the Christian church--even from the perspective of Francis's time--it is relatively recent.

Nevertheless, San Damiano was in disrepair by the time Francis arrives.  We are conditioned, or at least I was conditioned, to think of our time as some sort of uniquely problematic period in the history of Christianity.  Christianity is in decline, Millennials are leaving in droves, nothing is as good…

Umbrellas and Their Meaning

1. I was on a business trip Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia, and it was raining.  I had a meeting and a walk to get to that meeting, so I went into the hotel gift shop and bought an umbrella.  I bought the smallest and least expensive (I would say cheapest, but it was not cheap) umbrella they had, without really looking at it.  After I had completed the purchase and got ready to get out into the rain, I noticed that it was a Kate Spade umbrella, one of those transparent plastic bubble-type domes.  As I made my way through the streets of Atlanta, I felt overwhelmingly, profoundly self-conscious.  I noticed I wasn't willing to make eye contact with dudes carrying their more macho black umbrellas, as if I was avoiding their judgment for my umbrella and its femininity.

How dumb is that?  Here I am, in a city that I know no one, which I hadn't been to in fifteen years and probably won't be back to for another fifteen, and I am worried about what random strangers think of my umb…