Ordinarily, when Paul Ryan puts something out about poverty and social spending, the response is predictable and polarized. The senior House Republican and 2012 vice presidential nominee likes Ayn Rand and small government and racially coded criticism. We know what box to put him in.
A few Sundays ago I preached in a church that has three different worship services in three different locations within the church. One is a moderately sized chapel, one is a voluminous fellowship hall with a stage at one end, and the last one is the original sanctuary of the old downtown church. The variations in space accompanied the differences in worship style. The one thing all three had in common was a clock easily seen from the pulpit.
Whenever I go on vacation, I realize again how tangled up my faith practices are with my work. I am not proud to say it, and I begin each vacation time with a desire to encounter God on vacation in a different way than I do in my daily work.
I have many conversations with people who find it difficult to believe or people who barely believe or people who want to believe but can’t or people who are embarrassed to believe or people who look down in condescension at those who believe or people who are just bewildered that anyone could believe in something like God or resurrection or hope or any kind of future that is radically dissimilar to the present. This is the shape of our life and imagination in the post-Christian West.