On my neglected Facebook page sits an even more neglected
"Like" button. Although I read what others post and occasionally add a comment,
I grumpily avoid this particular feature. Technology based on personal
preferences-a rapidly expanding group that includes Hunch, Pandora, various
Google products and others-is a source of anxiety for me.
This book is a series of icons painted by Catholic priest William Hart McNichols, accompanied by prayers written by acclaimed translator and self-described "Jewish Sufi Buddhist who loves Christ" Mirabai Starr. Their collaboration deserves lingering attention, even by Protestants dubious about appearances of Mary.
is concerned with encouraging a struggling congregation to stand firm, endure
and persevere. Wendell Berry refers to the "art
of the commonplace," a phrase that for pastors brings to mind the art,
craft and skills by which we cultivate the common everyday life our people are
called to live and share--and which will enable them to stand firm. It is about
the mundane and about community.
In Paul's second letter to the church in Thessolonica he warns the
Christians there about hanging out with followers of Jesus who are
living in idleness, and since laziness is one of my key struggles in
life, it hit me right between the eyes this cold fall Monday morning.
One of the problems with moving forward is that there are times that require looking back--and not with nostalgia.
I was recently visiting with a friend who is a Vietnam veteran, describing "then" and "now."
described it like this: "When I came home, I sort of put all that
stuff in a package. You know, when I was in country, we always said
"When I get back to the world, I'm gonna...etc. etc." It was sort of
like Vietnam was "another world."
Harvard historian of religion Wilfred Cantwell Smith likes to talk about the origins of the rosary, the string of beads used for prayers by devout Catholics. Catholics got the idea for using prayer beads from Muslims, for whom prayer beads are quite common. The Muslims likely got the idea from Buddhists, and the Buddhists no doubt picked up the idea from Indian Brahmans, whose 108 beads account for the requisite number of Hindu prayers (Mark Juergensmeyer et al., God in the Tumult of the Global Square, University of California Press).