Jared Witt l August 10, 2017
Nice. An email from my Starbucks Rewards team – “Congratulations! The next one’s on us” – Score. Let’s see, 6:28pm. If I leave now I can grab a drink and still make my meeting at 7 – “Welcome to Starbucks. What can we make for you with today?” – One…uh…iced grande…Sorry, iced half-caf grande one pump vanilla breve iced coffee with milk – “Alright, one iced half-caf grande one pump vanilla breve iced coffee with milk. And you wanted that one pump vanilla in addition to the classic syrup?” – Oh, sorry, I meant ‘instead of’ – “Alright so…” – Oh, and I forgot to say, light ice. Really sorry – “Ohhh kaayyy, so, I have an iced half-caf grande one pump vanilla (instead of classic) breve light ice iced coffee…did you say with milk?” – That’s right – “Ok, sir, I’ll see you at the first window…Hi there. That’ll be $2.30” – K. My card is on my phone – “Alright. Here’s your receipt. Your drink will be right up” – Oh. Crap. I forgot to tell you I had a reward for a free drink – “Ohhh kaayyy. No problem. I can undo that, if I can just see your phone again.” – Aww. You know what? The app booted me for some reason. Just need to sign in – (Try the usual numeral and letter password) – “We’re sorry. Invalid username/password. Please try again. Forgot username? Forgot password?” – (Try the usual numeral and letter with one cap password) – “We’re sorry. Invalid username/password…” – (Try the usual numeral and letter with one cap and one symbol password) – “We’re sorry…” – You know what? I might just need to pull around and come inside. I don’t want to hold up the line –
Jared Witt l August 3, 2017
One universal rule of medieval art is that babies should always look ridiculous. Specifically, they should look like abominable, Benjamin Button-esque old men trapped in tiny bodies.
No, it’s not because the painters couldn’t paint or because they had never seen a baby before.
According to Matthew Averett, an art history professor at Creighton University, it’s because there was a pious notion that Jesus came out of the womb already bearing the fully formed likeness of adult Jesus. There was really no such thing in the medieval western world as non-religious art, and most of the babies you see are either direct depictions of baby Jesus or cherubic type beings modeled after Jesus. So the goal was not to depict what real human babies look like but rather to depict homunculi: “little men” whose disconcerting appearance matched some era's ideals.
Jared Witt l July 20, 2017
Just about every part of the Bible thinks that some other part of the Bible is wrong about something.
This was known for many centuries and no one made much of an effort to cover it up until very recently, specifically the turn of the 20th century, when some rather grumpy old killjoys decided that the whole Bible needed to be “inerrant” (something about teaching evolution in schools).
Until then, many Jews and Christians knew full well that there was no uniform biblical doctrine of everything.
Paul thought James was wrong about the need for good works in addition to faith in order to be saved. James thought Paul was wrong about faith without good works being any faith at all.
Jared Witt l July 13, 2017
“A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.” –Margaret Atwood
I recently read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale for the first time, before binge watching the TV series, in order to fulfill my nerdly obligation to tell everyone else how much better the book was (btw, I'm the worst).
From the Wikipedia page: "this is a 1985 dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian, Christian theonomy that has overthrown the United States government, the novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain individualism and independence."
Jared Witt l July 6, 2017
I had a security system installed in my house.
I was never really all that concerned about the things that a security system is meant to protect you from before. But now I am. Because I have it. The protection preceded the threat, as it seems to do so often in our world.
I never used to be anxious about the safety of my graveyard quiet nowheresville neighborhood. But now I have a persistent beeping always reminding me that I have everything to fear each time I open the garage door. And nothing can be at ease until I satiate the alarm with a secret passcode that only my wife and I know. I had the good sense at least to shut off the setting that had the imperious woman always shouting “front door” or “back door.” My blood pressure was having a hard time distinguishing between a psychoserialkillerterroristassassin breaching the perimeter of our little suburban fortress and my wife letting the dog out.
Jared Witt l June 29, 2017
When he started out over a decade ago as a Hasidic JewIsh beatboxing reggae rapper, people thought for sure that Matisyahu must be nothing more than a novelty act. When he and his band were invited onto Jimmy Kimmel live, it was not to perform but to be grilled (and mocked) as the host tried to figure out their gimmick.
Having told Kimmel's people that he would refuse the show if he and his band couldn't get a spot on stage, it took all of three seconds into his lyrical firestorm, "King Without a Crown," to show the world that he isn't about gimmick; he is about soul, spirit, love, loss, and a very earnest longing for the Divine
It occurred to me while listening to this recent interview with the comedian Pete Holmes that it's not wholly intangible why one of my favorite lyricists and performers writes with so much more fascination and profundity than most of his counterparts in the Christian music industry, there are articulable reasons for it.
1) His search for God is a genuine search.
Jared Witt l June 22, 2017
"They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three."
- James Russell Lowell
This is taken from Martin Luther King Jr.'s essay, "Transformed nonconformist," written for a world in which unrestrained violence, stockpiles of nuclear weapons, standing militaries, unthinkable economic disparities, racism and nationalism both casual and systemic, and greed are the unquestioned norm.
Jared Witt l June 15, 2017
We've mentioned on this blog how there is really only one story that the world has ever truly loved: Winners win. Losers lose. We hear this story everywhere. Our economic system is built around it, our political system is built around it, our criminal justice system, our sports, our movies. Even in many families, the one place in the world where, by definition, you should belong just by fact of birth, people are expected to compete for supremacy and become the “favorite child” or risk losing and being labeled the “black sheep.”
Such a stranglehold does this story have on our consciousness, that not only are most of our great religions essentially steroidal expansions of it out into eternity such that, even in death, you can’t get away from it, but even the world’s biggest religion, which is supposed to exist for the sole purpose of contradicting this story, has thoroughly absorbed it to the point that very few people inside or outside of it ever presume that it would be about anything else.
But Jesus actually has something different to say. He brings a new story into the world.
Jared Witt l June 8, 2017
Let me make some disclaimers. First of all, I like Billy Corgan, the lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, Zwan, and several side projects. If he’s ever gone off the deep end, I think it’s because his prolonged status as a bona fide rockstar would do that to most people. And how much more vulnerable is someone like Corgan?
I sometimes like to think of humans as having a sort of seismograph in our souls capable of reading waves of pain, beauty, love, ugliness or what have you. This seismograph is variously referred to as empathy, emotional intelligence, conscience, or some such. And where sociopaths have a seismograph that is either malfunctioning or completely broken, great artists have the most finely tuned of all of us. Billy Corgan is the latter, one of those rare, beleaguered souls, who can channel the vulnerabilities of the human experience into meaningful poetry. And that is a deeply admirable quality to me.
Jared Witt l June 1, 2017
Alright, you’ve given up on trying to swallow the cold, inedible borscht which our culture feeds to us as “Christianity.” You've tried finessing your fork around barely identifiable chunks of blind patriotism, state-sanctioned violence, and small-minded tribalism hoping to get to the good stuff...only to find more unappetizing bits of bumper sticker sentimentality, insufferable moralizing, and some medieval fantasia about the afterlife.
Good. You’ve officially been de-vangelized, and you're ready to start de-vangelizing others.
Now, hang on. Calm down, all you good pious folk. I’m talking about deprogramming from the bad kind of evangelism. To “evangelize” someone, when the word is used correctly, is quite literally a good thing. It turns "Good News" into a verb. You “good news” someone when you share the story of God’s unconditional love and grace for the whole world without exception, evidenced and guaranteed by the raising of Jesus, the one who taught us how to love. If that’s what you hear when I say “evangelism,” then you’re good. That’s not a trip you need to come down from.
Brewing Community. Fermenting Love.
How Castle Church is stirring up a movement of love in Orlando, Florida, USA, Earth, Cosmos.