Jared Witt - May 9, 2019
Paraphrasing Aristotle: the sign of a well-developed mind is the ability to chew on an idea neither swallowing nor spitting it out right away.
When you’re a child, your ideas about the world and God are given to you. You have very little to do with it. Reality is described a certain way and you accept that.
As soon as you can talk, you start asking for the names of everything. What’s this? What’s that? It’s thrilling to name something. In one biblical creation myth, naming things was the main project for which humans were created in the first place. When you name something, you pluck it out of the swirling morass of undifferentiated stuff and honor its special, unique existence. That’s why we’re encouraged not to name animals that are likely to die soon. When you name something, you give it an emotional weightiness that it didn’t have before.
Jared Witt - May 2, 2019
The most creative genius of the Renaissance world: go.
If you got the era placed correctly, I’m guessing that Leonardo Da Vinci popped into a lot of your minds. And it would be tough to argue with you.
We throw around the term “Renaissance Man” as if there was a time when it was commonplace for someone to be good at geometry, science, architecture, painting, sculpture, poetry and everything else under the sun. There wasn’t. True, this was a time, especially in cosmopolitan centers of Italy, where it was possible for sharp and curious minds to work across a few different disciplines: Fillippo Brunelleschi of giant dome fame as well as Donatello, Michaelangelo and the other Ninja Turtle, the red one, to name a few. But mostly, when we say “Renaissance Man” we’re just thinking of Da Vinci. And it was by no means commonplace.
Jared Witt - April 26, 2019
The goal in Christianity is to lose your life, not your head.
This can be said of all of the great religious traditions.
Too far into the tradition and you’ll confuse the means with the end. You’ll mistake the tools for the house.
Too far out of the tradition and you’ll forever be searching the shed for better tools rather than making progress with the one that’s in your hand.
Too far in and you’ll confuse the paintings with the vision.
Too far out and it just looks like everything else.
Jared Witt - April 10, 2019
Hosea is a man who married an unfaithful woman. He did so, knowing full well that she always had been serially unfaithful and would continue to be so. He would get just as enraged as you might expect by her unfaithfulness, and that was the plan all along. But he lacked the resolve to leave her. So he was ever caught in this pathetic cycle of being cuckolded and then trying unsuccessfully, through gifts and forgiveness and grace, to win back the faithfulness of the woman whom he never had in the first place. Even worse, he would try to buy her something nice to heal the relationship, as if he were the one who needed to do the apologizing. But inevitably she would see the gift wrapping and just assume it was from one of her many other lovers.
Jared Witt l March 28, 2019
If my life were the movie D2: The Mighty Ducks, anxiety and depression would be the Bash Brothers. One of them tries to stick out a skate and trip me. I jump last second and think I’ve successfully avoided the danger, only to be close-lined by the other one.
Unfortunately, our Bible is full of stories of what Jesus can do for dead people. But what does Jesus do for those who are just kind of always a bit sad?
We don’t have the story where Jesus cures the man of his situational depression.
Jared Witt l February 24, 2019
Life is the point of Christianity. Not the other way around.
Sometimes people within the faith talk as if Christianity is the point of life.
“Get thee to Christianity,” they say. For them, Church attendance is the goal of life rather than life’s launching point. They have faith in Christianity rather than because of it. Sunday is the week’s end—its goal or purpose—rather than its beginning. Their faith beckons them away from life rather than deeper into it. They cut out those parts of life which diminish religion rather than those parts of religion which diminish life.
Jared Witt l February 5, 2019
Reading the Bible is NOT the thing itself.
Prayer is the thing itself.
Caring for those in need is the thing itself.
Generosity is the thing itself.
Hope for the world is the thing itself.
Forgiving enemies is the thing itself.
Worship is the thing itself.
But the Bible is NOT the thing itself.
Jared Witt l January 29, 2019
Like many saints, Ignatius of Loyola was far from pious in his early days. He concerned himself with the things that most ambitious young men did, winning prosperity, military prestige, and of course women. Then came the ecstatic day—typical in the lore of medieval saints—where he ripped off his clothes, just like Francis of Assisi centuries before, handed them to a homeless person, and dedicated his sword and dagger to a statue of the virgin Mary at the Spanish abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat.
You don't need to experience a moment quite so dramatic in order to have a meaningful spiritual life. He did. But most people won't. Fortunately, there is a less cinematic but, in some ways, far more usable second part to this story.
Jared Witt - December 25, 2018
“Just let me call my Dad, Joe. We’re not that far out yet. He’ll come over and jump the battery. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“No, Em, we don’t need him. We’re not that far out. Someone’ll come by.”
She snapped back, “Yeah, That’s the thing, I don’t want someone to come by. What sort of people do you think come by off a random interstate fifteen miles out of town at 11:45 at night in the snow?”
“Ok, great. Yeah. So let’s drag your Dad out of bed. It’ll still be another half hour by the time he gets dressed and gets to us. Then he can come teach me all about proper car maintenance. One lecture down, before we even get there. What a perfect way to start the weekend."
Jared Witt - December 18, 2018
I'm looking for people who might describe themselves as spiritually motivated, who would like to participate in a series of midweek centering sessions that I am calling "Spiritual but Not Ridiculous: A thinking person's place to explore the divine."
By "spiritually motivated," think open and intentional as opposed to advanced or knowledgable. I'm looking for people who don't have all or perhaps any of the answers but who know there is a depth and a mystery to life and God still to probe. I'm looking for people who are perhaps not sure where to begin but who suspect that by seeking that depth first, joy, beauty, abundance, or what Jesus calls "the reign of God" will be added as well.
If that describes you, my disclaimer as the leader of the group is that I also don't have "the answers," but I share that same suspicion with you.
I'm designing this to be part theological exploration, part prayer practice, part spiritual exercise, part Bible study. We will center conversation around Jesus of Nazareth and his Way of being in the world as well as the mystical spirituality of finding the Holy Spirit in and among our lives together.
As all truth is God's truth, we will draw freely from other traditions and influences in which I have found Christ-like spiritual food. Examples include:
- Hebraic storytelling and the Rabbinic tradition
- Medieval Rhineland Christian mysticism
- Jesuit Examen Prayer and Ignatian Spirituality
- Zen Meditation
I'm there every Tuesday at this time for pastoral counseling with whoever shows up (closed on Christmas). But I hope to begin in earnest with a larger group on Tuesday January 8th.
You know who you are. Hope to see you there.
Cheers and Peace,
How Castle Church is stirring up a new spirit in the church from a brewery in Orlando, FL.