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 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,
Jared Witt - November 27, 2018
Alright, I'm taking a pass on this week's blog post. Got a couple other irons in the fire right now. Namely, CASTLE CHURCH GRAND OPENING FESTIVAL this Saturday, December 1, all day (11am - 1am). Food Trucks, Music, Games, and I'll shamelessly mention our Orlando Beer Festival Judges Choice Award Winning Craft Beer. At 5pm we name the winner of Free Beer for a Year. Click the link above for details, and if you can make it, be there! We love having you in our community.
Cheers and Peace,
Jared Witt - November 20, 2018
Jared Witt - November 12, 2018
I typically like to occupy my mind (and blog) with more interesting and complex ideas than this one. I figure, if it’s not an idea that most would find novel or surprising, then why bother writing about it?
But sometimes a simple thing (and by "simple" I mean so simple as to be uninteresting), is nonetheless so frequently misunderstood, that it’s still worth mentioning. One such thing is the coolness:theology paradox in churches.
You could also call it the style:substance paradox, and it goes like this: the style-savvy packaging or cool factor in the worship of your average North American congregation tends to be inversely proportional to the progressiveness of the theology.
Jared Witt - October 30, 2018
Apologies that you haven't heard from me in a while. Busy times here at Castle Church HQ. Had a terrific Brewery Blessing with around 200 of our closest friends + the Bishop of the Florida Bahamas Synod of the ELCA, got our first beer kegged and have 6 more in the fermenter forest in preparation for New Release November and Grand Opening, December 1.
In lieu of a written blog, one of our church leaders, Dan Sterling, and I had the privilege of doing the very popular podcast, A Corporate Time with Tom and Dan, based here in Orlando. Thanks for your patience. Hope you enjoy.
Cheers and Peace,
Jared Witt - October 1, 2018
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
“Who told you that you were naked?” - Gen. 2:9-11
At what age did you first learn to cover up? When did you learn to stiffen your back, tighten your shoulders, put on a “face”?
Do you catch yourself doing this more in some places than in others? Why is that? What cues are you picking up to figure out which one is which?
Jared Witt - September 17, 2018
It’s been a very, very long time coming. But it’s nearly upon us.
Right as our first batches are coming out of fermentation, Castle Church will be kicking off the life of our brewing community and celebrating the new home of our church in the only way we know how, with a Reformation Day Brewery Blessing.
When - October 28, 4pm to 7:30 pm
Where - Castle Church Brewing Community (6820 Hoffner Ave., Orlando, FL 32822)
What – A classic monastic brewery blessing with some Castle Church improvisations, complete with guided beer tasting, blessing liturgy, beer and hymns, and a catered dinner.
What you need to know – This a special celebration with all those who have supported and prayed for our development prior to our opening to the general public. Reservations are required. Follow this link.
The brewery blessing tradition dates to the early middle ages at least as far back as Saint Arnold of Soissons (patron saint of hop-pickers and brewers) in the 11th century. He is often depicted with a mashing rake, a tool used in the old brewing process. But his synonymity with brewing is not because he opened up a monastery with a brewery, which was very common, but is an homage to his wise action of saving many from his church as an epidemic swept through the region by telling them to drink beer instead of water.
Jared Witt - August 27, 2018
Haut Publicité Inc., a sleek new outfit specializing in brand marketing and high end corporate promotion, had moved into the area and wanted to demonstrate what they could do for local executives. So they decided to throw a community festival at the downtown boardwalk. About a month out, their social media staff start plugging targeted invites to all the high end neighborhoods, and sales reached out to local client-based firms and real estate moguls.
A couple weeks went by and they started to grow concerned over the lackluster response on the event page. Lots of “no” responses, several “maybes,” but very few solid “yes”-es. The promotions team started reaching out directly to business contacts and influencers in the community with the script, “Hello, my name is ____, just wanted to make sure you knew about…” The responses they got weren’t negative, but they weren’t that helpful either.
Karen Henry - August 20, 2018
It is impossible to have a vital community of the Spirit without authenticity. And part of authenticity is risking talking about those experiences which we might prefer not to talk about. I'm indebted to Castle Church's own Karen Henry for having the groundedness and the strength of character to share this reflection on searching for light in a dark time. Thank you, Karen. - Jared
The painted shell that sits on my desk.
I am a person who viciously assigns meaning to dates, items and places. In some instances, this is a wonderful trait. Birthdays and anniversaries are important to me and cause me to reminisce. When I wear a piece of jewelry from a friend, it reminds me of them. Restaurants and the food that I’m eating conjure memories of a place travelled and special people in my life.
On how Castle Church is stirring up a movement from a brewery in Florida.