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 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 - December 11, 2018
“The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.” – Mark 6:26
Have a look at Mark 6:14-29, the Beheading of John the Baptist at the hands of King Herod Antipas. Now answer this question: what is Herod’s major character flaw.
I assume I’m not alone on this: when I was a little kid, I was taught that Herod (I didn’t know that there were several of them) was just a moral black hole, raw evil, more a prop for Satan than a person.
Jared Witt - December 3, 2018
To a preacher with a forgiveness hammer, everything looks like a guilty nail.
So what happens when said preacher’s people don’t feel guilty? Well, obviously, forgiveness of someone who doesn’t feel guilty is pretty unsatisfying and anti-climactic. So the preacher who originally set out to preach forgiveness must start out by first convincing everyone of their guilt. And so, in pulpits everywhere, you can observe the common irony that most of that preacher’s time is spent creating the one problem he or she knows how to solve rather than actually solving it.
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,
On how Castle Church is stirring up a movement from a brewery in Florida.