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 - 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 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,
How Castle Church is stirring up a new spirit in the church from a brewery in Orlando, FL.