Jared Witt l April 20, 2018
For almost as long as humans have been a thing, until just the last several decades, the vast majority of the world’s population never got to travel.
That fact always strikes me as almost offensively unjust whenever it occurs to me.
Even in the era of great marine explorations and colonialism, some rich people, military men, sailors, and a handful of oddball criminals and adventurists might have a couple great excursions in their lifetime, but even among that very small minority, the idea of seeing multiple exotic locations for no reason but to see them was rare if not mythological (to say nothing of slavery, but I didn't want to include that in a list of people getting to "see the world"). Even today, it is very much a privilege and a luxury.
Today is a big milestone in Castle Church’s young history. After dozens of sleepless nights, hundreds of prayers, and thousands of words of support and encouragement from family and friends, today, we
Jared Witt l March 16, 2017
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.
Most of us are not going to have a beatific moment like that in our lives. And such moments are generally understood to be a gift of the Holy Spirit, so there’s no way to stage one even if we wanted. Fortunately, there is a less inspiring but, in some ways, far more usable second part to this story.
Jared Witt l January 26, 2016
It’s not a character flaw. It just is what it is. Some people have never had a profound personal experience with music. It doesn’t matter the genre, their ears are just missing whatever is the ear equivalent of cones in the eyes. These are the people who, when asked what they listen to, say, “Whatever is on the radio” and who think it’s appropriate to talk over the bridge in “Sunday Bloody Sunday” when you’re riding in the car.
I won’t pretend to understand these people. In high school I was even convinced that they were missing a soul. Older, more adjusted Jared can just accept that not everyone is wired the same, and bless their hearts, they just access the dark matter of their existence differently through…I dunno…watching ”Two and a Half Men” or paying their bills early or...whatever…the point is, it’s fine. I don’t need them to get the guitar solo in “Limelight” for my sake.
Jared Witt l December 29, 2016
Self-help gurus are really big on positive self-talk. More conservative Christian leaders get nervous about it—smacks too much of self-justification, I suppose. Either way, it doesn’t really work for me. I’ve tried it.
I’ve positively self-talked into the mirror while brushing my teeth, into the windshield on the way to a public speaking engagement, and a couple times I’ve even tried writing in a journal, which I quickly bury under a heap of old magazines the second I hear my wife pull into the garage.
The problem is: the more positive things I say about myself, the more I begin to question the source. Were I a pretty good judge of character, that might be one thing. But like the soprano in the choir, who can’t carry a tune but sings the loudest anyway, every bad judge of character thinks they’re a good judge of character. Even barring that pitfall, I suspect I’m pretty biased when it comes to myself. New age spirituality doesn’t give us any answers for a crisis of authority like that. Besides, at this point, I’m so unpracticed at saying nice things, that it always comes off a little forced.
Aaron Schmalzle l July 30, 2016
This has been a great Saturday! After a morning devotion and prayer, Joelle and I took our jack russell, who likes to chase rabbits, on a walk at our lakefront park. She didn't catch any, but if dogs could smile, she was beaming. I helped my neighbor move furniture, and later Joelle and I learned how to make beef stroganoff and enjoyed a nice sit down dinner together. The better part of this day, however, was spent writing Thank You's and packaging up the crowdfunding gifts for our campaign that Castle Church recently launched! Your support...
The four pledge levels below have been our most popular... Is there someone with whom you can share our campaign?
We Need Your Help To Finish The Race!
And of course, there are many other pledge levels, ranging from Drink Sets and Invites to the grand opening party, to Private Parties with your friends and Creating and Brewing your own recipe on the new equipment! Have you seen the new video explaining our church's vision and ministry for owning a brewery? Over 6,500 people liked and shared online!
Jared and I are humbled and amazed at the generosity and support. Most of all, we appreciate everyone's prayers and encouragement for the Castle Church ministry. From the beginning we're constantly recognizing how the Holy Spirit has been at work through us, and through all of you too, to strengthen and grow Castle Church. It's been a blessing to be a part of and I hope that you would consider it too!
Grace and Peace,
Aaron Schmalzle is a mission developer in the ELCA and, along with Pastor Jared Witt, is a Founding Director of Castle Church Brewing Community and Castle Church Faith Community.
...You Can Help Castle Church Reach Our Goal...
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You can help Castle Church with your support through the Development Campaign! Our team is grateful for the generous support of everyone who has committed to the mission and vision of Castle Church so far. Thank you for your support!
Once again our nation witnessed the brutal violence that black Americans face daily. Once again we are witnessing a polarized debate where people are taking sides: Police vs. Black Lives. Once again we see the visible signs of a community that is victimized, suffering, and in pain. Once again we are a faced with a sad truth: this will not be the last time. I am sickened because THIS time I have a broken heart.
I usually have all kinds of words. That’s my thing. I don’t fix stuff with my hands. My ankles are too brittle for sports. And I was just an average math student. But words, I can do.
Except for this week.
For three days I’ve tried to come up with something to say about Orlando, this city beautiful that I’ve come to call my home—this unlikely little melting pot of misfits, who insist on forging together an authentic and one-of-a-kind culture just down the road from the heart of Americana. Nothing.
But maybe silence is the only thing fitting for the moment. Maybe it’s right that we sit and stew in this for a bit before we speak, before we offer up one more prayer, one more "our hearts go out to..."
How Castle Church is stirring up a new spirit in the church from a brewery in Orlando, FL.