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 - August 13, 2018
Think of all the places where you spend your life. I mean real, physical locations, not digital ones.
Now let me ask you two questions:
Jared Witt l May 10, 2018
My soul needs a biergarten.
It's a national health emergency in my country. Loneliness is epidemic. I mean that. Literally and officially: epidemic!
I’m being neither figurative nor hyperbolic. Vivek Murthy, the former United States surgeon general, has written that loneliness and social isolation are “associated with a reduction in life span similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.”
Even Britain has recently appointed it’s first “Minister for Loneliness.”
Jared Witt l December 7, 2017
Jesus was not a socialist.
Not so fast. Jesus was not a capitalist, either.
I haven’t said much at this point. It should take no more than 26 consecutive seconds of thought to figure that much out. And yet his name gets roped into supporting one of those two options all the time. Sometimes his unqualified support for the one or the other is assumed as if it were the most basic thing about him.
Here’s what we can say about Jesus, at least from the teachings given to us in the four gospels:
Jared Witt l August 10, 2017
Nice. An email from my Starbucks Rewards team – “Congratulations! The next one’s on us” – Score. Let’s see, 6:28pm. If I leave now I can grab a drink and still make my meeting at 7 – “Welcome to Starbucks. What can we make for you with today?” – One…uh…iced grande…Sorry, iced half-caf grande one pump vanilla breve iced coffee with milk – “Alright, one iced half-caf grande one pump vanilla breve iced coffee with milk. And you wanted that one pump vanilla in addition to the classic syrup?” – Oh, sorry, I meant ‘instead of’ – “Alright so…” – Oh, and I forgot to say, light ice. Really sorry – “Ohhh kaayyy, so, I have an iced half-caf grande one pump vanilla (instead of classic) breve light ice iced coffee…did you say with milk?” – That’s right – “Ok, sir, I’ll see you at the first window…Hi there. That’ll be $2.30” – K. My card is on my phone – “Alright. Here’s your receipt. Your drink will be right up” – Oh. Crap. I forgot to tell you I had a reward for a free drink – “Ohhh kaayyy. No problem. I can undo that, if I can just see your phone again.” – Aww. You know what? The app booted me for some reason. Just need to sign in – (Try the usual numeral and letter password) – “We’re sorry. Invalid username/password. Please try again. Forgot username? Forgot password?” – (Try the usual numeral and letter with one cap password) – “We’re sorry. Invalid username/password…” – (Try the usual numeral and letter with one cap and one symbol password) – “We’re sorry…” – You know what? I might just need to pull around and come inside. I don’t want to hold up the line –
Jared Witt l May 25, 2017
Since the early days of pitching the Castle Church concept to people, Aaron and I have frequently been asked, how are you going to do church in a brewery? The question is frequently posed with that familiar raised brow and bemused smirk which says, “Of course, the only only way you can get together to break bread is to go millions of dollars into debt in order to build a giant sanctuary with lots of stained glass or renovate a warehouse with laser lights and sound booth. It is known.”
If you don’t know from the title what I mean by “compromised,” and you’re not a little bit worried that the word “Christian” has become a meaningless term in 21st century North America, I won’t burn up valuable blog characters trying to explain it.
However, if you’re the type who already suspects there is something wrong with a religion that claims to worship a God who “lives not in temples built by human hands” and a wandering rabbi who had “no place to lay his head” but which, itself, lives in multi-million dollar campuses, I’m talking to you right now.
Jared Witt l May 4, 2017
As far as we know, bison do not care about birthdays. Even seasoned farmers do not report having ever seen their Clydesdales keeping calendars. Halibut do not go on holidays.
In all of the animal kingdom, humans alone feel that the days should not just be allowed to pass by anonymously, that time should be marked somehow.
Perhaps it’s because we alone are self-reflective enough to realize that our days do not just go on indefinitely, that for each of us, new days will stop coming at some point. Perhaps we observe important benchmarks in time—confirmations, Christenings, and quinceañeras—because we alone have contemplated death and so have felt an urgency about life.
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 October 13, 2016
This isn’t a blog about the election. I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about that.
This is actually a blog about being sick of hearing about the election…which puts one in the ironic position of having to write about the election.
Many writers far more informed than I have already traced the history of how the length of presidential campaigns swelled to today’s obscene levels, but the long and short is simple enough. In the early days, our government was much less democratic and much more of a good-ol’ boys club than most of us were taught in elementary school, with congress essentially handing the populace candidates from within their very aristocratic ranks a few weeks before the election. By the mid-19th century the process had become much more party driven but also more resource intensive. And, of course, a party's process can be even more closed-door than congress.
Laundry day used to be a time for friends to get together. In fact, pretty much everything used to be a time for friends to get together. In many pre-modern or traditional societies, this is still the case.
Think about it. Washing clothes by hand used to require long periods of intentionality but relatively low brain energy and focus. Combine this with the fact that, through most of human history, the water needed for washing has come from a central source—a calm bend in the river or a neighborhood well—and you have a situation ripe for people to do what people do when they’re together: catch up on the local buzz, tell stories, pass along jokes, and generally strengthen ties.
But in the industrialized world we have laundry machines. We don’t need to bother with small talk in order to wash our jeans. This is just one example of something that has happened time and again in the industrialized world, for which we could cite a hundred more examples: we quickly adopt an invention, because it solves a very obvious convenience issue, giving little thought to the larger quality-of-life changes that might come as collateral.
On how Castle Church is stirring up a movement from a brewery in Florida.