Jared Witt - October 8, 2018 (Reblog)
For followers of Jesus Christ, serving those who are poor or on the margins is not something we might choose to do because we have a particular passion for it as individuals. It’s not something for us to do on the side when we feel like “giving back.” It’s not something Paul lists alongside personal charisms like the gift of prophecy or of speaking in tongues, which some might possess but not others.
If we don't live to serve the outcast, it becomes very cloudy what exactly we mean when we call ourselves Christian. In fact, we can light candles, and start a prayer group at work, and sing songs at church, and read our Bibles at coffee shops, and join a small group, and wear crosses over our hearts, and teach kids about Daniel in the lion’s den, and hang a cross stitch of the “Serenity Prayer” over our beds, and make spiritual pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and attend denominational gatherings, and any number of other things that are conventionally recognized as “Christian” and, as far as we know, still have not done a single thing that Jesus ever did or cared about.
Jared Witt - July 30, 2018
Oh? What do I love about 2018? I’m glad you asked. I love that we can laugh about the filioque. It took us centuries to get here.
You know all about the filioque, don’t you? Filioque is a latin word which literally means “and from the Son.” It started to showing up in the Nicene creed sometime around the 6th century in the western (i.e. Rome based) region of the church. The original creed that both western and eastern bishops had agreed on read:
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
Jared Witt l June 15, 2018
There’s no science in the Bible.
There’s no science in the Bible.
Should I say that again?
There’s no science in the Bible.
Science is a disciplined method of testing observations and hypotheses about the natural world, which was more or less invented over the last few centuries.
There is history in the Bible.
Jared Witt l May 31, 2018
The best Bible reading advice I have: always pay attention to sidebars and surprises.
Serious Bible study is Bible study that can surprise and even upset you. It’s a waste of time to read a book which only confirms what you already think. And the thing you thought was of central importance is often just that: the thing which you thought was of central importance. The point is to figure out what the Holy Spirit thinks is of central importance on a given day.
Something surprised me the other day when I jumped down a rabbit hole after just one line in the Book of Acts, “[Herod Agrippa] killed James the brother of John with the sword.” I of course knew of the martyrdom of James from the lore of early church fathers (such stories were often written down hundreds of years after the fact, so it's tough to tell where they originated), but I hadn’t recalled it being mentioned anywhere in the Bible.
Jared Witt l January 18, 2018
A lot of things are different now than they were in Bible-y times. Some things aren’t.
One thing that hasn’t changed much is the range of responses people have when they encounter Jesus. I don’t mean when they encounter a certain religious spin or anti-religious spin on Christianity. I’m saying that when both religious and anti-religious people in our day see Jesus more-or-less accurately for who he is and the things he is about, their reactions break down in basically the same way as one another, and its not very different from how first century people responded.
I think everyone falls somewhere on a spectrum
Jared Witt l January 4, 2017
Christians: We try to be good citizens but we pacifist a little.
Or at least we're supposed to.
Yeah, I know. Hey, I know. I get it. Pacifists are a real annoyance. Always reminding everyone of who they should kill (no one), and when they should kill them (never).
Modern societies have had a beastly time trying to figure out what to do with their pacifists. Leo Tolstoy made himself a spoke in the wheels for generations of ruling authorities in Russia when he wrote The Kingdom of God Is Within You, which had the audacity to suggest that getting exiled to Siberia with one's moral dignity in tact was preferable to dumbly pointing a gun at whoever the Tsar tells one to point it at.
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 November 30, 2017
“The God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath. The God of the New Testament is a God of grace.”
Most of us who have been raised in the church have heard this statement, or one like it, so many times that it has never really been analyzed rationally. It's one of those fragments of a thought, which we absorbed at such a young age that it never occurred the thinking part of our brain to question it.
My experience with Bible study groups is that, even when this statement is brought up for questioning, people assume it at such a fundamental (or philosophers would say, “axiomatic”) level that, even if we were to all sign paperwork agreeing that it is untrue, it would sneak its way back into the conversation next week. After all, what else is the point of Jesus if not to let the angry Old Testament God wail on him a bit until the Divine anger at sin is spent, and he (very much a "he" in this way of thinking) can go back to being relaxed and easy-going again?
Jared Witt l August 31, 2017
My wife, Nikki, is absolutely in love with people. And I don’t just mean that she loves the people who feel most familiar and comfortable to her. We all love those people. My wife loves strange people, foreign people, difficult people specifically because they are strange, foreign, or difficult.
I first started noticing this about her while we were still in school, dating and barista-ing together at Starbucks (kind of a big no no except that everyone in the history of baristas has done it). The café where we worked is in an uncharacteristically diverse pocket of Columbus, Ohio, which has one of the highest Jewish population densities in the US and people from several different central African cultures. Watching her interact with the neighborhood, while I spilled cappuccino on the floor, was where I first learned that my wife was going to become my wife.
I’d watch her face soften into pure, self-forgetful tenderness when our Eritrean and Ethiopian customers would come in and make an order through broken English. I’d watch her become as patient as a mother to one of our regulars, who was mentally ill, and several others who were just plain mean. Her short, tight crop of brown curly hair created more than a couple conversation in-roads with the African American women (I’m not sure if the term “white girl afro” is politically correct, but you get the idea). If you were well-traveled, she would ask you about it with the fascination of a two year old but would take equal interest in your story if you’d never even been out of the state.
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 –
On how Castle Church is stirring up a movement from a brewery in Florida.