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 - May 2, 2019
The most creative genius of the Renaissance world: go.
If you got the era placed correctly, I’m guessing that Leonardo Da Vinci popped into a lot of your minds. And it would be tough to argue with you.
We throw around the term “Renaissance Man” as if there was a time when it was commonplace for someone to be good at geometry, science, architecture, painting, sculpture, poetry and everything else under the sun. There wasn’t. True, this was a time, especially in cosmopolitan centers of Italy, where it was possible for sharp and curious minds to work across a few different disciplines: Fillippo Brunelleschi of giant dome fame as well as Donatello, Michaelangelo and the other Ninja Turtle, the red one, to name a few. But mostly, when we say “Renaissance Man” we’re just thinking of Da Vinci. And it was by no means commonplace.
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 - 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:
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