Jared Witt - September 10, 2018
Christians have a problem with sin.
Or rather, we have a sin problem.
Specifically, we have a problem with the word sin and defining just what it is supposed to mean. More progressive-minded Christians tend to see all the problematic ways that the word has been used to browbeat and alienate and for that reason might prefer to throw it out all together. More conservative-minded Christians see this as dangerous refusal to call the evils of the world what they are. In response, they are inclined to double down on their use of the term, throwing it at just about everything and, in the process, making it seem as though all the problems of the world ultimately boil down to a labeling issue.
Jared Witt - August 27, 2018
Haut Publicité Inc., a sleek new outfit specializing in brand marketing and high end corporate promotion, had moved into the area and wanted to demonstrate what they could do for local executives. So they decided to throw a community festival at the downtown boardwalk. About a month out, their social media staff start plugging targeted invites to all the high end neighborhoods, and sales reached out to local client-based firms and real estate moguls.
A couple weeks went by and they started to grow concerned over the lackluster response on the event page. Lots of “no” responses, several “maybes,” but very few solid “yes”-es. The promotions team started reaching out directly to business contacts and influencers in the community with the script, “Hello, my name is ____, just wanted to make sure you knew about…” The responses they got weren’t negative, but they weren’t that helpful either.
Karen Henry - August 20, 2018
It is impossible to have a vital community of the Spirit without authenticity. And part of authenticity is risking talking about those experiences which we might prefer not to talk about. I'm indebted to Castle Church's own Karen Henry for having the groundedness and the strength of character to share this reflection on searching for light in a dark time. Thank you, Karen. - Jared
The painted shell that sits on my desk.
I am a person who viciously assigns meaning to dates, items and places. In some instances, this is a wonderful trait. Birthdays and anniversaries are important to me and cause me to reminisce. When I wear a piece of jewelry from a friend, it reminds me of them. Restaurants and the food that I’m eating conjure memories of a place travelled and special people in my 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 - August 6, 2018
Growing up monolingual, I tended to assume that every English word had some sister word in every other language which basically meant the same thing. So translation, I figured, was a simple matter of figuring out the one to one correspondence from one language to the next.
This may be more or less true for words that are simple, literal, and conceptually concrete.
“Tree” basically exists in every known language with a possible but unlikely exception if there is a tongue which developed somewhere that trees don’t grow. Beyond that, we might argue about the definition of a tree versus, say, a shrub. But everyone basically knows what you’re talking about conceptually.
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 - July 23, 2018
A friend of mine recently told me about his decision to leave the massive congregation he had attended shortly after moving here to Orlando.
He had spent his whole life in megachurches, and to that point, he had been taught that bigger is always better and that growth equals success. But in his late twenties, on the heels of a career move, which had taken him several states away from family and friends, his own feelings of loneliness and isolation led him to start asking some more serious-minded questions about the purpose of church. Is the point really just to collect as many warm bodies in the auditorium as possible? For what? Should I be getting to know some of these people around me better than just a nod on Sunday morning?
Jared Witt - July 16, 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.
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. In many ways, that made his character very dismissible. We don’t really have to wrestle with what went wrong in the case of old Herod, if we assume on the outset that he he is just flatly evil without exception.
Jared Witt - July 5, 2018
I couldn’t be bothered with generosity of spirit the other day. I was busy rehearsing a sermon.
That’s how it goes sometimes. You have to talk about the love and grace of the Origin and Redeemer of the cosmos in a couple hours. So when my friend sends me a nice thought via text—“I just saw a bumper sticker that said ‘Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.’”—what was I going to do? Reflect on it with new eyes? Allow myself to be moved that my friend would think to share a little spiritual gem with me that morning? Enjoy the profound realization that we are not alone in this spiritual journey? That there are travel partners on the road with us?
Not this bona fide saint and sinner, specializing in sinner. No no no. The snotty, know-it-all words that spilled onto my iPhone keyboard were “St. Francis was an aphorism machine.”
Evelyn MacDougall - June 28, 2018
I snored so loudly that I woke myself up.
Drool was actively falling onto my neck-pillow while on a bus passing through where the Alps jut across the meeting of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria’s borders. Cliffs and icy mountain tops softened to bright blue rivers and lush meadows – all thriving in the shadow of the summer solstice. I wondered to which languages the cows and goats would respond.
In the presence of such immense natural beauty, my drool wasn’t exactly what I wanted my seatmates or I to experience. However, I wouldn’t trade that puddle for the encounter I’d had the night before which I already exchanged for sleep. And I refuse to apologize for missing a couple hours of views on my seven hour bus ride.
On how Castle Church is stirring up a movement from a brewery in Florida.