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Dave Grohl on Large Gatherings

May 24th, 2020 No comments

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters said this:

In today’s world of fear and unease and social distancing, it’s hard to imagine sharing experiences like these ever again. I don’t know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life. But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to. It’s not a choice. We’re human. We need moments that reassure us that we are not alone. That we are understood. That we are imperfect. And, most important, that we need each other.

The Atlantic via Eric Geiger

Thoughts on the beginning of Lent

February 17th, 2015 No comments

Somewhere I read a line that said: Instead of giving things up for Lent, take something on.

That’s a good word. But if you still want to give something up, here are some ideas: Forty things to give up for Lent.

Here’s a “college-friendly” list of things to give up. Here’s another list that reminds us it’s not a second crack at New Year’s resolutions.

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“We Are Not Enough in Awe of God”

November 12th, 2014 No comments

In support of his new book Miracles, an interview in Christianity Today with Eric Metaxas.

I began with the parting of the Red Sea, healing a tumor, curing blindness—things that aren’t fluffy like a kitten in the sunlight. People say life is a miracle, and yes, this can be a cliché that doesn’t mean anything. But if you look at it in a different way, it’s a miracle and maybe the most hard-to-fathom and mind-blowing miracle.

H/T: E.M. on Twitter.

What to Sing During Advent

November 12th, 2014 No comments

Reaching people during Advent. How (especially during Advent) does the church reflect and embody Jesus’ mission to the lost?

Churches that refuse to sing Christmas carols until December 24 are in danger of being the only venue where such music is not sung during December. The church, therefore, becomes a place people may avoid, since the experience of hearing and singing this music is offered abundantly elsewhere.

Kirsten Powers’ Conversion Story

November 4th, 2013 No comments

Via Donald Miller, the fascinating story of Kirsten Powers’ conversion to Christianity:

I sometimes hear Christians talk about how terrible life must be for atheists. But our lives were not terrible. Life actually seemed pretty wonderful, filled with opportunity and good conversation and privilege. I know now that it was not as wonderful as it could have been. But you don’t know what you don’t know. How could I have missed something I didn’t think existed?

Read the whole thing. There’s even a Presbyterian connection.

Newsboys at Fusion Alaska 2013

August 10th, 2013 No comments

On my other blog, I talk about last night’s Newsboys concert.

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Youcef Nadarkhani Update

May 4th, 2012 No comments

I’ve written before about Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian whose life is in jeopardy because of a (apparently fictitious) charge of apostasy. In Iran, it is a capital crime for a Muslim to have a change of heart about their faith. (Really!) Which in any event is not the case with Nadarkhani, who was never a Muslim.

Anyway, Nadarkhani is still in prison, with an execution order hanging over him. But now his lawyer is being persecuted as well. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the lawyer, who has represented several dissidents, has been sentenced to nine years in jail:

“I have been convicted of acting against the national security, spreading propaganda against the regime and keeping banned books at home,” Dadkhah told the Guardian from Tehran.

The next time someone tells how bad Christians were during the Crusades or Inquisition, fine. Tell them you’re sorry. Then ask them how they feel about religions that are still doing those things today.

Church Web Site Up

March 28th, 2012 No comments

Hey cool! Soon after I got here I asked the people who do that stuff to migrate us from the old web hosting service to the new one. And now, here you go: the new web site of Jewel Lake Parish. Yay!

For the technically inclined, here’s why. First, it’s marginally less expensive. That’s not a super-important factor, but we want to be good stewards.

Second, it lets us run the CMS software we want, and that software integrates with my blogging toolchain. The current website is essentially a blog. I hope to begin podcasting again soon, and that will be another blog.

There are other minor technical considerations. The email is (IMHO) better, and I like the domain registrar. But the really big win is that the hosting company provides shell accounts, so whenever I need to, I can just scp over there get things sorted.

Chi Rho

November 16th, 2011 No comments

Here’s a symbol you often see in churches:

Santa Maria in Trastevere

and in cemeteries:

Chi Rho alpha omega

The symbol is a sort of monogram or shorthand meaning “Christ,” and is formed from the first two letters of that word in Greek (“ΧΡΙΣΤΟ&#x03A3″). Those first two letters are, respectively, Chi (Χ) and Rho (Ρ).

The letter Chi is pronounced “key” or “khee.” It is a “ch” sound, as in chorus or charisma or the Scottish loch. Rho normally represents an “r” sound, except at the beginning of a word. There, Greek expects a breathy sort of sound, which is indicated with an “h” and is why English has hard-to-spell words like “rhythm” and “rhapsody” and “rhinoceros.”

This symbol is (very imaginatively) called the “Chi Rho,” from the two Greek letters from which it is formed. As the 2nd picture shows, the “Chi Rho” symbol often appears with two other Greek letters, the “Alpha” (Α) and the “Omega” (Ω) used to describe Jesus in Revelation 1:8. Although it’s made of two disctinct letters, the “Chi Rho” is a symbol in its own right, and has its own Unicode value and everything! (U+2627, &#x2627)

Anyway, I mention it because we’re headed into what is now often called the “Holiday Season.” On the increasingly rare occasions when the name of the holiday appears, it is written as “X-mas” rather than “Christmas.”

I’ve known people who got all bent out of shape over the “X” in “X-mas” as if it were somehow demeaning to Christ to use an abbreviation. But as these ancient monograms show, the “Chi” (along with the “Rho”) is actually an perfectly legitimate symbol for Christ. There’s nothing demeaning about it. But call it “Khee-mas” instead of “eks-mas” if you want to be an egghead about it!

Fascinating Data in the Bible, Yahoo Listings, Etc.

October 14th, 2011 No comments

I just stumbled upon a site called OpenBible that has the most fascinating blog. I just spent about half an hour reading one article after another, and finally decided I needed to share something. Fascinating place. Give it a look. I just added its RSS feed to my Google Reader.

So what am I sharing? How about an analysis of church names in the United States?