“Faith Fridays” for October…

October Fridays in the Christian Playbook will focus on four meanings of Faith using commentary from Marcus Borg’s book Heart of Christianity.

“Faith is at the heart of Christianity. Its centrality goes back to the New Testament. All but two of its twenty-seven books use the noun ‘faith’ or the verb ‘believe.’ ”

~ Marcus Borg in Heart of Christianity, p. 27

Borg mentions that of the four meanings of faith, only one is a “matter of the head” and that one – Faith as Assensus – is more recent. He says assensus is “faith as belief – that is, as giving one’s mental assent to a proposition, as believing that a claim or statement is true.”

He cites two developments that account for assensus’ dominance in modern Western Christianity today: 1) the Protestant Reformation, with each branch distinguishing itself by what they ‘believed’ and 2) “the birth of modern science and scientific ways of knowing in the Enlightenment of the seventeenth century.”

For many of us, faith as assensus is foundational. Yet, could this very aspect of faith may be one of the biggest obstacles to faith for younger generations? Here are a few comments Borg makes in the book:

  • “…faith is what you need when beliefs and knowledge conflict.” (p. 29)
  • “It’s remarkable to think that God cares so much about ‘beliefs.’ ” (p. 30)
  • “Believing a set of claims to be true has very little transforming power.” (p. 31)

POSSIBLE ACTION/CONVERSATION: think about this form of faith. How much of your faith in God is assensus? Consider discussing this with someone if an opportunity arises in the days ahead…

NOTE: these quotes and comments are ‘just a shaving of taste from the major fruit’ that Borg shares in the book. If you’d like more on this, please consider buying the book… 🙂

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

This focus on the book “The Heart of Christianity” is inspired by our friend, Dean, one of the hole-in-the-wall gang (leftmost in picture)

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, October 6, 2019:

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Jesus Loves Me…

Jesus Loves Me is a classic songs many of us have heard in our Christian upbringing. Have you ever done “signing along” with this song?

If not – or even if you have – maybe you’ll want to check out this website with signing associated with the song. The video should start automatically in a small window on the website. Our instructor needs to slow down the song a little for my signing abilities thus far, but maybe I’ll get better as I do it more?

P.S. As a side note, the Joyful Noise Boys from MWPC did some of this as part of our singing at Mt. Washington Care Center on 9/26. The lunch crowd enjoyed seeing the efforts and a few of them joined in!

 

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!

Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 29, 2019:

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Talking about grief…

This article in Vanity Fair and the video interview embedded in it are noteworthy. Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper share perspective on grief after death of family members. One of the comments (paraphrased here) – a fatherless child thinks all things are possible for better or for worse – is important perspective.

Loss at any age is tough. How we deal with it – and walk along with others dealing with grief – is critical. Stephen talks about his mom’s approach, including her praying to Our Lady, who also knew about losing a child.

POSSIBLE ACTION(S)

  • Are you in active grief right now? If so, is there a special someone you can speak with, as Anderson and Stephen did? Is there a prayer that provides some comfort?
  • Who around you is grieving? Is there an action you can take today to help?

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 29, 2019:


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As you travel…

A friend was good enough to send along a portion of John O’Donohue’s “For the Traveler” prior to a recent trip we took. It was a wonderful read, particularly these lines:

“Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.”

Putting these verses into the context of Saturday’s CP posting, we all have the opportunity to travel using daily silence – – freeing ballast and soaring to new discoveries. Doing so can frequently allow us the opportunity to assess “What would Jesus have me do?” or other important questions in our lives.

Enjoy the journey, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 29, 2019:


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Clever gardener…

No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ~ John 15:4

If you have 4 minutes, take a listen to this offering from Our Daily Bread, which includes supportive commentary about Christian Playbook-like efforts:

“When we who believe in Jesus embrace the idea of being as close to Him as a branch is to a vine, our faith is strengthened and enriched.”

This audio commentary also reminds me of this paper a friend recently forwarded. In that paper, Alan Lightman says:

“Don’t we owe all of our children a world in which their contemplative lives are valued and supported? Don’t we owe it to ourselves?”

Lightman encourages us ALL to take time in quiet and share several specific ways we can do so at varying stages in life. You can see these ideas towards the end of the article.

PROPOSED ACTION: review Lightman’s article and for this week, adopt one of the specific actions he mentions [my goal will be to schedule (AKA “build in”) a half hour away from the wired world each day…]

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 22, 2019:


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Jimmy Carter’s Bible Class…

Jimmy Carter started leading Bible study classes when he was at the Naval Academy and has continued ever since. A couple years back, on the drive towards New York City, my mom and I had the chance to listen to one of those. Here is a link with you in case you want to hear our former president talk about his faith: Jimmy Carter bible study

POTENTIAL ACTION: Say a prayer of strength and support for someone who has historically and/or currently inspires you with her/his passion for sharing faith

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 22, 2019:


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The Lord is the strength of my life …

Psalm 27:1 has a wonderful message for those who worry.  And who doesn’t worry, at least from time-to-time?

The quick-hitting Guideposts daily devotional shared that Psalm 27:1 message a while back. It’s especially fitting after our recent CP post on being Overwhelmed

The Guideposts daily devotional ordinarily comes to my e-mailbox early in the morning so it sometimes starts my day off with scripture, a quote, “action” and a little prayer. It’s easy-to-read and usually puts me in a little better place for continuing with Christian Playbook activities. Whether you use an online version or hard copy (I used Alive Now, These Days and others for many years), devotionals are great. Plenty of devotional suggestions are on the Christian Playbook HERE

ACTION: Consider signing up for one or more of the Guideposts online newsletters HERE

As the Guideposts devotional referenced above suggests, may we release our worry and rest in God (and we’ll add: “while still doing our part…”)

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 15, 2019:


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Sometimes humor finds some spiritual components – HERE is a comic with a Higher Power, Peanuts and M*A*S*H theme…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 15, 2019:


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Overwhelmed…and praying for those who are…

In his picture and text in this Sight Psalms post, David Kepley does a nice job of expressing the Overwhelmed feeling. Many of us have experienced times when we felt there was more than we could handle in our lives.

This brings hurricane Dorian to mind. Our thoughts and prayers have been with those in the Bahamas and many other regions affected by this massive storm. Our hearts hurt for all the difficulties we see, hear and know are part of this.

Looking at Kepley’s picture and words, it strikes me that there have likely been some Septembers when the Bahamas were praying for rains. Then the storms appear as we’ve seen this September – and see amidst these three trees in David’s picture.

It’s similar in our lives – at times we want more of something and then when it arrives it sometimes comes in buckets-full. Reminds me of the old saying “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!”

ACTION: Let’s hold up the people affected by Hurricane Dorian in our prayers of strength and support. May they, in the midst of feeling Overwhelmed, also find the peace that passeth all understanding…

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 8, 2019:


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Stirring Up One Another…

As we get ready for the new “program year” at churches, it’s a good time to mention one of the best Christian development efforts in my life. For years, a group of MWPC men got together early on Friday mornings for fellowship, prayer and action as part of the FATHERS Team. Ron Rand’s materials gave us opportunities to practice being better fathers, husbands and Christian citizens.

The nice thing is, most FATHERS materials easily would work for a CHRISTIANS team. Here is one of the “daily signals” that participants said each day – and some of us still have memorized – that works for all Christians:

As for me and my fellow Christians we will consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another, and all the more as we see the Day drawing near ~ FATHERS signal from Hebrews 10:24-25, with CP change of  “Christians” in place of “Fathers”

POTENTIAL ACTIONS:

  • Try saying the “signal” above on a daily basis for this upcoming week
  • If you, your church or small group is looking for study materials or retreat possibilities that “upbuild men, women, and children in practical expressions of their Christian faith” check out Ron’s website http://www.upbuildingministries.org/

Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit!


Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 8, 2019:


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