CategoryBible

How Pop Culture Makes the Church Stupid

It’s that time of year again. Summer is in full swing, the sun is blazing in all its effulgent glory, and churches turn to Hollywood to supply the spiritual content for their dwindling summer contingent. That’s right, it’s time for the dreaded At The Movies series that will be performed in some fashion or another at an ungodly number of churches at some point during the dog days of summer. The...

Against Enthusiasm

In his Gospel, St. John reveals on several occasions just how fickle the adulation of the crowd could be for Jesus. A prominent example exists following the feeding of the five thousand, in which Jesus steals away to the other side of the lake, only to find that the crowd has enthusiastically followed him, enough to bother with the hassle of getting in their own boats and searching for him. They...

Before the Busy-ness

I’ve noticed a somewhat disturbing trend in my own life. In the far too infrequent times when I’m able to get together with family or friends, there’s always the obligatory question of “how have you been?” or “what have you been up to? And while obligatory pleasantries perhaps merit only obligatory responses, too often I find myself resorting to saying “I’ve just been really busy.” I’ve said it...

Against Being Nice

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:15-16) “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?Therefore I am sending...

Pharisaic Sexual Iconoclasm

This past week I saw this opinion piece making its rounds on social media, with a fine click-baity headline: Sex and the single Christian: Why celibacy isn’t the only option. I found some of the premises interesting, albeit not in the slightest bit convincing, with the argument ultimately logically ending in the reduction of human beings and their sexual relationships to that of bodily pleasure...

Telling the Truth

In today’s Old Testament reading, we read about Jeremiah being thrown into the cistern after prophesying the doom of Jerusalem. Most of the times I have read this story my focus has been on Jeremiah. But in the reading I took note of the other characters: a Cushite named Ebed-Melek, who saved Jeremiah’s life, and Zedekiah, a cowardly king who came to a bitter end. The situation was this:...

Jesus Didn’t Hang Out With Anyone

There’s an interesting idea that has the flavor of pop theology which I often see used in the context of whatever moral topic du jour is being discussed. This notion usually runs along these lines: Well, Jesus hung out with sinners, so X… Now, “X” can be any number of different things, and while Jesus gets recruited for lots of different things, he seems especially prone to be pressed into...

Do You Really Want a Relationship Instead of a Religion?

One of the highly favored juxtapositions within some segments of modern American Christian thought is that of religion vs. relationship. The premise, as far as I have ever been able to divine, is that there is something about the content of religion that is somehow antithetical to the content of a relationship, specifically the “personal relationship” that is proposed between the believer and...

Two Weddings and a Funeral

This past Sunday the Gospel reading was from John 2 about the wedding feast at Cana and Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine. Unique among the gospel writers, John refers to Jesus’ miracles as signs, and given the biblical penchant for presenting things in sevens, his Gospel contains seven signs. There is some overlap between the signs contained in John’s Gospel and the miracles in the...

Do What You Will

For I know that there dwelleth not in me, that is to say, in my flesh, that which is good. For to will, is present with me; but to accomplish that which is good, I find not. For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do. (Romans 7:18-19 DRA) As St. Paul’s all too famailiar-in-experience soliloquy here illustrates, we humans often have great difficulty when it comes...

How To Be Oblivious

We all are oblivious from time to time, either missing what is right in front of our faces or forgetting the obvious that we should already know so well. We like to imagine that we are perceptive, but far too often our own preconceptions blind us to the reality that presents itself in unfamiliar ways. The term oblivious has an interesting etymology, coming from the Latin obliviosus, which itself...

Effortless

There are rare moments in life where you come to a place of complete clarity, when suddenly the disparate pieces of reality seem to fit together and at least one thing makes sense of it all. I have had precious few moments like this, but one of the most memorable occurred when I was 16. (Kind reader will forgive a story probably recounted elsewhere, and thoughts refined from previous posts.) I...

The Serpent’s Kiss

What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (Job 2:10 KJV) This passage has always somewhat perplexed me. The story of Job is a familiar one: he is a righteous man in whom no blame can be found. Satan thinks he can get Job to curse God by taking his stuff and then ultimately bringing him to brink of death, and God...

We Will Never Break God’s Heart

Suffering is often the crucible in which our hopes and fears rise to the surface, the clarity of pain serving to purify the double-mindedness that too often plagues our existence. For better or for worse, to suffer can bring a certain perspicuity in its wake, for good or for ill, being a maker of saints and a breaker of sinners, often simultaneously. In the midst of duress of any kind, man has...

Stop Loving Yourself

Whenever I hear someone say that something is a pet peeve of theirs, I cannot help but think “My biggest pet peeve is listening to people whine about their pet peeves.” I am very far from being a saint, so this distinct lack of charity (and immunity to irony, evidently) is something for which I will no doubt be a long while in the purgatorial flames. I know I should be more charitable and loving;...

Jason Watson

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