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I’ve been blogging here for just about a year, and in that year I have been reading other blogs more frequently to get a better idea of how to blog. Blogging is a form of media all its own and the type of posts you make have to fit the format (for instance, lists are huge). Seeing the way others do it has helped me to understand how I do it.

It has also caused me to see some topics that I never want to see posted about again. I think every blog has written this kind of post because they’re easy and comforting (or only a little challenging) and get shared like crazy. No seriously, I see one of the following shared on Facebook at least once a week.

First: The “IT’S OK THAT YOU’RE A BAD PARENT

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The last few weeks I have heard some strange things from Christians. Mainly the sentence, “I hope he dies.”

First, it was Kermit Gosnell. The man charged with murder for killing babies he was supposed to abort.

Then it was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston marathon bomber. After the long manhunt that lead to his capture I saw many relieved tweets and status updates that said, “So glad they caught him, can’t wait for him to be brought to justice” or “Hopefully justice will be served” or “Too bad Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty, this guy deserves justice.”

And every time I saw the word justice I couldn’t help but think this:

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As part of my ongoing attempt to expand my understanding of Christianity I have been reading old books. To find out why I would do such a thing check out my previous post about that very thing.

AthanasiusThe introduction to this month’s book is what started this whole project so I figured I should read it.  Also, being a vocational Christian thinker and not having read On the Incarnation is like being an American Lit professor and having not read Grapes of Wrath. This book is just that big and important (for a 70 page book).

Just like any great classic it is timeless, but is best understood by knowing the time it came from. So, just like always, we start with a little cultural context for St. Athanasius.

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The other day my three year old son stubbed his toe for the first time ever. I don’t know how it happened, but he stubbed it pretty bad. He needed a band-aid for real and not just for the psychological benefits. As I put a band-aid on him he asked me if I need one too.

“Sure, bud.”

“On your toe, so we can match band-aids.”

So we put a band-aid on my big toe and I left it there for the rest of the day.

The strangest thing happened that night. My wife pulled the sheets up quickly and I winced as they rubbed against my feet because I thought it would hurt my stubbed toe.

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Did you know there are more slaves in the world now than there have been at anytime in history? Some estimates say 27 million people are being denied the basic human right of freedom. That is twice as many slaves as there were when the emancipation proclamation was signed. And these aren’t all in foreign countries, there is slavery, called human trafficking now, going on right here in America. It is shocking and disgusting, but luckily there is something we can do about it right now.

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obrienThis week the completely unsurprising happened: a high profile Christian resigned his position because of inappropriate sexual relationships. This time it was Keith O’Brien, but he wasn’t the first and he (unfortunately) won’t be the last. In fact, if I optimize this post to show up on google as “church guy resigns because of sex” it could very well be my most viewed post ever because this happens so unbelievably often.

In this particular case, O’Brien has had some pretty ugly things to say about the LGBT community. But, as it turns out, he himself has had a few sexual encounters with young priests.

Why does this happen? And why does it always seem to be person who has taken a strong stand against the very thing they are exposed as doing?

That stance is actually exactly why it happens.

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As a teen and young(er) adult one of the biggest things I struggled with was anger.  This, contrary to what we might want to believe, has never been constructive or righteous, but has always been about my own need to feel secure or in control. Anger is a kind of protected sin in our culture. We have a superhero whose power is fueled by getting (or more recently always being) angry.  We’re told not to repress our anger, but to express it. We even read it into the story of Jesus cleansing the temple when the text never mentions that he was angry. But the earliest Christians would have had a different opinion  than we do.

I was convicted and motivated when I read Meg Funk‘s summary of the Desert Father’s teaching on the issue.

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As part of my ongoing attempt to expand my understanding of Christianity I have been reading old books. To find out why I would do such a thing check out my previous post about that very thing.

This month I read Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich. I chose it for one very simple reason: I planned on naming my son Julian. My first son, Soren, is named after Søren Kierkegaard because of the great influence he has had on my faith. I hope that one day he will be curious about his own name and pick up a copy of Fear and Trembling and grow from it. When it came time to name our second son Paige and I were talking about a variety of names when this song came on.

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Francis de Sales MeditationIn the spiritual classic, Introduction to the Devout Life, Francis de Sales provides an astonishingly simple four step process of meditation. The book was originally undertaken as a guide to help the wife of an ambassador who struggled to find a way to live a life of devotion in the midst of court life. Because of this it is perfect for use by those who struggle with the same, finding ways to experience God in the business of modern life.

 

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