Saturday, March 24, 2012


I am officially dedicating this post to everyone who has been on the receiving end of a "hater".  To anyone who has ever been told that they are too short, too tall, too big, too small, too masculine, too feminine, too dark, too light, too ethnic, too young, too old, or too anything else...this post is for you.

Before I go further, please know that nothing has happened recently to spark this.  I just realized that I haven't touched on this subject yet.  I have been told many of the things I listed above, but it has been a while since I have heard any of them.

A "hater", for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is anyone who, for whatever reason, seeks to bring others down.  I don't know what motivates a hater, and I'm not going to try and speculate what their motivation might be.  For the purpose of this blog post, all I want to say about haters specifically is summed up by this picture (one of many similar pictures popular on the internet right now):

Interestingly, this picture also conveys, in a sense, the message I want to get out.  No matter what the haters say, keep your head up.  Don't give in and accept what they are trying to tell you.  Don't become a hater, yourself.  In fact, I'll go even further and say that you should genuinely pray for them.
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
-Matthew 5:43-48
It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus, not to allow ourselves to be brought down by others, but to continually lift others up, even if they are the very ones trying to bring us down.  I know this is a difficult task, but know that I am praying for you, too.  May God grant you the strength to keep your head up.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Gospel According To...

Have any of you read a book that has "The Gospel According to" in the title?  It could be anything from "The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss" to "The Gospel According to Starwars: Faith, Hope, and the Force" to even "The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living Life with a Grande Passion".  The only book I'm not including in this list is "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" (Lamb).  With the exception of Lamb, the books in the "Gospel According to" category seem to be attempts at highlighting connections (intentional or not) between something that is popular in secular culture and the Bible.

A quick search on Amazon for "The Gospel According to" got over 28,000 results.  I've never read any of these books, so I'm not entirely sure what to make of them.  Usually, I'm all for analogies, but I wonder if these books may be trying to hard and "forcing" a connection where none really exists.

On Sunday morning, I will stand in the middle of my church and say, "The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John." A short while later, I will attempt to make connections between the Gospel and our life today.  Will my analogies be appropriate, or will I end up forcing some obscure connection that doesn't truly fit?

We are currently living in a society that is telling us Church is becoming less and less relevant to our lives.  Do we do what the Church has done in the past and start assimilating secular practices into what it means to be part of the Church?  At what point do we draw the line and let the Gospel speak for itself?

I'm afraid I don't really have answers to any of these questions.  Today is just a day of questions.  If you figure out any answers, let me know.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Response Part II

I don't normally do this, but I had a bit of an epiphany about yesterday's post.  Blog writing is a lot like praying.  Even though it had seemed to me that not many people were reading this blog, it turns out that it has been viewed a considerable number of times.  The blog was getting a good response, I was just unaware of it.  I think that God sometimes responds to prayers in a similar way.

It can be easy to think that God doesn't respond to our prayers.  The truth may be, however, that God responds in ways we are not looking for.  I'm not trying to go for the whole "God works in mysterious ways" cliché.  I'm saying that we sometimes misunderstand the way that God responds to us.  This shouldn't be a mystery to us.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.
-Isaiah 55:8-9
 How often do we assume that God will think and act the way we do?  Sure, sometimes God works in ways we expect, but we shouldn't worry when things don't go our way.  I would say that, the majority of the time, things don't turn out the way I expect them to.  Actually, they usually turn out much better in unexpected ways.  Take some time to think about ways God may have responded to you in unexpected ways and let me know how it worked out for you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how everyone is responding to my blog.  I've only had direct conversations with a few people about my blog, a few more through social media, and a bit more through comments directly on the blog.  It wasn't until I decided to actually look at how many people are viewing the blog that I got a different picture.

I admit it.  I was really shocked when I saw that the all time pageview history was 1,759!  578 of the views were just in the past week.  It would seem that this blog is being viewed by many more people than I knew about.  As a beginning blogger, this is great news.

1,759 pageviews spread out over more than a year's time certainly doesn't place this blog on most viewed lists.  I don't expect to go on a trip somewhere, meet someone new who happens to be an avid reader of this blog.  It is just good to know that when I spend all of this time writing and posting, there are people all over who are getting something out of it.

This goes out to everyone who reads this blog, whether I know it or not: thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say.  I don't always have some deep insight or come up with something new to share with you all, but I try to get something out there.  If any of you have any suggestions or questions for what you would like to see on here, please let me know.  I can always use some help in the idea/topic department, and I'm glad to do whatever I can to help you out with questions you may have.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lent Madness

Why have I not paid attention to Lent Madness sooner?  For those of you who don't know what Lent Madness is all about, I strongly urge you to check it out.  Here's a brief quote from them about Lent Madness: "Who will win the Golden Halo? Lent Madness pits 32 saints in a 'holy smackdown' for the prize, and you will decide the winner."

It seems fitting that, given the intentional connection between Lent Madness and March Madness, there is an unexpected connection as well.  Lent Madness is hosted by Forward Movement, which happens to be based in my diocese (Southern Ohio).  "It's the first time in NCAA tournament history that four schools from a single state have advanced to the Sweet 16 in the same season." (ESPN Stats & Information)  Those four schools all happen to be located in, you guessed it, Southern Ohio.  Now that my little plug for Ohio is done, on to Lent Madness.

Not only do you get the chance to vote on your favorite saints (some bishops have already endorsed theirs), you get to learn about the saints as well (which I think is really the point).  This is really a fun, interactive way to learn more about the people we celebrate throughout the year in our church calendar.  If you have the time, watch the video posted below for this weeks updates, then head over to to cast your vote.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Learning Something New

I've said many times before that I believe the day I don't need to learn anything is the day I die.  Continued learning is a huge part of life.  Admittedly, the things I learn on any given day are more likely to be trivial than important.  I'm still learning something, though, and sometimes the trivial information can be useful.

Yesterday morning, I arrived at church and found a small vase of flowers on the altar.  When I say small, I mean that, vase and all, it couldn't have been much larger than my hand.  There was no note left anywhere that the flowers were given for a special reason (those flowers tend to be much larger and not on the altar).  There was no mention of anything special going on in the bulletin.  There was only a small vase of flowers.  One of my parishioners, upon seeing the flowers, pointed out that it was Mothering Sunday.  I was clueless and kept thinking she meant Mother's Day.  It was time for me to learn something new.

As it turns out, Mothering Sunday occurs on the fourth Sunday in Lent and is the UK's version of Mother's Day (talk about being in touch with our Anglican roots).  There is a tradition at my church to celebrate Mothering Sunday by setting special flowers on the altar during the service.  If there's anything else to the tradition, we skipped it this year simply because I had no idea what should be done. 

The timing of Mothering Sunday this year seems rather fitting for me.  Yesterday was the day my family celebrated my mother's birthday (as well as my parent's anniversary).   While I was not able to be there yesterday, I did spend a few days with family at the end of last week, so I got to do a mini celebration.

Are there any "new" traditions you are discovering?  I'm especially interested in hearing from my priest and church followers about discovering traditions in their churches.