exploring worship, theology, music, preaching, and faith. and sometimes, good food at cool dives.


"What if education, including higher education, is not primarily about the absorption of ideas and information, but about the formation of hearts and desires? …" [17-18]

"…Being a disciple of Jesus is not primarily a matter of getting the right ideas and doctrines and beliefs into your head in order to guarantee proper behavior; rather, it’s a matter of being the kind of person who loves rightly - who loves God and neighbor and is oriented to the world by the primacy of that love. We are made to be such people by our immersion in the material practices of Christian worship - through affective impact, over time, of sights and smell in water and wine." [32-33]

"The liturgy is a ‘hearts and minds’ strategy, a pedagogy that trains us as disciples precisely by putting our bodies through a regimen of repeated practices that get hold of our heart and ‘aim’ our love toward the kingdom of God. Before we articulate a worldview, we worship. Before we put into words the lineaments of an ontology or an epistemology, we pray for God’s healing and illumination. Before we theorize the nature of God, we sing his praises. Before we express moral principles, we receive forgiveness. Before we codify the doctrine of Christ’s two natures, we receive the body of Christ in the Eucharist. Before we think, we pray. That’s the kind of animals we are, first and foremost: loving, desiring, affective, liturgical animals who, for the most part, don’t inhabit the world as thinkers or as cognitive machines."[33-34]

James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom

Samford University Commencement Invocation

… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

matthew 25

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

A Franciscan Blessing

To participate in the Eucharist is to live inside God’s imagination. It is to be caught up into what is really real, the body of Christ. As human persons, body and soul, are incorporated into the performance of Christ’s corpus verum, they resist the state’s ability to define what is real through the mechanism of torture. Hardly anything remains to be said about imagination as a theological force. Except to note that clearly the need for Eucharistic imagination in the United States is very different from the need for it in abusive contexts … It may be, however, that torture and consumer satiation perform the same negative function: to deny lively communal imagination that resists mindless humanity of despairing conformity … Numbness does not hurt like torture, but in quite a parallel way, numbness robs us of our capability for humanity.

Walter Brueggemann | Prophetic Imagination 

"Give Us Rest" from Crowder Band

Crowder’s Give Us Rest  sounds exactly as a “final album” should. It is a Mount Everest of worship rock albums, never to be topped. For over a decade, David Crowder created some of the most creatively inspired worship music in the world, and now he deserves his rest.”

from an album review in Christianity Today 


–O–by John Petrenka

In the realm of nothingness
there are no boundaries.
Circumferences do not exist,
there is no middle.
Horizons are broad,
never reached.
The stillness frightens
yet calmness abides.
Unheard—harmonic sounds
linger, echo-like,
sensed as an undertow
in an ocean’s depth
—a Siren’s call.
In the realm of nothingness
there are no boundaries,
It is a birthing place.

Parker Palmer on Autumn

“Autumn constantly reminds me that my daily dyings are necessary precursors to new life. If I try to ‘make’ a life that defies the diminishments of autumn, the life I end up with will be artificial, at best, and utterly colorless as well. But when I yield to the endless interplay of living and dying, dying and living, the life I am given will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole.”

But again one might ask whether we are to pray by words or deeds and what need there is for prayer, if God already nows what is needful for us. But it is because the act of prayer clarifies and purges our heart and makes it more capable of receiving the divine gifts that are poured out for us in the spirit. God does not give heed to the ambitiousness of our prayers, because he is always ready to give to us his light, not a visible light but an intellectual and spiritual one: but we are not always read to receive it when we turn aside and down to other things out of a desire for temporal things. For in prayer there occurs a turning of the heart to he who is always ready to give if we will but take what he gives: and in that turning is the purification of the inner eye when the things we crave in the temporal world are shut out; so that the vision of the pure heart can bear the pure light that shines divinely without setting or wavering: and not only bear it, but abide in it; not only without difficulty, but even with unspeakable joy, with which the blessed life is truly and genuinely brought to fulfillment.

Augustine, On the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount 2.3.14

In an age when, through athletics and diet and the intensity of exercise, we have rediscovered our physical bodies, we have neglected the “body” of our christianity. Liturgy [the form of our faith, or loosely—worship] is the sensuality of the Christian experience, the muscle of our mysticism. And we have treated it with all the regard we would pay to a huge, pastel marshmallow.

Anthony Ugolnik, Eastern Orthodox Priest