In a recent column for Christianity Today, Yi-Li Lin argued for a significant increase in usage of AI-related tools in church work. I’m sympathetic, but he goes too far. The ways he does are revealing to the challenges every profession is facing, or will face, with this technology.
The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, popularly known as Vatican II, sought to confront a hidebound clericalism, and a modern world that no longer takes as its starting points basic natural law and Christian dogmatic commitments. It is unfortunately known in some circles for the opportunity it provided for poorly catechized Catholics and progressive innovators to make changes (liturgical abuses) under the guise of the Council’s authority.
Ah, the week after Easter, that season when we critique the music we’ve just been singing. My attention was caught when the New York Times religion reporter tweeted out a link to Bob Smietana’s piece published this week bemoaning the homogenous nature of the present worship experience and how many churches did the same music over Easter weekend (and, by extension, every weekend).
Is it just me? It feels like 2023 has been a slog so far. I’m pretty certain it isn’t just me, because as I look around, everyone looks like they are struggling. Life is full of struggles, but I don’t remember them being so palpable around most people most of the time like now. We strive and yearn and wait. Like Holy Week.
This morning, I filled the sugar bowl. It was amazing. I paused for a moment, reveling in the luxury of having the time to spend on such a simple thing. A month ago, I would have let it sit empty for days —- possibly weeks. I would have chugged my morning coffee with a little extra creamer, telling myself, “I’ll get to it later, when I have enough time,” knowing full well that I would never have enough time.
We often say, “I love Jesus.” But how often do you hear, how often do you say, “I like Jesus”?
I remember a number of years ago, I was working in a storage warehouse at the university I was teaching at with one of my work study students. We were going through boxes trying to find something when a storm came through. We didn't even know there was a storm because there weren't any windows — we were completely dependent on lightbulbs for light. And then those lights went out. And it was dark. It was really dark.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent. Countless Christians around the world will receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their forehead to mark the beginning of this time of reflection and repentance. Yet, for those who do not observe the season, this can look an awful lot like legalistic rule keeping or, even worse, an attempt to receive outward praise for superficial humility.
Early in the baseball season last year, I heard a curious commercial on the radio. It was talking about a man rejected by his friends and suddenly ended with “He Gets Us. All of Us.” A few more airings and I realized it was a series of ads about Jesus, describing how his experiences on earth were like our own. Like Jesus Himself, the ads have managed to anger a wide variety of different folks. Jesus gets us, but once again, we struggle to get Him.
Most people love to revisit certain stories at Christmastime. In fact, my friend Dennis E. Powell revisits a beloved Christmas story of his in this week’s the View from Mudsock Heights column, which struck me as I had been thinking a great deal about revisited stories this week thanks to what had occupied my time ahead of Christmas. We need to hear stories told and told again; they give meaning and shape how we understand life.