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Overcoming the Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony

Pie_eating_contest_Taking gluttony seriously is more than simply wringing our hands about the Western obesity epidemic.

Although the idea of gluttony is often tied to food, it’s much, much bigger. Simply put, gluttony is the act of taking something acceptable, useful, or even necessary and indulging in it in an unhealthy manner.

With this in mind, gluttony includes, but is not limited to, things like: Read more

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4 Ways to Ruin a Perfectly Good Joke on Social Media

DislikeIf social media’s taught me anything, it’s that many well-meaning people have a sort of super power when it comes to ruining jokes.

When I’m not filling the internet with writings about spirituality and music, I’m telling jokes on Facebook and Twitter. After having thousands of great jokes destroyed within a couple comments, I’ve learned a few things I’d love to pass on to you.

Here are 4 ways to ruin someone else’s perfectly good joke on social media. Read more

Ask Jayson: How Do I Share My Trials in a Healthy Way?

underwoodDear Jayson,

My husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and we’re going through a lot right now. Suddenly, a question as simple as, “how are you” is an enormous challenge. Most ask how we’re doing with concern and sincerity but socially it’s awkward to know just how much they want—and how much I’ll feel like sharing. Any advice?

Overwhelmed Read more

Overcoming the Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

golum1Samuel Beckett, the famed Irish novelist and author of Waiting for Godot, married his long-time companion Suzanne in 1961. As his fame continued to grow, she was consumed with jealousy and their marriage weakened.

One day in 1969 she answered their ringing phone, spoke to the person on the other end, and hung up. Turning a pallid face to her husband, she mumbled, “Quel catastrophe. . .” (What a catastraphe) She’d just been told that the Swedish Academy had awarded Samuel the Nobel Prize for literature.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”—Romans 12:15

Read more

Get off the Assembly Line and into the Wilderness

freedomsculpturegIt’s a challenge of Christian spirituality to desire the intangible over the physical. Longing for an invisible Christ is hard to even wrap our minds around, especially when we compare it to more obvious concerns. This is even more difficult in our post-enlightenment culture that is suspect of anything that’s not concrete.

Rather than learning to embrace the mysteries of Christian spirituality, we resort to a faith that’s either mimicked or prescribed. To copy someone else’s behavior or submit to their direction, for Christ’s sake, has some sense of observable reality to it. Read more

Ask Jayson: Dealing with Judgmental Christian Parents

underwoodDear Jayson,

How do I get my extreme Christian parents to see that their views of the world are antiquated and no longer functional? They’re super judgmental and difficult to be around at times. I love my parents. I just want to see them love the world and people around them more. Background: I’m not Christian so they don’t value my opinion a lot of times.

Thank you,
Frustrated Read more

5 Steps for Embracing Real Christian Spirituality

mlkThe old cliché says that, “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.” And while there are aspects of this saying I’d quibble with, there is more than a morsel of truth here. The struggle is that we’re all learning what it means to live out this relationship in a concrete and natural way . . .

When it comes to spirituality, we’re all absolute beginners. Those of us who live within the context of post-enlightenment Christianity struggle with intangibles. We’re suspect of anything that smacks of supernaturalism, and so we fill our minds with information with the hope that this alone will transform our inner lives. Read more

Are We Putting the Bible in Its Place?

Image by Jhong Dizon

Image by Jhong Dizon

The church might be suffering from infoenza.

The Bible, which chronicles God’s relationship with mankind, can easily become a substitute for relationship with God. Let’s be honest. The Bible is a real and tangible thing, where sometimes God is not. It’s not hard to understand why we would elevate biblical knowledge above any other spiritual indicator.

Our weakness propels us to work harder at things others can see and appreciate. I can demonstrate my biblical knowledge in all sorts of Christian contexts easier than any other discipline—so why wouldn’t I do that? This can make biblical study a no-brainer (and fool me into the believing that by knowing it, I’ve done it). Read more

The Golden Rule: It’s the Law (and the Prophets)

Image jmwork

Image jmwork

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”—Jesus of Nazareth

There are not many things I find more beautiful and difficult than the Sermon on the Mount. If any of us can read these words and not be shaken to the core, we’re either lying to ourselves or we don’t get it.

One of Jesus’ most profound statements is what we now call the golden rule: “Do to other what you would have them do to you. . .” This simple little statement is followed by the most powerful exclamation point, ” . . . for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” When Jesus tells you that the whole Law (not to mention all the words of the prophets) are summed up in one phrase, you listen.

It’s interesting to me that this little saying isn’t entirely particular to Jesus. In some fashion it had been around for centuries: Read more

5 Things to Remember on Your Very Worst Day

Image by Bryan

Image by Bryan

The Holmes and Rahe stress scale lists the most stressful life situations in order of “life-change units.” These life-change units affect the chance that various events will negatively impact your health. At the top of the list with 100 units is “death of a spouse.”

Here’s where it gets tricky. You might think that, if you’ve already walked through the hell of a top-tier stress, you now have the strength to endure everything below it on the list. But that’s just not true. Each life crisis is unique and doesn’t always give us the stamina for the next one. Read more

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