The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: March 2, 2019
This will be our last Saturday Brunch for a time. In honor of a primary traditional discipline in Lent — fasting — we will abstain for the next seven weeks from our weekly buffet. I promise something spiritually nourishing will take its place, though I’ve yet to finalize exactly what that will be.
The Lenten season starts this coming Wednesday, March 6, when the Western Church marks Ash Wednesday. I think Richard Beck’s recent post on the Ignatian practice of “indifference” describes well the attitude we take during this season.
Indifference, as I’ve come to understand it, isn’t about not caring about the world or being apathetic about the world. Indifference is a pause. Indifference isn’t about a emotional resignation and detachment. Indifference is about discernment.
Indifference is about creating a pause, a season of discernment, between the world and our response to the world. To be sure, some emotional control is required to create this space. In that sense, indifference can look stoical and ascetical. But the goal isn’t to stand stoically before everything in the world. Christians believe the world was created good. The world is full of the gifts of God. And we should receive and delight in these gifts. Indifference is, thus, the pause that allows us to discern if what stands before us, what we are currently craving and hungry for, is drawing us toward or away from God.
All that to say, don’t be put off by the word “indifference.” Indifference isn’t about not caring, detachment, resignation, or apathy. Ignatian indifference is a pause, a season to survey our hearts, creating the time and space to think about how things in the world are drawing us either closer or further away from God.
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A GALLERY OF MARDI GRAS TREATS…
Before the fast, of course, we feast! Here is a gallery of some of the mouth-watering southern and Cajun-style dishes recommended by Taste of Home to help us all celebrate Fat Tuesday. Go to the link for recipes. Click on each picture for a larger image.
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UNITED METHODISTS STAY THE TRADITIONAL COURSE…
Christianity Today reports:
The United Methodist Church (UMC) voted Tuesday to maintain its traditional stance against same-sex marriage and non-celibate gay clergy, bolstered by a growing conservative contingent from Africa.
The denomination’s “Traditional Plan” passed, with 438 votes in favor and 384 against (53% to 47%), in the final hours of a special UMC conference held this week in St. Louis to address the issue of human sexuality.
…The Traditional Plan preserves existing UMC positions and adds further accountability measures for those who violate them by performing same-sex ceremonies or ordaining gay clergy.
It was not the outcome many Americans, including most UMC bishops, had been praying for. In the States, a large portion of Methodists wanted to see the church accommodate LGBT ceremonies and clergy, as other mainline denominations have done in recent years. One poll through Mainstream UMC reported at least two-thirds of US delegates supported the more-inclusive “One Church Plan” instead.
But the growing global presence among the 12 million-member denomination held more sway. Methodists from outside the US, who favor more traditional positions on sexuality, made up 41 percent of the general conference’s 864 delegates. A full 30 percent were from Africa.
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CHRISTIAN SCANDAL UPDATES…
- Willow Creek: The Independent Advisory Group found accusations against Willow Creek founder and pastor Bill Hybels proved credible and would have been sufficient reason for church discipline had Hybels not left the church.
- Southern Baptists: The Southern Baptist Convention is struggling to find unity in knowing how to deal with the sexual abuse scandal recently revealed in the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. SBC President J. D. Greear made some bold recommendations last week, only to see them rejected by the SBC’s Executive Committee.
- Gospel for Asia: After three years in court, Gospel for Asia announced that it would pay $37 million and a board seat to settle a class-action lawsuit. GFA had been accused of sending only 13 percent of its donations to the field instead of the 100 percent they promised. The class action originally asked for $376 million.
- Harvest Bible Chapel (James MacDonald): With reduced offerings and an outstanding debt of $42-million, an auditor has predicted very difficult financial going for HBC. It is reported that Lawrence Swicegood from Gateway Church is involved in assisting Harvest.
From Religion News Service:
America Media and Spoke Studios present “Deliver Us,” a podcast about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
Will the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis ever end? That’s a question everyone has been asking since the wave of news in summer 2018. In “Deliver Us,” host Maggi Van Dorn is a Catholic committed to healing the church from the inside. She wants to know: How did this happen? And what, if anything, can we do to help? Hear from experts, advocates, and survivors to learn what the church can do to move forward. Because you can’t fix something until you know how it’s broken.
The season launched Wednesday, February 13, 2019 with new episodes premiering weekly. The most recent episode investigates two theories behind the sex abuse crisis: gay priests and celibacy.
To listen, visit: americamag.org/deliverus
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BYE, BYE BRYCE…
We have a cat named Wrigley. Obviously, she is named in honor of the ballpark my beloved Chicago Cubs play in. Fans do silly things like that. But sometimes, things just don’t work out.
The Caskey family are Washington Nationals fans. They have a Goldendoodle named “Bryce,” after the now-former star of the team, Bryce Harper. Harper signed a historic 13 year/$330 million contract with the Nationals’ competitors, the Philadelphia Phillies, this week. The Caskeys couldn’t bear the pain of constantly hearing the name “Bryce” around their house any longer.
So, the dog formerly known as Bryce has been renamed “Max,” after Washington’s star pitcher, Max Scherzer. Scherzer has three years left on his contract, so Bryce/Max may be safe a little while longer from another name change.
But, you never know…
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SPEAKING OF… OUR FRIEND RICHARD’S BASEBALL BOOK IS HERE!
Richard Hershberger’s new book, Strike Four: The Evolution of Baseball, will be released on Friday, March 8. Richard will have a guest post for us this next week. Here’s the poster advertising Strike Four. Note the special offer if you pre-order from the publisher (follow the link above and use the offer code on the poster).
SUBLIME NEW MUSIC…
Mandolin Orange is an Americana folk duo out of Chapel Hill, NC, consisting of singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin and multi-instrumentalist Emily Frantz. Lately I’ve been enjoying their new album, Tides of a Teardrop, which was released on February 1.
Here’s a sample, a sublime and poignant song about loss, Golden Embers. The group’s website explains the background to this song and a main theme of the album:
On Tides of A Teardrop, Marlin wrote the songs, as he usually does, in a sort of stream of consciousness, allowing words and phrases to pour out of him as he hunted for the chords and melodies. Then, as he went back to sharpen what he found, he found something troubling and profound. Intimations of loss have always haunted the edges of their music, their lyrics hinting at impermanence and passing of time. But Tides of A Teardrop confronts a defining loss head-on: Marlin’s mother, who died of complications from surgery when he was 18.