Celebrating Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, the Beginning of Lent

Pancakes for Fat Tuesday - small

Want more joy in your Christian life? God ordained special days in Scripture for His people to focus on Him and enjoy His goodness. This article provides one way to discover our Lord more fully and bring more contentment into life…to celebrate the beginning of Lent.

Jesus died on Passover, the perfect sacrifice to wash away the sins of man. He rose from the dead, the first and only man to ever do so, on the third day. Forty days later, on Ascension Day, Jesus ascended into heaven.[1] Fifty days after Passover, which is ten days after Jesus’ ascension, the Jews celebrate the Feast of the First Fruits, also known as Pentecost (Leviticus 23:9-14)

The season of Lent is intended to help God’s people focus on our sins and our need for deliverance, leading up to the miraculous deliverance of Easter. The Lenten season is 40 days long, reflecting the 40 days of Jesus’ temptation (Luke 4:1-13) and corresponding to 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension.   

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Christianity and the Arts

How and why Christians should engage in the arts at church, at home, and in all areas of life. 

**Source Images for the The Church, the Arts, and Shaping the World for Christ.**

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Sacralism and Calvin’s Geneva

John Calvin, the Frenchman who became one of the most famous Christian theologians and controversial figures in history, initially wanted nothing more from life than to study and write in ivory tower academia in the 16th century. Intrigued by the nascent Reformation, he first fled Paris to avoid punishment for heresy, and then was shamed by reformed French evangelist William Farel into serving in the church in Geneva, Switzerland, a city of corruption in a land of libertines.

Most religions are sacral, meaning that they are tied to a certain ethnic group and geographic location. To be a Sumerian was to live in Mesopotamia, follow Sumerian culture and worship Sumerian deities such as Anu, Enki and Inanna. To be an Egyptian was to live along the Nile, speak Egyptian and worship Orisis, Isis and Anubis. To be a Hebrew was to live in Palestine, follow the Law of Moses and serve Jehovah. The early Christian church broke this mold, with believers in every people group, and every location in much of the world. The civic religion was emperor worship, intended to unify to the Empire against threats within and without, and the main cause of Christian persecution was that believers did not join the civic religion. Thus they were guilty of treason.

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Texting between Father and Son – The Nature of Causation

How can we know if something causes something else? What is the difference between a sufficient cause, a necessary cause, and a risk factor? How can we avoid traps in understanding causes and non-causes? 

An acquaintance, a devoted Catholic, shared with me a text conversation that he had with his son last weekend.  It caught my attention, so we discussed it at the dinner table at our house Wednesday night.

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Father: R U going to be home to go to 9:30 mass or 1115 or 5PM?

Teenage son: Will’s here, can I just not go this week?

Father: No, that is not an option.  Will can come if he likes.

Son: The Catholic church has survived the ages by creating wars, having corrupt leaders, and blaming our problems on others.  I think that supporting an establishment that has built itself on hypocrisy is something that you shouldn’t encourage me to do.  God can be found in all things, right?  Then why do we bow to marble tables while destroying the world he made with pollution?

Father: I would love to have a philosophical discussion with you on this topic, but texting is not my preferred medium.  In the mean time you will come to mass, not because your presence is something that either God or the Church needs but because 1) it is best for you, and 2) because I am telling you to come.

Son: I’m about to go to a week in the woods!  That’s the holiest thing I can do…Can you pick us up at 11?

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This interaction is interesting on many levels. It demonstrates communication between a father and his son, and suggests real affection and a good relationship between the two. Not knowing the son, it is impossible to know whether he actually believed what he said about the Catholic Church or whether he was simply trying to spend more time with his friend and get out of going to Mass. Perhaps a little of both? For the sake of discussion, let us assume that the boy was at least partly serious about his allegations.

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