I'm enjoying vacation days post-Easter Sunday, so rather than be productive myself, I thought I'd share links with you to several posts I've had bookmarked:
Michelle at 33 Names of Grace has a post about teaching Spiritual Practices in her congregation. She talks about helping people experience the holy. I think people long to be helped to find holy places. We're so interested in demythologizing things that have been made holy (which is certainly necessary/good/important sometimes), but I think sometimes we go so far and make it so difficult to find and claim and dwell in holy places.
Christopher Gudger-Raines at Among the Hills always has thoughtful lectionary-based haikus, but I especially liked his "Haiku from Hell: Peeps Edition" for Easter.
At the Christianity Today blog, there's a post about atheists in the war, and the (changing?) role of faith for deployed military personnel.
Deb at Palabras de Deb has been sharing some of the liturgy she's written lately, which I often bookmark and hope I'll remember next year, because I really like it. For example, here's a Palm/Passion Sunday liturgy that's excellent. She also has a post up about a pastoral letter from Bishop MaryAnn Swenson, a list of 10 concrete things General Conference could do to facilitate discipleship.
At Eric's Blog, methoblogger Eric Helms asks if you've ever used the biblical practice of casting lots to make a decision. Here's a confession: Around junior high, I was starting to get the sinking feeling I was going to end up in the ministry, something at the time rather unappealing to me. I would ask God to give me the answer, via card games, my version of casting lots. Guess what? Becoming a pastor was the chosen answer every time.
John of Locusts and Honey linked to this post about reflecting on the Eliot Spitzer scandal that I found thought-provoking: "There's an interesting episode in the life of Jesus of Nazareth in which the people were amazed at his character, his integrity and his incredible accomplishments. But John's gospel says, "Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people..." (John 2:24)
What did Jesus know about all people?
It's the same thing you know about yourself.
No matter what you may tell others (i.e. "I'm basically a good person."), there is something at the core of your being that seems to stain even your best intentions. Like Gollum in the caves of Tolkien's trilogy, it dwells within the heart and mind of all. Rarely does this beast reach full ferocity and manifest itself so publicly in some heinous act of cruelty or depravity. But it crouches at the doorstep for each of us, insinuating itself into our daily lives.
The distance between you, or me, and Eliot Spitzer is not so great as we would imagine, or wish."