Showing posts from 2006

Why Pink?

Why the pink and purple candles on the Advent wreath?

Click on the title link to learn more than you probably want to about the symbolism and history of the Advent wreath.

The short answer is that the pink (actually, "rose") candle stands for joy and hope.

The purple (actually "violet") candles stand for penitence and royalty. Apparently, some churches use blue for these candles to symbolize hope.

Or, you can see another take on purple, and pink.

Now, when I get a chance, I'll try to explain why String theory is not an attempt to include gravity in Einstein's work. (And yes, that came up in conversation this weekend too...)

Flatlife: Not Theology, but Funny

I mentioned this at Sunday School today. It's on Dad's Cool Sites, but I thought I'd put it here as well.

It is Jonas Geirnaert's 2004 graduation project, selected for Short Films in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2004.

Rake Art

This has nothing to do with theology, but I thought y'all would find this cool. Clicking the title above takes you to a Flickr gallery by Lenny and Meriel who use a rake to make cool patterns in sand, then take pictures of it from the air using a camera mounted on a kite.

"I will not let you go until you bless me!"

Too bad the Angel who wrestles Jacob in Genesis didn't have access to the internet, blessing him would have been easy!

Click the link above to go to the Worldwide Blessing Generator, and have your computer randomly select a blessing for you to read.

So, is a randomly selected blessing worth anything at all? If you had gone into a church and had a minister or priest you didn't know bless you, would it be different?

The site was designed by people who seem earnestly interested in helping people. Does that make a difference?

The site includes blessings from non-Christian faiths. Does that make a difference? If not, would you feel comfortable using one of these in worship? Would you be able to defend your choice?

In the meantime:

May your day be filled with gladness of heart,

and reward you with the riches of gentleness and patience forever.

Grace comes to us as an unmerited favor. Be all ways gracious and you will be all ways favored.
Sing and laugh.

Rocketboom show on Nata Village

Click the title to go to an episode of Rocketboom, an internet video broadcast (vlog, vodcast, video podcast, whatever you want to call it), about a village in Botswana and the guy who set them up with a website and blog. (You'll probably find broadband handy to see the show.)

The clinic in the town got a donation of, I think $250, and had to decide whether they wanted to buy new fans, or chairs for people to sit in. (They had no chairs.)

I don't know if the guy is Christian; I don't even know if he's religious at all. Doesn't matter. Christ works through him.

I hear so much about how the big, bad internet and independent web content is supposed to be dangerous and immoral. Thought you might like to hear what good there is out there. (Also check out One Laptop Per Child from MIT and Camara. There's tons more.)

[PS: I didn't put a link to Rocketboom's main site here because, while I regularly watch the show with my kids, it does occasionally use some vulgari…

Troubling passage and a short story

It was kind of a meandering class today, but I wanted feedback on last week's youth-led worship, and I've found that sometimes it helps to let you all organize your thoughts by wandering around a bit. (Or maybe that's me that organizes my thoughts through chaos....)

The troubling passage I read you was 2 Thessalonians chapter 1. I am stuggling with this one, and I'll probably read the rest of 2 Thess again to see what I can learn. I'd love your thoughts. As I said, if you think you understand the totality of God's word, you're wrong, possibly crazy, and maybe even dangerous.

Finally, I don't know if you're familiar with it, but there's a really cool science fiction short story by Terry Bisson called They're Made Out of Meat. It is not specifically religious or Christian, but one of Christianity's central tenets is God's Incarnation, which literally means "God Become Meat."

{Note: On Bisson's website, there's a link to…

The Gospel of Judas

Well, we're working hard on getting our youth worship service together. So hard, in fact, that I forgot to bring up the big relgion/archeology story of the week: the discovery and release of The Gospel of Judas. The book that was discovered dates to the 2nd century and is written in coptic, an Egyptian language. This is a very impressive find, but not as impressive as you've probably heard...

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember about The Gospel of Judas is that it is a gnostic work. Gnosticism comes from the Greek word for "knowledge", or, I think more precisely, "secret knowledge". They were a sect which seems to date back to the 2nd century C.E., though it might have started a bit earlier. They were condemned as heretical by the so-called "orthodox" church of the time.

They were called heretics for good reason. Not to say that they should have been burned or tortured or anything, but their beliefs were very different from what was to become the O…

Peace: Noah and Job

Our lock-in theme this year was "Peace on Earth: Beyond the Bumper Stickers". As some preparation, I asked the youth the week before what Biblical references they thought of when they hear "Peace on Earth".

Beyond the usual thoughts (the Nativity, e.g.), two rather unusual references came up: the story of Noah's Ark and the Book of Job. I want to take a minute and document what y'all meant by those, since I think their pretty amazing. I

Noah's Ark and Peace

At first, when 'Trumpet16' suggested Noah's ark as a story about peace, I wondered (briefly) if she hadn't been suckered in by the soft and fuzzy version of the story that gets told to very little kids. The nice boat ride with the cuddly zoo and the nice man with the long gray beard (who didn't allow card gambling -- he stood on the deck....). Of course, I know her too well to think that for long. Here's what she had in mind:

The "peace" part of the story is at the end.…