Ed's Blog

Anglicanism, Bikes, and Random Observations

Browsing Posts published by Ed

My Dad died a little over a week ago.  My brother, sister & I are now busy trying to settle his estate.  Its a strange emotional space to be in.  We are grieving our loss, arranging his cremation, and calling creditors all at the same time.  We are focused on the business of dying and finding great people every where we turn.  Everyone has been very kind and helpful.  Along the way we are encountering some strange new things in the industry of dying.

It turns out you can sell your deceased relatives.  You just have to have them turned into diamonds first!  You’ll probably lose money though, as the cost of turning ashes into diamonds is not cheap.  A quarter ct will cost you about $3,500.00 but think of the possibilities.

Boy: “Will you marry me?” shows ring
Girl: “That’s so beautiful! Was that your Mother’s?”
Boy: “That is Mother!”

Life Gem is careful to explain that the diamonds will have flaws.  That seems appropriate.  Just like people range in the degree of their flaws so the diamonds range in clarity.

This might necessitate an update in the funeral service.  “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust” might need to be “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Diamonds”.  No not really.

 

A friend of mine recently shared a photo of Archbishop Desmund Tutu on Facebook.  The photo was accompanied by a quote that read

I can’t, for the life of me, imagine that God would say ‘I will punish you because you are black, you should have been white; I will punish you because you are a woman, you should have been a man; I punish you because you are homosexual you ought to have been heterosexual.’ I can’t, for the life of me, believe that that is how God see things.

There are several interesting things about this quote that one could comment on.  The most obvious is that there is nothing especially noteworthy about the quote from an Anglican perspective as the Anglican Communion has never said there was anything sinful about same sex attraction.  Like being black or white, male or female, it is morally a non issue.  The moral question is always about what one does, and not about what one is.  A quick read of Lambeth 1.1o will confirm this for anyone interested.

What I find fascinating about the quote is the appeal to one’s personal imagination in discerning God’s will.  This is really quite frightening.  People imagine all kinds of things about God.  As a pastor I am always saddened when someone cannot receive forgiveness because they cannot believe, cannot imagine, that God could forgive them.  They believe their sin is so great that God cannot forgive it and so they cannot accept forgiveness and the freedom and healing that comes with it.  The opposite problem also is quite common. How many people justify things by saying it “feels right” so it must be OK with God.  How many pastors have spoken with parishioners who tell them that they are confident that God approves of their leaving their spouses for a new relationship?  They mistake their feelings of dissatisfaction for God’s judgment upon the relationship.  I was once berated by a lay leader during a Cursillo weekend for my poor theology.  She assured me that the all Christians could judge what was right by the way it resonated in their hearts.  If someone felt it was right then it was right.  I told this leader in reply that I could not, as my heart was not always pure and sometimes resonated with things that were not holy.  I am a broken human being becoming sanctified. I’m not there yet.  As long as our understanding of God is dependent upon our imagination we will be driven by the feelings and desires that fuel our imagination. We will be held captive by our sins and remain deluded by our desires.  When our understanding of God becomes limited to what we imagine our image of God inevitably becomes a reflection of our opinions and desires.

As God would have it we are not left to the imaginings of our hearts.  We are not sheep without a shepherd. This is the whole point of Revelation.  God revealed Himself to us that we might know God and grow in the knowledge and love of God.  God is revealed in many ways, but principally through the person of Jesus Christ as he is know to us in Scripture.  As the old hymn goes “Jesus loves me this I know cause the Bible tells me so”.  Its a simple truth.  Christians are people of the book, not left to the imaginings of our hearts.

We can learn a bit about God through nature.  I have stood atop mountains and experienced awe over the amazing creation that God made.  What we can learn about God from creation is amazing and very limited.  If we want to know what God wills we must pick up a Bible and read.  The Anglican reply to the question “How can we know God’s will?” is “Scripture, Reason, and Tradition”.  Scripture is the foundation, to which we apply our best intelligence to fearlessly penetrate the fullest meaning of Scripture (this is what Reason means).  Tradition refers to the teaching of the church throughout time, and especially the early church.  Other churches have different answers.  Some churches place the entire weight upon their reading of scripture.  Some place greater weight upon the traditional teaching of the church.  No church has ever turned to the imaginations as the source of theology and survived very long at all.

 

 

 

 

 

Calling this a history is inaccurate and false.  Actually I’m just trying to make a few points about historic worship in the church and perhaps tweak some of my more conservative friends.  So here we go.

The first praise screen was probably a prehistoric cave wall illuminated by torches or shafts of light.  Cave painting.  Yep.  Before the printing press people had limited ways of participating in corporate worship.

Memorization was a big part of worship throughout history.  It still is important as anyone who goes into an Alzheimer’s ward and begins reciting the Lord’s Prayer knows well.  But before the printing press and post cave painting there was a long time of corporate Christian worship that relied on the first worship praise screens.  You know, the screens the printing press put out of business.  Anyone who has worshiped with words written on a flip chart knows how this works.  That likely dates me as projectors are so cheap and flip charts increasingly expensive that most organizations try to go digital as soon as possible.

Before the printing press life was more organic in churches.  Choirs did not sit in neat little pews, let alone in choir stalls.  The choir would gather around a large hand written book seated upon a stand. As seen in the illustration to the left and above, each page would have 3 to 5  lines of plainsong.  The choir would sing guided by a choir master.

Then of course came the disruptive technology of the printing press.  Choirs suddenly had access to far more books to sing from, and they could sing from their own copy.  Public worship was forever changed.  Was it changed for the better?  This is a hard question to answer.

My simple point is that the Praise Screen is in fact an older concept than the hymnal.  Of course now it is digital and often used in ways that distract from worship by dipping into a Hollywood-esqe style of presentation.  But every technology can be used well or poorly.  The technology is not the problem so much as the implementation.

For the past 2.5 years of so St. James has used a praise screen as a portable church.  It worked really well.  It was cheaper then printing the worship service in bulletins and easier than carting in books every Sunday.  It worked great and people enjoyed having their hands free during worship.  Parents of young children especially appreciated this new freedom.  Now we are in a building with no obvious way of using screens.  It looks like we are going to go with books or service bulletins.  This is not a problem.  We will flex into it unless we find another solution that works.

One thought I had was to put stands like the ones in these illustrations among the pews with monitors on them!  This is not a serious consideration.  This is not a trial balloon either.  It is just a thought that brings the medieval praise screen to the present.

In a technical legal sense, St. James bought two properties in Willow Glen.  Such a simple statement of fact fails to convey the amazing way the Holy Spirit has acted.

St. James Anglican Church was formed in 2009.  Our initial members left local Episcopal Churches.  We left everything to the remaining members.  In California the case law leans heavily this way and we wanted no scandal.  Every effort was made to leave peacefully and well.  Our reputation and character were more important to us than anything we might have taken with us.  We hoped that one day we would have a new building to call home, but were prepared for many years of being a “portable church”.

As we were preparing to leave an Episcopal Deacon told me of a church on Lincoln Ave in Willow Glen that she thought might be available.  I stopped by and left a voice mail on the answering machine.  Thelma called me a few weeks later to let me know that they didn’t know what they were going to do with the building, but would call me when they made up their minds.

Inside the building

Six months later I was driving home from a meeting in downtown San Jose when I felt God nudge me to go by the church again.  It was unchanged.  I called the phone number in the window again and this time spoke with Joanna, the principal pastor.  Joanna was caring for Zev, one of their pastors who was dying of cancer.  Their church, Christian Assembly, was ready to sell the property and we began discussing the possibility.

We toured the property and everyone from St. James who was able to be present felt the same desire to care for the church and keep it as a church.  We were also dumb stuck by the similarity between the half Fleur-de-lis on the front of the church and our logo use on both our business cards and power point template.

At the time St. James had no building fund and no immediate plans for a capital campaign.  Still we had the building inspected and appraised.  Land is very expensive in San Jose.  Willow Glen is a highly desirable location.  The church sits on a single housing lot, has no parish hall, kitchen, or outdoor play area.  There is parking for about 6 cars.  The church seats 70 – 80.  It needed a great deal of work.  Our estimate was that it was worth $400,000 – $500,000.  Unfortunately they thought it was worth $800,000.  Zev died and I suggested we resume discussions in a few months.  At that time, Christian Assembly decided to resume services in the church and attempt to rebuild the congregation.  We prayed for their success and kept looking for a more permanent home.  We were quite content as a portable church.  We did not feel a pressing need for a permanent building.

Some of our members decided to make contributions to a building fund.  They knew what they wanted to give towards a building and desired to get out of the way of the activity of The Holy Spirit by giving the money without knowing what would eventually be purchased.  This generosity resulted in a $311,000 building fund.

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.  (Malachi 3:10)

About 9 months ago, Joanna emailed me to see if we were still interested in buying the church.  By this time they had undertaken many of the necessary renovations identified in our building inspection.  The ceiling was repaired, a new Handicap Washroom installed, new electrical, and a new heating and cooling system installed.  The building was move in ready.  It still needs further renovation to suit our liturgical worship style, but the building was usable now.  Still there was a question of price.  We were still far apart on what we considered the value to be.  We ended our conversation graciously, and St. James Property Team kept looking for other possible properties and began discussing a capital campaign.

Cottage on Nevada St.

In late July Joanna emailed me again and asked if we would be interested in buying the church for $500,000.  The price was right and within our reach, especially if they were willing to hold a mortgage for us.  The limitations of the building remained however and after some discussion our Property Team decided to ask for a “Right of First Refusal” on the cottage.  The cottage is on a contiguous property along the back of the church property.  The cottage is fully renovated with a lovely kitchen and adjacent great room.  It provides space for an office, as well as social spaces for gatherings and meetings.  In the past two years Christian Assembly has spent $110,000 in renovations on the two properties.  A few days later Joanna replied saying that they wanted us to have both properties and believed God wanted us to have them.  After some back and forth discussion we agreed in principle to a total price of $900,000 with a $311,000 down payment, a 0% mortgage with a minimum monthly payment of $2,500 and a total balance due within 10 years.  Nearly everyone at St. James was amazed by the generosity of these terms.  The properties are actually worth around 1.1 million. We can not qualify for a mortgage with any bank due to the fact that we have only been in existence for two years. We were overwhelmed.

On Tuesday August 23rd, God blessed St. James big time.  Pastor Shirley (now working with Joanna and Christian Assembly) called me to discuss the final terms.  They had spent the prior weekend praying and felt called by God to do several things.  They felt directed to wind up and close down Christian Assembly.  They felt that carrying a mortgage was not an ending.  They believed that God wanted us to have these buildings.  They believed that The Holy Spirit was directing them to sell St. James both properties for the $311,000 we had in our building fund.  They did not want our ministry hampered by a mortgage.

God’s economy is not ours.  Still I felt compelled to tell Pastor Shirley that this was too generous an offer.  She laughed, agreed, and said that this is what The Holy Spirit was telling them to do.  And so on Tuesday September 6th I signed the title documents for both these properties and accepted the gift that God is giving us.  Joanna and Thelma were overjoyed to see these buildings come to us and believe that this is God’s will.  Our sense of call to this place mirrors their conviction that God wants us to have these properties.

There is no one in St. James who does not understand that these buildings are a gift from God.  Although we own them in a strict technical sense, we fully understand that we have been given stewardship of these properties for this season.  We pray that our work of ministry will build upon the rich foundations that Christian Assembly have laid down and given to us.  We thank God for this amazing gift and encouragement and pray that our ministry will be fruitful in this place.

20110820-042739.jpg Old wine barrels sell for about $80 in Napa Valley. They are easy to find. I’m seriously thinking of getting one to see if I can replicate this chair. Not only is this chair an inspired blend of Wine Country with Mission Style furniture, it’s really comfortable. Very nice.

I recently came upon a document published by the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.  I was interested as the Bishop of Chicago was one year ahead of me at Nashotah House, and someone who I liked and respected.  I was also curious as the Diocese of Chicago was then and is now a bastion of revisionist theology.  I was curious to see what sort of things were being taught under my friend’s watch.  An aspect of their teaching on Baptism jumped out of me as a classic example of revisionist doctrinal strategy.

Baptism is the first sacrament a person ritually experiences when they become a Christian, because Baptism is the means by which we enter the household of God.  It is not the Primary Sacrament, and has never been considered as such.  Anglican Theology has classically recognized Baptism and Holy Communion as the two Great or Gospel Sacraments because Jesus instituted them.  The first is a sacrament for beginning the journey into Christ, the latter is the sacrament for the journey.  There are other sacraments as well.  Lesser sacraments that are available to the baptized as members of the Household of God.  This is how Christians have understood sacraments since the first century.

Contemporary revisionist theology is struggling to find ways to give credence to their innovations.  One form this takes in the Episcopal Church is to elevate Baptism to the chief sacrament above all others.  Instead of being the entry point into the Household of God and the beginning of a journey that might involve other sacraments, it becomes the Great Sacrament from which all others derive.  Here then is a quote from the report from Chicago.  Pay attention to the first sentence.

Baptism is the primary sacrament from which all other sacraments and all the rites of the Church flow. The standards for admission to the sacrament of Baptism should likewise apply to all other rites of the Church. With this in mind, no person should be disqualified from receiving any of the Church’s ministrations on the basis of who they are or how they are created. At baptism one is made a full member of the Body of Christ, the Church. If persons are not disqualified from baptism because of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, and so on, neither should they be denied the other rites of the Church.

Sorry.  No.  This is so wrong headed it is very sad.  It is sad and regrettable on many levels.  It is unhistorical in its understanding.  It places Baptism in a place it was never intended to be.  If it has a place in relationship to the other sacraments it is not above them, but below them.  Baptism is the moment we ritually enter into a life of sanctification as we seek to grow into the likeness of Christ.  By placing baptism above the other sacraments, the process of sanctification is effectively set aside. Perhaps this is why revisionist churches spend so little energy on discipleship.

Once can say with some truth that all sins are an expression of the great sin of Pride.  One can say therefore that all sins flow from the sin of Pride.  All sacraments are not an expression of Baptism.  They are not subsets of Baptism.  They are “outward and visible signs of an inward invisible grace”.  They do not flow from Baptism.  They are signs and means of God’s Grace.  To limit them in this manner is to circumscribe God’s sovereignty.

The quote above is an excellent example of revisionist thinking that begins with a claim that differs from the doctrine of the church and then builds an argument based on a falsehood.  Sorry my friend this is not good.

This past week I quietly celebrated my 25th anniversary of ordination as a Deacon.  I was one of seven new Deacons in the Diocese of Edmonton.  I managed to touch base with four of the others.  One has aged out (died) and one left the church a few years after ordination. Perhaps I’m feeling nostalgic.  I saw this picture of the Trinity College Chapel and it reminded me of so much.  I was an a first year student at Trinity when I received my call to ordained ministry.  For three years I served as a Sacristan in the chapel.  This was a place of formation for me.

The chapel looks largely the same as it did then.  There is a new low Altar.  The low Altar we used was a temporary affair similar to the portable Altar we use at St. James.

Worship in the chapel was Anglo Catholic in style and theology.  It was orthodox with lots of “smells and bells”.  It was well done indeed.  I have no idea what the worship at Trinity is like today.  I expect it is still fairly high church, but it is no longer orthodox.  Trinity is now a firmly revisionist institution.  Trinity is located across the street from Wycliffe college, the low church Evangelical Anglican Seminary.  Both were orthodox back in the 70’s & early 80’s.  Certainly Trinity had revisionist seminarians, but no one imagined that one day this small presence would turn Canada’s great Anglican seminary into a revisionist institution.  Today Wycliffe is the lone official Anglican seminary that remains orthodox.  Trinity is still majestic but the distance between Trinity & Wycliffe is far far greater than the 30 second walk between their front doors.

 

We recently began using Google Analytics to look at our website traffic.  I really wish we had done this two years ago.  We are now paying attention to what people are actually looking at.  In particular we are paying attention to what people who find our site through a search are looking at.  I’ll be posting about Google Analytics sometime soon, but what I want to share today is that we have discovered that 22% of all visitors to our website who come through a search engine visit our “Who’s Who on Staff” page.  This is the top visited page on our site.  It was until recently one of the least developed pages on our website.  We are still working on it.  So the key learning here is that prospective visitors to St. James want to learn about the Pastor.  Ok so that should have been obvious.  What wasn’t obvious was that this group of visitors were 2-4 times more interested in this page than the next most popular pages.  That is an important learning.  Most Pastors don’t want their pictures on the home page.  Clearly though, if a parish want to grow the Pastor has to be easy to find on the website.  I’m betting it also helps if the pastor has a welcome video on the site.  We are going to try this and see what the results are.

In this age of media it is easier than ever to create a short video and place it on Facebook and on your Website.  Most smart phones shoot video in 720p which is all the resolution you need for web videos.  You can shoot in 1080p if you want but honestly for deploying on websites and Facebook will just take longer to load without an appreciable increase in quality.  I have an iPhone 4, but chose to buy a Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (Black) instead.  This camera is similar to a Flip Video Camera but supports external microphones.  It also has image stabilization, which the iPhone doesn’t have.  The Z18 also features a tripod mount.  To use my iPhone as a video camera on a tripod I would need to buy a $20 case to hold the phone securely on a tripod.  I would also need to buy a microphone adapter plug to work with the iPhone: another $20.  So for an additional $40 I could use my iPhone and still not have any form of image stabilization.  To be fair to Apple, if you have iLife you can apply image stabilization during the editing process.  This is too complex a workflow for me.  I want to be able to point, film, trim, and upload a video.  We are not going for high production quality.  I might eventually do some post editing, but before I do this I need to get more experience in front of a camera. So back to the camera: I was able to buy a reconditioned Z18 on Amazon for less than $100.  I also needed to buy a memory card for storage.  As it happens I already had one.  I also have a cheap tripod.  So for about the cost of $100 I was able to shoot video and import it to my laptop. The camera shoots 30fps in 1080p or 60fps in 720p.  I use it to shoot at 30fps in 720p, which it seems to be able to do all day long with great results. Importing the video is done via a built in usb plug on the Z18.  It folds out and plugs in to your computers usb port.  Very Nice. Very simple. This camera saves to a .mov format which is super convenient if you work on a Mac.

It took me a few minutes to learn how to trim the video in Quicktime.  Its really easy, once you figure out the controls.  Then it is a simple upload to YouTube and the video is ready to be shared.  St. James has a Facebook Page, so I posted it there.  It then appears in people’s FaceBook News Feed for them to watch.  I haven’t put it on our website yet, but could easily do this as well.  I’m posting the video here so you can see the quality of it. Creating video for engaging with your congregation and with visitors to your website has never been simpler.

The origin of this phrase is not really known, although it is generally ascribed to Maslow.  It expresses our common tendency to see the world through our familiar bias.  Present day example of this include people who blame humanity for global warming.  There is no doubt that the world is warming up, but this has happened before, and the unwillingness to look at other causes such as Sun spot activity shows how powerful a grip Maslow’s principle has on many people.

It certainly has a grip on the church.  A friend of mine, hearing a colleague preach, once said “he read ‘From Good to Great’ last year, now that’s what he preaches.  I hope he reads a new book this year.”  We all have a tendency to want to use our shiny new hammer on every problem.  Not surprisingly it is rarely the solution to the problem we are trying to solve.

The Crisis withing the Anglican Communion can be seen through this lens.  The Episcopal Church has a new hammer.  It’s not so new of course, the question of Same Sex Relationships has been discussed in TEC since the 60’s.  It became front and center in the 90’s and assumed center stage in 2003.  Now for TEC, everything that is in the way of their hammer looks like a nail.

Following the Windsor Report’s release, TEC was invited to attend the Anglican Consultative Council to make a Biblical case for Same Sex Blessings. This was a bit of a set back for TEC as there really isn’t a Biblical basis for what they wanted to do.  But no matter, TEC still has their hammer and the Bible looks like a nail.

This has played out in several ways.  I respect the honesty of Presiding Bishop Schori who is quite forthright about the fact that TEC has not made a Biblical case for same sex relationships, and her openness in describing a possible path forward.  She has publicly talked about re-understanding the entire arc of scripture from a perspective of “original blessings”.  This means grounding all of theology in the creation account and playing down the “Fall”.  This is really quite incredible.  This re interpretation of scripture neatly does away with sin.  This is the sort of thinking that happens when you have a hammer that you can’t let go of.  Everything becomes a nail.

Anglicanism expresses its DNA of discerning God’s will with a simple phrase “Scripture, Reason, and Tradition”.  At the time of the Reformation, the English Church came close to becoming a “Sola Scriptura” church.  The historic emphasis on Scripture as the basis for our doctrine can hardly be over stated. Reason, our best use of intellect to understand scripture, and Tradition are in a distant second and third place.  Over the last decade I have observed revisionist bishops talk about “Reason, Tradition, and Scripture”.  Sometimes they toss in “Experience” as well.  The Bible is still a nail, but rather than reinterpreting it, this approach de-emphasizes it.

A third approach, a sort of revisionist “via media”, is to diminish the authority of Scripture.  This is done by questioning the authenticity of the various books of the Bible.  The “Quest for the Historical Jesus” fits nicely into this category.  The Jesus Seminar is a contemporary expression of this approach.  Tendencies we see here are to date the various books of the New Testament much later than is commonly accepted.  The reason for this is that the later they were written the less reliable they must be.  De-mythologizing Scripture is also a common approach.  For example someone in this camp might argue that Jesus never really walked on water, the intent of the Gospel writer was to show God’s rule over nature.  By far the worst example of this has to do with Jesus’ Resurrection.  A revisionist using this third approach would say that you do not need to believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead to be a Christian.

Needless to say these approaches to Scripture are why I am no longer in The Episcopal Church.  They are however natural workings out of a certitude that the hammer being held is the right one.  I have never questioned the faithfulness of revisionists in TEC to the hammer they hold.  I just think its the wrong hammer.  This brings us to today’s startling reading from Acts.  It is the Gospel in a nutshell.  Peter wastes no words in covering the basics.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12 ESV)

Peter had his hammer.  Everyone has a hammer.  It’s vitally important that you have the right hammer.  I like Peter’s.  I am an Anglican.

I was struck this week by an old dictum “If its predictable then its preventable”.  It is an old saw that I heard afresh during this Easter Season.  It has application in many aspects of life and across many types of community.  This week I received it in terms of my own personal disciplines or lack thereof.  I am a creature of habit.  Some of my habits undermine my goals. Today’s Gospel reading from Morning Prayer is a reminder of our call to fruitfulness and the necessity of being pruned of bad habits.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:1-11)

We have a beautiful tree rose in our back yard.  It keeps sending up suckers from its root system.  I keep removing the suckers and it keeps sprouting more.  It is a problem every spring.  The problem with suckers is that they take growth away from the part of the plant we want to grow.  We are trying to grow roses not suckers.  Bad habits are like the suckers that keep coming back.

The bad habit I am acutely aware of this week is my occasional media binge.  A media binge is when I stay up very late watching recorded tv shows like Hawaii Five 0 and Dr. Who.  This week I stayed up very late and watched Ip Man (A Kung Foo Movie).  When I stay up into the early hours of the morning I pay for it the next day.  I can still function but without my usual energy or creative spark.  It is like self induced jet lag.  So why do it?  Its fun being bad.

Why does God not prune this out of my life?  Actually I think God is trying to.  I’m not spiritually deaf.  When I heard the old saw “If its predictable then its preventable” I knew I was being nudged by God and that it was time to prune this sucker from my life.  Will it grow back?  It will certainly try.  It is for me what the medieval church called a “besetting sin”, the thing that keeps coming back to trip me up again.  Now some may say that “what’s the big deal with an occasional media binge?” Perhaps these words from the Great Litany will provide a better framing of the issue.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,
We confess to you, Lord.

A media binge for me is a form of self indulgence. It has to give way so that my life can become more clearly focused on my goals.  I want to bear fruit for God.  I need this pruning.