Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bishop Barron & The Message & Merton, Oh My!

This morning, I just wanted to share a few things that are going to be coming available in the coming weeks and months.

First off, thank you to Kenneth for pointing out that in the most recent Word on Fire Show podcast, hosted by Brandon Vogt and Bishop Robert Barron, they announced that later this year they would be publishing a new bible with commentary from Bp. Barron and other theologians.  It is aimed at the "nones", a growing demographic in America that most often identifies themselves as agnostic or atheist.  Nothing more was said about the content of this bible or the translation that will be used.  More info will be shared here when I get it.

Secondly, I want to thank those of you who purchased the Advent devotional that my wife and I created for ACTA Publications.  If you enjoyed it, we do have a Lenten devotional out now called Walking Together in Freedom.  Similar to the Advent one, this edition has a selection from the daily Lenten readings (in The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition translation) presented, with a short reflection and space for daily journaling.  Also, once again, my wife has done the cover art work and a number of beautiful hand-drawn illustrations to supplement the text.  Below is a short description:

What does it mean to “walk together in freedom”? Here is our chance to find out during this time of Lent. The words from the daily Mass readings, as taken from The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition, practically jump off the page, inviting us to prayer, conversion, and our own vocation as Christians at our jobs and studies, with our families and loved ones, and in our community and civic involvement. Combined with Rakhi’s whimsical art and Tim and Rahki’s short but insightful reflections and ideas for practical action steps that anyone can take, this booklet makes a wonderful companion for a spiritually productive Lenten journey.

So, if you are looking for a Lenten devotional this year, consider picking up Walking Together in FreedomAnd heck, it is only $1.25!  

Lastly, I am honored to have an essay included in an upcoming book about Thomas Merton being published by Ave Maria Press in March.  The book is titled What I Am Living For: Lessons from the Life and Writings of Thomas Merton.  Edited by Jon M. Sweeney, there are contributions from Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. James Martin, Fr. Dan Horan, Sue Monk Kid, Robert Ellsberg, as well as a number of others.  Here is a short description:

What I Am Living For offers readers new to Merton, as well as longtime enthusiasts, an opportunity to see how the influential twentieth-century monk and writer continues to encourage the awakening of faith in the twenty-first century.

The book is in two parts. Each contributor to part one focuses on an aspect of the spiritual life that is of vital importance today and on which Merton made a profound impact. These include:

  • Martin—Finding who God intends you to be
  • Ellsberg—The spiritual need for solitude and stability
  • Oakes—The importance of coming to terms with our sexuality, whether married, single, or celibate
  • Horan—The importance of dialogue with God, culture, society, and people of other faiths
Part two features shorter, often more personal reflections on the future of faith, the life and teachings of Merton, and what he still says to anyone who seeks a relationship with God.

My contribution comes in the form of a short essay in part two of the book, where I write about how I came to appreciate Thomas Merton after many years of actively avoiding him.  So, if you are a Thomas Merton fan or simply curious about him, this book promises to have plenty of insights about this man who helped to nurture and rediscover the importance of contemplation for both monks and lay people, while also being active in the non-violence movement and inter-religious dialogue.  This book, conveniently, comes out in this 50th anniversary year of Thomas Merton's death.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

This Is Amazing and I Love It In Every Possible Way

The Babylon Bee is magical:

KJV-Only Pastor Tests Positive For NIV

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS—In a somber announcement, Pastor Philip Wallace confirmed to his congregation at Hartford Ave Fundamentalist Baptist Church, AV1611 Wednesday evening that he has tested positive for NIV.
The man has pastored the congregation of seventeen people for the past thirty years, staunchly defending the purity of the Scriptures as handed down to mankind in the Authorized Version, but confessed he may have contracted NIV while “experimenting” with other translations during his college years.....(click here to read the rest)

Monday, January 8, 2018


Three years ago I spent a year using one bible for the entire year. I did a series of posts focusing on that experience.  It was an important year for me, I must say.  It showed me that I really do need to stick with one primary bible for my daily reading.  Sure, I look at different translations when I need to, particularly since I teach scripture.  But I can honestly say that because of that experience back in 2015, I feel like I am finally not simply reading the bible to seek info, but actually being taught by it in a slow, relational way.  It is hard to explain to be honest, but I just read to read, without looking for doctrines or proof-texts or anything of the sort.  And even though the bible I use now is not that one I used in 2015, I am immensely grateful for having spent a year with my NRSV.  

Recently, my friend Kevin has decided to start this year attempting to do the OBOY challenge.  I wanted to pass along a link to his site, where he goes over what he is attempting to do by taking on the OBOY challenge.  Give it a look!  Consider doing it yourself!