The Smiling Heretic's Blog

Lent 4 :: Step into the light

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“I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes.” [Great Expectations by Charles Dickens]

Young Pip’s first encounter with Miss Havisham must have been disconcerting to say the least! Here was a woman—around fifty years of age—who looked like a haggard old witch. She hadn’t left her boarded up house in those many years since her wedding day-to-be, when she learned of her betrothed’s treachery. She remained in her wedding dress, one shoe off, and had all the clocks in the room stopped at the hour of her betrayal—twenty minutes to nine.

Lent 3 :: Don't try this in Church!

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Don’t try this in church…

Take out a Bible. Any will do, but you might as well find an old one that doesn’t get used much, like that big one there on your coffee table. You know, the one that’s been passed down by your family for generations and has all the dust on the cover? Use that one. Now get a Magic Marker™, preferably a black one. Turn to Exodus, chapter twenty, verse one. I’ll wait…

Found it? Good!

This is the first iteration of the Ten Commandments in the Bible [the second is in Deuteronomy]. Now, using your black marker, go through each of these commandments and mark through the ones you have not kept in the past week. Once again, I’ll wait…

Through? Good!

Now, if you are like most people, you’ve probably got a few that you can still read, because you’ve done well at keeping them in the past seven days. And they are probably the ones having to do with not stealing or killing or committing adultery, though, if we were to regard those commandments we’ve not kept as a community then chances are pretty good that they would all be blacked out!

Lent 2 :: Bearing the Cross

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Okay. So let’s get one thing perfectly clear: Bearing one’s cross has nothing to do with putting up with a spouse or partner who snores! Nor has it to do with picking up after your messy children, or suffering through a third grade oboe recital, or having to deal with a teacher [or parent, or boss!] who “just doesn’t get it,” or with a little brother [or sister!] who pesters you all the time. None of these situations [and so, so many more] have absolutely anything to do with denying yourself, taking up your cross, and following Jesus. We put up with these sorts of daily nuisances because that is what people do in order to live together, maintain a job [or relationship or grade-point average] and build community. It’s not about bearing your cross. Nuff said….

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