Blood and Brutality, or Grace and Peace?
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
4d ago
#SundayCoffee Blood and Brutality or Grace and Peace? I remember when I was a kid in Sunday School, and I asked the teacher about the sacrifices in the Old Testament. I guess the lesson that day had something in it about sacrifices, about taking an animal, a goat or a bull or a lamb, and tying it up, and cutting its neck, and having the blood spill everywhere. It seemed so cruel, so mean, to the animals who had done nothing to deserve that end. My parents had tried to raise us kids with compassion for animals — we had birds, turtles, mice, and a cat, and my mom was ALWAYS having to tell m ..read more
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Messy Endings Just Mean New Beginnings
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
1w ago
#SundayCoffee Messy endings just mean a new chapter is beginning Easter has never been one of my favorite holidays. As a kid, I looked forward to the chocolate bunnies and the candy, the colorful Easter baskets with fake colored straw, and the painted eggs. (What’s that all about, anyway?) But the resurrection of Jesus…? Okay, yeah, a fundamental of the Christian faith, but so what? The lesson, of course, is that bad situations don’t get the final word. Life ultimately overcomes death. Light ultimately overcomes darkness, even after the longest and most terrifying of nights. There’s something ..read more
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Disappointment is Part of the Story
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
2w ago
#SundayCoffee Disappointment is part of the story This is Palm Sunday, and pulpits and sacred desks around the world will be talking about Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, hailed by crowds with palm branches and cloaks thrown on the ground. People, at least some of them, expected Jesus, the renowned miracle-worker and sage, to enter into the Temple, throw out the corrupt priests, and establish a holy headquarters for the next steps in retaking the country from the Romans and setting up God’s kingdom on earth. Didn’t work out that way. We all know the story. He does go into the Temple, a ..read more
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Connecting with the Deeper
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
3w ago
#SundayCoffee #Lectionary Connecting with the Deeper — for your sake We all need a sign once in a while. Something, some signal, that our voice is being heard, that we are seen by the Great Other — God, the Universe, the Ground of Being, Source, and Ultimate Reality. How ever we conceive of the Higher Power, we need a moment of recognition now and then. Perhaps connection. Our Western, overly rationalized culture likes to think of itself as logical and scientific. But we’ve lost something in what philosophers call the “disenchantment of the world.” Our society has lost a sense of the “magical ..read more
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Why Not John the Baptist?
Impact Magazine
by Randy Elstrott
1M ago
Why Not John The Baptist? Have you ever been left out of a gathering or any situation that would have been extremely significant for you? It can be painful, and it will leave you scratching your head and wondering what you did wrong. Perhaps this is what John the Baptist (JB) felt as he languished in Herod’s prison cell. You see, Jesus was setting Israel ablaze with the Good News—the same Good News for which JB was sent by God to herald—but there he was, missing all the fun. After spending as much as a full year in jail, he finally broke down and had his disciples ask Jesus, “Are you the Messi ..read more
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Looking for Your Life’s Purpose? Do Good.
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
1M ago
#SundayCoffee #Lectionary Created to do Good Getting older is an interesting experience. I get to see in real time how my priorities in life are changing. What once was so important, the focus of my energies, now seem unimportant, and what used to seem secondary now takes on greater significance. It’s normal, I guess. Different stages of life, different priorities. In some ancient Hindu thinking, life is divided into four stages, or ashramas. We could think of these as phases of personal development. In the first stage of life, the “student” stage, upto the age of 25 or so, our lives are focus ..read more
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I am “that filth”: A Queer Lenten Reflection
Impact Magazine
by Richard Bowles
1M ago
Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old nonbinary student, died the day after being beaten by classmates in a high school bathroom in Oklahoma. And an OK State Senator referred to them (and all LGBTQ+ people) as “filth.”  Richard Bowles offers this Lenten reflection …   I am “that filth.” It’s interesting to me that this was spoken during Lent. Remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Those of us in the queer community who inhabit queer spaces already know that to the fascists in power we are indeed filth. These words are no surprise to us. They still hurt. But they are not a surp ..read more
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Religion vs. Spirituality? Either/Or or Both/And?
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
1M ago
#SundayCoffee Religion vs Spirituality If you’re at all connected to spirituality-focused people on social media, you’ve run across the memes. “Religion is believing in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience.” Or “Religion is dogmatic, focuses on judgment and punishment, is exclusive. Spirituality focuses on experience, is reward based, is inclusive” Basically, religion is rules and death. Spirituality is personal experience and life. Those are all cute and simplistic. And kinda missing the point. It’s not about one versus the other. It’s not an either/or situati ..read more
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Letting Go of Control
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
1M ago
#SundayCoffee #Lectionary Letting go of control. This is probably the hardest thing for us humans to do. For me, it’s not necessarily the power to control outcomes — I’ve lived long enough to know that that is an illusion. For me, it’s making sense of things, the “why” of it all. If I can understand the reason, the operating principals, I can somehow align my life accordingly, and therefore have some degree of safety and stability. Control is also closely tied with expectations. Like, if I know how something is *supposed* to work, and I plan my actions accordingly, I *should* be able to expect ..read more
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An Open Affirmation
Impact Magazine
by Stephen Schmidt
1M ago
#SundayCoffee #Lectionary An open affirmation: you’re more than you seem, and you are loved. The baptism of Jesus. This week’s lectionary readings include the gospel passage where Jesus gets baptized. It’s an interesting scene for a variety of reasons, one of which being because it raises questions. Baptism is for people who are repenting. They’ve come to an awareness that their life needs to change, that they need to give up on somethings, stop doing some things, and turn to a new way of life. The baptism marks a washing away of the old, and a rising of the new. It’s associated with forgivene ..read more
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