[Be sure to get a copy of this Sunday’s Venue Search Discussion FAQ Sheet at the bottom]
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January 22nd, 2015
Words aren’t merely spoken or written. They’re wielded.
Their nature, as we were reminded from the Proverbs last Sunday, possesses both peril and promise; their provenance lies in the depths of the heart; and they have a point that goes beyond messaging alone. So you have to treat them with utmost care–in other words, with wisdom. For they can be as much like a sword that bludgeons as a scalpel that brings healing.
But the care we give to the words we speak must equally be applied to the words we take in.
Pico Iyer wrote an article earlier this month (HT: QC, Session 1) that drew an analogy between our physical and mental diets. As the body can endure only so much processed food before it experiences sub-optimal performance (and worse), so the mind on a steady fare of the fetid and fleeting found in most clickbait journalism is inviting something like an inner degradation.
After years of perusing the pages of scandal and titillation, Iyer came to an unsettling realization. He had become someone who “[exercises] great care over what he puts into his body and never [thinks] about what he puts into his mind. Who will dwell at length on everything he can see, in order to distract himself from the fact that it’s everything he can’t see on which his well-being depends.”
In other words he needed to become as vigilant to oversee what he gave his mind to as what he ingested bodily.
There are as many warnings about what our Internet habits are doing to our attention-span, as there are paeans to the benefits of reading books.
But what is your regimen for getting the best words about God–the Scriptures–into your mind? If they are in fact a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path, have we even lit the lamp?
Typically in December the evangelical world trots out the annual inventory of bible reading plans. And like many I’ve felt both the rush of fresh enthusiasm to undertake a new excursion through the whole bible, and later the letdown of falling so far behind in the plan as to feel the urge to give up the systematic effort entirely.
Maybe that’s your experience, too. But it’s never too late to begin again. There are myriad options for cultivating a new habit of bible intake. And perhaps it’s better to begin weeks after the new year to avoid the pressure of fulfilling some resolution.
The plan I undertook starting last month involves reading two chapters in the morning, coupled with readings in the Psalms both during the morning and the evening (though the evening installments sometimes get…stalled).
To read is its own benefit. But while personal devotions aren’t the sum total of seeking to be present to God, they do provide the context in which we gain something more than information: we’re invited to learn to pray. And it’s by prayer that we incline ourselves, as Iyer put it, to “what we cannot see but upon which our life depends.”
For as he also says,
I know that one day my doctor is going to come into the room with a very dark look on his face and news that no treadmill or repudiation of onion rings is going to make better. And then the only thing I’ll have to turn to will be all I’ve done when going nowhere — and everything I might have stored in some less visible account.
If it’s by our knowledge of the Word that enables us to live honorably in this life in “view” of the next, then it will be that same knowledge–and the heart formed by it–that we can turn to for courage when nothing else can.
Another New York Times columnist (with whom you’re familiar if you read here) sets us up nicely for this Sunday’s sermon on the wisdom of and for friendship. David Brooks wrote a piece not too long ago on the value of cultivating them. He inventories the several benefits of engaging in the risky but rewarding act of friendship–some of which you’ll hear in more detail in the sermon. (But read the article!)
C.S. Lewis had a thing or two to say about friendship in his famous work, The Four Loves (of which you can purchase an audiobook version read by Lewis himself–HT: Virginia Hefferman). In his book, he explaines how unremarkably something as profound as friendships form:
Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
The Proverbs we’ll consider Sunday (found here) will help us know what defines friendship, what threatens it, and what sustains it. Come Sunday and rediscover the glories of and guidance for friendship (including why we posted the following image.)
As we’ve been announcing the last couple weeks, this Sunday during our ordinary time of Q&A we’re going to have an informal discussion on our plans to search for a new venue for CtK. Hugh Comer will give a brief presentation on the nature of our search and the status of our budget. We’ll then open the floor up for questions.
We promised an FAQ sheet to give you some context into our deliberations thus far. You can read that document by clicking here. We know it won’t answer all your questions, but we hope it will offer insight into our rationale and plan for searching. We may not have answers to all your questions (we don’t even know all the right questions yet!), but we’re glad to take whatever questions you have.
Since we’d hope as many as possible would stay for the conversation, families with small children (infants – 5 years) may leave their little ones in the nursery through 2nd hour, too. (Hooray!) If you have any questions about childcare, contact Karla Pollock (and then give her a hug for organizing extra nursery help!)
We’ll also have some refreshments on hand.
So stick around if you can for the family chat.
Just to reiterate a couple community notes:
1. First Sunday Potluck Lunch resumes February 1st, during 2nd hour. Details to come about what you can bring.
2. Coming later in February, an opportunity to gain a new appreciation for the oral nature of the Scriptures we consider each week, and for the context in which the words were spoken. February 22nd the Biblical Performance Troupe comes to CtK. You’ll see some new, and some familiar, faces.
When you pray, pray…
- Nearly twenty new visitors to CtK will be in attendance at this Saturday’s Intro to CtK “Sit-Down.” We’re excited about having a frank and open conversation about what membership means, and why it matters. We’d welcome your prayers for all in attendance, for the Saturday discussion, and for wisdom to incorporate those who stand for membership into vital participation in our Body. [As this Intro class will be first to use some “indigenous” material for its content, we welcome–nay, encourage–any (members and attendees alike) who’d like to read up on the CtK’s coalescing sense of itself, its identity, and its mission.