Do you consider your engagement in social media "heroic"? Maybe you should. Dave Brenner researches how facebook, twitter and other forms of social media are changing the name of the game when it comes effecting change in the culture. There is tremendous potential to be harnessed— if we know how and are willing to put forth the effort.
The Church’s mission has been and will continue to be counter-cultural —it responds to hate with love, violence with non-violence, fault with forgiveness. We know that the narrative of human history is not primarily told through economics, political science and legislation, but through culture and heroic virtue and God’s providence.
This view of time both transcends history (for a life in Christ already knows something of the eternal) and compels us to transform history (for anyone connected to the body of Christ must care for the whole body). This is the understanding we must have to evangelize the culture: We realize it’s imperative to address the major moral issues of our time by reflecting Christ’s light on the darkness, but we’re indifferent to the technique...
Well, whether we care to or not, we're probably engaging in some degree of Super Bowl talk this morning. Word on Fire blog contributor Dave Brenner takes a look at the event and wonders what place it has in our lives as Christians. And yes, there is a place.
Last night's game had a bit of everything: an amazing catch by Mario Manningham near the end of play; a Giants player trying *not to score* but failing; and nearly a game-winning drive pulled off by the Patriots. We got to see two of the best QBs in the sport (Eli Manning haters, hold your comments) duel until the last seconds of play. The final score of 21-17 was quite satisfying for someone who didn't have a particular allegiance at the kickoff.
In fact, this was actually one of my first seasons consistently following the NFL. In prior seasons I mostly had just a general sense of the storylines and they went something like this: The Patriots may be the best team ever; Detroit may never win another game; Green Bay fans are nuts; the Chicago Bears are definitely Super Bowl material next year.
Perhaps it’s my new found interest in the game, but this year seemed to bring a refreshing wave of new stories. Take Jim Harbaugh, for example. In his first year as an NFL coach, he took a San Francisco team that was 6-10 last year and made them 13- 3 with no major additions to the team. He was the consensus choice for coach of the year. He renewed my confidence that leadership and vision and expertise can make a difference regardless of how poor your starting point is.
Tim Tebow is another example. Everything to say about him has already been said so I’ll redirect your attention to this article by Rick Reilly. Is it possible that we have found a Christian role model in popular culture? Is it also not surprising that he’s been persecuted as he has?
In my own recollections of the season, I can tell you that there was not an insignificant number of hours spent in front of the TV instead of studying. And there was not an insignificant number of conversations with my sister about her strategy for her fantasy team. Now that the season is over, I wonder: was this a good use of time, energy and attention?
The answer is frustratingly complex: Yes and no. And just how similar is that to the rest of life? Are you glad you took a risk in taking this job even though it didn’t work out? Are you glad you entered this relationship only to have your heart broken? Are you glad you ate those three extra tacos?...
Dave Brenner recently visited the community of Franciscans at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago, where he witnessed something of a "new" model of evangelization- the bold, fearless, and fervent adherence to a spiritual legacy that is revolutionary in its simplicity. Dave explains...
Something isn’t working in the Catholic Church. American Catholics can universally relate to stories of declining class sizes in Catholic schools, combined or shuttered parishes, reduced Mass attendance and all the implications these things bring.
The vivacity of our response has been meek. The result of our response has been deeply disappointing. Despite parish renewal programs, vocation events, and incremental programming, one still senses a purely secular society is our ultimate destination. It seems like we’re grasping at thin air with the hope that it’s our silver bullet. We boldly go forth to add incremental programs of minimum consequence: “If we just had guitar music/shorter sermons/donuts after Mass, people would feel more welcome…” this line of reasoning goes. One gets the impression of being on a slowly sinking ship while the crew rearranges the deck chairs.
This backdrop makes the story of the Franciscans serving at Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago more remarkable. Their work has been highlighted on a previous blog so I’ll just give you the bullet points: In April, this new community of Franciscans is re-opening a mission church in an economically depressed Westside neighborhood that was devastated by a fire 53 years ago. They feed 700 families a month and work with 800 – 900 kids in an after-school program...