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FAITH

"Church worship now competes with everything from professional sports to kids activities to household chores. ... we can either have a frank conversation about what church can be, or we can continue to watch the pews empty in cherished houses of worship across the country."
"I experienced two epiphanies a week apart that made me realize that far too many people see their faith lives and the rest of their week as distinctly separate," Devlyn Brooks writes.
"The Holy Spirit had briefly slipped into the room, and then just as quickly slipped back through the gauzy boundary that separates our daily lives from the holy kingdom."
New book on the scientific study of happiness borrows from an old book ... the Bible.

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"Would it be all that bad to tap the breaks a bit and let the celebration of Christ’s birth linger? I see few drawbacks to a slowed pace for a couple of weeks ..."
"There is nothing as humans that we can do to better the Christmas story. Period. ... The rest is just human trappings."
"We tend to celebrate kingdoms that display might and power, but this Sunday we celebrate a savior who is part human, making him mortal and anything but what the world imagines a divine ruler to be."
"My Advent prayer for you is that ... you find joy no matter what your circumstances are. ... Advent is a season of light, and I pray that you see Jesus’ light in all that life has to offer you!"
"The inner peace that Jesus promised the faithful pulled us away from our fears of scarcity, a root motivator initiating our domination instinct over others, and helped us to realize that our neighbors were actually part of the same great big body of believers."
"After a couple of years of celebrating apart because of the pandemic, and also for having just lived through another rancorous national election, we all could use the joy and hope and anticipation that is promised us in Christmas, in the birth of a mighty little king born in a manger."

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"I like that we are still discovering creatures previously unknown to us even though we are supposedly firmly into our golden scientific age. It’s a good and humbling reminder of our place in the order of things. ... I marvel at a God who would create us in his image, but still take the time to fashion the prehistoric-looking conger eel — it’s real, look it up! — for purposes I will never comprehend."
Even a pastor needs divine reassurance every once in a while.
"(I)n the Lutheran tradition ... We believe all believers are one big collection of saints, and we especially are grateful for those saints who precede us in death and now guide us from the other side of eternity. The observance of All Saints Sunday is a venerable tradition that can evoke a lot of emotion."

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