Sweet Spots

Ideas and messages from Len Sweet.

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Babel Story Lectionary 24 February 2019 The Building of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) Sarai is Astounded at God’s Power and Goodness (Genesis 18) Moses and Pharaoh (Exodus 5-6) The Budding of Aaron’s Rod (Numbers 17) The Story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) Joshua’s Victory Over Jericho…
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Psalms! –Sound Theology by Len Sweet

Monks start the day at 3:20 am with Vigils, and they typically sing Psalm 95.


1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving

    and extol him with music and song.

3 For the Lord is the great God,

    the great King above all gods.

4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,

    and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5 The sea is his, for he made it,

    and his hands formed the dry land. read more…

Pastor’s Prayer for 24 February 2019

Father, I woke with an ache and a longing. You call to me across the earthen strand, you woo me away from self debilitating thoughts, you draw me to intimacy. My spirit mingles with your Holy Spirit and I am awakened. My heart is the tinder yours is the flame, cast just one spark and ignite all of my desire, burn in me your Holy Fire. Your love is a mystery! My life is a scandalous poem! I throw caution to the winds of change. I must lift Him up! I must lift Him up! Going to church is not enough. Going to work is not enough. Being in ministry is not enough. Being married is not enough. Only Jesus Christ is enough! Pregnant with possibility I pause, to become the prayer. Amen.  

— Sonya Ritter

Let ‘Er Rip

Let ‘Er Rip! Story Lectionary 17 February 2019 The Story of Noah (Genesis 5-7) Abraham Attempts to Sacrifice His Son Isaac but Due to God’s Sign Declines (Genesis 22) Hold Fast to the Lord and You Will Receive God’s Abundance (Deuteronomy 30) The Ebenezer Stone Represents Holding Fast to God…
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How to Think

How to Think: A Survival Guide For a World at Odds

By Alan Jacobs

New York: Currency, 2017


–Review by Landrum P. Leavell III, Th.D.


How many times have we heard someone or ourselves ask the question, “What were you thinking?” Alan Jacobs believes we would all benefit from a better understanding of what it means to think well. Teaching in the Honors College at Baylor University, Jacobs has read lots of books with radically incompatible models of what thinking is, most of them he calls depressing reads. There is a wide-ranging litany of the ways that thinking goes astray.

Jacobs notes all of the names of these paths to error: “Anchoring, availability cascades, confirmation bias, the Dunning-Kruger effect, the endowment effect, framing effects, group attrition errors, halo effects, ingroup and outgroup homogeneity biases, recency illusions… What a chronicle of ineptitude, arrogance, sheer dumbassery.” [I had to include that quote!] (12) Some of the books chronicling these errors include, Thinking, Fast and Slow, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, and Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. read more…

Ubi Caritas

Ubi Caritas is one of the oldest hymns of the early church. Dating from as early as the 4th century, settings of Ubi Caritas are frequently included as part of the Eucharist story, reminding us of Christ’s great love for us. But more than simple remembrance, the first line of text calls us to be and demonstrate love to others: God is with us and love is our bond. read more…

Pastor’s Prayer for 17 February 2019


Faith issues in love. Love is not a belief system. Love does not mean agreeing with everything someone else thinks. Love prevails as the only precept. Love rises above conflict, extends the hand of peace, even the peace to differ. Love bears the fruits of the kingdom. Love does not require another to be like you. But love respects differences, respects all people as children of God, all searching, all erring. Love exists within humility and humanity. Love cares for others, even if the others do not care. Love does not throw stones. Nor make demands. And especially not the demand for uniformity. But love celebrates divides and draws strings across canyons. Love extends hands that touch hearts, because Love is greater than opinions, dictums, and legalisms. Love does not seek to extinguish individualism but celebrates community, invites and builds relationships even when each wears different shoes and walks different talks. Love sings a tune of hope and invites a symphony of diverse voices, not demanding the same notes, the same song, the same way, but sings together with others. Love maintains identity while rejoicing in human relationship with all people. Love God and neighbor. Love God first. Love to give your neighbor even better than what you would love for yourself. Love your neighbor because your neighbor is human like you. Humanity has no sides. Love takes no sides. But only affirms and recognizes its neighbor in flesh and blood. The blood of humanity is thicker than the waters of contention, and we all share blood. Love is not an ideology or a standard, not an expectation or demand. Love does not seek justice and is not dependent on fairness, but transcends both of these. For Christian life is not fair, but is committed to the gifts of love and mercy. Love is merciful. Love lets go of control, power, and the desire to mete out punishments. Love respects that God is the only justice. And that God’s justice is cloaked in mercy. Love desires not to serve in the place of God, but steps aside to allow Christ to lead. Love does not need idols. But serves only in the name of the one who is Love. Love God. Love Neighbor. Love in faith that the Love of Christ is more powerful than being right. That love is more powerful than being wrong. Only Love wins. Love in faith. Just love.

–Lori Wagner