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Facebook keeps asking “what’s on your mind” and I’m continually hesitant to answer out of fear that my written words will result in burnt bridges. Honestly, life was easier when I was in my early-twenties and didn’t care about people’s snap judgements due to my (often) unfiltered opinions. Or at least when I was oblivious to the potential impact those hard-to-change judgements might have on my ministry.

I blame scripture for forcing me to mature. The whole “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” in James really hampers my old self. Continue reading

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I Made A Thing!

I created a poster! Inspiration was taken from a shirt I saw a picture of online. The background image was obtained through unsplash.com and the scripture text is used with permission.

I originally started working on this poster as a personal reminder. As a Christian, I know that I am commanded to love my neighbor but it’s hard to remember that my neighbor is not just the person I share a property line with – it actually means everyone! I don’t know about you but for me it is easy to assume I’m on the right track when I’m only surrounded by likeminded people. But if you put someone in front of me that I highly disagree with on an emotional, political, theological, or philosophical level it becomes a bigger hurdle. It’s important to remember that our neighbors include everyone, not just those we like. My hope is that this poster helps keep that understanding at the forefront of our minds.

There are 2 variations and they are available to purchase (professionally printed!) if you so desire. Shipping times run about a week.

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If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, contact me via facebook messenger and we can move from there! (m.me/jtbennett or scan the image below with the Messenger app)

 

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Being Remembered

My Nana died 113 days ago. She was funny, kind, loving, patient, selfless, dedicated, and God-fearing. She was everything I strive to be and her death hit me harder than I anticipated. This past weekend all of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren gathered together to reflect, mourn, and celebrate her life.

We shared stories.
We laughed.
We cried.
We remembered.

When Stephanie and I were leaving the burial site, I suddenly had a realization to a question that I had been struggling with for years. Continue reading

Why I Am Observing Lent

Even Though I’m Baptist

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My earliest experience with Lent that I can remember took place in Burlington, Iowa when I was in middle school. I was in the car with my dad, driving down Roosevelt Avenue, when we passed our local Arby’s restaurant. The bright, red LED reader board proudly proclaimed “WE HAVE FISH SANDWICHES. 2 for $5!” I asked my dad why that was a big deal, figuring maybe the fish was rare or somehow special. “It’s because right now is Lent and some people stop eating beef for 40 days. But they can eat fish so lots of restaurants have specials to draw them in.” The idea of giving up any type of protein seemed incredibly dumb to my young self. No meat? I would starve! It was an uncomfortable thought.

Years later, I again encountered Lent but this time as an adult in Portland, Oregon. Having been enrolled at Multnomah University for a number of years at that point, I had many friends and acquaintances who were not mainstream baptist like myself. Some were more liturgical in their traditions and had a history of observing the 40 day period before Easter as part of their Christian faith. This felt altogether foreign to me – Easter got 1 day, not 40. And really it wasn’t even a full day but more like a couple hours in the morning with a big lunch and family pictures! Plus you couldn’t forget to wear really nice clothes. And, almost most importantly, on that one day you had to remember to initiate a specific greeting with a loud “He is Risen!” and then wait for the responder to equally proclaiming “He is Risen indeed!

That was the extent of my Easter tradition. To do more would be…weird. Continue reading

iPhoneography with a 7plus

I make no claim to be anything close to a professional photographer.

I’ll leave that to my sister-in-law and few other friends from college; their skill behind the glass is amazing! But I do enjoy getting a great shot by accident now and then – the iPhone 7plus is an amazing tool to keep in my pocket for when opportunity presents itself.  It’s no 5D Mark IV but, as the adage goes, “the best camera is the one you have with you”.

See below for a selection of my favorites from over the past few months.

Continue reading