Saturday, November 21st, 2009


Jim Richardson (in his blog, Fiat Lux) lists a blog by his friend, Alana DeBare, (Midlife Bat Mitzvah) as one of his favorites, and I can see why.  She’s an atheist in the middle of a changing life who’s attending shul (temple) and studying to be Bat Mitzvahed.  And she has good reasons.  I’m quoting a bit of her third post, I think, on what she does or does not believe, to give you a flavor of her thinking.

Oh God – Part 3 (An atheist in shul)

November 19, 2009 by Ilana DeBare

My friend Melissa in Sacramento has a knack for getting to the heart of things. She wrote after one of my recent posts: 

Since I don’t believe in God, I don’t go to synagogue because I am alienated by a service full of prayers to a God in whom I don’t believe. And I don’t envision a Bat Mitzvah, because it surely would involve worship of same. I wait with great anticipation to see how you reconcile these seemingly conflicting beliefs (non-beliefs?) Carry on! (more…)

For my Advent discipline this year I’m going to be reading “God With Us” (Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas), Edited by Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe.  It features daily writing for Advent (and for feasts through Epiphany) by such writers as Scott Cairns, Emilie Griffin, Richard John Neuhaus, Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson and Luci Shaw.  I’ve already done some browsing.

The major question for me was whether to wait for Advent and live through the season day by day with the book, or to start tomorrow (and maybe be able to use what I’m reading in the week ahead.  I’m pretty sure at this point I’m going to start tomorrow, hoping that I can use some of what I’m reading with my congregation in a timely manner.  (We’ve already got our second reading for our early service on I Advent set up to use an excerpt from Neuhaus’s piece for that day.  I’m hoping it will inform my sermons.

So far, I really like what I’ve seen.  I’m looking forward to using this as a daily reading (maybe in conjunction with Morning Prayer).  I have to thank my wife, Anne, who found this and bought this for me.  There are some wonderful advantages to having a librarian in the family!

As you might gather from the title, it’s geared towards discovering the meaning of the incarnation (Jesus’ birth) in our lives.