Monthly Archives: May 2020

Ep11 Why do we need religion?



Father Len explains how religion helps us recognize who we are meant to be and helps us become our best selves.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Religion is to spirituality what tea is to water. Religion adds flavor and extracts the essence of spirituality.
  • Practicing religion makes people happier, healthier, and live longer. It reduces depression, lowers blood pressure, crime, and the divorce rate.
  • “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” by Robert Putnam
  • Religion brings people together and helps them recognize who they’re meant to be.
  • We all need a community that cares about values and way of life to bring out our full and best selves. Working together with a common purpose, we begin to share each other’s story and become more concerned about other people’s stories than our own.
  • Human beings have always searched for the divine.
  • The common translation of the word shalom is peace, but it really means unity. This unity has four parts. Unity between us and God. Unity between each other. Unity within ourselves. Unity with creation. When you have all four, you have shalom and a great analogy for religion.
  • We all need connection with a goal and purpose in life that is greater than us.
  • Father Len reveals what he believes is missing in our Facebook “connections” and why he believes the “Facebook life” is likely contributing to rampant depression and the rise in suicide, cynicism, and mocking in our society.
  • Research has shown that worship produces a Spike in the love hormone oxytocin that helps bind us together.
  • Worship helps us discover our personal worth, other people’s worth, and the worth of God.
  • Father Len shares a little fun “family trash” to illustrate the relationships, values, and commitments that flow from religion and help us improve ourselves and our lives.
  • Religion is about a sacrifice and an offering of that part of us that thinks only of ourselves in hopes that part of us will eventually die.

Ep10 What is religion?



Religion has been with us since the beginning of human history. Father Len explains what it is and what it always has been.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Religion is a binding of a relationship and commitment to God and other people.
  • Religion can be traced all the way back to the Stone Age, Paleolithic and Neolithic times.
  • Early religion was a mix of storytelling, music, art, architecture, astrology, and ritual that brought people together, unified them and tied them to a common purpose.
  • Stone Age caves were like churches often containing the same 32 symbols that are believed to be a hieroglyphic response to God.
  • Religion is not a monologue from God. Religion is a dialogue between us and God with us responding to God.
  • There’s good religion and bad religion. Good religion is one that binds us together and to God. Bad religion is just a structural form for coercion that often divides us.
  • Good religion is both educational and unifying. It helps us discover the presence of God in our daily lives.
  • Human beings have forever been trying to answer this call from a mysterious thing we call God that binds us together and directs our lives.
  • There have been cultural experiments without God in countries like Soviet Russia and Communist China. These experiments in atheism haven’t gone so well and led to lots of bloodshed and millions of deaths.
  • Atheism’s failures can be traced to the lack of a higher moral code beyond human reasoning.
  • We like to proclaim ourselves as rational, but we’re not. We’re really good at coming up with excuses to justify our behavior.
  • Atheism says there is no source of justice beyond “how I view things.” In religion, we say God is the source of justice and our behavior will be judged by God.
  • Atheism is a type of religion. It may take more faith to believe that “I am the measure of morality” than the faith it takes to believe in God.
  • Taking the Lord’s name in vain is to misuse religion for power, wealth, or violence. To commit evil in the name of God.
  • There’s good Scripture and bad Scripture. When you think God is telling you to do something that is not in the Bible, that’s bad Scripture.
  • Father Len explains how to choose a religion and why not to choose a religion.
  • Love is not just an emotion. Love is also a type of reasoning.
  • Father Len shares a fun MacMillan family dinner table conversation to answer the question, “should you choose a religion for your child?”
  • Religion is incredibly human because it’s constantly seeking the deep connections we all crave and need in this life.

Ep9 What is the Bible and why does it matter?



Father Len explains what the Bible is, where it came from, why it matters and how to use it.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The Bible is a collection of books of sacred stories that span thousands of years.
  • The Bible is not a rule book. There are rules in the Bible, but they only make sense in the context of the stories in which they are contained.
  • The stories in the Bible give meaning to why we’re here and help us understand the purpose of our lives.
  • Bible stories are stories of a community written by a community explaining sacred reality from many viewpoints, different viewpoints, and even opposing viewpoints.
    • The wisdom contained in the “Book of Proverbs” is innocent and sweet like a young teenage girl.
    • The “Book of Ecclesiastes” critiques everything in the “Book of Proverbs.” Imagine a 40-year-old guy with a cigarette in one hand and a tumbler of whiskey in the other sitting down to share his perspective on life with the innocent and sweet teenage girl.
  • The Bible tests our ideas about life and reveals truth from many different angles. It offers the wisdom of generations and generations.
  • Wisdom grows over time. Wisdom at one part of your life may not work at another. Your truth at age 18 might be true, but it’s a limited truth. Your truth at 50 is another type of truth and it might be true. When you get to 90, you’ll see the world much differently than you did at 18 or 50.
  • The Bible uses many genres to reveal truth. It contains large amounts of poetry, historical facts, myths, and fiction. All are sacred stories.
  • The Bible is inspired by God and directed by God, but written by human beings for human beings.
  • The Bible should be used as stories. Complete stories. Isolating and quoting individual chapters and verses from Bible stories can be problematic. Even though the words are correct, their meaning can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted when removed from the context of the overall story and its meaning.
  • The Bible disagrees with itself at certain points, and it’s meant to, because then you have to change your thinking.
  • If you’re going to study the Bible, read it regularly in a community with a community’s perspective. Read it slow. Let it challenge you.

Ep8 How do we know God is real?



Father Len reveals that evidence of God is always present in us and around us, in all aspects of our lives. He explains why some of us recognize and accept this evidence and others don’t.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom 

  • What evidence are you looking for? What evidence are you willing to accept?
  • CS Lewis was head of the atheists in England until a walk through nature made him begin to realize he did believe in God. He then came to recognize lots of other evidence of God in his life that he hadn’t permitted to affect him.
  • People see only what they want to see. They don’t see the world as it is. They see the world as they are.
  • All of life is evidence of God. There’s something quantitatively different about life itself versus inanimate life.
  • Love, joy, pain, suffering, it’s all evidence of God.
  • Father Len uses a monopoly game analogy to explain the difficulty people have recognizing and accepting evidence of the presence of God.
  • “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief” by Francis S Collins
  • Dorothy Day was a confirmed atheist until she held her baby daughter for the first time and instantaneously felt an overpowering sense of love and joy.