For the past several years, Lent has been a time of deep inward focus for me. Not so this year, for a variety of reasons, church reasons and personal reasons. I guess it’s not surprising, then, that I have been content to look around and find posts on all sorts of topics.

Lots of people are at the NEXT Conference this week, and I was hoping to find someone blogging about it. Marci obliges with Church’s One Foundation in Glass Overflowing, reflecting on what it’s like to be singing a huge hymn in a huge group with huge music during a historic week for the PC(USA), and to be reminded that the church is about much more than one issue.

Is church a safe place for questions? Diane’s post, Building Trust, in Faith in Community describes her congregation’s searching discussion of that question. How do we shape our religious communities into places in which people can ask their deepest questions in confidence and trust?

Desire is one of the huge underpinnings of Ignatian spirituality (which helps me to make sense of life)(sometimes), the idea being that our longings are gifts from God and one of the primary ways by which God communicates with us. How lovely to discover a book on the theology of desire from another vantage point in Lord, Teach Us to Want, a book review written by April Yamasaki. She articulates many of the questions raised by the mirror concepts of desire and discernment, noting that the book doesn’t necessarily answer them, but might serve as an intriguing study.

Stewardship, anyone? MaryAnn raises important questions in The Blue Room about giving outside the church, questions emerging from a time between churches in which sharing resources with other organizations which promote justice, health, and solutions to world problems becomes an issue of significance. Just back from a big stewardship conference myself, I find that Where is the Church? Is helping me as I try to re-think my own approach to giving, both inside and outside the church.

And finally, because it is, indeed, Lent: Michelle’s column for CatholicPhilly, reprised in Quantum Theology, on one of the Easter Vigil readings, reminds us what this is all about: Because I Love You.

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