Goodness and Light: Advent, Week 4

 Project CURATE offers intentional space to cultivate "improbable" friendships.

Project CURATE offers intentional space to cultivate "improbable" friendships.

Hans Urs Von Balthasar was a Swiss theologian and Catholic priest who is celebrated for being one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and writers of the twentieth century. We like him a lot in this century, too. His introductory book, Love Alone is Credible, places “God is love” at the center of all theology. To learn more about his theology and check out his work, head over to the Balthasar Books website.

Ched Myers is an activist theologian, biblical scholar, and supporter of peace + justice + radical discipleship work. We know him best for his commentary on the Gospel of Mark, but he has quite a few other really great books and articles that the St. Paul’s community might appreciate. He has a skillful knack for presenting scripture and social justice together in a desperately convicting way. 

Project CURATE is goodness and light breaking into our world. This year CURATE is organizing two semesters of multi-ethnic leadership training centered around race, solidarity, and kinship. We are gathering a cohort right now to join us in an exciting year of deep process work to build community leaders. This is an important time in the history of our nation and we will be helping leaders cultivate wholeness and welfare in our city and community. For more information on the competencies that we are developing and meeting schedule, visit CURATE's registration page

Goodness and Light: Advent, Week Three

In the words of Barbara Brown Taylor (also a house favorite), “Phyllis Tickle brings so many gifts to the table that it is sometimes hard to believe there is only one heartbeat behind them all. She is a seer, a scholar, a spiritual guide, a literary and cultural savant, a walking encyclopedia, and a mentor to more people than there are seconds in the day. Above all, she is a faithful lover of God and all to whom that love relates her. Reading her is second best to knowing her, but read her you must.” If you are looking for a daily guide for your prayer, we recommend Phyllis’s trilogy of The Divine Hours for an accessible and personal liturgy guide. 

MacGregor Elementary has been a friend of St. Paul’s for more than 20 years as our neighborhood school. One of the primary ways that the St. Paul’s community interacts with the MacGregor community is through student mentoring. This involves cultivating a healthy, reliable relationship with a student for one hour a week during the school day. There is currently a substantial waiting list of students looking for a mentor. If you are interested in fulfilling this need in each of these student’s lives, the relationship that you develop will be goodness and light for both of you.

St. Paul’s is also excited expand the ways that our community can interact with the folks at MacGregor, including our After-School Program, tutoring, teacher appreciation, Read for America, Coding Club, beautification, choir assistance, and more. For more information or to sign up to be a partner, contact Amy Taylor.

Goodness and Light: Advent, Week Two

James Martin, SJ is a Jesuit priest, author, and editor at large at America, the national Catholic magazine. We recommend his book Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life. You can also check out his recent On Being conversation with Krista Tippet on Finding God in All Things

Today we talked about how the idea that “our mess can be our message” can be a central component to our sharing of the Gospel--that in the midst of a broken world and our broken lives, the goodness and light of Jesus Christ shines in the darkness and gives us hope when there does not seem any reason to have any. How can we share our less-than-whole selves as a witness to Christ’s redeeming work in the world? We’d love to hear from you.

The Santa Maria Hostel is goodness and light breaking into the world. It is one of the only substance use disorder treatment centers for women that offers a full continuum of services for women who are pregnant or parenting. The Santa Maria Hostel offers residential and outpatient addiction, recovery, housing, prevention, and intervention programs. Instead of separating families trying to work to wholeness, Santa Maria meets each family where they are at on their recovery journey. To spread the goodness and light that Santa Maria brings and help pave the way for the women they help, take a look at their volunteer and support opportunities for where you might fit. 

Goodness and Light: Advent, Week One

Thanks for listening! Here are the "show notes"  for this week as we kick off our Advent 2016 series of podcasts. Tune in every Wednesday, when new audio will be posted!First off, we hope you've picked up a copy of Goodness and Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas and will be reading along. Or simply listen along!

This week, we brought up a couple people and an organization that help us see goodness and light:

Simone Weil is a French mystic from the early 1900s. As you can hear in this week’s audio, Karyn doesn’t know French; Weil’s name is pronounced vei, not wheel.  To learn more, we recommend:

Frederick Buechner is an American writer and theologian with a knack for writing something in the exact way that your heart would have if it had the ink. We recommend:

Houston:reVision is goodness and light breaking into our world.

This light takes the form of relationships between youth on the edge and caring adults that have the power to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Houston:reVision seeks to leverage the power of kinship community by connecting gang affected and adjudicated youth throughout Harris County with mentors, positive peers, and life-changing resources. 

reVision is looking for mentors and co-conspirators who desire to build kinship bonds with Houston youth. If you would like to spread this goodness and light as a reVision mentor or an all-around volunteer, contact Rev. Carrie Leader at If you would like your St. Paul’s group or class to have a conversation about the work of reVision, contact Rev. Gregg Taylor at