Little Rock Scripture Connections Newsletter
 March 2022
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LR Connections March 2022

Sacred or Secular? In Which World Do We Live?

by Deacon Art Miller

Deacon Art Miller ponders challenging questions for contemporary Christians. How do we perceive the world around us? How do we live in it?

“Is the world in which we live a secular world or a sacred world?” This question was the focus of a recent gathering of Black men that I meet with on a bi-weekly basis for discussions on faith, politics, and Blackness. Much like our ancestors, we felt called into conversation, hearing the echo of the prophet Isaiah: “Come now, let us set things right [reason together]” (Isa 1:18).

An interesting group of men, to say the least: two attorneys, a pastor, a scientist, and me, a Catholic deacon. All of us with different experiences, professions, and ideas to bring to the table. Each of us spoke and listened with respect, but with persistent spiritual curiosity: Is our world sacred or secular?

Scripture clearly states God’s opinion: “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good” (Gen 1:31). These words certainly validate the idea that this place we call earth, our common home, was sacredly created by God. And God determined that his creation and all that dwelt therein was good. So by what authority can we, his creation, call it otherwise?

And yet, maybe it is not so much what we call it as how we live in it. While in deep prayer with his Father, Jesus said: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world” (John 17:15-16). It seems that there is an undeniable separation between the sacred, created world in which we live and the secular world in which too many belong. Is this secular world separating us from our true nature of belonging to God? Or can we see past it, recognizing our world as a divine creation and attempting to live in it through the inspiration that this very divine creation calls us to?

It is difficult to live our faith always, not just on Sundays. We often feel divided; we experience a sort of hybrid religiosity. We fall back on the engine of secularism when we are busy and distracted, and when the battery of faith, trust, and belief run low. Then we hurry back to our faith lives to be recharged all over again. Back and forth, back and forth—is this how we are to interact with a world that challenges and sometimes even frightens us? A world that with unrelenting energy tires us and wears us down until we are tempted to give in to a secular way of seeing and living?

The apostles in the midst of their brokenness were seemingly unremarkable people who had differing levels of attachment to their world. A fisherman, a tax collector, a zealot, a thief, not to mention a persecutor of the first believers. Nonetheless they were called by Jesus, who sent them out with grace and a warning: “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves” (Matt 10:16). Jesus knew the challenges they would face. He knew the crosses they would bear when attempting to spread—and live—the gospel day in and day out in a world that often lives more stridently without religious convictions than with them.

Whatever our perspective, whether we view our world as secular or sacred, the question remains: How do we live in it? Living in a world we view as sacred opens our eyes not only to God’s presence in each moment—in every act, in all happenstances and all people, in its broad array of joy and miracles—but even in the darkness that has persuaded some to believe that God does not exist. When we see God in all that is, we come to a new understanding. Living in a sacred way in a sacred world made secular is not easy—but there is an overwhelmingly sacred peace there that is ours for the living.


deason art miller-white

Deacon Art Miller is a deacon of the Archdiocese of Hartford, a veteran civil rights worker, and a national speaker and preacher. Deacon Art’s book The Journey to Chatham tells the story of Art’s schoolmate Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Deacon Art’s life work has continued to honor the civil rights movement, to care for his brothers and sisters on the streets and elsewhere who are struggling, and to preach God’s word to all who will hear. Look for Deacon Art in video lectures for our upcoming study The Holy Spirit in the Bible, coming November 2022!



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Little Rock Scripture Study has always been more than books and resources. We are also a community. We love to hear how you and your Bible study groups are doing! What topics are you studying? What challenges are you facing? How has God’s Word sustained you in these last several years? You are always welcome to reach out to Amy Ekeh, director of Little Rock Scripture Study, with your experiences, stories, feedback, and questions. You can reach Amy at or 320-363-2081.


New for the Easter season!

Easter: Season of Realized Hope


Easter isn’t just a day—it’s an entire season! Linger at the empty tomb, walk with the risen Christ, and restore the hope that is offered by this joyous season with this 3-session book by Catherine Upchurch. The Alive in the Word series is perfect for small group faith-sharing—in-person or online. Affordable pricing for groups! Learn more here.





Available in April! Introduction to the Bible

intro to the bible-tan


Are you looking for some good background information on the Bible? Do you want to better understand how Catholics read and interpret Scripture? Stephen Binz provides an excellent foundation for reading and studying the Bible in our New Edition of Introduction to the Bible. Great for your Bible study group or for individual reading. Learn more here.




A Lenten Prayer

Let us pray for one another and for peace in our world as we continue our journey through Lent.


Loving God,

we offer you these sacred days.

May they be days of peace and prayer,

days of change,

days saturated in your presence.

May they be days to listen and understand,

to encounter and serve,

to heal and be healed.

May they be sacred days.




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