Archives For Guest post

Joe SewellFolks, I have the great privilege of hosting Joe Sewell today. In his own words, Joe: is a 50-year-old software geek living in West Melbourne, FL, after he and his parents bailed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland when he was 18. His lovely wife, Joy, has put up with him on more than major holidays for 19 years so far. Joe writes about Biblical stuff on his blog, , at Consider This, whenever he gets something to write on. Joe also participated in NaNoWriMo in 2010 and produced a weird self-published book, The Quantum Suicide of Schrödinger’s Cat, available on Amazon and CreateSpace. Joe also contributed a piece for Anne Jackson’s Permission To Speak Freely and for the Not Alone! anthology. He claims to have some other book ideas locked in his head, but cannot seem to find the key at the moment. Joe is scared of kids, but can handle his 5.3-pound Rat-Cha, Cocoa.

[Editor's note: Joe is the process of creating a new blog, which has not yet launched. Also, my apologies for my tardiness in getting this up. It's been a busy summer so far.]

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Last year, for Father’s Day, Chad wrote a post on his father. I responded with a comment about my own father. He asked me to do a guest post. I was clueless. I still am, but I’m daring to follow it up for Father’s Day, 2013.

I’ll let the links tell the story so far. Suffice it to say, though, that I have few fond memories of my father. In fact, I hated him for years.

Pop died in January of 1993, in part due to his inability to accept doctor’s orders, in part due to his innate fear of being “lazy.” For him “lazy” was the absolute worst thing you can be. If there was something that “needed to be done” – and that was defined only by his personal definition – and you didn’t do it, even if you had a broken ankle, you were “lazy.” (No, I’m not exaggerating. He walked across the bedroom once on a broken ankle just because he couldn’t think of the term “answering machine.” I heard the bones crunching!)

Pop also followed the greatest commandment of the socially-inbred small-town culture I was born & raised in. That command was “thou shalt not hurt anyone else’s feelings.” Lying through your teeth, or a “little white lie” as it was often called there, was not only acceptable, but expected, even demanded. As a result, you could say and act one way to a person, then turn around and destroy them with gossip and insults behind their back. Denial of the back-biting was, of course, another expected “little white lie.” Of course, when “everybody” does this to “everybody” else, who do you trust? Nobody.

That’s why I could never believe that my father loved me. After all, I was born with what one doctor called “cold weather asthma.” It was worse before I had a tonsillectomy, but even at 50 I have to be careful in the winter, even in my Florida home. As a result, though, I couldn’t be out shoveling snow or moving hay down from the upper level of the barn for the sheep & other critters we had. Because of the low exercise I’ve always been obese, and can’t deal with the heat too well, either, so summer sweat was out as well.

Technically, according to my father’s own definition, I was one of those lazy, good-for-nothing people, simply because I didn’t stink of sweat at the end of every day. Of course, he’d never say that to my face. In fact, he’d deny it to my face. What did he tell others behind my back, though? For years I had no reason to believe that he didn’t hate me because I was “lazy.”

After he died in 1993, I was able to talk with my mother more. They had divorced after 25 years of marriage, because Pop had started down the path of physical abuse. More than likely it was out of frustration, but that’s no excuse. My mother is also 25 years younger than Pop.

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Everyone, I have the great privilege of guest posting for Chris Morris today. He is husband, dad, Christ-follower, CPA by day, and a creative. He wrote a post, How Climbing Cliffs is Nothing Like Forgiveness, in which he shared a dream.

This post sparked some thoughts in me.

What follows is an excerpt of Prodigal Brother:

The Prodigal Son. The story of a young man who received his inheritance, and promptly wasted it on a profligate lifestyle. He squandered his blessings on wine, women, and song. He at least finally came to his senses, there in the hog pen, and decided to go home.

Thinking all the while that he was no longer worthy to be called his father’s son. What he failed to account for is that once a name is given it cannot be taken away.

Meaning that just because we sin does not mean we are no longer a part of the family. Does this mean we should sin? As Paul said, “God forbid.”

What it means is that we, like the Prodigal Son before, serve a God Who runs. Make no mistake: His love is always there, but somehow when we turn around (repent) God gallops to us with arms wide open. Even when we still have the stench of hog on us.

Please visit Chris’s blog to read the rest. While you’re there, stay awhile, kick the tires, read his work. He’s a great writer.

Folks, in our ongoing series on anger I’m privileged to bring you a post today from Shawn Smucker. In his own words:

Shawn SmuckerShawn is the author of Building a Life Out of Words, the story of how he lost his business, his house and his community, then found happiness making a living as a writer. He lives deep in the woods of southern Lancaster County, PA, with his wife and four children. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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My Anger is a Goldfish

My anger is like seeing an old friend from high school at one of the harvest fairs we have here in the fall, a friend with whom I had many good times doing things that are now embarrassing to recollect. When I first see that old friend, I smile and think about saying hello. But then I remember everything we did and I realize it would be awkward. We terrorized the community back in our day, stole road signs and drove like maniacs.

Things are different now. I am different.

Not knowing how to deal with such a friend, I duck my head and walk around to the back side of the tent where people are throwing ping-pong balls at fish bowls. Children walk by holding goldfishes-in-water by the crinkled necks of clear plastic bags, and I wonder how many hours or at most days those fish have left. And my old friend wanders by, chatting with someone I do not know, and I sigh.

So it is with my anger, this old friend who I cannot communicate with. This old friend who startles me with his sudden appearance. This old friend who causes me to hide in obscure alleyways and watch the random bouncing of ping-pong balls as they dance over the heads of goldfish praying, “Not me!”

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According to Annie Dillard, Rabbi Isaac Luria “repudiated both anger and sorrow, for to him anger, especially, was the proximate source of all evil.” This is a foreign thought to us today, when we are encouraged to embrace our feelings.

Feelings cannot be judged as good or bad, we are told by everyone. Feelings simply are.

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When I was a boy, I was taught in no uncertain terms that anger was bad. In the Amish culture, that murky, beautiful people from whom my grandparents emerged not unscathed, stoicism and emotional control are valued above all else. I have seen many Amish men venture towards anger, but they veer away from it by laughing forcefully, or scoffing. Ridiculing something is preferable to being angry with it.

Then I read somewhere that anger is simply the result of a blocked goal. I want something. I am blocked from attaining it. I am angry.

And so when I feel that dragon’s egg beginning to tremble, when I feel anger beginning to hatch, I search for what it is that I am being held from.

The constant activity of the children, when they are supposed to be in bed, is keeping me from a tranquil evening.

The person driving the car that cut me off is keeping me from feeling that I am an autonomous human being that owns the roads.

The person on the internet that disagrees with me is keeping me from feeling safe and secure in the little castle of beliefs that I have constructed, that help me make sense of an upside-down world.

But instead of addressing my old friend Anger, I scurry off to the side and simply wait for him to pass me by. I prefer avoidance, for now.

Then I realize that my anger is not my old friend from high school. My anger is a goldfish, because I believe that my anger can be submerged in the water of some other emotion and carried away, so long as I cling to the crinkled neck of the clear plastic bag that holds it.

For some reason, though, this particular goldfish never seems to die.

An Angry Prison

randomlychad  —  May 22, 2013 — 11 Comments

Anger

Today’s post is another in our ongoing series about anger. I’m thrilled to be hosting Chris Morris (see his bio at the end of the post).

An Angry Prison

I called my pastor for the same reason most people call their pastor—my life was falling apart, and I didn’t know what to do. My daughter’s health had taken a definite turn for the worse. She has always had seizures, but they were increasing at a staggering rate, so that she’d had more in the previous week than her entire young life. Add to this, her neurologist didn’t believe I was telling the truth.

So I scheduled a sit-down with my pastor, to get some practical guidance…since I am a hothead and don’t always handle tense situations the best. I am not sure exactly what I expected, but nothing prepared me for what he said. He essentially told me my own sin was opening the door for the Devil to give my daughter seizures. I needed to repent if I hoped to see my daughter healed.

I did not repent of anything that day, though in retrospect I should have, because I was angry. My daughter’s seizures were not then and are not now my fault. I don’t have a secret sin that opens a mystical pathway for terror to enter my family’s life.

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Today’s post is another in the ongoing series on anger, and comes to us from Larry Carter. Larry is a husband, dad, Christ follower from Tennessee. Larry’s blog is Deuceology–Deuce being his nickname (his dad, Larry is “Ace”), and “ology” representing “theology.” Thus over there you can read Larry’s take on life, faith, and a few other things. You can also follow him on Twitter @LarrytheDeuce.

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'anger' photo (c) 2009, anyone123 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

He shook my hand, asking if I would still come to the meeting the next night? I watched him walk off my deck to his truck in stunned silence. I was slackjawed, and in a state of shock rarely experienced in my life.

I walked into the house. Jan asked me what was wrong. I think she could tell from the look on my face that something happened, something which had not had a positive effect on me. I looked at her and kind of laughed. Then I told her what happened.

I had been fired.

No, not from my job. Nothing like that. No, I had been fired from teaching Sunday School. Suddenly the weight of poor decisions and casual conversations came home to roost.

I was angry. Angrier, perhaps, than I had ever been in my life. Not the kind of anger that exploded and then subsides as quickly as it erupted. This anger was trickier than that. This one started out the size of a kernel and grew into a monstrous thing that would engulf me for months to come.

Why?

Why was I angry?

I had done it, in part, to myself.

Everyone had pretended there was no problem until it came time to kick me to the curb.

No one sat down to talk to me about it.

No attempt at anything approaching Biblical discipline was even made.

Nada. Nothing. I was just fired without any warning.
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