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Angry

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — 2 Comments

I’m angry.

I’m angry because, and I hate to even write about this, media whores like Kim Kardashian (who is famous, please remember, because of a sex tape) garner all kinds of attention from intentional overexposure. Please understand: I’m angry–not jealous. I don’t care if I’m ever famous, or known. In fact, I’d rather not be.

Because there’s safety in obscurity. I can say what I like, and have no fear of reproach or recrimination.

I’m not angry for me; rather, I’m angry for friends who have blogs–have platforms and messages–that are worth paying attention to. I’m angry that they’re not getting the acclaim they rightly deserve. I’m angry that all it takes to be famous is flashing one’s derriere. Who does that help? My friend, Chris Morris, has a blog dedicated to disseminating information by, about, and for those suffering from chronic illnesses. He’s trying to make a difference in people’s lives.

Kim KardASSian however is merely trying to pad her bottom line. To keep her fifteen minutes going.

Where’s the justice in that? Where’s the fairness?

WHAT A WORLD WE LIVE IN, folks! The other side of the coin is, of course, how we, the consuming public, lap up the lascivious lives of the rich and famous. The reason this dreck keeps getting out out there is because we keep sucking on its teat, crying for More! MORE!

I don’t know about you, but I want to live in a world where people couldn’t care any less about Kim Kardashian’s ASSets. Where teachers get paid more than athletes (who, they are quick to tell us, aren’t role models at all). Where there is no celebrity, and actors get paid what everyone else does–because they’re just doing a job.

I want to live in a world where we stop venerating the wrong heroes.

Who’s with me?

I stand–mouth agape, arms akimbo–in awe of people who manage to maintain large coteries of friends, social media connections, socialize with coworkers, etc.

Because that’s not me. When first I began blogging, I was there: commenting, sharing, interacting. Then I hit a wall. I burnt out. I couldn’t keep up with everything and everyone. It got overwhelming.

Funny thing is, when I pulled up virtual stakes, my Internet presence began to go along with it. This blog may as well be drying on the vine as much as it’s read these days. I can’t say I ever had halcyon days, but the old grey mare sure ain’t what she used to be. I wanted to use it as a springboard to launch a platform, but what influence do I have?

That’s as may be. I don’t know what to do about it. I only that I’m not above the pangs of jealousy whenever I hear that coworkers have gotten together over the weekend, that so-and-so has another book coming out, that this other guy is getting all these hits (and comments).

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m defective, off putting, something. I have a family that loves me, but I sure don’t have a lot of friends. And the Internet friends I once had have gone their own ways. Some days I just feel so alone. It feels like childhood all over again: being ignored, left to my own devices.

I mostly get by. I have a God Who loves me, a wife and kids who adore me. But anytime I’ve gotten close to a group of friends something has happened. I don’t know if it’s me, them, or just this rotten world.

In any case, I’m not unhappy. I love Jesus, my wife, kids, family. But it would be nice to be known, to be appreciated, to be able to share life with brothers of like minded faith sometimes.

I know we’re all busy. And I hope I’m not just writing on my own behalf. I’m sure there are others of you out there feeling the same.

I’m here. I’m still here.

Email Me

Christianity is a faith predicated upon community. We are members of one another, a part of the same body. We are our brother’s keepers.

At the same time, we are an individualistic culture. What we do is no one’s business, but our own. But what we do certainly impacts those around us.

But we can’t have it both ways; our liberty in Christ is not a license to live as we please, out on our own, lone rangering it. I see the tendency in my own life–to want to isolate myself, live my own life.

But that’s just the thing: it’s not my own life–for I am not my own, but bought with a price. I belong to Christ. I also belong to my wife, my kids, my friends, church family…

Nothing I (or we) do exists in a vacuum. One of the biggest lies the enemy lobs our way–like a live grenade–is that we are alone. That no one knows our shame, no one has ever faced similar struggles. Like a wolf casing a flock, he’ll wait until we are weak, isolate, and pounce…

Sinking in those teeth of temptation, feeding on the toxic tendencies of our flesh. Make no mistake: he knows our stories, knows our proclivities, our weaknesses.

Knows the right time to strike.

If you think that he will let up when times are tough, when we’re feeling low, defeated, broken… When life gets hard. Think again: that’s when he turns up the heat the highest.

His goal is to get us to crack, to give in, to break, and destroy, us. “Your adversary, the devil, roams about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” He is not, as some would say, a toothless enemy. No, he has razor sharp canines, and strong claws.

And he doesn’t let go easy.

Think of the things in our lives that we give ourselves over to: money, sex, porn, drugs, booze, food, envy, bitterness… I could go on and on.

Were any of those easy to eliminate? I rest my case. The Bible says that “when we are weak, we are strong.” A seeming paradox. When are we weakest? When we get real, and confess our junk. We run the risk of being rejected, ostracized, vilified, misunderstood. But when we find that community where we are accepted (warts and all), we find that it’s indeed true:

“When we are weak, we are strong.” Because we’re not in this alone. And there is strength in numbers–hope in knowing that our brothers and sisters have been, or are at, where we ourselves are. They’ve got our backs.

I am not alone.

You are not alone.

Lest you think I’m preaching to the choir here, I’m going lead by example:

(Understanding that nothing trumps face-to-face accountability) If you are male, and consider yourself my friend, I give you permission to ask the hard questions of me. I’m tired of trying to do this on my own. I’m tired of lone rangering it.

My email is gandalf239@gmail.com.

(I encourage females to likewise find safe sisters to which they can be accountable).

Thanks for reading.

Even a casual reading of the New Testament is enough to give one a sense that Jesus was (while not soft on sin) softest on sinners, and harshest on the outwardly religious (I wrote a bit about this last Friday)–the ones who claimed to have all the answers, to have it all together.

That was then, this is now, you might say. There are no more Pharisees. On the contrary, the spirit of Phariseeism is very much alive and well. Ask anyone who’s gone through hard times, has struggled with sin, has been maligned and marginalized because they don’t fit into a neat Evangelical category.

I know this first hand from observing how my wife was treated by well-meaning Christians during her ongoing illness. There were quite a number of assumptions we had to hurdle during this period:

1) That she must have unconfessed sin in her life, (who doesn’t?) and God was punishing her. Sure–“whom the Lord loves, He also chastens.” And sometimes it’s the consequence of living in a fallen world. (See Jesus words about the Tower of Siloam).

2) That she lacked faith for her healing. Tell that to Paul, and his “thorn in the flesh.” In fact, tell that to every saint chronicled in Hebrews 11–of whom the world was not worthy–that they didn’t get what they longed for because they lacked faith.

3) That our media choices–the books we read, the movies we watched–allowed demonic forces into our home, and our bodies. Last time I checked, “greater is He Who is in me, than he who is in the world.” Besides which, it’s not so much the media choices, as it is the why behind those choices, i.e., where the heart is, and where affection and allegiance are given.

I could go on. In fact, I have friends who have chronic illnesses–legitimately diagnosed conditions–who are accused of consorting with demons!

By well-meaning, but wrong-headed, Christians.

I think the fundamental problem lays in how we approach the Scriptures. Now, make no mistake, it has rules in it. But that’s not its primary purpose. Because, if it were, then the Pharisees were right: if we just follow the rules, then we can make our way to God. Paul is very clear on this:

“Touch not, taste not, handle not” all sound great and godly, but ultimately miss the mark. “The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Because the Bible is primarily a book of relationship. And we all know how difficult and messy relationships are. They take work, intentionality, effort.

But we want neat, easy, categories–because we don’t want mess. We don’t each other’s sin to rub off. So we shun, we ostracize, we make assumptions, and draw (false) conclusions. (Let me put it this way: if a hospital is a place of (physical) healing, shouldn’t the church be a place of spiritual healing? Why then do we do our surgeries with guns? Doctors don’t walk into operating rooms guns blazing; rather, surgeries are careful things–well-planned, and highly monitored. But the church–and Evangelicalism in particular–fosters an environment where we blast first, and ask questions later).

Because life is easier (for us) that way.

Instead, we should jump into the arena, and be accused of being:

Drunkards
Gluttons
Sinners

Because that’s what love looks like. That’s what Jesus did. That’s WWJD.

Friends, we need to stop–in the Name of Jesus–shooting our wounded with our (un)holy word cannons of well-meaning. Stop turning a cold shoulder, and open our arms to one another.

Misunderstanding is the price of love done right.

What do you think?

Last week, I posted ridiculous riffs on Rob Bell’s book titles. I also invited you to do your worst best, and proffer your own takes on famous Christian books.

There were some very clever, creative entries, such as:

This one from Chris Morris (follow him on Twitter @cmorriswrites)
All of Joel Osteen’s books were originally titled Look at My Pearly Whites Shine Like the Sun in My $3000 Suit.

Then there was this from Larry Carter (follow him on Twitter @larrythedeuce):

Don’t Lick The Mini-Me

This from Rob Shepherd (follow him on Twitter @robshep):

Everyday A Payday (by Joel Osteen)

Kevin Haggerty (follow him on Twitter @kevinrhaggerty) brought this gem:

“Intimacy with God (and His son, and His buddy the Holy Spirit…because they’re totally different people — not one person)” by T.D. Jakes

These were all strong contenders, but as with Highlander, “there can be only one” winner. Up for grabs was a copy of Leanne Shirtliffe’s hilarious book, Don’t Lick The Minivan. In the interests of objectivity, I had my good buddy, Ricky Anderson (who because he already owned a copy, recused himself from the giveaway), pick the winner.

Which was (drum roll, please)…

Meerkat Christianity, submitted by Blake Atwood. You can follow him on Twitter @batwood, or @FVMomentum

Congratulations, Blake! A copy of Mrs. Shirtliffe’s book is on its way to you from her agent. Thanks to everyone who played!