An Angry Man

An obstacle, maybe primary, is voiced well by a previous reader of this series, “Is God ever offended? Does God ever get angry over these offenses?”

Made in His image, this comment is of course meant to suggest we ought have the privilege of being offended by the wrong actions of others just as our Maker. Shouldn’t I be allowed anger as an emotion when someone offends me?

First, let me clear the air. Permitted or not, I do. I am offended and become angry too often. Many probably never know  this, as I hide things well, but it is true none the less. I am easily offended. I’ve most likely been angry at you without your knowledge… how’s that?

This is why I have chosen to read this book by this author. While I contend just as my previous commenting friend that it just seems naturally okay to be upset with others when they offend, I want to know the truth. I do not one day want to face Jesus with an excuse, “Well, it seemed right to me.” That appears awful close to ‘doing what was right in their own eyes.’

I’ve promised to keep these entries brief, so I will halt it here. Before diving into the contents though, what are your thoughts on our right to be offended when others do things to make us angry?

Posted in Unoffendable | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

The Ridiculous Idea

How often do we find ourselves offended through the course of a day; a single day? Our spouse, before coffee, mutters a statement sealed with a hiss. A fellow driver pulls out in front of us en route to work. A co-worker, for whatever reason, creates an undesirable situation with a supervisor. A sibling attacks with harsh words. A child rewards parenthood with disobedience.

The list is endless. You, I’m confident have your own list even if I missed it here. There is no lack of reasons to be offended; angered by the actions of others.

What would it mean however if there were another response available to offences rather than being offended, rather than becoming angry?

Brant Hansen’s “Un-off-end-able” is a book written to acknowledge that there is such a response available to us.

But… is he right? Better still, is it wrong to become angry when someone offends us? I mean, isn’t anger a normal reaction to an offensive action? Shouldn’t I be allowed the opportunity to respond in the expected response to those who offend me?

Well, what do you think? I merely opened a book and began reading. There is of course no requirement on my or your part to agree, but hopefully respond.

Is it okay to be angry with someone else? Is it okay to retaliate? Is it okay hold others accountable for their actions by use of my ability to become offended and angry?

I’m intentionally ending here. Thank you for reading, and I hope you feel the need to respond… the court here is widely open.

Posted in WordPosts | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How Just One Change Can Make All Of Life Better

Cozier is the contempt, anger justified, toward those who march to a differing tune than my own, those who would offend me. “modern me

An ad for a piece of literature finds its way into my inbox.

I did not ask for it. No requisitions, but there it rested… holding space where it was not invited. $0.99.

Hello Bookbub!!

In another day, I would simply have clicked “delete” and ended this intruder’s offer, but, that was another day. This is today, “Today.”

“One Change!” This was the suggestion… just one change. “Okay, you have my ear, but briefly, and you better make it quick, mind you.”

The offer was stated as, “How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better.” Well, imagine that… I hope you plan to make a point soon cause you’ve already bypassed, uh? There it was in title… unavoidable.

“Unoffendable”

The word will not even type on my laptop without prompts to correct the spelling. I assume it’s an unknown word… well, at least here yonder.

Here is a closing point until next time (I do intend to return… I assure). Did you know that in the Bible’s wisdom literature, anger, being offended, is always — not sometimes — always – associated with foolishness, not wisdom.

Well, the book, in case you’re inclined to pick up a copy and read with me, “Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All Of Life Better.” by Bryant Hansen

-See you real soon-

Posted in Books, Discipleship, True Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Loving Him Most

nhEmbarrassed by the ridiculousness of my incredible oversight, ready to phone the maker of my granddaughter’s gift, frustrated, grumbling, accusing… but then there it was, staring available all along. The necessary final component of her look-like-her-nanny-tractor was mounted to the tractor itself, in plain sight, but I was so ready to find fault, to thrust the manufacturer of this really cool gift under a rocketing steam engine of punishing verbal abuse. Some of us, it appears, may never learn to look before we react.

I can’t help but think it must have been similar on that day my Pastor speaks recently of, that familiar story when a lawyer, a scribe, tested Jesus to choose among the over six-hundred laws governing Israel as to which should take precedence over the others.

I must admit that while I cherish my Lord’s answer, some things never occurred to my overlooking mind, such as this was a Scribe, a suggested master of the Law, or that he would have spent his entire life copying, studying, and arguing the Law. This interrogator would have known the Law like the back of his hand. But what he didn’t know, was, “Which Law was the greatest?”

So Jesus, in exactness, told him, “You will love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:34-38

Quite frankly it is obvious how this scene ought to have made a lawyer blush. The scribe literally asked Jesus to quote what he was wearing on his forehead (Phylactery). Not what Jesus was wearing, by the way, but the scribe. He had worn these words on his forehead from a very young age. Before wearing them on his forehead, the very words Jesus quoted were stamped on the front porch posts of his parent’s home for all his childhood. Adding to the outrageous scenario here, these very words were an everyday familiar part of his life. Do you see the irony?

I love the thought that Jesus could have simply said, “Dude, take that thing off your forehead and read it for once!” But he didn’t. Instead, he offered grace as he always does.

Applicably, I would have to be blind myself to not recognize that I neglect these words no less than the scribe. The greatest commandment my God has given me is to love Him with my everything. Truth be known, as Jesus will conclude, until I resign my heart to that command, I’ll never inwardly care about keeping any of the others anyway. What difference will it make if one law is held greater than another if I fail greatest at the Greatest?

In a previous message, my Pastor exclaimed God’s love for me, but then he couldn’t fail to announce the fruit of that love is my love in return. I love Him because He first loved me.

So, where then, do we stand? Quite frankly, I hope you are seeing exactly what I’m seeing, a bunch of people, like me, consumed by exaggerating our pet laws, although in essence legitimate they may be, dismissing the paramount.

I wonder what will change should my first priority become loving my God? And you?

Posted in Lighthouse Notes | Tagged , , , , ,

Safely Camping Where They Aren’t

It is 2:30. No, not the 2:30 most of us find ourselves awake and participating in the normality of a structured and patterned lifestyle, but the other 2:30, and I really believe I am only three seconds away from being the next headline you will watch or read about in the soon approaching morning news broadcasts. There you’ll find me, my name forever logged in the tweets of notoriety, “Kids Camp Counselor Dispatched to Local Mental Institution.

I imagine me lurching from my bunk, and what’s next isn’t appropriate for my site’s rating.

Maybe I ought to take a step back, at least to a few moments prior to this first night nestled in a room full of camping children, if for no other reason, to halt the alert that the last paragraph probably sent out to listeners monitoring in governmental backrooms.

I am no novice to the world of Christian Camps, having logged as a younger me many weeks both as camper and counselor, but I am many years removed from actively taking part in them. My children being grown, I guess you might say I am gearing up and securing a spot to be in these camps when my grandchildren get their first opportunity to go.

Enough of that though. You are here to find out why the men in white suits with butterfly nets are chasing me around a central Florida campsite singing “Don’t it make you want to go home…”

“Give that back to him,” “Stop hitting him,” “Get back in your bed,” “Turn off your flashlight,” “Quit screaming,” “Get out of his bed,” “Don’t throw things at the ceiling fan,” “Put the toilet brush back in the bathroom,” “Leave the AC alone,” “QUIT SPRAYING AXE!!,” “Turn the room lights back off,” along with a gazillion other rip-the-hide-from-the-back-of-my-throat nice encouragements left me trembling to the thought of, “This is just the first night!”

Has anything through the years fundamentally changed about camp, or even kids for that matter? No, not really.

Something is different though. I am very thankful that only me and God will ever know all of the thoughts that strike my sanity at this wee hour of the morning.

2:30, a pivotal moment in my life that I hope will insist evolving. It has led me to consider something that I think goes radically against the very foundations that I’ve built my older adult life upon. 2:30? Yes, a mere moment in time that for the last decade or so I’ve spent sleeping through.

Is there anything easier to do, and less meaningful, than to erect a lifestyle that eliminates exposure to challenges, especially those that snatch us from our norm?

Something is unraveling in this children’s camp dorm. Is it me? Does it really take nothing more than a room of younger me’s to send my stability spiraling?

I think it is only fair, not in an arrogant way, but an honest one, to share with you that most people who know me identify me as calm, cool, and collective (for whatever those terms might mean). What people see though is obviously only a hedged front; makeup that dons well when there are no storms. 2:30, whether I like it or not, was the proving ground for some serious examination. At 2:30, calm, cool, and collective left the building… whyhello Elvis.

Seemingly, I am a man who has built a personal campground that accommodates those things that elevate my own interests, welfare, and serenity (Shucks, there aren’t even any mosquitoes in my tent). This environment I’ve created, so I surmise, provides ample immunity from unwanted intrusions. Intrusive? Is that really how I label the privilege of a gospel opportunity? It appears so.

Yet, the Bible knows nothing of authentic followers of Jesus who ran from challenging intrusions, but found their peace and purpose through them in Jesus Himself.

My reentry into the world of camp counseling has revealed something I most surely would have denied prior.

2:30 defined who I really am; at this moment in time. This wee-hour encounter concluded, “You’re not even in the same universe as Christ-likeness yet bub.” Maybe it is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, maybe it can be a very good thing to learn, because it instructs, beyond Elvis and butterfly nets, if I am desirous to “Thrive” in Christ, who I can be.

Posted in Camp Writings | Tagged , , , , , ,