If you’re angry & you know it, shake your fist (a post to read regardless of who you voted for)

Your Vote CountsThe results are in.

Maybe you’re happy.  Maybe you’re angry.  I doubt you’re indifferent.

No matter which boat you find yourself in, if you follow Jesus Christ, there are some things we need to remember and continue to practice.  For some of us, we need to return to practicing them.  For others, we need to begin to take some of Christ’s teachings more seriously.

If you’re angry and you know it, put your shaking fists down.  Pray.  Breathe.  Take time to remember that we live in a country and time in history where Christ followers have the privilege to voice their opinions for who governs.  This was not always the case.  In fact, it is a pretty new concept for the people of God.  Two thousand years ago, Christ followers were the ones in the margins, the ones threatened with deportation, imprisonment, or death.  And do you know how they responded to such threats?  They loved everyone.  They forgave their enemies.  They took care of the leper, the sick, the dying, even when it might adversely affect their own health.  They turned the other cheek.  They died in the name of Jesus.  They prayed for Caesar–not for his death, but for his redemption.  The Kingdom of God did not grow because of Facebook posts.  They did not change the landscape of the Roman Empire–history itself–by spewing hate for hate.  They loved because Jesus loves.  They prayed.  They took care of the orphaned, widowed, and cast-offs.

If you’re happy and you know it, don’t clap your hands to rub it in other people’s faces.  Be humble.  Look for the alienated and include them.  Do not fear, for perfect love casts out fear.  The enemy is not another human being, regardless of nationality, race, creed, or orientation.  The enemy is our own sinful nature and spiritual forces working against the Kingdom of God.  Remember that the Kingdom of God is not led by who governs any country, even one with historical and current aspirations such as ours.  Remember that the best way to prevent the things you don’t want others to do is to model it and engage in dialogue.  Build a relationship with The Other.  Listen.  Hear the concerns of those who disagree with you.  Be willing to listen to their stories.  Maybe become a part of their stories!  They have voices that are hurting and want to be included, to be heard.

Our country is torn.  We are a nation that is hurting deeply.  What better chance do we have to unite and be the kind of people our national documents claim we can be than by adhering to Jesus and what He teaches?

May you pause today before every conversation.  Reflect on what you are about to say.  Ask for guidance from our God and figure out if you will add to the hate that is swirling around or if you will add something that seems to be missing: love.

 

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Freedom Hangover

America is currently sleeping off a hangover.freedom hangover

From 1776.

Yesterday I was running through a neighborhood when I passed a family of a different ethnic background than me.  I was in a great mood and thinking about Independence Day celebrations.  Suddenly, I had the urge to exclaim to the family, “May you experience racial freedom in addition to political freedom!”  It was going to be an epic moment.  I envisioned the family smiling really big all day and growing hopeful about their future as they celebrated July 4th.

I chickened out.  I didn’t do it, for a couple of reasons.  First, that statement was really cumbersome to say.  Second, I’m giving myself a lot of grace here.  I don’t think it would have come out better than a few huffs and puffs of incomprehensible gibberish as I’m running jogging past them.

“May…*huff*…you…*puff*…experi rasheedom…in addishhhhhhh *collapses onto the ground*

I don’t know if racial freedom is even really a term.

When the framers of the Constitution and signers of the Declaration of Independence all got together to dream about the future of our nation, do you wonder if they pictured that we would be in a better spot than where we are, 200 years later?

Racial tensions are just as high as they ever have been.  Ethnic groups feel misunderstood by every other group.  No one listens to each other.  Pick a hot button issue; it doesn’t matter which one.  We have freedom of speech to voice our opinion and all we do is tear each other down.

This week, we are all about celebrating freedom.  Freedom from King George, freedom to own firearms.  Freedom to speech, freedom to assembly, freedom to like Nickelback, and freedom to your own opinion.  But no one is celebrating the freedom we have to love one another as Christ loves us.

Do you want real freedom?  We have real freedom in Christ.  The kind of freedom we receive from God is better than any kind of political freedom this great nation gives us.  I love the United States, but what we have in Christ Jesus blows away everything else.

Jesus of Nazareth gives us so many more freedoms, the kind that even slaves can possess.  Freedom from sin ruling over us and from death being the final say.  Freedom to reconcile with people from other nationalities, ethnicities, and political beliefs.  Freedom to let love rule our hearts, instead of hatred.

1“It is for freedom that Christ set us free.  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” [Galatians 5:1, 14-15]

Christ followers living in the U.S. are too hung up on the wrong kinds of freedoms.  If you’re constantly plugging your freedom to bear arms, when do you have time to lay down your life and love your enemy?  If you are always touting your freedom to choose, are you also advocating for the orphan living on this side of the uterus?

We find real freedom when we actively love those who are difficult to love.  When we do this, we free ourselves from fear, distrust, and hatred.

No one feels good after a hangover.  It’s time we wake up, reap what we have sown, and work to reconcile with our brother and sister.  It’s time to exercise our freedom to love.

‘Merica!

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Flash Gordon – #1Word5voices #HolySaturday #Lent #Easter

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon never heard from this woman again.

My wife gave my dad a nickname pretty early into our marriage. Whenever I would be on the phone with Mom and Dad, it was usually Mom who spoke unless I directly asked Dad a question. He would talk but typically liked to jump into the conversation rather than lead it. He always tossed in lots of jokes, too.  So when Rachael came into my life and we talked to my folks on speaker phone, it would crack her up when Dad fired off a joke because she wouldn’t know that he was even on the line. Hence the nickname she bestowed upon him: Flash Gordon, jumping into the conversation like a flash out of nowhere. 

Many times in life it seems that God is silent. Historically, this is something people have always felt. It’s a common experience for the ages. We long for a personal God to interact with us because we are made in God’s image: personal. The nation of Israel saw 400 years go by before they felt like God was speaking again. 

Do you ever feel like God is absent? Jesus felt God’s absence while on The Cross.  The disciples’ hope in their Messiah was dashed upon Jesus’ death. God seemed like He would go without speaking, again.

Take heart. God is not silent. On this day, Holy Saturday, God was still at work as Jesus lay in the tomb.  His body may have died, but He was far from being done.

You might be in a place in your life right now that feels like God is gone, or is refusing to speak into your life. That is a valid feeling. But God is never silent for long. You never know what the next day will hold.  Be ready for it!  Mary Magdalene wasn’t ready when she came across The Gardener.  She thought Jesus was done speaking. 

Death cannot keep God from speaking, for Resurrection Sunday is coming!

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

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Chaco-crazed, grimy love – Maundy Thursday thoughts – #40days #Lent #1Word5voices #MaundyThursday

chaco 1Do you know anyone who is obsessed with their Chacos?  Twenty years ago, Tevas were the thing.  I wore my pair until they disintegrated.  I was a camp counselor at Camp Lakewood in Potosi, MO.  My Tevas were on my feet every single day.  When I wrapped up my tenure there at the end of the summer, I noticed how nasty my heels were.

Beyond nasty.

My heels had black dirt that was encrusted into my heel.  [I told you that it was nasty!]  I had to go out and buy a pumice stone to sand off that dirt.

The thing about these types of sandals people love is those who wear them typically will not shut up about them.  They Instagram them (see picture).  They will wear them at every chance they get.  They need them.

They have obsessive love for them, even if it leads to grimy feet.

If reading about my disgusting feet from 20 years ago is gross, you’re probably someone who could not fathom washing someone else’s feet.  This was common practice in Jesus’ day, but only reserved for the lowly servant to do.  On Maundy Thursday, we read about Jesus washing the disciples feet…and most of us cringe at the thought of it.

The thing about voluntarily washing someone else’s feet is that only love would lead you to do it.  Maybe you love your carpet more than the person, but love is what would be the motivating factor in washing someone’s feet.  Jesus is the ultimate in proving His love, since He washed 12 other men’s feet (and possibly anyone else who was present at the Last Supper that isn’t mentioned).

Twelve grimy pairs of feet.

Everyone forgets that Judas was at the Last Supper, too.  Jesus washed his feet, alongside the rest of the disciples.  We seem to pass judgment on Judas rather quickly, but conveniently forget that deserting your Rabbi in His greatest hour is almost as painful as betraying Him.

When we read that Jesus is pained as He tells Judas to go do what he is going to do, it’s because Jesus loves Judas as well.  Judas was around Jesus for those entire three years–as long as Peter, John, James, Bartholomew, and all of the rest of those yahoos.  He saw the demons driven out.  He saw lepers healed.  He experienced Lazarus emerging from the tomb. 

Our world is obsessed with protecting our own spaces, but Jesus pops the disciples’ personal bubbles.  He washes their feet, their nasty, grimy feet.

Even the feet of His betrayer.

Jesus has love for you, too.  He has love for your enemies.  Can you extend love to yourself and others like Jesus?

A pastor I know once said, “People are more important than the wound they give you.”  May we remember this, as well as Jesus most certainly did.

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

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Do you have good peoples? – #1Word5voices

people 2 march 16One line I like to quote from time to time is from The Muppets Take Manhattan when Kermit is expressing how hard it is to survive in New York City.  His boss/friend, Pete (played by Louis Zorich), gives some sage advice.

Peoples is peoples.  No is buildings.  Is tomatoes, huh?  Is peoples, is dancing, is music, is potatoes.  So…peoples is peoples. OK?

It makes absolutely no sense, Kermit leaves utterly perplexed, and I love it!  Pete is getting at something pretty deep, regardless of how he explains his idea.  Let me translate.

Peoples is peoples.  Don’t worry about if you’re going to make it in this town, Kerm-dawg.  You’ll make it.  Because when you boil it all down, New York City is just a city full of people like you.  [Well, pseudo-people.  You’re a frog and I’m not for sure what that hooked nose weirdo in the corner is.]  But I digress.  Everyone has insecurities but, somehow, they dig down deep inside themselves and figure life out.  You’ll make it because we’re all in this together.  We’re people, after all!

Pete is telling Kermit to lean on his friends, his community.  It’s a great lesson I learned as a kid.

This past week, my wife had a family emergency that took her to Phoenix to be a supportive daughter.  That meant that we suddenly had to find some people to be with our daughters while I was at work events: Wednesday night (3 hours), Friday night at 5 pm to Saturday night at 5:30 pm (24 1/2 hours), and Sunday night (2 hours).

Here’s the amazing thing that still stuns Rachael and me: we didn’t have to worry about a thing.

Not once.

people 1 march 16We don’t have any family in town and the closest to us are 3 hours away in Des Moines or 5 1/2 hours away in Galesburg, IL.  So we had to go to friends, people from our church, for help.  These people are more than work friends, more than people we met through our children’s schools or daycare.  They are our community.  They are people who share the mission of Christ and the love, forgiveness, and mercy God has shared with us.  They are people who love us and our girls, even though we do not share biology.

They are people who amaze us.

I have been thinking all week about how this would have gone down if I didn’t have a faith community like this in my life.  What if I didn’t go to a church or only went casually–even once a week–but wasn’t invested in other people’s lives?  I can’t imagine that I would have been able to find friends to be with our kids during this time.  It would have been so stressful.

If you don’t have a community of people like this, invest in a local church.   Off the top of your head, who would you be able to count on to help you out in a pinch like that?  In my experience, the people we find in a Christ following community are always there to back us.

To the people who were our super heroes last week [you know who you are], THANK YOU.  You are loved by us Swansons.  We absolutely cherish that we have community with you!

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The family emergency situation is working out as well as it can, which makes my community and everyone involved super relieved and happy!

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

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Judgy eyes – #1Word5voices

Have you ever had someone give you those judgy eyes? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see my adorable 7 year old’s impression.

 Sometimes all it takes is a sideways look from someone to set off our judgemental alarms.

“She thinks I’m not good enough!”

“He isn’t working hard enough.”

If you’ve ever caught someone tossing you a sideways glance of judgement and it sent you into a spiral of insecurity, you know exactly what I mean.

There’s a passage in the Gospels where Jesus is teaching in a synagogue when the ceiling starts to cave in. A bunch of guys start digging through the roof to lower their paralyzed buddy for Jesus to heal. As Jesus is gearing up to heal the guy, and because he’s thoroughly impressed with everybody’s faith, He says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” The Bible jocks in the room get all judgy eyed about this and Jesus catches it.

I’ve always assumed that the following statement was something that happened because Jesus is God in human form.

“Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?”

But I think that, while I do believe that Jesus literally knew what they were thinking, He probably saw their judgy eyes and deducted from that what was going through their heads.

Can you relate to Jesus in this?

We react to someone having a judgmental spirit because it is one of the things we hate about ourselves.  No one likes being judged, yet we do it all of the time. Why is that?

This story, which is one of my favorites with Jesus starring in it, resonates with me because I feel like this kind of situation happens all of the time with people who are trying to do good in the world. Jesus is simply trying to honor their faith, heal this poor guy, and demonstrate the power of God’s kingdom. But these judgemental dorks throw some attitude around.

If you are reading this and you are experiencing judgement from someone because you are trying to make a difference in the name of Jesus, KEEP GOING. Take encouragement from Christ, who went on His merry way and healed the guy regardless of what those hypocrites thought.

[Don’t forget, Jesus forgave the paralyzed man’s sins while He was at it, too!  I love that because it’s almost a divine jab at the spirit of judgement.]

In the name of Jesus, forget about any judgy eyes throwing shade your way and keep going.

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

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Stick Figure Doubting – #1Word5voices

“Doubt is Faith’s ugly stepsister.”

Have you ever doubted God’s existence? What about doubting whether or not God even cares about us insignificant, violent speck of a species down here?

Me, too.

I would love to start coining the phrase “Doubt is the ugly stepsister to Faith” and put a trademark on it. The only problem? I want to qualify this statement and thus render it less catchy. If only this would be as memorable:

Doubt is Faith’s frequently non-photogenic, misunderstood sister.

I truly believe that doubt is essential to having a deep, meaningful faith in Christ. Doubt has served me well as a Christ follower over the years. I remember when someone posed questions that got me to wonder about God’s existence for the first time. During my senior year, my friend Jack Justus and I were sitting on the gym bleachers when he rocked my newfound faith. His question was pretty simple, but it really threw me for a loop.

“Why do you believe in God? You can’t see him, hear him, touch him. How can you believe in something like that?”

I sat there with my mouth slightly ajar. I know I responded with something, and although I don’t remember what I said, I am convinced it was pretty weak. That conversation has been forever imprinted on my soul. I began to dig into reasons why I believe, much like we are instructed to do in 1 Peter 3:15. Today, I would love to catch up with Jack and have tons of conversations about this whole God thing. In fact, now it’s one of the things I enjoy talking about with students involved in our youth ministry who bring them up. While I still have some doubts that I don’t think will ever leave, there is too much that points to God’s personal involvement in our world, as revealed through Jesus.

witness mar 1

notice how the artist captures movement

Doubt gets a bad rap. If we were to compare faith and doubt to art, then most people would call Doubt the stick figure drawings in the world of art.  For the sake of argument, I believe that there is a place for stick figures. If you don’t believe me, compare this Brian Swanson original to one of my favorite van Gogh’s. It’s pretty obvious how much more amazing art can be when it’s compared to something quite uninformed in technique–not to mention talent.

witness 2 mar 1

van Gogh’s attention to avian biology is impeccable. Truly an inspiration to the aforementioned drawing.

Doubts gives life to a vibrant faith because they can exist in a beautiful partnership. As you wrestle through doubts, if you are honest, I believe that you can come to a stronger faith.

One of my strongest doubts resides in God’s existence before creation. How can God have always existed before creation? What was God up to? Did the members of the Trinity kick it old school? If creation came out of nothing, then what was reality? I understand the concept of “forever,” as in “being in God’s presence in Heaven forever once we die,” because of my high school English class. That classroom clock went backwards! So, I have a hard time believing in God’s infinite existence before the creation of the universe. I even understand that time is one of God’s creation, but this never helps because even that statement renders my brain into bubbly goo.

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

One of the many things I love about Jesus is how He seems to take doubting God in stride. Thomas is one of Jesus’ closest followers, as one of the 12 disciples, and even he doubted in Jesus before seeing the physical evidence of The Resurrection. Jesus had every opportunity to chastise Thomas, skewer him, and hang him out to dry–but He didn’t.

Want to know what answers my doubts, singlehandedly, every time? The eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after The Resurrection, told the nations about this miracle of miracles, and then willingly died gruesome deaths because of this world changing message.

That is what my faith brings to the dialogue to doubt: the witness of over 500 people who saw The Risen Christ and were willing to die for their faith. It doesn’t mean that I never doubt or that I have all the answers I’m looking for. But it does feed my faith, time and time again. A lot of other things help bolster my faith, but the eyewitness thing is what I come back to the most often.

What are some doubts that you wrestle with constantly? I would love to dialogue in person or even do a series of posts engaging them.

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

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The comfort zones of diapers – #40days #Lent #1Word5voices

refuge feb 18 1

breakfast cookie fiend

If you haven’t ever met Rosie G, our almost-three year old, you’re in for a treat once you do. I mean, look at this girl! You cannot deny how cute she is! MY HEART EXPLODES WITH SO MUCH JOY from seeing her laugh and run around. She has the best “DADDY!” scream & run-into-your-arms that I’ve seen since Livvy.

In this picture, we are making breakfast cookies, which is one of the few activities that overrides her passion for Peppa Pig.

We love nicknames around our house. Rosie is, at times, affectionately known as Hurricane Rosie. Sometimes, she is a force to be reckoned with. Currently, she pitches major fits over what shirts she wants to wear–and none of my options ever work. [PJs are her only true go-to in her wardrobe right now.]

Pretty soon, we are going to be potty training Hurricane Rosie. I am sure there will be some category 5’s headed our way. As we gear up for this challenge opportunity to grow our patience, I stumbled across a website article to pick up some tips.

NOTE: At this point in the post, Rachael is probably internally piping up to point out that she is going to probably be the primary potty training. I don’t deny it, but I do like being on Team Swanson, so that counts for something, right?

The article has some good tips and some wacky, creatives ones. One trick involves cutting a hole in the diaper and timing the whole get-your-kid-to-the-toilet so that it doesn’t end up going south on you SINCE YOU’VE CUT A HOLE IN A DIAPER.

All of these potty training tricks crack me up because of how much they revolve around the toddler’s comfort. This makes perfect sense as we try to help guide small people through figuring that whole thing out. God designed us to forget most of our baby and toddler years because who would want to remember trying to figure potty training out? Can you imagine doing this as an adult? (You have permission to treat that as a rhetorical question.)

So much of our Christian faith has been regulated to keeping us comfortable. It’s in human nature to seek out comfort. It’s why the psalms talk about God being our refuge in times of trouble. God wants us to reach out when we are anxious, needy, or scared.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

The thing about Psalm 5, where the above verse is found, is that the psalmist is wrestling with a lot of angst about life. He sees how people disregard the LORD, take advantage of the powerless, and are simply bloodthirsty. He wants change but knows that change probably isn’t going to come, so his only hope is to take refuge in who God is.

refuge feb 18 2I look around in our country and I don’t think we can truly relate to this passage word for word. Sure, we all face opposition and challenges. But how many times do things in your life boil down to experiencing a discomfort that only a small percentage of our world has to worry over?

I am calling out myself as much as I am wanting to invite everyone else to share a little bit of perspective. “First world problems” is so cliché that no one will listen if you come close to that phrase. I guess that’s what I’m doing, though. I’m inviting everyone to turn off the first world problem filter and see the world for what it is.

Let’s stop acting like toddlers when something truly insignificant messes up what our picture of how life should be. God eagerly looks forward to us growing past being like this so that we can grow up in Christ and change the world as His disciples.

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

Posted in #1Word5voices, faith, Lent | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Good lookin’ out! – #1Word5voices #40days #Lent

What’s a good look on you? How often do you think about that?

look feb 12 1

SLACKER HAIR ALERT (far left)

I’m no fashionista, as you can see from this picture.

It was the mid-90s, OK? There were lots of great things like flannel and ripped jeans and grunge music, but parting the hair down the middle wasn’t my best idea. I fully admit it! {I regret that shirt, too.}

A few years ago I read The Year of Living Biblically. The author, A.J. Jacobs, tried to obey the full list of commands in the Bible–EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.–for one year. It’s a great read for learning what Scripture is like for us now as well as what its original context was.

One of the laws that he found is from Ecclesiastes 9:8, which mentions wearing white garments before God. So for a large chunk of time during that year, he wore white robes. He tells about how it gave him a more positive outlook, helped with his moods, and was super hard to clean. [Because white clothes.]

This was one of the best things I did all year. I felt lighter, happier, purer. Clothes make the man: You can’t be in a bad mood when you’re dressed like you’re about to play the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Beyond this verse, Scripture doesn’t have a lot to say about what we wear. It does assume we should know not to have our booty hanging out of our shorts.

But I digress.

In Colossians 3, Paul brings up how we should dress, but puts a spin on it.  He tells us to put on garments of love and forgiveness, grace and kindness. It’s a transformative thought. Everyone thinks about what they’re going to wear for any particular day. Sometimes you pick out your clothes the night before; sometimes you pick them out the moment you wake up.

What if, whether it’s before or after you get dressed, you went through some process that put you in a mindset of wearing love and kindness, just like an infinity scarf or the pants you put on? How might that change your entire day, every day?

Wearing forgiveness as a jacket. Putting on love like your favorite t-shirt.

That’s the kind of look I wish people wore more often.

What look are you going for in your life?

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

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“The Jerk Store called” OR “The voice of a jerk calling in the wilderness” – #40days #Lent #1Word5voices

voice feb 11 1“The Jerk Store called. They’re running out of YOU!”

Have you ever wanted to say something like that to people? [Or worse?] When someone is being nothing but a bag of jerks, this is what I want to exclaim.

This would, in fact, be kinda jerky.

Why is the church so often filled with a bunch of jerks? From the Westboro church spewing hatred to wimpy Christians complaining about the décor of their coffee cups, it’s amazing to me that the message of love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace is still connected to Christianity.

Somehow Jesus drew people to Himself, even though He said some pretty tough things about sin. I am convinced that the tax collectors and prostitutes knew where Jesus stood about their sinful ways.

AND YET.

Yet they still loved to be around Him.

voice feb 11 3John the Baptist is one of the most enigmatic figures in Scripture. He wore clothes made from camel hair and ate bugs, preached about turning from sin, drew throngs of people into the desert to hear him, and even baptized Roman soldiers looking to get right with God. The nation loved him; the people in power feared him. Even Jesus had some pretty high praise for the guy. I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.

John the Baptist called people to provide for the poor, tax collectors to stop ripping people off, and Roman soldiers to keep from extorting money. He was “the voice of one calling out into the wilderness…” cheering the country to change before The Messiah arrived. Get this–He wasn’t a jerk about it.

Why do people assume they have to be a jerk about telling others to change?

I had a suite mate named Dave my sophomore year in college. Great guy. He didn’t follow Jesus, at least in my humble opinion at the time. [It wasn’t so humble.] I invited him to our church because it was a rocking place to find community. That didn’t interest him, so I tried coming up with other ways of reaching him.

My inspired way of trying to reach Dave–not my best moment by a looooooooong shot–was correcting his speech. [You can see that this isn’t going to end well, right?]

Here’s an example.

Dave (in reaction to something disappointing): Oh S#!T!

Me (in semi-mockery humor): Where?? I don’t want to step in it!

Dave: *blank, annoyed stare*

I did this a bunch. I had other tricks with phrases like “Oh my God!” to try to be amusing. My evangelism wasn’t Billy Graham, for sure.

Eventually, Dave told me that he felt belittled and stupid whenever I did that. I apologized and immediately stopped.

So stupid. So jerky.

Mike Slaughter, a pastor in Ohio, recently wrote a piece about how we should not give up chocolate, social media, or what-have-you for Lent.  Instead, he says, Christ followers should give up being a jerk for 40 days. Stop treating other people like slime and start acting in more loving ways. Treat people as human. It’s a great post; check it out.

voice feb 11 2I bring up John the Baptist and share my college story because I wholeheartedly believe that we can call people back to the LORD without being an overbearing bag of jerks. Try a different approach than shouting louder than someone else or pushing our way around on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you roam on the Interweb.

Be Jesus-y or John the Baptist-y in expressing what you think. The world has enough Jerky Boys to go around.

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ACheck out what my friends are writing about during our crazy Lent experiment we talked each other into doing. Shawn, Lindz, Bones, or Steph.

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