Happy Mutt’s Day!

July 31st is Mutt’s Day. I am a big fan of the phony baloney holiday. For example, your humble rambler has done the work of researching a special holiday for every day of the first week of August.

August 1st –  Your choice. Homemade Pie Day or Respect for Parent’s Day.
August 2nd – National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
August 3rd – I know I should choose International Forgiveness Day but it is far easier to go with National Waffle Day.
August 4th – National Mustard Day
August 5th – I rejected Work Like a Dog Day because I am currently looking at my dog Hannah laying on her back with every leg going in a different direction.

Job Responds To His Friend’s Seminar

If you missed the last edition of the humble ramblings allow me to bring you up to date. One of Job’s buddies gave us a seminar on how not to treat a friend going through a difficult season. Today we have another lesson. Our first guest is Zophar from Naamath. And, waiting backstage to confront his friends is the star of the book, Job himself. 

Let’s welcome Zophar from Naamath:

Job, do you think you can carry on like this and we’ll say nothing?

(Pretty sure Job was thinking that ain’t likely to happen). 

How Not To Influence Friends (A Seminar From Eliphaz of Teman)

For the most part I have learned to roll with the responses to my blogs and books. But I have to admit that some responses bug me. Recently I wrote an article on the Five Stages of Church Woundedness. The post was in response to correspondences with a pastor friend but the gist of the article was intensely personal. I dialed up Crosswalk and read this response from a reader.

Tear Down That Fence!

(No time to write today. Please enjoy a low mileage previously posted article)

Dear friends Nelson and Suzie deserted us to go live in the Texas Hill Country. We tried to lure them back with Biblical admonitions.

 ”You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.”  Deuteronomy 2:3

But they have ignored our wisdom and have settled in the rolling hills between Austin and San Antonio. One of our friend’s challenges of country living was making sure that their dog Pepper would not wander away. Pepper is about 10 pounds of pure attitude. 


The Five Stages of Church Woundedness

I get a fair amount of email. Some of it is a blessing and quite encouraging. Some not so much in either category. But the ones that break my heart are the e-mails from wounded and deeply discouraged people who have been devastated by life, the church and especially other churchgoers. I try to be encouraging. I try to offer perspective. But I wish I could do more. I wish I could help those battered and limping follower travelers find the abundant life that I wrote about recently.
An email from a pastor has been weighing heavily on my heart and mind. He was deeply discouraged and ready to give up his ministry. I suggested that he read the book TrueFaced because the practical theology drawn from Romans helped me recover from my own church wounds. I had hoped that the book would resonate with him as much as it did with me. Recently he responded.
I did read the book. I have to say I struggled with it. I agree in theory but one of the main groups of people that have nailed me most is the let go and let God, being and not doing, grace is the only word in the Bible, people. They aren’t all that gracious. I don’t mean to disparage the book or you. I felt bad that I felt that way during my reading of the book. He had good things to say. I just heard most of it through the mouths of some of these people who have hurt me. It’s not that I disagree, it’s that this brand of folk who have nailed me say similar things and yet never once in my experience with them did it ever ring true in their actions.
His response sent me out walking and praying and thinking. I had hoped that my words and the message of the book would begin to turn his spirit. And I felt a gentle message stirring in my heart as I walked.

Be patient. Encourage. Love. It is my timing and not yours. You were not ready to receive this message when the wounds were fresh.
I thought about my journey and I realized that the well-known theory of the five stages of grief applied to my healing. You have likely heard of the 
model introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”. The stages are known as the “Five Stages of Grief”. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I realized that I had to go through those stages to get to the point of healing. Hopefully I can shorten the stages significantly as I mature in Christ and trust who He says I am. But I hope it helps those of you going through this difficult process to know you are not a failure if healing takes longer than you hoped.

How did the stages play out for me? I will give the secular example followed by the spiritual parallel.

Three Decades of Varying Bliss

Thirty-two years ago today I donned the hideous Robin’s egg blue tux and married the gorgeous Joni Banks. She plighted her troth to me on that day. I am not sure if she has fulfilled that pledge since I have no idea what that means. I suspect that she has because she takes her plights seriously.

I am celebrating our anniversary like so many other events in our lives by traveling to a gig in another state. We did celebrate last night and she has learned to flow with my bizarre schedule. It hasn’t always been that way. The change has happened not so much with her but with me. I have gotten better at affirming my wife and learned how to make it a little less about me.

Fighting The Wrong Battles?

It never ceases to amaze me that people have enough time to troll the internet and respond to insignificant little bloggers like me. I get lots of positive affirmation from my loyal tens of readers. But occasionally someone will stumble on these ramblings and take offense to something I wrote. Their comments often leave me scratching my head and asking a simple question.

Is that battle worth fighting?

Good buddy Brad was good naturedly concerned about me after reading the latest post on saving baby sea turtles.

“One week in paradise and you’ve become a tree-hugger!”