Why Don’t You Try Arguing With God?

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Do you argue too much?  Do you argue enough?  Do you argue with God?

Arguing with God turns out to be a Jewish tradition.  There are plenty of other examples of arguing/struggling with God.  “Abraham argues with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah and ‘convinces’ God to spare the cities for the sake of ten righteous individuals.”(Anson, Laytner, Arguing with God:  A Jewish Tradition. p. xx)  Jeremiah, Job, some Psalmists and the author of Lamentations argue their own personal cases before God.

What good will it do for you to argue with God?  I don’t know.  I do know some of of the suffering in the world is God’s fault.  God should have done a better job creating the world.  So there is plenty to argue with God about.  We may just need to get our disappointment with God off our chest.

Arguing with God may also help us with some of our misplaced anger.  Often we kick the “dog” that is closest to us when it would be better to kick God.  Would some of your anger toward others be better directed to God?

Today might be a good day to rethink your arguments.  Today could be a good day to argue with God.

When Did Life Get Hard?

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When did life get hard?

Don Henley’s song, The End of Innocence, captures the lift is now hard shift.

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standin’ by
But “happily ever after” fails
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly

Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

Prayers for you, for your loved ones and all who are a part of your end of innocence life.

Is Your Life Properly “Flashed”?

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A clergyperson who has been an Associate Pastor in a rich church and the head of a ministry that deals with homelessness says that the main difference between rich people and poor people is that rich people have money to better cover up or hide their problems.

Today my wife and I found out we had some problems we didn’t know we had.  We are having James Hardie board installed on our house and today the old stuff, a layer of vinyl siding and a layer of wood, was stripped off the side of our home.  We knew the wood would not look good. When we began payments on our home in 1989 we could not afford to do what we wanted to do:  have the wood repaired.  So we put vinyl siding, which we don’t particularly like, on our home.  It hid the wood problem.  Today we learned the company that installed the vinyl siding did a poor job in several places.  Specifically, flashing was needed and instead of doing the job right the company just “threw up” the vinyl siding.  Now we have rot with which to deal in two locations.  The main area is highlighted by red lines in the photo above.  You might call it a corner of rot.

What would people see if your “vinyl siding” was removed?  “Wood” that had never been repaired?  “Rot”?

Have you properly “flashed” your life?

Flashing is a thin layer of waterproof material that keeps water from getting into places it doesn’t belong.

Let me suggest counseling, being a part of a faith community, meditation, walking labyrinths, taking long walks, hiking, and doing yoga as some ways to flash your life.  Maybe take up photography or quilting or painting.  Flashing can be achieved in many different ways, but we must have flashing.

Be assured of this:  strong winds and rains will come.

When People (Like Me) Don’t Change

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I played nine holes of golf with my son yesterday.  There’s nothing like father/son golf time.

I never wanted to play golf.  I thought it was a wimp sport, but my sonny boy went crazy about Tiger Woods when he was nine so I figured if I wanted to spend time with him I better learn how to play golf, or at least make a stab at it.

We entered Will in a Dana Radar Golf Camp in Charlotte, NC.  Will won a lot of the camp’s awards so we signed him up for individual lessons.  He blossomed.  In middle school and high school he was his team’s best player.  In recent years Will has been a scratch golfer (that means he shoots par) or close to scratch.  Will has even made a double eagle.  That’s a two on a par 5!

In addition to being an excellent golfer, Will has the ability to teach people how to play golf and is very good at analyzing a person’s swing and pointing out needed corrections.

My golf game has been suffering mightily.  I blamed my bad golf scores on not having time to play or practice, but the truth surfaced yesterday.  Will pointed out four or five things I was doing wrong.  Or put another way, practice doing it wrong and you will continue to do it wrong.  At the end of our nine holes I looked at Will and said, “I’m making the same mistakes I made ten years ago.”  He gave me one of those “hello/wake up looks” while also trying not to look critical or condescending.

Are you making mistakes you made ten years ago?  Habits, including bad golf habits, are hard as hell to break.

On a more positive note, I have changed one bad habit – conflict avoidance.  At my first church I was unaware I had gotten in between a soured relationship between two people in the congregation.  Never fun to be in the middle of sourness.  Anyway, one of the ladies sang in the choir and after singing and right before I started preaching she would get up out of the choir and exit the church.  How rude can you be! Nothing pisses a preacher off than a pissy person getting up in front of God and everybody and leaving church right before she or he preaches.

My wife tried to get me to talk with the lady.  I refused.  I didn’t want to support her rude behavior.  The truth, as my wife pointed out, was that I was a conflict avoider,  a passive aggressive person.

So the conflict went on and on and on.

Years later I went back for homecoming at the church.  I immediately apologized to the lady.  She was very gracious.

In my current church I’ve also had to deal with conflict and rude behavior.  Fortunately, with my past experiences, with my wife teaching me about conflict avoidance and the disadvantages of being passive aggressive, and with the help of counselors, I have been able to identify conflict and offer to meet with people face-to-face as soon as possible.

What are some lessons you’ve learned/behaviors you have changed that have greatly improved your life?

So sometimes we change and sometimes we don’t.  Let’s keep working on making needed changes.

For me it’s back to the putting green to work on not slicing my putts.  And it’s back to the range and golf course to work on a set up routine and a more around swing path.