Wednesday, July 7, 2010

like the fool I am and I'll always be

God's will is our favorite excuse. It's a more serious form of "the dog ate it."

At the end of the last school year, the PE coach at our school invited the music teachers out to the gym during a pizza party for some of the 4th graders. After the pizza was over, the coach asked what game they wanted to play. Of course, the boys in the group wanted to play "Dodge Ball," more commonly known today by its politically correct name, "Avoid the Ball."

The girls wanted to do a more civil activity, like jumping rope or hula-hoops, but if you know anything about 4th graders, nobody heard anything the girls were saying, because Dodge Ball was a possibility.

Of course, being the mature role-model I am, I wanted to play. But Dodge Ball is one of those activities that, unless I want to be on the news, isn't the best idea. Still not fair.

The way we use God's will looks a lot like adults throwing gym balls at 4th graders. There's really not much you can do if you're on the receiving end. It kinda shuts things down.

For example, the following conversation:

Ernie: I want to go to the Outback Steakhouse.
Bert: I don't want to go there, Ernie.
Ernie: Why not, Bert?
Bert: I want to go to the Olive Garden.
Ernie: Why do we always have to do what you want to do?
Bert: It's God's will, Ernie.
Ernie: Oh.

Not much for Ernie to say, huh? Maybe it's God's will they go to the Olive Garden, but my guess is that Bert is conveniently using God's will to support what he wants.

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I'm not a parent, but I think parents should chill out just a bit sometimes.

Of course, this is coming from a recovering homeschooler, so my opinion might not be entirely accurate, but I do what I can.

When I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to see movies in theaters, ever. Especially not PG-13 or...gulp...R. And that's not much of a stretch. From 14 to 17, I maybe saw 3 movies.

But, for all those years, I made a list of all the movies my friends talked about. The summer after I graduated from high school, I got to house sit for some folks for a couple of weeks. It took me about 15 minutes to get to the nearest Blockbuster store. I caught up on movies. It was like I could breathe. And all those things my cool friends were talking about, I suddenly understood.

It was life-giving.

Even worse, don't harp on your kids about their behavior all the time. Let them be themselves. From what I've experienced, one of two things will probably happen. Either the years of repression will catch up to them in the form of bitterness and depression, or they will jump off the diving board of rebellion whenever you can't hold them down anymore.

Even if it's something stupid, like...I don't know...putting a household chemical into their shampoo bottle to slowly and secretly lighten the color of their hair and accidentally turning it orange....which is something I never did....

Relax. You'll be happier and their hair will eventually go back to its original color.

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Why is it that we naturally assume extremely emotional people are more sincere? This most commonly happens when we see them engaging in some kind of interpretive dancing during the slow music at church.

No kidding, one time during some music at a Promise Keepers conference, I saw this dude actually take off and fly away...it was awesome...

Anyway, I know some phonies. Sometimes what we feel the strongest keeps us most calm.

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Anyway, in celebration of Independence Day, here are some lovely pulpit quotes.

"I believe God's hand is still on America (read: U.S.), but just His fingertips."

"Jesus died for our salvation, the American soldier dies for us today."

"We're about to be judged, big time. God's let America (read: U.S.) go even further than He did with Israel."

"Everything our leaders do needs to be engulped (sic) in prayer."

"God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood fits this sermon perfectly."

It only gets better with time.

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If I were to preach on freedom, I think this would be a complementary text:

O, the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of every love the best.
Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
Tis a haven sweet of rest.
O, the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Tis a heaven of heavens to me.
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to thee.

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