"Does this P*** You Off!" that had more hits than any other post I've ever written. I mean, it topped the times that I announced the gender of an upcoming grandchild, pictures of my son's wedding, pictures of new kids we were acquiring -- this caused more people to read my blog than any of that. And I didn't even proofread it.
I am not a blogger who cares what drives traffic, but I think using a naughty word got people's attention and made them click yesterday, and so I thought I'd try it again today. I say that in jest... mostly.
I realized yesterday that I am I'm often pleased when people get angry. There is definitely an upside to anger.... because anger is a motivator for change.
I was talking to our Patrick Henry Family Services Director of Administration yesterday about the blog entry I wrote and he told me a story of when he did a lot of work with colleges. They would ask him to come in, represent his ministry, and help kids figure out what to do with their lives. His advice would be much different than those who said "find something that gives you joy, and you will be happy at work for a lifetime." His advice was to find something that p***** you off, and then you'll have passion enough to work for a lifetime.
There is great truth to that. Passion stems from anger.
I have often quoted Richard Stearns who said, "Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God." But today I'm going to suggest that we might want to pray "Let me be angry about the things that make God angry." (No, I"m not going to use the word p**** and the word God in the same sentence, so you can relax). :-)
I was thinking about this this morning -- what made Jesus most angry when he was here on earth? Was it the "bad" sinners? Not at all. That's who He hung out with. He called church people "Vipers" and "Whitewashed walls" and "hypocrites." Jesus was angry at religious leaders way more than he was ever angry with prostitutes, drunks, and in that day, the lowest of the low -- tax collectors.
There is one time in Scripture where we see Jesus super mad. Where was he? At a bar? No.... He was at the temple -- the church of that day incredibly angry at what it had become.
So there are two points to this post that I want you to get:
1) It's great when you are angry if you are willing to do something about it. Fortunately, for my sake at this point, Bart and I can tell you that have adopted 12 children so I can talk as much as I want to about this issue and nobody is going to accuse me of not acting on my anger that there are kids without families. But there are many many issues that I say make me angry -- but not enough to do something about it. I'm angry that there are kids starving, that there is genocide being practiced in Africa, that there are women being mistreated in the middle east. But obviously only a little bit because other than sponsoring children through Compassion and World Vision, I haven't done much about that in my life.
I have been very careful not to touch anything political this election because I do not want to know how people are voting -- because the way people are defending their candidates of choice and slamming the other makes me lose respect for people on either side. But I'm going to say one thing that might start up way more "political debate" that I want to. Bart and I began fostering and adopting because we were frustrated (yes, p**** off) that so many Christians claimed to be pro-life but were really only pro-birth. They were more than willing to demand a child be brought into this world, but had no intention of providing quality of life to that child. And I'm not talking about whether or not someone is willing to adopt a newborn.... although that is an awesome thing ... but I'm talking about what happens to that child when they are 5, or 10, or 15, or an adult. It is not enough, in my seldom humble enough opinion, to say that Christians must be pro-life if Christians are unwilling to take care of those same fetuses once they become children and teenagers and adults. Don't get me wrong, I am pro-life -- but I define it as way more encompassing than pro-birth. Thus, my family of 12 adopted children. Thus my advocacy for those caught in the system. Thus my rant in my blog post yesterday.
So my question to you is this: What makes you angry enough to actually do something about it? And I don't mean write a post on Facebook, although that is a start. And I don't mean donating money (though if you have some you want to go to a worthy cause I can tell you about one in particular that is super important to me right now). It means going all in -- being angry enough to say "This is something that I'm going to sacrifice for. THIS is my passion. THIS is my issue." I'd love to hear what that is... because it certainly doesn't have to be mine. But I hope it is something. I LOVE it when people get P**** off enough to do something.
2) I think the church still makes Jesus mad. I think the church breaks God's heart. Because I think we are missing it. I think God shakes his head as we polarize about issues and spend more time fighting over them than we do loving the people we are fighting about. I think Jesus gets angry when He sees what "his Father's house" has become -- maybe not a den of thieves -- but certainly a group of people who often care way more about themselves than the world around them. That wasn't ever His plan for the church. I can see Jesus today bursting through the beautiful buildings full of people who are very concerned about themselves, their children, and their own comfort and turning over cookie trays and coffee stands and screaming at people who have never taken time to look outside the walls of the church to the hurting world that God has called them to serve. And now I'm probably really crossing a line, but I think God weeps as he sees people on Facebook using His name to spread hateful words about people, whoever they might be. This is never how people who use name "Christian" were supposed to act.
I want to share a story again that I shared in a blog entry in January. When I was a teenager I heard John Ott speak at a Wesleyan convention (was anyone there?) and he told this story that I have never forgotten. My husband, the skeptic, says that it is just folklore, that it never really happened, but I've never let his need to remind me of that ruin the concept of a great illustration.
Story is told that Alexander the Great, one of the greatest warriors of all time, was holding court one day when some military officials escorted before him a young soldier. This young soldier was caught running away from battle. Alexander the Great said, “Soldier, tell me your name.” The soldier replied “Alexander.” Alexander the Great said again, “Soldier what is your name?” The Soldier replied “Alexander.” Once again Alexander the Great asked, “Soldier, what is your name!?” The soldier replied “Alexander.” Alexander the Great then said, “Either change your conduct or change your name.”
I can still see in my mind's eye John Ott in front of hundreds of teenagers in his big booming voice and a finger point at us all saying, "God is standing before you having this conversation.
'Child, What is your name?'
'Child, What is your name?'
'CHILD, WHAT IS YOUR NAME?'
'Child, Either change your conduct or change your name."
So yesterday's post about the map and the epic fail of the church to step up and do something has been resonating in my heart since I wrote it. It blends in with my deep grief lately over people who use the name "Christian" and act nothing like Jesus.
Yesterday almost 2000 people read a post where I asked them to contact me if they were willing to do something to address the disparity in a map between the number of churches in a particular state and the number of "legal orphans" in that state. Not one of them contacted me. They were willing to click, to read, to share. And grant it, those who did are probably as passionate about this as I am and have already given their lives to this cause.
But we live in a culture where we claim to be SUPER DUPER with our words, spoken and written, when in reality we aren't really even angry enough to leave our recliner.
Lately I confess that I have been angry. Really angry. I hope you are too. Because maybe if we all get angry enough, we will do something.