The Christian’s Constant Struggle: Pot Kettle Black Syndrome, Part 2

September 30, 2008

Yesterday, I posted Part 1 of a guest contribution from my friend, Amy Brown.  Be sure to check it out if you missed it.  Here’s the rest…

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Pride, hypocrisy and self-righteousness seemed to be the things that Jesus despised the most.  But why?  I mean, the pharisees were obviously trying to be good, holy people, right?  At least they weren’t out smoking, dealing dope to kids, raping and pillaging, murdering and writing metal songs that worship the devil.  Those were the “bad” sins.  They did what was right and gosh darn somebody oughta notice.  Better recognize.  Represent. 

How frustrating that the good son who worked so hard and faithfully for his father his whole life had to sit back and watch his brother squander half of his father’s wealth and yet come back and get the party of his life.  Why, he was so much better than his brother, but his father had never done anything like that for him.  We’re all familiar with the prodigal son story in our own lives, and sometimes it’s the other son in the story that we can relate to.

Self-righteousness is like a cancer, it spreads so quickly.  We start doing something “good” and automatically think that we are so much better than every one else.  We fail to remember all the bad things we’ve done, and continue to do, whether in action or in thought.  I was a sinner from the moment I entered this world, from the moment I felt my first bit of hatred, from the time I spoke my first white lie.  And no matter what I do, I am not holy in and of myself, but only washed clean by the One who gave Himself for me, and for every one else.

Sometimes I get up on stage to help lead people in worship and I think What am I doing here?  Who am I that I should have this privilege?  After all, I’m not a very good Christian.  Well of course I am not good, but He is, and I’m there to tell every one else that no matter what they’ve done, there’s grace, mercy and love in His wonderful embrace, and He can live His goodness through us – in kindness, love, compassion, and understanding, despite all of our inadequacies.

Judge not lest you be judged,” Jesus warned. The pot calls the kettle black, and we will always be contending with this Pot Kettle Black syndrome.  Yet I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and some day I hope to dump these stained glass eyes and see Him clearly, face to face.

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Challenging stuff… We have “opportunities” to judge others everyday. It’s hard to do the right thing and pass them up. Thanks for sharing Amy.

I’ve got several more guests lined up with a post over the next month.  Should be some really good stuff.

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The Christian’s Constant Struggle: Pot Kettle Black Syndrome, Part 1

September 29, 2008

Today’s post is a special treat.  (And, it’s followed up with Part 2 tomorrow!)  My good friend, Amy Brown, is helping me out with a guest post.  She definitely has a word for us.

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The other day I was standing in the elevator at work, and a woman and her child got on.  There are a few doctor’s offices in the building, so there are a lot of patients coming and going.  I immediately smelled the stench of stale cigarette smoke.  I looked at the cute little girl that was accompanying (my guess) her mother.  My mind immediately began to judge the supposed mother, thinking if this woman smells this strong of cigarette smoke, she must smoke like a train, and if so, her daughter probably gets a lot of secondhand smoke.  Hmph.  Too many careless, selfish parents these days.  Then they got off at the floor that I believe the cancer office is on.

The fact is, the inside of my car smelled like that a year or so ago.  And even though I rolled down the window, and didn’t smoke in the house, I still smoked, and my son knew it, and whether I liked it or not, my car reeked of it.  Once, I didn’t realize I lifted my arm a little too high to flick my ash out of the window, and my hand with lit cigarette hit the ceiling of my car, bumping the cigarette of my hand, which landed in my seat, after which I frantically stamped it out on the floorboard as I was waiting in line to turn left at a stoplight.  That was when I decided to quit, but it wasn’t until a year or two later that I actually did.

I inherited a rare condition from my father, who ever so faithfully taught me the rules of the road.  This condition is called “road rage.”  It doesn’t matter if I have all the time in the world to get somewhere, it will never be too soon.  Perhaps this is because I’m most often “fashionably late” to begin with, or maybe because I still need to learn a lot about patience, or both. 

If some one isn’t going at least 5 miles over the speed limit, they are in my way.  If they are in the fast lane and not going at least 10 miles over the speed limit, they are in my way.  If they are taking too long to merge, they are in my way.  Basically, if they are on the road, they are in my way.  And this is not my nature until I get behind the wheel.  I am transformed into some sort of self-righteous egocentric 5-year-old tyrant who thinks that most people on the road are jerks, unless they let me in. 

Don’t tell, but a year and a half ago, I got into a side-swipe wreck because I was putting eye shadow on while driving.  And I’ve been known to put mascara on in the car too, while it’s moving, and I’m behind the wheel.  And no, I will not let you know when I’m out on the road.  Besides, I’ve decided these aren’t good practices unless the car is in park.  At least most of the time, anyways.

A few favorite songs ago, I couldn’t stop listening to a tune called Pot Kettle Black by Tilly and the Wall.  It was a rockin’, angry chick song, and I loved it.  What I especially loved about it was that it was obviously about people/girls who talked smack on other people/girls but they themselves are hypocrites.  (Now the song has a couple of swear words in it, so if you look it up, I thought I should warn you.)  I like the line “And don’t be surprised if they don’t buy all your lies, some of us can see through your stained glass eyes.”

Stained glass.  This automatically brings to mind the windows of a beautiful, old church, depicting scenes of calvary, or that stable in Bethlehem.  The outward beauty of a building that is supposed to represent something good, a meeting place for those who long to be closer to God, to know more about Him, and to worship Him together with His children.  But we all know how looks can be deceiving, and though we may work so hard to make ourselves seem holy, there are often a lot of unholy things within us. 

This I am familiar with as some one who helps lead worship and has been involved in music in the church since I was 12 years old.  It’s easy to let a lot of it go to your head when people feed you compliments, even though compliments are also encouraging.  A musician or singer in the church has to constantly keep themselves in check so that they don’t start thinking they are better than other people and that they have some special “power” that God has granted them, which is somewhat true, but that is true for every one who is in Christ. It’s just we all have different roles. 

The people on stage get a lot of attention, but it’s the people who clean the floors and greet the new people, who scrub the toilets and pray for others while doing it that are the true backbone of the church.  It’s the people who smell like stale cigarette smoke and reek of alcohol that Jesus came for.  People who are broken and don’t have any pride left to get in the way of a real relationship with Christ.

(to be continued… stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow! )


Irrationally Committed

September 28, 2008

Seth Godin has an interesting post about being Irrationally Committed.  Go read it; then come back…

The first thing that crossed my mind is Sunday mornings at GracePoint Church.  Every week, there are dozens of people who put in an irrational number of hours doing church to reach people that are hurting.  The people of GP will do anything.  They are irrationally committed.

Andrea and I are irrationally committed to each other.  We drive each other nuts sometimes, but still we are committed.

What, or who, are you irrationally committed to?


Share-it Saturday, September 27

September 27, 2008

Hello everyone.  First of all I want to congratulate Kevin and Michelle on the birth of Pink #3 yesterday.  After hosting a name-the-baby contest on his blog, we now know that they settled on Presley Faith.  Cool name guys.

Now it’s time for the lastest installment of Share-it Saturday.  So pull up to the table and endulge.  Just don’t forget to leave room for dessert.

  • If you’re married and male, you need to watch the video for The Don’t Song.  Props to Mike Gaddie for pointing this out.
  • I’ve added Anne Jackson and her blog, Flowerdust.net, to the “links of interest”.  It’s well worth checking out.  Anne’s blog challenges us all to be better Christians.
  • Interesting correlation between the quality of rock music and oil production.
  • Andrea Anglin has worthwhile manifesto about David Blain on her blog.  I have to admit, he creeps me out.
  • Worship Guitar Guy has a nice little primer on typical chords in the key of G.
  • There’s a great post over at Stuff Christians Like titled “Treating God Like Letterman Treated Carson” that you should read. I’m failing to find a quick, clever way to summarize it, so you’ll just have to trust me.
  • World’s Oldest Lifeguard? I’m surprised that the video didn’t have “How to Save a Life” by The Fray playing in the background.

To keep the peace, skip the politics

September 26, 2008

I read a great column by Denise Neil in the Wichita Eagle yesterday.  She wrote about how she had learned to keep the peace in her family by refusing to discuss politics with her family.

I wish I would have read it one day earlier…  I’m regretting an email that I sent.

A few weeks ago, I had an discussion with a good friend who had learned his lesson in the last presidential election.  I didn’t pay attention then either.

The interesting thing is that it wasn’t my passion for a particular issue or candidate that got the best of me.  It was being ticked off about all the misinformation getting passed around the Internet.  It’s nothing but fear-mongering manipulation.


Mohawk!

September 25, 2008

Occasionally, my son Jett has been known to sport a fauxhawk.  So when he asked me to shave his head today (he wanted to be bald like dad…) I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give him a real mohawk.

So I shaved most of his hair off and put some “product” in his hair to give him a mohawk.  He looked realy cool!

But he hated it.  He made me shave the rest of his hair off…

Oh well.  At least I got pictures.


Happy Birthday Jada!

September 25, 2008

Seven years and nine months ago, my wife was having outpatient surgery.  The nurses were acting really odd that morning as they got her ready.  After about an hour, the doctor comes in and tells us that there was a change in plans. 

I was thinking “crap, he’s got to go deliver a baby and we’ll be here all day.”  He told Andrea that she was pregnant, and he wouldn’t be able to put her under using general anesthesia.

Apparently, they always test women of child-bearing age before surgery just in case.  The nurses didn’t know if it would be good news or bad news so they waited and made the doctor tell us. 

He knew that we’d been trying for years and that Andrea had been undergoing fertility treatments.  We had just recently given up because they weren’t working, and had started talking about public adoption.  In fact, the fertility doctor had told us that it was impossible for her to get pregnant that month.  Guess he was wrong!

Andrea went to the store later that day and bought several pregnancy tests to check for herself.  When we made an appointment with the fertility clinic for an ultrasound confirmation, they told us we were crazy but we could come in anyway.  I thanked the doctor after the ultrasound, but he said “don’t thank me, I didn’t do anything.”

Andrea was in shock for at least a month.  Serious disbelief. It was kind of funny actually.  She was also mad at me because I called everyone I knew while she was in surgery, and she didn’t get to tell anyone.  Not that she was capable of doing it anyway in her state of shock.  When we found out that Jett was coming, I did let her tell everybody.

Nine months later, Jada Noel came into our lives.  Her middle name is Noel because her conception was nothing short of a Christmas miracle. (FYI – My son’s middle name is Immanuel because Andrea’s due date was Christmas Eve.)

Here name comes from a Seventh Day Slumber song called “Jada”.  I emailed the band after she was born.  They thought that was pretty cool.

Today she turns seven.  Not quite a girl, not quite a woman.  Or at least it seems that way somedays…

Parenting is really hard work some days.  We have a huge responsibility to raise kids that will not only not be a burden on society, but actually contribute and help make the world a better place.  That weighs heaviliy on me.  They are little sponges that pick up everything, both good and bad.  She makes me a better person.  She’s my blessing from God.