Thursday, September 07, 2006
Cry When Something Hurts
From my vantage point, there are two Christian vices that are most acceptable: Gluttony and Anger. I wish I had kept track of the number of fat, angry pastors over the years giving convincing sermons on the evils of alcohol or divorce or not home-schooling your kids or rock music or not memorizing enough Scripture, only to brag about how good the food will be at the church picnic and how much of it they are going eat. [To be fair, wouldn't it have been great, like weight is to gluttony, if God created some visible response to lust, such as your skin turning green each time you engaged in a lustful thought or action. This way we would all be green AND overweight.] On the other side of anger lies sadness, and here is where it is most difficult to turn. It's more vulnerable to be sad than angry, which is why I think we see more of it in the church than grief. Alot of anger gets justified by Jesus' entry into the temple and turning over the tables of the moneychangers, but you've got to know that after that event, Jesus must have been very, very sad. Sure, its conjecture on my part, but I imagine him crying in prayer later, saying to the Father, "This is not how its supposed to be..." Anger and sadness are always connected. So now when I see an angry pastor or leader, I also see a sad one, and I wonder if he ever gives himself permission to be sad and grieve the source of his anger. I think this is why crying is a gift to us from God. Tears are wordless expressions of sorrow, since words seem to always fall short when we are sad, which is why I try and keep my words at a minimum now at funerals. Tears will suffice. I can't help but think that the church would be in better shape if it cried more.