I WAS LISTENING TO A FRIEND COMPLAIN a few days ago about how things are run in her church.
She’d like at least an occasional hymn. She’d like ministries to give more attention to adults instead of so much focus on children. And she’d like more rituals, such as the congregation reciting ancient statements of beliefs, called creeds.
“Maybe I’m just an angry old lady,” she said.
I simply said, “Just dial down the ‘grumpy.'”
I’m not known for subtlety. My mom is a redhead.
Are we all too grumpy these days?
It may be just me in need of medication, but I feel as though a cloud hangs over our country and our entire world.
Folks are on edge, gearing up for trouble, having trouble sleeping, and keeping close tabs on “breaking news.”
(Note to TV news broadcasters: It’s not “breaking news” if it’s just a little tidbit like someone’s quote about news that broke several days ago. So please dial down the exaggeration. It gets us all worked up and makes us grumpier. Also, could you occasionally work some hymns into the broadcast?)
If you follow the news like I do, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the deluge of bad-mouthing that’s going on here and abroad.
Good news. I found something helpful as I’ve been working on Paul’s letters for the Casual English Bible.
Paul’s advice about yap, yap, yapping
“Step away from senseless yap, yap, yapping. All it does is drag people down. That kind of talk spreads like flesh-eating gangrene” (2 Timothy 2:16-17, Casual English Bible).
Paul doesn’t say we need to allow the yapping to go on unchallenged. We’re allowed to resist it, as long as we don’t let ourselves sink to the level of senseless yap, yap, yapping ourselves.
“Stay away from controversial debates over ignorant, absurd ideas. They start fights. God’s people aren’t troublemakers. They are gifted and patient teachers who treat others kindly. They gently correct those folks who disagree with them” (2 Timothy 2:23-25, Casual English Bible).
That’s probably not something we can do in a tweet. Or in a blog article.
I think we have to do the resisting and correcting in person, peacefully.
Instead of gearing up for trouble, out of distress, we gear up for peace, out of hope.
Might that make a difference?
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