Blowing Off Steam

Every now and then, it’s healthy to blow off a little steam. If we continually attempt to suppress various thoughts and emotions, we run the risk of hitting a wall, blowing up, and damaging relationships. So, once in a while, I use this blog as a vehicle to go off on some rants in an attempt to blow off steam. Many of those posts end up getting deleted or heavily edited…but, not today. Therefore, I should take this opportunity to issue a disclaimer that my views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of…my church, my conference, my denomination, other Christians, Bozo the Clown or Ted Nugent. Also, because I have a tendency to swear, I have done some self-censoring. I mean, the words are still there…but I used some of the “#$%” bulls#$% so my mother will be a little less-offended! It’s like my grandmother used to say, “Don’t dress your swear words up in Sunday clothes. Just say what you mean.” Another disclaimer: My grandmother never said that!

Today, I find myself extremely annoyed at cookie-cutter Christian responses to, well, anything. After checking my Twitter feed and seeing the high amount of Christian cliche advice, I felt my stomach turning. I found myself imagining what the world would be like if we, as Christians, stopped saying and doing ridiculously stupid and offensive things. Here are some examples of statements that really annoy the s%^& out of me…

A tragic event takes place…and the “Christian response” is to say something along these lines:

– “We may not understand it now, but it’s all just a part of God’s plan.” Seriously? That’s just a bunch of bull s%$# we say to make ourselves feel better. God’s plan is life, love, joy, peace, hope, mercy, compassion, wholeness, perfection…That tragic event that just took place, um, that’s not really consistent with “God’s plan”. God’s plan was perfection, beauty, and harmony in the garden. Humankind screwed that up…and therefore, s#$% happens and blaming God is a cop out.

– “Romans tells us that God works for the good of those who love him.” This is another attempt to indicate that the tragic event is somehow a part of God’s plan. Some use this passage to indicate that God allowed the tragic event to take place in order that we might become more dependent on God. Jesus! That’s a pretty twisted and sick picture of a God of love, grace and mercy. Can God work in and through all things? Absolutely. Did God cause or allow some tragic event to take place in your life in order to get your attention? Probably not. The reality is, I’m not God…I cannot fully comprehend God. So, I will do my best to not try to give God credit for something God never intended.

– “God just needed another angel.” I know that this statement is used to help alleviate our pain and suffering…this is the kind of statement that we make when we simply can’t explain any other logical reason for whatever took place…But, is God really that needy? When I read the Bible, it seems like God is pretty secure and not really some kind of co-dependent, whiny being that snatches up our loved ones in order to make itself complete. The reality is that, most likely, you needed that person more than God does…because, like I’m saying here, God doesn’t need anything.

Suppose you’re having a bad day because someone at work is being difficult, and your Christian friends say something like this:

– “Well, Isaiah 54:17 tells us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.” Really? Well, if the weapon that is being formed against you is an AK-47, you better start running because that s*%$ will f&*% you up. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some weapons (usually in the form of words) formed against me that have prospered (in that the damage done still stings years later).

– “You are only facing these trials because of an un-confessed sin.” An un-confessed sin is causing this bad day (or whatever “trial” you happen to be facing)? Seriously? Okay, then let me confess my sin. My sin, right now, is judging your prideful, mean-spirited, judging, egotistical, fake a#$. I wasn’t looking for your judgment…I was just hoping to blow off a little steam to a friend that I thought could simply listen and not be an a#$ about it.

These are just a few examples of the many cookie-cutter Christian clichés that annoy the s%$# out of me. And, they are everywhere…books, Facebook, Twitter, churches, anywhere two or more are gathered…

Now, to show a little bit of grace, I know that these comments are well-intended. Those making these statements are truly just attempting to help alleviate your pain and suffering. However, what if these little cookie-cutter Christian cliché statements that we’ve been taught actually do more damage than good?

Personally, all these statements do is make me feel worse because they indicate that not only does whatever my current situation happens to be suck, according to my Christian friends, this loving, kind, caring, and compassionate God I have chosen to follow is the cause of my current state of suck-dom. Awesome! When I’m having a bad day or going through a difficult trial/tragedy and someone makes one of these statements, I simply claim bulls#$% and then proceed to dismiss everything that person says.

So, maybe the answer is to just simply be honest…To admit that we don’t have all the answers…We don’t know why this is happening…To stop blaming God.

When a tragic event happens, instead of blaming God (because, let’s be honest, that’s what these little cookie cutter statements do), maybe we should say, “Yep, this sucks. I don’t understand it. I’ll pray for some sort of peace and understanding. But, I know that, right now, that seems pretty empty. So, I’m sorry you are having to endure this really s%$#ty situation. It sucks. But, I’m here for you…to listen, to get you some food, to keep other people away from you, or to just leave you alone…whatever you need.”

Maybe we should check our egos and theological credentials at the door and admit that we don’t fully understand it and that we simply don’t have the answers. Instead of telling people what they might want to hear…rather than quoting (and often mis-quoting) Scriptures and using them out of their intended contexts to try and shine a little bit of holy light on a crappy situation, we should just say, “I’m sorry you are having a bad day. What can I do to help?”


5 thoughts on “Blowing Off Steam

  1. You’re piece is both funny and sad.
    It is representative and misrepresents.
    Why people feel compelled to answer every question asked even when they do not have an answer is true.
    To suggest all of God’s promises extend beyond those made to his covenant people is misleading and why every body and their brother think they are on their way to heaven no matter what they believe, how they live, what they do, say or think.

  2. First of all, I am so glad no one has ever shoved those “cookies” in my face. The most offensive to me was the unconfessed-sin being the cause of our suffering. Really….uh, really?

    What is kinda funny is how I was just telling a coworker earlier this week how us “churchy” Christians have a scripted way we talk to each other… “I feel so blessed…” “I’ve been/will be praying for you”… etc. that makes my eyes roll inside my head… but even I get caught up in the talk at times… so frustrating and disappointing. I think this talk is a pathetic attempt at uniting with other believers but often it alienates us more than anything else.

    After times of loss is when things get really bad. “He/she is in a better place..” “It was his/her time.” etc. I am sure I have failed miserably without even being fully aware of it… and I hope to keep future transgressions to a bare minimum. I think sometimes we try too hard on our own to make things better with our words, when like you said… it is our ACTIONS of love that heal.

    Thank you for this post that was both refreshingly insightful and filled with such loving truth.

  3. I acknowledge your frustrations. I believe we can suffer some consequences for poor choices, but that it is always God’s desire for the best in our lives, and that he can heal and bring good out of the most broken circumstances. I guess we all need to do a self-check on how we are putting that into action. Maybe we are trying to connect and need help with that. What do you need? besides your wish list!

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