Shock Therapy

Ask anyone who knows me and you’ll hear that patience isn’t my forte.  When I make a decision, I want what I want exactly when I want it.  Doesn’t matter what it’s about, that’s the way it is.  Sometimes, this is a good thing; other times, not so much.  But, it’s this very impatience that drives my blogging, which my friend Hugh describes as “energetic”.  I see things in the world that are hurting, disrespecting, marginalizing other people, other children of God, and it either makes me sad or just flat pisses me off.  I need to vent these emotions, to give voice to them and the way for me to do that is to write about them.  I will admit to being blunt to the point of rudeness here, to using profane language, to saying things that I know will shock you; all in an effort to get you attention and shove the problems I see into your face.  In other words, shock therapy.

I’m not the only one doing this.  People with a much larger profile than I have done things similar over the years to combat injustice.  Right now, Shane Claiborne is the one we’re all talking about.  Recently, he published an open letter to the IRS, in which he informed them that, as a Christian who believes passionately in non-violence, he was deducting 30% of taxes as that was the amount of the federal budget that goes to military spending.  I love this.  It’s a balls-out, in-your-face middle finger to the government and we need tons more of this kind of thing.  There are, however, people who disagree with me.  Shane Raynor said today on his blog (in the comments) that Claiborne “could have made his point in a much better (and more legal) way.”  To which I replied that if he did, I doubted we’d be talking about it right now.  And, that’s the point.  We’re talking about this and that’s never a bad thing.

Every now and then, I need to be reminded that my “burn it to the ground” style is a bit more than some people can take.  Last Sunday, my pastor preached a very needed sermon.  In it, he said that being a follower of Christ was more than just coming to church on Sunday.  It should permeate your being so that it comes out in every facet of your life.  The only problem was, he was a lot nicer than I thought he should have been.  He didn’t say anything about those issues near and dear to me; things like how we treat the LGBT community, the homeless, the food insecure (oh God, I can’t believe I just used that phrase) and others.  I knew he meant all that, but he left it unsaid and it rankled.  Afterwards, I was talking with Andrew, the Duke student and friend who I assist with the youth group, and said that it was a good sermon…, as far as it went.  I said “These people need shock therapy!”  To which Andrew replied, “For some of them, this was shock therapy”.  He was right.  I should have realized this because the day before I had been talking to Diana (this counts as more gushing, btw) about how her mother reacted to a similar sermon from their pastor.  Short version, she didn’t like being challenged that way.  But, she was talking about it and that’s a first step. 

As you can see from the story about last Sunday (and about every stinking thing I’ve written on here), all to often I get so wound up that I lose sight of the grace I should extending to others around me.  But, sometimes, grace-filled speech just doesn’t have the impact needed to shatter the facades people have built to protect themselves from reality.  Sometimes, you gotta yell:

Courtesy of  Aaron Reddin (@HomelessHeritic)