I’m going to be posting bits from my upcoming book, “A**hole Christian Survival Guide,” over the next month or so. The idea behind the book is that maybe we need to follow Jesus because all of us, at one time or another, can be real a-holes. The real problem arises if we think that being “saved” or accepting Jesus somehow offers us lifetime a**hole insurance. But the irony is that this misconception makes us even BIGGER a**holes.
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Many Christians are trained to have questions – and answers – at the ready for any situation. The problem is that sometimes this means we speak when we shouldn’t, or we say something we didn’t actually mean.
It’s easy for any of us to lapse into offering cliches in an otherwise meaningful situation, maybe out of awkwardness, an effort to help or even the desire to escape the moment all together. But Christians who use these in times when others are particularly vulnerable have an even greater responsibility to, as Horton the Elephant says, mean what they say and say what they mean.
Here’s the first in a series of cliches I’ll be posting for a while from the book.
Everything happens for a reason.I’ve heard this said more times than I care to. I’m not sure where it came from either, but it’s definitely not in the Bible. The closest thing I can come up with is “To everything, there is a season,” but that’s not exactly the same.
But faith, by definition, is not reasonable. If it could be empirically verified with facts or by using the scientific method, it wouldn’t be faith. It would be a theory. Also, consider how such a pithy phrase sounds to someone who’s had something really horrible happened. Do we really mean to tell them there’s a reason that happened? For that matter, I don’t even want to hear it if I just lost my car keys. I don’t want to know the reason; I want my keys.
Better to be quiet, listen and if appropriate, empathize with someone. But don’t dismiss grief, tragedy struggle or even inconvenience with such a meaningless phrase.
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