Monthly Archives: November 2009

I Hate Interruptions (But I’m getting better)

She came into my study at, what seemed to me then, a bad time.  I was on a roll, writing furiously, words tumbling onto the page , ideas popping out like new puppies, thoughts exploding like microwave popcorn.

Her: “Honey, this refrigerator is making strange noises again…can you come listen?

Me: “Good grief!  Can’t it wait?  I’m in the middle of something here!”

Her:  No words – just facial expressions and body language – all sending negative vibes.

I hate interruptions!  As a young man, I didn’t deal at all well with them.  As an older man…ditto.  But now, at least, I am able to take a few moments and re-wrap my mind around a new direction – to slowly adjust to a new, more inclusive, schedule.

Shame on me!  People with needs can’t be concerned with my agenda.  They can’t check with me before needing something.  The needs surrounding me are sovereign, not my precious schedule.

As we observe Jesus, we see him constantly confronted with unplanned events: the sick, bereaved, adversaries, quarreling disciples, concerned family, storms and demons.  So, it occurs to me that to truly want to be like Jesus, I must not only take interruptions in stride, but also embrace them as opportunities to serve.  Should I even call them “interruptions?”  Obviously, it was Jesus’ plan to walk out into the street and deal with what he encountered.  Since the Son of Man came to serve and not to be served (Mark 10:45), shouldn’t I obviously go and do likewise?

To despise interruptions is to love self more than others – to consider my priorities as paramount.  So here is my new resolution for all my remaining days, weeks, months and years: to be among you as the one who serves (Luke 22:27); to see “interruptions” as opportunities to serve.  I think that’s what Jesus would do.  I think that’s what he would have me do.

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Major Nidal Malik Hasan and the Consequences

Nidal Malik HasanAnother terrible slaughter has hijacked our thoughts and refueled our fears.  So far the information points an idealistic motivation.  I’m sure Major Hasan expected to die as he carried out his mission and is surprised to be alive.  Speculation will continue until it is overwhelmed with the actual facts.  We’ll have to wait for the full story.

One matter is beyond speculation: the consequences. Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. Increased terror. Isn’t that the objective of all terrorist activities?  No ground is won, no hills taken, no booty is accumulated.  Instead, fear is generated by bombing, shooting, torturing, kidnapping and executing.
  2. Increased vigilance. We are quickly becoming a nation nervously looking over her shoulder for the bad guys.  “Report anything suspicious,” we’re told.  Long, drawn-out airport security checks, warrant-less wiretaps, ubiquitous security cameras, etc.
  3. Racial profiling. It will be difficult in the days ahead for those who look Middle Eastern or have Arabic sounding names.  It will also be more dangerous when traveling to look European.
  4. Religious stereotyping. Peace-loving Muslims will be lumped together with extremists and jihadists – a tragedy.
  5. Increased calls to end the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why should our youth be sacrificed to prop up corrupt regimes?  Why should those who fought and died for their own liberty foist democracy on countries that will no doubt descend into sectarian and tribal violence as soon as the coalition forces have gone home?

Every action has a reaction.  Every decision has results.  Long after other events distract us, the consequences of Major Hasan’s murderous actions will continue to haunt us.

Long ago and far, far away some soldiers with crosses on their shields and murder in their hearts slaughtered untold thousands in the name of Christianity.  Those who know that Jesus Christ would strongly condemn  such ungodliness still live with the consequences.

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