3 Phrases Christians Should Quit Relying On

Originally posted on Jayson D. Bradley:

Sometime I cringe when I listen to Christians talk (myself included). Here are a couple phrases it wouldn’t hurt to hear less.

1. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

Image: Josh Janssen

Image: Josh Janssen

When someone’s going through a rough time, it’s a struggle to say the right thing. But it is always appropriate to say nothing. In fact, Scripture encourages people to “mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15) You cannot rub the salve of magic words on someone’s hurts to make their pain go away.

If you absolutely have to say something, make sure it isn’t philosophically empty, spiritual nonsense. Telling someone that “God never gives you more than you can handle” is wrong on many levels.

  • It’s not biblically accurate: You’re going to have a hard time finding this little gem in the Bible (or any similar sentiment for that matter). I am convinced that Scripture…

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I Feel Less Lonely When I’m Single

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

I think the reason most people are in relationships is to not feel alone. You get to experience things with a partner and love each other and stuff. Plus sex.

At least, I think the reason I am somewhat willfully single is that I don’t want to feel alone–and I feel more alone in a relationship than I feel being single.

In one relationship I was at a bad place with my anxiety and I hadn’t figured out how to deal with it yet. I would tell him I was having anxiety and he would say “it’s okay, just relax.” That is not how anxiety works, you can’t turn off the faucet. But I sat next to him, internally miles away, trying to work out all the things I was anxious about. I couldn’t bring it up again because he’d dismissed it with an easy/impossible solution. I…

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Professional Christians (and Other Oxymorons)

Originally posted on The Number Kevin:

Last Sunday I attended my first church service in about six months. It’s been, altogether, a year or so since we stopped showing up regularly. Sometimes you build things up in your head. I guess, what I’m getting at is, the service wasn’t all that bad—a little boring, way too long, totally gloomy and forcefully emotionally draining, yes (as usual)—but not all that bad.

Good show boys… (golf clap)

We moved back to Coeur d’Alene for the month, so we visited our home church with Megan’s family. It was nice to see everyone and shake hands, catch up, you know. There were some big hugs given and that was nice. Those big, warm Sunday morning hugs—after leaving church—I think I missed those the most.

I still have issues with the service, of course. While it’s usually the music I have a rough time sitting through, I find myself…

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Pain and Hope

Your pain, deep as it is, is connected with specific circumstances. You do not suffer in the abstract. You suffer because someone hurts you at a specific time and in a specific place. Your feelings of rejection, abandonment and uselessness are rooted in the most concrete events. In this way all suffering is unique. This is eminently true of the suffering of Jesus. His disciples left him, Pilate condemned him, Roman soldiers tortured and crucified him.

Still, as long as you keep pointing to the specifics, you will miss the full meaning of your pain. You will deceive yourself into believing that if the people, circumstances, and events had been different, your pain would not exist. This might be partly true, but the deeper truth is that the situation which brought about your pain was simply the form in which you came in touch with the human condition of suffering. Your pain is the concrete way in which you participate in the pain of humanity.

Paradoxically, therefore, healing means moving from your pain to the pain. When you keep focusing on the specific circumstances of your pain, you easily become angry, resentful, and even vindictive. You are inclined to do something about the externals of your pain in order to relieve it; this explains why you often seek revenge. But real healing comes from realizing that your own particular pain is a share in humanity’s pain. That realization allows you to forgive your enemies and enter into a truly compassionate life. That is the way of Jesus, who prayed on the cross: “Father forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23: 34). Jesus’ suffering, concrete as it was, was the suffering of all humanity. His pain was the pain.

Every time you can shift your attention away from the external situation that caused your pain and focus on the pain of humanity in which you participate, your suffering becomes easier to bear. It becomes a “light burden” and an “easy yoke” (Matthew 11:30). Once you discover that you are called to live in solidarity with the hungry, the homeless, the prisoners, the refugees, the sick, and the dying, your very personal pain begins to be converted into the pain and you find new strength to live it. Herein lies the hope of all Christians.

- Henri Nouwen

TV Nostalgia Hits a High

Originally posted on Thelma:

With just a few days remaining before the release of 15 brand new Arrested Development episodes on Netflix, the hype built up over the last year is raising into a crescendo. All fans of the show—whether they watched the series when it first aired, binged on its DVD/Netflix availability long after, or both—fully appreciate how rare a gift this is, and the launch of the entire season at once is sure to make for some raging AD parties.

More surprisingly, just last week, another beloved TV show by the name of 24 was pulled from the grave. Jack Bauer fanboy madness quickly ensued, and quite frankly, we shouldn’t be even a little surprised—Jack’s heart literally stopped at least twice during the show’s original eight-season run. The bonus season will likely air sometime next year, upping the ante as Jack saves the world in half the time he’s usually given—12 hours.

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