Skip to main content


I got mad this week. Unpleasantly mad, uncivilized mad. I could feel it coming and twisting my mind into a mess of unreasonableness and my soul into a heap of disgusting desires to do mean things to people who neglected to conform to my narrow and oh-so-right ways. It was almost like I was standing beside myself and as I stewed about a situation and let myself get more agitated about it, blowing the implications into massive proportions in my mind, I could see the black cloud approach behind me, waft slowly to my side, linger for a bit to see if it was welcome, and as I fed my self-pity for the mountainous wrongs others had so carelessly tossed across my path, I saw my body turn slightly towards the cloud and step into its hungry path. I wasn’t going to let it stay long, just long enough to take a sweet moment of justice, long enough to make someone pay for their mistake by feeling my displeasure, just enough to satisfy the disappointment I felt and to abate the floundering feeling of being out of control. But once engaged, anger is a terrible and difficult thing to disentangle yourself from. You can’t just drop it like a hot potato. It wraps its strong tentacles around the same heart that loves fiercely and claims that fierceness as its slave.

As a child, I had struggles with anger that I thought I had put far behind me, and in reality I have, but somewhere, somehow, through a combination of circumstances and choices, I opened the door marked vindication a crack again, just to see if it felt better than mercy. It did not. It was ugly. I felt horrible. I yelled, “I’m mad and I hate it!” But hating it did not chase it away. The anger was a bitter undigested lump that refused to move through my bowels. Forgiveness seemed a million miles away and a thousand pounds heavy. I knew if I didn’t get rid of it quickly, it would leave a mark that I would have to carry for days. “Help!” I cried out to God. “Get this thing out of me!” And I heard one word float towards me and surround my mind like a halo: Peace. It knocked at my soul. Resentment and forgiveness rushed over to the door and sparred for possession of the door handle. I didn’t want any part of the fight for control which is how this whole thing started in the first place, so I just walked to the centre of my soul, knelt on the floor, and pulled the plug. I let it all go. I took my hands off “I was wronged” and watched it swirl down the drain along with the other black filth. The internal tirade had left the walls around me raw and red and stinging, but the blackness was gone. I went to the door, now unattended, and let peace in – no – I grabbed Peace and gave him a big hug and didn’t let go for a long time.

And I never plan on letting go again.


Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …