Monday, October 16, 2017
Blog


Welcome to: BS with Billy

My personal blog spot. Forget the old one at blogspot.com, it got hijacked and now leads to some other site selling who knows what.

So, what is BS with Billy? Well, as you know BS can mean a lot of things. 

Bible Study, Basic Stuff, Boring Stuff, of course, my initials and just plain BS about stuff and life in general as seen through the eyes of me. Unless otherwise stated, the reflections, thoughts, ideas and BS you read here is all mine. 

Your comments and dialogue are welcome. Please keep your comments respectful, civil and language appropriate. And since this is my website, I can and will only post those comments which follow rules of respect and civility. Thank you.

Articles
Billy Strayhorn

Lack of Civility Bothers Me

Beware The Bellicose Belligerent Soul

Beware the Bellicose Soul


One blustery bellicose whiny soul,

His own opinion doth extol.

But empty words fill empty air,

For when he's through, there's no one there.

Not willing to listen to another's discourse,

Appearing to be the tail end of the horse.

Empty words now lay fallen and bare,

No one to listen and no one to care.

 

I am becoming increasingly more frustrated with and disgusted by the total lack of civility toward one another which is being exhibited by people claiming to be Christian. The more I see, the more I cringe. The more I cringe, the more my heart breaks for the church and for the faithful. And the more my heart breaks the more I wonder If my 40 years of service as a United Methodist Pastor has made one iota of a difference.

 

Don't worry, I'm not depressed. I'm not questioning my call or my faith. What I do question, now and again, is whether I have to capacity (and sometimes even the will) to fulfill that call anymore. What difference have all those sermons I've preached on love and forgiveness, grace and mercy, civility and justice, loving God and loving neighbor made in the world? What fruit has been born of wrestling with God every week to figure out what God wants me to say to a particular people in my charge? What gain, what growth, what change can be seen as a result of hours of prayer and study, some deeply faithful, some not so much at times?

 

I retired in July. A year before I retired I looked at my capacity and ability to change to meet the changing needs of the world and I quivered in fear and anxiety. I who have loved change; I who have challenged preachers and churches and groups to embrace the new, the current, the cutting edge ways of communicating the Gospel felt dull and blunted by the hammering and yammering of those who call themselves Christian but whose actions, demeanor and attitudes exhibit nothing of the character or example of the Prince of Peace, who reached out in love to everyone, even those, especially those, who disagreed with Him. And he did so with love and compassion.

 

I have to admit, while I love the Church and I will always love Jesus, those negative and belligerent attitudes were contributing factors to my decision to retire. I think the thick skin you have to develop to be a pastor had finally worn off and worn through in places.

 

The thing is, I believe we have to study new ways of communicating with each other. We need to once again embrace the idea that we are ALL children of God. We are ALL created in the very Image and likeness of God. Therefore we should address each other with the same respect with which we would address God. We should offer the same mercy we so desire for ourselves. We should keep our judgments to ourselves. Who are we to judge, we have each fallen short of the glory of God and are in dire need of God's mercy and grace. We need to keep our mouths closed, our hearts focused and our ears open as we exchange ideas instead of compiling a list of rebuttals we can use to shout down the other person.

 

Bellicose belligerence boggles and bothers me. It always appears to me that the other person is about to pop. And when I get that picture in my head I can no longer take them seriously because their very belligerence and bellicose pontification has reduced them, in my mind, to a cartoon character in a comedic sketch. Cartoons and comedic sketches make me laugh and cry and sometimes flinch. But I don't take them very seriously. And if I don't like what they say or especially how they make me feel when they say it, I simply turn them off or change channels.

 

But here's the thing. I don't really want to change channels. I really do want to hear what you believe and what you think because I might find something we have in common, something which could actually change the way I think about an issue. I really do want to discuss why you believe what you believe. For the most part, I CAN tell you why I believe what I believe because I've thought about it and read about it and sometimes even prayed about it.

There are lots of exceptions. But I will never know what you really think or believe or feel if every time I ask a question or seek clarification you turn into a prickly blowfish shouting a hurricane of vitriolic, indignant phrases which say nothing about your belief but everything about slamming  and nailing shut the door to dialogue between children of God.

 

If we are to coexist and serve this God of ours with any faithfulness, then we have to put down the theological and political knives and swords. We need to stop the war over power and territory. We need to end the battle for whose the greatest and who is the winner. Because if we don't watch out, we'll all lose in the end.

 

We have to quit using God's Holy Word as a tool to prove our point and a weapon with which to vanquish our enemies.  I want to serve God and be faithful. I want live in peace with fellow believers and even people of other faiths and those of no faith, knowing that we don't agree on every theological point or every social issue. And though we differ in opinion we can honor the God who created us by honoring each other and treating each other with respect and dignity. I think that's what the Bible means when it says "Love your neighbor as yourself."

 

I'm a United Methodist because in Wesley's theology I found a God who loves me despite my shortcomings. I discovered a God whose judgment didn't continue to rub my nose in my failure and sin but offered me a hand up and a way through and beyond those failures and sins, through the mercy and the grace offered by His  Son.  I was rescued from myself by a Savior who gave everything for me and you. And I was filled with the Holy Spirit who reminds me every single day that while I have my part to play, my salvation doesn't depend on me but on the saving work of Jesus Christ who desires to grow me into His likeness.

 

While I was yet a sinner, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died for me, and that proves God's love for me and for everyone who is different than me or holds different opinions than I hold.  That love, that prevenient grace expressed in that love, defines how I should I see others and how I should treat others .

 

I am becoming increasingly more frustrated with and disgusted by the total lack of civility toward one another and I don't know what more to do to effect change. But I do know that something has to change. We have to come to the table as brothers and sisters not as adversaries. If we don't, If we don't emulate Jesus how can we continue to call ourselves Christian?

 

The next time you have a conversation with someone, especially someone with whom you disagree, look at them and think to yourself, Jesus died for them, too. They are a child of God.

 

'Nuf Sed.

 

Billy

 

Previous ArticleWhy Do We Do What Jesus Said Not To Do? And NOT Do What He Said To Do?
Next ArticleImagine No Malaria
Print
878 Rate this article:
5.0

2 comments on article "Lack of Civility Bothers Me"

Pastor Rick

Quote - "I want live in peace with fellow believers and even people of other faiths and those of no faith, knowing that we don't agree on every theological point or every social issue. And though we differ in opinion we can honor the God who created us by honoring each other and treating each other with respect and dignity. I think that's what the Bible means when it says "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Great words of advice. It has always "baffled me brain little ole Cowboy brain" why those of us that call ourselves Christians, continue for some unknown reason to argue with one another. If one says "forgive us our debts or forgive us our trespasses" what difference does it make? But for some unknown reason people look for or find fault with one another over the dummest things. Mercy, what does a disagreement over silly little things have to do with MY walk with the Lord? Nothing whatsoever !!


Hank Jones

Great BS articles - when will you compile these into a publication?

I know I am impatient at times - my excuse is I am looking for perfection but find no perfection in myself.

Keep on writing and I will keep on reading.

Thanks,

Hank

Leave a comment

Name:
Email:
Comment:
Add comment
Home   |   BS With Billy   |   2015 Sermons   |   2014 Sermons   |   2013 Sermons   |   2012 Sermons   |   2011 Sermons   |   2010 Sermons   |   2009 Sermons   |   2008 Sermons   |   2007 Sermons   |   2006 Sermons Yr B   |   2005 Sermons Yr A
Copyright 2011 by ePulpit.net