Is Outrage a Christian Value?

bernardino_mei_italian_sienese_-_christ_cleansing_the_temple_-_google_art_projectIs outrage a Christian value? Maybe it depends on what we’re outraged about. In the current political climate, it seems the entire nation is outraged—or at least a very vocal portion. I’ve seen post after post urging us to “stay outraged” until things go our way. But is outrage a good thing? When is outrage appropriate?

It depends on what we mean by outrage. So that we’re all on the same page, let’s see how the dictionary defines it:

  1. An act of wanton cruelty or violence; any gross violation of law or decency.
  2. Anything that strongly offends, insults, or affronts the feelings.
  3. A powerful feeling of resentment or anger aroused by something perceived as an injury, insult, or injustice.

Synonyms include: indignation, fury, anger, rage, disapproval, wrath, and resentment.

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Heartfelt Conversations

wp-image-935707011jpg.jpgWhat says Valentine’s Day better than a box of conversation hearts? I have happy childhood memories of opening my sack lunch and finding a box of candy with sayings such as “BE COOL,” “TRUE LOVE,” and of course, “I ♥ YOU.” My friends and I would share giggles over “MARRY ME” and “FIRST KISS,” and assumed that “PUPPY LOVE” affirmed our affinity for young dogs.

wp-image-1405195671jpg.jpgIt has been years since I’ve munched any of these candy hearts, but since we’re visiting our granddaughters for Valentine’s Day this year, I bought a few small boxes to take with us. To get photos for today’s post, I had to open one early (gee darn). I expected the same old sayings I grew up with, such as “DIG ME,” “OH YOU KID,” and “HEP CAT” (which seemed out of date even in the 60’s), but surprise—like everything else, they’ve evolved with the times. Today’s hearts now sport phrases such as “BFF,” “TWEET ME,” and “WHAZUP,” as well as a happy face.

Conversation hearts were invented back in 1866 by David Chase, who came up with a machine that could imprint letters onto candy wafers, using vegetable dyes. If you think they taste like NECCO Wafers, that’s because they were manufactured by Mr. Chase’s brother, Oliver, founder of NECCO (the New England Confectionery Company). Originally, phrases were printed on candy disks with scalloped edges. The heart shapes debuted in 1902, and the rest is history.

wp-image-1894850170jpg.jpgBack in 1866, no one would have considered putting “GIRL POWER,” or “TEXT ME” on a candy heart. What were those original sayings? The first printed candies were much bigger than the current versions, and had room for entire phrases.  “MARRIED IN WHITE YOU HAVE CHOSEN RIGHT” and “HOW LONG SHALL I HAVE TO WAIT? PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE” are two examples.

In order to stay current, a quarter of the phrases are swapped out every year. Some years, the additions share a common topic. “COOL CAT,” “TOP DOG,” “MY PET, LOVE BIRD,” and “U R A TIGER” are some examples from the animal themed year of 2007.

A newer version in Spanish reflects our changing demographics. This year, I even discovered a sugar-free version. I’ll have to drop a hint to my Valentine.

Life Stories

chasing-the-dragonConsider someone whose life is filled with incredible hardship. Danger and disease. Sacrifice. Doubt. And yet amazing faith. Grace. Intense joy.

I’m not usually big on biographies. Many of the ones I’ve tried to read have seemed to muddle along, the story filled with inconsequential details the author just couldn’t bear to leave out. But I make an exception for Christian biographies, especially those of cross-cultural missionaries. People who obey God’s call rarely live boring lives!

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Waiting to be Hired

Have you ever felt as if God has forgotten to give you your assignment? You’ve made yourself available, but there’s no direction. You feel overlooked. You feel unused. Perhaps you conclude that you aren’t spiritual enough for God to use you.

Then you go to church and hear yet another sermon on the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). It leaves you feeling both frustrated and guilty. Yes, you want to invest what God has given you. But you don’t know how. What are you supposed to do?

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Should I Say Something?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s open season on conservative Christians. Over the past year I’ve “unfollowed” a number of Facebook so-called friends because I got tired of being attacked. I know that none of it was personal, but it still hurt. Deciding that I don’t need this kind of negativity in my life, I stopped exposing myself to it.

But then I started wondering. When is it appropriate to speak up?

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Going in Circles

God must love road trips. He took the Israelites on a 40 year road trip in the desert. You wouldn’t think it should take 40 years to get from Egypt to the Promised Land, even walking, but God doesn’t always travel in a straight line. There are too many lessons He wants to teach us along the way.

Exodus 13:17-18 reads:

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert toad toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

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Christmas—.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when Christmas is over. The advertisers certainly waste no time switching from hawking Christmas gifts to promoting New Year’s specials. It takes me a little bit longer. I yearn for just a few more days of magic. I know that eventually we need to stop playing Christmas carols, attempt to stuff our tree back into the box in the garage, and eat one last guilt-free cookie, but does it have to be on December 26? On the other hand, I’d rather not let the holidays slowly fizzle out, gloomily dissolving into months of winter, winter, and more winter. For years, I wished for some definitive event to put a firm period at the end of the season. Then I discovered Epiphany.

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