Archives For failure

I wonder what kind of sex talk happens in this family...

I wonder what kind of sex talk happens in this family…

I’ll be honest, I have nothing to say about Josh Duggar, his misdeeds or his family.

It’s all been said…vehemently.

Some of what has been said has been reasonable, helpful and redemptive and some of it has not.

And so I sit on the sidelines, having some opinions, but fearing that my opinions are not well-informed enough, not helpful enough to share, and wondering who is really qualified to make definitive statements about this bizarre situation.

But I will tell you, this whole situation has given me pause as a father to give very serious thought about what I will tell my son about life, about sin, and about sex. We Christians complain that the public schools are pushing sex ed. earlier and earlier, but few of us are willing to have the kinds of conversations our children need. This is not an awkward ten minutes at the kitchen table, done because we find out our kid is already messing around. This is a conversation that deserves to be thought about for the ten years leading up to it.

If my son were old enough to have the talk, this is what I would tell him, in light of how Josh Duggar’s life has fallen apart.

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There have been many times when things in my life did not go the way I had planned.

Maybe you can say the same for your life.

And if you are anything like me, you became frustrated when that happened.

I might be able to say that more times than not, things have not gone according to my plans. If I were an investment manager, I’d probably be better off just letting the money go on auto-pilot.

My career did not go the way I had planned.

Starting a family did not go the way I planned.

And now that I have a kid, very few things go the way I plan.

I am convinced that as a species, we experience a lot of frustration. I think frustration is an emotion unique to humans. And the deepest sources of our frustration comes from our desire to control and to plan. We decide that things should go this way, at this time, according to these plans. We desire to control our destinies. We desire to control our surroundings. We desire to control other people. And few of those things ever work. Whether you are a pastor or a parent, you have probably discovered that you cannot control other people. Yes, it’s maddening.

But I have also become convinced that I have discovered the antidote for my need to control:

I have come to believe that all things truly do work for good.

I can look back on five frustrating years in my marriage and see how they worked for good. I can see how the low points in my life came full circle and bore fruit.

Now working for “good,” doesn’t mean that our plans come true. Working for “good” doesn’t mean it will always be pleasant. It doesn’t mean that things will work for good next week or next year. Sometimes, it takes longer than our short little lives for things to work for good.

But it means that, if we are willing, we will see the threads of grace in our lives, especially when our precious little plans are frustrated.

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The universe has not made us any promises. But God has promised that He works all things for good in the end.

 

I could not be more proud of what has happened this week. Plus or Minus was finally given “birth.” Word of mouth reviews are getting backendorsement2 to me, and they are all encouraging. And hundreds of copies have already been given away, because Moody Publishers and I care about getting this book into the hands of people who need it.

But I know that for most people, infertility is not a personal reality. We have written a niche book, I get it. If people read the book who have not gone through infertility themselves, then they are reading it because they love someone who is struggling.

And you know what? We need those people to read the book. People whose friends or family are struggling need to know how to support them.

But even if you can’t read the book, I’m going to give you a few ways you can love the childless people in your life, church or family.

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What if the Bible was not actually inerrant?BIBLE

What if there were verses that were really true, historical, God-breathed, and others that snuck in there under the radar, but don’t really belong?

Of course, plenty of people already think that is the reality, that pieces or chunks of the Bible aren’t really reliable.  I don’t see an end in sight to the inerrancy debate.  I have been clung to inerrancy and written about my definition of what it means to be inerrant here before.

But today, I am not so sure of myself.

You see, I think I found a mistake in my Bible.

I think I found a mistake.  It didn’t take much investigation, or a magnifying glass, or parsing words in their original language.  It was pretty easy actually.  The offending verse comes from Jesus’ own mouth.  I am convinced that Jesus had to have been wrong,

What mistake could I have possibly found that would send my whole view of scripture into a tailspin?

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What kind of company tries to keep people from talking about them?

What kind of celebrity doesn’t want people to tweet about them?

What kind of blogger doesn’t want people to share their content?

Whether you’re a business owner, or you’re just building your own little platform, no one wants to stop people from talking about them.

Seth Godin had a great blog last week, sharply criticizing the Olympic® committee for protecting its registered trademark by going after Facebook users, knitters, and stand-up comedians and other people who are actually giving positive publicity to their brand.  You can read his post here.

The problem is that whoever is in charge of Jesus’ public relations is doing the same thing.

It’s not that anyone is stopping us from talking about faith.  It’s not that anyone is ignoring or marginalizing or discriminating against us.  It’s that we’ve made it nearly impossible to talk about Jesus.  We’ve done it to ourselves.

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Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion…

…that you’re failing at something?

If you have, great news!  I think we’ve all been there.  You just get the sense that you’re just bailing water out of some part of your ship to keep it afloat.  No, I can’t help bail you out, because I’m using my bucket to bail myself out.  Maybe that’s great news to you, maybe not.

When I was a kid, the adults just started getting on this kick about telling us that we were all “winners,” no matter how badly we performed.  Some kids bought into it (the kids who would’ve otherwise been “failures,” no doubt.)  And that thinking has grown and grown into a sea of participation ribbons and neutered school playgrounds.  Everyone feels special inside the cocoon of childhood.

This weekend, I spent a lot of time thinking about failure, and little league, and video games and Jesus, and I figured out a few new things that we all need to know when we feel like failures.

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