For some strange reason this morning, an old Patricia Sun lecture came to mind. This woman is a real hoot!
(In case you are unfamiliar with Patricia Sun, she was formerly an evening news anchor who went on to do incredible research concerning the ways that the brain learns. She pioneered a learning technique that assists the brain in the merging of the right and left hemispheres to facilitate wider cognitive functioning.)
In this particular lecture she was discussing how to diffuse a conversation that has become heated. For starters she said, “Don’t dance!”
In other words, it takes two to tango and it also takes two to argue. If one party makes the decision not to engage in an argument then the other party has no one to dance with; and, the tension will fade away quickly.
Patricia also mentioned that old country adage about dancing with a pig, “Don’t!” To begin with the pig likes it! And, you will both get muddy.
At the core of things, it is really sort of pointless to maintain any kind of argument unless we feel we stand at least some tiny chance of changing the other party’s mind. What I have noticed is the other party is often so invested in their decision that they are a dog with a bone and they won’t let go until it thunders.
Finally, it is very easy to step out on that slippery slope of deceiving one’s self if it means that we can get or do what we want. And, so many times our beliefs hinge not upon what is right but upon what we want.
This brings to mind a very uncomfortable situation that I encountered probably fifteen years ago while working a Christian spiritual formation retreat comprised totally of teenage girls from fifteen to seventeen years of age. Shall we say they chopped my head off and served me up on a silver platter.
The subject they wanted to discuss was…hmmm, sex. Let’s see now, a room filled with twenty-five teenage girls and they all want to talk about sex. Yeah right…that never happens!
More specifically, they wanted to know if it was alright to begin having sex. I answered them as a) the dad of a young teenage girl and b) as a pastor. Here was my answer, “NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Well, they took offense to that answer. I cannot imagine why!
And, I went on to respond to them in about a million ways as to why it would be a bad idea for them to begin having sex at this juncture of life.
I stated the Bible stance. I covered the weight of the emotional sacrifice they’d encounter at this stage of life. I even covered the physical risks.
They wanted nothing of it! I was old. I was out of date!
The Bible was written a long time ago. Society had changed.
Things were different now! And, I just did not understand!
(Little did they know, I was once a teenage boy! Remembering this, it was not terribly difficult for me to stand my ground.)
It did not matter to them. Their minds were made up.
I reasoned that maybe there was maybe one girl in that crowd who’d take to heart what and all I had said. But, at the end of the day, I had stated my case and there was really nothing else I could do at that point.
Interestingly, one by one most of those girls came to me later on to further discuss this matter in private. All of them allowed that they were under tremendous peer pressure and they were grateful that I drew a line and stood on it.
What to do? What to do?
As always, the answer is Jesus. At the end of the day, true Followers of Christ will draw that line in the sand and stand on it, precisely where he stood on it!
Strategically, there is no value in wrestling. We simply tell God’s own truth and stand our ground. We stand on this because God says so.
Remember, it is very easy to alter our beliefs regarding serious matters in life, not because of the facts or truth but because we want to do a thing. We can justify almost anything that we feel will satisfy us at the time.
And, yes indeed, the Bible is very old and there is a tremendous distance of time between when God wrote it and our living it out. Nonetheless, God’s truths are a gift to us precisely because they are timeless, eternal and everlasting.
My dad used to say, “Just because Kenny stuck his head in a fire, does not mean you should too!” Playing follow the leader in a moving culture is dangerous.
“God’s word is not chained. Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen (2 Timothy 9b & 14 NIV).”
OK, now for the real news, Punxsutawney Phil just saw his shadow! Six more weeks of winter! Oh man!!!!!
But, what Phil does not know is that the Daytona 500 is only sixteen days away! There is just something right and springy about NASCAR cranking back up!
I already have my TV table set out! I sure hope the preacher does not go on too long on February 18th!