Bad Etiquette!

Recently, I read a children’s book called Thanks a LOT, Emily Post! About 4 sarcastic children whose happy disobedience is hampered when their mother buys a copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette. It was so funny that I sent a copy to my mother. I don’t know whether she’ll laugh or boo when she gets it.

It called to mind an online conversation I had with a person trying to understand Christianity. This OP had unfortunately grown up in a home where the Bible was held over her head – sometimes literally! – as a criticism of everything she did. She asked me about this supposed conflict: is Christianity a religion of laws and criticism, or a religion of love? I told her that it’s both. I told her, while perhaps her parents were doing it the best they understood, I would not be surprised if they had never read the entire Bible – for themselves, openly, not skipping around from topic to topic or just looking to reinforce the opinions they’d already formed, or the teachings they’d already heard, or throwing away any part that didn’t already make sense to them.

 “If you ever hear somebody quoting Emily Post’s book of Etiquette,” I wrote (checking three times how to spell “Etiquette”), “they’ll usually be criticizing the number of forks someone used, or how they wrote an invitation, or how the seating arrangements went. And it is true that you will find these things in her book. But if you actually read the book Etiquette, starting with the first page, not just skipping around for specific topics, you’ll find a different set of teachings.

“Post was clear from the start – and many times throughout – that good etiquette is about being kind and attentive and making people feel comfortable, even loved. If you got nothing else ‘right’, but everyone had a wonderful time and felt that they had been treated well, then you’ve been a good hostess. All the rules were meant to anticipate/forego possible problems and reinforce kindness to your guests. You put the forks here so that the guests can find them; you phrase the invitation this way so that no guest gets embarrassed by dressing for the wrong event or leaving behind someone you’d intended for them to bring; you put the chairs there so that it’s easier for people to break the ice with newcomers; etc., etc., etc…. However, if you arrange the forks ‘right’, phrase the invitation ‘right’, and arrange the chairs ‘right’, but treat your guests like crap, then you’ve failed.”

The Bible is the same way:

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to be burned as a martyr that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14

A friend loves at all timesProverbs 17:17a

Good evening, and have a good weekend.

God bless!

– Morgan Grace Hart

**for readers with Dyslexia, this page can be cut-and-pasted into a different font. Please see OpenDyslexic for details.**

Present!

I just had this amazing realization today. It is one of those things you grow up hearing since childhood, but seldom let sink in…

God is HERE! 

He’s not:

  • Somebody from a story I like to daydream about
  • Someone that’s so far away I don’t even get to be with Him until I’m dead
  • Only present when I notice His Presence
  • Somebody who has to leave the room occasionally
  • Someone I can only experience in visions or dreams 

I mean, He’s HERE! He’s not Harry Potter or Peter Pan, someone compelling who we really, really WANT to believe is real. He’s not some **anime character** that we write fanfics about ( ok, well, some of us do…)

God bless you, and have a good weekend.

The Patience of Jesus Christ

Once, I had a dream that Jesus was with me, and though it’s a bit hard to explain, He was basically doing a blood transfusion with me. Blood was being drained from Him, enough to replace all the blood in my own contaminated body. He appeared to be in agony, the process slowly wrenching from Him one painful drop at a time. I became aware, for the first time, what kind of astounding patience He had. In the midst of all that pain, He wouldn’t speed it up to get it out of the way faster, or slow it down to make the pain less intense, or say, “you’re at 90%, that’s good enough, let me stop now.” Until the very last drop had been bled, at the exact rate and amount of pain that God had determined was perfect, that’s what Jesus went with. His hand at the controls, able to tap out at any time, He didn’t stop til it was completed. 

Jesus showed this dedication multiple times in His own, very real, death. When offered something to dull His pain, He refused (Matthew 27:33-34). When given an opportunity to fight and escape when the soldiers came to arrest Him, He refused (Matthew 26:50-54). When given a chance to use His proven eloquence and reasoning to talk His way out of being condemned, He refused (John 19:9-10, Mark 15:3-5). The Greek word often translated “completed” also translates as “perfected.” Stubborn as a mule and patient as a mountain, our Lord Jesus cut no corners, accepted no easier substitute, and resisted, at all costs, the temptation to speed up or dial down the suffering. Unlike the person who, at the end of a long exercise routine, promised themselves to do 10 reps but instead does only 9 because it is “close enough,” Jesus did not stop short. I would personally be contented if He had earned for me 99% of the blessings He has given me, but He would not. He would not stop until it was complete. If He was to do this thing, He would see it perfected. 

“Dear Jesus, thank You for going to the Cross for me. Thank you for letting nails be driven into Your very Body for my sake, for having the patience to wait it all out over the course of many hours, for the patience to carry that awful knowledge for many years, and for Your utter commitment to bringing absolutely everything into my life that God had dreamed for me, at whatever personal cost to Yourself. Amen”