Would you buy a used car from this man?



I have always been a square peg in the round hole of faith.  If I lived 1000 years ago I would be burned at the stake.  That is OK, I like barbeque.


Yesterday I got an email from a customer who works at a Christian University in Lakeland Florida (yes, that one).  She was asking for customer service.  In her signature block was this quote:


If you are going through a hard time today, if things look impossible, don’t give up now. Change your perspective and believe that God is working behind the scenes. Put a smile on your face and stand in confidence knowing that you are a child of the Most High God. Stand strong in the Lord today and trust that what the enemy meant for your harm, God will turn around and use to your advantage. He’ll take you places you never dreamed and cause you to rise higher and higher in every area of your life!  (Joel Osteen)


Now I think she meant well and thought she was using this as an evangelism tool.  But I would just love to see how the Lawrd would use it to his advantage if I put a brick through Joel’s ever loving skull (actually, that might work).  Did I offend you?  I hope so.  Because I find this kind of crap offensive.


When I see stuff like this I just wonder if the person has really been faced with real tragedy.  Yes God is always with us.  Yes, he works things to HIS good.  But His good and my good and my general wellbeing may be two entirely different things.


When I see something like this, I infer the following subtext:


Oh, are you going through a tuff time?  Well suck it up.  Plaster on a smile and pretend that you are happy that God is allowing this to happen to you.  Your sorrow is a real buzz kill.  If you just pretend to be happy enough, eventually God will allow you to prosper materially and allow you to donate more to my ever-loving ministry.


Real people face real tragedy all the time.  And there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that you are in pain.  I just wonder what the PollyAnnic bunch makes of Psalms Ecclesiastes not to mention most of the prophets.


“God never gives us more than we can handle.”  Hogwash!  Not only does God give us more than we can handle, I think He does it routinely.  Pain and suffering are just part of life.  I seriously doubt whether He gives a rat patoot whether or not I am successful.  I do believe he wants me to be a man of character and compassion, a man who depends on Him utterly.  Whether I achieve some pulp writer’s lofty ideals, are likely of no concern to Him.


Here is to being overwhelmed and utterly dependant!


6 comments on “Would you buy a used car from this man?

  1. AMEN!!! This is one of the best critiques of the emotionally and spiritually unhealthy version of Christianity that seems to dominate America.

  2. Great post, Ben!

    It’s so sad that this is what following Jesus has become… I always thought that Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief… but maybe that’s just me.. or wait… ISAIAH!

    I’m much more comforted knowing that Jesus understands and sympathizes with my grief and pain than he being someone who wants me to fake happiness for the rest of my life.

    Again, well said!

  3. Ben –

    Just put on a happy face, man! What’s the deal?

    I totally agree. Aren’t we supposed to “weep with those who weep,”etc.? I guess smiling and rejoicing with the happy is easier.

    Down with Christian pap!

  4. RIGHT ON!!!

    Oh man, I have often wanted to tear something apart when I’ve gotten those messages…the cliches are the worst –

    God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

    What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    God gave you this for a reason.

    Gave me this, huh? For a reason, eh? I can handle it? You’re SURE it’s not going to kill me? My choice is to die or become stronger?!

    This is the crap people say to make THEMSELVES feel better when other people are suffering. That’s why I’ve been coming up with several responses…

    Cliche: God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.
    Response: Yeah, I know, and that’s why s/he made me able to handle a LOT of beer.

    Cliche: What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
    Response: So if I don’t want to be strong, suicide is an acceptable option?

    Cliche: God gave you this for a reason.
    Response: I agree. S/He wants me to be spokesperson for Ambien, Zoloft, and Valium.

  5. A friend referred me to your site. I am thinking you have a special needs child, too. You don’t know how this post hit home for me. So, thanks. ALOT.

  6. Rach – Thanks for reading. Yes, I have a son with VACTERL Syndrome. On occation I will blog about it.

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