Tag Archive: faith

Pure Joy, Huh?

What a day.  What a frustrating day.  I suppose I should have expected it.  After all, it couldn’t possibly be an easy day after beginning it by starting the book of James.  Seriously, could you even imagine reading James 1:2 (“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”) and then not facing trials?

I’m failing God today, and that’s the most frustrating part.  As frustrating as the trials themselves are, they can’t compare to how frustrating it is to know how I ought to respond and then respond wrongly.  Even this blog post is a wrong response.  I’m full of anger, bitterness, worry, and trepidation, and I’ve got a little bit of depression to top it off.  Oh, and let’s not forget a liberal sprinkling of cynicism.

I suppose I’ve grown a little since I was twelve; back then, I’d have put my fist through a wall.  Come to think of it, I tried that in college, too–cinder block is a little tougher than Sheetrock.  “Some people gotta learn the hard way,” right?

I’m shamed to say that I’m frustrated with work; I love my job.  I mean, I get to help people make their dreams come true.  As Malcom Reynolds once said, “This job, I would do for free.”  (Actually…)  So I’m frustrated with work?  Isn’t everyone?  Doesn’t everyone at some point just get fed up and want to walk out?  Yeah, everyone does.  You know you get tired of it every now and then.  Especially when you have to do something that doesn’t relate one iota to the work you need to get done.

So why am I so special that I should never get frustrated?  I’m not.  And I know it.  That’s why I’m upset with myself: people have to deal with far worse every day, and they don’t complain about it a bit.  A coworker of mine has been assigned the same lousy task I have, and she hates it just as much.  But she’s working on it without complaint.   Yet here I am, screaming like I did in third grade: “It’s not fair!”  Maybe I haven’t grown.

Of course, there’s nothing so convicting as the Holy Spirit.  All kinds of verses have been popping into my head as I’ve been writing this, and they all focus on God turning our mourning into dancing.  And, while I’m still disappointed in myself, I know that (somehow) God still cares for me and wants to help me face these trials.

“And the Apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

“What a wretched man I am! Who will save me from this body of death? Praise be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

“Why are you downcast, O my soul, why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him–my Savior and my God.”

“I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.”

I failed in the trials today, but tomorrow is a clean slate.  Well, it looks like I’m out of chalk for now.


Crime and Lenience, Part 1

I’ve been thinking lately that punishment is not an effective way to prevent crime.  This may sound a little wacky, but just think about it for a minute.  Punishment only happens because crime happens.  So it doesn’t stop the crime from happening.  At best, it stops the punished from committing that crime again.  At worst, it encourages people to find ways to commit the crime and avoid punishment.  Besides which, people get so hung up on following the law to avoid the punishment that they forget  the purpose of the law.

What got me on this topic?  Well, last year my wife got a speeding ticket.  She was going 27 mph in a school zone (speed limit 20).  The ticket was on the order of $200.  The result?  I’m so worried about getting a ticket driving through that school zone that I’m constantly watching my speedometer to make sure I’m under 20.  So what’s wrong with that?


If I’m looking at the speedometer, my eyes aren’t watching the crosswalks in the road.  I’m not watching the road at all besides making sure I’m in my lane.  I’m so caught up following the letter of the law that I’m completely ignoring the spirit of the law.

The sad thing is that I can’t think of a more effective system.

I’ll write another post in a few days about my thoughts on how this relates to faith, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.  Do you see similar circumstances in your life?  How do we balance the letter versus the spirit of the law?  Can you think of a system that would more effectively prevent crime?