Number 9

A Recommendation – How to Live with Joy, Chris Stephanick and Word on Fire

Your mother warned you

I’m a Christian who often hangs with other Christians and I meet lots of mopey people. Their mothers were right: ‘you keep looking like that, and your face might freeze!’ They’re mad about the pandemic, and they’re mad about the presidency, and they’re mad about the price of gas…and they’re just plain sour. I can’t understand for a second why anyone would want to be like them. This flies in the face of Christianity, and every non-believer knows it and spots it from a mile away. Being a crabby old bastard turns off just about everyone. Including other crabby old bastards. It’s a nasty club.

An alternative

The alternative? Brother or sestra! There is an alternative. You are saved from your crabby old self. That’s the gospel. The G of creation repeats over and over that He adopts you into His family and loves you. He sets your path. He comforts you. He loves you. What in heaven or earth could be more life-changing? As a lantern of G’s love, shining light into darkness, it is your privilege to peel off those glasses and shine a little bit of thankfulness and joy. 

That’s the topic of Stephanick’s talk at the 2021 Good News Conference. I heard it on the Word on Fire podcast while doing dishes. Weird, but the white sauce that I hate so much? That stuff stuck to the bottom of the pot? It seemed slightly less onerous this time ‘round. I know, it’s a first-world problem, and that’s part of Stephanick’s presentation. Really? You’re in a bad mood because Leroy stepped on your new white shoes and put a big footprint on them? How about some perspective here…

Expectations, anger, and joy

I’ll add to Stephanick’s talk with a nugget that’s been rolling around inside my head for a year or so: “Anger comes from unmet expectations.” I don’t know where I heard this and don’t remember anything said, but when I’m mad at my wife or my dog, the words always scroll across my brain like a ticker tape.

Anger comes from unmet expectations.

I think about it and it dawns on me that I’m angry at my wife when she doesn’t do what I want her to. I’m angry at the dog – and this is really stupid since I volunteer to have him – when he doesn’t do what I want him to. Same anywhere in any circumstance. In fact, I’m writing it down in The Book of Mitton as one of life’s unwavering principles. Anger comes from unmet expectations.

Listen here at Word on Fire.
For the podcast website, go here. 

In case you’re wondering, I know no one at Word on Fire and receive nary a cent or scrap of a tee shirt or anything cool from recommending them. I just was a great talk.

A caveat: I add this note because people ask, “So, you recommend a knife from Amazon. Do you recommend Amazon’s business model, too? We get rich by snuffing out the local guy. Do you recommend stacking up on knives? How about anything else I can kill with?”

Yes, we live in odd times.

Regard knives, I do some woodworking and cleaning in the yard and, for whatever reason, find it handy to have a gloriously wonderful knife handy. Thus, I recommend the French Opinel. What I’m saying here, in case you miss it, is that I recommend things, not enterprises or history. So, there. 


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