Tag Archives: honesty

When a Kiss is not Just a Kiss

The Princess Bride Kiss

No one is quiet sure where kissing originated or who invented it. I’d gladly kiss whoever did. Those who research such things say most cultures have some form of kissing and have had since time began. In all cultures kissing is an act of intimacy: from an air kiss when greeting someone to nuzzling a new-born baby to the sensual Western world’s romantic kiss. Personally the last is my favorite.

But what does honesty have to do with kissing?

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Jeremiah 6:16-8:7

Colossians 2:8-23

Psalm 78:1-31

Proverbs 24:26

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Jeremiah 6:16-8:7: The first section of this reading is a dire warning for disobedience. Once again God lays out the specifics of Israel’s sin and, if they do not repent, the consequences of their disobedience.

God is amazing. He sends Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Jonah, and a slew of other prophets to warn God’s beloved people to repent and turn back to him. In Jonah’s case, God even warns a nation who are not “his people.”

Two thoughts: First, God spends more time correcting the sins of his people than those who have not made a covenant with him. Yet, it seems that Christianity spends more time bewailing the sins of those on the outside than those on the inside. Second, God always seems to send ample warning and opportunity for his people to repent before he sends wrath. Therefore, do the earthquakes, random diseases, and tragedies that befall us humans always point to God’s wrath? If so, where is the explicit warning and opportunity for repentance?

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

“An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips,” the writer of Proverbs tells us. How so?

Though some may argue that “The Princess Bride” is simply a sweet, silly romp of a love story, “Princess Bride” author William Goldman does not just marry off Buttercup and Wesley. He too marries honesty with kissing.

“Is this a kissing book?” the grandson (Fred Savage) asks his grandfather (Peter Falk) as Falk reads to him in the beginning of the movie.

“Wait, just wait,” Falk answers. But later in the story we learn, “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one [between Wesley and Buttercup] left them all behind.”

By then Savage’s character is hooked and doesn’t mind the kiss on the lips because Wesley’s (Carey Elwes) honesty and bravery has earned him that passionate and intimate kiss with Buttercup (Robin Wright). It is the most passionate, most pure kiss because of the honesty with which it is pursued and delivered.

How are a kiss on the lips and an honest answer similar? Both require intimacy. Honesty is not just stating facts or statistics. There are lies, dam lies, and then there are statistics, the old but true saying goes. Kissing and truth-telling both require vulnerability and authenticity, closeness. When Wesley drops his Dread Pirate Roberts mask, Buttercup realizes who he really is and how much she loves and trusts him.

Giving someone a factual report requires no risk, no relationship. Telling someone the truth, how you feel, what you think, and who you really are calls for an earned trust and a closeness that often only comes through facing difficulty together, as did Wesley and Buttercup.

Honest answers and a kiss on the lips also involve bravery. When I was in third grade, my best-friend told me he would pay me a quarter to kiss a certain girl on the lips. I was scared to death and could not summon the courage, even for a quarter. In later years, I’ve been asked to give an honest answer in difficult situations and have too often backed down. After my cowardly breakdown, there always seems to be a distance between me and the one I was supposed to be honest with.

Kisses on the lips and honest answers are also similar in that they are gentle. A kiss is not a right hook. Too often “honest” people offer their truth like a right hook. And they feel they have accomplished something if they delivered a fat lip. The difference here is that a kisses that are given are gentle and bless and strengthen the other person. A kiss that is taken is a punch that deflates and manipulates. Plus a gentle kiss does not make a person put up his dukes in defense but rather produces a smile and openness, even to difficult truths.

What if our close relationships could be summed up the way Wesley and Buttercup’s kiss was? “Since the invention of the honest answer, there have only been five answers that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com

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Sometimes God Scares Me Spitless

After I first started following Christ, circa 1972, I devoured the Bible. I loved it; I needed it. The stories about Jesus especially gave me hope. He was so self-assured, kind, smart, unflappable–all the things I didn’t feel I was. The way he treated the underdogs with respect, dignity, and love let me know he would treat me likewise.

Not to mention the miracles and all the other amazing stuff he did and said. Jesus made me feel good. I couldn’t get enough and toted my Bible everywhere I went.

But after a time certain parts bothered me. God scared me spitless. Especially the story of Ananias and Sapphira dying after lying to Peter and God about how much of their money they donated from the sale their property. I mean I was–and still am–far from perfect. What would stop God from just taking me out? If he did, I would probably deserve it.

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

1 Kings 2:1-3:3

Acts 5:1-42

Psalm 125:1-5

Proverbs 16:25

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

1 Kings 2:1-3:3: The continuing political intrigue, mistrust, dishonesty, etc. surrounding even David’s throne is a fulfillment of what God said (back near the end of Judges) a monarchy would produce. Human government can do no other. Yet God used David and his lineage to give the world a Savior. God always has a strong hand on events and history, shaping them to his end, even when they look like they are going the opposite direction.

Acts 5:1-42: The Church has never been without problems. Many of us have a tendency to wish the Church today were more like the First Century Church. Little do we realize that it is, both good and bad. The Church is a divine invention with humans mucking up the works. Thus it has always been.

Yet God continues to love us–the Church–and use us–the Church. Gamaliel said it best, “If their [people of the Church] purpose or activity is of human origin it will fail. But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop [it].”

Two thousand years later even many followers of Christ distrust and dislike the Church. But that does not mean her days are numbered but rather that God maybe reforming her again and getting us ready for something new.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends. Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: www.bibleconversation.com.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

How do we deal with the Bible stories about God we are uncomfortable with, don’t like, or that scare us spitless?

For a time I ignored them and only paid attention to the sections that made me feel good.

In seminary, though, I had to face these ugly pictures of God and humans. It is in seminary also, however, I learned to reason the difficult passages away. One branch of scholarship simply decided that the parts of the Bible they were uncomfortable with were not inspired by God but made up by humans. The trouble with this, as you probably know, is that more of the Bible is harsh than sweet and, in the end, this group began to call the whole book myth.

The opposite branch cried foul to that but developed a whole series of complicated systematic theologies to explain  many of these problem passages. Some of these explanations made sense, some did not. I agree with many of them. But they are often convoluted and too complex.

Slowly I’ve come to see that maybe the problem is not with God or the Bible, but with me. My view of God is askew. And coming up with ways to validate my perspective on life and God only puts more distance between God and me. I have begun to believe maybe God holds more in his hand for me (and all of creation) than me feeling good.

If God’s top priority is other than making me feel good or be happy, then maybe it’s okay to be uncomfortable, not like, and be scared spitless by certain parts of the Bible and God. Maybe I’m supposed to feel that way and not know all the answers.

It seems to me God does not view pain, death, and even life the same way we do. Are they to God as splinters and knee scrapes are to parents of young children? We care–but know these pains are not the end of the world.

Somehow I’m beginning to see how God, with his vast view of eternity, knows that seventy to eighty years (more or less) of life containing a mixed bag of pain and joy that ends in death is only a blink of his eternal eye. Beyond that blink lies much more than we can think or imagine.

Should I be scared that God let Ananias and Sapphira die because of their lies? Sure enough. God is not safe. But God is so good that he will not let what happens to us in this broken world to define him or us, because there is so much more in store.

  1. When have you expected God to make you feel good? Did he?
  2. Have you learned more about God in difficult times or easy?

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com

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