Afraid of Bad News?


Unfortunately, yes.

Sometimes, I am.

Every time I read Psalm 112:7 I love it, but then….I don’t.

In speaking of the person who fears the Lord, is righteous, generous, etc…the Psalmist says

“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

It’s the usual wisdom lit principle that is often true: be good and you get good, and don’t get bad–be bad and you get bad. Santa Clausology. But try telling that to Job.  His friends wrongly deduced that all the bad news Job received was connected to his sin, that he wasn’t righteous, generous, that he didn’t fear God.  And God was displeased with Job’s friends for preaching this cause and effect mentality (which is in the bible from Deuteronomy to Galatians).

Try telling that to my internet friends Les, Keith, and John.

As one who has received bad news, I continue to expect it. Occasionally get caught up in obsessing: thinking, expecting, preparing emotionally for that phone call or knock at the door. “What will I do? How will I handle it? What next?”

Foolishly trying to prepare for that which you cannot prepare. Like Hugh Jackman’s character in “Prisoners,” you can have a basement prepped for the end times, but some lunatic might still kidnap your little girl.

For me, the hardest part is that God hasn’t promised and doesn’t promise it won’t happen again.  People still die and sometimes in unexpected and tragic ways. Bad things still happen to the good and the bad. Families still fall apart as long as Satan is “little g” god of this world.

Trying to convince myself “it probably won’t happen” doesn’t help.  Math was never a favorite subject and I am not good at percentages.  It might or it might not.  Tragedy will or won’t happen. 50/50.

Maybe this Psalm could be interpreted to say that while bad news may come, the godly man or woman doesn’t have to fear it. Sounds good.  Maybe. I don’t know.

I guess I prefer to endure simply with the comfort that while bad news is likely, good news is certain.  Already here.  And HE will help us get through the dark days of loss and grief.

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…”

Merry Christmas! And if it’s not merry, that’s okay, too. Don’t let anyone try to force “Merry” on you.

May God be with you.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).



What I been Reading

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

You can read the DSM and doctor’s comments but reading a narrative by a gifted author (Sophie’s Choice, etc.) about what it’s like to have Major Depressive Disorder is enlightening.  He talks about how his view of depression (and suicide) change after suffering himself.  He talks about suicide, including how close he got, and various artists he knew who killed themselves. Provides great insight into severe depression.

His writing skill, personal experience, and research (he himself read about his disease in the DSM) provide for a fascinating and brief (less than a 100 pages) read.

Scarred Faith by Joshua Ross

I have already loaned my copy so I can’t quote much except this: “May God forgive us for taking better care of our buildings than we do our neighbors.”

The book is very personal and very powerful.  It focuses on the loss of Ross’ sister who died unexpectedly at a young age and that death’s impact on his faith. He says a lot of important things about risk, adventure, and faith. His style is humorous and down-to-earth but also be warned: Don’t read it in public unless are you okay with crying in public. Big, ugly crying.

The second half of the book has a lot of great stories about what God is doing in Memphis.

Would be great for anyone who has lost a loved one, for ministers, and Jesus followers of all kinds.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

Only halfway through this one but it is interesting.  It’s a personal account about living with Bipolar Disorder (technically Schizo-Affective because she also had delusions/hallucinations but she focuses on the more commonly known Bipolar) written by a psychologist.  She does a great job of painting the picture of the mood swings, especially the highs of mania and the spending, risky behavior, etc. that accompanies it.  Jamison does a good job of explaining why so many who suffer from BPD resist taking medication in spite of the severity of the symptoms.

The most interesting tidbit so far is that she made it all the way through graduate school without recognizing she had Bipolar Disorder.  She was well aware of her moods and struggles but didn’t connect the dots.

Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs (Revised)

Working in retail has taught me many things… of them is:  there are a LOT of really bad Christmas songs out there.

Whether it’s inane lyrics, miserable remakes of classics, or depressing themes, we need to get rid of a few thousand tunes.

Here’s my list of the worst in descending order:

10.  Christmas Shoes: depressing, schmaltzy, emotionally manipulative.  Don’t like it. But I don’t like the banter on K-Love and most Christian radio either. And I don’t watch many Hallmark/Lifetime/Ion Holiday movies either.

9 Christmas is the time to say “I love you”: Billy Squier?  Really? Billy Corgan also has a holiday tune.  I am waiting for the all-satanist Christmas album staring Judas Priest and Marilyn Manson singing about baby Jesus. Listen, just because you are a recording artist does NOT mean you should record a Christmas song/album. Do we want Slipknot singing “Little Drummer Boy?” An Avenged Sevenfold version of “Mary, Did You Know?” I think not.

8. Little St Nick by the Beach Boys: Love the Beach Boys but they don’t get a free pass.  “Christmas comes each time this year….” That’s a lyric someone actually wrote.  It sounds like every other song they sang. Remakes of this are even worse.

7. Any version of “All I want for Christmas is You” that doesn’t involve Mariah Carey: Okay, not a huge Mariah fan but this is the only version I can handle and hearing it more than 2 in a day is too much.  Let’s stop recording this, please!

6. 99.9% of Christmas songs written and recorded after 1970.  See, I am not a Grinch, it’s just I have music taste. Nat King Cole? Bing Crosby? Brenda Lee?  Yes, Yes, Yes! We just don’t need any more.

5.  “Mele Kalikimaka (The Hawaiian Christmas Song)” No offense to Hawaii.

4.  Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? Catchy 80s music but too depressing. Grateful for all the people fed and helped though.  If this were a list of top Philanthropic Christmas Songs it would be in the top 5.

3. I knew there were at least 10.  Santa Forever featuring Mia Crosby deserves to be on the list. Maybe it’s not terrible, just repetitive.  And when you hear it over and over it’s rough.

2. Last Christmas.  WHAM/George Michael.  What a sad song. Someone needs to give this young man some dating advice.  Maybe you shouldn’t give your heart away so freely to some skank. And you are going to try again this year?!?!  Whoah! Slow Down.  Be careful!  Maybe you could just give her an iTunes gift card first and see how it goes.  Ease your way through Valentine’s Day with some chocolates.  Save your heart until you know her better, and are more certain she will reciprocate. (best if read in Mitch Hedberg voice)

1.  This last one hurts me, but “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney.  Maybe if it had been written by Melissa McCarthy this would have been acceptable.  Sir Paul has given us so much music magic and then this. It’s hard for me to even comprehend how this could have come from a Beatle.  I expect more even from Ringo. I prefer to believe it was written by Linda and he felt sorry for her and claimed it was his own creation just so it might be recorded and be accepted.  But even a pop icon doesn’t get a free pass for this repetitive, psychosis-inducing ditty.