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Leadership JournalHow do we get there from here?
Summer 2000

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Why Am I Angrier Than I Used to Be?



During a recent baptism, I paraphrased a passage of Scripture to fit the situation: "If anyone is in Christ, he or she (I was baptizing a young woman) is a new creature in Christ."

The next morning, I was going through the cards we use for guest registration, prayer requests, and miscellaneous information. Suddenly one of them nailed me, by name, for "daring to change the infallible, inerrant, unchangeable Word of God. When the Bible says 'he,' it means 'he' … to change it to fit your rampant feminist agenda is the worst kind of heresy."

Most days I would have tossed it in the trash with the hope that he buy a better laxative. But that particular Monday, that note really scorched me. I wasted an hour writing a scathing reply, even though the note was unsigned. (We've since adopted the policy of trashing unsigned critiques without reading them.)

At lunch I told a buddy about it, and he asked, "Why did that one make you so angry?"

"I don't know," I grumped. "I'm sick of stupid people and their stupid comments and their stupid inability to rejoice that someone made a public declaration of their faith. I'd like to show him a little heresy right across the jaw."

"Got a little anger problem there, don't you?" he asked.

"Of course not. It ticks me off that you'd even mention it."

Okay, I admitted he was right, and we talked it through. We both admitted that over the past few years, anger arrives a little quicker and stays a little longer than we like.

Petty issues that once would have received only a fleeting thought now get under our skins where they fester. Imaginary conversations with the objects of our anger get nasty or even violent.

What's up? Are most pastors angrier than they used to be, or are my friend and I just in need ...



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