Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Jesus Cleansing the Temple Does Not Excuse Your Lousy Temper

What if Jesus isn’t flying off the handle while cleansing the temple? What if there’s something other than anger in his outburst?

You can always count on certain memes to make the rounds with the church crowds every few months. There’s the one about how Moses was technically the first person to download data from the cloud using a tablet (hilarious). Of course, you can’t forget the meme that encourages you to like and share a picture of Jesus, but it’s actually Obi-Wan Kenobi (cringeworthy when your sweet old aunt doesn’t get the joke).

Another favorite that regularly pops up on newsfeeds is an image of Jesus cleansing the temple, with the text:

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

This one seems to be a favorite for those who long to excuse their tempers and turn their bad attitudes into something holy. They see Jesus’ actions in this story as giving them permission to fly off the handle and offer someone a beat down—y’know, just like Jesus. But what if Jesus isn’t flying off the handle while flipping tables? What if there’s something other than anger in his outburst? And what if it’s something more deserving of our imitation?

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What I Learned from a Broken Dog

Trixie was a great dog, but she was broken. The only problem was, she seemed normal to me. Here’s what I learned from a broken dog.

Growing up, we had a dog named Trixie. Everyone thinks their dog is special, but none of them were as special as ours. Trixie was smart, happy, and very protective of the youngest member of the family (that was me). One of the most distinctive things about her was her tail. A car had run over Trixie’s tail long before I was born. As a result, she couldn’t wag her tail. It just hung there, limp and lifeless.

Trixie and Me - What I Learned from a Broken Dog
Trixie and Me (Trixie is the one on the left)

Having a dog with a broken tail gave me a strange perspective on dogs. Trixie was the first dog I knew, so to me, she was a perfectly normal dog. When I saw other dogs wagging their tails, I assumed there was something wrong with them. “Tails can’t do that!” I knew that was true because Trixie’s tail didn’t do that. And yet there they were—wagging tails, curly tails, happy tails, tails in the air, and tails that moved so fast they were a blur. Those tails weren’t anything like my dog’s tail!

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Palm Sunday Kids Craft
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20 Years Ago I was Fired from My First Ministry

I wrote this series of articles in March 2014, 20 years after being fired from my first ministry. I’ve occasionally made updates to the articles, but the content has remained mostly unchanged.

Twenty years ago this month I was fired from my first full-time ministry.


Technically that may not be true. If I remember right, it was a Monday night when there came a knock at my door and all four elders were standing there waiting to come in. We sat in my kitchen (their kitchen, I guess) and they let me know their terms. They gave me two choices:

  1. I could resign and I would receive the two weeks’ vacation pay I had coming to me plus two weeks’ severance.
  2. I could refuse to resign and they would fire me and I would get nothing.

Now, at 26 years old, with a wife and a kid and barely making a living wage, when someone throws you out of your home (their home, I guess) and offers you a free month pay while you relocate your family and find a job that will pay enough for rent, you take that offer. At least I did.

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