Church is Rough in America Right Now

My family moved to Denver about two and a half years ago, and in that time we still haven't landed at a church. We've had a few stints at a few places that lasted longer than others, but we still tend to only manage a few months before we fizzle out and leave. There are a load of reasons we've had a hard time (sermons that were fundamentally opposed to the gospel, lack of diversity, kids programs that literally made my kids cry, small group leaders who referred to gay people as "flamers" etc...), but the fundamental issue for me is that I really want church to be about community. And we haven't found one yet where that's the case.

Some do better than others. And admittedly a few of the church's we've attended have seemed to have great community if you fit a certain mold (under 35 and without kids for example), and I recognize that with our four kids it's quite difficult to get plugged in. People invite singles or even small families over for meals to get to know them, but I'd be a fool to not acknowledge that it's a quite a different level of commitment to have a family as a big and chaotic as mine over.

So it's been rough, and I know it's not all on these churches, I know I'm the biggest problem in this situation—me and my lack of patience with American cultural values around church.

Yesterday was particularly rough. We finally found a church that our children absolutely love. There was one they liked attending before, but they really only liked that one because the church gave them candy at the end of each service (honestly, I'm totally fine with whatever it takes for my kids to be excited to attend). This current one seems to actually have decent teaching, and there are other kids for ours to connect with (and time for them to actually connect).

But the teaching in the adult portion of this church is really painful. Not wrong mind you, just painful.

The teaching yesterday was about praising God. There were some good points, such as God is the one who enables the praise and praises through us. We don't need to show up worthy in order to praise etc... But then it delved for about 10 minutes in to what the different body gestures in worship meant. "One hand in the air is like shaking a hand with God, two hands is like.... kneeling is like....", and my wife turns to me and says, "Are they somehow pulling this from the Bible?"

No. No they're not.

On the drive home we passed an old church building that was bought by a new-age-y group and, while there is no longer any tie to Jesus or evangelicalism, it is still labelled a church. "A Center for Spiritual Learning". Something like that. The building is huge and the parking lot was absolutely packed to the gills. The church sign said the topic that morning was "Divisiveness and Strife: Spiritual Basics for Toxic, Troubling Times". My wife sees the title and says, "Which would you rather hear? A talk about what I'm doing with my hands during worship music? Or something that actually engages with what's going on in our society and helps people enter in to the discussion? No wonder that place is packed."

She's not wrong.

Maybe they bomb teaching the truth (I can say with some confidence that this is highly likely), but I bet they get community right.

So many of the ways a church is run today are results of strange American Christian cultural values. Sitting is pews isn't inherently evil. But it's not in the Bible as the prescribed way of doing church either. Nowhere does it say that there must be a white male with a beard, a guitar, and a real desire for a record deal at the front singing songs as loudly as he can.

Yesterday's bitter tweet:
Community is a great place to start. When we gather, we should actually gather. Right now we do about as much gathering as if we all downloaded a podcast and listened at home. There are many many other assumptions I'd love to see questioned as well.

Communion at your church is broken

"The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And by 'this', what I mean is, stand in a line. Do not talk to one another. Move slowly towards the front of the room as I want all the introverts to be uncomfortable. Then return to your seat. Eat a flavorless wafer, it will be easier and conform better to your ideas of shared germs.”

"In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. And here I mean serve this in tiny portions, as little as can possibly be managed by your large crowds in your pews, by golly do not use wine, it's too sensual of an experience, use grape juice (don't worry, grape juice is a thing that'll be invented in the 1800s, you'll know what I mean then).” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup alone in your seat, you proclaim (to people who have joined you in the pews and no one else) the Lord's death until he comes." - 1 Corinthians 23b-26

Filed under: Things the Bible definitely does not say.

Thoughts briefly:
1) We've turned a feast of remembrance in to a routine to be executed in before the band finishes their second song. Instead of it being about Jesus, and community, it's about procedure.

2) We've turned a feast of deliciousness in to a celebration of cheap wafers and terrible over-sweet grape juice.

3) We've turned a feast we should be having every day (how often do you think they drank wine and ate bread?) and turned it in to a once per month routine for the faithful church attendees.

4) God can (and does) use our foolishly broken procedures, He is a God of profound grace. But it sure would be nice to get more of it right.

Adventure and Calm

I just finished reading Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” to my kids and I was a bit struck by the final two chapters. Where most books would merely state, “a year later Bilbo finally was home and remembering his journey,” or something of the sort, Tolkien spends two whole chapters on the return home.

Bilbo wants to be back in the calm of the shire. But he also mourns the loss of his adventure the entire way home. And he never really recovers from it. He never enters back in to his local society and he’s always more in touch with the people who stop by to visit and remember the adventure.

I identify with all of this. I love the calm of America. And I desperately mourn the loss adventure I felt in ministry in China.

I have no solution, I only found commiseration in a Tolkien book, and maybe some near-tears too.

You Might be a Universalist Because Your Theology of Hell is All Wrong

I’m increasingly running across people who say something to the effect of, “God can’t send people to hell. I can’t reconcile that with the graceful loving God that I know. Therefore he must send no one to hell.”

Now before I get too deep in to this, I should clarify, I am not at all a universalist. Heck, I spent a decade of my life trying to tell people about Jesus and train others to do the same. But I have to say that idea of our loving, gracious God sending people to a place of tortue, burning, and eternal torment is something I can’t totally grasp either. Maybe that is how things are. But I don’t think I’m entirely convinced.

There are quite a few verses in the new testament that give us an idea of hell. Matthew 13:42&50, “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, Mark 9:43, “where the fire never goes out.” Matthew 25:41, “the eternal fire prepared for the devel and his angels.” Revelation 21:8, “the firey lake of burning sulfur.”

I mean, those seem pretty damn (ahem) clear right? The interesting thing is the Bible gives us almost nothing on heaven (besides a descending city). Why is there so little written about heaven in the Bible? I buy that the puritans were interested in painting a picture of hell so horrifying that folks would be scared in to heaven, but I don’t buy that the writers of the Bible would (again, I could be wrong about this).

C.S. Lewis’ “Great Divorce” gives a picture of heaven I think is probably near-prophetic. I’m not sure we’re going to know exactly what it’s like (the new Jerusalem sure sounds a lot more like a city than C.S. Lewis’ picture paints for example), but as far as what we’ll be let in on in this life, I think it comes about as close as we’re going to get.

Likewise I think his picture of hell is something we don’t often consider. Lewis paints hell as an almost-dark city where everyone has everything they want, but they’re miserable. They’re separated from God, which is the only thing that could truly make them happy.

Essentially heaven, in Lewis’ imagery, boils down to “communion with God.” And hell boils down to “separation from God.” That is, those who go to heaven get God in his fullest, and his perfect creation. Those who go to heaven get themselves in their fullest, and their imperfect desires.

The picture I often like to use as an example is that of a child and eating. If we left our kids to decide what to eat, they would choose ice cream and candy for every meal—always. They would constantly feel terrible, and hungry, and then go in search of more ice cream and candy.

Likewise hell is people getting what they ultimately want, themselves. Their own decisions. So hell becomes a place where they get exactly that. Want a bigger house? Want to live further from your neighbors? Just move, get what you want. But we know those things aren’t actually what satisfies us. Still, we eat more ice cream, but are never satisfied.

Hell is getting yourself. It’s like fire and brimstone in terms of joy (i.e. not much), it just also has the continual allure of pending satisfaction (just one more bowl of ice cream and everything will be great). The images of eternal fire and weepeing and gnashing of teeth, of the firey lake of burning sulfur, I think they’re images depicting the misery of the lost striving to find fulfillment in being their own gods.

If people who don’t believe are eternally tortured by a gracious God, I understand why that’s hard to accept. If people are given over to themselves for eternity by a gracious God, it’s honestly not much better (any better?), but it’s something we can somehow grasp.

I’m not a universalist.

I believe in this life (on this side of death) the believer, in pursuing God, gets a glimpse of heaven now—communion with Him does make everything else go strangely dim. And in this life the non-believer gets a glimpse of hell now—vain pursuit of self-satisfaction.

I want to eat food that satisfies. I want to know what health feels like. Ice cream looks nice, but is empty when consumed exclusively and without the guidance of someone who knows better how to satisfy me. Like most of the world, it has its place if it’s viewed as a part of a “balanced diet”.

Are you a universalist because you haven’t really sorted out what you think about hell?

My Church Attendance Problem: or Profound Cognitive Dissonance

When talking to people about their lives in China there was always this one profound disconnect from logic that drove me crazy. When people would honestly tell me about struggles in life and what made them miserable, I’d ask for details.

“There is so much pressure in life,” they would say.

In a large part (though not exclusively) because of the one child policy, most people in their mid–30’s or younger were an only child and felt the need to support both their parents and their two sets of grandparents. Many of these parents sacrificed everything they had so their kids could go to college and get a good paying job. As such these folks grew up and got a decent job and now their parents feel they owe them something in return.

What they owe could be money to pay things back, but usually it’s the pressure to buy a car (always brand new, always financed), and then an apartment (often bought on a 75 year mortgage), and then find someone to get married to so they can have a kid (grandparents raise the kids usually, and they find a lot of meaning in life through this). Marriage was almost never about finding someone you enjoyed being with, or were in love with, but someone who was your social equivalent and would make a “good wife” (have kids, be loyal etc…) or “good husband” (by providing the things mentioned above).

And I would always ask, “To what end? Why do you want to have a kid? Because you want to? Or because it’s what you’re supposed to do? And how are you going to raise your kid to not fall in to the same pattern of giving that kid immense pressure, to the do the very things which cause you to be profoundly dissatisfied with life?”

After asking this there would be silence for a few minutes. Then a shrug and, “But this is how we live life here.”

Fatalistic and sad.

So then yesterday I’m talking with a friend of mine who grew up in the church like I did and is wrestling with a lot of the same things I’m wrestling with. I hate going to church on Sunday mornings right now. We’ve been to a million churches and almost everything about all of them drives me crazy. They’re overly concerned with the minutiae of things like how far apart the chairs or, or what color the auditorium is to be lit during each worship song—all at the expense of, you know, actually connecting people. Actually preaching the gospel etc… (though the good ones still pull this off sometimes).

And my friend asks, “Well, why do you go?” I go because I want my kids to enjoy church. I go to a big church because they’re the only ones with decent kids programs even though they’re the very ones that make me crazy for all the other reasons.

“Why do you want your kids to like church?” He asks.

“So when they grow up they want to be part of a church.” Is my embarrassing excuse for a response…. I want my kids to enjoy church now so they grow up as frustrated with church as I am, and they feel the need to keep going and to bring their kids because “That’s how Christians live life here.”

The cognitive dissonance that drove me crazy in China and I could not get people to see beyond is the same cognitive dissonance I’m now dealing with regularly. And I have no idea what the answer is.

Observation on Living for Jesus

When I was young, I thought a Christian was supposed to stand out by the superficial things they did differently (not cursing, going to church on Sunday, listening to the right music, etc…).

Now I believe I can curse all I damn well please. Because it really doesn’t offend anyone but Christians anymore. And really only those still in the former camp (am I wrong about this?). But that I’m supposed to stand out by the way I love people, have patience for people, encourage people, and live a life valuing God and His creation instead of money, sex, fame, lust….

Honestly if you live like that, you stand out pretty substantially in this world.

No one asks why you don’t cuss. But people ask why you love the way you do.

Lamenting the Loss of my "Mission"

I’ve talked about this before. I need to talk about it more because it’s what I chew on all day, every day.

I lived as a missionary for ten years in Southwest China. I worked with and worked hard to support some of my biggest heroes. People who spent years in jail for their faith. People who sacrificed more than I can imagine for their faith. I feel like I’m the guy who fought on the front lines with bullets whizzing by my head; I came out completely unscathed, but the people who fought alongside of me were true heroes. They fought, they raided, they attacked and were even captured—but fought on.

I got to be there for it. And in some ways I fear it’s my “glory days” that I’ll always look back on with a bit of longing. I loved rubbing shoulders with the best. I loved caring for, ministering to, and going in to battle with the Lord’s “special forces.” But now I’ve been relegated to the post office.

As a soldier on the front lines, I always believed in my head that the post office was necessary. We couldn’t fight without it, therefore the role it played was essential. But my heart said it was a second class citizen.

Now I’m in the post office. By the grace of God I’m an important player in the post office. But in a real sense, I’m mad at God. I don’t care how important I am. I was willing to sacrifice life and limb on the front lines but, now that He’s assigned me to the post office, I’m angry at Him. “Screw you,” I think, to my commanding officer. You took away what I love. My feeling of glory. Of being someone of importance.

I know without question (in my head) that this assignment is the right one. That what I’m doing matters and how I do it unto the Lord is of absolute significance. But my heart hasn’t caught up. I miss the glory, the adventure, the sense that I was someone of utmost importance.

I haven’t adjusted to life in middle class America (the post office). But there are an incredible amount of lost people here. In some ways it’s more lost than China. And success for a soldier of Christ is faithfully doing what He’s assigned me to do (and this is where I’m assigned! Like it or not).

I’m not saying it’s easy (it’s not). But faithfully doing this here is what I’m called to do.

Lord give me wisdom, on how to do it. Help me to forgive you for removing me from the front lines, because I’m mad about it. I know it’s right. But I’m still mad.

Teach me to be the postman you’ve called me to be. And help me to do it for your glory.

I know my skills, my giftings, and my love of the Kingdom and the Battle are valuable and can be used by the Lord right here. But I’m not sure I believe what I know.

Patriotism in a Time of Trump

“Good men needed to be convinced that their country’s cause was just; but it was still their country’s cause, not the cause of justice as such. The difference seems to me important. I may without self-righteousness or hypocrisy think it just to defend my house by force against a burglar; but if I start pretending that I blacked his eye purely on moral grounds–wholly indifferent to the fact that the house in question was mine–I become insufferable. The pretence that when England’s cause is just we are on England’s side–as some neutral Don Quixote might be–for that reason alone, is equally spurious. And nonsense draws evil after it… A false transcendence is given to things which are very much of this world.”

  • C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves

I increasingly believe almost anything relevant to today, can be found in books written by those who have gone before us.

Shockingly relevant/salient.

We Have no King but Caesar!

“We have no king but Caesar!” - John 19:15

When the disciples betray Jesus it’s horrifying.

When the high priest predicts and ultimately approves of His death, it’s horrifying.

When Peter denies Jesus three times, we feel his shame.

When the Jews hand Jesus over and ask for a robber to be released, it’s embarrassing.

When Pilate tries to release Jesus because he finds no fault in Him, but the people demand His crucifixion, I am already starting to be numb to the foolishness.

But when the people cry out, “We have no king but Caesar!” I just sort of lose it. Their oppressor—they declare allegiance to the one who oppressed them. The very one from whom they hope the messiah comes to rescue them, they declare to be their king.

And in the same breath they deny their God.

On the hand, they deny their God repeatedly, and I’m sure we do too in our idols and actions, but this is so over the top blatant, and embarrassing.

I just don’t really have a box for any of it. Other than to be reminded that we should conversely cry out, “We have no King but Jesus.”

Holiness, Hedonism, and White Collar America

When I moved home from the mission field I made a few conscious decisions. I determined I was going to drink more, and that I would start to curse more.

Now before you get your undies all bunched up, let me clarify what that means. Cursing more means using "cuss words", the kind I grew up believing no Christian would ever mutter. The kind I spent a week feeling terrible about when I said "shit"—to my own surprise—in sixth grade. It does not mean using the Lord's name as a curse word. That is something else entirely, with which I'm wholly uncomfortable. However, most four-letter words have become completely acceptable amongst my generation. So much so, I've noticed them being used in job interviews. Saying "shoot" today is the equivalent of wearing a sign around your neck that says, "I don't know how to interact with society."

This is a loosely held belief, not a conviction. Your mileage may vary.

And for drinking, I determined I would partake more regularly, not the point of drunkenness.

Both of these decisions were related to my reaction against the very tight religious rules under which I lived for a decade as a missionary. The organization I worked for often held these things in wonderful tension, but towards the end, people were confusing priorities and the freedom of the gospel. I'm not saying they got it entirely wrong, just that they swung the pendulum far enough the one direction, that I reacted when I left and chose to swing it back the other (again, probably a bit far).

Now that I'm a non-full-time-missionary I find myself wrestling with just diving full on in to hedonism. Or at least desiring it. Partly because I've now, for the first time in my life, not been living entirely for the purpose of holiness.

For most of my life, I was seeking to be holy, seeking to eradicate each and every sin and making that the laser focus of my life. As I preached the gospel repeatedly in China I realized early on that the Gospel is not about sin management, it's about a savior who has already solved it for us. Our lives should be about keeping our eyes on Jesus, not laser focused on zapping our every remaining sin (a vain life-goal if there ever was one). While I knew, even early on, that life was not about sin management, I was under a religious system where it was difficult to live any other way.

But in embracing the freedom of the Gospel, in reacting—as strongly as I have—to the religious foolishness (the same religious foolishness I think Jesus would have reacted to, and did react against with the pharisees), I feel a little lost.

My life was about holiness. Now it's about keeping a business afloat. My life was about praying for people, and helping guide them spiritually. Now it's about keeping clients happy and managing co-worker relationships.

I don't believe there is anything less holy about what I'm doing now, but it sure feels less holy—or at least less meaningful. I am certainly less-often reminded about the kingdom importance of what I'm doing. And I'm also certainly praying for people less often. Though the Lord regularly tells me this is exactly where He'd have me, it doesn't mean I "get it".

At it's core, I think I've reacted thinking, "If I'm called to be a missionary in China, I'm going to chase God and His holiness with all my worth. But, if I'm called to be a white-collar American worker, I'm not sure I want to serve this way. I'm not sure I'm willing to see it as an equal calling. And I'm not sure I'm willing to put in the same effort for the holiness I previously sought."

And goodness am I stuck with no resolution, just wrestling with this.

Preaching the Truth in Love: Or, Heaven Awaits Now

The grace of God and the joy we have in Him and the excitement we experience in salvation is great—however you approach it. That said, without really stopping to dwell on the absolute misery of hell, and eternal separation from God, it’s difficult to realize just how great that salvation is. We will probably never understand it, this side of heaven.

When we preach the truth to people, when we call them to the Lord things like hell, condemnation, and eternal damnation are things we try to avoid because it’s been used in fear tactics where Christians have “preached” against those we believe have committed sins that are unforgivable. But no sin is unforgivable. With the blood of Jesus everything is redeemable. Literally everything. And the damnation we avoid, the separation, the hell we avoid both in the next life and in this life, are so profound that our salvation is worth more than we can imagine.

Therefore calling others to truth—now—is calling them out of damnation. Out of separation. Out of hell, even in this life. Salvation is great, and the Lord can enter in to even very sinful situations without convicting a person of every sin all at once. But the glory we’re promised, the joy we can experience, is so much greater than the separation we previously had, that it is profoundly worth communicating clearly.

Call your friends out of sin, where you can, where you have authority to do so, where you can do so in love. Because the night and day contrast between the hedonism of this world, and the joy of a life lived in Christ is just that—profoundly different. It’s worth pursuing right now. Heaven awaits now.

Don’t accept sin when heaven is promised. Don’t settle for sin when salvation is free. Don’t avoid the truth when joy is literally standing at the door ready to be let in. And don’t deny those around you the truth when you think it’s love to ignore it. It’s a hard line to walk (balancing truth and love). But an essential one nonetheless.

Biblical Reasons I'm Voting for Donald Trump

Love your neighbor, unless he’s Syrian. Then, by all means keep him off your damn lawn. - Luke 10:29

He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide disputes in favor of America; and they shall beat their swords into guns, and their spears into bullets; nations shall not lift up sword against America (for they will be afraid), and she shall be great once again. - Micah 4:3

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but strong judgements on the appearance of individual women. - Matthew 10:34

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their very tiny hands; and if they speak poisonous words, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, even when unwelcome.” - Mark 16:17-18

And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the democratic fire; to others show no mercy or fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh of that woman's husband. - Jude 1:22-23

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not late night tweet, Do not lie to get elected, Do not touch without asking”—according to human precepts and teachings? - Colossians 2:20-22

If your enemy is hungry, do not give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, deny him water to drink,
those who work hard will be able to fend for themselves. - Proverbs 25:21

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever votes for him should not pay more taxes but have eternal life. - John 3:16

All verses are quoted from the GAV (Great American Version).

Idle Thought on a Sunday Morning

If you want a really big church, make it a cult of personality.
If you want a healthy church, consider making it about Jesus.

Love Your Neighbor Unless...

“Love your neighbor, unless he’s Syrian. Then, by all means keep him off your lawn.” - Luke 10:29

Things the Bible does not say.

An Unnecessary Toy, and God Teaching Us a Lesson

I am a pipe smoker. I have shared that before, but it’s an important detail for the rest of this.

I am a pipe smoker, and as such, I have often fiddled with my existing pipes. If you don’t smoke a pipe, you probably don’t know that a slightly larger hole in the shank of the pipe makes for a much better pipe-smoking experience (in my, and other’s, opinion). In fiddling with reshaping and re-drilling, I found out about the world of pipe making and relatively early on I became interested in the idea of one day having a lathe to make pipes of my own.

Now, as you know if you read this blog, I spent most of the last decade in China with my four children in apartments barely big enough to hold my pipes. Actually, the apartments were too small for my pipes, but my wife was insanely accommodating and allowed me to store pipes at home despite the small-ness of our apartments. The idea of ever keeping a lathe in our apartment, however (no garage, often on the 6th floor or higher), was pure foolishness. So I just always assumed I would never own a lathe.

Fast forward to today, I live in relatively-suburban America (it’s been a huge adjustment, trust me), and I have an oversized garage where my pipe collection fits just fine. A few months ago my Uncle sold his house of 35 years and moved in to a small apartment. In his old house, he housed a metal lathe originally belonging to my grandfather who passed away about 15 years ago. He called me, when cleaning out his basement, and asked if I wanted a lathe. My father was even willing to drive it out from my Uncle’s place to my new place.

I do not need a lathe.

I always figured it would be nice to play with one a few times, but then I’d probably make a pipe or two and decide I wasn’t really in to it.

But, now I have a lathe. In fact, tonight I turned my 5th pipe on that lathe. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in learning, and I have a long ways to go, but I really enjoy standing out in my garage and working on a pipe. I don’t need a lathe. I figured I’d never have a lathe. Lathes like this one cost about $1500+. I got his lathe for free.

Tonight as I turned this pipe (the first one I’m really pretty proud of), I was standing there thinking about how good the Lord is to me. He knows I don’t need a lathe, but he found a way, without my digging around, to get one to me for free. And I’m thoroughly blessed by it, the immense space in my garage for it, the fact that I ever have time to play on it, etc…

This is an example of the Lord just blessing me above and beyond. It is an unnecessary desire of my heart, but it’s been a desire for a long time. Getting a lathe for free is only and just a big blessing—that is all.

I was standing in my garage thanking the Lord for it tonight, thinking, “The Lord has provided this home, this place in America, this oversized garage, and even a lathe to boot. Goodness He has taken care of me. Thank you Lord for taking care of a job, a life and home for my wife and kids (things I truly care about and have fought for), and even a toy above and beyond that. The Lord really can and does take good care of me.”

Then immediately after this, I thought, “Oh no. I’m thankful for this right now only because God is about to take my job away from me and I’ll need to remember how He provides for a job, a home, a life, and even unnecessary toys, just so I don’t panic when it’s time to look for a new job.”

That’s ridiculous, but somewhat portrays something I think many of us think about God. We think, “Yes he does take care of us, but He might take it all away just to remind us He’s in control and we’re not.”

But I think that’s a terrible misconception. God does not see us a foolish to whom He wants to teach a lesson. Now we are foolish, and He does teach us. But He loves and delights in us, He even wants to (and does) see us as His children.

I hope I can accept the Lord’s delight, without fearing it’s conditional or only there temporarily to teach me a lesson of some sort. I want to delight in His unnecessary but much appreciated gift, and His care of all my other things.

Lord, help me to delight in you. To trust you, and to trust you aren’t out just to take things away so you can teach me a lesson. And thank you for providing, above and beyond what I could have imagined.