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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

intercession needed...

So I'm growing my hair out.

My daughter says I'm trying to be like Joe Jonas of the famous boy band, "The Jonas Brothers". She's dead wrong.  I'm trying to be like Troy from High School Musical 3 . . . a world of difference to anyone who is a connoisseur of Disney fodder.  

I haven't had a different style for nearly 12 years--since my Senior year in college when I sported the antiquated "ledge cut".  I've pretty much had the same "pineapple" look since then. You know, where it's short and in the front you have this puffy little tuft of hair spiked out all random and such.  But the time had come for a change.

My wife had been dropping hints over the last year or two that I should try something different. I could tell her attraction to me had plummeted after our 10th anniversary and that what worked for the first 10 years wasn't going to carry me through the next decade.  I finally took the red pill and freed myself from the 90's Matrix.  I've been born again (in a follicle kind of way).

The hardest thing is working through the greasy, gritty Jr. High transition from short hair to long.  I've spent weeks covering myself with a tarp (hat) in order to not scare off the normal people that are forced to interact with me on a regular basis.  There were even two weeks that I spoke in church with a hat to avoid a sudden drop in attendance due to the eye-soar-pastor syndrome.  It's been quite a journey thus far, and I'm not even close to the finish line.

I'm still wearing a hat about every other day.  It reminds me of the days when I had braces and I wouldn't smile real big because of my insecurity.  I would just sort of smirk like I was doing something naughty.  Most of pictures from my braces epoch showcase a sheepish Jason not wanting to be exposed as a tinsel-teeth fairy in his formative college years. (that's right, I had braces in college and Heidi still dated me).  This hair thing is akin to this "braces" wound I sustained from 1993-1996.  haha.

So I'm calling on everyone with ears to hear to lift up holy hands and engage in hardcore intercession for this hairy issue I'm having.  I'm trying to stay strong, but like a dog returns to its vomit, I wrestle with urges several times a day to hit the Great Clips Saloon and relapse into what is, to me, my default cut...high and tight with a little tuft of follicle love left in the front for the "hey, I'm-not-in-the-military" non-verbal.

I covet your prayers, my blog friends.

Monday, October 27, 2008

venting....

I just gotta get this off my chest.

Yesterday was my daughter Kami's baptism.  I was so excited for her.  Heidi and I were pumped to be able to baptize her together.  Family was in town.  The stage was set for something really amazing.

But then something happened inside me that I can't explain even with a good night of sleep under my belt and some time to process yesterday's emotions.  As I was sitting there in the service waiting for the baptism, I made a determination that I would not cry so as to not steal away the moment from Kami and turn the focus upon me.  A decision I now regret because I spent most of my mental energy trying not to cry and used up the energy that helps you be normal.  

The baptism came and I struggled to be normal.  I couldn't talk sensibly.  My brain was spinning around in circles and I couldn't frame what I wanted to say.  Here is my daughter sitting in the baptismal tank and I'm lost for words.  I communicate as a profession...and I'm sitting there stupefied in a moment of paralyzed pathos.  

My tongue wouldn't work, like a nightmare where you're trying to run from your pursuers and your legs feel like molten lead.  My tongue felt swollen and palsy.  My brain runny and restless.  Kami was looking at me and it felt like her eyes were saying, "Dad, why are you ruining my baptism with your incompetence?"  I know she wasn't, but it's hard for me to not feel that.  I was a "no show" and it was my eldest daughters baptism.  Of all times to go limp.

I started talking and said something that didn't relate to the next thing I said that couldn't have been further from the context of the next thing I said.  Nothing meshed together.  Nothing made sense.  To make matters worse I dove into a conversation Kami and I had about sex on the way home the other night.  It really did have a point, but after I led out with a couple sentences, I forgot what that point was until later in the day.  Thus, it just felt like I interjected two sex comments into a baptism moment for no apparent reason.  I wanted to share how much I loved her inquisitive heart and how I loved our deep conversations spurred on by her questions.  I wanted to affirm the richness of her heart and how proud I am that she cares so deeply about weighty things.  

Instead of that, I uttered detached logic strung together with nonsensical words leading to a feeling of "what the heck is my deal" filling my whole being.  After botching the whole baptism, we proceeded to dunk her and as she came up out of the water and we moved out of the tank for others to occupy, I just felt like I wanted to go somewhere lonely to hide myself away.  I wanted to cry...I was crying inside.  I felt like I got ambushed.  And my daughter paid for my idiotic showing.

I was struggling, for some reason, with being a pastor and a daddy.  The two roles don't often seem different to me, but they did during this baptism.  I was wrestling with performance anxiety.  I was overthinking.  I was overstrategizing.  I was overfeeling.  I was overwhelmed with a fantasy world inside my head.   And I couldn't break free from that.  I tried and I couldn't.  

I'm sure more could be said.  I feel terrible for my daughter.  

I went out with her for breakfast before school today.  It was more for me than for her.  I just needed to feel close to her and to talk to her about how I felt.  I actually apologized to her for not saying all that I wanted to say to her in that moment.  She probably wasn't listening anyway...but like I said, I just needed to say it for my own heart's sake.  I told her this morning what I really felt yesterday about her decision to follow God in baptism.  

Man, I wish I could go back and get my poop in a group.  But life is such that you have to go on and make the best with what you got.  

I just can't shake this abiding feeling of disappointment in myself and sorrow for my daughter.  I know, I'm messed up

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

another piece of my daughter's heart...gone.

I feel like I've written about this recently, but I must write again.

The conversations with my daughters stir something violent within my affections. I can't believe what they are exposed to at such an early age. But as I revisit the visage of my childhood, I can't believe the things I was introduced to in the same season my daughters find themselves. (and I went to a little Baptist church and a little A.C.E. Christian school). Sin is no respecter of institutions, whether they be public or private. It will hunt you down, it will find you.

I remember being exposed to homosexual pornography when I was 5 or 6 by an older kid that lived right next to the Christian School where my dad was a principal. They were playing cards with pictures of naked men on each card. He said he found them in his garage and we looked at them at least twice after school. I remember my eyes widening and my curious spirit being fed. I had no idea how to process what I was seeing, but I was seeing it nonetheless.

From there I remember vividly the talk in the bus to and from school. They were kids that I went to school with, but they had dark hearts and were flirting with the devil in about every area imaginable. They would talk of popping girl's cherries (whatever that meant) and making obscene gestures with their hands to reenact the sex act. They would speak of sexual things on a regular basis and then tell me not to tell my parents (since they were teachers at the school we all attended...I can't tell you how awkward it was to live in secrecy for so many years of my life simply because my parents were in ministry...this scares me about my own children).

I would sit across from guys who had their hands up girls shirts and down girls pants completely unabashed about their sexual exploitation and exploration. I was a little kid being led to the slaughter house and I didn't even know it. (other than the pit in my stomach that told me something was terribly wrong). Everyone was daring each other to do something even more scandalous in this sick game of one-upmanship. They would make fun of me for refusing the offers, but the images were as bad as the act itself. Again, I was 7, 8, 9 yrs. old at the time navigating my way through the world of sex like a rodent trying to cross a highway during rush hour. Fortunately, I was one who made it to the other side without becoming roadkill, but that doesn't mean my insides weren't smashed and smushed flatter than a fruit roll up.

Words like masturbation, pornography, virginity, vagina, penis, boobs and the like were standard fare in the course of conversation during a typical week. I hadn't even hit puberty and I was beginning to fantasize about and wonder about sexuality and the anatomy of females. So much so that I would recognize the breast size of my babysitters and try to be hugged by them on the couch while playing games or reading books. (tell me that more isn't going on that we think in the little psyche's of our children...or maybe I was just an exception to the rule).

At the age of about 9 a guy brought a Playboy to school and all the guys in the entire school from the 2nd - 12th grades were crammed in the bathroom getting an eyeful...and, unfortunately, a heart-full. We got kicked out of school for 2 weeks and the ones who brought it to school were expelled. I remember adults being mad at us for partaking of this debased and detestable act, but I never remember anyone explaining the longing to me and trying to teach me about the goodness and God-ness of sex and sexuality. It was just bad, bad, bad and we needed to stay away from talking about it, looking at it, or longing for it with all the strength we could muster. It just goes to show that telling someone not to do something doesn't fix the problem. Who's going to answer the question why? Why is everyone talking about this and thinking about this and looking at this? It was always written off as Hollywood's obsession, but it seemed to be just as much as an obsession in my Christian school, what with all the kids kicked out of school along the way for inappropriate sexual behavior and former deacons of the church being caught in strip clubs, and my pastors son, come to find out, secretly struggling with homosexuality. All these things were happening in "Oswegowood"...who needed to go to Hollywood?

So back to my story today...

My daughter Aly came home yesterday and said that she needed to tell us something. (I owe her inability to keep a secret to the genes of her mother). She said she was embarrassed to tell us because it was about sex. Heidi told her that she could tell us anything and that we needed to know just in case it was a lie. We told her that we would tell her the truth about what she heard so that she didn't have to believe a lie her whole life about sex.

She proceeded to tell us that one of her friends was talking about sex and went on to describe oral sex to the little girls on the playground that day. She said that she had seen her older siblings do it in her bedroom. Aly didn't call it oral sex, she just described that act in her own words which completely sent my insides into a fit of rage. I couldn't believe my 7 year old was saying these things. She was so innocent in her sharing, so pure, so unadulterated.

We went on to explain how sex and sexual activity is only for those who are married. And that it is good when it is experienced after a couple is married. We don't want her to grow up scared of sex and scarred by sex.

Does this unnerve anyone out there?

I share this backstory and current story, I guess, for this reason. We need to wake up to the axis of evil that exists in our own backyard. Terrorists don't just live in the middle east or the inner cities...they come in innocent forms on jovial playgrounds. Our children are being terrorized and they don't even know it. And if we don't protect our kids by constantly monitoring their encounters and conversations and friendships, we're co-conspirators in their demise. We cannot wait until they are "teenagers" or until they hit "puberty" or after they have their first "sexual experience" before we talk with them and teach them about this dicey subject of sexuality. I'm not sure you can start too early, I'm dead sure you can start too late. It's a "teach or be taught" culture and we need to beat the world to the punch.

I lost another piece of my daughter's heart yesterday and I'll never get it back. No matter how much I try to clean up the mess, I'll never get that innocence back. Never.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Fall...

The Fall.  It evokes two entirely polar opposite responses in me.

On the one hand “The Fall” represents a time in history when all that was pure and good and innocent was traded for “The Knowledge of God and Evil”.  The Tree of Life just wasn’t enough.  Mankind picked the wrong tree and we are left with knowledge instead of life.  Dang.

But this idea of trees brings me to “the fall” that surfaces probably one of the most nostalgic and idyllic feelings I experience within the cycle of a year.  Trees start shedding leafs to prepare for the brutal Michigan winter storing sap like a squirrel stores nuts.  Leafs start dying a slow death as the tree stops nourishing them.  They hang on as long as possible changing color as if holding their breath in suffocation. 

Leaves are at their peek of beauty right now, gloriously dying with honor.  It is a pageantry of elegance and splendor.  Maples are fighting for the best red hue.  Oaks are turning orange and salmon and bronze.  Ash are displaying as assortment of yellows as diverse and unique as a human’s fingerprint.  All the other trees are filling in the missing colors in between making each patch of woods majestic. 

The Fall of Mankind was most certainly a death, and a death of epic proportions.  It changed the course of history and wrote upon every human heart the depravity of our first ancestors.  I can feel it hover over me each morning as I wake, greeting me with the kiss of Judas.  It is the sinister curse of sin crouching at everyone’s door waiting to pounce on the party of life.  This kiss burns and sends a spell of death coursing through our veins speaking foul words into our heart that seek to suffocate us, cutting us off from the life source of creation.  I can feel it all around me.

But the Fall of Creation speaks of another story happening even as death pulls us downward, and the gravity of depravity assists the spiraling freefall.  It reminds us that within the dying, God has mysteriously woven something beautifully redemptive.  As we die something magnificent occurs.  The vibrant color only serves as a harbinger of what is to come, a forerunner announcing the consummation of what can only be called “unlikely” redemption. 

As the luminous leaf alights the earth awaiting its impending funeral, its texture becomes hard and brittle eventually decomposing and nourishing the seeds that fell earlier in the spring.  The seeds die (at least to the naked eye)blanketed under the layers of dead leaves and all hope is lost as the autumn rain pounds them into the cracks and crevices of the earth burying all hope of their survival.  They are covered with thatch and mud and compost, laid to rest forever forgotten.

The cold winter tortures creation with hail and frost and ice, harassing vegetation with such fierce frigidity that it goes into a shock called dormancy.  This coma, ironically enough, actually keeps the seeds alive as they weather the inclement conditions of winter. 

The spring thaw wakes up the unconscious seeds and breathes life into their membranes.  They are called out of the tomb-womb and raised to new life.  The death is swallowed up in victory, as nature becomes a symbol of God’s redemption of man from the fall. 

Like Jesus said, “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies…” …oh, you know the rest.  Life, color, beauty, fall, death, burial, redemption, thawing, spring, restoration. 

The Fall is a bittersweet phrase…it speaks of both depravity and glory, destruction and redemption, death and life.  I love the Fall.  It has given God such a awesome canvas on which to paint something so resplendently redemptive.  The color of the gospel can’t be seen without it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

trifling with trivialities...

This morning Aly was sitting at the breakfast table and she proceeded to tell me that she felt left out at school when all the other kids at recess were chanting, “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.  If you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear.”  She said that she wanted to sing the song with them, but knew that she shouldn’t say the part about exposing someone’s “privates” by yanking down their underwear.  I concurred. 

We then talked about “being different”.  They started talking about how everyone said naughty words and that sometimes they felt like saying them and how everyone was going to “High School Musical 3” and how everybody was goo-goo-gaa-gaa over Hannah Montana, etc…these are the modern day applications of temptation to them.

For the record, I don’t think the Treat or Treat song or the word “stupid” or the viewing of HSM 3 will forever ruin my children.  But I do feel that at their age, there are many things to be taken into consideration as their little spirits develop.  Until they can understand sarcasm or the true meaning of certain words or the dynamics of kissing a member of the opposite sex passionately and its implications in the volatile years of High School, I feel they serve to strike a decisive blow to the innocence of their childlike hearts.  Until there is more understanding and maturity…things that aren’t wrong in and of themselves can be destructive if they aren’t age-appropriately applied.  I say this to my own rebuke.

I, all too often, underestimate what is at stake in my children’s lives at any given second.  What appears to be a trivial moment or word or visualization, is so much more than that.  It is shaping their ideology, their very reality.  What they are supposed to look like.  What they are supposed to act like.  What they are supposed to talk like.  What they are supposed to, ultimately, be like.  And what they see is what they will be.  What they hear is what they will say.  What they will watch is what they will wear.  What they witness is what they want. 

I think we are too forgiving as a culture as it relates to what we think our kids can handle.  We think they have the apparatus to sift through delicate situations they see in movies, and they don’t yet.  We think they have the mechanics to delineate between fantasy and reality, and they don’t.  We think they can look but not touch.  Partake and not emulate.  We think they can be exposed without it affecting and infecting their volatile and fragile little souls.  From my vantage point, I think we’re full of crap to think so.

Or maybe it’s just trifling with nonsense to think that puny things like “underwear” and the word “dummy” and “kissing teenagers” make a whipstitch of difference in the development of their inner child.  Maybe it’s making a mountain out of a molehill.  Or maybe it’s why the younger generation is growing up too fast…so fast that their insides are forever trying to catch up to their outsides.  They know about things before they’re developmentally ready to process them…and so they don’t process them…they just believe it and behave accordingly. 

I have a lot of work to do.  Protecting their little hearts is harder than I could have ever imagined.  But their futures depend on it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Two sides of the same hair...

So many of the issues that we banter back and forth about in Christianity are two sides of the same exact hair.  That's why I can't stand hair-splitting debates within the church.  I firmly believe most of those arguments are taking place on something as thin and infinitesimal as a strand of hair.  

Are you Arminian or Calvinistic?  I don't know, it depends on which side of the hair I'm occupying that particular day.  Sometimes I feel the weight of my own responsibility with this life thing.  What I initiate proactively is important to destiny.  But others times I lean into the Sovereignty of God with all my being knowing that he is in control and that his initiative is paramount to the survival of life itself.  Either way, at the end of the debate...I find myself standing on the same tiny piece of hair.

Are you Traditional or Progressive?  I don't know, it depends on what God is stirring in my heart on any given day to balance out my proclivity to each extreme.   Some days I feel my spirit longing for history and the rootedness found in traditions and liturgy.  I yearn for something more contemplative and devout.  Other days, I'm drawn to the future and the emerging trends blooming before my very eyes.  I love forward thinking and I'm looking for new, yet to be discovered, ideas and ideals that showcase the fresh movement of God within this generation.  I think this hair is thinner than we might think.

Are you Contemplative or Celebratory?  Yes.  There are days when I'm drawn to silence and solitude away from the clamor of crowds.  I love the desert fathers and their pursuit of solidarity and serenity with God.  But then I feel this urge to let out a guttural yell of passion setting myself apart from the safe and sound world of silence and safety.  I like to suck the marrow out of every moment celebrating the gift of life with unadulterated freedom of expression.  I love living on the cusp on this little hair playing on both sides of it like a toddler on a playground seesaw. 

Are you seeker-sensitive or believer-sensitive?  This one gets me every time.  I hate that you have to chose one or the other in church before you plan a service.  I've learned that if you speak to people as Humans instead of breaking them into categories like Christians or Pagans, you've actually got a better shot of keeping each of them awake at church and reaching them both.  Here's a news flash, Christians love it when  you treat them like Humans.  They love reverence, but they are dying for relevance, too.  They can stomach structure, but they love when they're introduced to story as well.  They don't mind lectures, but they are much more responsive to conversations.  Things don't have to be watered-down, but they certainly can't be dehydrated.  And when churches dehydrate the gospel by releasing themselves from the accountability of relevance, I don't even think Christians can swallow that.  So let's stop being seeker-driven or believer-biased, and let's be human beings talking about being human.  It's called incarnational ministry.  Becoming more human so that people can become more holy.  It's Jesus model.

Well, I could go on.  The hairs that we split are many.  But they are hairs.  Little, thin, brittle, fragile hairs divided by people that have too much time on their hands.  If we could see that most of these controversial issues are nothing more than two sides of one hair, I think we wouldn't take ourselves so seriously, and maybe lighten up enough to see that the our Great God lives on the whole of each one of these little follicle suckers.  And when we persist in splitting them, we, in effect tear God apart.  

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A faltering father...

Parenting is tough.  But fathering is much harder.  Parenting clumps me together with my wife creating a synergetic feeling of success...the-whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts type of scenario.  In parenting I feel somewhat pleased in my efforts, my bad days mix with Heidi's good days and give me a warm feeling at the end of the day.  Sort of like playing in a golf scramble...no matter how badly I hit the ball I pick it up and move it to the place where the best ball lies, propped up on fluffy fairway turf.  Parenting feels a little like a golf scramble.

But this fathering deal...this is a totally different story.  If I hit the ball in the deep weeds, I'm in the deep weeds.  If I'm in the ruff, I'm in the ruff.  If I'm in the sand trap, that's where my head stays buried until I pull it out.  You get my point.

There's no combining scores for a false sense of success.  You are forced to deal with your own handicap and the glaringly weak parts of your individual game.  Fathering feels like that.  I'm left with myself by myself to evaluate my own score apart from my spouse.  "How am I doing as a father?"

Fathering isn't for the faint of heart...or the haint of feart as I like to say.  (sorry, mom.)  You have to be on top of your game, you have to practice at the driving range.  You have to take your time before you just swing for all you're worth.  You have to gauge the lay of the land before you put, delicately pushing the ball into an incline on the left in order for that little white baby to find that hole down in the valley to the far right.  It takes strategy and concentration.  It takes mental moxie, and emotional proxy.  You have to have a fluid coordination of many parts to experience what to the outside eye is seemingly easy.

I'm mean, have you ever watched golf and said to yourself, "That looks so easy.  Anyone could do that."  And then you find yourself on hole #1 looking a triple bogie in the eye knowing you still have a two-putt in front of you.  It doesn't take long to realize that there's more to it than just swinging an iron club at a plastic, dimpled sphere and enjoying exacting pin high chips from 12o yards out with a lob wedge.  That takes physical coordination mixed with mental discipline blended with religious practice over years and years of time.  What looks like a simple execution is really a difficult and arduous bootcamp of mind over matter.

"Mind over matter"...that is what fathering tends to be on many days.  I want to sit and watch T.V. after a long day of decisions and conversations and frustrations and elations, but my girls are dying for a wrestling match followed by a hearty game of tag.  "Daddy, watch me!  Daddy, catch me!"  Their hearts are wondering, "Daddy, do you see me?  Daddy, will you pursue me?"  I know what's going on, but my sluggard heart muses.  My soul fights off feelings of fatigue and futility.  In a sentence...I'm tired of running in circles and feeling like I'm getting next to nowhere.  This, I believe, is the Achilles' heel of the masculine soul...my soul.

I don't want to beat myself up...I don't want to rehearse my infractions fanning into flame more of a defeatist dad syndrome.  But it isn't a syndrome...it's a "sin"drome.  It's a dark depravity that festers like puss under a flaky scab.  And this sin of selfishness that fights against my desire to inject life into my daughters won't go away, I'm afraid.  I can only beat my body and make it my slave so that after I've preached to others, I myself am not disqualified.  There is nothing more paralyzing than the feeling that I'm slowly becoming a disqualified dad because I'm not making my flesh obedient to truth.  I'm letting it lord over me.  And when it's lord, I'm a lard.  A lazy lard.

But when I beat my body and exercise authority over it's impulses, I'm a great dad.  I'm a dad to be reckoned with.  I'm fun and funny.  Engaged and Enthused.  I'm sensitive and inquisitive.  I'm consistent and altruistic.  I love those daddy-days were I'm fully present.  When I'm telling my flesh where to get off, and my spirit where to get up.  And I can do it, I just need others to do it with so that I don't feel like "a voice crying in the wilderness".  I need a faith community to fight the good fight with, and I with them.  I falter as a father when I feel alone.

I wanna be a good father.  I want to be better at fathering than I am.  I love parenting.  But I want to love fathering.  My daughters need to be fathered into freedom.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The truth will set you off...

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

I just heard a candidate use this Jesus-quote yesterday in an interview.  I heard it woven into a commercial last week.  It seems to be making its rounds, which if funny considering the fact that many of the people aren't all that sure if truth absolutely exists.  It's funny the verses that catch on as little pithy proverbs in our culture.  "Judge not lest ye be judged."  "Love your neighbor as yourself."  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  "Jesus is my homeboy." (ok, that's apparently extra-biblical revelation from the Apocrypha or the Da Vinci Code).   

But I've learned something about the truth.  Before it sets you free, it ticks you off.  Or another way of saying it is, "The truth will set you free but not before it sets you off."  When people use this biblical phrase, "the truth with set you free", what they are typically saying is "my truth will set you free."  Everyone has there own theology of truth.  That is, the truth they are comfortable espousing.  The truth that fits their current construct of convictions.  The truth that doesn't mess with their already busy schedule.  The truth that doesn't ask for any modifications or alterations in behavior.  The truth that makes them feel better about themselves.  The truth that aligns with their values and vision.  But that's not truth, that's trash!

That "truth" doesn't set anyone free.  You will know the truth when you encounter it, because it, generally speaking, ticks you off and sets you off, before it eventually sets you free.  It rattles your chain.  It gets up in your grill.  It steps on your toes.  It gets on your nerves.  It amputates and agitates and aggravates way before it emancipates.   The truth that Jesus is talking about has nothing to do with a candidates particular political truth, or a preachers pet-issue truth, or a philosophers philanthropic truth. No, the truth that sets us free must first put us to death.  

Everyone wants to be free, but few are willing to die to themselves.  It's really painful to be crucified with Christ.  It's lonely being pinned up on that cross all by yourself.  It's torture for your pride to breathe its last and for your flesh to give up the ghost of getting its way.  No one wants that truth.  Because before the truth asks you, "Do you wanna be free?" it asks you "How do you feel about dying to yourself?"  This, I've found, weeds out the ones that are interested only in their version of truth.  They are interest in truth unless it kills them.  And the ones who are left after the weeding are interested in truth precisely because it kills them.  

Let me make a bold declaration, if your idea of truth isn't often killing you, you're more than likely not engaging truth to begin with.  Truth kills, then frees.  It wounds, then mends.  It enrages, then engages.  This is not truth on our terms.  This is truth on Truth's terms.  What is controversially called Absolute truth, that is, laws that exist regardless of who we are, how we're doing, what we're doing, or what we think.  Post-modernity has weened us on adaptive truth.  Cordial truth.  Amiable and Diplomatic Truth.  Hospitable truth.  A truth that seeks first and foremost to comfort and coddle.

Unless there's a new procedure that provide amiable amputation, it will hurt you first, then heal you.  Freedom comes, but not until our feelings are hurt.  God cares about your feelings, but not as much as your freedom.  He has your "best interest" in mind, and often it is in your best interest to die first.  That sounds harsh...but that's what I experience almost on a weekly basis.  It hurts so good.  

Ultimately, the truth sets us free, but not before it sets us off.