Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Hammer

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Hebrews 12:15 ESV

In a book he wrote in 1966, the psychologist Abraham Maslow is generally credited with originating the phrase, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

It’s been attributed to others, including Mark Twain, but its true origin really doesn't matter. It had probably been around a long time before it ever appeared in print.

On a seemingly unrelated topic, a pastor-friend’s Facebook page will occasionally contain a Tweet from someone named, “Bitter Betty.” (No offense intended to all the wonderful people in the world who are named “Betty.”)

As near as I can tell, ‘Bitter Betty” is a fictional character who somehow has her own Facebook page. Or wall. Or whatever term the Facebook faithful use for the place where all “your” stuff is.

I’m not exactly sure about Bitter Betty’s origins or the intent of the page because she has never accepted my “Friend” request. I guess that’s not surprising, since she is, well, bitter.

She posts in exclusively Tweets and appears to be a caricature of the mean, crabby old “church lady” who is prone to criticizing and critiquing everything the church does. (Absolutely, positively no offense intended to the millions upon millions of wonderful, kind, caring, compassionate, beautiful, senior ladies of the church.)

This blue-haired character is particularly hard on the “Youth Guy” (Youth Pastor.)  In one recent Tweet, she accused the “Youth Guy” of making all his decisions with a Magic 8 Ball.

She also recently Tweeted,

Youth Guy, noticed you forgot to put your summer vacation time on the calendar. And by "summer vacation" I mean "youth camp."

But it also appears that no one on the church staff is exempt from her scathing wit:

“Children's Director, I'm attending a children's conference this weekend... A critique of your ministry will be on your desk Monday.”

Or the worship band:

“In preparation for this morning's music, the worship band will be discussing the cinematography of the new Star Wars movie. “

Bitter Betty also appears to be adamantly opposed to anything in her fictional church (which is never identified) which may have changed since the demise of the steam engine. (No offense intended to… well, to anyone.)

Above a photo of some used church pews on a trailer, she posted,   

A moment of silence, if you will, for another church that has been martyred in the name of "Contemporary."

Oooo, that’s a zinger.

Sometimes, it just a joke that’s so bad it makes you laugh:

“How much does it cost for pirates to get their ears pierced? ... A buccaneer...”


“Once had a friend named Joyce who died and her husband found a second wife named Joyce... He rejoiced. . .”

But the one that really got me was:

“Amazing grace!
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like you.”

Bam! There’s the hammer.

I know this is all intended in fun, and maybe the point of whoever thought up Bitter Betty is to make it obvious just how bad we sound when we complain about the church.

If that’s the case—mission accomplished.

As one of my sisters in Christ said, “We may hold the hammer, but we know who took the nails.”

Today’s Praise

Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29 ESV

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