Posts Tagged ‘Bill Torpy’

Sermon 08-14-16: “The Inside Out Gospel”

August 22, 2016


In the movie Inside Out, Riley’s mother—along with Riley’s emotion Joy acting as accomplice—encourages Riley to “put on a happy face,” even though Riley has good reason to be sad. We often feel like we have to fake it. As I point out in this sermon, however, the apostle Paul isn’t like us: When he describes the “fruit of the Spirit,” he’s isn’t talking about what people see on the outside; he’s talking about inward transformation—so that our outsides match our insides.

Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can provide this kind of transformation.

Sermon Text: Galatians 5:16-25

[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]

The first clip introduces us to the five emotions that drive Riley’s thoughts, words, and actions: Joy, Fear, Sadness, Disgust, and Anger. A confrontation between Riley and her parents at the dinner table shines a spotlight on the role that anger plays.


We were having dinner on Friday night at a Japanese steakhouse. And you know how you’re forced to socialize with strangers when you go to these places… Well, the gentleman sitting nearest to us at the hibachi was a Delta pilot. I said, “Oh, Delta had a bad week this week.” And he was like, “Delta had a terrible week!” As you probably heard the airline’s main computer network, which handles everything from flight dispatching to crew scheduling, passenger check-in, airport-departure information, ticket sales, and frequent-flier programs, went down, and caused unprecedented flight delays and cancelations. Delta has lost a ton of money.

The CEO of Delta told the public, “I apologize for the challenges this has created for you with your travel experience.” AJC columnist Bill Torpy took issue with these words. He particularly had a problem with the CEO’s use of the word “challenges.” He wrote:

I’m sure those stuck at the airport day after day, who paid unexpected hotel bills, who missed family events, business meetings, funerals or vacations might think of something stronger [than the word “challenges”].

A more correct, or honest, term might have been problem. Or predicament, hardship or plight. There’s also misery, mess or distress. He later did concede “inconvenience,” which is akin to having to open a garage door manually.

Torpy went on to lament all the jargon and buzzwords and euphemisms that people use to avoid “telling it like it is.” Corporations—and churches for that matter—don’t have “problems”; they have “challenges.” But there are plenty more examples. We speak of change agents who leverage their skill sets and drill down to a granular level to find a robust and sustainable solution for their stakeholders. You get the point.

But not so fast… I kind of like using the word “challenges” to describe the problems that Delta passengers faced last week. Why? Because everything that tempts us to get angry also creates a challenge—a challenge to our faith. As Jesus warns us, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

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