Saturday, March 11, 2023



Boldness can come in many forms.  For example, an overconfident 17-year-old boy might respond to his mother’s request to clean his room  or be grounded…with, “Oooo, scary!” in a mockingly shuddering tone. 

Bold? Yes.

Smart? No.

Rude? Absolutely.

Boldness could be seen in a Green Bay Packers’ fan braggingly strutting in front of a Vikings fan, boldly calling, “In your face!” after the overrated “blind rat” quarterback accidentally finds the cheese headed receiver in the end-zone…all hypothetical…of course.

Bold? Yes.

Smart? No.

The Result? Vikings win.  All losses are quickly wiped from my memory.

Other bold comments might include telling a pregnant woman that she looks, “terrible,” “tired,” “sleep deprived” or any statement drawing any attention to her physical growth.  Sometimes it is just better to not be quite so bold.

In 2013, my family visited one of the many water parks in the Wisconsin Dells.  These parks are nothing but cesspools of recycled water sanitized with heavy doses of chlorine and algaecide.  These parks are filled with daring and downright scary opportunities to approach death by plummeting into bacteria filled waters at inhuman speeds and death defying angles.  Somehow my brother-in-law convinced my 6-year-old daughter, Carissa to engage in the highest, steepest, scariest and most dangerous slide in the park…the Durango Drop! (cue the dramatic Indiana Jones style music).

As you approach the yellow, 350 ft., fiberglass chute of doom, you will find the warning signs.  “People with heart conditions should not ride,” “Pregnant women should not ride,” “Cowardly people should not ride,” “People with sensitive skin should not ride,” the lists of warnings seem endless.  After an infinite climb of the switch backed stairs, a red suited lifeguard, who seems to care more about their own perfect tan, than the well being…or age…of the would-be riders, gives instruction to each rider.  The words come in a monotone robotic voice, “Cross your feet and cross your arms over your chest.  Do not sit up during the ride and never uncross your arms or your feet or you may die.  Have a nice ride and enjoy your day on the Durango Drop!”

My 6-year-old daughter sat down at the top of the near 90 degree drop of the yellow shaft.  She crossed her legs.  She crossed her arms.  She laid back and began to slide down…at which time…in a panic she immediately uncrossed her legs, threw her arms out to each side, stretching to try and slow her decent, while sitting up to somehow flee from her imminent demise.  It was at this time that I, standing near the bottom, looked up to the top of the slide and saw what looked like a tiny starfish accelerating through the stream of water toward me.

As she splashed and tumbled to the bottom, she is pulled out of the water by another bronze skinned and red suited teenager.  The teenager set her back on her feet and pushed her in my direction.  She approached me like a drowned and drunken cat that had just climbed out of the muddy waters of the Mississippi. 

“Oh hello, Daddy!”

“Wow, Carissa! That was you going down that big scary slide?”

“Yes, Daddy!”

“Are you going to go again?”

“No, Daddy!”

I fear that perhaps I have been guilty of misunderstanding what boldness really is, especially in the context of Paul’s call to boldness in the Scriptures.  For most of my life, I have believed boldness to be an ability of a person to tell another person, with attitude, what they think, or what they believe, or what they think that you should do.  This boldness seemed to avoid taking into account how the other person may feel or think in response to the message or the attitude in which it was given.  I often see politicians attacking one another in aggressive boldness that is cutting and demeaning.  I have observed professional athletes present themselves in an elevated and egotistical boldness that leaves me un-attracted to associate with their fandom.

I believe that my daughter gave me perhaps a more accurate picture of the beauty of boldness.  Here, I saw a 6-year-old girl approach something very scary and intimidating and not back down.  If I had been there at the top of that slide, looking down…especially as a 6-year-old…I am quite certain that I would have turned around and gone right back to where I had come from. 

She did what was scary, and yet, was bold enough to tell me that she was unwilling to do it again.

I believe that the boldness that we see in Paul, Silas, Timothy and the Church in Thessalonica is in no way an arrogant, prideful, rude or in your face boldness. Rather, I see in their boldness of speaking the Gospel…a boldness to love in the gentleness of a mother and as one who cares as deeply as a father.

May we come to speak the Gospel with this kind of boldness.

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