Archive for April 6th, 2011

April 6, 2011

A note to all who subscribe to this page…..

by Rod Smith

The Smiths

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support as one who reads this column (or receives it) daily.

Your readership is very important to me and I trust you continue to find my work helpful.

Please spread the word – I will never ask you for anything but to disperse what you enjoy or find challenging, to others.


Rod Smith

April 6, 2011

Could he kill you? Are you married to a violent man?

by Rod Smith

Are you married to a man who could kill you, or someone you love? Are you dating a man who could murder you one day?

Dangerous relationships are easier to endure than address. It is not surprising that the murder of a wife, an ex-wife or lover usually takes everyone by surprise. Secrecy, cover-up and denial are the hallmarks of these toxic binds.

I believe some women could use a set of criteria to evaluate whether they are involved with a man capable of committing a violent crime against them. Accurate or not, my list could help a woman escape a potentially abusive relationship, or at least eradicate the virus before it destroys her.

Men capable of killing a “loved” one often leave a trail of early indicators, like rose petals around an open grave, before they commit a horrible crime.

Perhaps someone’s life will be saved because this list, incomplete as it is, will assist someone toward getting appropriate help:

1. He tells you how to dress and insists you obey his wishes in this regard. If you resist he becomes irrationally hurt or angry. You are beyond choosing what you wear because your dress is his domain.

2. He checks up on you for “your own good.” He wants to know where you are, what you are doing and whom you are with. Time unaccounted becomes an accusation. You find yourself explaining or hiding everything, to avoid the laborious conflicts that inevitably ensue.

3. Any move toward independence on your part is rewritten as betrayal. His response is anger.

4. He tells you when you are happy, and rewrites what you feel if you dare say you are unhappy. He tries to keep you from your family, suggesting they are not good for you.

5. He tells you when you are hungry and what you like to eat. He says he knows you better than you know yourself. He gets angry if you dare disagree.

6. He is jealous of your friendships, even those that predate him and those that are over.

7. Keeping peace is second nature to you. Ironically, the peace seldom lasts because he jumps on the smallest issues, magnifying them into major breaches of trust.

8. His highs are very high and his lows very low. It seems as if your response to him is inordinately powerful in changing or determining his mood.

9. He pouts easily. He manipulates truth so you are taken by surprise. He plays “hurt puppy” if you’re not happy, thereby making your emotions his business. He expects you to always be glad to see him and to drop whatever you are doing to focus on him.

10. He demands his own way and has an inordinate perception of his own importance. He shows off his “power” by threatening to “talk to the manager,” when he is not given the service he thinks he deserves. He becomes irrationally angry at the smallest of inconveniences. He accuses you of “taking sides” if you suggest he is being unreasonable.

11. He lives on the edge of “white hot” anger, becoming very angry with children, animals, and anyone or anything that doesn’t obey him. He hides this anger from people outside the “inner circle” and his mood quickly changes if an “outsider” appears so that his anger is kept secret.

12. He removes your car keys or your purse to restrict your movements and then denies doing so.

13. In the early days of the relationship you felt like you were on a fast ride on an unpredictable roller coaster. Everything was too much, too soon, but you did not know how to say it. Any comment about wanting to “slow down” on your part was ignored. You felt invisible, as if you were just along for his ride.

14. If you work, he accuses you of having an affair with a man at work – especially if that man has innocently told him that you’re a good employee/colleague to work with or know. Any praise whatever of you – from anyone, really – is twisted into suspicion and jealousy. (Added by friend Jenny Lowen, Harpenden, UK)

For such men, winning is everything — losing control is not an option, even for those whom they proclaim to love the most.

April 6, 2011

Jesus at First Church (Traditional Service – 11:00 am)

by Rod Smith

Jesus walked in and sat between the Grumleys in the fifteenth row of First Church’s Traditional Service at 11am on Sunday morning. In all of his infinite wisdom he failed to realize the stir that would arise. An unfortunate snowball or wave effect began throughout the congregation as at least twelve families were displaced each by one seat. As people begrudgingly moved they tried to communicate a welcome to the stranger (so he would be sure to return) laced with enough censure to make sure he would be put in his place (or at least not in theirs) the next time he visited.

This uncharacteristic reshuffling (they hadn’t been moved in years) moved almost everyone in the congregation and skewed everyone’s view. The disruption extended the announcements sufficiently to annoy the choir who were waiting, fully robed, at the entrance to the sanctuary, hymnbooks in hand.

“I suppose of all people, I should have known better,” mused Jesus, all the while seeing the humor in Mr. Grumley’s polite, yet uncomfortable response when Jesus whispered his name to Grumley during the Passing of the Peace.

Grumley inched from side to side, a tad excited at the theological implications of this revelation. Not only did his surroundings take on a new look, he wanted to draw attention to the Guest. He wanted all the disrupted members know the inconvenience of having strangers in church was worth it. Alas, he glanced at the Order of Worship to see “Introduction of Visitors” was already over and the “Congregational Needs” were being announced. Besides, the choir was manifesting holy annoyance (the smiles, the gritting of teeth, the rolling of eyes in unison) while standing just outside the doors. Unaccustomed as they were to being “out of the loop,” word had already gotten to them (it was usually the other way around) via the deacons, that a stranger had entered the building and sat in Wally Grumley’s seat. The choir, who were usually first on everything, would be the very last to witness this unprecedented incident which had ruined for the fist time in 40 years their traditional procession.

“Tell them I am here,” Jesus said to Grumley. “Go on, stand up. Say I am here.”

“You mean actually interrupt ‘Congregational Needs’?” whispered Grumley with a faint but gentle “shush” in his voice in an attempt to keep Jesus quiet.

“I am terribly sorry but I am afraid we just do not do that here,” said Grumley in his best prayer voice.

“What if I am telling you to do so?” persisted Jesus. “After all, the pastor just said, that if two or three are gather in my name then I am in the midst of them? So, go on. Tell them he’s right and I am here.”

Wally Grumley peered around Jesus to his wife for assistance, “You do it Joy. You always said you would obey Jesus if he said something directly to you.”

“He is talking to you Wally,” said Joy. Her eyes were fixed on the pulpit proceedings, totally unimpressed with her husband’s freedom with strangers.

“Well actually, I am talking to you both.”

“You are interrupting my worship experience,” said Joy with an air of finality.

“I have come here to meet with God if you don’t mind,” she said, hoping for it to be the last word on the subject.

“I am God. And, I am… err, here to be met.”

“Well, God just wouldn’t do it like this,” said Joy Grumley, her teeth clenched, “God just wouldn’t just barge into OUR church and…. and….” She was lost for words.

“Do you believe I am here?” quizzed Jesus.

“Well of course I believe you are here,” replied Wally.

“Then go ahead and tell them I am here.”

Joy tilted her head a hairbreadth: “Will you stop talking during the service, even if it is to Jesus! If you don’t I am going to a quieter spot where I can enter the spirit of worship without interruption.”

“’Church Hospitality’ – will be the title of my message today,” boomed the pastor, unaware of the stir in the congregation, “and I will be challenging you to treat any stranger as you would treat Jesus.”

Wally and Jesus burst into uproarious laughter. They embraced, moved into the center aisle, circled each other holding hands with outstretched arms, giggled loudly, and danced.

“And now the choir,” announced the pastor, “will lead us in our opening hymn, ‘Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus,'” as the deacons ushered the disruptive couple out the door.