Being Mad as Hell About the Value of My Life

by Stephen W. SmithSeems like a rather bold headline from a former preacher doesn't it? But today, I've been working on another chapter for a forthcoming book titled, "The Jesus Life".  I've been sitting here wondering how the message of Jesus--about all the life he promised to give us has gotten to terribly screwed up and furthermore, who is really responsible for messing up the message of Jesus.I wrote some paragraphs in the manuscript about how Jesus saved his furious wrath for the most religious right of his day--the Pharisees who took control of the truth, withheld it from thirsty men and women and morphed it into long lists of rules and regulations.  As I just sat for a while thinking about this, I got mad...angry. I said to myself, "I"m mad as hell can can't take this anymore."  I was feeling a surge of passion, adrenalin and in my old Baptist world, what is known as "Holy Ghost power."So, as I sat here, I remembered where those lines, for me, became indelibly imprinted on my soul. It was through the words of a frustrated news anchor in a movie called, NETWORK.I googled the entire lines and they are worthy of posting here. But what I'm thinking about is encouraging people across America standing up in their Sunday morning worship services and shouting these lines out as the call to worship--of course--, "I'm mad as hell and can't take it anymore!"Now, before you actually do that, do you think you're preacher would listen to you; to us?  Read these words and I'll edit out one blasphemy for you.  ]But what I think is this...until we get mad as hell, about how we've been duped and perhaps doped into a life that is not possibly the LIFE that JEsus promised we may never really find or experience the life he came to let us live... I'm sure my editor will not let this go in the book, but as I've said, you'll read my book first here then the real thing has to wait until 2012 to come out. Yes, that long!Now, here's the quote from Network when Howard Beal, the network reporter who gets fired up:I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, GodXXXXit! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"My questions (and this is Steve) is how would the pastors/preachers in America react if we all did this--THIS coming Sunday? I'm not saying get mad about what Howard Beale got fired up about. I'm talking about getting mad--feeling the anger over why so many of us are not living the abundant life and has this message been hijacked by the men in robes who want to promote church rather than tell us how to really live?[I'd love your comments and feedback. Maybe I'm off here. Or feeling uneasy about the Chinese lunch I thought I enjoyed a bit ago.]