Talking in Circles


Following is a portion of a Reuters article from last year about one option German citizens have for dealing with conflict:


Two German entrepreneurs have devised a way for passive-aggressive citizens to blow off some steam - dial a telephone number and give the person on the other end a verbal lashing.


The swearing hotline, known as "Schimpf-los" ("swear away") in German, has operators standing by seven days a week for frustrated individuals to jeer at and taunt using the most unsavory language they can muster.


"We don't judge people who are angry," said Ralf Schulte, who set up the hotline with his fellow media services provider Alexander Brandenburger.


"It happens. It's natural. With us you can blow off steam no strings attached," 41-year-old Schulte told Reuters.


When callers are not creative in their cursing, or find themselves tongue-tied, operators on the hotline prod them with cheeky provocations like: "That's the third time I've heard that today - is that all you've got?"


The service costs 1.49 euros per minute - a figure Schulte feels is completely justified. "For getting everything off your chest, it's a bargain."


It’s such a challenge for us humans to deal with conflict in a constructive way.  In some instances, we even allow conflict to serve as a smoke screen for what’s really happening.  It’s easier to argue something else than to talk about what’s really going on.


In this Sunday’s lesson, we’re going to meet a woman who would rather argue theology with Jesus than talk about what’s really going on.  This is a bit like insistently arguing with your doctor about sports instead of talking to him about your blood pressure.  Thankfully, Jesus heads her off at the pass and brings the discussion back to real life.


I suppose he would like to do the same for me from time to time…


                                                                                                      Robert Lee