Posted tagged ‘Dysfunctional’

Dysfunctional 7th Graders

January 26, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      January 26, 2019


The definition of the word “dysfunctional” is “7th Grade!” 

Okay! Actually, the definition is “not operating normally or properly.” Otherwise known as “7th Grade!”

Just view a class of 7th graders. About 40% of them are dealing with a mouth full of metal. Several of them got in line twice when height was being handed out, while a few overslept and missed the gift of inches. There are a few who are on task with whatever is assigned to them, while others’ focus can simply be distracted by air! Some are physically changing from kids into adults, bypassing adolescence completely, while others seem to still be passengers on a Frontier Airlines maturity flight, grounded in the land of childhood!

I’m never bored as I view 7th graders. There is always something going on. Maybe that’s why one of the main characters in my first novel is a 7th grader with thick glasses and a lack of friends. I see him multiple times each time I substitute teach.

Yesterday I had a 7th grader who walked around with a facial tissue sticking out of one of his nostrils. Weird, huh? Not for him! Goes with his personality! I finally informed him that it was kind of gross for others to look at and he apologized. He’s the kind of 7th grader who often forgets that there is a zipper on the front of his pants. On Thursday he asked to go to the restroom and then didn’t come back for half an hour. Not because he was doing anything bad, just because he had some constipation issues. He apologized to me when he came back and started to go into detail! I put the stop sign up!

I tried to rationalize with one student who lacks motivation. He didn’t want to complete an assignment and I asked him if he walks home after school? “Yes!” 

“So do you ever get halfway home and say ‘I don’t want to walk the rest of the way!’?”

“No! That’d be stupid!”

“Think of this assignment as kinda’ being like that.”

“It’s not!”

A girl and a boy were having a disagreement about something like how much white board markers cost and I bring a chuckle to their neighboring classmates when I say to the girl, “You’re like Drama!” and to the boy “And you’re the sequel!”

A couple of students talk to me non-stop like a fire hydrant that has been opened up. I appreciate the conversation, although I don’t need to know the veterinarian experiences of her 12 year old Tabby!

There’s seventh graders who didn’t get the memo that they’re in seventh grade…three grades either way. Some who are still living the world of fourth graders and others who think they deserve to be escorted to the high school prom.

BUT, whereas there are folks who take the “fun” out of the dysfunction, seventh graders put it back in…in triplicate! It’s how they are and who they are!

The Functioning Church of Dysfunctional People

January 31, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  January 31, 2013

The church is a very unique people. It is not confined to a building, although most people still usually identify it as a building. It is not defined by its preaching, although proclamation is at the core of who it is. It conveys grace and forgiveness, and yet urges ongoing transformation.

The church also has an unsettling tension about it, for it seeks to minister to people who are dysfunctional in a variety of ways, but it needs functional people to keep it focused, effective, and missional. In other words, the church is about helping people get it together, and yet it requires people who have it together to keep it healthy.

It is true that we are all dysfunctional in some way. “Falling short” is a nice way of saying dysfunctional. My dysfunction might be one easily diagnosed, or it may very well be one that I keep hidden to myself. The dysfunction might be in fractured families or recovering addicts, but it could also be in my tendency to lust after money, sex, and power; or the bitterness in my spirit towards someone who has wronged me. All of us are dysfunctional in some way.

The church, however, is the only group of people besides AA that intentionally invites dysfunctional people to come and find healing, hope, peace, and purpose. And yet, if there are not “healed people” who are functioning well as a part of the church the result can be like a lifeboat whose passengers are all rowing in different directions. There is a lot of splashing going on, but no movement. There is a lot of “wanting” evident, but also increasing frustration.

It reminds me of the early church situation In Jerusalem where a certain group of widows were being excluded in the daily distribution of food (Acts 6:1-7). The first church adjusted and put seven men in place to make sure the function of providing for the women was taken care of. It presented itself as a possible major fracture in the church, based on a group’s culture, and the church restructured to make sure people in need were included.

People whose lives are in turmoil need a church that has people who have battled through the turmoil. And yet the church can not be so “all that”, as they say, that it conveys a sense of arrogance. It can’t convey messages like diet businesses do where they show the before and after pictures of its clients. Broken people need healing, but they will always be under construction.

Like I said, the church is a very unique people.