In Parts 1 and 2 I confessed my regrettable mismanagement of my zeal for Christ and I drew a parallel between my mistakes and those of David’s when he ill advisedly brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem on an ox-drawn cart instead of on the shoulders of priests. In both his case and mine, people paid for our errors. On David’s watch a man died. On my watch my marriage died, my kids got less than they deserved, and some of those I served over the years were wounded. I sincerely grieve over my errors and their consequences.
But, like David, I won’t allow myself to drown in guilt. “Grace,” says Anne Lamott, “is like water wings when you feel you’re sinking.” It’s that grace that both keeps me afloat and propels me forward. Continue reading →
In Part 1 I confessed two things – that I’m a zealot and that many times over the years I’ve mismanaged my zeal. We’re looking at the story in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 15 about the dire consequence of David’s zeal in transporting the Ark of the Covenant on a new oxen-drawn cart.
Back to my own confession . . .
Though, as far as I know, no one has actually died because of any of my rashly expressed zeal, I have to admit that some people have suffered for it, my own family in particular. While I don’t regret my zealotry in principle, I do regret many of the unwise choices I made. I can say honestly that there were many times that I didn’t manage my passion for God and for my family at the same time. What I did and didn’t do as a husband and father, I did in good – yet ill-informed – conscience, but it cost me my family. I lost my marriage, no doubt, partly due to overlooking many of my wife’s emotional needs over the years. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I was so invested in doing what I thought the Lord required of me that I wasn’t as sensitive to her as I should’ve been. Continue reading →
Some other observations about legalistic types from the story of the Prodigal’s big brother:
They tend to miss the party: “He refused to go in …” (Luke 15:28) Lots of legalist-leaning Christians are like that. They may be, in one sense, “holy,” but it’s never a happy holiness. They’re too busy keeping their halo on straight to go in and dance with joyous abandon in the father’s living room. Apparently they don’t know that God is more interested in getting us to know him than with getting stuff done on his farm! He doesn’t give birth to kids in order to get lots of work done in his fields. He brings us into the world so he can befriend us, teach us stuff, and include us in his daring mission.
They’re not very good company: “The older brother became angry…” (Luke 15:28) C.S. Lewis said, “Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” At the very least legalistic people can be some of the least pleasant people on the planet. Always comparing, measuring, bragging – they don’t make very good company. Continue reading →
As you can see this is one piece of a five-part essay. If you’d rather read it all at once, you can find it in barneywiget.com.
“I don’t trust Christians,” said Pascal. “They know too much about God.” Of course he spoke sarcastically, since he knew that what we think we know we most likely don’t know at all, especially since what there is to know about God is too big for our small minds. It was probably to our small mindedness – claiming to know more than we know – that the philosopher objected. Continue reading →
This is part four of a six-part conversation about how God gives us enough time to finish our lives well, but just enough time. If you’d like to begin at the beginning… or if youwould rather, you can see the entire essay at barneywiget.com.]
I have things I feel called by God to accomplish in this place before being transferred to the better place. The confused cells in my blood threaten to cut short the lifespan I previously had in mind, but because I know that he gives us a full “twelve hours of daylight,” my fears and frustrations are calmed. Even when the twelve hours are up and our normal life expectancy is exhausted, sometimes he heals the sick or even raises the dead – taking us into overtime! Continue reading →
Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Anne Lamott
“Trust for a miracle with all your heart” is not exactly what Solomon wrote.He did write, however, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3). Trusting in him helps me live peacefully with the tension between the two “wells” (suffer well and get well). Mature followers of Jesus can hold both ends in tension. Maturity is not having answers to all my questions about God, it’s having unanswered questions – maybe lots of them – and being able to live happily with the paradoxes and mysteries that come with a relationship with him. Continue reading →
“Where’s anyone who cares about me? The world’s lousy, no good. If I’d had my life to live over again, I would’ve done things a little different. I would’ve had more friends.”Ty Cobb
I want to be rich in friends more than rich in just about anything else I can be rich in.Anne Lamott
When I became a black hole of neediness, I was tempted to isolate myself from people, but instead, spurred by grace, I ran toward them. I stayed real close to my pit crew of friends and they pulled into me. For the first time in my life I could contribute absolutely nothing to anyone else. As much as I hate being the sole beneficiary in a relationship, I had to temporarily surrender to it and let my friends out-give me. None of them batted an eye at this new, albeit temporary, arrangement – and that’s because I have great friends. They literally buoyed me when I was sinking. Continue reading →