Monday, October 25, 2010

Preacher Remorse Day

I know stuff.  Some of it is useful. Lots of it isn’t.  At times, the stuff I know has been helpful to people.  Other times not so much.  There’s lots of stuff I don’t know.  For instance, I don’t know much about quantum physics.  Actually, I know nothing about it.  Women confuse me.  Anita, however, continues to be a good guide.  I know stuff about God.  Probably more than the average person but if truth be known …there’s a whole lot about God that I know I don’t get.  However, by profession and calling, I have the privilege of telling people what I do know and confessing my ignorance about what I don’t.  That’s always humbling.

At our church we’re preaching through a series called ‘God is…’.  You know the drill.  God is love.  God is sufficient.  God is good.  God is holy.  I played a fun, little ditty by the Michael Gungor band yesterday  about what God isn’t.   According to the band God isn’t easily boxed in.  That’s much to the chagrin I’m sure of people who have the habit of doing such things.  I guess it makes life easier to ‘box’ away.  It’s just hard to remember where you’ve put everything after awhile.  Trying to remember that God loves us all …lesbians, terrorists, conservative, liberals, Protestants,  Catholics, Mormans, Jews, Muslims, and even the guy who didn’t stop at a stop sign and almost hit me yesterday isn’t everyone’s favorite pastime.  We like to play games with winners and losers.  God’s love seems to favor ‘losers’ and it doesn’t make sense.

So, yesterday I stood up and stated that God is love.  I believe it and don’t have to convince myself of it.  But as I stood up yesterday I realized that I didn’t have the words in my heart to adequately express what I know to be true.  So, I danced around it a little bit and far too quickly moved to life application issues.  “How then do we show God’s love to others?” Today, I’m a little ticked at myself for doing that.  I should have stayed with the main course for awhile longer.  And there’s the dilemma for me.  I’m going to be really honest here.  Maybe I don’t know enough about God’s love to speak with any authority about it.  Again, I believe God is love and I’ve certainly experienced it and seen it in action but yesterday I felt like I couldn’t put words to it.  And in all honesty, I worry that the little bit I said yesterday was all I know.  That bothers me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think it was OK stuff but today (preacher remorse day) I’m bothered about not being able to dive deeper, at times, into important subject matter.

Part of the problem for me is that I know myself pretty well. As a result of upbringing, personal experience, failure, and sin ‘love’ is something I know exists but have a hard time accepting.  Like many, I don’t think I’m very loveable.  My wife tries to convince me otherwise and I have many friends but there is something inside me that resists ‘love’.  Intellectually, I get it. Emotionally, I put up walls.  That keeps love from getting in and being released.  And at times I wonder how a good God could love me. 

Despite my bewilderment I know God does love me.  I believe the truth of the biblical text.  I have experienced his love on numerous occasions.  In my marriage I feel secure in Anita’s love.  But those darn walls.  Sometimes I think they are everywhere.  Most certainly, at times, they get between my head and my heart. 

I’m reminded of a story about Karl Barth I believe. Someone asked this brilliant man what he knew about God.  He thought for a moment and then began to sing:

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so.

That’s what I cling to oftentimes when everything else is a bit murky. Jesus invited me into His heart a long time ago.  I said ‘yes’.  Sometimes all I can muster is the objective truth of the written word.

I felt compelled to write this morning.  To work this all out.  Like a written confessional.  It’s good for my soul.  A sign of God’s love I think.  A bit of angst goes with being an introvert.  My hidden ‘extrovert’ needs to think out loud.

By the way, I think the sermon went just fine. At least it is lingering with me.  That’s always  a good thing.  Sometimes the message I think is intended for others is really meant for myself.


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