Sunday, February 10, 2008


I suggested "Velvet Elvis" as material for study to my men's group.
I'm re-reading it. These are my (completely raw) thoughts on
Chapter 4: Tassels

Failure: 097
One of my favorite motivators is not being afraid to fail. I love
this concept. I try to live by it. Of course, there's two types
of failure. One that is neutral to your relationship w/God and
one that is negative to your relationship to God. An example of a
neutral failure might be making a career change that was a bad idea.
I really don't think God cares what career we have so long as we
keep Him in it. An example of a negative failure would be breaking
one of His commandments. I've become convinced that a huge fear
of neutral failures keeps me from experiencing God's glory in the
successes that might arise.

And it's everywhere. My former boss, the one who recently laid
me off, could not move forward on a project unless it was 100%
planned out before the start. What drives this is a fear of
failure. But, the problem is that on a project you're lucky if
you can anticipate 80% of the solution that you're trying to build.
So you have to leap. You have to take a stab at the 80% and hope
that you'll figure out the remaining 20% on the way. If you insist
on any where close to 100% at the beginning, you'll end up paralyzed.

Honest & Raw: 101
"The more honest and raw we made it the more people loved it."
How is this concept different than this concept, "The more we just
teach the Bible, the more people love it." Or, "Our success is
based on the fact that we just teach the Bible." Same thing with,
"All we cared about was trying to teach and live the way of Jesus."

Salvation Now: 108
"God wants us to be the people he originally intended us to be."
Accepting Christ is only the very first, small step in that
transformation. So how am I doing? I see different changes.
I see some things that are good. But there are incessant struggles.
So what defines me? Is it the struggles or the good?

And the answer is both. I've managed to compartmentalize myself.
On the one hand, I do appreciate the changes that have happened in
my life. I rejoice in them. I allow them to define me. But I
also curse the struggles with sin that have not been overcome.
I believe that God's transformation in me is both true and false
at the same time. These changes in me are not a result of me.
Yet these other things that haven't changed are evidence that I'm
not responding to God's transformation.

It's easy to cling to the idea that the latter is just Satan
whispering condemnation in my ear. That's what I want to believe.
It's comforting. But I don't know if it's true. I don't know which
is true: that I'm saying to God, "Thy will be done" or that God is
saying to me, "Thy will be done".

Superwhatever: 116
What is my superwhatever? Do I have one? What impossible image
am I trying to live up to? My first instinct is my wife's father.
I really can't live up to the subtle expectations that my wife has
of me that I be just like her father. But is that a cop out?
Am I just being lazy?

Which gets us to...

Sabbath: 117
I love the concept of Sabbath. I was eavesdropping on someone last
week telling a story about the differences between men and women.
Men have boxes. None of the boxes touch each other. And one
of the very important boxes, for men, is the empty one. The one
with nothing. "Nothing time" is a very important time in my life.
I need some of it... weekly.

But the story doesn't end with just men's perceptions. Women don't
have boxes. In fact in women's world, there's a humongous web.
And every point on the web is connected to every other point on
the web. There is no nothing. Any attempt to isolate yourself
has ripple effects on everything else. Nothingness is a negative.

So, how do I reconcile my need for nothingness? Am I right in
needing it. The Bible seems to support this. But the Bible
was written by men. How would it have been written if women took
their perspective to it? But more importantly, how do I work in my
nothingness time without causing a huge ripple effect on my wife's
highly connected web? No matter what happens, one of us suffers.
Either I give up my nothingness, or I create a negative ripple on
my wife's web. Maybe she's right. Maybe I really am supposed to
be superdad.

This yoke is not always easy.

I love this idea: Sabbath is a day to remind myself that I did not
make the world and that it will continue to exist w/out my efforts.
It never ceases to amaze me how arrogant I can become about my
efforts. As if the whole fabric of society will be at a loss
w/out me.

Maybe I don't have to be superdad. My father certainly wasn't
and yet here I am working hard and humbly to figure out how to be
better than I currently am. And I *know* that it involves God.
More than anything, I wish that for my children. To be able to
assess their lives, and involve God in whatever changes are needed.
So if my father wasn't superdad, how much am I required to be
superdad for that to happen?

And yet I'm still haunted by the ripple effects that this might
have on my wife's web. I don't know which is right.