Category Archives: pride

in so many words

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Those of you who know me well, know that I love the outdoors and I love music. In fact, one of my favorite things are outdoor concerts…I just usually can’t afford them. Yesterday was another one of those can’t afford them days, but I made the most of it. While clearing brush from my fence line (a task probably a few years overdue) I kept my phone near by and kept the Avett Brother’s playing as loud as it would go. Much of the time I sang along as well which I’m sure was not pleasant for many within earshot. There is one song that whenever it comes up always strikes me with how poignant the lyrics are. The song is called Ten Thousand Words and the main chorus goes like this, “Ain’t it like most people? I’m no different, We love to talk on things we don’t know about.”And even though this song came out almost a decade ago, the lyrics are just as meaningful in our world today as they were then. The underlying truth in that line is what gets me…especially as someone who earns his living primarily talking.

Talking, especially about something we may not know the whole story about, is something we seem to be rather fond of these days. Proverbs 15:2 says, “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” I don’t like to often think of myself as a fool, although I think I have been called worse, but I am not sure that I always speak from a completely informed platform. I try to pride myself on being culturally relevant and savvy; I study scripture and commentaries for Biblical insight; and I am a social scientist regarding the lives of my students and the environment in which they live. I even started listening to more podcasts to seem more informed about the subjects I tend to engage in with others. But there are still limitations to what I am able to collect in terms of information. I still haven’t walked in everyone’s shoes and I still am unable to see things from their perspectives completely, so maybe there is space to check myself before gushing out my opinion on everything.

What’s sad is when people have no consideration for the others’ beliefs or convictions. We attempt to speak truth/judgment upon them without fully knowing their story. I believe as Christians that we have a message which is of dire importance that we must share with people, but if we don’t know our message well, if we don’t know our audience, if we have no consideration for who they are and where they come from…then we might as well be gushing folly. Paul says it this way in his letter to the Ephesians, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29. So maybe we could all use that check on our words. And I know I may fall into the category of being like most people who don’t know what they are talking about…but I think we all know better.

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ego

Confession time; my arrogance has overtaken me. For the past few weeks in my blog I have felt a little lack-luster. And not even necessarily because of what I have written, but more because of what I have not written and wanted to write. You see, I have always wanted my blog to live a little on the edge. To be relevant, yet maybe have a little punch to it. And so I thought about writing some commentary about the political arena with a different take on scripture; but it never sounded right. Or maybe seek out some divisive issue in the church and try to nail it to the wall, but that just turned out to be misguided. And then I realized why. It was because of my motivation. My gracious wife even pointed out to me that ‘you might get more hits, but is that what you really want?’ And in all honesty at the moment I was completely in the affirmative. I love it when people read my blog. It makes me feel all loved and smart and stuff (and if that last thought doesn’t make me sound educated, I don’t know what will). Seeing those blog hits tally up is like a little injection added to the skip in my step every time I post to arpology. But is this why I really write? If it is then I have issues…

And I do (have issues that is). My ego is one of them that I always struggle with. But truthfully who among us doesn’t struggle in the same fashion? Who among us doesn’t want to be the best at what they are doing when they are doing it? We have all heard the old proverb, which is actually a Proverb, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18. And I can’t help but be seized by the truth of it all as I write. Pride is that which brings on a multitude of shortcomings and slips and falls and sin in our attempts at self-perceived greatness. I think my writing even suffers more when I am concerned about the quantity of my reader versus the quality of their reading. I love the fact that there are people on the other side of the information superhighway reading these words I am penning, but I think I need to be concerned with their engagement with The Word more and less with their engagement with my words.

And so I will continue to write. But only in ways that truly point to the One who I want to represent. I will continue to study. But only to find new ways to engage the culture around me in order to transform it for the Kingdom. And I will find new stories, quips and insights from my daily life lived with my family, friends and my church that will lead me to greater ways of truth-telling for the sake of this blog. And although arpology will continue to be a lesson in pride management for me, I will always have this post to come back to and read to remind myself…It’s not about me.


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