Skip to main content

Weak is good, right?

The last six weeks has been a fresh journey in discovering my weakness (which I use as a catch all for everything from physical limitations to sin). Many voices have spoken into this ongoing journey - which isn't done yet by many miles.

A phrase I read several months ago has rung in my ears Manure grows extraordinary, tangible fruit. 

And then I read Francis Spufford's sweary book Unapologetic, which seems flawed in many ways but is so helpful against triteness. Railing against the atheist bus's callous "So enjoy yourself" he says we need better than that.

Enjoyment, he says, is great but it's not everything.
Enjoyment is great when you're young, fit and wealthy - but doesn't carry much weight when things go wrong.

Today, my in-laws are both in hospital. A 33 year old pastor who I met once died suddenly - which is clearly more of a struggle for those who knew him better but I'm 33 and its jarring when someone your own age dies. We spent a weekend with a couple whose first partners had both died. One of my closest friends is ill with a condition that they can't quite figure out. I'm well, but I'm acutely aware of chaos around me.

Spufford suggests: "Everything you fear is true. And yet." And yet.
Christ doesn't make everything go away, but I can acknowledge the rubbish and say "And yet."

Spufford's book is subtitled "Why, despite everything Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense."
I'm also reading Pete Scazzero's The Emotionally Healthy Church.
And I can see Graham Beynon's book Emotions from where I'm sitting, and a set of essays from Harvard calling for leaders to have strong Emotional Intelligence.
Scazzero calls for us to accept vulnerability.
A month before I even heard of Scazzero I heard Paul Tripp say: "I'm a man in the middle of my own sanctification." I think I used to like to think I was somewhere past the middle. We're all unfinished, and this is good.

Scazzero's book left the friend who recommended it to me weeping. It hasn't quite done that for me, but I think that might be because it's arrived a month into my current wrestling with my weakness and incompleteness and limitations rather than being the first voice. Nonetheless a helpful friend to guide my steps.

Not to introspection - far from it - seeing my weaknesses and sin I'm freshly aware that looking at me will do me no good whatsoever. If it depends on me then its game over.
And yet. Christ. 

Beginning, again, to see my own weakness liberates me. I've been here before. And again. I am (I so wanted to write I've been...) quick to assess others. I am quick to think my self to be in the right. Read, self-righteous. But if I'm just  on my way why should I expect others to be the finished article? And if collectively, together, we're all unfinished people we might help one another...  and weak people adorn the good news of Jesus because he's the kind of hero that weak people need. Not an intimidating hero to inspire me, but one who came into the world and died for me, and walks with me.

I've answered the question "Isn't Christianity a crutch for the weak" by showing that Christianity is strong. Today, at least, I'm glad that Christ is for the weak.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use (http://planningcenteronline.com/) tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue



2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin



3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong



4. Cornerstone - Hillsong


Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…