I don’t know what any of this has to do with anything, but I’m under grace and sometimes I am allowed to be pensive. I don’t feel like writing anything insightful, but I am going to confess some feelings lurking. Lucky you, you get to read it!
I saw a magnificent tree growing in the middle of a lumber yard by itself. I think the man or woman of grace, or the rare church, is like this. An unlikely evidence of life in a place of abundant death. You start to feel a little strange; am I supposed to be killed and carved up like all the other trees? Or am I a little piece of useless adornment in a sea of ugly utility?
So many of us are so gifted, so primed, dressed for the prom, but no one wants to go with us. But there is no prom around here, no honor, our skills are not needed. The world doesn’t need what we are, no one is interested at all. Things I thought were so important about me have died. Isn’t it strange what people will pay you for and what people don’t care about? Isn’t it strange what is necessary? It is my utility the world wants, and not my glory. Does anyone else ever feel like that?
Patterns of conscience and acceptability lead to such dry lifeless living. When do musicians ever just play something because they like it? Together? Why is worship music so utilitarian? Why do we so rarely wonder, speculate, ask real questions? Academics is all about quotes. “Have you read this? Haven’t you read that?” We are not allowed to think, only to study, to regurgitate, to quote.
Raising children is all about correction it seems.
I confess this: most music sucks. I am spoiled by Bach and Stravinsky. I could even settle for Yes or Jethro Tull. There is precious little I actually enjoy. I can’t get excited about it. Am I crazy? My son likes techno music. Man I hate that stuff.
We sold our house, the one I loved. I loved that land, it was beautiful. It is hard to imagine we will ever own another. Not another like it. Another, at all. I don’t know what I think about that. God gives us what is truly ours, ironically.
Did you know that almost no one makes a living from writing a book, much less a blog? Once you start writing for money I guess it changes, I don’t know. I don’t want that. I want to go to heaven. I don’t mean eventually, I want to go now. I’m not mental or suicidal, I’m just saying.
I am one of those musicians that used to play. I am really not that great any more, there just isn’t time. I also can’t really call myself a minister or theologian. I have no time or money for the education. I can’t even send my sons to college, how could I go? It won’t happen without some kind of crazy miracle. I’m too poor and too busy.
Everyone fights over the iPhone and the computers in this house. It is all about glowing rectangles. You can’t escape it. Even I don’t. They’re amazing little idols, they talk to you. Here I am.
You know what amazes me? The theological arguments over grace! We have gospel indicatives vs. gospel imperatives. We have the 1st 2nd and 3rd form of the law. The council of Dort for God’s sake. We have justification vs. sanctification. Does justification produce my sanctification? I think, that in Christ, God loves us and justifies us. Is it so weird to think that Christianity is about love? Is it? Where do people become so strange and combative and authoritative about these things? As if any of us really know the mysteries of God.
Being something important is all about being recognized by others. Those who are recognized pretend it isn’t important to them, but they would be just as desperate to be something if they worked in a basement or a factory. I am no hero, no celebrity, no genius. I am no respected person, and it presses you to think that it is true that your significance really does come from Christ when you are basically a slave in a basement. I admire Paul the Apostle and I simply am not him. I would love to be that free. I have a job and family and they need the money. I don’t care any more, I really don’t. I saw this homeless guy walk past me along the railroad tracks along the shore with the sun shining over the islands and the waters. He probably envies my place and I envy his freedom. I had to turn back and go back to the chores, I was already running late from everyone’s expectations of me for the day. I hate all of this responsibility, it is a great great prison. Yet I truly believe that God loves me. People think I am some responsible thing, but I am a feral tiger in a cage, and in some ways I am one of those sad ones that has forgotten the jungle and the thrill of the kill. We are made for the jungle but it has not worked out that we are allowed to live there. Maybe this is the place where Christ meets us, with the sad beaten down people, not with the ideal people. If I did not doubt that, I would not be so pensive right now.
Maybe that isn’t it. I love His grace. I love the freedom of it. I love what I believe. I love Him. I want more freedom to follow Him everywhere, to talk to everyone, to teach grace and to walk in miracles. We’re all busy with chores. We don’t object to grace or miracles, we’re just too busy and preoccupied for them. I’m tired of the chains of obligation.
God is no stranger to having a great big party and knowing the disappointment of having everyone bow out. Why don’t people love grace? Why can’t propagating this message at least be my side job?
2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son.
3 “And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.
4 “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’
5 “But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business,
6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.
7 “But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire.
8 “Then he *said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
9 ‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’
10 “And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes,
12 and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And he was speechless.
13 “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
(Matthew 22:2-14, NASB).
God, honestly, save me from mere chores! For brother Laurence, washing dishes was the height of rapturous worship. Release me somehow from this prison of what I ought to be doing. Everyone is so mad all the time, it is never enough anyway. I’m so tired of it all. I don’t know what to say to any of it. You can only keep writing things in a basement for so long before you kind of start hating that place. Is it OK to admit I hate that basement? I have this great job and money is so tight. I can’t even find time to sit down with my own wife and talk about that. I hate this isolation.
I confess my sadness and my disappointment.