Friday, March 11, 2005

McNamara's Fog

Just Watched: The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

I feel like I've just woken up from a dream. I've exited an experience which was exhillarating, yet my memory of the events darkens with each passing moment. "The Fog of War" isn't so much about McNamara's eleven lessons as it is about wisdom and life. You don't find wisdom and life in an itemized set of points. The film wasn't about points; they were merely a frame around a very entertaining and enlightening documentary. He recalls some of the most important points in human history, mixing in human interest stories and entertaining anecdotes. I highly recommend.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Fighting Ego

As I reflect on these bloggings thus far, I continue to question myself. Each day, I check to see if anyone has made comments about these posts ... to see if anyone has noticed me yet. And so I can't seem to put down this idea that I created this all out of selfishness and pride. I struggle over whether to make comments on other blogs that are highly read, just so that others will come and check me out. How vain.

Perhaps I'll keep these reflections just for me, to come back to one day and chuckle over. Perhaps I'll keep these reflections for a future love, a fiance/wife or a son, whom I'll share with as a token of sharing who I am today with them. Perhaps I will decide to open up this blog to outside consumption, though at this point I hope not. One thing I don't need right now is inflation of my own ego. Sort of like praying in your closet, I think I'll reflect in my own closet. Part of me doesn't understand the whole "public diary" thing, anyway.

It is good for me to reflect in private. We'll keep this private to keep it meaningful. We'll share it with those with whom we share intimacy.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pernicious Pride

I wrote in yesterday's post about how I've noticed that the root of much of my sin is pride. Here's the latest example that's been chewing on me:

We had preaching class this weekend. I'm not the best preacher out there. I know this, and it doesn't bother me. But I'm still pretty dog-gone good, at least as far as I can tell. I'm not a 10, but maybe a 7.

In the second installment of our weekend preaching class with Mark Love, he had us all preach sermons. After every single sermon, he remarked, "All right, good job [fill-in-the-blank]." He did this for everyone except me. He told me my theology was good and that I read the text well. He critiqued (not harshly, mind you) my momentum, the design of my outline, and my use of an image that wasn't in the text.

Now I'm not sure how to read this. At first, I think that perhaps he realizes my skill, and he doesn't want to puff me up. In this case, I can really appreciate how he handled me. Even afterward, he came up to me and asked, "Did I discourage you?" I told him he didn't. But then, the next day, he used me as an example of someone who would do well to pay attention to Buttrick's idea of moves & structures. That did knock me down a few notches.

And isn't that exactly what I've been asking for. I mean, maybe I'm not as slick as I think I am. Or if I am that slick, it's certainly not healthy for me to think I'm that slick ... or maybe not? Here is how I'm confused.

And then I come to think about why this bothers me so much. And when I'm honest, I think I care what Mark Love thinks because he is the lectureship director. And if I impress the lectureship director, then I'll get noticed. Wow ... how poor am I.

But it's not all bad. I'm one who feeds off of affirmation. But even something morally neutral can be twisted by Satan so that he might hold me in his clutches. So I assured myself today saying, "I do it pretty good, and I do it right. The words of God spoken through me change lives and directions. I'm doing it good, and it doesn't matter if Mark Love gets picky."

Jack Reece was right. What he told me is true. Pride will root me out if I let it. This is a battle that won't go away, isn't it ...

An Explanation

Currently listening to: CCR
Just watched: The Shawshank Redemption
Currently reading: "Performing the Word" by Jana Childers

"Knowledge puffs up; love builds up." 1st Corinthians 8:1

Everybody has catchy blog titles, and I figured I'd come up with one, too. So I thought I'd begin by offering an explanation for mine.

There's a joke that my friends Jeremy & Mary Anderson once told me. It goes like this:

Teller: "What do you get when you mix an elephant with a rhino?"
Hearer: "What?"
Teller: "Hell if I know!"
Hearer: [blank stare]
Teller: "Come on, don't you get it? Elephant ... rhino. Eleph ... ino. Hell if I know!"

Apparently, they had first heard this dialogue from an episode of the Muppets, which sounds sort of out of character.

Anyway, the title is sort of an expression of my understanding of reality.

Being a second semester student in Seminary, I can understand my friend Daniel Cherry's tidbit of wisdom a little better. He said to me that coming into college, we think we have a pretty good grasp on things. Once we advance through our undergraduate years, though, we begin to realize, "You know, I don't know much." But once you enter graduate school, he told me, it will hit you: "I know nothing."

Of course he was overstating, but the truth is there. I hope I know a few important things. I hope I know who loves me, and whom I love. I hope I know whom I can trust and lean on. I hope I know the answer to the Gospel-writer Mark's question, "Who is that man?" Above all, I hope I will have an answer for what I did with what I was given in this life. Of these questions, I hope I have a response.

But for the most part, I'm willing to admit my ignorance. I've noticed with a lot of blogs, people write to sound wise. I hope I don't do that, stroking my own ego by erecting my own "Babel." I'm skeptical of my intentions even now: by writing about not being wise, it makes me sound wise, right? And it doesn't help that as of late I've recognized a lot of my personal life issues centering around the sin of pride.

But I hope I can lay all of that aside. My hope is that this will be more of an exercise in authenticity, so that in the process, my pride is overshadowed by the reality of my insufficiency. I hope that I will come, not just to admit, but to believe deep down that I really don't know that much.

Thursday, March 03, 2005