EOTM: Blessed are the Poor In spirit
You may or may not have noticed a new menu item titled "Experiment on the Mount." (EOTM) Over the next several months I'm going to dedicate some words toward the best sermon ever given. I will be responding with humor, poetry, theology, a bit of self-deprivation, and a good ol fashion blog rant here and there... hopefully a smorgasbord of human expression. Theology is important, but the BIble is far more than bullet points. I'm hoping that some of you out there will offer your own reflections in the forum. Write a poem, post a YouTube video of a song you've written, offer a definition of a Greek word. Whatever you do, let it be you and let it be honest. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I've heard my maker speak the clearest when I am at my lowest, when I've exhausted every resource and shot myself in the foot. The bottom is the place where self-reliance has done its worst then walked out the door; it is the place where we experience true perspective. As Andrew Osenga puts it, "God help the man who helps himself, he needs no other devil."
I used to muster up a sense of humility, offering mantras of worthlessness to God without actually recognizing the shipwreck that my inner life had become. It was hard to be poor in spirit, simply because I didn't know how to be honest with myself. I balanced on an imaginary wire between humility and self-perceived sainthood, that is until reality shoved me into an awareness of my decadence; my pride, my bottled anger, my distorted relationship to women, my use of words and logic to manipulate others so I could get what I want. I don't know that I've necessarily felt the full weight of it, but I've sure been dunked under the water, wondering if I'd ever come up again.
Still, I am convinced that those who get God, those who laugh and cry alongside their maker are not necessarily people with rows of books and extra letters attached to their name, but those who have actually realized, often because of their own oversized carry on bag that they a need Him, though they might not know the difference between atonement and high fructose corn syrup.
The two followers of Jesus who have helped me see the Son of Man most clearly are Brennan Manning and Rich Mullins, two Ragamuffins, an alcoholic and a chain smoker with a sailor's mouth who was kicked out of Bible College, a divorced ex-priest and a CCM artist who didn't know how to love his father until after his father had died. I'm not saying any of that is what Jesus wants from us, but as Brennan so often points out, none of us are as we should be. It took their words and music for me to understand that we were very much the same people on the same journey. They showed me my pharisaism and lust then patted me on the back and started me walking again, reminding me of why I was walking in the first place.
I've never felt both farther from who I should be yet closer than ever to the kingdom.
Don't worry if you're terrible at life and faith, in fact, throw yourself a party, those are the people who finally realize they can't do it themselves.