Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • River of Love +

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing +

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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I have glasses like Freud! 
What would HE say about this?

For the last couple of days, I've been writing what has become what I think is one of my most convoluted and unreadable blog entries yet. So you're not going to get to read that one. It was sort of a commentary on the sermon our pastor gave on Sunday, based solely on my own observations and supposings about human nature.

What he was talking about was Jephthah, from the book of judges and how his behavior was characterized by his insecurity, as the cast out illegitimate son. The pastor then had occasion to list the signs that a person might be an insecure person, as Jephthah was. I won't give you the list, but basically, and if you know an a-hole, chances are, they are insecure. 
You see, apparently, if a person is secure, they have nothing to prove (this most obvious example being Jesus Himself), while the opposite is true of a person who is insecure: this person will go around trying to assert their power and opinion everywhere in an effort to say, "I AM HERE! I AM IMPORTANT!" and is unable to see other points of view.

I don't know if this goes along with current psychological scholarship, but it makes sense to me and fits with what I have observed. Now I will say that there is every chance that I myself suffer from insecurity and am one of these a-holes. After all, I am always giving you my opinion and whatnot... and apparently one of the features of the insecure person is the inability to recognize one's own jerkishness, so... I'm just putting that out there. Maybe I'm this kind of person. I don't know - it's not like someone is going to tell me... is it?

Jephthah - what a jerk!
(It's actually heartening to note 
that he's included in a list of 
faithful saints in Hebrews 11.)

That said, my question is this: if you know someone like this, and you know you do, how should one deal with him or her? I mean, it's kind of a relief to know they're not just a flat-out a-hole... that there's something behind it... something deep and possibly painful... I guess knowing this could be helpful... but really, I'm not sure it helps me know how to behave toward the person.

I mean, how does one reassure them they they are important without reinforcing their sense of "rightness"? My earlier attempt to reason this out was full of amateur psychology, Bible character analysis and just ... ramblings. And in the end I just had to come to the conclusion that I so often reach: I DON'T KNOW.

I mean, it's not like you can go up to a person and say, "Look, you're an a-hole. You must be insecure," then, "Rest assured that you are important; there's no need to insist that you are." 
Well, you can't go wrong loving them, and besides that... I'm guessing that PRAYER is the way to go for all of us. Because, really, in the end, the hope of changing other people is a vain one - it has to be THEIR project. Even the work of changing myself is an uphill climb, and the going is likely to be slow. That's been my experience with resetting my own behavioral defaults up until now, anyway. In any case, we can't go wrong inviting God to lend an Almighty Hand.

Van Morrison

It's especially helpful if we can grasp - even a little bit - the concept of God as our security. In this case, not only will the Supreme God of the Universe give us a boost, He will HOLD US UP! How secure can you get? What would the world look like if everyone was 100% sure they were held up by God, and had no reason to push or act defensively? I don't know, but I wouldn't mind seeing it.

(I love this version of Be Thou My Vision by Van Morrison, in which he calls God his "high tower." That's solid.)

Reflections to Consider

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  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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