The Bone of the Beast

I was trying to explain something to someone the other day. He was upset that I seem to keep trashing the church. I'd told a story during my sermon last week that happened at a church conference years ago. He felt it was unfair to bring up the incident, that it puts the church in a bad light, and the church is getting trashed enough as it is. It gives the impression, he thought, that I believe our own church and my style of ministry has got it right and everyone else has got it wrong. I apologized and said that I wasn't meaning to criticize that one incident, nor the Vineyard movement, nor conferences, nor Christianity, nor religion, but humanity in general. I may not have been clear enough on that.

I happen to believe that every little thing we think, say and do reveals something about our deepest selves. They are all little windows into our secret identities and darkest urges. So when I choose one incident and grab onto it and gnaw on it and won't let it go, I'm like a dog with a bone. But it's not the bone I really care about, but the larger issue it's connected to. I ultimately don't care about the bone, but the beast it's attached to.

I do think politics, family, education, art, religion and so on, can be particularly pretentious manifestations of our darkest selves. I think it is important to dissect and analyze all that we think, say and do. It ought to expose our pretentions. It ought to reveal our hypocrisy. It ought to reveal the urgency of change. How else can we expect to be humble, to be transformed, or to find the love to help others?

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