Friday, November 10, 2006

Instead of grasping at straws

Praying through Lauds this morning, there was this short reading: 2 Cor 12:9-10: (Jerusalem) "I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong." (NIV) (TM)

". . . very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast. . ." is blowing me away. I guess, even though I didn't know it, that I'm so performance oriented, that I'm no different from anyone else. I'm just carrying this pride, and these expectations of myself in a different arena. I'm thinking about my issues with the soccer team (that I coach) here.

I can say (and I do mean) that I don't care if we win or lose. But if we perform badly, or give subpar effort, I experience really bad feelings – things I don't want to have anything to do with: disgust, self-loathing, worry over what the parents will think of me as a coach, aggravation at the players. So I'm as bad, really, as someone just obsessed with winning. All I've done is shift it over a bit.

And this is saying that I should be "very happy" to brag about my deficiencies in this area. Because this will cause the "power of Christ" to "stay over me." I guess this is to prevent me from applying a Band-Aid and opting for that brand of self-sufficiency instead of choosing to keep Jesus "on the job" for this area, a known deficiency. Some people don't like this type of self-deprecation, feeling that the person doing it is fishing for a compliment, or calling undue attention to themselves, but this passage seems to offer the behavior prescriptively. Talk about how you're a screwup.

I bet there's a right and wrong way to do it, though. I'm sure we can be more aggravating about this than we have to be, and that's probably where the distaste I was talking about comes from.

We evangelicals don't like to acknowledge weaknesses, much less brag about them. Maybe this reflects on the Ted Haggard thing that Scot McKnight blogged about on Nov 6 under "Ted Haggard and the Evangelical Environment": "Christians and pastors, because of the environment of condemnation of sin and the absence of a mechanism of confession, bottle up their sins, hide their sins, and create around themselves an apparent purity and a reality of unconfessed/unadmitted sin."

So my response to this scripture will be to not pretend I can handle my shortcomings, that I will brag on the Lord's willingness and ability to drag me through these weaknesses I have, that I will trust him, and not me, to successfully deal with these things.

Love and peace. Love and peace. Love and peace.

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