[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

3.28.2009

Slack-jawed again

On the plane to California (Virgin America rocks, btw) I watched 3 TED Talks, all of which were just great. If I could talk the way those guys talk, I'd be a better preacher, I can tell you that. In one talk, ocean explorer Robert Ballard shared his obvious enthusiasm for exploration and his goal to infect kids w/ that same enthusiasm. What caught my attention was the look on the face of this girl @ 17:10 of the talk. Ballard says of her: "When you get a jaw drop you can inform."

Indeed. And the same thing should work for enthusiasm about Jesus, should it not? If people (and by "people," I mean pretty much "me") heard the gospel and got that slack-jawed look, seems like they'd be hungry to know who Jesus is, what God is doing in history, how the redemption of creation in general can sweep me and my neighborhood up in particular.

Anyway, I had been thinking about that look off and on for a few days, and when I couldn't sleep last night after the 4.5 hour flight back to DC, I flipped through Donald Miller's Jazz Notes, which a friend had loaned me. Miller writes about his friend, Alan, who went around the U.S. asking questions of religious leaders. This time, it was the following anecdote that caught my attention:
It all sounded boring except for one visit he made to a man named Bill Bright, the president of a big ministry. Alan said Bill was a big man, full of life, who listened without shifting his eyes. Alan asked a few questions, closing with "What does Jesus mean to you?"

Bill Bright could not answer this question. He just started to cry. He sat there in his big chair at his big desk and wept.

When Alan told this story, I wondered what it was like to love Jesus that way. And I wondered, quite honestly, if Dr. Bright was nuts, or if he really knew Jesus in a personal way, so well that he could cry at the mere mention of his name. I realized that I wanted to know Jesus like that. With my heart, not just my head. I felt like that would be the key to something. (p. 118-19.)
Then I had two images in my head: A middle-school girl awed @ seeing something for the first time, and a grown man reduced to tears @ the mention of a name he'd heard a million times. Somehow they're linked in my brain now. I suspect if I could just get an inkling of the depth of the love of God, if Jesus would "happen to" me like that, I'd get slack-jawed again. And I'd hope the inevitable result would be a swelling of the heart something like Bill must've had. And heart-swelling love like that drives a body to do strange things, feats out of the ordinary, cross-taking-up and loving-thy-neighbor and whatnot.

I don't know that, mind you. But I suspect it.

2 Comments:

  • At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Susan said…

    I sat at Mary's table last Friday eating lunch listening to her talk about God and her life. She asked me if I was saved? I always say 'yes' to that question even though it's not in the way she means. Mary is homeless. In her mind, and maybe it is really happening, God is telling her where to go and what to do each day. That is why she is homeless -- she told me she had to be so she could do his bidding. I've thought about her a lot since. I wonder if I could drop my life if God called me? Would I even realize he was in the room? Would I hear him?

     
  • At 6:26 AM, Blogger Em said…

    Wow! I was gone for a few weeks and you came back!!!! Welcome back! I LOVE hearing your thoughts and am so thankful to have them once more.

    I'm always encouraged, inspired and challenged by you, dear friend.

     

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