Recently I have been asked: How’s the book coming?
Answer: I am on an unintentional indefinite hiatus.
Life is more busy than I thought possible. Churchplanting proposals are more complicated and real than I thought likely. (It was all supposed to be fun ministry-thinking-stuff, right? Wrong. There’s a little more to it than that.) Cornerstone’s almost-live new website has been time consuming, though I have learned much. I am reading more and more books that I might learn how to write just one. Actually, the more I have read, the more I experience God’s reading to me about my heart even as he seems to be writing his new story on it. Most importantly, I have been too busy learning about my weaknesses to write about them. That is an understatement.
Most of you know that I am working on Why I don’t want to be a strong Christian: living the gospel in weakness. Two months ago I gave the first 80 pages to some readers. I haven’t written a word since.
But I may pick it up again, and here’s why: I was reading from the Book of Isaiah yesterday morning, ch. 22. It is a ghastly chapter about God’s vindictive righteousness toward his own people… in the valley of vision (of all places). In 22:17, he speaks of his people in the same way he has spoken about the nations from the first word of the book.
A people of arrogance. “Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man.”
I wonder if the past 2 months have been for me the recognition that (though I claim to relate to God in my weakness, and though I constantly angle my gospel-preaching and teaching and counsel toward weakness) I, in reality, have been the condemnable strong man. I have been the proverbial member of the people of God who finds arrogance in others… so I intentionally angle my ministry toward their latent weaknesses for the sake of gospel self-discovery. But I failed to notice that I viewed myself as “too weak to be arrogant.” I failed to realize that my transparent philosophy of ministry was about me the strong man helping others discover Christ in weakness. No wonder I stopped writing. No wonder my stomach has hurt due to stress (I have pretended I was strong enough to hold myself together, no matter what I said about weakness).
So yesterday the question was posed to me through Isaiah:
Am I the strong man whom the Lord could hurl away (22:17) or am I the bruised reed who rests gently in Christ’s perfect grasp (42:2-3)?
Obviously, I have been both. I hate becoming weak and dependent (it requires addressing arrogance), but I like being here. Yeah… that’s how I feel. I don’t want to be a strong Christian. I mean that today.