DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
Learning the wisdom of kindsight
Many Christians live with a sense of guilt but it doesn’t need to be that way. We have all messed up and fallen short. Kindsight informs how we can interpret and accept the past, negotiate and enjoy the present, and remain optimistic for the future.
It’s a comment that my pal Adrian Plass has frequently made, usually accompanied by his wry but warm smile: ‘There’s always a problem when truth is allowed to creep into Christianity’. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? I can hear people huffing and puffing and making ‘disgusted of Woking’ horsey noises, exhaling air through their indignantly flared nostrils at 500 psi.
I hear them protesting: ‘What are you blethering on about? Jesus is the truth, and so we are a people of the truth, aren’t we?’.
Yes. That is the theory. But the reality is often quite different. Christians, in common with the vast majority of the human race, frequently lie, hedge, exaggerate, pretend, and dance around the truth. This can happen when a question concerning how large a rear end looks in a pair of skinny jeans is proposed, prompting a lie in order to keep the peace. And in the church, there’s often more hedging than is usually found at a garden centre when ‘difficult’ subjects like self-image, pornography, masturbation, and guilt are mentioned. Much coughing can be heard from the cloisters. Although we have moved on a little. When I was a keen evangelical adolescent locked attentively to the annual talk about sex in the youth group, explanations were so vague that one needed a map reference, a gift of interpretation and a copy of Grays Anatomy (the medical textbook, not the eternal television series), to figure out what was being shared.
I have occasionally struggled to be a truth-teller myself. An American Christian publisher recently told me that I was ‘too honest for the church’. Spot the error, there, people….
Hence my delight that Tania has written this compelling, warm, practical and utterly inspirational book. She begins by bluntly sharing some of her own fractures and fragilities, which is one reason I like her, and this book, a lot. No ivory towered exhortations here; rather another broken but under construction soul sharing some poignantly relevant advice with her fellow travelers.
Tania has a beautiful smile, which, helpfully, she uses a lot. But this is not the superficial grin of an enthusiastic airhead who wants to palm us off with platitudes, but is the facial architecture of one who has been around the proverbial block, has plenty of cuts and bruises to show for it, and now, in plain, unfussy language, wants to help the rest of us out. Here, you won’t be bossed around, rudely shoved with a stack of musts and shoulds. But you will find a winsome invitation to live healthily, but not clinically.
So I won’t say, ‘enjoy the book’, because I know you will. Okay, if you’re of a nervous disposition, proceed with care. But I know that as a result of your walking through the pages that follow, you’ll laugh, cry, be relieved, become resolved, and most important of all, be a more authentic follower of Jesus as you do.
Thanks a lot. Really.
Well, I finally have a technological home. A place to interact with some of the outstanding people I come across. There’s so many people to listen to and learn from. What I most desire from this “gathering place” is to laugh together, listen together, harness opportunities and in years to come say we grew in faith and life ….. together.
I hope you find on this site encouragement; equipping; helpful thought-bytes and resources that move us. Let’s deepen our faith; greaten our risk taking; and magnify our contribution wherever “we’re at”.