Our good friend Steve tweeted yesterday’s Catch, and for some reason, my email brought up an older Catch from last February instead, “Are we guilty of narcissistic spirituality?”. It turns out to be a divine mistake because the February 17 Catch is exactly what I need right now, and I have a hunch you do too.
Steve is the perfect one to comment on yesterday’s Catch since he used to work for (and with) Marti in marketing. They made an awesome team, and Steve will undoubtedly get the good nature ribbing in yesterday’s Catch. In rereading what I wrote yesterday, I realize I might have made Marti out to look like a big pain. That’s not the case. It’s just her people-oriented work ethic rubbing against my narcissistic procrastination. Thus, the appropriate nature of bringing back February’s Catch. (Some of these Catches really do need to go around again because we are so slow to get it.) But before I go to that, there are two things of importance I need to make clear.
First, to the husbands: Slaying the dragon and rescuing your wife from the tower is no fantasy. It is what’s required of us. The dragon is whatever you have let come between you and your wife; and freeing her from the tower is assisting her in finding her worth in the wider world, beyond her role at home, which is important, but not the only thing. So go for it, men! We’ve got to stick together in this: All for one and one for all.
Second, to all: This goal of 100 new MemberPartners is not just an arbitrary number; it’s what we are asking God for. Now either we are way off base or you’re not paying attention, because we have a long way to go, and you can change that right now. If you have even the slightest inclination or tug on your heart in this direction, you need to act on it. That’s the Lord honoring our request.
I hate to belabor the point, except to remind you that being a MemberPartner entitles you to four weekend updates a month including an inspirational message from either Marti or me, and a summary of the week’s prayer requests that will undoubtedly touch you and get you praying. (There’s no better way to get tied into the reality of this community than a week’s worth of prayer requests. Believe me, it’s heart-wrenching and humbling.) Don’t hesitate. Do a good thing for yourself and those around you. Get your boots on the ground. Become a MemberPartner now.
Finally, on to our important concern about narcissistic spirituality …
A little guilt is good; too much guilt is selfish. To wallow in one’s guilt is to place too much importance on oneself. I think for too long, we have been too obsessed with our own spirituality. God doesn’t want perfect people; He just wants people He can use.
I think Jesus put a stop to all this “rules and guilt” nonsense by concluding the Sermon on the Mount with this: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Okay, thank you for clarifying that, Jesus. I’ll just go do that … not!
Honestly, what happens to you when you hear, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”? Do you get what He’s saying here? He’s telling us to be as good as God! Really? Don’t you want to just throw in the towel now? Don’t you want to go, “Thanks, but no thanks”? Don’t you want to tell God that if He’s interested in you being perfect, He’s got the wrong guy? Did you ever wonder if that might be exactly what He wants us to think? That He might be saying this to purposely frustrate any of our attempts to be perfect by our own efforts? That when He tells us to be perfect, He’s not expecting us to go out and do that, He’s expecting us to throw ourselves on His mercy?
He’s intending to break us of any attempt at a righteousness of our own.
I think this is it: God doesn’t want perfect people; He wants broken people He can mold and use. The Pharisees are what you get when you try to get perfect people. The poor in spirit are what you get when people give up trying, and those are the people Jesus says are blessed. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” They get it. They understand. They come empty to be filled. They come thirsty to get living water. They come as sinners needing forgiveness, and as guilty needing mercy. Jesus wants people who are done with themselves and ready to be put to use wherever God wants them.
I think we might have gotten taken up too much with the state of our own spirituality. God doesn’t want to impress anybody with us; He just wants to put us to work serving Him by serving others.
Note: To all those who have signed up to be a MemberPartner this month, as well as to all our current MemberPartners, if you haven’t received our Certificate of Appreciation, you will soon.