Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Late Nights (ben)

I'm getting old and cranky. It was not long ago when I would look forward to the late nights after quizzing/service when I could hang out, talk and play games. Now, I think about when I need to fall asleep so I can be reasonably awake in the morning. I think part of it is related to the disinterest in youth congress itself. Much to my chagrin, I've realized over the years how little events like these have genuinely impacted my life. This is not to say that there haven't been great lessons and sermons over the years (Doug White's music sermon comes to mind, along with Nathanael Urshan's Friday afternoon in Atlanta, after a surgery had recovered him from some heart issues; also of note are Nathan Reever's and Scott Graham's departing messages, and who can forget Todd Gaddy's?), but even such great sermons have not impacted my life in anywhere near the way that a Sunday Evening message has cut to the heart and been directed precisely at me. I've realized that it's not the big events so much as the consistent events that are most important in our lives. There's similar logic that follows when one considers the meet market that YC has become. Who are we trying to impress when we set aside that perfect tie or dress for the GQ look du mois? Are we really going to meet that special "someone" in an arena of 15,000? Who would even notice if we showed up in jeans and a t-shirt? I actually considered going completely casual this year, however it was my lateness in packing which generated a dearth of casual clothes, but an over-abundance of business-casual. Who cares whether we are dressed-up or casual? It makes no difference to God whether we're wearing Charvet or Targ├ęt. Now I certainly don't mean to malign anyone who dresses well, but I've got to wonder if it's really worth it. Could our focus on beauty be detrimental? Certainly, if it wastes time and resources that ought to be devoted to important business of life and the work of God. When studying music recently, I was directed to the passage in Ezekiel (28) that's oft cited as the "Lucifer was worship leader in heaven" passage. While the instruments are present, scripture indicates much more strongly that it was not the music so much as the overall appreciation of his beauty and brightness which arrogated him such that he was thrust out of heaven.
Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. (Ez 28:17)

Why doesn't this bother us more as a society of believers? Jesus was ugly (see Isa 53:2). I always hear "I want to be more like Jesus", when we simply want his oratorical skill, power, miracles and crowds. We don't want to suffer. Believe me, I don't want to suffer. I don't want to be ugly; I indeed want to match my clothing and wear nice suits, but how long have we satisfied ourselves by believing that these are the things that matter? How long until we realize that pouring dressing onto rotting and moldy salad doesn't change the salad, but simply masks the taste of the garbage that we're consuming?

What matters?


  1. You are on target Ben!! (no pun intended)

    Sis. Lynne

  2. Excellent post. Very engaging; convicting.

  3. Great post ... I agree wholeheartedly.

  4. Just remember that God has engineered young people to be on a mate search. To try to impress the opposite sex is instinct, in a good way, for a good purpose. Sure, sometimes the fashion game gets out of control, but it is understandable. Nevertheless, your point is well taken.