Don’t try this at home. Actually, don’t try this anywhere. I’ve done some smart things in my life, and I’ve also done some stupid things. The following is one of the stupid things…
I decided to conduct an experiment on New Year’s Eve some years back. I was playing bass guitar for a party among friends, just some casual grooving with a couple of buddies. I knew from previous experience that a little bit of beer actually affected my playing positively. I was more relaxed, I grooved easier. So when I could, I’d enjoy a brew before I performed. That got me thinking…
It’s all about the moment for me.
The book was A Farewell To Arms, the class was American Lit. I was 17 and tired of reading stuffy analyses of an otherwise enjoyable story. So I put the critical references aside and decided to stop studying for a while.
My parents had turned part of our basement into a guest room. I liked to study there;˚ it was cool, dark, and quiet. In this moment I got up from the desk, flicked off the light and sat upright on the bed, resting against the headboard. It was Walkman time.
And there, in the cool, quiet darkness of the guest room, was the moment.
My roommate Jamie brought home a new bottle of whiskey. And not wanting to be impolite, I offered to help him drink it.
It was alright*.
Like the pretentious drinker I am, I commented on its lackluster character. But just as my snobby nose was in mid upturn, Jamie pointed out something interesting. “You can’t really judge it yet,” he said.
The fact is that most “good” whiskey is aged for some time, like over a decade. The distillery where this whiskey came from though, has only been making the stuff for maybe five years. So while this bottle wasn’t particularly impressive, we won’t really know the quality of the brand until the whiskey has had time to age. Because it is in the aging process that the richness of the drink comes through˙.
To me, closeness is better than greatness.
I grew up believing in one kind of God, but experiencing another. I believed in miracles, in the limitless and immediate supernatural power of God, but I never saw anything of the sort. My spiritual life was like ESPN in Julyº. All the exciting stuff existed, it was just the off-season.
But the off-season was all I had. I knew something was missing, and at 18 I started to put words to it. The words came easy, spilling over from a heart full of discontent. I didn’t have “peace” with God, that’s how I put it.
So when I first heard of a real miracle happening in America, on my home turf, I knew I had found my answer. The miracle-seeing people were much more “peaceful” than I, and I knew I could have peace, too, if I could just see God’s power for myself.
There’s something about the fear of the bad that keeps us from the best of the good.
As a church kid, I grew up hearing quite a bit about sexualityº. The priority of the teaching I heard on sex, though, was about what it wasn’t, about what you shouldn’t do. I knew all the rules but had almost no understanding of the romance. I found it disappointing that the misuse of sex was apparently more noteworthy than the biblical experience of sex. Even now, writing the phrase “biblical experience of sex” doesn’t exactly turn me on.
All I wanted in high school was for one of the chief rule-followers (pastors), to get up and say, “I have an amazing sex life. In fact, I’m gonna make this short, because it’s past noon and…well, my wife is giving me the ‘afternoon delight’ look.” But that never happened.
Instead, the boundaries got more attention than what they were designed to protect. It was like someone trying to explain the thrill of the game of football by saying, “Well, you can only have 11 players on the field, otherwise you get penalized.” Awesome. Go Team.
This is a blog about sexiness.
I know, I know. Who could be a more authoritative, relevant source on the subject than this chiseled essence of raw manliness*? Nobody, that’s who.
What inspired me to write about sexiness, besides all the fan mail requests, was actually a song I put on a playlistˆ of my favorite lady songs. The song’s called “Lifelong Fling” by Over The Rhine. I realized that the singer, Karin Bergquist, had something special going on. It was sexy. But what made it so?
I can remember looking out the window in a moment of wonder. I knew it was all a fairy tale…probably. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and I was excited like…it was the night before Christmas. There was a hotly debated topic that season among my first-grader peers. “You know it’s all made up, right?” one kid would say, “Santa isn’t real.”
"Oh ya?!" fired another, "Well, how do you explain the missing cookies? Think about it, man!"
Although I had passively agreed that indeed, Santa was made-up, I found myself peeking through the window blinds that night at the cloudy moon. Everyone was asleep, it seemed. Prime time for that beardy guy to sneak up on us. What if Santa had everyone fooled? What if he could turn invisible to everyone except curious 6 year-olds*? What if my secret hope wasn’t just silliness?
What if the world was much more exciting than I thought it was?
So this past weekend I had the honor of leading worship at the church of a close friend and mentor. It was amazing to see God move so powerfully in lil’ Upland, IN.
To my surprise, my friend asked me to share some of my story with everyone. Nervous, and a bit scatter-brained, I talked for a while about my journey of falling in love with my Great Companion.
At the risk of exposing my lack of eloquence as a speaker, I thought I’d share it with y’all, too. Here’s the recording.
I hope you find my story encouraging.
Hopefully dunking a basketball soon,