Monday Morning Confessional

I confess that I did not watch a single moment of the Masters this year – first time in a long time. I did, however, watch nearly all of a fairly meaningless NASCAR race at Texas. I confess that I am wondering if this says something about me as a person.

I confess that I’m still feeling sad that Brennan Manning is gone. More than that, though, I’m feeling such profound gratitude for his life. He was the first writer and speaker I ever encountered who spoke about the grace of God as though he had actually experienced it. Brennan was able to break through my Southern Baptist defenses to speak to me about God’s love for me as I am, not as I should be. I had been exposed to so many youth camp evangelists, scaring the crap out of kids until they were so convinced God would gleefully torture them if they didn’t say a prescribed prayer. After years of that stuff I had become inured to the simplicity of the gospel. But Brennan got through to me. Brennan didn’t use my brokenness against me. Instead he talked about God’s love for the ragamuffin. I think sometimes that Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel was the turning point in my spiritual life – that would have been the fall of 1994? Maybe a little sooner. God bless Brennan Manning.

I confess that it seems like a strange coincidence that Brennan Manning has died during the same time that I’m re-reading A Prayer for Owen Meany. I think it’s my 6th reading. It’s a coincidence because I found Owen Meany and Brennan Manning at the same time, both through the influence of Rich Mullins, who is also dead. Brennan, Owen, and Rich are all dead, and yet their lives still bear such tremendous meaning to me. I think about them all the time and their memories are linked. It seems strange to me that my kids will never love Brennan or Rich like I did – at least that’s my guess. I’m happy that they might still love Owen Meany, though. I wish they could love all three, because it sometimes feels like these three guys saved me.

I confess that for the first time, my reading of A Prayer for Owen Meany comes in the form of an audiobook. The man reading it did such a great job with Owen’s voice that it’s been a really fresh encounter with the book for me. I’ve read the paperback so many times, but this felt like a new experience. I confess that I am trying to figure out a time when I can listen to the end & have a good cry. I always cry during the last chapter.

I confess that we took our kids to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in town this weekend. I confess that it was pretty emotional for me to read and learn about this period in American history. I confess that my kids were fairly underwhelmed. They liked the baseball part, but the social issues were completely lost on them. It’s interesting to see how quickly social issues change between generations. Our kids will grow up in a completely post-modern America. Issues such as sexuality, poverty, and racism will be very different for them than they were for me. I hope that they are equipped to deal with them faithfully. I confess that I constantly worry about being able to teach my kids to think of themselves as Christians first, not Americans first.

I confess that I am not getting enough sleep these days. I confess that my lack of sleep is not because I’m staying up late. This feels like progress. My lack of sleep comes from getting up earlier. Which feeds my other issue: productivity addiction. … vicious circle.

Okay friends, I made my confession. Now it’s time for you to make yours!

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