A song for the barely-sinner

I grew up in church. My family wasn’t just half-bootied Sunday morning service people, either. We did Sunday school AND Sunday night AND Wednesday night church, too ! #holy I’m glad we did, for many reasons. Most of my best friends growing up were from church. We knew everyone. People actually noticed when we went on vacation. There were several members – especially some older couples – who I know genuinely loved me and my family. Why else would Mr. Moreland always offer me a piece of red hot gum with a twinkle in his eye, or Mrs. Daugherty give me the bestest warm squishy hugs?

There were a few downsides to being raised in a fairly idyllic environment surrounded by amazing people. One of them was having a really hard time recognizing the weight of God’s grace. I remember having a true crisis when I was about 8, confessing to my mom with sincere guilt, “But I really can’t think of anyway that I’ve sinned!”*

Even now, having been through some shtuffs that definitelyyyy involved some less-than-spiritual-perfection, I have a really hard time not falling into a weird sort of good-girl legalism. This shows up the most when something I want is delayed or denied, while someone I have unconcsciously deigned more sinful than me** does get that thing. Absolutely infuriates me. I have to read Prodigal God by Tim Keller to get me to wind down. #thankyoutim 

This entire ramble was inspired by this song I heard today, which is so entirely perfect for my type of barely-sinner*** heart that I must share.. I MUST !! Sometimes a gallo needs art – in this specific case, musicals – to express for her what she didn’t even know she wanted to express.

(Strongly recommend just listening)

Not in me by Eric Schumacher and David L. Ward

No list of sins I have not done,
No list of virtues I pursue,
No list of those I am not like
Can earn myself a place with You.
O God, be merciful to me–
I am a sinner through and through!
My only hope of righteousness
Is not in me, but only You.
 
No humble dress, no fervent prayer,
No lifted hands, no tearful song,
No recitation of the truth
Can justify a single wrong.
My righteousness is Jesus’ life,
My debt was paid by Jesus’ death,
My weary load was borne by Him
And He alone can give me rest.
 
No separation from the world,
No work I do, no gift I give
Can cleanse my conscience, cleanse my hands;
I cannot cause my soul to live.
But Jesus died and rose again–
The power of death is overthrown!
My God is merciful to me
And merciful in Christ alone.
 
My righteousness is Jesus’ life,
My debt was paid by Jesus’ death,
My weary load was borne by Him
And He alone can give me rest.

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

* THAT is no longer a problem…

**it’s okay if you lowkey or highkey hate me for this post. Keeping it real y’all

*** I say this tongue and cheekily!

A smart jerk is still a jerk

Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist… that don’t impress me much. – Shania Twain

As dangerous as a little knowledge is, even more dangerous is much knowledge without a strong, principled character.  – Ghandi

And if I … understand all mysteries and all knowledge, … but have not love, I am nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:2*

This year I graduated 22nd grade. You heard me – a full decade of post-high-school education! Yowza. I’ve been deep in the dark recesses of academia for a while, surrounded by all the smartie-pants.

They are many fab things about working around and being friends with smarties. They sharpen you. They don’t let you get away with lazy thinking, or holding too tightly to untested assumptions. Even my lunches have been subject to the critical appraisal of my labmates, no lolz. So, I highly recommend having at least a few hard-core smarties in your life.

okay-so-youre-593be5
Shania gets it, y’all.

**BUT** please don’t romanticize the intelligentsia. Being smart and/or educated (trust me, these are not mutually inclusive!) just means that .. you’re smart and educated. It doesn’t make you a good friend, it doesn’t give you good character, it doesn’t give you wisdom. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that you live out what you know. Seriously – people accuse Christians of being hypocritical, but great googly moogly! I know so many academics who – in stubborn refusal to acknowledge decades of nutrition research  – rebelliously guzzle diet cokes and stuff pizza in their faces as they listen to a talk on the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease.**

Smarties can also be arrogant and dismissive, especially to those who are not as intellectually gifted. #dumblivesmatter

Smarties can also apply their knowledge in a destructive way. I hate to play the Nazi card, but I’m going to play the Nazi card. Germans were highly educated. They weren’t in-bred rednecks who got super drunk one night and decided to go on a killing spree. There is a horrifying logic to eugenics, actually.

So what’s my point — not that being intelligent makes you evil. It’s just.. one – and only one –  feature that’s pretty coolio. But please, please don’t over-glorify it. Being loving, kind, joyful, a peacemaker, humble, good, faithful, gentle, having self-control*** those are the qualities that are truly unique and praiseworthy. Maybe being intelligent will help you live some of these out more fully, but being smart is not sufficient, and probably not even necessary to have this kind of character.

So sure – let’s all give up a golf clap for smart people, but let’s not go into standing ovation territory. And if you happen to be brilliant, get over yourself – and make sure you seek out the mentorship of people who will help corral your smarts for good and not evil.

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*edited for conciseness, but it’s a beautiful chapter so read the whole caboodle!

** FYI artificial sweeteners and diets high in saturated fat can increase your risk of AD #thatonewasforfree #yourewelcome #shamelessselfpromotion

*** You good church folks are probably noticing I’m getting a little FRUITY!!