Self Righteousness and Pants-Wetting
Gentle Readers, today's Daily Devo is coming to you late in the day. I've been at the Festival of Homiletics yesterday afternoon, and most of the day today, soaking in some sermons from some of my favorite preachers in the world.
The Festival of Homiletics is a preaching conference where pastors from all over the country (and the world) gather to listen to sermons, and lectures about sermons. Throw in some highbrow worship services, and you have the trifecta of nerdiness when it comes to church-y stuff.
In answer to the question that I get pretty often, "Where do you go to hear sermons, and get spiritually fed?" I would offer events like the Festival of Homiletics as perfect examples.
I heard some things over the course of the last twenty-four hours that shook me up and got me thinking deeply about some of the things I have been struggling with lately. You see, I suffer from a tinge of self-righteousness when it comes to more than a few of aspects of my faith.
It's easy to get self-righteous about our own beliefs. We hold on to some of them tightly, believing them to be precious---unwilling to release our grip on them, white-knuckling them almost to death.
And it's easy when we're holding on too tight to believe that anyone and everyone else who isn't doing the same doesn't care about their beliefs in the same way we do. When we start going down that road, it leads directly to self-righteousness, which in turn leads to a grace-less, impervious kind of faith.
Pastor, author and speaker Nadia-Bolz-Weber offered the following brilliant image for this kind of thing in one of the lectures she gave today: "Self righteousness feels good for a minute," she told us. "It's like how peeing in your paint feels warm for a minute, too, but afterward it just feels cold and wet."
Come on. That's just the best metaphor for self-righteousness in the history of ever.
May you discover a new capacity for gentleness in the expression of your beliefs. May you find a renewed sense of joy in finding common ground even with those who hole different beliefs than your own.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.