07 September 2011

Whose Voice?

Writers often try to emulate other writers, either their favorite authors or the current best selling authors. It almost never works very well. Why? Any author worth reading (and some not worth reading) has his own voice, her own style. Whether it's J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling. C.S. Lewis, Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, Gilbert Morris, or William P. Young, they are popular because they write like themselves, not someone else.

This is true in life as well. We've all run across wannabes and posers, and it's kind of embarrassing, right? I mean, when we see some kid trying to be just like the most popular kid in school, or trying to look, act and talk like their favorite star, do we see them as the person they're copying, or as someone sad, who wants to be what they can never be, who doesn't know who they are?

God made each of us unique. When he made us, it was just like in Genesis, he said, "Yeah! Look at this! Cool!" He didn't say, "Aw, crap. Maybe I should throw this one away? Nah, I'll keep it for laughs." You have to get comfortable with that, or you really won't be content, much less happy. So start by learning who you are. Accept who you are. Then embrace who you are. God loves you; you need to learn to.

After you have embraced it just in terms of being yourself, think about it for all you do-- especially ministry.

It's bizarre to see someone copying some other preacher's, teacher's, or revivalist's mannerisms. I've seen this many times, and the results vary from absurd to hysterical to boring to tragic.

For years I hated the fact that I was weird, I didn't fit in. God didn't use me in any of the normal ways. So one day I finally couldn't take it any longer, and asked God why the heck I couldn't be normal. He said he made me weird on purpose. Whoa. First amazement, then... freedom! But there's more. It's not a passive weirdness but an active one. Not "It's OK to be you, Miles, weird as that seems sometimes" but "I made you who I did ON PURPOSE, and it's exciting, cool, groovy, whatever you want to call it, and being who you are is what will make a difference to the world and the people you love. If you will just be who I made you to be, you can reach people nobody else can." Yow!

Jesus kept doing things differently. Look at how he healed blind eyes-- he touched them, he spoke to them, he put spit and mud in them, etc. Why? I'm certain at least one major reason was to keep the focus on the power of God rather than the mechanism. If Jesus's miracles weren't clones of each other, why should his followers be? And yest so often, we want to find the magic formula so we can duplicate it and control it.

In the same vein, don't try to make another person a clone of you or anyone else. Don't insist they meet your expectations. God is far more interested in relationship than rules, and we should be, too. Just as we don't demand someone wear their hair the way we do or wear certain brands of clothes, don't judge someone based on whether they agree with you on issues such as dating versus courting, whether they have tattoos, speaking in tongues, or if and when the tribulation is coming.

"...work out your own (not anyone else's -ed) salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Phil 2/12b-13, NKJV)

[When I started attending church again after God got my attention back, well-meaning Christians decided to clean me up. Steve Taylor's song "I Want to be a Clone" off the album of the same name was my first revelation that I didn't have to go there ( http://www.sockheaven.net/discography/taylor/clone/02.html ).]

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