“What I like in a good author is not what he says but what he whispers.” -Logan Pearsall Smith
One of the books I’m reading right now is Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I’m only about a third of the way through it. Curt Parsley loaned it to me after he stopped at about the same point I’m at now. Ha! He said he’d only quit on one other book in his life and that was a book about a horse whisperer. You can ask him about that or, better yet, maybe he’ll write us a blog post about horse whispering as a metaphor for our lives.
I only mention Curt quiting on the book to say that I knew this before I started the book. I thought it was only honest to say this before I give my thoughts because it’s possible I was biased before I started reading it, though I don’t think my reaction is because of a bias. Either way, I’m finding the book somewhat sarcastic in places and condescending towards anyone who would disagree or have a different view. The author tells his stories of huge, dramatic experiences and trips around the world in a way that makes me feel that if I don’t feel huge, dramatic callings or have huge, dramatic events in my life that I must be somehow less than him.
I’m not judging the author’s motives; i’m just giving an honest reaction. I’m sure he didn’t intend to make me feel this way. (Please, don’t write me hate mail if you loved this book! I admire anyone who’s willing to put their faith where their mouth is and live/write about their journey.) It’s also fair to point out that the book may come around in later chapters to the points I’m about to make. I’m just blogging about what’s on my mind tonight. I plan to push on through it to see where it goes. But I’m bothered that the flavor of today’s trendy, Christian books might push people to assume that God is always in the dramatic when usually He’s in the small, whispering situations of life. I think God is mostly experienced right where we live, not across the country or across your town or in a special event or in a cool, new ministry with a cool, catchy name.
Christianity is lived out on the little piece of ground that God has given us to inhabit.
The Bible is often seen through the eyes of great men and women who have great experience in far-ranging adventures. But please don’t overlook the fact that most of the unnamed masses of believers stayed right where they were after their conversions. They stayed where they were to show the people around them the love of Jesus in their every day lives; right on their little piece of ground. To me it’s like Elijah, who expected God to be in the wind, in the earthquake or in the fire. I think Elijah assumed God would be in the dramatic things because Elijah had experienced powerful things before. But God came in the whisper.
I think God mostly comes in whispers.
I believe there are people who feel callings on their lives to go do the huge and the dramatic, and we should support those people in prayer, in friendship and even with resources of money and time. But I think most of us are called to be Jesus right where we live. I don’t have any wise insights to share on how we should do that. Just do it as it comes to you. You’ll recognize your chances to be Jesus if you’ll watch for them and intentionally respond.
Here are the people who encouraged my day by just being Jesus where they were today. Please don’t worry if you’re not on the list; I still love you and you still encourage me. These are just the people who stick out on this particular Monday.
Jonathan Arnold, who rode to Indy with me to help take a homeless man to catch a bus.
Ashley Earls, who had compassion on a homeless man.
The leaders of our church family, our Shepherds, who don’t hesitate to help people.
Lindsay Slone, who picked up pizzas and chaperoned youth group while I was driving to and from Indy.
Melissa Passmore, who drove the van to school to pick up teens for lunch.
Bryan Edwards, who made me think and smile during a texting conversation.
Emily Murphy, who named me as a person who means a lot to her in a facebook note.
Rebecca Burris, Melissa Wilson, Jake Parsley and Cam Cooper, who all made me laugh.
Katie (the Canadian) Munshaw, who sent me some neat, new poetry she’d written about God.
Curt Parsley, who brought cupcakes to youth group and told about the horse whispering book.
Michelle, my lovely wife, who hones my thinking and my theology while we chat in the evenings after the kids are in bed.
These are all just people, normal people, I see daily or weekly who responded to the whisper of God in their life in a way that helped to make my day.
Listen for the whispers; point to God from your piece of ground.