Saturday, March 04, 2006

He must become greater. But I'm pretty awesome too.

Let me start out this blog with some self-disclosure. Most of you are my freinds, and I think that many of you have struggled with the same things I have been struggling with recently. In a way, it relates to Mark's dissertation. Maybe you can help me out.

Pretty much, it goes like this. This semester I have come to realize that Ozark Christian College is awful lucky to have me as a student. To tell you the truth, once I leave OCC will be at a serious loss. I will probably get an honor chapel. Obviously I am exaggerating, but I have had so many people blow wind up my skirt recently I am starting to believe them.

These thoughts are incredibly sinful and antithetical to Jesus' model of "self-aggrandizement." I will be reading a paper in the learning center and think, "Wow. Has anyone taught this guy what a sentence is? Don't they understand exegesis? I could write this much better." I will be sitting in chapel and think, "This senior sermon is okay I guess, but if I were preaching it I could do much better." I work in the "I'm supposed to be really smart" learning center. I was asked to give a testimony at PTC. I have been R.A. since my sophmore year, and on it goes.

I have never really thought this way before, and it is scaring me. Genuinely I want God to be the famous one, but gosh it feels good to be important as well. I don't want to neglect the gifts God has given me. But the one's he has given me are easily noticed by others.

I see the names on this blog. Many of you are not oblivious to the fact that people think or have thought you are hot stuff. What do you do? I know the right answers to say. I am currently writing a paper on on how living in the Kingdom of God requires abolishing worldly status and being his vicegerents to the world. I have heard Mark's sermons on this. I guess what I am looking for is help/suggestions from you who have had similar experiences. What do you think?


Blogger Thom Stark said...


I could've written this post a lot better. I would've given a theological account of sin's effect on the noetic structure, a philosophical account of self-conceptualization, and contrasting sociological accounts of individuation and corporate identity in first century Palestine and twenty-first century North America. I aslo wouldn't have had any typos for a modertor had to fix to make you look good.


March 4, 2006 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Andy Rodriguez said...

WOW! I love you Thom! I do laugh at this, but honestly, I was reminded about how much I do not know as I read your 11 page post on the ambassablog. Crazy! By the way, your infinitive phrase "to fix to make you look good" does not need the helping verb "had" preceeding it.

March 4, 2006 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger Thom Stark said...


The "sin's effect on the noetic structure" line was of course a jab at Mr. Bacon. Does anyone have Mr. Bacon's email address BTW? I should invite him to join us here.


March 5, 2006 at 2:06 AM  
Blogger Thom Stark said...


If you would be so kind as to check out Kelsie's response to my post in the Faith and History dialogue on Ambassablog, that post to which you referred above, you'll find documented what it truly means to become less, less, less. Who needs self-abnegation when you've got vain conceit?

March 6, 2006 at 1:21 AM  
Blogger stephen said...

I pray this prayer:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

(Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930))

March 6, 2006 at 1:34 AM  
Blogger David G. Fish said...


Other than the fact that you repeatedly try to get me to do Woody's grading for you, and that you act like I will purchase the new Libronix for Mac software for you, I really like you.

I also appreciate the struggle you confess, and wish you victory in the struggle. Don't give up. I won't resort to insults to bring you down from your pedestal. Remember what kind of influence I claim to have around here. Don't be confused by Tyler's hand motion about my influence.

It's not about us anyway!



Random Thoughts From a Fish

March 6, 2006 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Bacon said...

I guess this is a little late, but I didn't find out about this Blog thing until a few days ago. Here's a few things that might help with getting a big head. (1) Honestly, Ozark is a small pond. It's a nice pond, but it is quite small. People at the United Nations do not know who you are. I think this reminder could transfer to almost any setting. Rick Warren is probably the only Christian leader who might be immune. (2) A year after you graduate, most of the student body at Ozark will consist of people who have never met you. Your "legend" may live on for a while (like people inexplicably knowing what your Master's thesis is on), but what students remember Rob Maupin, Brian Williams, or Dow Tippet? Just be happy to do what good you can while you're there. (3) Most importantly, if people repeatedly tell you that you are good at something, take it as God is confirming to you what your gifts are--confirming that He delights in using you in those ways. That's a fairly constructive and non-ego-centric way to take compliments. By the way, NEVER shy away from using/developing the gifts God has given you just because they are visible. Don't refuse His call.

March 16, 2006 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger michael defazio said...

i think bacon nailed it. it doesn't take a lot of honest thinking to realize how small we are. even if you (or whoever) are the smartest, godliest, most gifted student at ozark this year, that's not really saying much--there are many other years and many other "ozarks". remember what it was like showing up to ozark and realizing that everybody else got 'camper of the week' too, and that everyone was the spiritual stud of their particular youth group? that experience has happened to me over and over as i have grown up and gone on. one of the really funny things about moving away from ozark and going to fuller (for example) is being in a place where no one knows or cares about ken idleman or mark moore or whoever. that's helpful for me, because it helps me not care about who knows my name or what they think of when they hear it, and it frees me to focus on being faithful wherever i am, with whomever i am serving.

March 27, 2006 at 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Your buddy said...

I love ya Arod. Frankly, I don't even have an answer. You may never even read this because of how late the post is, but that doesn't even matter. It blows me away. Human nature. How I am still and always will be human. What I love about you is how your mind is able to put to words what mine runs through on a daily basis. I believe in that. Ahh, to heck with feeling important. I just want to survive nowadays. Ozark, the place or not the place...I really don't know...A confusing road lays ahead. I don't even have a true thought some days. Heck, just to really know existence would be amazing. To be able to put into words what I'm thinking would be amazing. Still, no matter buddy. I'll remember you more for what you wern't than what you were. For those moments when you seemed the most real. Those times I'll look at and laugh. I'll laugh because behind that guy who spouts Jibberish with me one minute...then turns on his intellectual brain in a instant... You are human...just like me. I know when we look back from heaven we will finally know some of the answers.

April 11, 2006 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Andy Rodriguez said...

I am not sure who you are brother (or sister possibly), but thanks. I have indeed learned much in the past weeks, and I thank God quite often for the great group of friends that I have. Especially those who are an ever reminder to me that our time here centers around a king and his kingdom. we are just citizens who, by whatever means possible, are to make him famous. thanks for the encouraging words, all of you.

April 12, 2006 at 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AROD, I appreciate your honesty and transparency.

I'm actually a preacher's wife in an area where most of people's heritage says, "What the preacher says goes." They see him as "The Man," and I'm frequently referred to as "First Lady"--which still makes me laugh.

And you're right, it does feel good to be important or to at least feel important. I have a friend whose husband left vocational ministry for parachurch work, and she said not being the center of attention was one of the hardest things to get used to.

You recognize the problem, that's half the battle, right? It is a powerful drug, and evil will always be there ready to give you a fix. At least that seems to be the case for me, and I'm in a much smaller pond than Ozark.

I was a student of Mark's (and I remember Rob Maupin, Dow Tippett, and Brian Williams). :-) I often think of his story about taking out the trash in San Antonio after fellowship dinners. If you haven't heard it, ask him about it.

I think the point is humility...purposefully setting out to do things that you (or others) would tend to think are below you. I've been known to embarrass my husband by coralling shopping carts that are all over the parking lot. I've cleaned hair out of the shower drains at the pool. I pick up trash in the park. Shall I continue telling you all the ways I've humbled myself so someone can tell me how wonderful I am...

J.K. Jones once said, "The closer you get to Christ, the more you realize how far away you really are." (If he was quoting someone else, I apologize for my ignorance.) When He seems really far away, I hope that maybe it is because I'm getting closer. Just my $.02.

May 12, 2006 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger ron_tyler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 24, 2007 at 1:57 AM  
Blogger Dustin said...

Mr Bacon nailed it because he has a divine gift from God to see through most of the distracting details of life and focus instead on God's infinite wisdom. It is a remarkable gift. I have seen it first-hand.

June 13, 2008 at 6:25 PM  

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