TS10: Humbling

A long time ago, I experienced a little five-year chapter in my life, beginning on August 14, 1993 and ending on August 14, 1998. In ’93, I left home and headed to India for an internship. I was supposed to be there for nine months, but only lasted about three. From the moment I arrived, I was ready to get back on the plane and head home. It wasn’t because of India, per se. No, I was consumed with homesickness and culture shock.

Now, if I’d have paid attention during my training, I would have known to expected to feel that way. But I didn’t pay attention. In fact, I did very little to prepare for this nine-month experience. Why? Well, because, in my arrogance, I had everything under control. Yeah, I mean, I knew it would be hard at times, but I just knew I could handle it.

But then I landed in Mumbai. And then I traveled from the international airport to the domestic airport, passing by a profoundly large slum area on the way. As I observed the extreme poverty there from the safety of my bus, I sunk down in my seat and was ready to jump right back on the plane.

I lived with a beautiful family when I was there, but I sorely missed my family back in the States. I was a sorry mess. Within the first month, I already had decided to come back home early. My pride had taken an important, deep, and necessary blow.

As the years have passed, and as I get older and hopefully a little wiser, I’m seeing more and more how there is no room for pride. I am seeing more and more how incredibly limited and broken I am. And this is not a bad thing. It’s an important self-awareness that I sorely need. My guess is I’m not the only one.

Oh by the way, in 1998, I had the opportunity to go back. I went with a better sense of my own limitations and my need to lean on my Creator if the trip was going to be a success. And, it was a beautiful experience… restorative… redemptive.

I’ve been thinking about these realities as I was putting together this week’s TS10 and especially while listening to the last four songs. There is a definite heaviness here. I invite you to engage in that heaviness as you listen. Maybe consider your own limitations and brokenness over the next hour or so. And remember, while you are limited and broken, just like me, there is hope and you are not alone.



TS10: The Problem

Just recently, I heard a preacher speak on the New Testament book of James. He spoke with passion as he implored the audience to gain perspective, to see things from the proper viewpoint. During his discussion, he referred to a newspaper editorial from years ago in which the paper asked its readers to define what was wrong with the world. Things felt amiss. Something was wrong and the paper wanted to know what the problem was.

Renowned theologian G. K. Chesterton apparently sent an answer to that question. His response was simply “I am.” From what I understand, Chesterton was a good man and his writings have impacted lots of people. However, when considering the malaise hanging over the world, he saw himself as the cause. He was the problem. And so am I. And so are you.

Racism exists because we let it (and sometimes we facilitate it). Same with sexism, senseless gun violence, police brutality, and on and on and on. I am the problem. You are the problem.

While that seems heavy (and it is), that concept is also laced with hope. If the problem is in me, I can do something about it. I can’t control what anyone else will do. But, I can do something about the hideous stuff that lives in me.


WARNING: This playlist contains some intense language here and there.