I keep forgetting that most people aren’t as impossible to offend as myself, my oldest friends, or the best of my friends at Listology. Because of these very tolerant and resilient friends, I feel too safe in speaking bluntly, critically, and callously, and apparently I’ve been hurting a few people, though I do not want to hurt anybody.
I know this because a wise and generous friend confronted me about the way I’m hurting a few people. I’m a very selfish person, and I often forget to consider how another person may interpret and respond to what I say and do. This is called insensetivity, and it hurts people. Also, as I wrote before, I have developed a very unhealthy contempt for American discontent. So, I sometimes come off as arrogant and judgemental (and certainly, hypocritical).
All this is not helped by my particular manner of speech, which is very precisely articulated and often non-sequitur, with deadpan delivery – as from the characters in a Hal Hartley movie (seriously!). I come off as insincere because my words sound scripted (they are not, of course), deliberate (which they are), and unemotional (partially true, but mostly it’s that the emotion of my spirit is rarely expressed on my face).
So, even when I’m trying very hard to bless people, and when I’m lucky enough to be saying just what they need to hear, I come off as arrogant and insincere anyway. AAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!
So, to those I’ve hurt, a big Forgive Me! And, confront me! I’m always wanting to change and grow, and I don’t want to be hurting people, especially my friends. So don’t let me.
Also from The Journey of Desire:
I was walking down the hall at work one day, lost in my thoughts. Walking ahead of me, the same direction I was going, was a beautiful woman. I looked up and my heart said, Wow! Fearing that the beast of lust was rearing its ugly head, I tried to kill my reaction. It never works, and I knew it, so I decided instead to find out what was going on beneath what seemed to be an inappropriate response. Still walking along, with this beauty still in view, I asked my heart, What do you mean by “wow”? The next sentence literally popped out, unscripted, from someplace deep inside me: The grand prize if you are truly a man. I was stunned. I have lived that lie for a long time. How many young boys in our culture, just as they are entering adolescence, are introduced to sexuality as masculinity? Look at every ad designed for men. Whether it’s for cars or sporting gear, clothes or beer, a beautiful siren is almost always posing seductively alongside. The message is beaten into us: if you’re a man, you’ll win the woman. I saw how long I had been haunted by that idea, and I also saw that what I was desiring was not an affair, but a truer sense of my masculinity.
I think this promise of a truer sense of masculinity is also – more than pleasure, more than “men are visual…” – the great allure of pornography.
The upcoming movie Crank contains the most exteme, concise summary of all the lies our culture is telling us about masculinity. In one scene, the debonair Jason Statham receives a blowjob from blonde bombshell Amy Smart while stunt-steering a sleek, fast car in a dramatic chase and shooting bad guys out his window with a powerful handgun.
As long as our young men continue to grow up on such sermons on masculinity, they will be insecure, they will search for affirmation of their masculinity in all the wrong places, they will never be satisfied, and they will always be distracted from becoming the Men of God they were made to be.
From The Journey of Desire:
Duty reduces the dance to a drill. It’s as if you showed up with a bouquet of flowers for your anniversary. Your wife is delighted, but then you say, “Think nothing of it, my dear. It’s my obligation.”… A woman doesn’t want to be the object of duty; she wants to be desired. So does God. Thus A. W. Tozer asserted, “God waits to be wanted.”