Friday, December 14, 2007

Certifiably Human

This is sort of a follow-on to my "tolerance for failure" post; it's something I read a few nights ago in Polishing God's Monuments.

It's in a chapter called "The Peninnah Factor." If you recall, Peninnah was Hannah's counterpart; Hannah had no children, and Peninnah had them aplenty. And she wouldn't let Hannah forget it. So Jim Andrews coins the term "the Peninnah Factor" to describe situations in which God seems to add trouble to our troubles -- "as if ____ wasn't bad enough, now I've got _____!"

So without further ado (emphases mine):

Lest we overlook the obvious, let us remind ourselves that the most godly men and women are all certifiably human. In provocative circumstances, the best among us can roll out a whole gamut of unruly emotions. It does not necessarily mark you as a religious hypocrite if you temporarily react less than angelically when confronted as Hannah was with the vexations of a Peninnah factor. The most decisive thing spiritually in these situations is not where we start out, but where we end up.

Most men and women of God will experience passion surges when misused, misunderstood, and misrepresented. It's okay to acknowledge (not to say "approve") every blip on our emotional radar, from swells of anger to bitterness, resentment, grief, and despondency. Let's cut ourselves a little slack here and be human. Grace just means we're urban renewal projects in process.

Lord, deliver us from those "saints" who pretend to live in a passion-free zone, who always convey the impression they walk through these emotional mine fields with perfect equanamity.

Polishing God's Monuments: Pillars of Hope for Punishing Times, pages 68-69

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