Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wisdom From Bono

I am reading a book call Bono which is where the U2 frontman sits down for an interview and the result is this book. It is raw (still in Q&A form), but a great insite into his life and journey. In case you didn't know, Bono is incredibly deep and insightful. I thought I would share some of that wisdom here a comment on it. I may do it more in the future too, 'cause there is some great stuff in here.

Bono, at one point, is talking about how U2 got together and the rise to stardom. In the process, he reflects a little on the temptations. Here are his words:

"[I]t turns out that that's a much more subtle threat than sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Self-righteousness, self-flagellation, these things are as dangerous as what you might call the worship of self."

This struck me as a very interesting and accurate statement. Naturally, when they started on the Rock 'n' roll journey they had in their minds to avoid the vices and lifestyle that generally goes with that...Particularly in the 70's, things like sex and drugs. However, as you notice, he mentions that they became aware of other temptations, which I would suspect would be harder to overcome. Things like pride and self-worship. It makes sense, doesn't it? When you go from being a nobody to a somebody in a short amount of time...from a garage band to having thousands of people chanting your name...from a regular person to a rock icon...it would certainly be a temptation to "think more highly of yourself than you ought," as Paul warns against.

The other thing that struck me about this is how true it is in everyday life...in my life. As I look to avoid the obvious pitfalls in life, anger, list, materialism etc., I find that I find it pretty easy to become proud of myself. I look at my accomplishments, my job, my marriage, LiveWire Student Ministries, my academic record, and assume I am due the credit. I am fond of being fond of myself. I find that struggling against those other obvious pitfalls was merely a distraction against the gravest pitfall of them all, which is pride. As David Crowder sings, "I carry pride like a disease." Like C.S. Lewis says, "Pride is spiritual cancer; the complete anti-God state of mind."

I am not alone in my problem. No. To think that Bono and I are the only ones struggling with this would be absurd. We live in a world, even in a church, where obvious sin is filthy, but habitual pride is so prevalent it is often overlooked. How can we help but struggle with this? Our world is built to cater to self.

Lord, help me to put you first, others second, and myself third. Allow me to never again "forsake the riches of God's righteousness for the dung of my own ego."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Meeting Donald Miller

Tonight was a cool night. Donald Miller was speaking at The Upper Room, which I have known about for months and had circled on my calendar. Don Miller, as you know, is the author of several books, including Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God knows What. If you ever read this blog, you know who Donald miller is. I digress. Angela and I went early, because we wanted to make sure we got good seats. We got there an hour and a half early and besides the janitors and the worship team, we were the only ones. We popped a squat on a couch in the foyer and hung out for a while. After about 25 minutes, I see a man and a woman stroll by, heading for the sanctuary. The man is bigger than I expected, taller and more broad shouldered, but I recognize him anyway. "That's him" I said to Angela, and we both jumped up and followed. "Hey Don," I called. He turned around and I shook his hand and introduced myself and I asked if he had some time to hang out. His assistant (the lady with him) said that he had sound check. I asked if I could get him to sign a couple of books, to which he gladly agreed.

He signed the books "All of Christ to Ya" and "All the hope of Father God to Ya." Ang and I got our picture taken with him (above) and chatted with him for a few minutes. I asked him what it was like to go from being a nobody to being a pretty famous author and speaker in a short time. He said he is asked that question a lot and doesn't have a real good answer for it. He said it doesn't change things as much as one might think, but he said he would think on it and let me know tomorrow (I get to go with a friend and interview him tomorrow).

As I reflect on Donald as a person (in person at least), I am impressed by how down to earth he is. He has a humility and a meekness about him that is refreshing. He is not at all into himself, and by no means does one get the idea that he thinks he is a big deal. It is as if it shocks him that he is famous more than anyone. He told me that his next project is a narrative piece called A Map of Eden. I look forward to that coming out, as I have read everything else he has written.

All in all, it was really cool to meet the man who is behind several books that I respect and admire. He certainly did not disappoint in person and I look forward to spending more time with him tomorrow. I will post another update tomorrow after the interview. Meanwhile, if you haven't read any Donald Miller, start right away. Move it to the top of your reading list. My recommendation is to start with BLJ, then read Searching for God Knows What, then Through Painted Deserts, then To Own a Dragon. I guarantee it will make you think and stretch you.