Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Building my own gallows

From today's lessons:

Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh, and Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the ministers of the king. Haman added, "Even Queen Esther let no one but myself come with the king to the banquet that she prepared. Tomorrow also I am invited by her, together with the king. Yet all this does me no good so long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate." Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, "Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits." This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Good ol' Haman, the hissable villain of the Jewish Purim party. Totally taken up with getting praise and perks, yet none of it has value for him unless his pride takes down others as well.

...Spoiler alert...

He winds up hanged on his own gallows.

He didn't destroy himself just by building the scaffold, of course. His own self-centered world view and unchecked emotions hanged him.

Commenting on another Old Testament story, Shane Claiborne writes,

"God seems to have an aversion to power...not because people are a threat to Him, but because they are a threat to themselves. In the case of Babylon, it was not a lack of leadership or vision that destroyed the people. They were destroyed because the vision had become an idol and needed to be toppled."

Blogging, preaching, writing - all of it can devolve into idolatry. All of it can be a means of generating and basking in human attention. Anything I thrive on can become my gallows when I stop seeing it as an unearned blessing from God. I start to use it to my own, passing pleasure instead of His eternal purposes.

The Claiborne quote is from a book he put together with Christian civil rights leader John M. Perkins. I was blessed to have John Perkins sign my copy over the summer, and he wrote "Galatians 2:20" under his name. That verse can help dismantle the scaffold my ego likes to build, replacing it with the hangin' tree of love:

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

That said, here's some old school musical support:

1 comment:

Matt Perkins said...

Hey Fr. Fountain,
Thanks for alerting me to this post. Your words about what blogging can devolve into were convicting for me as I've wondered about my own motivation to have a blog at times. I like the Marty Robbins. God bless you.