When I set my mind on a task, I am fully invested and cannot stop until I finish.
For example, last Sunday I sat down with my polymer clay and planned to make some pumpkin earrings. They are probably one of the easiest earrings to make, and look beautiful. As I’m making them, I begin to wonder if I picked up some brighter orange could I pull off candy corn earrings.
The short answer is yes, I can. As I’m chugging away at candy corn earrings, I am separating the yellow into tiny balls, and realize that would make an amazing Pac Man. I get my candy corn earrings done, and dig through my polymer until I find what I need: color for the ghosts.
Twenty-two earrings later, I also wrap up the “gear”rings I started before my daughter’s day camp, and it’s now Friday. The whole week became an earring extravaganza.
I think it was yesterday I realized a hard truth.
My personal goal for this summer is to make three videos for Fig Tree Christian. Instead, I’ve gone down multiple rabbit holes, all of them completely stealing my time. Sure, the earrings will be sold at a craft fair. That time has a purpose. Yet, somehow, my time has found important places to be that are not making videos for Fig Tree. It was Saturday I finally realized what was going on.
I want to make a video on the Ravi Zacharias abuse. Well, “want” is no longer the word I’d use.
See, I thought this would be like everything else. I’d get one of his books, and gleefully tear it apart. Then I’d make a video sharing his history, and why we should all put that man away and never look at him again. I’ve had no problem dissecting other books in seminary. This time it was different.
What this man means to my call to ministry.
While well meaning idiots spent the last 9 years telling me I wasn’t called to ministry, Zacharias spent the last years of his life being the North American C.S. Lewis. He was the poster child for modern apologetics. (Apologetics is the branch of theology where the point is to justify the existence of Christian faith. Think, “A Case for Christ.”) I made a point to read some C.S. Lewis after seminary because Candler didn’t do apologetics. I remember one professor telling me it wasn’t real theology. Therefore, “Mere Christianity,” and “The Problem of Pain,” sits on my evangelism/friend shelf of my library, and there it stays. Those were fairly easy reads, and I’d put other C.S. Lewis books next to them, but they sit on my Kindle.
I can remember people suggesting Zacharias books to me. Never did I read any of them, because they were always suggested by people who I didn’t trust theologically.
I did read Lori Anne Thompson. As Fig Tree became a safe space for the abused and displaced, somehow we found one another and followed each other on Twitter. I knew she was working through something big, and I had no idea what. That was okay. I am so grateful I’m one of the few that knew the victim/survivor before the abuser.
When Zacharias passed away I saw so many mourn his passing, but that was as far as the impact went. At the time I didn’t own a single book he’d written, and I hadn’t created a single word art to share. I’d heard him on Glenn Beck a couple of times, and still don’t remember a single thing he said there. Non-impact is the best word to describe him.
Then everything came to light.
To learn this man was not only a sexual abuser, but also openly lied about it once it was known angers me to no end. There’s a reason spiritual leaders should be held to a higher standard than everyone else, and this is it. It’s not so we can put them on an ivory pedestal and worship them as quasi-saint. It’s so their fall is epic and hurts. What they can do with power can be incredibly uplifting and helpful, or insanely dangerous and destructive. Jesus’ burden is light, but power in any form is heavy. Period.
Choosing to dig into a book.
I decided, months and months ago that I was going to find a Ravi Zacharias book at Goodwill, read it, and do a video review of it.
I have a hard line on reviews. I cannot review anything I haven’t seen or read. I think it’s disingenuous to talk about things I have not personally experienced. This has led to me having a very diverse education, and I’m very grateful for it. I actually enjoy listening and reading people I disagree with. Even if I don’t walk away agreeing with what the person says, at least I can understand where they are coming from.
I thought this experience would be the same. I’d get a book. I’d disagree with it, but leave understanding where this thought process came from.
Instead, I was almost always sickened and angry. There were days I could only get two pages in, before I was venting to someone or some group and walking away for a couple of days. It turned what should have been an easy read, into a slog! Even now, as I’m researching Zacharias personally, I’m still angry. I’ll read even one paragraph and realize the implications and go do something else.
Basically, I was going to Tarshish instead of Ninivah.
The Story of Jonah.
I love my prophets. If you’ve read or seen enough of my work, you know my fav is actually Jeremiah, but Jonah holds a place in my heart.
It’s a short read, so if you want to say you read a book from the prophets, it’s an easy one to get through and get some cred.
Jonah is the only Prophet called to preach to the enemy, and also the only Prophet where the ones hearing the message change their ways. It should be understandable that Jonah wants nothing to do with God’s call, because in some way it’s not fair to ask someone to help their enemy.
Jonah flees, goes in the opposite direction, gets kicked off a boat, and swallowed by a big fish. Only after all that he begrudgingly goes to Ninivah and (from my reading) only gives it the minimum effort.
It ends with him angry it all worked, and then frustrated a worm ate his shade.
I’ve been running to Tarshish
It’s not that I haven’t been doing productive things. I’ve been super productive. It’s that I’ve been super productive in areas that have intentionally kept me from doing this review. Even as I’ve written this out for y’all, I went and did three different things. All of those things were good in their own way, but they’ve kept me from this.
I need to ask myself why I’ve been running in the opposite directions, and here is what I believe:
There you go. The more I dig, the worse I feel, but the more I realize it needs to be shared. Pray for me. These next few weeks are not going to be easy.