What the world needs now? Yes, love sweet love, but it also needs a good dose of humility, because as another song reminds us, “oh Lord it’s hard to be humble.” I have often wondered what humble pie tastes like but I can’t find anyone who will admit to taking a piece. It’s hard to find humility, whether on the athletic field, board room, elected office, church hierarchy or community service organizations. The internet holds few reservoirs of humble waters. I know I am guilty of “unhumbleness.” Thinking anyone would want to read my thoughts in blog form is not exactly an act of humility, even if it can be one of futility. So, for the sake of my blood pressure, I take advantage of this outlet to get this and other things off my chest.
I found out early in my ministry that clergy are some of the least humble folk around. While serving in a small appointment I was a part of the local ministerial alliances. While they can be a benefit in communities by being a tangible reminder, through joint worship opportunities and other ventures, that as Christians, or persons of faith should the community have a diversity of faiths, we are a part of something bigger than ourselves or our congregation. Clergy alliances can also serve individual clergy by offering a place of friendship with persons facing similar circumstances and challenges. They are also, as I discovered a place where clergy can talk in glowing ways, i.e. bragging, of what their “numbers” are as well as other achievements. I remember at one community prayer gathering, the length, voice level, and floweriness of language increased as each pastor took to the microphone to pray. While smiling and having a certain countenance can be a way of expressing warmth, welcome, and Christian love, I have also seen smiles and countenances on clergy that screamed “look at me, I AM all that and a bag of chips, as well as an ant-free picnic.” As I recall, Jesus washed his disciple’s feet, and through teaching, healing, and breaking bread, was engaged with the masses. And, he did all that without a reserved parking space.
I am a Native Texan which means I was born in Texas. That we reserve a special status for those actually born , not just raised in Texas, sums up the braggadocio of my home state as does the State Song,
Texas, our Texas! All hail the mighty State!
Texas, our Texas! So wonderful so great!
Boldest and grandest, Withstanding ev’ry test;
O Empire wide and glorious, You stand supremely blest.
Thinking about this led me to tip toe through the tulips of other state songs, and found out that many states believe theirs is the best. Here is a taste:
I love you, California, you’re the greatest state of all…… All of the other states throughout the nation may mean a lot to some; But I wouldn’t want another, Jersey is like no other, I’m glad that’s where I’m from……O, Fair New Mexico, We love, we love you so, The grandest state to know New Mexico…..Montana, Montana, Glory of the West, Of all the states from coast to coast, You’re easily the best…. I’ve been to every state we have, and I think I’m inclined to say that Rhody stole my heart: You can keep the forty-nine states,
My father was genuinely surprised that my mother didn’t take Texas history in Louisiana. I used to wonder what history was there to study in Iowa, Nebraska, or West Virginia. I realize that all states have” friendly” rivalries with other, usually neighboring states, but Texas has a rivalry with every state, and even the United States. I admit I have played up the “Texas thing” when I travelled or lived abroad, by abroad I mean of course outside “thee” State, not necessarily the United States. I have lived abroad on two occasions and while I was able to enjoy the offerings of Washington D.C. and North Carolina I played up their differences, for example, cole slaw ON the BBQ not as a side, which then I saw automatically as deficiencies. Were I to live abroad again, I would embrace more fully and equally the offerings of where I was planted.
Yes, Texas has a colorful history and a lot currently going for it. It has made many contributions to the nation and world, but it also has its deficiencies and failures, and other states do have things that Texas and Texans could learn and benefit from if we would stop listening and believing our own bluster.
I will discuss in the next “Scattershooting” that the Bible teaches throughout both testaments, the destructive aspects of pride and ego. For now let’s just say that pride has a tendency to close minds and harden ideas even when those minds and ideas should be changed.