Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Telephone Sins

Tuesday I fell into black vile sin, a sin I’d like to blame on the telephone.

No. Not that kind of sin.

Just what kind of guy do you think I am?

Well, you’re right, but that was not my trouble this time. I did not call a phone sex line. I never have…

Although once many years ago, a young lady did call me to tell me about how she…

Well, never mind.

That was her business.

My present black vile sin, although it involved the telephone, was something else altogether.

To start with, I did not sleep well.

That’s no excuse, but it is a mitigating circumstance. It’s no excuse because I hardly ever sleep well so that can not be blamed on this day’s sin.

I got up at 4 a.m., posted my daily journal entry, and got ready to go off with someone. But my ride forgot to pick me up.

That put me out of sorts.

Another person called telling me a promise made was to be put off a few more days.

That made me grumpier.

I began work editing the 16th Century Diary of Richard Rogers; I began to find I’d made more mistakes that I thought I had. Serious mistakes that effect the meaning of the text. The temptation arose to ignore the textual problems. I started thinking that hardly anyone on earth cares about this book enough to notice my mistakes.

That embittered me more.

As I worked, Rogers' words began to speak to me.

I realized that this man who struggled to live a Christian life almost 500 years ago dealt with the same sort of problems I’m dealing with today.

For instance, on December 22, 1587, he wrote in his diary, “I began, by little and little, to feel the vehemency of my zeal and of my heavenly affection to slack… I could not easily recover my self and so went unfit many hours… I was sometimes dumpish and too heavy”.

That could be my own whole blog post today.

Then the telephone rang six or eight times back to back to back.

And with each call I grew more and more bitter and resentful and snappish.

Aggravations with the new car. Auto insurance. Missed appointments. Broken promises. Two people who had asked my advice called to announce that they were ignoring it. A call making me realize that a few weeks ago I gave away something I’ll need tomorrow. Missing keys. More time off work…

As the calls mounted, I achieved a spiritual plateau of divine tranquility and inner peace — more commonly described as “I don’t give a damn anymore”.

Now, the phone calls did not cause me to sin.

Please understand that.

The black bitterness, anger and resentment rose out of my own soul.

Looks as though after a man has been a Christian for almost 50 years, he’d outgrow being snared by petty bits of nastiness. But apparently this particular dirty old man has grown worse.

Rogers would know how I feel.

On August 18, 1587, Rogers said, “We may observe by experience that even the most zealous people do somewhat, in time, decline and wax remiss in caring for the matters of God. No prayer may be more meet and right for a good Christian than this — that God would keep us in our old age from the corruptions of time and of the world”.

So much for growing in grace as I grow in age.

All my life I’ve been a sour old man in training.

And you know what the worst part is?

I expected so much better of myself.

But today I snapped and snarled and complained and whined and murmured and muttered under my breath because deep down I believe the universe ought to be run solely to my liking.

Things ought to go the way I want!

Deep down, I think I should be God.

And when things happen which point out that I’m not God, then I grow inordinately frustrated and peevish and temper-tamtrum-prone.

And I sulk.

How pitiful.

As Rogers said 500 years before me, “I mislike my self”.

And I like to picture myself as one of the world’s good guys!

Isn’t that ludicrous?

Again, Rodgers could have written my journal entry today when he said, “I could not bestow much tyme at my study, yet I continue to rise in mornings about 5, and spend time either in my study room, or thinking about my heart and the bettering of my life by writing in this dairy”.

Yet this man so grounded in his own reality of frustration could also say, “This is myne heart’s desire that I may make godliness, I mean one part or the other of it, to be my delight through my whole life”.

Like me, Rogers ponders how and why a Christian man falls so easily into bitterness, resentment and sin.

Perhaps God is schooling me, testing me so I’ll realize what I’m really made of. And naturally I can expected to be tested more as I get older; the hardest, most comprehensive tests always come near the end of the course.

I suspect that God grants my requests for material things then takes the joy out of those very things so that I will not get hung up on the material. He has something better in mind.

I also suspect that God allows me to fall so often so that I will realize that it is only His hand that ever holds me up; it is never my own strength.

God is capable of dropping me as easily as He might drop a brick.

And unless He holds me up in the hollow of His hand every moment of my life…

You see, this brick named John Cowart thinks it has wings of its own.

Butterfly wings.

Watch me fly!


Like the Puritan preacher of so long ago, I need to reflect on and pray the words of Psalm 51, a psalm which King David wrote in his old age:

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness;
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free Spirit

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;
and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 4:13 AM


At 11:02 AM, Blogger Morning Glory said...

When I come here to read what you write, I never know where it's going at the start. You always end with such a good "punch line" and leave me with food for thought. This was good.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger dzcowart said...

When you feel like that, STOP ANSWERING THE PHONE!

And don't call people either, your being out of sorts & in a bad mood puts them out of sorts too.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Katrina A. said...

GREAT! You mean I won't have everything figured out in 20 years?! Thanks for the encouragement. ;)


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