Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
- 2 Corinthians 3:12-14
“What the value of such reconstructions is I learned very early in my career. I had published a book of essays; and the one into which I had put the most of my heart, the one I really cared about and in which I discharged a keen enthusiasm, was on William Morris. And in almost the first review I was told that this was obviously the one in the book in which I had felt no interest. Now don’t mistake. The critic was, I now believe, quite right in thinking it the worst essay in the book; at least everyone agreed with him. Where he was totally wrong was in his imaginary history of the causes which produced its dullness.”
- C. S. Lewis, Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism, an essay in the collection – Christian Reflections
For all my critics who ask the question – the title of yesterday’s post, “What was the author thinking?”, my answer might easily be “I have no idea.” Or could my answer be “I was thinking about nothing?”
I have started posts with my own agenda and then wrote something completely different. Then, I wondered where that came from. The key there is that God fills empty, broken vessels to make them whole, not full vessels that are not broken. We must be willing to empty ourselves to receive God’s blessings.
Have I ever been in the position that Lewis describes? Yes, in a way.
I wrote the first two courses that were taught to maintenance people when maintenance training was started at a plant back over 30 years ago. The first was a description of the process. Since the big boss had moved about eight foremen and two engineers into the training group, with me as the straw boss, it was decided that everyone would be given a couple of the topics in this week-long course to teach. Everyone needed practice getting in front of the classroom. I wrote all but one chapter of the book, High-Voltage Electrical Distribution. I could, and did, teach the entire course. I also substituted for any of the other teachers. For me to go on vacation, we had to schedule a gap in the training schedule. The class didn’t happen unless I was there. Within a year and a half, we had taught nearly a thousand people. They had to pass the final exam, but that was when the fun started.
I would grade all the exam papers. I would determine who passed and who failed – failure was very seldom (followed by a make-up class) and usually due to poor reading skills. But then I would assess each instructor by determining the scores that the class made in each topic and then gave each instructor the grade based on the subjects that they taught. Once completed, I then started a computer game, a World War II submarine simulator. When the other instructors in the bullpen heard the alarm that the sub was diving, they ran to my cubicle to see who had won that week.
The odd thing was that it was my course, which I was passionate about, but I never won the weekly instructor competition. Of course, this was at a government nuclear site and I taught nuclear physics (and a couple of other boring topics, but topics that I was the resident expert in) to mechanics, electricians, and riggers, of course, and their helpers. Some had no more than a third-grade education. I would dumb down my delivery. I would try to make it interesting. I would tell jokes. I would tell real-life stories. I would joke about the chart of isotope production during the fission of uranium to be the “Mae West” curve for the older guys and the “Dolly Parton” curve for the younger guys. (I wonder what the politically incorrect term is now?!?!?!) I would often finish second. I cared so much in winning that competition, but the deck was stacked against me. Lewis loved the William Morris subject matter, but he “tried too hard” and the result was dull. I feel his pain.
Have I done that this year? Probably often. Some of the posts that I thought touched my heart deeply hardly got any views, much less any likes or comments. Then, some of the posts that were almost throw-away topics took off like hotcakes. I wrote an open letter, of sorts, in January of 2019 as an encouragement to all Christian Blog Writers; it was the most viewed post I have ever had, but that just includes those views that are registered by WordPress. But what of the posts that did not “have legs”?
God uses our pathetic efforts to glorify His Name. What someone thinks as a poor effort might be just the right words for the right person. We write such posts to glorify God, the good and the not so good.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.