February 01, 2007

Confidence vs. Self-righteousness

On Monday, National Public Radio's afternoon news program featured a four and a half minute segment on the death of Barbaro. It wasn't really a news story; more of a tribute to the famous racehorse which died over the weekend. Four and a half minutes is exceptionally long for a news story in the age of sound bites, and it came on a day when N.P.R. devoted most of its programming to its first-ever extended interview with President Bush. It also came in the midst of a pledge drive.

I couldn't believe that Barbaro got four and a half minutes. Come on, it's a horse! I was upset, and wanted to know why Barbaro got a four and a half minute tribute, but no mention was made of children dying in Darfur, or the soldiers who died in Iraq, or the teenager who was shot and killed at a middle school in L.A. Is a horse—even Barbaro—worth more than all these?

On Tuesday, I wrote down my frustrations, intending to post them here. Even as I put my thoughts to paper, however, I was having second thoughts. When I finished writing, I read through what I had written, and realized that it sounded very self-righteous. After all, here I am, amusing myself by writing for a blog—my hobby—but what had I ever done for the children of Darfur, except complain? What had I ever done for those dying of hunger or war? I've done some, but not much.

On Wednesday, I decided that I wouldn't post what I'd written about N.P.R. and Barbaro; and I began wondering how often I have come across as self-righteous in what I write and what I say, especially when I preach. It seems to me that there's a fine line between confidence and self-righteousness. That's part of what makes preaching such a challenge, I guess. Sometimes I know what to say, but lack the confidence to say it. Sometimes, when I do find the confidence, it sounds too self-righteous, which makes me wish I hadn't said it. Sometimes, I just say what I think people want to hear.

I'll keep thinking on these things, I suppose. Right now, all I can think of is how weird the word “sometimes” sounds, and how it loses meaning, when it's repeated too many times...

1 comment:

rebecca woods said...

Hi Danny,

Was just catching up with reading your blog. As an introverted writer trying to become a preacher, I think about the self-confidence vs. self-righteousness. What stands up in print sometimes just doesn't translate into the pulpit, I'm finding. Not that that's a great insight - I am sure others have discovered it well before me. It just came as a bigger surprise than I expected.

We have a new blogsite. I didn't have your email address (it was on my stolen laptop...another story) so this is the only way I could think of to let you know. new URL is http://disciplesworld.wordpress.com