How Could I Be So Stupid
This started out with me wanting to write a children’s song. It didn’t quite end up that way. But the underlying message stayed the same—God loves us and it’s not that complicated.
I really like to imagine I am smarter than most people. I try to prove it with my vocabulary, with my theological and historical knowledge, with my arrogant critiques of others. But it is all a lie. No matter what (I think) I know, there is only one thing worth knowing and that is the love of God. Even if I were to understand and master all kinds of things, they mean nothing compared to that. Honestly, what is all my knowledge and abilities and understanding compared to God’s?
And yet my pride pushed me away from understanding the simple love of my Father in heaven. What I should have learned from studying history and theology and art is that man is fallen and needy. But to try to rise above that has formulated creeds and doctrines and entire denominations to help explain and understand the nature of God. Or I should say, have pretended they help understand and explain the nature of God (and purpose of man) because what liars we all are. For all the noble and spiritualized talk about preserving truth and guarding the scriptures from errors, most of this “preserving and guarding” came about as a way to lift up vain conceits and justify hate. We support our arguments not to better know God, but to prove we are “right”— that we know God better than someone else. We think “our” knowing is better than “their” knowing. What does any of that have to do with love? Would you beat someone up to win an argument about which one of you is most loving?
(Yes, I know there is a certain importance to codifying and systematizing the truths surrounding God, and a benefit to protecting the Scriptures from false teaching. Now that I have acknowledged that, can any of you who immediately had that thought please acknowledge that the only thing you can really be certain about is the simple love of God shown to us through Jesus?)
The most arrogant part of all this is that in our self-centeredness we lift up our own imaginations and think we can impress (or equal) God. This brings about chaos. We weave our pride into our understanding of truth and it becomes hopelessly complex. But it’s really simple: You are saved if you believe God sent His son to die for you, and that He then raised him back to life. And the simple but amazing reason for this is that God loves us.
I missed out on all this for so many years of my life. I thought I was smart, and relished being cynical and clever. But all of that grew out of my own vanity (listen to the last song!…). No wonder I couldn’t love, or even see the simple love that God was holding out to me. I couldn’t see past my own self. I thought I was so brilliant, so sly, so darn smart—but I needed to be just plain stupid, except about that one simple thing—the beautiful, relentless, awesome love of God.
I said this started out as kid’s song with a fun sound going on, except I couldn’t resist putting that 7/4 measure in the verses. (It makes it more “complicated” —get it?)
I struggle with how I want the performance of these songs to be perceived. This one felt as if people were sitting around kind of jamming with it. The thing is, it’s just me. Is it untruthful to pretend it’s not, and record what seems like spontaneous moments and people playing off of one another when it’s just me? I really don’t know. But I’m confessing it to you right now, so I am assuming it will all be ok.