Monday, March 06, 2006

I am the Poser (Posers, Fakers, and Wannabes: Part I)

Every time I have read a Brennan Manning book, it has impacted my life greatly. His writings have now been catalysts in three truly important seasons of spiritual growth in my life. The first, nearly eight years ago, was The Ragamuffin Gospel, and with it, beginning to understand the concept of grace for the first time. The second, about two years ago, was Ruthless Trust, and with that, the understanding that trust, not necessarily clarity, must always govern life’s decisions. Those are very short descriptions, but you get the idea. And I wonder why I don’t read more Brennan Manning.

Alas, here I am, challenged and brushed back again by Manning in Posers, Fakers and Wannabes (Unmasking the Real You). The book is a translation of the more familiar Abba’s Child for a youthful, ‘emerging’ audience. There is something about Manning’s utter honesty and transparency that I cannot help but connect with. He is not afraid to call a spade a spade, and when he calls them out in his own life, quite often I see those same spades in my own life. And not only are the ‘spades’ in my life called out, but at the very moment I recognize them, I already have solidarity with a Brother Brennan, who is struggling with the very same things.

The first truth that jumped out at me was this: I am the Poser. The Poser is the perfectionist, the one who comes up with lame excuses and makes life manageable for me when I fear that I cannot manage it anymore. Manning describes the voice within that told him to “invent a new self that everybody will admire but nobody will truly know” (29). I swear he stole these thoughts from my head and my life. As a child, I invented the Poser, just as Manning did.

My desire to be perfect took over. I broke down in tears when I lost the school spelling bee (which, of course, I should have won), I broke down in tears when my basketball coach yelled at me, I broke down in tears when I got in trouble with my parents, and I broke down in tears when I got a ‘B’ on my report card. The tears came whenever I became exposed. The tears were me when the Poser didn’t do his job right. The Poser was supposed to protect me from being exposed by showing everyone else I am better than them, and the Poser trembles at the mere thought of disappointing someone.

It continues today, perhaps even worse. The Poser wants you to read this post and comment about how brilliant or humble or honorably honest I am. The Poser doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning half the time because I will just disappoint myself and everyone else today. The Poser wants me to be the next famous pastor so that people will recognize my name, read my blog, buy my books, and look to me for profound insights about God, the church and the Bible. The Poser comes up with all my less-than-honest-and-oh-so-lame-excuses. The Poser thinks that I am being super-spiritual right now for being so transparent and honest. The Poser makes me live in fear that if I don’t keep up with the joneses, my greatest fear will come true: my face will not end up in Wikipedia next to the entry for ‘awesome: as sometimes manifest in human beings.’

I am the Poser. God help me.


At 6:06 PM EST , Blogger kojak said...

While we're on the topic of posers, check out the article "The Real Slim Shady" in my blog.


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