The Rich Young American Commentary


After about one month of weakly (spelled correctly) promoting this poem, I posted it here. I suppose that means I am a poor salesman, which is not new information to me.

When meeting the rich young ruler in Mark 10, I suffer two distinct emotions: complete disgust and unbelievable joy.

At first I imagined I was looking through a window and safely watching the scene between Jesus and the rich young ruler from 2000 years away. However, philosopher William James probably explains it best in The Psychology of Man, with this one sentence: “It is one of the strangest laws of our nature that many things which we are well satisfied with in ourselves disgust us when seen in others.” I realize I am looking not through a window but into a mirror. So the mirror exposes the first emotion and, really the second right along with it … blemish and beauty.

The reflection in the mirror includes two men, the disgusting image of self and Jesus. It is not so much the words Jesus speaks nor even the words left unspoken that stir the joy beyond belief within. It is the way Jesus is looking upon this disgusting image of a man. So since mirrors merely reflect, it dawns on me… I am not standing alone in front of this mirror.

My playlist during the incubation of the rich young american

Mockingbird - Derek WebbThe House Show - Derek WebbTorches Together (found on Catch Us for the Foxes) - mewithoutYouThe Best of 1980 - 1990 - U2The Murder, Porn, and Fatherhood EP by Zella MayzellA Collision - The David Crowder Band
One Thing (found on Finger Eleven) - Finger ElevenAll the Right Reasons - NickelbackHurt (the cover of NIN-Trent Reznor's classic found on American IV: A Man Comes Around) - Johnny CashThis Road - Jars of Clay found in the book This Narrow RoadWater Grave as covered by The Imperials the Sail On albumI Wanna Know What Love Is - Foreigner -WHY? 'cus I still haven't found what I'm looking for... U2?

My reading at the time
Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller
Relevant Nation, Heather Zydek
The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne
Letters to a Young Evangelical, Tony Campolo

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3 Responses

  1. “looking through a window and safely watching” I realize that this is about 90% of the way I read scripture, unless the Lord graces me otherwise.

  2. I hear you. But I live for that 1 time in 10. Ok, for me its probably more like 1 in 100. Thousand. And some change. But usually, its pretty dramatic change.

  3. i think you would really enjoy the new book Brown Like Coffee at brownlikecoffee.com

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