Sunday, June 15, 2014

“Men without tears…”

I treated myself to a book by A W Tozer – “God Tells the Man Who Cares”.  I sat in the sunshine looking at an unmown front lawn.  The grass wasn’t quite tall enough to wave at me.  The man next door was hacking away at his tree stump.  It really was too warm to do anything other than sit and read.

The chapters in the book are rather short, a page or two, sufficient to build into a quiet time.  I reigned myself in after I made a start on the second chapter about the voice of God speaking.  My Spirit had stopped at a phrase a few paragraphs into the first chapter and wanted to think about something, but my brain was making the whole book a bit of a sprint. Short chapters read were like brownie points earned. My spirit refused to move on.

“Men without tears…”

Tozer began the first chapter with the line “God has nothing to say to the frivolous man.” He went on to list characters from the Bible who had wept at some point.  These were men that trembled before God, threw themselves on to the ground and poured their heart out.  They were extravagant in what they asked for and equally as extravagant in what they were willing to pay to get an answer.  These were men who grieved that the people who should have been following God were far from him.  It distressed them that people lived side by side with sin.They were quite willing to be blotted out of God’s history if the people they lead could be drawn closer to God.

Then he introduced the “men without tears.” These were the smooth talkers, the persuasive men who acted like superior salespersons, but what they did wss done without heart. They had not lingered in the presence of God to really catch his heart. Faith was merely a commodity to be sold and church was run like a business.

The rest of the chapter was about denominations and who has got it wrong and where, who has got it right and where, and how we have ended up with meetings that have no reverent thoughtfulness, no real sense of the divine presence, no moment of stillness, no wonder, no holy fear – just breezy songs and a few awkward jokes.

Tozer was a heavy hitter.  He was serious about his faith and about his teaching.  He recognised that there was an urgency about being a Christian and getting it as right as we can.  Remember - God has nothing to say to the frivolous man.

“Men without tears…” Tozer was talking about the church leaders of his day.  I am not sure that leaders of this day are any different.  Do they weep over the hearts and lives of the flock under their care? I am sure many do. 

The phrase “men without tears” so perfectly fits the description of many leading politicians. As I sat in the sunshine pondering the words, there were clouds – not real ones, just the metaphysical variety. The rain that comes from metaphysical clouds stings more.  Clouds and an inner picture of David Cameron at his smiling worst.

I don’t know whether it is acceptable for a politician to throw themselves on the ground and weep. It’s probably not part of the job description and you might be sacked for doing so.  I can’t imagine that David Cameron would be found on his knees.  I may be making this up but I seem to remember someone asking him how he slept at night – the implication being he could not have an easy conscience about all the decisions he had made and the policies he had put into place.   Mr Cameron said he always slept well. 

I don’t feel that I have flourished under his term of office.  He doesn’t seem to be a man that knows my particular struggles or puts things into place the ease them.  He has perhaps made the world a better place for only a few people. His tears don’t flow in my direction.

It is all too easy the use the pitchfork and hurl truth in another person’s direction.  God challenges me to look at whether I am a “woman without tears.” Goodness gracious – I weep tears by the bucketful at times, but are those tears the hot splashes from selfish ambitions crushed, or something more?

I don’t want to be anyone without tears.  I don’t want to be the frivolous person that God doesn’t have anything to say to.  I don’t want church to be void of God’s presence, or stillness or wonder. 

I want holy fear.

I want to care.

I want God to speak.

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