Summary: We all have things that we are deeply embarrassed about, perhaps even ashamed of, things that we don’t want anyone else to know about. And sadly that embarrassment can all too often overflow into our spiritual life.
On my book shelf in my office I have a book called ‘Tall Tales of a Big God’ written by a man called Maurice Smith. Maurice is (or at least was) an international Christian Speaker travelling all over the UK, and Europe and particularly the USA. And his book is a compilation of some of the most embarrassing moments of his ministry.
He says that there was one time when he was speaking at a meeting in Glasgow – and he was always accompanied by his guitarist friend called Dave – who would lead the worship at these meetings.
And at this particular meeting as he was giving out their ‘Hallelujah’ Song sheet so that people could sing along, he came to this young woman, who in spite of several attempts, refused to take a chorus sheet from him. All she would say, very sweetly, was ‘no thank you... no thank you’! He says that she didn’t open her eyes but was obviously in that state of smiling ecstasy so well known to swaying charismatics. But Maurice was nothing if not persistent and he kept on insisting that this young girl take a chorus sheet from him. Until that is one of the leaders whispered into his ear, ‘She’s blind Maurice’.
Well obviously he felt really bad and desperately turned to his guitarist friend for help. ‘Dave, play something quickly’
Dave duly obliged and instantly struck up with the chorus – ‘Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus’. Maurice said ‘Feeling bad turned to feeling awful. But one look at the blind girls face who was now laughing uncontrollably, swept all embarrassment away.
Perhaps though, the title of ‘king of embarrassment’ has to go the old President of the United States – George W Bush. His embarrassing quips became so numerous that they actually gave them their own name – ‘Bushisms’.
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." Washington DC, 5 August, 2004
"I want to thank my friend, Senator Bill Frist, for joining us today. He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. A West Texas girl, just like me." Nashville, Tennessee, 27 May, 2004
And his mother had her moments too. When Barbara Bush visited Tokyo she was lunching with Emperor Hirohito at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace. Looking around her elegant surroundings, she complimented Hirohito on his official residence.
"Thank you," he said. "Is it new?" pressed Mrs. Bush. "Yes."
"Was the old palace just so old that it was falling down?" asked Mrs. Bush. In his most charming, yet regal, matter, Hirohito replied, "No, I’m afraid that you bombed it."
Sir Thomas Beecham
Last one - Sir Thomas Beecham, the British conductor, once saw a distinguished-looking woman in a hotel foyer. And he was sure that he knew her from somewhere, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember where or her name. But he stopped to talk to her anyway. And as the pair talked he vaguely remembered that she had a brother. Hoping for a clue, he asked how her brother was and whether he was still doing the same job. "Oh, he’s very well," she said, "And, yes he’s still the king.
I’m sure that we all have moments in our life that we are deeply embarrassed about, perhaps even ashamed of. Things we’ve said, or things that we’ve done that we wish we hadn’t. I’m sure that there are things about each one of us that we simply don’t want anyone else to know about – because we find it far too embarrassing. And sadly that embarrassment all too often overflows into our spiritual life and into our Christian faith. In fact we are so embarrassed about the Christian faith, we’re so embarrassed about what we believe that we’ve even called the arguments in defence of the Christian faith ‘Apologetics’. As if we need to apologise for believing what we believe!
The great evangelist Dwight Moody once wrote, " I do not believe there is any false religion in the
world that men are not proud of. The only religion of which I have ever heard, that men were ashamed of, is the religion of Jesus Christ. Some time ago I preached two weeks in Salt Lake City, and I did not find a Mormon that was not proud of his religion... I never met an unconverted
Chinaman who wasn’t proud of being a disciple of Confucius; and I never met a Mohammedan who wasn’t proud of the fact that he was a follower of Mohammed; but how many, many times I have found men ashamed of the religion of Jesus Christ, the only religion that gives men the power over their affections and lusts and sins. If there was some back-door by which men could slip into heaven, there would be a great many who would want to enter it, but they don’t like to make public confession.’