Wise Guys


Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. (Isaiah 5:21)

Being a religious genius isn’t easy. First of all, you have all this spiritual insight jam-packed in your brain. It’s like having an over-inflated balloon in your head, except, instead of air, you’re pressurized with vision, discernment, perspective, understanding, and wit. It’s a kind of revelational flatulence that just won’t go away. But since it’s a God thing, there’s no use complaining; he pretty much does what he wants anyway.

Another issue with being a religious genius is that hardly anybody values your genius like they should. One reason for this is that a lot of others claim to be religious geniuses. They have television shows and bestselling books and huge crusades and so much glitz around them that most people don’t even realize that they basically have nothing to offer by way of genuine spiritual insight. So when a true genius shows up who doesn’t have all that glitzy junk, folks may not even notice. So what else is new?

But what really bugs me are people who think they’re hip to the religious jive but aren’t. They always pretend that they understand you and even pretend to have thought the same stuff you said before you said it to them. Worse, they then add on their own stuff which sounds like so much blah blah blah. You give them this blank smile because you’re too polite to tell them that they’re definitely full of something, and besides, they wouldn’t get the joke anyway.

God isn’t too partial to these doofuses either. This is because God likes to reserve the wisdom thing mostly for himself. He does promise to give wisdom to those who ask for some, but he wants to keep the legal rights to it. I guess you could say that God lets humans borrow wisdom from time to time; they just can’t own it. So when self-righteous jerks start thinking they’re something special, God gets miffed and prepares a little “woe” for them. The woe can range from simple grass-eating madness to leprosy to complete incineration. In extreme cases God may require actual humility. I shudder to think of it.

For this reason, we true blue spiritual heavyweights generally like to keep a low profile. It’s not that we’re unsure of our generous spiritual capacity, only that we know how testy God can be about it and we would rather not get his dander up. God has his opinions.

That’s why I do most of my best work when he’s looking the other way.


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