I have the password now, so Barry can't kick me off the blog. Thus it's a fine time to come clean: I am not gentle. In fact, I'm pretty sure Barry meant to sign up some other, kinder Italian pastor. Surely there's been a clerical error or oversight of judgment.
Yet here we are, blogging on this gentle blog. And knowing most of the other men writing alongside me, I can't help but feel like Mugsy Bogues scrambling among the giants of the NBA, trying to find some way to show I belong here, too.
To reiterate: I am not gentle. At least, not very. Not without Jesus.
The story goes back a little way. Like most young men heading off to college, I was quite sure--and quite glad--that the world revolved around me and that everyone around me was simply biding their time until they could receive some more of my wit and wisdom.
Yes, like most of us, I became involved in campus ministry, learning about discipleship, beginning to consider how I might help others along in Jesus' kingdom. Yet I magically found ways to make even great ministry self-centered. In my relationships, I was much more like a bull in a china shop than a refreshing rain. Problems were handled with efficient confrontation or by totally ignoring them.
Finally, a brother beat me down, gently. One of the campus ministers I had been learning from sat me down and opened my eyes to this elephantine blind spot in my life. At first I was offended and slightly amused at his overreaction to my personality quirks. And then I was broken and disgusted with myself, with how easily I treated people without sympathy, compassion or gentleness.
Many penitent prayers later, Jesus continues to be gentle with me and continues to re-form my ways. Some who know me might be surprised at this little confessional. Others will smile and nod, having been run over by me in the past or having had a front row seat to it.
I know some folks who are gentle to their core, who have such a God-given sensitivity and love for others that they make you feel safe. I also know some like me, who need more regular reminders of God's gentleness, who need to be shepherded in that direction.
So I hope Barry doesn't kick me off the blog. And I hope God continues to make me gentle for the sake of the many precious souls he is saving.