Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One Word

Saturday Night I delivered a message at the Vineyard called “The Good News and The Bad News” on the text of Matthew 10:16-31. The message was going perfectly fine until I got to one point in my outline about how Christians in America are often persecuted more for not being like Jesus than for humbly and simply following after Him.

No Problems.

I then proceeded to use myself as an example talking about how as a freshman in college I loved arguing with people about anything from evolution to abortion etc. saying that when they would eventually call me a name I would walk away saying “Yes! I was just persecuted for Jesus!”

Smooth Sailing.

However I followed that point by saying how I wasn’t so much persecuted for being like Jesus but because I was being “an arrogant a**h***!” (Unfortunately I had immaculate enunciation at this point and there could be no doubt as to what I had just said)

Uhh, We Have a Problem.

The word came out like feathers from a pillow, caught by a fall breeze, never to go back in. The reaction in the crowd was mixed—about half laughter (though much of it was no doubt nervous laughter) and the other half simply gasped at my lack of discretion.

As for me, I was completely caught off guard as well. I had probably practiced the message a good twelve to fifteen times before I actually delivered it and had never once said that word. Sure I had used the word “jackass” in that part of the message once or twice during my practicing and was comfortable with that (which, in retrospect, probably wouldn’t have gone over that well either) but for some reason I said the other more graphic word.

In my mind I was thinking,
“You idiot, you just said a**h*** in front of 300 people in a church service!”
“That’s a word that get’s bleeped on network TV!”
“Stupid strikes again!”

In that moment I was faced with two options: 1. Acknowledge what I had just said and offer an apology or 2. Just keep rolling with the message and hope that folks would just forget about it. Well, I chose option number 2 (though I don’t think anyone was able to forget about it). Maybe it was because I was surprised by what I had just said or maybe because I really wanted to get to the meat of the message, but for whatever reason I didn’t pause or stutter, or even flinch but just kept going like a poker player trying to sell a bum hand.

And sell it I did because this plan of action only made the foul word seem that much more deliberate.

What made matters worse was that I had said this one word only about ten minutes into the message and so for some folks that word distracted them sufficiently so that they could not hear a word I said from that point on. Perhaps this is my biggest regret because I feel like what I covered in that message was some of the most important things that I have shared in recent months and regretfully some people were unable to get past me as the messenger.

So this week my colleagues in the church office have been doing damage control as emails and phone calls have come in complaining about my foul mouth. Perhaps now I have a little more compassion for politicians and others in the public eye who get a little loose and free with their words from time to time and end up saying something they regret (and usually in front of a whole lot of people).

So, for those readers of this blog who were at The Vineyard on Saturday night to hear version 1 of the message I ask your humble forgiveness and will sincerely be more cautious in my delivery in the future. By the way, I would encourage you to go to and download the MP3 of The Good News and The Bad News (from Sunday Oct 26). Hopefully on that version of the message you can truly hear what I was trying to say. And for those of you who only heard the message on Sunday morning, simply disregard anything you’ve read in this blog.

-Crispin

7 comments:

susie s said...

Your "faux pas" is a huge reminder to me of my many "faux pas" moments and makes me truly grateful for grace. That one was obvious and have been many of mine (I like that feather analogy), but I bet there've been many in my life that the Father recognized that were totally missed by me. His love covers a multitude of sins - something I want to learn to do for others instead of pouring out my judgment.
Susie

Derrek Gaspard said...

Krispy. ^+^

I remember one time the dude from 100 portraits was at SLU doing a free music thing and he at some point in the concert (the east gate was packed) used the B word to express how we tend to have a nagging selfish complaining attitude when talking to God.

Up to this point I was having one of the best times of my life, it sort of stands out as something said for shock value but I know he was honestly trying to express himself. Some people didn't get over it and left, others were confused, and we who were by the altar continued to dance.

The spirit was there and we were letting the creator know that we loved Him. For me it continued to be one of the best days of my life. But stuff like that is tough but I believe once we as the church can forgive past the simple matters like a slip of a tounge we will be a lot more effective in the enormity of our true task, reconciling man to God.

fuel52 said...

It's easy for me to dismiss it because I know you and I know your heart. And I'm sure it's easy for others to criticize when they don't know your heart.

I would say don't let it discourage you. Learn from it. Keep on pursuing God and passing along what you've learned.

Nikki said...

Oh, man. That's kind of scary, because that sounds exactly like something I'm destined to do sometime down the road in my ministry.

But all gasps and angry phone calls aside, I hope those that were offended in the congregation can follow God's command to forgive, and that the whole thing will blow over. I, of course, am in the camp that would have laughed - not nervously, but out of comeraderie. I value honesty in communication above all else, and so a curse word here and there never offends me...and hearing it said by a preacher/pastor just reminds me that we're all human. =)

Great blog, Crispin!

Tim Allen said...

I again appreciate your openness, in this case, regarding the interesting choice of vocabulary you apparently used at the Saturday evening sermon. (I have consistently gone to the Sunday 9:30 service, so I missed the "excitement.") Anyway, looking for humor in just about everything is my style, so maybe it'll bring you a small laugh to remember what the title of your sermon was... "The Good News and the Bad News." The Good News was that you were preaching, and the bad news is that you said "***hole." HA! Anyway, I thought the sermon was fine, and let any of the complainers who haven't made a mistake before try and do a better job, eh? Stuff happens, but in the end, God always turns our blunders into good. Maybe not as fast or as soon as we would like, but eventually, as with everything else, in His timing, not ours. But again, thanks for your transparency and well written blog. And thank God for His unending grace.... Timbeaux

randall said...

Crispin, you are and remain my hero, man! ;-) You're like Bono, man! What a rock star! But seriously, I agree with both Nikki in that I can so relate and would have laughed too, and also with Tim in that God works all things together for good. I suspect that there were some folks that needed to hear what you said (maybe to remind someone that church is not a "performance" but about real people that also make real mistakes) and perhaps He intended to use it to continue to soften your heart as well. Bless you Crispin. Keep up the good works.

Margaret said...

I heard the "Sunday" version of that message, and it was truly one of the best I've ever heard. I come alone and was after the service was trying to get my daughter & son-in-law,(Wycliffe missionaries) and husband to listen to it! So be encouraged - God uses us, imperfect and prone to lapses in judgment and slip ups as we are, to His glory.