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I got the big V on Friday. Today I'm strung out on Percocet, bag of frozen peas where no frozen peas have gone before, lap top next to me and I'm making final outlines and plans for tomorrow's big trip. I'm going on a sabbatical - me, my drugs, my peas and two suitcases of books.

I taught the beatitudes to the folks at IKON a year and a half ago and became obsessed with these eight diminutive hand grenade blessings Jesus lobbed into the souls of curiosity seekers and followers gathered on a hillside two thousand years. "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, those who mourn, the meek..." Deceptively simple. Counterintuitive and peculiar. Only God could write such blasphemy. "Blessed are those who make peace, who are persecuted..."

I was so undone and inspired that I wrote eleven songs and recorded one more for WHITE FLAG, an album reflecting on these axioms from the Sermon on the Mount. Teaching and singing them didn't shake the obsession for understanding and communicating them though. I've continued to read and wrestle and now have screens of notes and a head full of stories and observations too large for verses and chorus or thirty minute discourses.

So I'm heading to a cabin in the woods for a week to download all that I've learned about the beatitudes into book form. The hope is that this material will be enjoyable and challenging to read, as comforting and controversial as the day they were spoken. I hope this book is used to provoke more study and conversation by those who read it and that disciples are forged from mere believers.

But that seems a bit lofty for me right now. Right now, waddling about the house like a half-retarded penguin, with pillow hair and scraggly beard, bad breath and melting produce between my legs, I feel incredibly ordinary - or even less. And while that once discouraged me from picking up a guitar or singing for strangers, I've now learned that the ordinary - the less than ordinary even - when infused with Divine direction and passion and power, can accomplish the lofty: the limping can leap. And so I have this tingle in me tonight that is either a side effect of heavy medication or anticipation of and confidence in what God can and might just say through me this week. This is the final full brain dump of hours of study, prayer, inspiration and questioning surrounding the beatitudes.

No matter how good or not good this book ends up being, it just feels good to tingle again like I did years ago sitting scared on my garage floor working out the chorus of Should I Tell Them. It feels good to feel too small for the occasion - to feel the weight of the opportunity before me, to be fearful, to try anyway, to be alone pondering and carefully joyfully painting God with a new kind of brush.

See you when I return in about a week - hopefully with a finished book and a thawed...you know.


Blogger Kathryn said...

you're now part of a huge fellowship! I remember my husband's time with the frozen veggies, doing the 'post-V' shuffle! poor men!

I don't know of many men who immediately follow that procedure by writing a book, while under the influence of Percocet!!!! LOL!!! *better edit when your brain de-fogs!*

joking aside. . . I hope this is an inspiring and productive time for you.

Blogger Fruitcake said...

Praying for you, Shaun. Be careful about trying to paint God and most definitely let it be a time of abandoning yourself to Him.

I should give you a fruit name. Maybe by the time you return I'll have one.

Blogger Drew said...

Shaun, definitely praying for your recovery, and your writing. By the way... i read through almost this whole post before I figured out what you were talking about with the big V, lol

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Nice...we really needed to know that you had a...never mind. The book will come out great though. You're an insightful intelligent man who can provoke people to think. I don't impress easily but you never cease to amaze or impress me. Can't wait to read your thoughts (even if you are on medication). If we had been in college classes together I swear you would have kicked my rear in brains and grades.

Blogger Rica said...

Diddo to all of the above!

I hope you have a good growing time and I'll be praying for you, Shaun!

Anonymous Randy Webb said...

i was just about to comment that you needed to write a book about the Beatitudes. then i saw this post..

look forward to it. praying that it goes well.

not that my comment suggesting you write a book would make a major difference in your decision making.. seeing that we've never met.

thanks for reading this comment anyway.

Blogger GrovesFan said...

I'm impressed that you had the guts to go through with the big "V." Throughout my pregnancy with child #3 (a high risk after two miscarriages), we agreed that that child would be our last and he would get "snipped" shortly afterward. Afterall, I'd been through two deliveries, two miscarriages, and was heading to the gate wtih #3. About a month after our daughter Mackenzie was born, I suggested that he should make that call to the dr. He suggested that 4 children would be a wonderful plan for our family! BIG CHICKEN was my first response, followed by a huge relief as I'd wanted the 4th child almost immediately following the 3rd. It took 3 more years and one more miscarriage for our 4th to arrive and she was truly a miracle (aren't they all?) baby. It was then determined that since I needed surgery for some other matters, that I would be the one to be "snipped." Needless to say, he gets no pity from me while in pain. Lucky for him it doesn't happen too often.


Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

So curious--of all the people I know, pastors and their wives seem to be the ones I've heard mentioning that procedure the most.

Praying for your time away.


Blogger Mark said...


I'll probably have more later. But seriously, ouch!

Blogger jimmyc said...

put the boys on ice did ya........one word to echo.......OUCH!


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