I say the f-word. A lot. I’m a little too mean to my kids sometimes. On more than one occasion, I’ve led worship at my church rather hungover. I don’t always treat my wife like the beautiful person she is. If I’ve met you, I’ve probably judged you. I voted for Obama. I’m flaky. I harbor a lot of hatred for my former stepfather. Actually, I harbor a lot of hatred for a lot of people. I’m lazy. I procrastinate on just about everything. I’m frustrated with God most of the time — at least, most of the time I believe He exists. I’m very cynical. I don’t tithe faithfully. I say a lot of stupid things without thinking first (especially when I’m drunk). I get really jealous. I’m opinionated about nearly everything, and I tend to be contrarian on purpose when I’m debating. I’m depressed. I bottle up my emotions. I’m selfish. I’m very insecure — your opinion matters to me more than anything.
I’m telling you this because these things are all true. This is who I am.
But I also understand that the narrative I find myself in stretches from the beginning to the end of time, full of characters that are filthy, selfish, unmerciful jerks. Jerks who, with the help of this idea of real Love, play their part in carrying the story forward towards a deeper understanding of justice and mercy and grace. A story that ends with all being made right. And that rightness — that outpouring of pure grace — weaves its way in and out of these terrible people throughout the narrative in the most beautiful ways, at the most perfect times. It’s a beautiful story full of the most important truth: that we are good.
We are good.
I am good.
When I was asked to step into my role of Managing Editor of this magazine, I was beyond excited. I love to write, and this seemed like a great place to use my writing for a real purpose. I also grew up reading this magazine, and the idea of taking stock in the cultural capital of this magazine was an absolute honor.
HM really is about doing good. This isn’t one of those popular faith-based magazines that’s concerned with putting hip clothes on the same old fundamentalism. On the contrary, it’s not a formerly Christian magazine that just wants to be culturally relevant so it hides its roots. HM truly is a publication that is about being a force for change and for letting bands be heard. Christian or atheist or doubting or “on fire” or even Satanist, the goal of this magazine is to let these bands be heard and to let their messages be engaged with — agreement or disagreement.
In other words, HM wants everyone to know that they are good. And that they are capable of doing real good.
I’m not writing this as some sort of manifesto for the magazine. I wasn’t put up to this by the Editor-in-Chief. I’m writing this looking in from the outside. This magazine really matters.
And you really matter.
People are always going to disagree with me. People are always going to think I’m a terrible person. Luckily, I’m at a point in my life where I feel free to be me. I am insecure, but, with God’s help, I am fixing that.
Maybe all this means I am unfit for this magazine. You know, I probably come across as unfit for a lot of things. Everything you hear about me is true. I’m an absolute sinner. But I’m also — as a popular worship song puts it — sinking in an ocean of grace.
And that grace is enough for me.