I can remember a time during adolescence when the saying “Don’t kid yourself” was popular. It was never uttered in a positive sense but only to remind someone that they were too big for their britches. My parents had a somewhat nicer way of putting it. They called the tendency to “overreach” as having “delusions of grandeur.”
But all of us have them. We are all delusional. Some more so than others? (That’s a trick question – ha!). If we only knew!
I have found the controversy (?) surrounding Rachel Dolezal to be quite fascinating. After all, I’ve already admitted in the pulpit that when discerning ordination as a priest, when my Bishop asked me if I dreamed of being a priest as a kid as I told him, “No, I dreamed of being Jesus.” I really did wonder as a young Roman Catholic boy if I could be the Christ of the second coming. But only in passing… There was also a time when I sincerely hoped that I could be African American when I grew up. Do we ever grow out of our self-delusions?
I heard a sermon once that suggested that if Jesus was a parish priest there would probably only be two people in his congregation and that even they would be kidding themselves. It’s challenging to read something like The Sermon on the Mount (The Gospel According to Matthew chapters 5-7) and to realize that most of us may identify ourselves Christian but we’re actually just engaged in religious rather than racial passing… even, or especially, those of us who wear collars. Most of the time we’re Wanna-be’s.
A little hyperbole for a Happy Monday? Perhaps. We say in the church that we are called to imitate Christ. Not to be Christ, but to imitate him. There’s some relief in that I suppose, and it’s better to want to be something than to never try. In my house when we spoke ill of others – especially the famous – my father would say, “She has always spoken so well of you…” We all have some growing up to do and when we see a speck in our neighbor’s eye there’s usually a log in our own.