Here's the odd thing for me. On first listen, I preferred the Crozet version for all of the reasons you stated above. BUT, I had to listen to it several more times. In the listening, I began to appreciate DuTonc more and more. There cover is different. And good. And I really began to like it. In fact, I learned to like it so much that I now prefer it over Crozet (which I liked best after only one listen). So, my vote (to my own shock) goes to DuTonc.
In the end, it looked like this:
DuTonc: 8 (including my vote)
PART 4 of 4:
The person I hurt most was me, but...
Before I finish that sentence, I want to tell you one more thing I've been learning since last November. That is when I joined a Bible Study to read the entire Bible. (Right now we're in Romans.) If you've read the Bible front to back and found nothing disturbing in there, I'm going to suggest you read it again.
There are some tough stories in there. I could begin a list, but that would make this blog post really long. I've managed to parse out meaning for a great many of them (some still have me scratching my head), but maybe the point of it all is that being a good Jew (OT) and a good Christian (NT) are not easy. Even the gospels, which I thought I knew very well, raise some tough questions. I don't feel quite so bad about my lack of understanding given that the disciples had a difficult time with it as well. And they were right there.
One of the great joys, though, of reading the Bible is that there is quite literally a story in there to cover every aspect of the human experience. Good and bad. It covers the things we do well and things we fail miserably at. There are prayers of thanksgiving and prayers full of misery.
If you're not familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son, the long and short of it is this: The second son of a prosperous (Jewish) farmer asked his father for his inheritance so that he could go off on an adventure. I suspect that his adventure looked a lot like a year in Las Vegas where he didn't find a sin he didn't like. Anyway, the money was gone and his prospects were so bad that he went to work as a laborer for a (foreign) farmer slopping the pigs (abhorrent for a Jewish person) and eating worse than those pigs. It was so bad that the young man decided to go back to his father and beg for a job, because his father treated his laborers much better than he was being treated. Just hoping for a job, he returned home. His father responded by not only welcoming him back with open arms, but throwing a big party. The older brother, who never left in the first place, didn't like it one bit. His response was, "I never got a party." And the father told him that he need not be jealous because all that was his also belonged to the older brother. And that he should rejoice because his younger brother was lost, but now he's been found.
When I was in high school, that story disturbed me. As the eldest child, I read it from the perspective of the older brother. I never left. Where's my party?
As someone who ate one too many Pringles/Lays (one person, one choice), I NOW find great relief in this story. In fact, I referenced this story in my Testimony given at camp. However, at that time, I wouldn't allow myself the relief that came with it. I was still that Lesser Christian. Still the younger brother who, knowing his Father (and the richness of His kingdom) still chose to go another way. I remained stuck in the despair that the younger son felt knowing he'd blown it big time, even after coming home and getting the grand party. And, more importantly, the forgiveness of the Father.
There is very real irony in this dichotomy. In the coming back to Christ, my relationship with Him now is better than it ever was in my youth. Having hit rock bottom, I can fully appreciate the gift that Jesus gave with his death in a way that I couldn't before. Jesus tells many parables of things lost and found... and how the found thing means so much more after it was lost. I didn't really get any of those stories until I was the lost thing that was found.
Do you remember when I told you the testimony of the Gideon fellow and said that what we had in common was hitting rock bottom? The other thing we had in common was a need to forgive ourselves simply because Christ forgives us. That is another one of those things in the Bible that sounds simple, but sometimes isn't.
My friend, Stephen T. McCarthy, recommended the book Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus. I read it. One of the (many) things the author discusses is the notion of forgiveness by default. If you don't know what that is, you're blessed. The idea is that Christ died to save mankind (meaning everyone), but you just got lucky. In other words, he did it for everyone else, and you got it by default. I thought this was an idea that was just mine until I read this book, and then I realized way too many people feel this way. It's not the truth. The truth is that Jesus died for you. Specifically. There is no such thing as salvation by default.
There is a reason that in the book of Luke, there is the story about the criminals being crucified alongside Jesus. Murderers. One of them ridiculed him, but the other recognized that he was the Son of God. To that one Jesus said there is a place for you in my kingdom. That is how that pastor could tell the man who became a minister for the Gideons, "Yes," when he asked if there was forgiveness for murder. It's in the Bible. (Luke 23:39-43)
There is a reason for the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), because there will be people who know the richness of the Father's kingdom, but there will still be holes in their hearts that they believe the world can fill. They will have to hit rock bottom in that world before they understand that what they were seeking they had all along... and come home.
So, to go back to the start:
The person I hurt most was me, but God forgave me, so who am I to not forgive myself?
There are no Lesser Christians. There are Christians whose story differs from yours. But, that's good. God uses every life for His glory. Every. Life.
And that's what I learned this summer.
Do you have trouble forgiving yourself? Does knowing that Christ forgives you make it easier? Have you ever thought you were saved by default?