to be great is to be misunderstood

Towards the end of my time at church (simply as a member, back in 2009), I wrote a blog post titled ‘Sorry Mr. Preacher, But…’

The post was tough on the preacher who stood in front of the church not to preach, but to talk about football in the names of Liverpool and Manchester United.

Of course, the title of his sermon was not about football.

It was, and I quote:

‘What should I do to be saved?’

If you’ve been close to the church door, you’d know that the talk about being saved is quite something.

So I sat looking forward for the great message only to be told about football and how holy the preacher was.

It was as if the preacher was not a human being.

It was as if he was at the other side of the bridge, while the rest of us were on the other side hoping to cross.

Are we gonna make it?

Because if we don’t, there are alligators below us… waiting.

Now let me tell you why I share this story.

When I sent the link to other church members so that they could read it all and find my reasoning, I expected a reaction, but hey, not the kind of reaction I received.

Because no one thought there was something wrong with the what and the how Mr. Preacher shared his supposedly heavenly message.

So I received calls after calls from people who weren’t very happy with what I wrote.

They loved football, and they loved the preacher, as well.

The fact that he spoke his message as talking to children who didn’t want to hear him; the fact that he spoke about sin as if he was a saint; the fact that he was bigger than the church and louder than he needed to be… didn’t bother nobody.

But then a year later I came across Emerson’s work: The Law of Compensation.

Now, here is the thing, this law was written back in 1841.

And here is a excerpt of this long essay:

“Ever since I was a boy, I have wished to write a discourse on Compensation: for it seemed to me when very young, that on this subject life was ahead of theology, and the people knew more than the preachers taught….

I was lately confirmed in these desires by hearing a sermon at church. The preacher, a man esteemed for his orthodoxy, unfolded in the ordinary manner the doctrine of the Last Judgment.

He assumed, that judgment is not executed in this world; that the wicked are successful; that the good are miserable; and then urged from reason and from Scripture a compensation to be made to both parties in the next life.

No offence appeared to be taken by the congregation at this doctrine. As far as I could observe, when the meeting broke up, they separated without remark on the sermon.”

Do you know how happy I was when I read this?

I’m still thrilled today.

And the reason is simple.

Like the immortal Emerson, I had seen what wasn’t right and wrote about it.

Notice the last two lines from the quotation:

‘No offence appeared to be taken by the congregation at this doctrine. As far as I could observe, when the meeting broke up, they separated without remark on the sermon’.

This is one of the reasons I decided to stay away from the church…

How come people don’t see such an obvious dubious presentation?

How come it feels wrong to ask questions?

How come every good thing is presented as if it’s for those who wait, and that their reward is in the future?

Is that a way to simply explain why there are so many low achievers inside churches compared to outside?

Why is personal development, not a big thing with church goers?

And also, how come a humble guy like me, get a similar thought, observe a similar situation like Ralph Waldo Emerson?

I mean, do you know how Emerson is revered by the great writers like James Allen, Napoleon Hill, Wallace D. Wattles, Earl Nightingale, etc?

What do I have in common with this great mind?

Because no matter how one would like to look at it, I still want to believe that I have a lot in common with him.

Well, currently, I like this quotation that says:

‘Life is a beautiful ride’.

Institutions like churches, shouldn’t get in our way as we try to express the genius within us.

People shouldn’t get in the way either, no matter what their titles are, no matter what colour or political ideology they are or stand for.

Nothing, absolutely nothing should stand in the way as we express our lives, as we explore our limits, as we dare to ask questions, to come up with solutions for the challenges we face, as we try to choose pleasure and joy, as we walk with that special swagger – because deep inside we know that LIFE, IS A BEAUTIFUL RIDE.

And that, as long as we are alive, we are to ride it by ourselves.

That, as long as we still dream, we must expose ourselves for more experience.

That, as long as we have sound mind, we must stay true to ourselves because ‘nothing is at last sacred, but the integrity of our own minds.’

But also, we must know that life isn’t a beautiful ride when we ‘live after other people’s opinions…’ or, when we live with fear of being misunderstood for whatever reasons.

All great men and women, stood for something.

They were somehow misunderstood.

And that’s why one of the definitions of being great is to be misunderstood.

So ladies and gents, this blog, expresses my true self. It brings to life my greatest thoughts and my weakest thoughts as well – but all shared with enthusiasm.

Yes, enthusiasm because I believe in every word that I write.

This is now my new stand, and I will forever stand my ground.

Great thoughts will come from here.

Great, challenging thoughts will be shared from here.