Posted by: thewoobdog | July 10, 2007

Praise Habit

Okay, hearing David Crowder in concert has prompted me to read Praise Habit again – one of my absolute favorite books and one of the few nonfiction books that is actually engaging enough to distract me from the tedium of 30 minutes on an elliptical machine.

I beg you – go read this book.  It says so many things so much better than I could say them, but in the way that I would say them if I could.  Not to mention, it has so many moments of unexpected hilarity, you just keep wanting to read more and more.

To (hopefully) pique your interest, I give you here an excerpt (although, sadly, due to space limitations and copyright, no moments of hilarity are included – you have to go read it to get those) (or maybe wait for a later blog):

We naturally understand praise… Remember as children how we would fearlessly hold up our favorite toy and petition anyone who was in close proximity to behold it?

“Look, Mom, look!”

We instinctively knew what it was to praise something.  It’s always been in us.  We were created for it.  It’s a part of who we are.  As kids, we were fabulous at it.  But as adults we become self-conscious and awkward.  Something gets lost.  I think we do it to each other.  At some point, I hold the toy up exultantly and you comment that it looks ridiculous to hold the toy up in such a way.  It’s not a cool toy like I believed it to be.  It is worn and tired, you point out.  And we slowly chip away at each other’s protective coatings of innocence until one day we wake up and notice we are naked and people are pointing.

[…]

My point is we are all fragile.  Somewhere along the way we abandoned abandon.  Or perhaps we gained things that need to be discarded.  We have covered ourselves.  Someone pointed out that we were naked, and the clothing we have woven is bulky and pretentious.  It hinders our freedom of movement.  Expression with childlike spontaneity has become difficult.  It bares too much of us.

Think back.  Try hard to recall what praise in its undiluted purity felt like.  When you would dance with your arms fully extended rather than elbows bent, folded closely to your person in such a guarded fashion.  Remember how effortlessly we sang the praises of things we enjoyed?  It was so easy and fluid and natural.  What if this kind of praise freely leaked from us in delightful response to God?  What if life were like that all the time?  What if we were so moved by who God is, what He’s done, what He will do, that praise, adoration, worship, whatever, continuously careened in our heads and pounded in our souls?

(Praise Habit, Crowder, 20, 23)

Isn’t that true?  Sometimes I look at those who are ‘cursed’ with mental retardation, and I think what a blessing they are to so many – living examples of what it is to live without losing that innocent joy and delight in life that characterizes us as children; still willing to laugh at the humorous and cry in the moments of sorrow, without hesitation and without shame, living life as it was meant to be lived.  Why can’t we maintain that, we who are blessed with full faculties and ‘normal’ development?  Why do we live our lives so enslaved by what people might think or what people might say or how people might perceive us?  Why can’t I dance down the street in delight and abandon without shrinking ashamed within my skin?

Beautiful:

We are given glimpses of the Creator in starlight and Scripture.

I understand what it is to look at nature, and I say, “My God!” because I’ve seen the Creator.  I look into black skies strewn with shimmering dots of light – nights that buzz with word of their Maker.  Moonlight you can feel on your skin if you pay really close attention some October evening, a touch of remembrance that the sun is shining just as bright as ever and dawn is coming.  Brilliant drops of rain that sing His name all the way down their journey from cloud to dirt.  Grass you can feel growing underfoot if you’re really still.

And what of this paper and ink, these pages of divine breath?  These words are like treasure.  They hold the Christ I know.  They are the pulse of the God who created, the One who came and the One I call friend, the One whose presence is here and accessible, the One who rescues me and keeps rescuing me.  It holds the jewels of our plight.  Here are the stories of our running and His running after.

What we praise signifies our treasure.  Let love for God’s Word fall from our mouths and drip from our lives.

(Praise Habit, 63-64)

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