If you’ve never heard Steve Brown speak, you’ve missed not only one of the most authentic, humorous, and profound speakers of our time (although he says, “I’m not authentic, I’m screwed up”), but also a deep, tobacco enriched voice that sounds like it emanates from the top of Mt. Sinai and makes James Earl Jones, in comparison, sound like Larry the Cable Guy.
Dr. Brown is a regular guest speaker at our church. Yesterday he launched into his talk with a typical “Brownsian” self-effacement – “If you get something out of this sermon I’m glad, but this sermon is for me.” He spoke on a passage in Matthew where Jesus describes how we should view our “enemies”. Brown made 4 points:
- “My enemies are not necessarily the enemies of Jesus” – as much as we would like to put those who disagree with us into a barrel and plug up the knot-hole, that does not mean they are not profoundly important to Christ and to his purpose.
- “His enemies are not necessarily my problem” – Brown described how many critical emails and phone calls he receives every week regarding his teachings, then paused and stated, “But guess what, I’m not YOUR responsibility.”
- “The biggest enemy I’ve got is me” – He stated (and everyone I’m sure agreed about themselves) that “I struggle with me more than anybody.” But then he also quickly followed with, “But Jesus likes me even when I’m not doing it right.”
- “HIS enemies often become HIS friends” – the Apostle Paul – nuff said.
When Steve Brown ended his meaningful monologue with his customary trademark, “You think about that… amen,” my mind did indeed prickle with the reminder that I’m also more screwed up than authentic, and my job is not to make or hate enemies, but to love my enemies (most of the time) to become HIS friends.
Thank you Dr. Brown, you (and your melodious voice – maybe I should start smoking a pipe…) do a body, mind and heart a lot of good.