Passion, Preaching…and Kidney Stones

Crying girlIt’s challenging to describe an over-the-top experience you’ve had to a person who hasn’t witnessed it for themselves. As Mark Twain once said, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

My friend Stephen Manley is an evangelist, with a passion for what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross that is difficult to adequately describe. His delivery of the the Word of God is one of those things you have to experience in order to fully appreciate.

The intensity with which Manley preaches is intense. It’s like the intensity a person experiences when they pass a kidney stone [I told you it’s hard to adequately describe some things]. Sounds bad but it’s not; it’s just intense. Some things in life are power-packed, and we never forget the intensity of the moment.

When I had my first stone-passing experience, the excruciating pain in that moment assaulted my brain. Nothing but my pain mattered. Within seconds after the initial attack, I was doubled over by the searing intensity of the pain. It felt as if the white-hot blade of a jagged-edged knife had been plunged into my gut. I was digging a hole in the backyard when it struck. I staggered my way back into the house and into the living room, where Rose was reading a book. The look on her face probably mirrored the look on my face as she blurted out, “You’re white!”

Even in the midst of the pain that was making me crazy, I was a little amused by her comment. Rose is Mexican, and she has beautifully dark skin that was passed along to her by her ancestors. Her grandfather was Yaqui Indian, and his skin was the color of burnished bronze. I’m white. My family heritage is English. I was white when I met her, and I’m certain I’ll be white the day I die (which I thought might be that day). She later explained that her comment about me being white was made in reference to the blood having drained from my face.

But this is about the intensity of the moment, not the cultural distinctions between my wife and me. There are no words to express the pain to someone who has not passed a stone. Those who have had their own personal experience need no description. It easy to know who’s had the experience by the unmistakable cringe at the mention of a kidney stone. My mom has “passed” five kids and one kidney stone. She said she’d rather pass the kids.

Manley has this same kind of intensity, only without the excruciating pain. Nothing else matters when he’s preaching other than the Word of God. The message—to have an intimately personal relationship with Jesus—penetrates the deepest longing of our soul. Once again, you can tell who has experienced this intensity by listening in on the conversations following Manley’s preaching. Some folks just want an ice cream cone or a slice of pie and some coffee. Others are still reeling from the invitation to experience passionate intimacy with Jesus.

[Excerpt from Holy Libido]

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