Bob Stevenson

Pastor. Can’t get enough of the gospel.

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The Risky Business of Wide Relationships

I need to be known. If I don’t, I’ll shrivel into a lonely secret. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not become a relational raisin. And yet… Blast the yets. I do such a good job at keeping people out. My default reaction is to hide behind all manner of disguises. If only I could be known without the risk of people knowing me. Rock, meet my friend Hard Place.

 Exposed

I recently shared my story with a small group of men in my community group. It wasn’t the smooth, gleaming story we relay at parties. It was the one with the dark, morbid bit in the middle. The one laced with redemption.

The final shards of narrative fell from my mouth and the room grew dense with suspense. “What will they think? Do they see redemption? Or humiliation?” I had just exposed a part of me. I’d revealed a chink in my armor. I had traced the curling (and humbling) path of sin and

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Hey, You There. Hiding Under the Bible. Come Out.

My boy loves to play the superhero. Some days its Spiderman, others Superman, but most often he’s FireShark (you’ll not find this gem in the Marvel books, folks). FireShark wears a mask, is crowned with a shark baby towel, and struts about with all the gritty confidence of a fireball-wielding do-gooder.

FireShark often appears when it’s time to play with other unsuspecting children, because FireShark protects this little boy from the raw pain of shyness. Most little boys must deal with the awkwardness of strangers head on. FireShark, however, is tough, steely-eyed and adventurous.

But FireShark is nothing more than a cloth force-field. The towel, threadbare mask and tough frown simply shield his shyness.

 Hey, You Under There

No good superhero reveals his identity. But I’m not going to let my son know that bit. I really like the boy under the mask, and he needs to know

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A Big, Hairy (and Needed) Idea: Being Known

Let’s talk about being known. You. Me. Me by you; vice versa. What comes to mind? Notions of authenticity, community and “real” relationships? Or maybe 1984 all over again? Do you feel welcomed in or creeped out?

Let’s be frank. We’re really good at playing the game. At wearing the mask. At laying a beautiful cherry wood veneer over our rough cut particle board interior. For many a Christian, the idea of being known…well, it just ain’t gonna happen.

But it should. It must. We were neither made to be anonymous nor painted over. So let’s talk about being known. You. Me. But we’ll start with me.

 What’s My Problem?

Let’s ask the obvious question. Why do I have a hard time being known? What’s so hard about swinging wide the iron (double-barred, reinforced) gates of my soul?

 1. I Don’t Trust You

There, I said it. Oh, don’t take it personally. It’s not

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