Interview with Darryl Tippens (Part 2)

If you are like me, you might sometimes feel tired, sluggish, and perhaps discouraged.

I encourage you to read Pilgrim Heart: The Way of Jesus in Everyday Life. I read this book a few years ago and found it to be incredibly refreshing. The author is Dr. Darryl Tippens, Provost at Pepperdine University. Darryl has graciously consented to participate in an interview on this blog. The subject of the interview will be very interesting to readers of this blog. I encourage you to consider his words.

Also, I will be giving away two autographed copies of this book during the week in which these posts appear. To be eligible for the drawing, leave a comment on this podarryl_tippens.jpgst.

The following is part two of the interview. (You can read part one here.)


As I read through the book, I was struck by the quality of the content. Yet, I also sensed that you were not only writing to help other believers but that you also have struggled at times in your attempt to follow Christ. Is that an accurate read? Are many of these practices what nurtured your own faith and life in Christ?

Darryl Tippens: Yes, you’re quite right. There is a great deal of autobiography in the book, evident to anyone who reads closely. One observant reader asked me bluntly one day, “Can you say things like that” (meaning, I think, as a “church leader,” wasn’t I laying myself open to criticism)? My reply was, “Well, I don’t know if I should have said these things, but I did.”

Religious books that sound simple, triumphalist, or Pollyannaish often turn me off. When they offer easy prescriptions like “Follow Jesus, and all will be well–no problems,” I become discouraged because I wonder, “Why is it I try to follow Jesus, but I don’t find it so easy? What’s wrong with me?” Facile claims don’t ring true for me.

I have found the Christian life authentic and exhilarating at times, but truly, utterly daunting at times too. So, I’m encouraged by people who tell the truth about how hard life can be. No one should lie to save God’s honor or make the Church look good. After all, if we worship the God of Truth, if Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then shouldn’t we tell the truth too? The whole system is bogus if we don’t tell the unvarnished truth. So, I have tried to be honest about my struggles. Life hurts. It’s a fact, so why not say so?

But that, of course, is only the prelude to the main story, not the final episode. It’s in the midst of our misery, that the light shines. I’ve found that when faithful friends received my honest testimony, including my questions and doubts, I didn’t end up believing less. Rather, having “come clean,” I found new space and new motivation to believe again, or believe more deeply. I often say to those with whom I work and associate, “You can tell the truth here.” Since we honor the God of Truth, that seems to be the only proper way to go. That explains why I include chapters on hospitality (welcoming), friendship, confession, listening, and discernment.

I’m a believer today in part because other disciples welcomed me with open arms, befriended me when I was in a crisis, listened to me without judgment, and offered discernment as I plodded the way forward. I believe these practices will work well for others too.

(to be continued)

Questions:

Do you tell the truth about what it is really like to follow Christ? Are you a person who receives people in such a way as to invite them to speak the truth?


  

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11 thoughts on “Interview with Darryl Tippens (Part 2)

  1. I read Pilgrim Heart when it first came out and found it very honest, open and encouraging. I refer to it often, along with Renovation of the Heart (Willard) and The Leader’s Journey (Herrington). Jim, thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. I whole-heartedly agree with the writer’s statement. It is extremely important to be honest in all areas of our lives. It makes people realize they aren’t alone in there struggles to live the Christian life and it enables us to encourage others as well.
    I was one of the main speakers at a Christian Ladies Conference a couple of years ago and I spoke on my years of being sexually abused as a child and my years of drug and alcohol addiction. For the most part my message was well received. Afterwards as I was walking past a group of ladies I heard a “stinging” remark. The person making the remark evidently thought I shared too much of my personal experiences.

    • Janice,
      Thanks for sharing this experience. I admire you for your willingness to be so transparent to a group like this. Transparency certainly brings with it, risk. I suspect your openness ministered to a lot of people there.

      I am sure that it was difficult to hear that stinging remark. Who knows why she said this? I have learned that very often the people who make such remarks often reveal more about themselves than anything else. I encourage you to continue to speak as you believe God wishes you to. Thanks again.