The Obnoxious Self

Observations from the Gospel of John, mingled with love/hate letters from listeners, and an article in the New York Times send Brad and Wayne into a discussion about the obnoxious self, especially when it lures us into a religious performance treadmill we think we can control, and when it drives us to push others to do what we think is best for them. Only by knowing the incredible love of the Father can the deception and power of the obnoxious self be exposed and undermined so that we can truly live free and generously in the world.


  1. Dear Wayne and Brad,
    Just want to thank you for doing the pod cast. It has been so encouraging.
    I was raised a pastor’s kid in a independant fundamental Baptist church. Yikes! My junior year of high school my parents split up which ended in divorce. The members of the church my Dad pastored placed our family on the naughty list. It was ugly. I can honestly say not one person ever called to check on me or say hi after my father stepped down. I had known many of them since I was four years old. I stopped going to organized church for many years and then “church shopped” for a few years which led to discouragment and more confusion. After marriage and the birth of my son I felt like I should find a place to attend mostly out of guilt. I felt I wouldn’t be a “Good Christian Mom” if I didn’t take my son to church. Six years later I have removed myself once again from organized church. I felt like it was killing me spiritually, sucking the life out of me. I would feel great before the church service , then leave feeling condemned and confused. I could never DO enough, give enough,pray enough, fast enough, be righteous enough. The leaders constantly focused on all this stuff we should do, instead of lifting up Christ and who we are in him.
    I have been reading your book Wayne, “He Loves Me” and I’m really enjoying it. I think I will take your advice and take a year or so just to focus on how much Father loves me.
    Thanks again,
    Any advice for parents with young children who expect and want to go to a church service on Sundays?

  2. I am a Chaplain in Fresno California. I work in prison and Celebrate Recovery please pray for me. I enjoyed your article. Thank you for honesty.

  3. Hi Denise,

    Glad you’re enjoying the podcasts. We love doing them. Gosh, I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve been through with a painful run in a local congregation. That stuff is incredibly painful for everyone and I don’t think people always realize what it does to the kids involved. Feeling condemned and confused is a great reason to step back from any group, whether it is a congregation, house church or circle of so-called friends. The whole ‘enough’ language, is the accusations of the adversary, not the invitation into God’s life. As far as having young children who want to “go to church” on Sunday, the mostly want to go for the connections with other kids. There’s nothing wrong with that if you can find a place that’s not filled with religious obligation for you and then. If you can’t find that place, invite some other families over with kids of similar ages and share some Bible stories together and play together. They will love that more, I promise you!

  4. Good day to you

    A bit of common sense – good. I printed the article by the Psychiarist and his experience of church [the flabby body] and used it [read it actually] during a talk I gave to a local congregation, whose theme for the next year is moving on in the power of God. The minister has just retired after 40 years of ministry in the same church!!!

  5. Thanks, guys, for reminding us that just because you’re so way cool and awesome, it would sort of defy the whole point of what you’re saying if we’d make you our new heroes or gurus now!

    Guess we’re all a bunch of Golden Calf junkies, instead of going for the Real Thing, so, thanks for your permanent feet of clay display… Nothing like input from folks who refuse to be anybody’s idols!

    BTW – I so agree with Wayne on “Avatar.” I’m a few years younger, but also “too old.”

  6. Wayne and Brad,
    My wife and I have both read “The Book” and we have listened to many of your podcasts and thoroughly enjoyed them. Here is our dilemma. I’m chairman of the leadership team in the church my wife also sits on the team. I have completed my 2 yr. committment and am stepping down in march. I’m still the ministry leader for life groups and my wife is the outreach ministry leader. We are trying to back out of the box slowly but are also good friends with the pastor and his wife. I can’t envision this being anything but messy. Any ideas?

  7. Nero,

    Get used to messy? 😉 There is no strategy that will guarantee this will work easily. I do think this journey is a day by day following his nudging, being gracious to others, but putting the consequences squarely in his hands. Some days people can be generous, other days they want to exacerbate the conflict. All of that is really out of your hands. You can simply move graciously as the Spirit leads, follow your conscience, even if others don’t get it. You probably will be misunderstood, but Jesus knows how to get us through that because the same was true for him….

  8. Wayne,
    Fantastic podcast as usual!! I’m thinking about making a bumper sticker that reads “Judas had clean feet”. What a God we have!!

    By the way, your microphone was sounding a bit off near the end of the show. Brad’s mic worked great but it leaves me wondering if his doesn’t get used nearly as much? Jabber, jabber, jabber!! 🙂


  9. Your podcast today reminds me of my personal need to tend to my reactions to those who may do me wrong(Jesus washing Judas feet). I have been dealing with a false internalized belief that says that what others do or say ‘make me’ feel one way or the other. The real truth is that others behavior stirs to the surface judgments that I still hold against myself. So how will I tend to my own thoughts and feelings that bubble up in an intolerable situation? If I blame the person that was used to bring them to my attention I will exacerbate the pain I already feel. If I choose on purpose not to judge myself and accept the full picture of what I am thinking and feeling in the moment with a desire to learn then I live in the light that says I am completely responsible for my own feelings and will tend to them with compassion no matter what they look like. Though this sounds simple, it is a process I have tried to skip in order to stay away from my own painful issues from the past. But now I know that this Father whom I now know close up and personal moves with me through this process grabbing the roots of self-destruction/judgement removing them one by one.

  10. Thanks so much for your honest and heartfelt talks. Sometimes I have to listen to you guys after a church meeting/talk that too often makes me feel like I fell short again; or someone invariable wants to become my “spiritual advisor”. Your picture of Jesus wiping the feet of Judas too and sharing that one of you guys “was so far short of that mark” makes me wish more Pastors/speakers would share more of their failures/shortcomings and a few less of their successes so the rest of us can relate…

  11. Wayne & Brad,
    Wow! How perfect the discussion was for me today ! After sitting under the tree in a mournful ‘I’m the only one that gets this “Live Loved” thing’, I realize how introverted, confining, and ‘religious’ this brand of self centeredness is ! Thanks so much for a conversation between the two of you that opens my eyes today. I do long for the type of conversations I once had in a small group of guys as far as the relating and encouraging each other goes, but have realized that my self pity in its absence has caused a blindness to the immediate and freeing work of the developing present relationships and conversations. Thanks for just conversating together as you do and waking guys like me up to the joy of the present and the freedom of NOW in Christ Jesus! !

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