C.J. Mahaney tells a story about a man that I think we can all identify with—a man who went out into the world with a cringe-worthy problem. I am quite sure the story is not an original Mahaney (I do not have his book in front of me at the moment so cannot check for a citation). Nevertheless, here is how it goes:
As I sat with my family at a local breakfast establishment, I noticed a finely dressed man at an adjacent table. His Armani suit and stiffly pressed shirt coordinated perfectly with a power tie. His wing-tip shoes sparkled from a recent shine, every hair was in place, including his perfectly groomed moustache.
The man sat alone eating a bagel as he prrepared for a meeting. As he reviewed the papers before him, he appeared nervous, glancing frequently at his Rolex watch. It was obvious he had an important meeting ahead.
The man stood up and I watched as he straightened his tie and prepared to leave.
Immediately I noticed a blob of cream cheese attached to his finely groomed moustache. He was about to go into the world, dressed in his finest, with cream cheese on his face.
I thought of the business meeting he was about to attend. Who would tell him? Should I? What if no one did?
You may not have an Armani suit and a finely groomed moustache, but something like this has happened to each of us at one time or another. Maybe you left the bathroom with a piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe or maybe you went to church without noticing that your baby had spit up down your back. We’ve all done it. We’ve all gone out into the world completely oblivious to something that is utterly obvious to everyone else.
Mahaney uses this illustration to go far beyond fashion. He uses it to speak of the importance of having people who will keep watch on our lives and who will tell us about those sins or character flaws that are hidden to us and so obvious to everyone else. “As you and I walk through life, no matter how closely we watch ourselves, we are acquiring fresh blobs of cream cheese on our faces. We all have ‘cream cheese’ moments.” Do you have someone in your life who will point out the cream cheese smeared on your face?
Over the past couple of weeks Carl Trueman has been writing a series of blog posts about the big Christian conferences—American Christian conferences. The reaction has been interesting to see. While I wouldn’t say the reaction has been one of outrage, it certainly does not seem that American Christians are eager to hear Trueman’s critiques. His posts have been rather informal, most of them speaking to a particular kind of reaction or feedback. Here they are if you’d like to give them a read: