In which there are prideful steps that lead to oblivion (pt3)

by Craig on December 15, 2011


A thousand years ago Bernard of Clairvaux showed the way to humility…by revealing the steps of pride.

One step to the next…
and the next to the next…
descending into darkness…
and in the end…oblivion…
a pride that prevents grace.

For this season of Christmas I’ve been seeking humility.
I have found in an unintended way.

My cruel public humiliation from last week has long legs…
and its embarrassment, deep and dark…
is lighting up these steps of Bernard of Clairvaux.

I cannot waste this pain.

I know these 12 steps of pride…
I once placed my feet on each one…
down and down without noticing the lessened light…
until it was pitch black near the bottom.


I was fortunate to find my way back.

This series began here. Step one of his twelve steps is here. Bernard called it “Curiosity”.

Now step number two of his twelve…

He calls it, “Frivolity”.

Just like the first step, the word doesn’t sound so bad.
What’s wrong with frivolity?
Frivolity means levity and laughter…
and doesn’t the Bible say there is a time to laugh? (EC 3:4)

But it’s not that kind of frivolity. It’s the kind where I know what’s important and I am “frivolous” with it. It’s the “frivolity” that was worn like winter mittens on the hands of the Pharisees.

And it didn’t go unnoticed…

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.” (MT 23:23,24)

I am humbled…
reminded how I’m too often forgetting…


forgetting the weightier things of the faith.

Like I’m forgetting right now that God is in control…
and that I prayed for his will in these blogging efforts…
And so what has happened is. His. will.

When I take important things of God and make them small…
or when I take matters of little import and I make them great…
I step down these slippy and little known steps of pride.

Discernment, faith, mercy – these are the weightier things of the law.

I am still destroyed by what happened, and mostly because it’s not the first time it has happened in this year of blogging, in this community I love. It has been a secret struggle to be here, so many eyes of judgment focused squarely on me. I’m constantly humiliated by those in this community I respect – who many of us respect.

And I’m forgetting…
to have discernment…
and faith…
and to forgive…
and forget.

These steps of pride are insidiously subtle…

and thus their danger…

and thus their importance…

a thousand years ago in France…

and right here…

in this Christmas season.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando December 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

Intense and moving reflection . . . “these steps of pride are insidiously subtle . . .” Oh, how precariously we walk and don’t even see where we are going sometimes! Thank you for this gentle, yet firm reminder that our slope is ever so slippery when we fail to seek His help first.
Blessings, Craig!


Craig December 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

Martha, again, I’m sorry I’m late in responding, I’m still processing through things. The slope – the slope is slippery – I just heart the word “slippy” better ツ Thank you for everything Martha, thank you, Merry Christmas.


Debbie December 16, 2011 at 12:27 am

Thinking and praying as we go through these steps. Craig, what steps did we do before? I thought maybe like when you were going through James, we did someones’s steps but I have a horrible memory. Praying that you are doing better, that God is helping and healing. Will have to e-mail you my humility story. You will laugh and you need to laugh. :) God bless you!


Craig December 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

I guess I already told you that I sent an e-mail about this – which by now you have – which by now you’ve read – and I read your story – I didn’t laugh – I just quietly understood. God bless you my friend.


Debbie December 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I’m sorry that you didn’t laugh. I’ve been thinking about that. . .didn’t want to make things worse! So God gave me something else to share.
The sweet neighbor lady needed help. She had a bunny trapped in her backyard and her dogs had “played” with it. She was afraid it was dead. I told her I would check, even though she didn’t want me to. I went over and it was still breathing, no blood.. I put a towel over it and put it outside the fence. It never struggled and didn’t run away. Just froze there.
Bunnies get scared. They don’t have a lot of defenses. They form cliches and den together only with bunnies that look, think, act and sound like them. They feel safer that way.
One more thing, someone said recently that when something bad is said about you, it’s a reflection on the person who said it, not you.
God bless you!


Craig December 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

okay, FINE!

Now I’m smiling. Job well done! God bless you Debbie


Christina December 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Such hard steps to take. Lessons in humility are not for the faint of heart:) Praying for your heart as you heal and move forward in faith. Keep blogging! I hope this experience doesn’t keep you from writing because I always enjoy my visits here. I have not read anything by Bernard, I think I need to track down some of his works. Thanks!


Craig December 17, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Christina, thank you. This will keep not me from writing, won’t keep me from blogging. You know, for instance, that I get inspired by your words all the time – I’m going to keep reading, and writing, and connecting. and there really isn’t much written by Bernard of Clairvaux – he wasn’t a prolific writer. His steps to humility are the only thing of his I had ever read. And I only found it by mistake in the seminary library once. Anyway, thank you for the support Christina, God bless you.


A. December 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Learning a lot here, today, including the comment section! Somehow, it is more painful to me to deal with ‘Christian’ bunnies than other kinds. I don’t even know if I know other kinds. Today was a serious bunny bad day. Out of the blue. Seems like bunnies do that. I don’t get warnings from bunnies. So, thank you, Debbie and Craig for helping me with bunnies. (and with other things, too.)


Craig December 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

A. I think it’s kind of like a lot of people did Jesus wrong – but only one betrayed him. You know? And I think that’s the thing about bunnies – they’re quiet – nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition (Monty Python reference) ツ God bless you A.


Victoria December 18, 2011 at 12:40 am

This got hidden in my emails and I haven’t seen one since this.
You did continue…right?
How are you?


Craig December 18, 2011 at 6:02 am

Victoria, yes, I have continued. I’m still processing what happened, it’s been a hard hard week. People like you have made it easier, lots of useful earthly wisdom, and wisdom from God, figuring out the next steps. But I won’t stop writing. Anyway, I’m going down from posting 10 posts a week to eight. I need a little more time to breathe, and read other people’s blogs, and work on behind the scenes blog related stuff, design, search engines, etc. so there were no posts on Friday on either blog. I may either go Monday through Thursday on both blogs, or one post on each Monday through Wednesday and one on Scripture and one on love for Friday and Thursday. But I need more time, mostly I need the time to read people who read me. You should blog so I could read you too. Anyway chin up, face forward, moving ahead. God bless you Victoria.


Craig December 18, 2011 at 6:04 am

ps there were posts Monday through Thursday on Deepened into Love as well last week.


Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: