The following is an excerpt from Being Flawesome by Nicholas Matthews. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection, and there are still limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.
All Stories Have a Beginning
I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.
All stories have a beginning. And how we get to the start is often a story in itself.
Flying over Kabul, I found myself reflecting on the broken soul of humanity. We’ve come a long way from Eden, and a long way from the field where Abel fell to Cain. This distance has allowed the time to develop the craft of suffering and misery and to develop new ways of shedding blood and weaponizing and often politicizing hatred for revenge and gain. We’ve advanced and developed, justified, and supported the continuance of the work to which Lucifer advocated, and Adam and Eve adopted.
The Hungarian proverb states it well: “Adam ate the apple, and our teeth still ache.
Speaking on the new state of humanity, Jude writes: “They have followed the way of Cain who killed his brother.”
Adam and Eve may have been the origin of disastrous choice, but we all need to take responsibility for the continuance of this choice. It may not be fruit that we are tempted by, but the fruit represented that which was forbidden. Many mysteries surround our faith, but there is clarity on areas that are prohibited. Murder. Hate. Adultery. Lust. Theft. Coveting; as with Adam and Eve, we can very easily justify our eating of that which is forbidden.
Genesis tells the story of our ancestors eating this forbidden fruit. Our ancestors had now possessed knowledge beyond their moral, ethical, spiritual, and emotional capacity to handle.
They learned to compare, and humanity’s downfall set.
The flawless had become flawed.
Within one generation, the first murder took place. Within several generations, humanity had become “evil,” with child sacrifice becoming the epitome of our descent. Adam may have initiated this calamity, but successive generations have continued, mastered, politicized, and often weaponized, and monetized this descent.
Revenge and entitlement are blights on our human race, and evidence enough of the presence of sin and evil in our world. Be it the phenomenon of road rage, the harm of revenge porn, the need for belonging demonstrated through the corruption of gang violence, communities-driven apart through neighborhood dispute, the following of tradition resulting in honor-killings. Sin has become a stain on our collective identity.
The first crewed flight by the Wright brothers was inspirational. Eight years later, the first bomb dropped over the side of a plane; eight years from the culmination of knowledge, allowing humans to fly, this knowledge had become weaponized. Through flight, we sought freedom, but this freedom rested on the vulnerable foundation of humanity’s collective and flawed desire to compare.
I consider that after generations of trial and error, catastrophe, and unbalanced development, we should consider our direction as a human species and take ownership of our flawed state.
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing . . . You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
— C. S. Lewis
Being flawesome is the fundamental philosophy of this book. Flawesome, a combination of two words. Awesome. Flawed.
God = awesome
Humanity = flawed
The simplest of gospel messages is of Jesus coming to earth to bring freedom and to live in our hearts. A story of the one called Awesome2 choosing to love and to live within the ones who are flawed. We now continue our story as being flawesome. God in me. God in each of us.
Awesome has perhaps become too familiar in the English language, and I do hesitate in using the word awesome. After all, everything is awesome, experiences, people, food, movies, sports stars, and music. All perceived as awesome.
These usages gravely downgrade its true meaning while offering no set framework of measurement. What is awesome to one person is unimpressive to the next person. Tomorrow’s awesome movie will replace today’s awesome movie. Today’s awesome food maybe next year’s health concern. A standard is needed to measure awesomeness.
The challenge remains in that humans do not possess a standard by which to measure what is awesome, and if we could, we would disagree on the benchmark, and the standard would be ever-changing. God is awesome; the Bible informs this (see Deuteronomy 7:21), and God is the only measure by which awesome is determined, and God is the only one who can measure up to be awesome.
Awesome is a word to be reserved for God. Being Flawesome uses the word awesome in one sense only, as attributed to God.
Praise for Being Flawesome
“Why settle for less than life to the full? Nik Matthews explores this through a vulnerable and transparent conversation in Being Flawesome. This is a hope-filled book that unpacks what it means to be totally alive to God, free to live and love and respond as representatives of Jesus and to partner with Jesus in his mission. Want an adventure? Check this book out!”
—Bill Brown, Pastor Emeritus, Syndal Baptist Church, and Pastoral Coach, Baptist Union of Victoria
“Being Flawesome allows the reader to delve into their own thought processes and to endeavor to draw closer to God. The author has an innate ability to draw us to the heart of the matter and rightly gives the reader the opportunity to discover themselves at their own pace, to apply the teaching and its purpose to their own personality and spirituality at whatever stage along the journey of faith that they are at.”
—Sarah Cumming, Youth With A Mission’s Kerygma Rep for Gibraltar
About the Author
Nicholas Matthews is a full-time worker with Youth With A Mission, currently living in Melbourne, Australia. Originally from England, he has lived and worked throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific. He is the author of The Nine Veils: The Reputation of God & Our Struggle for Identity (2018).
Zen teacher Shunru Suzuki had a wonderful phrase related to this:
“You’re perfect as you are, and there’s always room for improvement.”
(Perfect doesn’t quite have the resonance that “awesome” – or “fllawsome” does but I think it communicates the main intuition quite well!)
Baba Ram Das had a simpler way of expressing it, one we used to use at our “Contemplative in Action Meditation” group at the New York Open Center: “Everything’s perfect as it is, and it’s all got ta change right now!”
I suspect this integration of the human and Divine is related to one of the main “arguments” the church has had over the centuries, was Jesus fully human or both human and Divine?
To which you can say, “Yes”
(or you could equally say “No”)
And you’d be right and wrong at the same time because the ordinary mind cannot grasp this.
Why cannot the mind grasp this?
Because the Truth is Flawesome!
Great insight!! Life can be a wonderful and beautiful transformational journey.