Clay Brackeen's "Word from the Lord"

The day before yesterday, a friend of mine, Clay Brackeen, commented on my post about our Church house getting vandalized and robbed. The great thing, though, was that in his comment, Clay said that the Lord gave him a word for our Church. The word was: "You will hear from the Lord." Amazingly, less than 24-hours after Clay wrote that, I recieved a phone call from the authorities informing me that tremendous progress had been made in the case and that the process of recovering and returning our stuff was underway. Was this "the" expectant word? It sure seems like it! God is good! Oh, and by the way, check out this aspiring mystic's site by clicking the following link: Clay Brackeen. He's got a nice little devotional series going on. Also, thanks for sharing that word with me Clay.


  1. I think this is a fascinating case study of recording and interpreting history. Let me play around with it...

    Clay actually did not write "You will hear from the Lord."

    He wrote: "That's tough. I'm sorry for your loss.

    This may sound strange, but I feel led to write this:
    Blessed is your church, for you will hear from God."

    Isn't it interesting how we remember and tell stories? [Thinking of how the gospels were related to 'the event']. More interesting yet is the interpretation (hesitant though it was) that a phone call from the authorities [interesting choice of wording] seemed like "'the' expectant word". What if the police called and said we found the burglar as he destroyed the last piece of your property. Would God still be good? ;)

    This might seem obscene (because this happened to you but to me is only a narrative), but, I'm thinking critically and theoretically about Clay's post now. This is exactly the kind of statement that sounds deep, but you could say it about any person in any situation. Especially if you believe God only has One Church and that He is communicative.

    The rhetoric of "This may sound strange, but I felt led" harkens back to the prophets of old. Is there a difference between "being led by God" or "wanting to encourage"? Maybe not - except in how you package the language.

    Strange how we interpret events in life, no? Apparently "God" (I don't know who else would do the leading - Clay actually never specified who led, but I doubt he'd say the devil) can lead someone to say 'get ready' to hear from God. Once something happens in our favor in the situation, we interpret a call from the police man to be "from the Lord".

    Hermeneutics baby. Maybe Clay just wanted to encourage you but really wanted you to know it was serious so trumped it up with "prophetic vocab". Maybe Clay just likes passing on 'words from God' so he can watch people jump...maybe it's a power trip.

    Maybe Michael wanted to believe that God would speak to him, so a phone call from the fuzz becomes a call from God. Should've taken advantage of that call! :) Would it be too hard to believe that the burgle itself was "a word" worth listening to about suffering and absolute theism?

    Maybe the best interpretation is: God did lead Clay and the police man to speak with Michael.

    Is that not what we are called to do? We have to account for Reality in the best way possible. We have to interpret everything [as you say in your Exegetv] in life. More than all this, I think it is interesting to wonder what God's interpretation of us is [isn't that the point of Judgment and Matthew 25?].

    How does God interpret this event? I think our task is to ask that question and then align ourselves with His interpretation. *The beauty here is that God moves from Object in our interpretation to Subject. We are Object. I think Paul called that doulos...

    Thanks for letting me ramble.

  2. Jacob,

    Intriguing response!

    Clay did write "You will hear from the Lord." You even acknowledge that in quoting Clay (though Clay uses the term God instead of Lord--interchangeable terms to me).

    I do think your thoughts on narrative are provoking. I was hesitant to take Clay's leading and my recieved phone call as "the word" from God. But I just could not see it as a coincidence.

    Actually, the police did find our property and it was destroyed but they are also making ground on prosecution: either way, I still have to say that God is good. Saying "God is good" was not because things were found. I said that because God gave Clay a word and that word was carried out (perhaps I should have said God is faithful?).

    I do think Clay was wanting to encourage however, personally knowing him, I think, gave me more insight into what he was saying. I took his statement to refer to being led by The Spirit to say what he did. This raises an interesting point with the Gospels: How would knowing these writers personally change my reading of the texts? I know he's not a "power trip" kind of guy or just trying to fake me out so I'll "jump". And perhaps this is why narrative and contextual studies are so important in biblical studies.

    Indeed, it is funny how God prepares us to hear a word. I've had that happen to me many times. People who are open to God's leading have spoken words to me that have come to pass. Or, God has spoken through different people who pretty much said (word-for-word, issue-for-issue) the same exact things. These were totally God moments (as I interpreted them).

    As I interpreted these events, I did see God preparing me (and the congregation of which I am a part). And here's the thing for me: Is there still more to that word? Have I heard it all or only part? Is there more to come? As it stands though, this interpretation makes the most sense of the reality of the situation to me.

    Here's the thing, too: Even if I misinterpreted Clay's words and these events, I have still striven to see and hear God at work and to give Him praise and glory. That, I think, is God's interpretation of the events: Will I be exalted?

    I am glad you rambled, you're welcome to anytime. Although, I wouldn't really "interpret" :) what you said as rambling. You raise some good questions.


  3. Ahh

    "God" and "the Lord" are certainly not interchangable for me.

    My point was what was actually said. The locution was "God" was really my starting point.


  4. This really is fascinating, and though I don't expect to clear up the ambiguity of what happened, I do want to comment a bit about why I responded to Michael.

    I could tell he was upset, and so naturally I wanted to encourage him. What I felt "led" to say, however, was not just my own attempt at comfort.

    I didn't specify--"The LORD has told me to say..."--primarily because I don't want to presume to speak for God if I'm not sure it was He. Perhaps I should have said, "I'm 72% convinced that the Spirit wanted me to convey something to your church." (That would have been more accurate.) In any case, it was either humility or uncertainty (or fear) that prompted the somewhat wishy-washy or hesitant language.
    Regardless, I did think that the LORD had dropped this in my spirit, and after praying about it briefly I decided to share.

    The analysis of this little comment is amazing, even to me! It shows how much goes into communication and how hard it is to trace and analyze claims of inspiration. I am a Christian, and I believe that God speaks to His children. I take Paul at his word that we should desire to prophesy. Am I a prophet? I sure wouldn't say so. Did God give me a prophetic word? I believe that He did. (Though I'm not completely convinced it was God. It sure "felt" like it--and I know that's dangerously subjective...thus, my usage of "I feel led.")

    The point of what I shared with Michael was this: They had just had sound equipment stolen; I had the beatitudes ringing through my ears (Blessed are you when people persecute you, etc.--though that one really didn't fit); "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God," but I heard "you will hear God." Was that on my mind because they had lost sound equipment?

    Yes, but I think that was the point. Even though they lost valuable equipment, God--who is faithful--will still speak to them. They are blessed, and this blessing not contingent upon anything that moth can consume or rust can destroy.
    As to the application of the "word from God," that's a whole separate issue.

    Thanks to both of you for your comments.

  5. Jacob,

    How and why are these not interchangeable terms "for you"? Clearly, one of the things that Paul does is take the OT passages that use the terms "God" and "Lord" and applies them to Jesus, as much of the early Church did. Gordon Fee argues this, I think, incredibly well in his Pauline Christology book.

    Also, I am curious as to how it would have changed anything had the title been "Clay Brackeen's Word from God"? Just wondering. Enjoying your thoughts.

    Also, Clay thanks for the extra insight! This does bring up some interesting issues.

  6. very cool stuff!

    no more than anything it was interested in viewing memory and interpretation.

    for me, the word "god" almost means nothing anymore. the referent to that word can be anything. in my vocab, I use "the Lord" in reference to the very specific Jesus revealed in the New Testament.

    since you guys have an established relationship, interchanging those words for you guys probably works. if all you had were the texts, it could have been the case that Clay's "God" was ambiguous, but Michael reappropriated that ambiguous God for His very specific Lord. that's all

    yeah, overall i thought fee did well too. :)

    i do think the title change would make a big difference in a literary analysis.

    maybe i should clarify though - i was just analyzing as a case study. this might sound obscene and for that i apologize - but i just wanted to analyze the situation as a project, without any real invested interests.

    clay - really good thoughts on your interpretation of the "word". that is something i am fascinated by, and really value your perspective.


  7. let me pick apart my last statement:
    "for me, the word "god" almost means nothing anymore. the referent to that word can be anything. in my vocab, I use "the Lord" in reference to the very specific Jesus revealed in the New Testament. "
    strange that my logic goes: 'because the referent can be ANYTHING the word means NOTHING'...but, i think i still hold to it.

    when i talk about my vocab, what i really meant was: "when i raise my consciousness of my vocabulary, i prefer to use "The Lord" instead of 'god'.

    God knows I am not always consistent in my preferences. [case in point]. ;)