19 Jan 2008

The Contradictions of Bobby Valentine: Do Not Read if Easily Offended

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bobby's World, Discipleship, Faith, Spiritual Disciplines

Over the last several weeks I have done lots of introspection. Just who is Bobby Valentine and what makes him tick? I have descended into the depths of my soul that I did not even know where there. I have no intention of sharing the darkness in some of the nooks and crannies that have been plumbed but I am opening a window …

Bobby Valentine is, I believe, more like David than any other person in the Bible: that is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Swirling contradictions were at the core of David … and I believe of me. David longed to serve God with all of his heart and yet could be the most selfish and self-centered man of his day. I desperately want to be be God’s man and yet I find myself doing great battle with fallenness that is “me.”

Some examples of the contradictions that swirl in my own heart. It is interesting that my favorite books in the Bible are Psalms with their passionate cries for authenticity and genuine relationship … and cries of repentance and the Song of Songs which is equally passionate about love. At the other end the most read part of my Bible is the rigorous Sermon on the Mount! What contradictions.

I cannot make up my mind if the greatest band is the Beatles or Pink Floyd or … Metallica. But I love Brandi Carlise but also Ozzy. I appreciate the great Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix. I like Nickleback and Mercy Me … what contradictions. I love Salvador Dali and Monet but don’t have an artistic bone in my body. I want to protect the environment but like ’68 Camaros. Black is my favorite color on most anything or anyone. I want to spend quality time with my girls but find myself bringing “work” home. And like David I find myself making incredibly stupid decisions. Contradictions.

I think drunkenness is wrong but have been known to have a Martini or Pale Ale/Amber Bock. I point people to Jesus and his cross and often don’t trust in his righteousness myself. I have imagined that I was in control of my life and discovered what an illusion that truly is. Sometimes I smile when I feel like crying … and there are times when David and I kneel together and shout at the top of our voices into the Night wondering where the unseen Presence may be … afraid not to believe that He is there.

Contradictions. Are they the essence of life? Probably my third favorite book in the Bible is the Book of Contradictions, Ecclesiastes. Perhaps contradictions, as in Ecclesiastes, are simply ways of being truly honest about just who and what we are. I can no more deny the contradictions that lie within me than Qohelet. I do not excuse my contradictions … like my ultimate one: I want to be faithful to God and his will but I am often not only unfaithful but don’t even know what he is doing in my life! Perhaps these contradictions, that also lie at the heart of the People of God revealed in His Story, are what make us Israel in the first place. Israel means “he who struggles with God.” In my contradictions I am struggling with God.

In the end I pray that God will have mercy and deliver me from the whirlwind that lies within. In the meantime I beg strength from that unseen Presence to hold on in the Night.

Bobby Valentine

28 Responses to “The Contradictions of Bobby Valentine: Do Not Read if Easily Offended”

  1. johndobbs Says:

    Bobby, thank you for sharing such insight … because I believe within these words we will find our true selves. You are not alone my friend, for you have identified the war within us. Our only victory is in Jesus Christ. We cannot really appreciate that until we tire of trying to win the battle ourselves, and in failing, submit ourselves to His strength. Love you Bobby.

  2. Steve Puckett Says:

    Aren’t we all? Contradictions that is. You have put your finger on the pulse of the human situation. I’m with you on the wide variety of musical tastes . . . and let me say that if you’ve never had a Shiner Bock or know the story of Shiner Bock your education is incomplete!

    Peace to you from the Sunshine State.

  3. Keith Brenton Says:

    People who have no contradictions in their lives are dull, dull, dull.

    No offense, all you stable folks out there.

    But I’d rather share a pizza with someone who constantly deals with internal conflict over someone who has all the answers any day.

  4. Greg Says:

    I think it’s simply called “humanity” … and thankfully we’re not stuck w/out a redeemer.

  5. Zack Says:

    Thank you for this post here Bobby! I feel some contridictions in myself too. I want to be more than I am, but have stumbled over many pitfalls in life. May God give us the grace to become more of what He has called us to be! Peace!
    ps. Sorry I didn’t blog earlier, but have finally done blogged about A Gathered People. Please check it out and tell me if I am close to what you and the others were talking about in your book. Thanks!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Perhaps Bobby, contradictions just keep us real! Kind of like Jesus! You have always been very real and that has helped alot of people come to Christ. The saints have always suffered and that will never change. We simply learn how to work through it. Maybe that is what the poor help us recognize. I praise God you are going through this, because humanity reveals the love of Christ, not our own ideas of perfection! Your love and transparency for your faith, wife, and family is inspirational. You’ve never used your position to elevate yourself. Infact, your honesty continues to help others become truthful when looking in the mirror. May God continue to make you more of the simple man He created you to be!

    In Love,
    Penney Winiarski

  7. Anonymous Says:

    So, what part of that was supposed to be offensive?

  8. John Mark Hicks Says:

    You are not alone in your experience, my friend.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I would just like to commend you on your strength. Even with the many struggles that have recently been cast upon you, you are able to stand in front of many and leave us with a very strong message.

  10. apreacherman Says:

    Deeply flawed… I am, at least. And riddled with my own contradictions. I find my solace in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph –and, yes, David. God’s heroes are deeply flawed, too!

    Be blessed, my Brother!

  11. Connie Lard Says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Connie Lard Says:

    Bobby, You are in my prayers. May you know the presence of His sweet, constantly abiding Spirit. May you be granted comfort and healing, guidance and strength. You are not alone, my friend.

  13. Rex Says:

    I really have no insightful words, I just want to thank you for your faithfulness.

    Ithaca Church of Christ
    Ithaca, NY


  14. nerdneh Says:


    Perhaps you have read the Lenten Prayer of Alexandr Solhenitsyn which says in part:

    “When even the keenest see no further than the night, you bestow on me the certitude that you exist and that all the roads to righteousness are not barred.”

    Well, having occupied the same ground that you stand on, God still can give the most muddle-headed of us some insight and direction, but He does take His time to do it, and I wish he would operate more on my schedule.

    Eirene kai charis epi soi


  15. Mitchell Skelton Says:

    WOW! Bobby, I really appreciate your openness and honesty about your “inward man.” I think I am your twin from a different mother. As I read about your “contradictions,” I thought you were actually writing about me.

    It is refreshing to see someone be this frank about their shortcomings. I try to be open and let people see the “real me” but, I must admit that I quite often hold certain things back out of fear. It seems to me that, as Christians, we give much lipservice to forgiveness and the sin nature of man yet we fail in their practice. Those that open up are often urged to “clam up.” I would love to hear your thoughts on this realm of fear that exists in the church.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you Bobby for sharing with us apart of who you are.
    Blessings to you my friend,


  17. preacherman Says:

    I appreciate you letting us get to know you more. I know we all have contradictions in life. I think the contradictions make us who we and make life more meaningful. I think we find ourselves as we struggle through the contradictions and struggles of life, and even faith.
    Again, thanks for sharing.
    I hope you have a blessed week.

  18. Royce Ogle Says:

    We are the greatest contridiction ever known. Paul’s cry in Romans 7 lays bare the person who would please God while living in a body cursed with lust, selfishness, and every wicked appetite.

    The opposite of the man you describe is called self-righteous or hypocrite.

    Trite but true, “The dog you feed wins the fight”.

    His peace,
    Royce Ogle

  19. Falantedios Says:

    Praying on, brother, with great compassion. Your contradictions comfort me in my own.

    in HIS love,

  20. Dee O'Neil Andrews Says:

    Thank you, Bobby, for being so “real.” I can totally relate.

    Much love,


  21. Danny Says:

    I first thought of what Paul wrote in Romans 7 when I read this. (I notice Royce did too)

    And I thought about how conflicted we all are- fallen- and in need of God’s grace.

    And I am thinking of you Bobby. God is using you now- contridictions and all- in ways you may never know.

    You have my prayers.

  22. Falantedios Says:

    So many will not be blessed with this clarity.

    So many will continue to cling to God AND …

    So many wonder why their faith accomplishes nothing in the world around them…

    Your faith in Christ alone brings great strength and encouragement to those around you.

    in HIS love…

  23. ROD Says:

    sounds human to me.

  24. Arlene Kasselman Says:

    That is why I love that the kingdom of God has always been countercultural. The first shall be least, the poor and meek and mourning are invited to join, the king rides a donkey. Don’t you love that.
    I firmly believe that it is out of our brokeness that the best ministry happens.

  25. Cheryl Russell Says:

    Thanks for this post. I know this struggle well. I love the verse in a Chris Rice song that says, “Freedom from myself will be the greatest rest I’ve ever known.”

    Thanks be to our God whose power is made perfect in our weakness!

  26. Soren Says:


    Thanks for sharing that. I’m with ya bro!

  27. Clarke Says:

    I’m glad you posted that.

    I find myself in a mindset that I am the only person in my life or in my church that struggles with God; everyone else seems to have everything together. Its easy to say that is unrealistic, but easy to understand when I read your words.


  28. Amanda Sanders Says:

    Having just wandered out of a three month Dark Night, I recognize a fellow traveler. Love your heart and Spirit my Friend.

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