EP25: I Can’t Explain

Not qualified. Wrong reputation. Setting myself up for public ridicule. So, WHY am I doing this? I don’t know. The truth is, I can’t explain…

This post is about something I can’t explain.

Got a feeling inside (can’t explain)

Because it really makes no sense.

It’s a certain kind (can’t explain)

It doesn’t even make sense to me.

I feel hot and cold (can’t explain)

Because it is pretty much the opposite of everything I would think.

Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (can’t explain)

But I’m going to try to explain.

I said (can’t explain)

Here goes…

I’m feeling good now, yeah, but (can’t explain)

Resistance Was Futile

For the last 20+ years, I have been resisting something.

Maybe even longer than that.

What I’ve been resisting is a feeling.

An urging.

A prompting.

A magnetic pull of some variety.

Whatever you want to call it, that attraction has been slowly building all those years.

Within the last two to three years, that involuntary compulsion has reached the point where it has started to make me uncomfortable.

At times, very uncomfortable.

To the point where I felt I finally had to act on it.

What is this thing I’ve been resisting?

What is this compulsion I can no longer avoid?

The desire to publicly share my faith and my beliefs specific to Christianity.


If you know me, and especially if you only know me online, I am sure you are recoiling in horror, laughing hysterically, or maybe a combination of both.

I can feel some of you saying, “WTF? YOU, dude? No, not YOU. Not THAT.”

I don’t disagree.

I can feel others thinking, “That makes no sense. You are not compassionate, you don’t seem to have a lot of love for people, and you can be incredibly harsh and argumentative.”

Spot on. No doubt those are accurate observations.

You might even be thinking, “YOU? Why, was Charlie Sheen not available? Did Marilyn Manson not return their calls?”

OK, now THAT’S a little harsh, but you’re not entirely wrong.

All that said, I’ll double down on those thoughts and go several steps further in telling you why this very well could be the worst idea I’ve ever had.

Not Qualified

First, I’m not even remotely qualified.

I don’t have an appropriate degree.

In fact, I don’t even know what degree would be required.

I am not ordained.

In fact, I don’t even know what it means to be ordained.

So, without a shadow of a doubt, I lack the credentials to do what it is I feel compelled to do.

So, we can put a big “X” in the “No” column of the “Appropriate Qualifications” question on my application for this gig.

Wrong Reputation

Second, over the course of the last 10 years, I’ve developed an online reputation that doesn’t exactly lend itself to writing about matters of spirituality.

Although my online activities have declined significantly over the last couple of years, prior to that, and for the better part of a decade, I basically lived online.

In my first year on Twitter, for example, I think I averaged something like 42 Tweets per day.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t written 42 Tweets in the last year. Maybe not even in the last two years combined.

At some point, I got bored with Twitter and shifted my attention to Facebook.

In 2001, I started a Facebook group specific to my industry, and I’ve grown that group to nearly 23,000 members. At one time, I had so much success with it that I was named a “Kingpin of Real Estate Facebook Groups” by the number one news portal in that industry.

And – largely because of the manner in which I moderated that group – it became known as a place of controversy and combativeness.

As one of many stories I could tell related to that, while attending one of the real estate industry’s primary recurring conferences – Inman Real Estate Connect New York – I ended up in a one-on-one conversation with a person who, at the time, was an executive at Zillow.

He clearly had no idea who I was, which was totally understandable.

Anyway, somehow we ended up talking about an issue that was a real hot-button at the time within the real estate industry. That issue had been discussed a number of times within the Facebook group I created, with some of the threads reaching in excess of 1,000 comments (which is enormous for a Facebook conversation).

I knew this guy was a member of my group, so I said, “I don’t know if you saw that last thread in the Raise the Bar in Real Estate Facebook group, but…”

Before I could finish the sentence, this person said, “Oh my God, I HATE that f&@king group! It’s like a den of vipers in there!”

So, there’s that.

And back when I was really heavily into online activities, I was one of the most combative people you’ve ever seen. I’ve lost count of the people who’ve blocked to me, probably because of my aggression and my outspokenness.

In fact, the greatest success I’ve had online involved exactly those things.

My nephew – Brendon Lemon – and I had some solid results right out of the gate with this website – Uncphew.com, the one you’re reading right now – and the podcasts related to most of the posts we’ve created.

And the greatest successes we had involved the shows we did about politics, and in particular talking about the things that happened leading up to the 2016 Presidential election.

Reaching 459,000 people?


Getting 21,000 reactions and over 5,000 shares?


We did those things too.

And we did that largely on the strength of being aggressively outspoken, and not very Christian, truth be told.

And we did podcasts about other topics of a not very Christian nature.

I mention those things because “writing a Christian blog” is probably the last thing 97% of the people who only know me online would think I would do.

My online persona just doesn’t fit with that.

When people think “Christian,” I doubt they think of me.

So, not only am I not qualified, but the reputation I’ve developed online is not at all consistent with someone who would have any level of success sharing content about their perspectives on Christianity.

Recipe for Ridicule

Third and finally, in a world that’s gone all in on secularism, with man (not God) as the center of the universe, and with progressivism, liberalism and political correctness writ not just large, but freaking MASSIVE, about the last thing any sane, thinking person would logically choose to do is “write blog posts or do podcasts about Christianity.”

If the goal is to avoid conflict, ridicule and being viewed as an outlier and a freak, that is a terrible choice.

If the goal is to win a popularity contest, this might be the worst thing you could possibly do, given the hyper-secularism of American culture, circa right now.

So, in summary:

…I’m not qualified…

…I have the wrong reputation and…

…I am setting myself up for ridicule.

FANTASTIC! Where do I sign up? </sarcasm>

How God Rolls

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, all I’ve said so far is why what I feel led to do makes no sense.

Because it really doesn’t make sense.

But here’s the thing. If you take the time to study the Bible, what you will find over and over is this: That’s how God rolls.

He uses the most illogical, messed-up, broken-down, weak, frail, incapable, limited and unqualified people to accomplish His objectives and plans.

…He used a small shepherd boy, David, to take down a heavily-armed-and-armored giant, Goliath, with a slingshot…

…He used a murderer, Moses, to lead His chosen people to the promised land…

…He used Paul, a man who literally hunted and killed Christians before he was converted and became a Christian himself, to write nearly half of the New Testament, while he was in prison, no less…

…He used a couple, Abraham and Sarah, decades past child-bearing age, to create “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore”…

…He used a man who had been sold into slavery and imprisoned, Joseph, to become the Prime Minister of Egypt…

I could go on, but you get the gist.

I believe God uses the most illogical people to accomplish His objectives because it makes it that much more obvious that it was God who engineered the outcome, not the person.

Turtle on a Fence Post

An analogy I love that illuminates the prior point is “turtle on a fence post.”

The idea: if you ever stumble upon a turtle sitting on top of a fence post, you’ll know the turtle was placed there by someone, or something.

Because, you know, turtles can’t climb fence posts.

So, by using people who are clearly not qualified to accomplish something, all the glory then goes to God, because the person clearly lacked the ability to accomplish whatever that thing was on their own.

I don’t claim to understand God’s thinking, but if His goal is to help us to believe in Him, so that we might then accept Him – and have, as it says at John 10:10, “life, and have it to the full” – it makes perfect sense for God to create scenarios is which an objective review of the facts would lead a person to only one rational conclusion: God did that

Outnumbered 450-to-1? God: Hold My Water/Wine

As an example of what I’m talking about, you can check out this story in the Bible, in which Gideon defeated an enemy called the Midianites.

Here is the key verse, from Judges 7:2:

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’

God was telling Gideon he had too many men in his army, and, if Gideon’s soldiers ended up prevailing in their upcoming fight with the Midianites, the people would give the credit to Gideon and his army, and not to God.

So, to ensure that didn’t happen, God forced Gideon to reduce the size of his army, from 32,000 all the way down to…

…wait for it…

…300 soldiers.

And those 300 men defeated the Midianite army of 135,000.

Within that insane context – defeating an army 450 TIMES LARGER – I think it’s fair to assume that most rational people will understand a supernatural force was involved.

Which there absolutely was.

When viewed through that lens, it makes complete sense for God to use the least qualified people to accomplish His objectives.

Because, in doing so, it amplifies and underscores God’s supernatural intercession.

More importantly, for those paying attention, it shines an overwhelmingly bright light on the idea that God is real.

He exists.

He actually gets involved in the lives of those who believe in Him.

Qualified By Virtue of Being So Unqualified?

To be clear, I am not saying this applies to me (meaning, while I am certainly not qualified, I am NOT saying God is using me in any way whatsoever; I have no way of knowing that).

I am saying this could apply to me, specifically because I am SO OBVIOUSLY AND RADICALLY UNQUALIFIED.

That is, I am perhaps eligible for use simply because I am so clearly not fit for the job.

I know, from a secular perspective, that makes no sense at all.

But it does make sense from a God perspective.

What I’ve Experienced for 20+ Years

To provide additional backstory, going back almost 23 years, I’ve been writing consistently on the topic of Christianity and how it has impacted my life.

Up until now, the only context for that has been a prayer journal I started writing on October 10, 1997, which now includes in excess of 2 million words.

Many of the posts I’ve written recently but which I’ve not yet published are based on something I wrote in that prayer journal in 1997.

Or 2003.

Or 2011.

Or last Tuesday.

The truth is, I never have any actual intention of writing any of these things.

I’m just hit with an urge to write, and I honor that compulsion by sitting down in front of my iMac and letting the words flow through me.

And at the end, when I finish 34 or 75 or 224 minutes later, more often than not, I will say to myself, “I didn’t write any of that.”

This post in and of itself is a classic example of what I’m talking about.

Honestly, I don’t feel like I wrote a word of it.

I’m typing words, but they don’t feel like they are mine.

The thoughts don’t feel like they are from me.

So, just so there is no misunderstanding as to what I am saying here:

…I am making no claims as to what any of this means.

…I am not suggesting I am channeling anything.

…I’m not implying that anything I’ve written, ever, was divinely inspired.

…I’m simply documenting what I have experienced personally, without labeling it,  judging it or claiming to know what any of it means, or does not mean.

Call the Police There’s a Madman Around

To be clear, I KNOW how crazy that sounds.

Even as I am writing this, and even though I KNOW all of this is true – because I lived it personally – all of this sounds absolutely nuts to me.

Is there something wrong with me?

Reading this back, I almost sound like I’m insane.

Am I?

You’ll have to be the judge of that.

I (Still) Can’t Explain

This post has no ultimate point, other than to say I am just as surprised as you are that I am actually doing this.

And I am even more surprised that I’m actually taking the risk of publicly sharing THIS post in particular.

49.9% of me is screaming “DO NOT PUBLISH THIS! YOU WILL NEVER LIVE IT DOWN!”

50.1% of me is saying, “Relax. You’re not in control of any of this. Just do what you feel you are being led to do, and let the chips fall where they may. You know that, if you don’t do this, it will haunt you, as it’s been haunting you for quite some time. If you truly believe what you are saying here, things will play out exactly as they are meant to play out. Life is so short. Be true to who you are, and don’t be afraid of what others may think of you.”

I’ll end with the same thing with which I started: the opening from The Who’s I Can’t Explain.

Got a feeling inside (can’t explain)

It’s a certain kind (can’t explain)

I feel hot and cold (can’t explain)

Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (can’t explain)

I said (can’t explain)

I’m feeling good now, yeah, but (can’t explain)

I do have a feeling inside…

…a certain kind…

…down in my soul…

…and I am feeling good.


Exactly those things.

Brad Powell

NorthRidge Church