Breakfast of Champions

I just finished reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. I’ll tell you a secret. When I’m reading an author with a distinctive voice, like Vonnegut or Hemingway or Fitzgerald, I begin speaking like him (or her) in my own internal dialogue. My thoughts are, therefore, currently short and choppy, but elaborate and descriptive. Perhaps I’ve said too much…

Breakfast of Champions is not a comfortable read. Vonnegut questions America, its history, its motivation, its essence. Actually, he doesn’t question it so much as indict it. Read BoC for yourself.

I don’t agree with everything he says, but he did make me question what I take for granted. He made me question what I consider normal, obvious, the-way-it-is stuff of life.

Listen: 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I believe this; I’ve witnessed it firsthand in my ever-growing relationship with my Creator. He gave me a football coach and, later, friend who taught me about love between friends. [Incidentally, I thought my now best friend was a lunatic as a coach. Ironically, I adopted the same intense style in my own coaching career and there are undoubtedly many young men who think I’m clinically insane.] God gave me a wife who daily exhibits mercy and grace and the love that can exist between a man and woman. He gave me children so I could learn how He loves me by how I love them. Relentlessly.

I know that if you do not love, then you do not know God. I know that God is love. I wonder, however, if the converse is true. Here’s the converse.

If you do not know God, then you do not love.

I don’t think this is necessarily so. Here’s why. We were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). If we were made in the image of Love, then I think love is inherent to us. It is natural for us to love. I think there are many who reject God, but still experience love in their lives.

God is so gracious.

He let’s us decide whether to love Him or not. Not only that, but He also gives us the freedom to love in His absence. Incredible.

Here’s what I know. God loves you. He wants an intimate, lifelong, encompassing relationship with you. If you doubt this, find a quiet place and say this to Him.

God, I’m not sure that you love me. I do know that I want love, though. Will you reveal yourself to me? Will you show me that you are, indeed, love? I’m inviting you into my life and offer my imperfect self to your perfect will.

See what happens. I can’t wait!


About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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