Who is Grantley Morris?

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For a brief doctrinal statement, see Beliefs


Update: December, 2018

    I admit it: I’m unimpressed with myself. Sometimes I take this to ungodly extremes. Sometimes God graciously uses it to help me better minister to the people who are battling their own monsters. A further complication, however, is that most of this webpage contains putdowns that are hardly needed but might have been, had I turned out to be more popular. It’s the latter tangle that this update seeks to unravel. For those curious about me it also reveals a few more of my quirks.

    So here’s my reason for what might be needless putdowns.

    On Judgment Day, everything fake will be burned away. My presumption is that, though covered by love, all our failings and idiosyncrasies will then be exposed to the world, and that it is better to get this over with as much as possible before that fateful Day by being open with each other right now (Relevant Scriptures).

    I have been publishing webpages for over 22 years. Long before even that, I wrote the following. I’ll cite it to highlight one of my reasons for valuing transparency:

      Who would have guessed that a religion stressing lofty morals would cram into its holiest book the slimy details of King ‘Peeping Tom’ David, ‘lover-boy’ Solomon, fish-breath Jonah, sleazy Jacob, and two-faced Judah, (Genesis 38:11-26) to mention just a few of the seething swarm of con-men, backstabbers, rapists, murderers and whores that fill the Word of God?

      Few Christian biographies are as fiercely honest as Scripture. If there were more books that gently peel the plastic off famous Christians, it would be easier for us to realize that we belong in the big league.

      We cannot idolize our heroes without falling into heresy, such as the satanic lie that being used by God is a reward for living an exemplary life. Service – like salvation, holiness and every other spiritual gift – is always an undeserved gift received by childlike faith (Galatians 3:2-5).

      Yes, our character flaws grieve and defame the Holy One. Yes, we must move heaven and earth to root out our shame. And yes, as impossible as it sounds, God’s holy power can trickle through flawed, sin-stained channels to a thirsty world.

      God does not use synthetic saints petrified in stained glass or mummified in strained biographies. If the paper people squashed between book covers or exhibited in special Sunday services seem real to you, you’ll love the Easter Bunny. If you were thinking of cornering the market on your brand of inadequacy, forget it; heaven’s databanks bulge with the triumphs of people with quirks like yours. Heaven’s heroes are people with pimples and stringy hair; people with wrinkles and pug noses. If you’d like to see a real saint-in-training, a cheeky Master’s apprentice poised to gelignite Hell’s gates, someone on the brink of eternal acclaim, go to your mirror.

    We should not be so one-dimensional as to forget that the torturous array of afflictions that haunt, shame and cripple us extends far beyond guilt. Although this is hinted at in the previous paragraph, I think it beneficial to proceed a little further with biblical examples – so much so that I feel compelled to do it, even if it risks the patience of some who think I should immediately draw attention to myself.

    I admit I detest talking about myself – positive or negative – but anything that encourages you, tops the list of the countless things I would much rather talk about. This tiny detour should also increase the chance of mentioning something that touches you and better helps you realize how much you have in common with Bible heroes and, perhaps, inspires you to be gentler with yourself.

    Job’s impeccable integrity neither spared him from illness and personal tragedy, nor from the devastation of slanderous accusations of spiritual failure. Many Bible saints not only felt like society’s vomit, they were treated at such (e.g. Hebrews 11:35-38). Even Jesus was accused astonishingly often of being insane and/or demon possessed (Scriptures). The apostle Paul is so misunderstood and such a failure in the popularity stakes that he is cruelly dismissed as lacking in compassion by many of his readers. This is despite the writer of the Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13) not only suffering indescribable torture to save people (2 Corinthians 11:24-28) but his love was so astonishing beyond anyone I know that he would literally have chosen an eternity in hell if it would spare them (Romans 9:1-3).

    A crippling fear of public speaking nearly stymied Moses’ ministry (Exodus 3:10-13). Saul has such self-esteem issues that those wanting to make him king finally found him hiding under the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22). He must have almost died of humiliation over that one. Gideon insisted “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:15). Poor Peter put his foot in it so often his mouth must have had corns. Bouts of depression hounded Elijah, Jeremiah, Moses and others.

    Hang-ups even drove some to moral shame. For Abraham and Sarah it was childlessness (Genesis 16:2-3). For Jonah, it was xenophobia (Jonah 3:10-4:2).

    Vast numbers have been dismissed as no-bodies. Many were irreplaceable in God’s heart and yet never rated a mention in the Bible.

    Anyhow, I must drag myself back to the subject I loathe – myself.

    When I first drafted this webpage, my writings were ranking high in search engines, I was beginning to be widely read, and I imagined that this momentum would keep building. Alarmed that popularity might cause some people to think more highly of me than they should, there was no way I was going to paint myself as a cut above average. It is better to be despised than worshipped. For you to be inspired to do better than me is infinitely preferable to anyone being in awe of me.

    Although in raw practical terms, the Almighty needs no-one, the intensity of God’s love renders each of us so special as to be irreplaceable in the heart of the One whose judgment is always right. This puts us all on the same level, no matter how superior or inferior our delusions cause us to feel. The superstar mentality keeps too many of us feeling inferior and hindering us from achieving the greatness we were born for. It is so contrary to God’s view that I resolved do all I could to avoid contributing to this error. So I chose to emphasize my failings.

    Much of this has become laughably needless. I’m told my webpages are down to being visited (usually for only a few seconds) at a rate of about two million a year. That might sound deceptively impressive but there’s a good reason why you’ve never heard of me. On the world stage – and even in my own neighborhood – I’m a microbe. Nevertheless, God sees none of us this way.

    I torment myself mercilessly over my limitations but in my saner moments I remember that fame and faithfulness are often popularity polls apart. Realistically, declining readership cannot be because the content of my website has declined – the writings that once moved so many people are still included – nor that humanity has changed. It’s not that my words have grown unfashionable but the format has. With the website growing to many thousands of pages, the task of continually keeping them technologically up-to-date has slid beyond me.

    No matter what the natural reasons for the slump, how many people this website reaches is God’s choice. Despite my incessant yearning to serve God and to uplift those he loves (which is everyone) the Almighty has countless trillions of ways of touching people that do not include me. Anytime he chooses to use any of us, is always an undeserved privilege, and is marred by imperfections that would not have been there had he done it entirely by himself.

    I have always resisted the urge to try to promote the pages and to make them slick and popular. Instead, I have endeavored to seek God until my writings are so much of God that he wants them read. This break in popularity is my God-given opportunity to focus even more on doing this, without the distraction of multitudes clamoring for my attention.

    Admittedly, I initially found myself distressed, perplexed and sloshing around in agonizing soul-searching over my dwindling readership, but with God we cannot lose. Like everything our loving God lets touch any of us, this downturn has been an invaluable opportunity for spiritual growth. It is thrilling proof that, rather than exploiting us, our wonderful Lord is relentlessly devoted to our spiritual well-being. Learning might be painful, but it’s priceless.

    I’ve still got further to go but I’ve needed to die to selfish ambition that I once thought a God-given drive. I’ve also needed to delight in slaving on webpages because a single person is infinitely precious, not because people become important only when their numbers reach the millions.

    There are seasons in God, so there might still be surprises ahead. Right now, however I have much to learn, especially that nothing can equal the value of touching God’s heart and that this can be achieved as powerfully when locked up in a paralyzed body or solitary confinement, as when throngs are hanging on our every word. More about what God is teaching me along these lines is hidden under the unlikely title: What comforting advice does Scripture offer slaves?

    My putdowns might no longer be as needed to correct false impressions. Nevertheless, they remain true, so they remain part of this webpage, despite some people pleading with me to remove them.

    If you want to know my heart, here it is: I am driven by an overwhelming yearning to delight the once-crucified, now-glorified Lord of Perfection. For me, the pinnacle of achievement and the height of fulfillment would be to put a smile on God’s face. That is the ultimate. It is what I live for and would willingly die for. Not just fleeting earthly pleasures, but even eternal glories are mere trinkets compared with that. I would eagerly trade them all if I could somehow bring a millisecond’s delight to the Lord of Glory. And my second greatest passion is to do whatever I can to help others fall more in love with him.

    You’ll find humor in much of this webpage and even an unexpected twist toward the end.

2012 Update:

    I used to presume I am the only Grantley Morris on the planet but not only are there more (perish the thought) there is apparently a Grantley Leroy Morris living in my own nation. To avoid confusion, here are some distinguishing features: He is about seven years older than me and my understanding is that he has spent most of his life in the state of New South Wales. I am Grantley D. Morris who has lived almost all my life nearly a thousand miles away, in the state of South Australia.

2003 Update:

    I’d love to spare myself pain and shame by removing this webpage. As every wounded person knows, to expose one’s inner wounds to the world inspires backyard brain surgeons to “help” by further wounding us. The following has moved well-meaning people to accuse me of having demons, criticize me for criticizing myself, reject me for feeling that people reject me, and just generally proving that if I’m insane I’m at least in good company. But whether you laugh with me or at me, a few readers have been helped and I dare not spare myself, lest you be one of those who could be helped.

    We all change. The following, written three years ago, is still my best attempt to describe how I was during the many years that ninety percent of my webpages were written. Today, my self-image might be marginally less likely to turn you off your food than when I wrote what appears below. Compared to twenty years ago, I experience much less sexual torment and although I now feel that almost every woman would reject me, the word ‘almost’ indicates an improvement. Nevertheless, my inner pain – that excessive reaction to being single – seems to feel as devastating and as close to unbearable as ever. Like chronic physical pain, it is hard to think of anything else. And the lifting of that pain continues to seem as resistant to prayer as Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh.’ The beautiful thing, however, is that Jesus continues to be worthy of the costliest sacrifice.

Eyes under rock

This webpage makes me want to crawl under a rock. I want you to see Jesus, not me. Focusing on him will flood your life with excitement, fulfillment and achievement. The more you know him, the more your life will fill with love, awe and praise for him. In contrast, the more you know me, the more disappointed you are likely to be.

Just as any of us look physically repulsive without our skin, so I look repulsive without Christ. Through the divine miracle of spiritual rebirth, the Lord Jesus is as much a part of me as my entire skin. And Christ is my covering as much as my skin is my physical covering. As a beautiful woman would want the world to see only her skin and clothes, not her blood and bones, so I want you to see only my Lord, not that part of my personality that you regard as me.

I doubt I could delude anyone into idolizing me as some sort of superstar (I’d rather die than do that) but by concealing my inadequacies I could deceive readers into having an inflated view of me. Sadly, we live in a world of phonies that has turned presenting a false image of oneself into an art form and exalts it as a virtue. Anyone refusing to play the game will be despised as a freak. Nevertheless, I’d rather endure that shame than have anyone feel inferior to me. I’d prefer to be transparent now than shock people on the Day that God exposes all. I’d rather be seen as a dummy now than as plastic later. I’d rather crawl beneath you and do my best to lift you than try to exalt myself. It would be better for me to grovel in the mud than obscure your view of God by trying to tower over you. I long to be honest but if I must slip up I’d rather err on the side of over-emphasizing my failings.

Either because you believe me when I reveal my faults or because you despise the fact that I believe I have faults or because you think I should hide my faults from the public, you will think less of me if I bare my soul. Despite your likely reaction, however, I endeavor to be totally open before you, hiding nothing that fills me with shame. I will preface my confession, however, with what is essentially my attempt to dodge the flak this webpage will generate.

Most of us suffer deeply from the Christian superstar mentality. A few burn in the limelight while the rest of us shiver in the shadows. The exaltation of a few and the hiding of their flaws makes us ordinary Christians feel inferior; hindering us from achieving the greatness we were born for. And yet we shrink from someone who exposes his true self, standing spiritually naked before us. “How can I be inspired by someone so weak and messed up?” we ask. Jesus is the only inspiration I can offer. He alone is the personification of perfection. Like no one else, he is the magnet that draws the best out of us. Even these few sentences about him have raised this webpage from the slime they would wallow in if it only spoke about me.

So why tell you anything about myself?

“This idea is from the pit!” protested a member of Net-burst.Net. Like many other team members – of which you can be a part if you wish – she strongly objected to my plan to remove from the website virtually all mention of my name.

I see myself as a Christian writer, although I receive no income from it. I write more slowly than almost anyone would believe but because I regard it as my primary calling I have poured such enormous time and effort and prayer into it that at present most of the webpages on this site are written by me. I long for my service to the Lord to grow enormously, but I am hoping that one day sacrificial love will swallow up enough of my selfish pride to let me rejoice in Net-burst.Net expanding so greatly that my contribution is overshadowed by the ministries of others in the team.

Is this Grantley Morris?

Although I initially developed the site without human help, I detest giving any impression that it is “my” website. I earnestly want it to be the Lord’s website, with the human element being very much a team effort. I am now blessed with a team who have prayed for the website and its visitors; many have sent encouraging e-mails to website visitors; some have contributed webpages and done other things to make this site what it is.

My attempt to remove my name from the site revealed that most of the Net-burst.Net team think that knowing me a little better will help you relax; assuring you that we are neither heretics, nor cold fish isolated from human frustrations and foibles. So in submission to the team, I yield to the wishes and wisdom of those who believe that hiding my identity would give the false impression of being an impersonal organization. We are people who care deeply, and since at the moment most of the webpages happen to be written by me, the team think you might benefit from getting to know me. I still think many will shrink from me in disgust. At the very least, you will be itching to tell me off for having problems. “Good Christians should have a positive self-image.”

Multitudes of Christians will be ashamed of me, not because of my faults but because of the way I am tormented by low self-esteem. They can forgive anything but that. For instance, many people would despise me less for having a mutilated face – which I do not – than for me admitting that I feel so physically ugly that I consider displaying my photo as the ultimate humiliation.

I know you are itching to lecture me for being unspiritual but before you beat me up, let me explain that the “God don’t make trash” half-truth is a denial of the basic Christian doctrine that we have all been trashed by the fall. If the work of a great artist were vandalized, it would be honoring to him to say you still see traces of beauty in it, but he would be grossly insulted if anyone thought his vandalized work was what he intended and a true reflection of his artistry. Despite shallow platitudes, the undeniable fact is that even the most physically desirable of us has bodily imperfections; the most capable of us has inadequacies; and the most likeable of us has faults. The glorious truth that God sees past these imperfections fails to convince me that everyone else has God’s eyes. We live in a society in which even top models feel ugly – and not without reason, since their photos are regularly touched up and they will soon be regarded as too old. And if it’s not my looks, then it is something else about my person that people don’t find particularly attractive.

Yes, I should put it behind me, but the pain remains. Yes, I could hide this from you, but I believe the God of truth wants us to be transparent with each other.

The positive side of feeling somewhat ostracized is that when people e-mail me, pouring out their problems, I find it refreshing, not wearisome; my priceless privilege, not a burden.

We each have a unique blend of strengths, weaknesses, fears and trials. We all have things within that we wish were not there. Some of us live in denial, refusing to even admit to ourselves the existence of such things within us. Some of us go the other extreme and become preoccupied with our personal failings. Most of us hide them from most people. I could go with the crowd by trying to fool everyone into thinking that the truckload of things I don’t like about myself does not exist. This deceit would neither help you know the real me, nor help you face life with your own set of weaknesses.

If you are attracted to slick Christians who at least give the appearance of being free from inhibitions and weaknesses and faults, you’ll be less than impressed by me. The truth about me will turn the stomach of those who prefer the fantasy that at least some of us have our act together. Likewise, if you’re attracted to people marvelously delivered from gross sin, you’ll be disappointed by my bland background. In my view, however, all Christians are equally depraved without Christ, and all are equally cleansed by the blood of our Lord. In my webpages I sometimes mention that I’m a virgin. I do that because in most people’s eyes it makes me a freak. I certainly don’t say it to pretend to be pure. Except for Christ’s cleansing I’m as disgustingly impure as everyone else on this planet.

No matter how you view my weaknesses, however, enormous good has flowed from them. They are the training wheels that have allowed me to safely go further in God than I otherwise would. As Paul discovered, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Any weakness that inspires me to keep people focused on Christ, rather than on myself, is really a strength masquerading as a weakness. If I grow sufficiently in God, the time will come when I no longer need my deficiencies to keep me on track. Then you’ll be happy with me. In the meantime I’ll peddle through life with those funny-looking training wheels.

If you insist on reading more of this webpage, the only encouragement I can offer is that the other webpages do not focus on me. The only people likely to benefit from reading further are those who need to know that we can impact the world despite our apparent ordinariness.

Is this Grantley Morris?

A woman thought the Lord showed her that my life is like a river that has been dammed. The lake this dam has created has brought refreshing to many, she said, but one day the enormous dam will burst and the resulting flow will bring others even greater blessing. This speaks powerfully to me. My hang-ups and circumstances have brought painful restrictions into my life. From almost the moment the Lord gave me this Internet ministry, however, it has been very clear to me that although these restrictions are artificial – and you will recognize their artificiality and despise them as such – the pain they have caused and the slight humility they have brought, have empowered me to minister to hurting people.

I believe I can accurately say that relative to the privilege of touching others with the love of Christ, my happiness means nothing to me. Of course I look forward to the removal of my ridiculous hang-ups but I see myself as being on this planet, not to have a good time, but to achieve things of eternal value by serving as Christ served and loving God as Christ loved. This is my passion, no matter how far short I fall.

Could this be Grantley Morris?

The Lord has graciously employed for his glory the things that make me feel inferior; causing these weaknesses to soften my hard heart and deepen my compassion for hurting people. I expect the time will come when I will no longer need my almost constant inner pain. At present, however, like Paul’s thorn in the flesh protecting him from pride, my pain, although not from God, has been used of God to both develop me, and protect me, spiritually. If I’m far from perfect now, I would be still more insensitive and arrogant were it not for these afflictions. Probably fear of pride and lack of faith drive me to torment myself far more than necessary and I should seek to correct this, but I willingly embrace any pain that genuinely empowers me to better serve the One I love.

I am a stallion with a cold, hard bit in its mouth. That bit – my inner pain – enables my loving Master to restrain my foolishness and lead me along the best trails. A bit is unpleasant and unnatural but it is my security until I finally become so yielded and sensitive to the Master’s wishes that he can trust me to remain responsive without him needing to resort to artificial restrains.

Were I to remain silent about my flaws, you would assume I am better than I am. That would be an act of cowardice and deceit on my part. I can be ruthless in exposing how pathetic I am without Christ, however, because the truth is that I am not without Christ. A derelict house will suddenly gain great value if it is discovered that someone famous once lived there. The most astoundingly desirable, eternally famous and supremely important Person not only once lived in me, but he still lives there. His magnificence outshines my every inadequacy. Moreover, I might be an ugly building site but I am being renovated by the Master Builder into not only a place fit for a king, but fit for the King of kings.

So to avoid you thinking more highly of me than you ought, I will mercilessly reveal my inadequacies. To soften the shock, however, I will add a little humor.

I value humor. I see it as an effective way of gripping your attention. I’d use it nearly all the time if only I were smart enough. Of all pages, this one needs humor to lift it. I find original humor and writing so difficult, however, that I’ve stolen some of the following from what I have written in the introduction to my web book, Waiting for Your Ministry. Let me set the scene by quoting one paragraph now:

    Envy me if you must, but drop pity. Though the truth keeps hiding from me, with God writing the punch lines, trials are hilarious. I often wish he preferred one-liners, but everything God does is big. Year after year he keeps building the tension until finally all of heaven explodes in rapturous laughter, rejoicing in God’s stunning resolution of the problem. Let’s slip in a few giggles before the big one.

Crying baby
Grantley Morris when he was his cutest?


I was born in hospital because I wanted to be with my mother. It seems she wasn’t feeling well at the time – nothing too serious, just a tummy ache or something. The year was 1952; the country was Australia. Almost five decades later I’m still in the same side of the same city and I’m still with my mother, who waits on me hand and foot. I shudder to think how pathetic my ministry would be had it not been for the vast amount of time her selflessness has freed up for me. I’m overwhelmed with shame over my dependence upon her, and still more shamed by the fact that I’ve never married. A special commitment I made to the Lord when I was in my early twenties has contributed to me being single, but the truth is that no one seemed interested in me prior to that time anyway.

My parents were faithful Christians, members of the Salvation Army. From an early age I spent five to six hours in a total of five church services worshipping God each Sunday and drinking in his Word. As an adult I moved to another church, but I praise God for that solid background. My upbringing was so stable that I remained in the same house for my first twenty-one years, and except for eighteen months short-term missionary service, I’ve lived in the other house the rest of my life.

An angel
Grantley’s true identity revealed?

I was always conscientious and a loner. I have never so much as had a puff of a cigarette or a sip of alcohol. I even diverted from the practice of other family members by deciding that tea and coffee are too close to being drugs for me to partake. Once in high school, a religious instructor wanted to prove our sinfulness. “Who’s never lied?” he asked. No hands went up. Truth may mean much to me now, but in my early years I had told far more lies than I could ever count. “Who’s never stolen?” I think I could count these. As a young child I stole two cherries from a store. I had once stolen a plastic toy coin from a cousin. When older, I did not own up when a bus conductor forget to ask for my fare. “Who’s never . . .” On and on he went. “Who’s never sworn?” Oh, no! I thought, Haven’t you proved your point already? To my acute embarrassment, I had to put my hand up. This demonstrates only my upbringing and the standards I embraced. It says nothing about God’s view. Righteousness depends on Jesus, not self-effort. And although I despised dirty jokes, did not get involved with porn, and felt too inferior to ever have the opportunity for petting, I was at least as heavily into lust as most non-Christians, despite the fact that I had been born again.

Grantley Morris?

I find it disconcerting that people keep assuming I’m intelligent. The frustrating truth is that thinking and writing and working in my paid employment would be less painful if only I were intelligent. At university (I believe Americans call it college) I scored 117 in an IQ test. This is well below average for university students. When I finally arrived at Bible College, I sat for another IQ test. The staff were so unimpressed by my score that a lecturer admitted they would never consider suggesting I attempt a degree course, expect for the grades the Lord had graciously given me in my previous secular studies. Yes, I thank God for the intelligence he has given me, but even among the clerical staff at my work, I usually feel intellectually inferior.

At high school I studied so excessively that I was always on the brink of exhaustion and yet I was not an A student, nor even a B student. I was a C student. Fellow students would ridicule me for studying so much and teachers would criticize me, assuming I was not studying enough. Besides giving Sundays and an hour each day to the Lord, I seemed to do little but study and sleep.

For most of my life, excessive tiredness has been a severe restriction. For many years my constant tiredness made me wonder if I could ever hold down a normal job. This weakness, along with fear-driven excessive study contributed to my lack of social contact and prompted several vain attempts to find a medical solution.

Sherlock Holmes
Grantley Morris, I presume?

I had barely turned 13, when, rightly or wrongly, I believed the Lord was calling me to future full-time ministry. I was sickened, nearly terrified, by the thought. For a few days I struggled, then surrendered. The matter was settled: for the rest of my life I would choose God’s way, no matter what the cost.

I soon discovered Bible commentaries and I increasingly found Bible study more fascinating and beneficial than secular subjects. By my final high school year I longed to obtain a theological degree, but at that time no university in my state offered one. I knew of only one Bible College and I was two years younger than the minimum age they allowed for enrollment. Furthermore, – although their options changed by the time I finally got there – the degree course it offered was available only to university graduates. My parents, who themselves had a low education but wanted the best for their son, were keen for me to go to university. I was not interested in continuing with secular study, however.

Finally, so much was pointing in that direction that I told the Lord, “I’ll go to this secular university, if you make so that I get as much out of those studies as I would had I gone to Bible College.” It seemed preposterous, but the Lord made it happen. Throughout my years at university I continued to give a minimum of an hour each day to the Lord with additional blocks of time, and as my education increased so did the depth of my personal Bible studies.

Although I had majored in science at high school, I discovered I could pick up arts subjects at university level. I aimed for an all-round education, choosing solely the subjects I felt could further my service to the Lord, totally disregarding career possibilities. I selected only subjects I could see as having some connection with Christianity:

    Philosophy, particularly the philosophy of religion and the existence of God

    Modern History, dealing with the reformation

    Ancient History, dealing with the time around Christ

    Geography, which further increased my love of God’s creation, helped me grapple with evolutionary matters and I thought the subject might possibly prepare me for missionary service

    Psychology, which I initially thought might help me better counsel people. I soon concluded there is more power in Jesus, but the subject continued to interest me because of the claim of some that Christian experience is merely a psychological illusion.

If anyone said, “This disproves Christianity,” I’d delve into it, and because I was led of God the experience continually strengthened my faith and kept affirming the supremacy of Scripture and the centrality of total dependence upon the Lord. In addition, I became heavily involved in evangelizing the campus by using posters and literature I had crafted.

I graduated with a B.A., then pressed on, specializing in Psychology. Keen to demonstrate the live-changing power of the Christian faith, much of my studies involved conducting a psychological experiment comparing Christians and non-Christians. A Christian senior lecturer in Psychology offered to supervise me to do a Ph. D., examining the advantages of marriage over other forms of sexual liaison and comparing the success of Christian marriages with that of the marriages of non-Christians. To pursue this would involve a further three years’ study before I could commence my theological degree. I was also wondering about a year’s overseas missionary service to broaden my experience. I earnestly sought God’s leading about these options, but the Lord was frustratingly silent.

Head covered by book
Is that you, Grantley Morris?

The night before my year’s academic results would be available, I was feeling particularly close to the Lord. Why should I have to wait for non-Christians to tell me my grade when my grade comes from the Lord? I asked myself. Ever since I nearly failed my third year in high school I had been convinced that it was only the Lord who had enabled me to get as far as I had academically. I asked the Lord about my results and I was shocked by the grade I immediately thought I had. Although a respectable pass, it was not good enough for me to proceed to a Ph. D. The next morning, on my way to be officially told my results, I met a fellow student I had not-too-successfully been trying to witness to. We started chatting and I mentioned my conviction as to my grade. “What makes you think you know?” he asked. I froze. What if it had been my imagination? I could not risk dishonoring the Lord. So I said nothing. A few minutes later, I received my results – exactly what I thought the Lord had said. Instantly I felt that the Lord wanted me to spend the next year in missionary service. Being already disappointed about having blown a witnessing opportunity by doubting that the Lord had spoken to me, I was determined not to repeat the mistake by again doubting that he was speaking.

I ended up in the Philippines in what was the most exciting year of my life. For the first time I was not studying and I had never felt so well. The strain of study had been even more draining than I had imagined. In addition, my missionary experience lowered my opinion of the value of a theological degree.

So upon returning to Australia I opted for a less intellectually demanding course. I arrived at Bible College to discover that I already knew more than most third year students. The Lord had indeed kept his end of the bargain and enabled me to get as much out of my time at secular university as if I spent that time at Bible College. I used to estimate that I gained only about 5% of my Bible knowledge from Bible College. During the passing years the percentage has dropped still lower.

Examining Bible with stethoscope
Grantley Morris at work?

Years of Nothing

So, born to Christian parents, born again at age eight, sold-out to God, faithfully growing in spiritual knowledge, I seemed to be going places. Four productive years at university in preparation for ministry had been followed by a year’s missionary work in Asia, after which came Bible college, enhanced by six months with another missionary group, then –

Nothing. Years and years of nothing. If you’re tired of success stories, you’d find my life refreshingly different. Teaching cassettes made which nobody heard. Books written which no one read. Failure in every conceivable color.

After years without even secular employment, I finally got a job. Hour after hour, I balanced on a step-ladder, alone in a dust-clogged shed feeding a hungry machine. Five lonely years battling the din and dust of a shredder, filling its deadly jaws with armfuls of paper peppered with broken glass, rotten food and sometimes filth too repulsive to mention. Think of me as a full-time garbage collector on a part-time wage.

Old man carrying young woman
Grantley Morris at play?

It’s outside working hours that many of us find fulfillment, gleefully chasing challenges. In my case, I was usually flat out, up to my ears in blankets. Physical limitations confined me to lights out, up to eleven hours a night. (I currently get less sleep but I constantly feel the need for much more rest than I get.) I wrote during these long years:

    When it comes to pursuing dreams I’m in a world of my own. I bring a whole new meaning to the term lay person as I bull-doze through problems, catnap through crises, and hibernate through triumphs. If Christian activists faced the death penalty, my greatest threat would be the electric blanket. With the drive of a V-8 and the fuel tank of a Tinker Toy, I must be the world’s laziest workaholic, fast becoming the Kingdom’s Rip Van Wrinkle (and that’s no spelling error).

    I see the achievements of people I grew up with and I cringe. At church a stranger introduces himself. I steel myself for the inevitable ‘And what do you do for a living?’ At the door stands a pastor who knows how little I do. I slink out another way. I drive home alone. And agonize.

Funny man at beach
Or maybe . . .?

    I have a passion for a teaching ministry. The only word I’ve ever received from the Lord about it is, ‘Let not many of you become teachers.’ (James 3:1) I offered myself to the Lord for full-time service more than three decades ago. My ever-growing longing for it has been as productive as a desert in a drought.

    When it comes to feeling useless, I’m an expert. In second year high school, my class of forty students had a popularity poll. You already know who came last.

    It took the first eighteen years of my life to muster the courage to ask a girl – any girl – out. She refused, of course. Once, to my amazement, someone agreed. Instead of being overjoyed, I belly flopped into a pool of pity for her, appalled that anyone could be so lonely as to consider a date with me.

    That was my proud, carefree youth. I’ve come down many a notch since then. Depending on the country you’re from, you would call me a dole bludger, a welfare bum, a beggar, or a parasite – of the heavenly variety. I live off heaven’s handouts and do nothing in return.

    I realize no one can earn their keep spiritually. We could never repay God for the blessings received on the worst day of our life. But you’d think I could at least do a few odd jobs around the place. For excitement I take off my shoes and watch my toenails grow. Every time I call heaven to offer my services the line goes dead. I’m not sure what happens. If only I could hear some celestial music I’d at least know I’ve been put on hold.

    Some people collect stamps. I collect dust. My greatest achievements are outstanding – out standing in the rain. If you’ve seen the old television series Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em, you’ll recognize me as the Frank Spencer of the spiritual world.

    [Confident man]
    Grantley Morris? Never heard of him!

    Marriage and family help soothe the gnawing ache, or so I assume. You guessed it. Never married. They say I’m quite a catch. (Not that that’s necessarily bad – most good offers have a catch.) I can’t understand it. I reckon I’m better looking than Rudolf Valentino. He’s dead. With a few weeks’ exception here and there, ever since childhood I’ve felt certain that no sane woman would want me and/or I’d be a hopelessly inadequate husband.

    Then I turned a corner. And hit a wall. I was thrust into a new job, making my former ‘purgatory’ seem like paradise. Previously, my body was enslaved in degrading work, but my mind was almost free. Now they’ve got my mind as well. My ability to write has been mauled. Though writing to a non-existent audience is more therapy than ministry, it seemed the one twig in my hand buoying my head above the fierce, gray waves of utter despair.

    A young woman, attractive and popular, lit a match and plunged into lifelong darkness. Gas had been seeping into the room. The explosion ripped through her, searing and pulverizing a once-normal body. It hurt to see her plight. My greatest battle, however, was not fighting tears of compassion, but envy. Had I suffered like her I would probably receive a small pension and so, despite enormous restrictions, I might have more time to write.

Year after year after year I worked on two books: In Tune With God and Waiting for your ministry. I wrote every spare second: as soon as I awoke, on the way to the bus stop, at the bus stop, in the bus, during work breaks, on the way home, at home, during weekends, vacations and any other minute it could squeeze from somewhere.

Frustrated writer
Is this Grantley Morris?

For me, a single sentence is a man-crushing python – a writhing anaconda to be wrestled into submission only through a virtual life-and-death struggle. It is not uncommon for me to spend an hour formulating one sentence. The reward for such care? A tangle of half-strangled sentences squirming for more attention. On rare moments my word groping lurches beyond snail-pace to a teeth-rattling tortoise-trot. Moments later I hit the dust again, compelled to retrace my route on hands and knees, scouring the text for hours like a near-sighted Mr. Magoo, convinced I must have missed something in my inordinate haste.

Words! There’s never one around when you need it. I try on a dozen for size, and even the best hangs off the cuff, is unfashionable and forever needs ironing. At school my English grades were so poor that I dropped the subject the first opportunity I had. There must be thousands of Christians who could have written those books with greater ease. (If you suppose I’m exaggerating, see How I Write.)

But they didn’t.

‘You have a very readable style and some of your expressions and word usages are brilliant,’ wrote a magazine editor about an early draft of the book. I cherish that quote, but could any average person pour such torrents of prayer and effort and submission to God, year after year, into a project and the result be anything less than brilliant?

I just kept re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, and the books kept getting better and better. But they were reaching no one. I dared not put the books down, especially Waiting for your Ministry. The air was constantly hissing from my leaky faith. I needed to constantly pump it with the truths of that book. If I put the book down, I would begin to sink into despair within a couple of days.

I wrote:

    The problem with rags to riches stories is that I can identify only with the rags. And I have this nagging suspicion that someone experiencing dazzling success soon forgets what wheezing in the smog of despair is really like.

    This book is different. I’m not trying to imagine or remember what it’s like to have problems. I’m thrashing about in them.

Dazed man
Maybe this is Grantley Morris

I doubt if a drowning man could crave oxygen more than I craved a ministry. I needed to impact people’s lives for the glory of God, but nothing was happening. I longed for the book to be published but I could find no peace about having it published the normal way. I couldn’t bear the thought of selling something I felt was from God. The very idea almost felt like Judas selling his Savior. I could feel at ease about charging for people to be entertained. If the cost were an obstacle they would miss nothing of lasting value. But if, as I dared to believe, the Lord had given me something with the potential to transform lives, how could I say, “You can’t have this book you desperately need unless you give me money?” I longed to give the book away for free and I very nearly went to all the expense of printing thousands of copies, but I realized I had no way to distribute the book. Shops would only want to stock a book they could make money out of. I would have to quit my job and go all around Australia trying to distribute it, and what about the rest of the world? Moreover I did not have it within me to promote myself or my book. My personality would recoil from that as much as if I had to swim in shark-infested waters. And everyone I consulted kept saying that people would treat a free book with disdain.

I was 43 when I placed my writings on the net and suddenly I knew why I had been created. Suddenly, worldwide distribution was a breeze. Suddenly I was in an environment where it was not considered weird to offer information for free. Something that had always worried me was what would happen after my books were published. Would it generate speaking opportunities or just lead to another desert? Now that I was on the web, however, people with desperate needs started writing. Suddenly, counseling skills I never knew I had exploded within me. My theory is that the Lord in his grace empowered my counseling as his reward for me refusing to pursue psychology. It is my conviction that there is more power in Jesus than psychology will ever know.

Almost the first person to write was a Chinese Malaysian on the brink of suicide. I felt empowered to minister to him, having been led of God to gain cross-cultural missionary experience and having myself been taken by the Lord through years when suicidal thoughts were seldom far away.

Man in jail
Grantley Morris during a mysterious absence?

If ever God were proud of a man, he was proud of Job. God boasted about him in Satan’s face (Job 1:8). This man brought glory to God by the way he handled his prosperity, but he brought still more glory by the way he endured his suffering. My greatest longing is to bring joy to the Father’s heart, and if, during my earth-years the way I endure pain for him achieves this more than my temporal happiness, then I choose this road to fulfillment. Of course, for any pain I endure, the Lord will extravagantly compensate – my eternal happiness means more to him than I could imagine – but nothing could equal the knowledge that I have honored my Lord and brought him joy.

Two Endings

You’ve had enough of me. While you can still keep your food down you deserve to move to our other webpages, letting them thrill you by refocusing your gaze upon the most exciting Person in the universe. I face a dilemma, however. I have a mountain of faults, phobias, and peculiarities that I have not even introduced you to. To end here would give the false impression that I have my act together more than I have. This feels dishonest to me, and honesty and stickability are perhaps my two greatest strengths. I suggest you take my word that it is not without justification that I think lowly of myself. If you want details, however, I will not shrink from revealing them. If you wish, you can read a little more about my faults, including stinginess, untidiness, and being a ministry workaholic. Then there are my hang-ups, which include a vulnerability to depression, a phobia about weddings and a dislike of ceremonies, special days, and the exchanging of gifts. For more, see Longer Ending.

Happy man standing on his hands
Is this Grantley Morris?

Shorter Ending

I long to boast – of the greatness, beauty and perfection of the majestic Lord whose goodness, love and delights know no end. To know him is to love him. Would you have me drain my writings of excitement by focusing on myself instead of the Love of my life? Like a plant, I was created to thrive by looking up to the heavens for light. A plant turned in on itself is in a sorry state. This webpage has distressed me because I have felt forced to wrench your eyes and my eyes off the captivating splendor and wonders of the Lord to focus on me.

If I must boast about myself I will boast of my failings, limitations and quirks, because they keep me in loving dependence upon the most fascinating, inspiring and uplifting Person in the universe. When I draw upon my Lord, clinging to his power, perfection and purity, I have everything I need to excel in every task he has placed me on this planet to perform. It is only when I neglect the infinite Lord and look to myself that I become inadequate, depressed and deprived. He is my Strength, my Joy, my Love. Like a chicken without its head, so am I, without Christ. But never need I be without Christ. With him, I am complete. With him, I triumph. With him, I am a success. You would not believe how wise, holy and supernaturally powerful I am when perfectly united to Christ, my Head. You, too, can find in him wonders that will cause you to soar higher than you ever dreamed.

Update, Early 2007: For most of my life I have been so conscious of how deceptive and spiritually dangerous pride is that I have dreaded falling into that deadly trap. Although I recognized that it was not ideal, I imagined that letting myself be tormented by negative thoughts about myself would help protect me from that danger. In reality, I had completely misunderstood the nature of pride.

I realized that if ever we fall into the delusion that we could do anything of value without total dependence upon Christ, a lower opinion of ourselves is needed. From this obvious truth I drew the mistaken presumption that the essence of humility is thinking lowly of oneself.

I was wrong. The basic ingredient of godly humility is not thinking lowly of oneself but seeing things through God’s eyes.

Realizing this has negated neither the intensity of my trials, nor the benefits of those trials, but it gives me a new incentive to fight them.

On the ministry front, after feeling a freak and a failure for over twenty years, the Lord has graciously allowed me to feel vindicated and fulfilled. My emotional pain continues, but because I believe the end of that is approaching, I feel freer to mention it without it seeming too much like moaning.

I’ve seen several counselors over the years, wondering if they could pick up some cause of my inner pain that I might have overlooked. They were only able to add to my pain by nominating the one thing that screams at me day and night: I need marriage in order to feel remotely normal. And over all these years that’s the very thing I’ve felt challenged by God never to seek. This leaves me open to the accusation both from well-meaning people and from my own torment that despite my decades of pleading with God not to get this wrong, the Lord has somehow allowed me to mishear him on this most critical issue.

I’ve languished almost all my life aching for hugs. Deprivation in this area has greatly contributed to my feeling of emptiness and isolation. And my ability to look anyone in the eye without filling with shame has been inseparably bound with something that has almost always eluded me: feeling remotely capable of being loved by a woman.

People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder believe they look hideous. According to one study, the completed suicide rate in people with this condition is 45 times higher than in the general US population. This is more than double that of those with depression and three times as high as those with bipolar disorder. I don’t claim to be that extreme, but I’m somewhere between there and normal.

The good news is that for the last 12 months the Lord has sent into my life a woman I’ve never met in person who has been a powerful help in reducing my inner pain. Obviously, we have never hugged, but her sincere, if unproven, willingness to do so has had a surprisingly healing effect on me. Although she has only seen photos of me, she insists she finds me highly attractive physically. I see that as some sort of divine miracle in which God has caused her preferences to differ wildly from other people, so I still cringe at the thought of anyone else looking at me, but her view of me has nevertheless deeply touched me.

If this continues I might even end up almost normal by the time I die. Sounds rather boring, don’t you think?

Early 2010: The romance referred to above continued to blaze. In July, 2009, after being in daily phone contact for over three years (for hours at a time without missing a single day) I finally saw Vicki face to face for the first time. As planned, we immediately committed ourselves to lifelong marital union, knowing that after just two weeks we would be wrenched apart with Vicki having to return to the US. It was four torturously long months before we were able to live in the same country.

Of course, Vicki was God’s choice. The Lord even told her in her early teens that her married name would be Morris. And her love for the Lord thrills me. In addition to her wonderful spiritual qualities, however, the Lord did something amazingly special in giving her to me.

I am staggered by the extravagance of God’s kindness toward someone as unworthy as me and I long for you to be equally awestruck by the splendor of his grace. So I was crushed to tears when a friend indicated that I should water down what I am about to say, lest people misunderstand or even be offended. I ache to honor God by fully conveying what he has done but I can do this no more than I could reduce to words the breathtaking glory of a sunset. I find myself torn between the extremes of treating the extent of what God has done in giving me Vicki as too sacred to attempt description, or offending sensitive readers by blabbing too much detail out of fear of robbing my Lord of the glory he so richly deserves.

It is sure to displease some, but here’s my attempt at a compromise: I still cringe to see my face in a mirror and it still seems to me that most people see me that way, but no matter how strong these feelings are, I know Vicki so well that I am thoroughly convinced of her honest sincerity when she says she finds the body God has given me exceptionally desirable. In fact, before marrying, I had not thought it possible for any woman to be as attracted to any man’s body as powerfully and exclusively as Vicki is to me. It is not only everything about my looks that thrills her but even the taste of my skin and the smell of my body – even when I am way overdue for a shower. And her feeling this way is not just an occasional flash, but continual.

I am flabbergasted by the Lord’s graciousness in bringing this about, but I remain determined not to let married life turn me soft. For our marriage to be worthy of God, our union must empower us to achieve more for our Lord than remaining single would have achieved. As long as we live in a world writhing with people needing the comfort that only Jesus can bring, Vicki and I sacrifice our lives for the glorious privilege of allowing the God of all comfort to serve others through us.

2011: Marriage continues to be a never-ending honeymoon and, as mind-boggling as it seems to me, it gets even better. I never dared hope that anyone could have such a superb wife. I was sure that such a ridiculous fantasy would doom any man to deep disappointment. I am convinced that if anyone knew how much like a king Vicki treats me and how in love and powerfully attracted she is to everything about me, I would be the envy of almost every man, and most women would resent her for setting the bar far too high.

Perhaps one reason for Vicki’s intense physical attraction to me is that, starting from her mid-teens, God gave her several not merely symbolic but physically accurate visions of me.

I delight in Vicki for who she is; not for what she does for me. I keep pleading with her to ease up on waiting on me hand and foot and going way beyond fulfilling my every whim, asking nothing in return, but to my bewilderment she delights in daily lavishing me with extravagant acts of love. To her it is not servitude but rich fulfillment of longings she has cherished since youth.

If anyone is interested, I believe a significant factor in the astounding happiness of our marriage is that we take nothing about each other for granted. We are exceedingly grateful for everything our partner does and is; being acutely aware of how many people do not have such wonderful partners. Whereas we see pampering our partner as our duty, as well as our joy, we treasure anything our partner gives us as an undeserved privilege; not our marital right.

For decades I have strongly believed in concentrating exclusively on one’s marital obligations; never one’s supposed rights. And I refused to let myself fantasize about the perfect wife but focused instead on how to make the most of it should I end up with a far less desirable wife. Very many years ago, the Lord asked Vicki whether she would live for self or live for love. Likewise, I live to give, not to get. That’s just who I am. In fact, to have meeting one’s own desires as one’s focus is to shrivel up and die.

I had thought that all those agonizing decades of singleness were making me set in my ways and undermining any capacity I had to be a good husband but now it seems those painful years were actually equipping me to treasure and cherish Vicki. I had expected that if ever I were granted marital happiness it would be marred by the knowledge that I had missed out on it for most of my life. This is nothing like the case. Though I still remember the pain, I have not the merest tinge of regret.

So our marriage is bliss but earthly happiness is of little consequence. Actually, more often than not, happiness is a negative; lulling its victims into growing soft. It is in the tough times that we usually learn the most and develop spiritually. Not even eternal reward means much compared with honoring God. I would gladly trade all of heaven’s rewards if it would enable me to bring the slightest joy to the love of my life: the Lord Jesus.

Vicki’s Photo

I remind you that the rest of this site does not focus on me. If you are still curious about me, however, there is just one other page:

Why I never married

My Sob Story

If you insist on seeing my photo . . .

My Parents: Photo and short tribute

Related Pages

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