A long while ago, I mentioned on social media that I wanted to know whether people would be curious or receptive to my writing about my faith on my blog. I had realized then that I never verbalize what I believe, what I disagree with, or really what moral standards I live my life by other than to perhaps in passing say that I am a Christian. The response to my question was overwhelmingly “yes, please share!” even by people whom I know do not share my beliefs, so I wrote a post about faith… and never published it.
Then more recently, on my personal Facebook, I wrote a long status about why I have an issue with a certain well-known and very controversial-subject-pusher religious blogger that many of my friends tend to share and agree with, and it was then that I realized why I rarely (if ever) vocalize more on my faith on social media. I don’t tend to write controversial or even personal blog posts on highly debated topics of faith, what I do and don’t believe, what I can condone and what I believe is right or wrong. I don’t know that I have ever once mentioned these things in detail publicly, in all honesty, and for a while I thought perhaps I was a “bad” Christian for not utilizing my small space of internet to highlight more of what I believe. So many bloggers who affiliate with the Christian faith do write a lot about what they think on the right-or-wrong topics of today, and for me to stay out of it felt, on a peer-pressure level, like I wasn’t doing my part.
But after I penned my thoughts about that certain blogger, more specifically how I believed that blogger went against everything that is said about a wise man in Proverbs — which I have been reading lately — I realized that it was okay. It was okay if I didn’t jump in with my opinion on the Josh Duggar scandals, or whether it’s better to be pro-life or pro-choice, or if I identify as a feminist or not. It was okay if I was reluctant to write my views on divorce or abortion or the LGBTQ community (the three things I see that seem to be the most bashed thing from Christians) into a blog post that would be out there for everyone to have a reaction to. It’s totally okay to keep my thoughts to myself when I see internet debates about whether it’s immodest to wear leggings or show cleavage or paint your nails red (seriously, guys, I have seen that last one happen.)
And it’s not because I am afraid to share what I believe with anyone that I tend to not write about these things. Yes, I would be reluctant to be the fodder for an angry debate or an irate response from either side should I voice what I think in public media. I don’t like angry people, I don’t like being the target of negativity, and I don’t like making people upset. But were I to be asked directly and privately, I would not dodge the question. My blogging friends who have brought up “controversial” subjects with me in personal conversations know that to be true.
But there is a very important aspect to sharing my beliefs that I think is completely lost when writing a blog post about something that not everyone will agree with. And that is the fact that you cannot have any real personal connection or understanding when it’s all just in a blog post. There’s no person-to-person dialogue when it’s a spillage of words onto the internet, regardless of how kindly or clearly things are said. There’s no way to clarify a point that came across in a way you did not mean. And, more importantly, not everyone needs to know what I think on these subjects that the world loves to argue about.
Why not? Well, for one thing, I’ll go back to Proverbs. In my readings, I’ve been writing down everything the Bible says about a wise man. And a few of the points about a wise man (or woman) is that their paths are pleasant and peaceful, they speak in a way that is a light to those around them, they possess prudence and discretion, they don’t stir up conflict, and they speak to those who are ready to listen. And I’m not saying that sometimes action that might stir someone up isn’t necessary — because hey, Jesus whipped people, y’all — or that it’s always going to be the good life with no conflict or hardships.
But for me, I don’t think writing controversial blog posts is the way to go about sharing what I believe in regards to many things that I see other bloggers writing about. And again, not that I think they are always wrong in writing about what they think — some bloggers write in awesome ways that avoid bashing, hate, condescension, and ridicule. But it’s hard. It’s hard to make that post personal and loving and understandable when there’s no conversation going on before and after and during those words.
So instead of writing about many aspects of my faith that prove hard to share without coming off as too judgmental or too tolerant or too goody-two-shoes or too passive, I’ll tell you what I really want you to know about what I believe.
I associate with Jesus. Not with Jesus Freaks. I believe in compassion and understanding, like the Jesus who loved on those people that nobody else would, healed the ones that no one else would touch, helped those who literally could not help themselves. I believe in second chances, just as He gave to the woman who had multiple affairs or the woman that all the religious people wanted to stone. I believe in seeing people as equals around me, just as He didn’t hold Himself in higher regard than anyone else, but in fact gave Himself up for a position that was the lowest of low, saved for the worst of men in His death. I believe in making friends, not stirring up enemies. I believe in sticking to my faith and not beating around the bush, as He did with those who thought they were so, so good and perfect but were really every bit in need of Him as those they thought to be beneath them.
Shirt, belt, and skirt, thrifted | shoes, Modcloth
But most of all, I believe in being a person that anyone — no matter what they think or how they live — could come to openly and not be afraid of what I might think of them. And none of this means that I am wishy-washy or won’t stand by what I believe when it comes down to it. This doesn’t mean that I am a pushover faith-wise, or that I don’t have standards of right and wrong.
I believe that being a woman of faith, Jesus-like, if you will, is being someone approachable and careful with words. Someone who doesn’t just spout religious propaganda at everyone they think is wrong. Someone who truly loves people. ALL people. No matter what their personal beliefs, past actions, or sexual orientation.
After all, John 3:16 doesn’t say Christ died for just the ones who followed the ten commandments and lived sin-free lives. It says He died for the world. He loved the world. Everyone. Everyone who ever lived, past, present, and future.
And that is the essence of why I don’t often blog about my faith. Because to share that love, whether it means compassion for someone is hurting or perhaps a hard truth for someone who needs to hear it, I need personal connection. I need to be able to express my friendship for them above all opposing beliefs and lifestyles, so that they know I’m not trying to judge or condemn them if they think they’re doing something I don’t agree with. Because I never am. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else just because I’m a Christian and they’re not, or I don’t do something they think is okay, or I tend towards more modest cuts and they prefer shorter hemlines. Truly and honestly, I don’t care about any of that. I care about the person. And I really can’t embody all of that in a blog post.
So, if you’re ever curious about my opinion on something that might seem controversial, ask me and I will do my best to answer. But I won’t do it publicly; I’ll email you, or Facebook message, or meet up for coffee, because I want to make sure you know that my personal faith has nothing to do with who you are, and I want to create open conversations that make both of us think about why we believe what we believe. And most of all, I want to show love in all that I say and do.