Real Things are Complicated — not like Twitter

I’ve been working a lot this summer, and one of the main ways I take quick breaks (or sometimes long breaks!) is by following some blogs on my Google Reader.  After reading a really interesting post from a friend’s link, I added a blog to my reader, which is about faith and such and I thought would be a nice change from the normal calorie-laden cupcake recipes I review daily.

Honestly, I am disappointed with what I see there.  When reading religious and philosophical blogs, articles, essays, etc., I want to get the feeling that the author thought more about the issue than I did in the three minutes it took me to read the piece.  After growing up in Southern  Baptist churches that taught me to stop asking questions and thinking so hard because, as a female, I should just accept whatever my male sunday school teacher/pastor/friend said as the truth, I will not accept half-hearted awkward writings as devotionally inspiring.  I just can’t do it.  Something in me cannot accept facile discussions of the nature of God or my relationship with Christ.

Today’s post, called “Followers,” is a perfect example of this facile writing.  The author has his Masters’ degree in theology and works in youth ministry, so I am sure he is more than capable of considering and publishing articles of substance.  Perhaps they are posted somewhere online, or even on the same site.  [I haven’t looked for these articles, and I am not accusing the author of any mental or logical failures.]  Perhaps I am not in the appropriate demographic of this blog, and made a poor choice adding it to my reader, but seriously, this blog made a “whopping” revelation:  Following Christ is different from following Lady Gaga on Twitter

Seriously?  Do we even need to write that down?  Do people in our society actually think that having a relationship with anyone is the same as following someone on Twitter?  No way.  I don’t think so.  Further, the article stopped and failed to say how following Christ is different, or how you could get started doing that.  So really, it was entirely pointless.

If anyone out there is reading this blog and thinks that following Christ is stupid or pointless for your life, I urge you to think again — it is the most meaningful thing you can do.  But, at least to me, it is also one of the most confusing things you can do.  It is hard to subordinate your own feelings and desires to those of Christ, especially in a society that teaches you to be true to “yourself,” to find “yourself,” and to value the essence of the individual over the needs of the group.  I struggle with this concept on a daily basis, and it is okay if you struggle with it too.  Ministry is not simply answering hard questions with cheeky colloquialisms, it is about struggling with those hard questions right alongside everyone else, but doing so with the assurance that your faith in your God is bigger than any of the questions your heart or mind might ask.

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6 comments

  1. Mary

    “taught me to stop asking questions and thinking so hard because, as a female, I should just accept whatever my male sunday school teacher/pastor/friend said as the truth, I will not accept half-hearted awkward writings as devotionally inspiring”

    Part of the reason why I’m definitely no longer Southern Baptist nor go to church at the moment. Just part. But still. I’m adrift these days I suppose. It’s all a lot harder and more complicated than churches tend to allow you to be.

    • pinkbriefcase

      I think that being a Christian in the South is SO MUCH HARDER than it is being a Christian up here (especially as a female). I love hearing intelligent discussions about faith issues and am thankful to have found a geographic area where religious people speak a language I can understand. But I too have not found a church where I really belong and am somewhat adrift without a community.

  2. MJ Houston

    I too loved your quote about how being a Southern Baptist “taught me to stop asking questions and thinking so hard because, as a female, I should just accept whatever my male sunday school teacher/pastor/friend said as the truth”.

    I think that as independent women, we struggle with being a part of a church because it often feels as if we are not allowed to participate, but simply view for numbers sake. I refuse to go back to a Southern Baptist church, which is hard because Sam was happy there and now we tend not to agree on what type of church we can both like.

  3. Hélder Favarin

    Hi. I received a link to this post on my e-mail after a comment you’ve left on the article “Followers”, from Wondering Fair. I’m the author of the article and after reading your post I believe it’s appropriate to make some clarifications about the content of your comment. I can only speak for myself and for the articles I write, and NOT for Wondering Fair.

    You’ve expressed “Perhaps I am not in the appropriate demographic of this blog”. You’re right. I’m Brazilian/Italian but my wife and I left our home to serve in the UK and now as missionaries in Spain. The audience that I have in mind when writing the articles are certainly not Christians from the USA. Rather, they’re non-Christians in Europe, particularly young adults in Southern Europe. In this region, many consider the Evangelicals to be part of a sect (for example, I heard two young people saying this in front of a Baptist Church in the city where I live). In Spain, for instance, over 80% of towns and villages don’t have one single Evangelical Church. More than 40% of young people are either atheists or agnostics.

    I’ve read your post more than once and please let me know if I’m wrong: you’re not pointing unbiblical ideas in the content, but affirming it’s not as deep and thought-through as you think it should be. You even say “I want to get the feeling that the author thought more about the issue than I did in the three minutes it took me to read the piece.” I apologize if you don’t get this feeling, but I honestly can say it takes me more than 3 hours to write them (I really wish I could write quicker). You’ve also expressed: “I am sure he is more than capable of considering and publishing articles of substance”. Please, let me show you where I’m coming from. My concern is to connect, be relevant and build bridges to an extremely secularized European society. In other words, the articles are evangelistic. Personally (and once again I speak for myself) I’m much more inclined in focusing my time, research and energy in writing something that a non-Christian friend might read and perhaps begin considering the existence of God and the possibility of following Jesus than trying to give us Christians another deep piece of writing. For this reason those of us who are Christians and have walked with the Lord for a good amount of time, might find the use of some of the illustrations shallow and with no substance. The non-Christians people around me, I believe, won’t.

    I have to be honest with you and say it saddened me to read your comments for they do not raise, for example, unbiblical ideas you’ve found in the article. It gives me the impression that the content of your criticism is only focused on what you consider to be lack of substance for a reader with your level of Christian maturity or what you’d expect somebody else to write in your demographic. My opinion is that for these cases we’d possibly get more accomplished if we supported those who are trying to do something. And in case we feel we can help, write a personal note. Please, if you have better examples of articles that would speak to non-Christians in Southern Europe, I’d very much like to read and learn from them.

    Finally, you say “Ministry is not simply answering hard questions with cheeky colloquialisms, it is about struggling with those hard questions right alongside everyone else”. I belive you’re absolutely right, but I wonder why such ideas are connected with your cristicism of the article. If I didn’t believe that, I surely wouldn’t be serving where and how I do today.

    Let me once again affirm that I’m only speaking for myself and the articles I write and NOT for the blog Wondering Fair.

    God bless you.

  4. Pingback: So, this blog is public. « pinkbriefcase

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