Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Honesty is such a lonely word..."

(ten points to who can identify the title)

[file under: doubt, introspection]

There's a flame-war in its last legs between two Christian bloggers. I won't go into too much detail or take sides, but I want to address one of the issues brought up. One of the bloggers is a pastor by profession who writes really intensely personal, confessional blog posts full of doubt and fear and sound and fury. The argument between this person, his opponent, and their various supporters became about whether a person's online persona should match their in-person persona. For instance, the pastor said that he certainly doesn't say from the pulpit the things he writes online. The other cried hypocrisy.

This brings up a serious question that deserves some consideration. If I write things online that I wouldn't want my Sunday School class to read, isn't it hypocritical in some way? Should I be writing things for public consumption that I feel the need to hide from those closest to me?

The knee-jerk reaction I have is, "What am I gonna do, sanitize my writing so that it's so phony that no one has any use for it?" Of course I'm not gonna do that. But that's not really the issue. The question isn't, should I change my writing; the question is, should I change myself?

I have tried to be as honest as possible with you all in this forum. I have shared my fears, my frustrations, my concerns, even my stream-of-consciousness thoughts on my "crazy, pent-up days." If I have ever edited myself, it has only been because what I was saying shamed me too much when I saw it in print, or I realized it would be of more harm than benefit to you for reading it. I have done my best not to harm with my words.

The real issue, I'm starting to see, is not necessarily that I'm a "different" person online than i am in real life. It's that the real person I am, in both settings, is a person I'm not really proud of. A person full of selfishness, laziness, apathy, pride, blame, anger, and immaturity.

I know that some of you will quickly respond that I'm a decent guy, a nice guy, I'm doing my best, nobody's perfect, and so on. And I want you to know that I really appreciate your encouragement. It really means a lot to me.

But being a good enough guy isn't good enough anymore. I'm tired of being just okay. I can't shake the feeling that I've been called to something more, something higher, and at this point in my life, I'm treading water, wasting time.

I've become dissatisfied with settling. I think this is supposed to be encouraging, like I'm on the brink of some kind of personal change or growth or something. But all it is so far, is discouraging and scary.

I'm gonna continue to be as real as possible with you all, in this context. I will try harder to let my speech be "full of grace, seasoned with salt," but I'll still be honest.

Just forgive me if I grimace a bit as I share all of this honesty.

Blogging isn't just a letter; it's a mirror. Once the words are there before me, in black and white, it's hard to hide from what they show. My hope is that I won't be the man who sees his image and forgets. I want to be able to use this experience to see where I'm at, and what I need to pay attention to in my own heart. Maybe then, I'll grow into the person I want to be. Maybe then, I'll get to where I'm going, or at least get moving that way.

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