Thursday, June 29, 2017

Transparency




I have been fighting with myself about blogging again. I feel like Jonah in the Bible, running from my mission. Will my words be used by God? I think no one wants to read what I write. Will I be deemed too religious? I am scared and that was never like me until recently. I do want to be liked, but I also want to be myself.

So, why did I start writing publicly? Why did I want my words out there? Was I following God's direction or my own path to fame? I sat myself down lately, examining my motives to write.   Why haven't I written? Why do I resist now, that which I desired to do for so long?  I am back at a job where I am respected and paid well, do I need to write? The answer crept around the busyness of a new job. I have time, even though, often I have a lot of charting. I even likened it to getting paid to write, like a travel writer. I travel and meet interesting people and write about them, to a limited audience. And I must guard what I do convey. The rules of HIPAA affect my speech.

I guard myself a lot lately. Yet, I always had some censor in the back of my mind. First, a long time ago, it was my mother, as the editor for all my papers that she typed. Then, other family members moved into the editing room in my head. I needed to be aware of their privacy and feelings. A few months ago, I felt freed some from worrying. Did it free my writing? Not right away did I allow that freedom to nudge my writing.

I met with some friends at summer's beginning. We gathered every week last summer for prayer. A lot happened over the course of winter and we all felt a hedge, at first. We needed transparency, as does the Church. This has been a problem, probably since the beginning of the Church, as I read Acts chapter five. The Holy Spirit doesn't strike us dead when we tell tales making us look good to the leaders or our congregations, anymore. We die a slow death from deceit. We need to confess to a close friend or two, how we struggle with sin at times. It is too easy to slip in the back of the sanctuary, late, sometimes and slip out before the last song and not speak to a single person. To quit going altogether becomes effortless. The Church feels undemanding, simplifying the feeling of disconnectedness.

I am finding, too, in this day and age, words cut again. People offend quickly. Many talk about the division and I don't really want to belabor a point we hear all the time. This, though, has hindered my writing, as I don't want to offend. Yet, I am what I am. I am a conservative Christian. This is my background from growing up in a church forming my world view. I listen to other world views, but I feel condemned with mine in the world court of judgment. I don't write this with self-pity, only that I had been reluctant to put myself out in public view, until I figure out why I am writing; where I take my stand.

I am angry sometimes, though. I listen and want to hear different points of view. I want to learn. I feel that when it is my turn, I am shut down. I am prejudged by the world because I write from a conservative Christian view and that no one really sees my words.

My last post about summer was a fun. I mentioned God and religion slightly, because that was how it was when and where I grew up. My friends accepted each other with our different churches, but we all believed in God. Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Church of Christ, Christian Missionary Alliance represented our neighborhood’s affiliations. Unfortunately, we had no Jewish or Muslim families in our small town.  My mother grew up with Jewish families, and she expressed a positive image of them. We never really talked about the diversity (I really didn’t know some surnames were Jewish, they were names my mother knew.) My senior year of high school, I told her I couldn't have dated a Jewish boy I met in New York. She seemed surprised I said that. I only thought, he could never accept Jesus and I couldn't give up Jesus. I watched Bridget Loves Bernie, as a kid, which was my influence on vastly ranging religious backgrounds in a marriage and families.

I continue to ask myself, do I give up writing? Why did I start in the first place? One of the paradoxes of giving up our dream to God, is that we may get it back stronger, and is that why we give it up? Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer, explored that, as he watched his Big Idea Productions slip through his hands. I think, in my saying I give up writing, am I really hoping for that success? Am I playing a game? I don't want to do that. Do I want success or do I want to honor God? And if I humble myself, am I really humbling myself?

I have been nudged to write on my blog again, though. For a few weeks, I had a consistently higher page view count than previously. I should give the viewers new material, I thought, as I sat in a trance in the evening with Facebook. I imagined a short story about escaping Facebook Land, but didn't write it at the time. I may yet. No promises, do I make.

The last post was fun. It came as I walked on the first day of summer. I wondered what I would do with the first few words, where would they go? You may see them or something similar again in a novel. They opened in my head, a scene for my sequel, Walking with Eternity, yet, again, that must be written.

I decided to take my time with posting, too. I will write them and let them sit a few days, editing and tweaking and holding my breath, before I hit “publish.”

Transparency, I hope I always had. I know now, I can't go on without it. I crawl out of my bomb shelter after examining the risk of being branded and losing potential readers. I hope in the process, I will be clear with my words, gaining readers, instead.
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