Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fun facts and false starts

I am tired tonight, which is never an ideal state in which to attempt to think thoughts. But I’ve been tired kind of this entire calendar year, so I’m just going to roll with it. 

The practice (for better and worse, I think) of vulnerability has been on my mind a lot lately. When I consider what matters most to me, a certain insistence on openness ranks right up there among several prized ideals, if I’m being honest. And it’s been important to me for a long time.

I remember the strong obligation I felt early on to share my faith, to “Tell The Truth,” as the rather direct title of one evangelism training manual urged me in youth group. I also remember how I despised the competing internal hesitation I felt about inviting a sweet friend at Sears, where I worked part-time in high school, to church. A great and utterly unremarkable battle waged in my soul. But now you know. And I do think it may have had a lot to do with a genuine desire (along with ego, of course) to have nothing to hide, to be consistent, to be as real as I could possibly be.

That same insistence on honesty and integrity has (surprise!) become quite a bit more fraught as an adult.

In my twenties, an unexpected loss of confidence in the idea that the scriptures I loved were infallible, the only rule for faith and life, shook me to my core. I couldn’t affirm the idea of Jesus as the “only way” the more I saw the wide variety of lives being lived in good faith. (This is a wayyy-abridged version of the journey. But I am getting off track here.)

Anyway, instead of politely and undramatically putting myself away quietly from the church, I was pretty (stupidly?) open about it. At the time (and even now), there seemed a necessity to it. I had been open about and invested in my evangelical faith, and so I should be open about losing it, about grappling with it and finding, also, that I was still loved, still here, that things would be all right.

While I still think about the big questions of existence and eternity now and then (and will probably never not be still just a little afraid of hell, incidentally {thanks, Jonathan Edwards!}), the things I rattle on about more often these days in my head and, yes, online, are usually more…earthly and mundane, I guess you’d say. This crazy election year, for instance.

But this creates new problems for those of us who pride ourselves on “being vulnerable,” those of us who long ago relinquished the right to ever start a status update with “I don’t usually post much or get political on here, but…”.

I sometimes (meta-narcissistically!) fret that I post far too much, from cat pictures and bike stuff to links and rants. And I worry that something is seriously wrong with me for occasionally morphing into this frantically typing feline.

Well, there is a lot wrong with me. And I do seem to have a lot to say. But I also really enjoy seeing what others have to say and share, and I’m grateful for windows into the lives and opinions and experience of family, friends and acquaintances.

Then again it’s a mess (social media in particular…and sorry, this is the worst topic ever, make this post stop please). I don’t know. True confession, while we’re being vulnerable: Today I wanted to yell-comment on one of many posts equating my party’s flawed-but-experienced-and-intelligent-and-non-catastrophic candidate with arguably the most appalling nominee in our nation’s history that pluralism is not the same as persecution and that HRC is not Nebuchadnezzar or Hitler (P.S. #ImWithHer, P.P.S. #ImAlsoNotTheFirstHemphillToSupportAClintonJustFYI).

But I did not. I saved it for my blog. ;-) G’nite.