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Getting Naked

randomlychad  —  August 2, 2012 — 8 Comments

Here is the contradiction of being me, something I must confess honestly:

I have no problem sharing foibles, flaws, and failings here, you see,

But you all I can’t see, thus in that sense, it’s easy,

But where the rubber meets the road, in the getting naked at home,

I’m failing miserably.

Will you pray for my wife and me?

Finally Free

randomlychad  —  July 26, 2012 — 11 Comments

Today, my friend Larry Carter, posted a brilliant piece on being a “dangerous Christian blogger.” In it, he discusses what it means to be dangerous, and gives Jon Acuff as example of dangerous.

Jon is apparently dangerous because he lovingly polks fun at the funny things we do in the name of Christ via satire.

Larry mentions that good satire is hard to do. This is true–I’ve tried a time, or two, and have fallen flat on my proboscisly–enhanced face. Because satire is not my forte.

If I’m at all honest, I’ve tried more times than I care to admit to be (like):

Jon Acuff

Bryan Allain

Paul Johnson (the Good Greatsby)

And others

Problem is, the world being neither wants, nor needs, any more of these fine men. Because it, and God, only require one thing: that I be me.

And only one thing of you, too:

Authenticity.

The funny thing about that, being the opposite side of the proverbial coin, is that authenticity shares one thing in common with posturing:

It’s off-putting. It’s threatening.

Oh, not to those who are looking for it–no, for them it resonates, it’s a cold drink on a hot day.

But it’s threatening to the establishment, to the structures which thrive on rules. If there is one that’s surprised me the most since becoming a Christian, it’s how threatened the establishment is by simple truth.

By authenticity.

And that plasticity suffocates. We wonder why the younger generation has no interest in the church–it’s because we’re so afraid to get real.

Cookie cutter Christianity does no favors for anyone. We need to ask ourselves:

“Are we winning people to our point(s) of view, or winning souls to Christ?” We need to take a good, hard, long look at what we’re about.

Are we being real who God called each of us to be, are we copying someone else, or God forbid are we doing something because “That’s the way it’s always been done?”

If asking these questions makes me a dangerous Christian blogger, then so be it–I’ll be dangerous.

But only because it flows out from within, from who I am inside. Know this though: I don’t claim such a name for myself–I don’t feel dangerous.

In fact, don’t call me dangerous–because I just feel like me. But if that’s dangerous, then so be it–I embrace it.

Because when I’m not trying be someone else, I’m finally free. Free to be the best me I can be. In the immortal words of Forrest Gump: “dangerous is as dangerous does.”

How about you? Are you dangerous? Are you free? Free to be the you God made you to be?

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Are You On Fakebook?
      In twenty-plus years of following the Lord, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in the church. I’m speaking of our “fakeness.” And we must like it very much, because we’re so good at it. I’m sure you’ve at least observed this, or been party to it. You know the drill—running late on a Sunday morning, trying to get the family to church: you unload with both barrels. Your shell-shocked family doesn’t know what hit them. Strangely enough, when you get to church, it’s all:
“How are you, brother so-and-so? Sister so-and-so?”
“Praise the Lord, brother, I’m great! This is a wonderful Lord’s day, isn’t it?”
“Why, it sure is. Isn’t Jesus grand?”
“So grand I don’t even have words.”
“Isn’t that the truth? See you in service.”
“See you in service.”
And so it goes.
Sadly, there’s great reason for this: experience has taught us that others don’t want us to be real. You may have witnessed, or been part of yourself, a conversation like the following:
“Happy Lord’s day, brother/sister so-and-so! How are you this fine day?”
“Not so great—Missy and I had a fight this morning.”
“Oh, is that so? Well, er, um, uh… I think I see my little Johnny throttling Miss Baker, the Sunday school teacher. Nice talking to you. Gotta run.” And so it goes.
Unfortunately, there’s a great pressure in the church to appear like we’ve got it all together, that things are going well, our kids are behaving, that walking with Jesus always makes everything better in the here-and-now. After all, what would the pastor think of us? (We forget that “in this world you will have tribulation.” Not a promise that we like to claim, but it’s there nonetheless).
At some point, the “fakeness” becomes ingrained, second nature—so we take it online. To the first church of fakeness: Fakebook. I’m sure you’ve been there. If you’re a Christian at all, then it’s got to be one of your favorite places on the Internet. Wanna connect with old friends? Fakebook. School buddies? Fakebook. Wanna know how the pastor spent his day off? Fakebook. But for goodness’ sake don’t forget the unwritten rule: thou shalt not be “real.” You can’t forget that one: it’s the cardinal rule of not just Fakebook, but all of our relationships. But I’m sure you—just as I have—in a moment of weakness, when, you know, life was pressing down on you, you lifted the veil, dropped your mask for a moment, got real, and posted your struggles online for your friends to see. And what did you get in return? Silence. So quiet in fact that you could hear the sound of your kid’s navel-gazing from downstairs. What gives? People don’t know what to do with reality, are intimidated by it. In contrast, try the following: post something trivial, stupid, goofy—something that doesn’t really get to the heart of who you are—and watch all the friends you haven’t spoken to, or seen in five years, come out of the woodwork to share their scintillating wit. I have seen this time-and-time-again. It’s because Fakebook is a microcosm of our plasticity—symptom of our inability to be real in our churches, or in our real lives. Fakebook: a place for lying to friends. A place of pseudo-community. If you want honesty, try Squeaker instead—I hear it’s far easier to be honest with strangers there (the “Squeakstream”is laden with all kinds of confessions) than it is with friends on Fakebook.
I’ll leave you with this: are you on Fakebook?