In spite of what my many misadventures might lead you to believe, I’m actually a pretty smart person with a lot of advanced training in broad metaphysical considerations. I’m trained to think diligently and well, and to engage meaningfully with the thought of others. Sure I was recently humiliated by grass, but in my defense I wasn’t trying to have a conversation with it. Had the grass been willing to talk, we would have gotten on fine.
Ever since I started my blog, one of the topics I’ve wrestled with is how to be a worthy Christian in this arena. Being a worthy Christian in any arena is challenging–I’m not trying to suggest that dabbling in the internet has made me special–but I’m not in most others. I’m in this one. It’s important to me that I be in it in a way worthy of Christ.
Given that goal, I suppose it might seem odd that I mostly choose to present myself as the target of my own jokes, the victim/author of endless hijinks. On the one hand people might say it’s disrespectful, that if this shows what I think of Christ, I don’t take him seriously enough. On the other hand people might call me frivolous and denounce me for wasting the time I could use to evangelize or at least to talk about the Bible.
Those aren’t criticisms that I mull over however; the answer seems obvious. Christ is the reason I can laugh at myself and at my life, the hope that gets me through failure and difficulty. Spreading the humor is my testimony. If I can make people laugh, I’m sharing with them what was given to me, and showing them what God can offer them.
Also, it’s fun. I like to think that Christ appreciated fun. After all, not only did he go to a wedding–marriage can be serious and important, but weddings are exclusively about celebration and merriment–he kept the party going after it had already lasted a while. Even better, not only did he keep the party going, he stepped it up a notch.
In fact, I think that Christianity is the best and most effective fount of joie de vivre. I posted about this at Easter; Christianity is good news. I’ll go a step further here; in Christianity life is funny. If you’re a Christian who doesn’t find that a lot of life is a bit wacky, I’m pretty sure that you’re doing either Christianity or life wrong.
So I haven’t wrestled with how to write Christian posts; I may not do it perfectly, but I like to think that God chuckles along with them. What concerns me, perplexes me, and occasionally keeps me up at night is comments. When do I leave them? How do I leave them? What do I say? I spend nearly as much time on each comment that I leave as I do on my posts, even though my comments are seldom more than a sentence or two. I can spend that much time and not leave a comment too, because I couldn’t figure out how.
As an example, what do I do when I read a well articulated post defending Agnosticism, or discover a blog about a girl experimenting with paganism? I know that I’m supposed to be loving toward these people, and I desperately want to be, but it’s complicated. Love is complicated.
On the one hand, it’s respectful, sincere, and generous. On the other it’s unwavering, unapologetic, and insistent. It’s hard to be both. In my experience, a lot of Christians don’t try. They tend toward one of two extremes: I’ll call them the coward and the jerk, with the coward exclusively waving the first hand, and the jerk exclusively hitting people with the second.
The coward doesn’t help anyone. If I believe that Christianity is true, then it’s a truth that people desperately need to hear, even if they find it unpleasant. I’m not in a position to compromise on its elements or to reevaluate it based on changing cultural values. It isn’t my truth; it’s just truth. I don’t get to control it; I just get to accept it or reject it. Christianity says that people are better off accepting the truth than rejecting it. If I hide it from them because I don’t want to be seen as intolerant, they never get the chance to accept it.
The jerk doesn’t help anyone either. Yes, the notion of truth supposes that certain people can be right and others wrong, and yes, Christians claim to be among the right people, but that’s nothing to be proud about. Our entire religion is predicated on the notion that we were wrong so often and so egregiously that God finally decided to save us independent of our efforts. The problem that the jerk runs up against is he delivers the truth in a manner so derogatory that it’s completely devoid of the pure, all encompassing love which underpins Christianity’s central tenets. So, while he hasn’t compromised his faith and values, he’s also not communicated them.
I worry about how to find the place in the middle where Christ is. Maybe I worry too much, because I usually end up leaving no comments whatsoever, but I don’t want to be a bad experience for someone who probably already has other bad experiences with Christians.
When I come up with a solution to this, I’ll let you know.