Need for authenticity
I want to avoid a tendency that often happens in Christian circles, for people to be “fake” and pretend everything is hunky-dory– and for “outsiders” to the body of believers to get the mistaken impression that either all Christians “have it all together” and don’t have problems with sins of multiple types– or that all of them are fake, ridiculous pretenders who are hypocrites that don’t deserve to be taken seriously.
The following paragraph from John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul” has a good paragraph on page 55 about this phenomenon of Christian “posers” at church:
That sort of thing goes on Sunday mornings, its just a different set of rules. Dave runs into Bob in the church lobby. Both are wearing their happy faces, though neither is happy at all. “Hey Bob, how are ya?” Bob is actually furious at his wife and ready to leave her, but he says, “Great, just great, Dave. The Lord is good!” Dave, on the other hand, hasn’t believed in the goodness of God for years, ever since his daughter was killed. “Yep– God is good, all the time. I’m just so glad to be here, praising the Lord.” “Me too. Well, I’ll be praying for you!” I would love to see a tally of the nubmers of prayers actually prayed against the number of prayers promised. I bet its about one in a thousand. “And I’ll be praying for you too. Well, gotta go! You take care.” “Take care” is our way of saying, “I’m done with this conversation and I want to get out of here but I don’t want to appear rude so I’ll say something that sounds meaningful and caring,” but in truth, Dave doesn’t give a rip about Bob.
There can often be a large amount of truth in what Eldredge is saying here. Many, many people are very sincere in the church, and I am not generalizing to everyone– but I do think this issue of “posing” is something we should acknowledge and address.
A Christian blog is a very interesting thing– even an experimental thing. This is the first “Christian blog” I’ve ever written for. No one taught me how to do this, or what the rules are. Because the rules are being socially negotiated constantly, I think. I wanted to write this post because I want people to know that from where I sit (which I acknowledge is a very limited frame) I think we have a strong need in our face to face as well as virtual interactions to be authentic. That won’t mean I’m going to blog about every problem and difficulty I’m having or have had. But it does mean I want to be honest and forthright at all times, and not give someone the impression that I have all the answers and have it all together. I certainly don’t. That is a primary reason why I want to write about and continually work on my own journey of faith.
Whatever your struggle, whatever your triumph, it is not too small or too insignificant to keep entirely to yourself and not share with someone else. Maybe not on a blog, but certainly with a friend and hopefully with other believers. As believers we are the body of Christ, and we’re called to support one another and hold each other up. I think we are also called to be honest and authentic.