Some readers of this blog will know that I’ve sometimes had a dilemma over whether to include Christian postings here (being a Christian) or to leave them to a separate blog entirely?
The original intention with Somewhere Amazing was simply to describe and share those times and places where I’ve found hope and encouragement on many different levels. From that point of view, posts should be shareable from SA regardless of whether they mention Christian things or none at all.
However, I fully understand that blogging on religion can limit readership and put people off, and indeed gain attention from other Christian blogs, not all of which I’d want to be associated with (I’m talking here about Christian sites with beliefs so bizarre and attitudes so aggressive that I’d be embarrassed to be associated with them).
There have been times when I’ve been on the verge of publishing specifically Christian thoughts but have held back because I’ve known that might alienate some people. I have thought long and hard about this and decided that’s okay. Some postings may well put some people off but I think it may draw others too, hopefully listen and maybe interact and mutually grow.
Its my own fault I’ve felt in a dilemma really, as I started with two blogs but I don’t really have time for two now and sometimes even one is difficult to make time for as circumstances change. Not all my SA postings are directly Christian, but because I am a Christian, even those which never mention God, Jesus, or any other such words, will have theological underpinnings. Everything anyone says inevitably has pre-conditioned underpinnings. I am fine with that. If someone wants to read a specifically Christian posting, great, if it puts others off, that’s regrettable but an unfortunate consequence which I’ll accept.
I am not, I don’t think, a religious nut case or mad person or such like. I’ve been through phases in my life where I’ve been a right wee Holy Joe evangelist, trying to convert anything that moved (just ask the dog!). I’ve been through times when I have, to my shame, been too forceful in thinking I could get someone to accept what I believe by simply repeating my argument in stronger and stronger terms. If I’ve done that with anyone, I apologise. God never forces His views on anyone, He gives us all a brain and presents us all with His views and we are free to think about them and accept or reject as we desire. If we try to argue via force and aggression then we’ve already lost the argument and may have done damage to someone else’s view of the Christian faith which may take years to mend, if at all. I strongly believe that any and all Christian debate and discussion should be rational, reasonable and fair minded and should try to understand an opposing viewpoint as well as your own. To be aggressive and forceful with your views is both a disservice to the God in whose name you speak, and totally counter-productive to the message you’re trying to convey.
I realise there are plenty of Christians and Christian groups ‘out there’ who are shouty, weird, verging on a lunatic fringe at times (apologies if you’re in those groups), but I hope I’m not one of them. Part of the problem is that nowadays, merely saying something like “I believe in Jesus” or “I don’t agree with this or that” in a normal non-argumentative tone and in a completely rational way, is enough to have you labelled as a God botherer or Bible basher or some other such term. Its like someone simply saying they’re Muslim and others immediately labelling them as terrorists to extremists and immediately being suspicious of them. Its an over reaction and vast generalisation (unless you have evidence to the contrary, and that goes for Christians too). I don’t agree with the Muslim faith, but simply saying you are Christian, or Muslim, shouldn’t have you immediately labelled in a derogatory way. I don’t agree with atheism and I don’t agree with many political parties but to descend into a slanging match by default, is distinctly unChristian (what I call being an unChristian Christian) and again, counter-productive.
I’ve been warned that being explicitly Christian could bring interest from spammers or cult like people etc who may try to latch onto my blog. If that happens then I will do my level best to latch them right off again. But, as long as I am saying something in a reasonable and non aggressive way then I won’t choose to ‘not’ saying something because of the fear of either spammers coming my way or turning an audience away. Let those who wish to listen, listen, and if some don’t want to or are put off then I respect that. I do appreciate advice though, it makes you think and react and hopefully grow where otherwise you may not.
I have a twitter account and I have had the same issue there, not knowing whether to be Christian or ‘neutral’ or what. There are many Christians, on twitter and facebook (which I use much less these days) and WordPress who, frankly, I wouldn’t want to be associated with as I view their opinions as, sometimes well meant, but so ‘out there’ and antagonistic that it embarrasses me as a Christian and, as I keep saying, it makes their whole argument counter-productive anyway.
I follow and am followed by Christians, atheists, those of some faith and none. Being a Christian doesn’t mean quoting the Bible every sentence, it doesn’t mean shoving God at people every other second (although, again, sometimes simply saying “I believe in God” is enough to have you labelled as someone who imposes their faith on others). I hate swearing and I don’t follow people who swear excessively, although I accept the odd expletive here and there. Its a bit like friends ‘in the flesh’, if I refused to listen to friends who swear then I’d lose a few very good friends. Its part of life. But that’s another topic.
So to cut what could have been a short story very long, I will incorporate Christian thoughts into Somewhere Amazing, not all the time but as I see fit, and if some don’t want to follow or like or whatever then I respect that choice. But it will be me, being me, which is very important.
Being Christian doesn’t mean quoting God every minute, God is enjoyed and experienced through art and music and books and stories and cartoons and life experiences and nature etc. In so many places where the word ‘God’ is never mentioned.
For Christians, onwards and Godwards.
For Christians and everyone else, onwards and upwards
ps. my chest feels alot lighter with all that off it, thanks very much.
Thanks for reading.