Well, the great thing about blogs is that you have the wonderful opportunity to meet and converse with people whom you would never have the opportunity to hang with IRL (or, in real life, as I've recently learned). You come together because of any number of commonalities. I visit blogs of brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I am trying to share "the adventure that Aslan sends," as it were. Our main commonality is devotion to Christ as Lord and a desire to love God and love others--living the Jesus Creed, as Scot McKnight would say. (BTW, I get my connection to the wilder world through my amazing brother, Matt Stone...thanks, Matt!)
And this is a really, really great thing that blogs do. Really great!
The challenge, as always, is the loving of others who are, well, other. As in, not like me. In my case that would be the vast majority of people I meet IRL, much less on the Net....
So, the worst thing about blogs is how easy it is to disconnect when the "honeymoon" is over. When the struggle to stay connected begins to make your stomach churn as your "otherness" really starts showing. You face the moment of truth when you wonder whether your blog buddies will ditch you when they get to know the real you.
Sigh...and we thought this was over after getting through middle school...or high school...or after we got married...or after the kids are in school all day, or with your new small group or church or pastor. Whatever....you fill in the blank__________________.
Nope. None of the challenges of risky relational transparency are ever over...as long as there are still people around. Last time I checked, that still applied to me. And so I am left with the same old dilemma: what am I going to do about it?
This is my starting list of things to do:
- If I want to be heard, I'm going to have to really learn the lessons about listening.
- If I want to be understood, I'm going to have to do a better job of thinking about what I mean and saying it plainly and clearly--no jargon, no assumptions, no generalizations.
- If I want to be part of the solution, I'm going to have to choose not to be part of the problem.
In my book it's a failure to speak truth in love. Speaking my best understanding of what the truth of any given topic or situation is in a way that is respectful of the view of the other. Speaking in a tone that will allow others to hear me long enough to choose to really listen. Inviting feedback so that I can ensure that what I mean is what is being understood. Asking clarifying questions that show I really want to understand. Restraining myself from engaging in any and all forms of reactionary assumption or judgment or sterotyping...as well as sarcasm that targets a precious Eikon/bearer of the very image of God.
More lessons of the Purple Martyrdom, I guess...and a reminder from MO Blogger Andrew about the reality of owning the name The Ugly Blogger. I told him in Seabeck that I was struck by his chapter (with that very name) in the Wikiklesia Project's Volume One. It was a private moment for confession to him that I make public here: I, too, have been The Ugly Blogger. And Andrew, I'm hoping you will forgive me for the tinge of it that showed on your blog yesterday. I will learn this lesson in restraint...I will! Thank you for being a person of shalom.
But I choose to step away from those images. (You really do need to get this book and read it--lots of great insights from a wide variety of authors. Click on the Wikiklesia link in the sidebar.) I want all that I am and have and say and do to bring glory, not shame, to my Lord.
Now that I have my own blog, I need to say the things that define who I am and what I am about here in my space and in my time and according to my outline...and quit blog-clogging elsewhere. (Except, of course, at Alan's TFW blog...I am free to be me here and there!)
...so if you're interested in what The Abbess thinks and does, know that you are welcome to journey here in safety--well, the kind of safety that comes from speaking the truth in love, that is. Safe to listen and be listened to...to be and to allow...to learn and to teach.
But beware of Aslan...while not always "safe," he is always good. And the "Lucy" in me always wants to answer his call to follow--even if no one else can see or hear him.