Friday, September 23, 2011
'Tis A Very Thin Line
No matter which way I look at it...I can turn it right side up or wrong side down....er, yea...but no matter how I ended up looking at it, things seem a bit more complex then I ever would have imagined. I'm walking A Very THIN LINE...
I'm especially walking a thin line when it comes to writing about my spiritual life here on Shell Shock Serenade. So...I'll explain why I feel this way and why it's such an important matter to me from a honesty and transparency point of view.
In the past, one of my favorite RANTS against Christians...that time honored favorite, was that they were hypocrites. They distorted the truth, they promoted a false image of piety and they stood in direct judgement of others, using public humiliation, fear and guilt as a "weapon" to keep their "flock" towing the company line.
When I became a Christian, I realized that there certainly were people who called themselves Christians who met this judgemental criteria...as did people from every single other walk of life as well because let's face it: us human beings are kinda flawed!. As a matter of fact, I discovered for myself that most Christians were not at all like this unflattering stereotype...In reality, they are very far from it.
But I realized that if I was going to identify myself as a Christian, especially here on a public blog...that I had better be straight forward and honest. I could not risk the credibility I had earned in writing over 700 blog posts at that time that were open and honest about who and what I was as a human being: flaws and all. I could not afford to come across as hypocritical. Which brings me to the reason for this post and the concerns that I have. It is an important matter for me because it is something that I certainly would have been on the lookout for before I was saved.
I became a Christian in late January of this year, 2011. And it was a genuine and powerful spiritual experience. As a Christian, I believe that I am filled with the Holy Spirit which drives my faith and belief, helps me in my quest to be a better, more godly person, to learn and grow in the WORD of GOD and in many other areas of life. I don't have a lot of control over this...I feel in my heart and soul like a drowning man who was saved...so now I understand why Christians have used that term because I genuinely feel SAVED, pulled back at the last second from sure destruction....
Therefore I tend to be rather enthusiastic about this new found faith and belief. It is natural to want to share how I feel with others...I really want people I care about, really everybody I know and yea, even those I don't know to feel the power, serenity, strength and LOVE of God just like I do. if you truly felt SAVED from the depths of hopelessness, loneliness and despair...wouldn't YOU want to share it?!
Well this enthusiastic feeling presented me with a dilemma, a rather difficult dilemma. One of the reasons, shoot the MAIN reason I write this blog is to share my life's story, day by day as it is happening. I do this to help anyone who may be reading this that may be struggling with similar issues. Whether they are a rape survivor, an addict/alcoholic or just lonely and fearful. By trying to help others through my sharing, it helps me continue to live a sober, productive life. This is the real meat of the matter, the main reason why I continue to do it...
It is a well-known fact and my story also corroborates this, that people who are victems of rape, addicts and alcoholics tend to be suspicious of other peoples intentions. We do NOT trust folks, plain and simple. A lot of us have real issues with religion or the notion of GOD as well. I sure did.
My dilemma is if this becomes solely a Christian orientated blog, full of hard hitting scripture, quotes from theologians and other valid and interesting spiritual stuff...it is likely that most addict alcoholics will tune it out. They most definately will...I have absolutely no doubt about it. I can't really live with that thought...I care to much about people and I really don't want anyone who has taken the time to read Shell Shock regularly in the past and perhaps relate to it to stop because of a major content change.
On the other hand I feel like I have to be very careful about mis-representing myself, coming across as a hypocrite. Because I am a Christian, I do strongly believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. So how do I represent both sides fairly without alienating anyone? The answer, sadly is you don't...someone isn't going to like it and will bail. There isn't much I can do about that...But is it possible to find some middle ground and not lose the true meaning of the blog in the process? I believe it is but still...
Christians will be upset because I'm "holding back" and not totally flying the flag, so to speak and addicts who are atheists or agnostics will accuse me of watering down the message while I try and "trick" folks into believing in Jesus. It is going to be a difficult task, no doubt about it?
Truly it is a no win situation...or is it? So this is what I've decided to do: I've already started by writing this post right here...I am laying this stuff out right here and now so that anyone who wants to know what I am about can know the whole story. I will continue to write much as I have been writing already...certainly admitting and discussing my Christian beliefs and how they fit into my daily life. But this blog will not become, at least I don't believe it will a hard core Christian site. The focus will be the entire scope of my life including: recovery, family, coping, sports and my spiritual life among many other areas.
I think reaching out to my fellow addict/alcoholics and rape survivors who are sceptical about God is just too important, it's an obligation really, to just discard it. I think it is critical that people know that an addict/rape survivor who hated God and religion like me, can find HIM too and guess what? He loves us just like everyone else! I think that is far too important a teaching to just ignore.
I realize that people on both sides of this dilemma will be disappointed in me or that at least the potential is there for them to be disappointed. I just hope that folks who know me well enough, see that my heart is truly in this and I am completely committed and sincere. I truly feel led by God in this and that is why it was important for me to come out and write this post today.
As always, I welcome your comments and would really love to hear from anyone about this or anything else we cover here on Shell Shock Serenade.
Dear Reader...please know I will never hide the fact that I am but a mere man...certainly prone to making mistakes but also know I do the very best I can when I am writing and working on Shell Shock Serenade. I endeavour to share my life's story as openly and honestly as I can that God may use it in any way possible to help others.
I am an open book, I realize that particularly with addicts/alcoholics and rape victims, that peoples lives are at risk...because people die or kill themselves over these issues every single day...it is a harrowing and heart-breaking story, every single time that it happens. I tried to kill myself for the very same reason yet somehow, I survived...and I believe to the depths of my Soul that I was given a reprieve to do this work I am doing here today: Sharing my story openly, witnessing to the Power, Love and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and just simply be here to attest to the fact that no matter how hopeless things seem to be...that things can change...often in an instant! That it is true indeed, all things are possible...In HIM.
(Painting by Winslow Homer)