Ok. So I'm going to try and be really, really honest with this post today. Not that I'm a blog liar, but I do feel like I hold back a little bit when I'm writing, because I'm afraid that certain people who might read my blog and actually know me in real life (all four of you) might be offended if I lay all my cards on the table. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I read some blogs and think "Yikes! They're going to regret putting that down in the near future." After all, our blogs are not our diaries, though some people treat them like they are. Some things should be saved in our heads and hearts and not uttered.
But I've been thinking about this all week. A while ago, I'm not sure when, Donald Miller wrote a post that was a bit inflammatory for some folks. He talked about how the church can sometimes stifle creativity. My first thought when I read his post was "Easy there, Don." Criticizing the church does not win fans. But then I read it again. And I think I agree with him.
The thing is, the church isn't bad and we shouldn't go out to intentionally offend fellow church members in the name of creativity. There are some people who do that. I can't stand that kind of behavior - the whole "I think I'm going to cuss in a song because I'm a radical Christian" (Derek Webb - I'm speaking to you) or "I can't call myself a Christian, because that is so 2000 and late. I have to find another title." That stuff irritates me to no end. It's navel gazing and it's annoying.
I'm talking about the fact that we hesitate to be real people because we're afraid of criticism from our church. We don't speak honestly about anything. We don't talk or write about sex and alcohol because good Christians aren't supposed to struggle with those things. We pretend we don't know all the words to that Lady Gaga song on the radio because she was scantily clad in the video, and that surely means we're a step away from hell. We don't admit that we're unhappy in our secure jobs, and we certainly don't pursue that other career that we daydream about while we're at our secure jobs.
I'm reading a book right now that speaks of the fact that being a Christian means living in constant tension. There's always going to be a struggle between being in the world, but not of the world. How transparent can we be without being stumbling blocks? If we're not transparent enough, that can be a stumbling block, too.
I've been having a lot of conversations with my best friend about this gnawing feeling that we both have that we just want more. Of what? I don't know. God. Life. Honesty. Love. Creativity. Knowledge. Something. We're both 30, and dealing with frustration because we feel we're meant for more. To quote Switchfoot, "we were made to live for so much more," and I'm feeling that this year more than ever.
I don't think God wants me to use my faith as an excuse for not being what He wants me to be. Could I make some church enemies by being creatively honest? Maybe. Probably. But should it stop me? Does it make me selfish to try? That's the question. That's the struggle. That's the tension.