Every now and then I am faced with the fact that I am not as good a person as I want to think I am. I had that happen to me recently. I read a book by Rachel Held Evans called "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" In the book she tells the of how she spent a year trying to live by the standards of being a Proverbs 31 wife. Mrs. Evans comes from an Evangelical background where the concept of being a Christian woman is to be a stay at home wife and mother. Many of the conflicts she was dealing with are not a part of my Presbyterian background, but I understood them since our circle tends to study books written by evangelicals. The book is funny and really helped me think about clarify my personal feelings about the role of women in relationship to Christ. I recommend the book to anyone who wants to think about the role of a woman as a Christian.
However, that is not what I wanted to write about today. After I read the book, I started reading Rachel Held Evans blog http://rachelheldevans.com. She asks serious questions and a lot of smart people discuss them. I had always stayed away from Christian bloggers because of the whole monolithic nature of so many these good folks, and they are good folks. I started reading some of the people linked to her and was amazed at the ideas out there. One of the ones I had been playing with in my own mind was often stated on these blogs. That point is that we are as Christians are getting so wound up in the rules of the old testament and statements of the writers after Christ, that we stop thinking about what Christ actually said and did. If Christ came to make everything new again, why do we cling to Old Testament ideas? If Paul was writing to people about problems specific to their location and time, why do some of us refuse to extrapolate the concepts by relating issues to modern life. My blog is not one that is out there in the public realm for people to comment and discuss. That is obvious when you see my lack of readers. I can't argue about this because I am still seeking answers and you already know where I am standing right now, so as a dearly missed former pastor used to say, "Save your cards and letters folks". Anyone who argued with me would not win me over and I surely won't convince anyone of anything.
Moving along, I still haven't gotten to what I was going to write about in the first place. A couple of blogs I visited were interesting in that the stories being told were about families leaving churches that had bullied them because they would not conform to the beliefs of the congregation. One woman was a blogger who had been discussing topics that bothered her. This woman was good and her self conversation invited comments from others and became popular. The minister of her church actually called her and her husband in and told them she had to stop because she was asking questions they didn't want to discuss. That concept is an whole universe away from my experience. But her story got me thinking about bullying.
Bullying is a huge concern today,and is primarily focused children and young people. This is where the focus should be since the young are the most vulnerable. But our modern society allows so many avenues for people to abuse and control others without even being in the same room. Look at Face book during the last election, people were being rude to folks that were supposedly friends just because their politics did not match up. Some have gone so far as to continue to be abusive while playing the victim card. While I don't believe I got to that point, I realized that I had fallen into a habit of associating with bullies.
For quite a while I had been reading a smack blog about the world of scrapbooking. When it started it was more of a gossip page about a scandal going on in the industry. Over time, it has wandered time and again into personal attacks on people. I didn't know these folks and mostly skipped over it looking for scrap news. I have to say that some of the smackees became people I followed or purchased from. Not necessarily the result expected. Some people did deserve it, but was I doing the right thing by reading this?
By way of the first blog, I found another blog that discusses anyone who blogs on the internet that captures attention for saying or doing things the smack blog finds questionable. Once again, these people often have valid criticisms, but time and again, "mean girls and guys" take over. Again, even though I don't post, should I be aiding them with page views?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that if I am going to attempt to be more Christ-like I need to separate myself from spreading a negative view of others. I cannot become a better person by only reading negative things about other people. For that reason I decided to quit reading those blogs. I feel good about the decision and will move on from there.
Here is where the gray area is for me. I am not going to rip those blogs because good things have come from both of them. People were called out on bad decisions and immoral actions. Should the blogs exist? I think so. Should I personally read them? No.
In my final assessment of this whole idea, I am going to eliminate a negative from my life which I hope will allow me to be more of what God intended me to be. I am telling my story in the hope that someone else might find a link to what they need to change their life for the better. No preaching just doing.
In Christ's Love.