I've been in a bit of a back and forth with a couple of friends, and we're asking, [tweetherder text="What would you write if you wrote unafraid? #WriteUnafraid"]"what would you write if you wrote unafraid?”[/tweetherder] Perhaps a more universal way of stating the proposition (so it applies not only to writers) is this: [tweetherder text="What would you say if you could cut the crap? #WriteUnafraid"]what would you say if you could cut the crap?[/tweetherder] It’s crass; I know. But it’s the sort of question that begs honesty--maybe too much honesty. I've been considering the question, really pondering it. I’ve been asking whether I hold back too much, or whether I write what I think folks would rather hear, or whether I’m namby-pamby with my words. If there’s anything I’d rather not be, it’s namby-pamby, so last night I wrote out my truth and posted it on my Facebook page.
My two cents went something like this:
If I were unafraid, I'd write that I'm weary of circumnavigating the revolving door of issues fed to us by the twenty-four hour news cycle. The tyranny of the urgent strikes lightning quick, sparks a flash fire of concern that sweeps across every social channel--CNN, Fox News, Facebook, Twitter. I’m a consumer (and sometimes a producer) in those cultural channels, so I react, spend my social capital on the tragedy du jour, the politics of the day, or the fad of the season. Sometimes I give the appearance of caring without caring much at all. Refugees, minority rights, genocide, terrorism, conservative/liberal politics--they're all subject to my whimsical feigned furiousness. Facebook posts, tweets, perhaps an article or two—I might spin yarns about my concern for the martyred, malnourished, or mistreated though I am functionally ignorant of the circumstances. Hoping to be first out of the blocks, I go to where the people are and shout, "here I am; listen to my opinion," or "check out how informed I am.”
Truth is, I too often care more about the appearance of concern than I do the condition of my capacity to give love or otherwise accept it. Too often my reactions to the news of the day are simply that—reactions. Too often I don’t approach the pressing social issues of our generation with the sobriety of spirit born only in quiet prayer and mediation. And so, I find myself bouncing from one issue to the next, never making an impact in any of them, notwithstanding the occasional fifty spot I might funnel through a donation website.
I'm a tennis ball Christian. Watch me bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce. Watch me entertain, or hope to entertain.
If I were writing unafraid, I'd ask the church this: are we still enough to notice where the Spirit blows? Are we stopping long enough to examine our motives—especially as it relates to social justice issues—to reflect on the whether we're living from the deep well of love or the shallow well of the cool? I'd ask whether we know our neighbors, whether we care to know our new neighbors.
And to those who are living it out good-and-proper, who are paving the way of social concern and justice with genuine spiritual love? I'd beg them to keep showing us how its done. Keep working from the well of contemplation and teach us how to love well, without return. Teach us the Godward path.
And after all of that what would I write? I think I'd write that I want a bowl of Lucky Charms, and I'd call it a night.