I don’t like to think of myself as having a fear of commitment; let’s just say that I like to keep my options open. I like to play it safe. I like to act with… discernment. Still, being the complicated creature that I am, even I know that my “wisdom” often masks private fears and allows me to avoid things that make me uncomfortable.
One way this has expressed itself at SAL is that I have purposefully chosen a tone that is uplifting, reflective, and non-controversial. In a world where a lot of blogs (even Christian ones) are driven by debate and real-time responses, I wanted to hollow out a different kind of space. A place of thoughtful reflection, a place of quiet, a place where light could gently filter through the shadows.
And yet, if I am honest with myself, there was another reason that I took this approach as well.
Those of you who have known me for any length of time know that I can quickly become opinionated, obnoxious, and aggressive with my views. (Meaning, mine should be yours.) It has taken me a long time to understand this about myself and a much longer time to learn how to let the Spirit control my responses. So when I began to think about blogging, one of my first concerns was whether it would unleash the beast in me and lead straight back to that tenser, angrier version of myself.
Another thing that I was worried about (and something that took me equally long to figure out in my life) is that people don’t generally like it when you're opinionated. So if you do have strong views and vocalize them as strongly, you are essentially taking a red marker to your shirt and drawing a bulls-eye on it. These fears—both of my own tendencies and whether people would accept my opinions—have led me to want to avoid controversy altogether. In life and on the blog. And so, except for a few notable exceptions, that’s what I’ve done.
But I’ve realized something about this last year; I’ve realized that I’ve been practicing abstinence instead of temperance--I’ve been walking in fear instead of maturity. And as a result, by restricting myself to certain topics, I have also lost the opportunity to speak to many things that I observe and feel passionately about. Many things that you feel passionately about as well. Because in the end that’s what makes something controversial--not the issue itself, but how it touches our lives.
I also forgot that our greatest weaknesses are often our greatest strengths. So that while my personality can tend toward outspokenness, it is this same outspokenness that enables me to speak with conviction and passion about the very things that so many of us are struggling through.
So I’ve decided to stop being afraid. And so you shouldn't be surprised if you periodically see more postings on controversial subjects. But because I know that many of you don’t come here for that kind writing, I'll be sure to flag them under the heading "My Take." Feel free to skip those posts with my blessing. But if you do care to engage them, also know that I have no plans to change my fundamental approach here at SAL. Wisdom still dictates that this be a place of warmth and welcome, only now with perhaps a bit more depth and nuance.
Because I’m also learning something else: in the end, avoiding certain topics doesn’t make for mature friendship--wrestling through them together does. And so that’s what I hope we can do—with large doses of grace, sufficient love, and the confidence that He is able to guide us through even the most difficult conversations.