I’m Back Baby!!

Ahh, I’ve missed you guys.

It’s been well over six months since my last “official” post on Spiritual Drift. Since that time I’ve published a couple books, both of them in the fiction arena, (“The Privilege of Sin – Book Three of the Drifter Series” {Christian Suspense}, and “Brynewielm’s Passage – The Age of Awakening Book One” {Historical Fantasy}).

I’ve also returned to the wild, untamed jungles of retail customer service (more on that later). And, I’m in the midst of three (yes, three) new manuscripts in various stages of writing and editing (Drifter Series #4, Age of Awakening Book Two, and a non-fiction piece with the working title, “The Will of a Christian NOT to Battle”—more on that later, too.)

Where I’ve Been
Well…above is a little of where I’ve been physically, but a better question is where have I been mentally and spiritually?

One thing I realized, as I continued to write blogs, and as I continued to read the articles, blogs, Facebook posts, and commentaries of other writers (semi-famous, and not so, but still just as engaging), was that a lot of us were saying quite a bit of the same things; some of them (okay, many of them) a lot more eloquently than I ever could.

I also noticed, via the follow-up commentary on many of these same blog sites, news pages, and FB posts, how much they/we were preaching to the choir about our faith, our beliefs, our stands on certain hot-button issues, so on and so on.

Or, the exact opposite.

One need read no further than the first five or ten comments after any article on a particular religious issue (or politics, or social awareness, or nutrition for that matter) to see what I mean:
You either get a hearty “amen, brother” or you get “you’re a mindless, clueless jackass who’s going to the pit of hell!” (But only if you’re predisposed to believe in such a place).

I’ve yet to come across one comment, ONE, that says “Hmm, interesting point of view. I’m not sure I accept, or fully understand, where you’re coming from, but you raise some interesting points.”

Never!
Never, ever, ever!

Which was the whole point of why I was writing some of the pseudo-opinion pieces I’d posted in the first place.

The only problem was, I wasn’t.

The “interesting point” wasn’t being made.

I was either right, or I was wrong…Wrong, wrong, WRONG!

Soon I realized (or possibly too late, I realized), that I couldn’t make those “interesting points” even if you (the reader) were to agree. Or disagree. (1Corinthians 1:10-17)

In my humble opinion, that’s not what this massive beast we’ve created as a collective culture is all about. This beast called Social Media. That isn’t the idea of Social Media. That’s not its purpose.

So, the question then becomes, what is the purpose?

Why I Came Back
In a word: Encouragement.

As I began to re-read through my earliest posts on Spiritual Drift, even dating back to my original (and no longer existent) blog called Full Retail Christianity, I realized once again what my initial purpose in blogging in the first place was:

  1. I wanted a platform to air my struggles to reconcile my faith with my life in the ‘real world’, which, at that time, consisted almost entirely of my job in upper/middle management in retail customer service. And…
  2. Through letting people in on my own struggles, I hoped they could identify with what I was going through and begin a dialog—whether with me, with their own friends/family, or even within themselves—that they weren’t alone, that there were those who struggled right along with them, and that maybe, just maybe, there was a way through it all; a little breathing room in which to learn and grow; a light at the end of the tunnel that wasn’t a train headed at them in the other direction.

However, after I found my own reconciliation between the world and the spiritual—or walked away from the retail rat-race depending on your point of view—I saw that my writing had shifted direction, subtly and without even my conscious decision to do so.

I began to take on more of those so-called hot-button topics, airing my personal opinion on social issues, scriptural interpretation, etc.

And the rift began.

Oh, I didn’t write enough, or engage enough, to gain mounds of hate mail (ala Benjamin Corey, Jen Hatmaker, Brian McClaren and all). But the feedback I was getting was certainly enough.

I found, as I stated above, that I was either preaching to the choir or standing in opposition to even friends and family, or those who I perceived as ‘friends’ through the fabulous anonymity of Social Media.

Nothing I was saying was making any kind of difference.
To anyone.

Still, inside I felt this continued welling of tension. “These people just don’t get it,” I’d mutter internally; all the time blissfully ignorant of the fact that I was one of “these people”. My aim may have been in a different direction, but the vitriol was just the same, the ire, the contempt, the…whatever the opposite of compassion is. (Romans 12:15-17)

Until finally, one day, I did get it. (Romans 14:12-14)

And I stopped.
For six months.

It hasn’t been until recently that I realized I still had a voice: That little voice inside my head that had been there all along saying, “we’re still struggling, we’re still fighting our demons, and we probably always will.”

We being the little voices inside my head, and the original audience I’d been trying to reach since the very beginning.

So I’m back, baby!
Yes, I’ve re-entered the world of retail customer service. Not in management this time, but on the front lines, face-to-face with the customer.*shudder*

And I still struggle with reconciling my faith and my chosen profession (though not nearly as much as three years ago)
I still struggle with self-worth.
I still struggle with self-control. (James 5:16)
I still struggle with trying to be a good dad, a good husband, a good steward for the gifts God has entrusted me with.
And, I still struggle with the Will to Battle.

But instead of unleashing an unintended battle through the beast of Social Media, I’m wondering if there isn’t an entirely new conversation we (Christian-to-World, Christian-to-Christian, World-to-World) can’t be having with one another.

We can do it.

That’s why God invented this whole “relationship” thing in the first place. (Ephesians 4:2-16)

That’s why God invented coffee shops and home groups and brewpubs and church: So we could wrestle together through these things; with one another instead of at one another. Working our way through the tension, through the differences, through the white-noise of crap that’s so rampant given the fabulous anonymity of pounding our opinions out on a keyboard instead of sitting face-to-face with nothing more than a mug of (insert beverage of choice here) between the two, or three, or six, of us. As Paul says to the church in Ephesus:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

I’ll talk to you again soon!

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4 thoughts on “I’m Back Baby!!”

  1. Glad to see you back. 🙂

    I kind of go through this back and forth with myself a bit as well. Sometimes I’m way more argumentative than I’d like to be.

    1. Nate: you’re one I often use as an example of someone who has a differing point of view from myself and yet we still have very productive conversations. And, now that I think about it, you just blew my “Never. Never, ever, ever” comment, dang it!! STOP BEING SO CIVIL!!

  2. YES!!! I am so happy you are back and looking forward to another peak inside that smart and thoughtful mind of yours! I am addicted right now to Eckhart Tolle. (he would probably NOT be please with the word “addicted!”) Nevertheless, I have discovered I have a HUGE ego and an awareness is emerging. I can’t even articulate everything that is happening to me, other than to say that my peace and spiritual life has been greatly enhanced through this “awakening” process. I am seeing some of the teachings of Jesus in a new light and loving it! Anyway—so glad you are back, Kent.

    1. Yay! Happy to hear of your continued spiritual growth. I’m not too familiar with Eckhart Tolle, but I know of people who really have enjoyed and been enlightened by his work, so good on ya!

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