I'm nervous about writing this post because lately, it seems any time a person does two things in any social media outlet, there are two responses:
Action 1: A Christian actually owns up to being a Christian, and by that I mean literally utters the words "I am a Christian." Not "Jesus is awesome" or "Um...I'm not comfortable with that term..." (I'm talking to you, Marcus Mumford).
Response: Always either A. The non-Christian community is incensed, or B. The Christian community is annoyingly smug and pious about the whole thing.
Action 2: Here's where it gets a little nerve-wracking. A Christian gives an honest opinion about the gay marriage debate.
Response: Always either A. The gay marriage supporters are incensed. You disagree? You're an ignorant bigot, or B. The Christian community is annoyingly smug and pious about the whole thing.
So here's the thing. Action 1: I'm a Christian, yes, but more than that(as Andy Stanley so aptly pointed out recently), I am a disciple of Christ. God didn't call us to be Christians - it's a term the world adopted. He asked us to be disciples. I am not ashamed of loving my Savior. Say whatever you want about that.
Action 2: There's no way that making any statement (for or against) this issue on Facebook or Twitter is going to make you look the way you want to be perceived. My sister and I had a conversation about this today, and she reiterated a great point we all know, deep down: Social media has become a stand-in for issues that should be spoken about in person.
Just like Facebook isn't the correct platform to send condolences when someone loses a loved one, it also shouldn't be a medium to discuss relational issues that mean a great deal to other people. Slapping a Bible verse on a status and saying "because the Bible says so" just makes you look as proud as a Pharisee. It completely removes the relationship you are throwing away from the conversation. In the same way, replacing your profile with an equals sign doesn't explain why.
Because the thing is - this issue just isn't one of those black and white issues. There are many who will adamantly disagree with me on this, but that's ok. For me, it's a matter of tension.
I've written about this a few times, but for the past couple of years, I've really begun to attempt to embrace the reality that being Christ's disciple means living in constant tension. How do we love as Jesus commanded, yet not compromise our strongly held beliefs? How do we walk that tight-rope without falling off? It's so hard. It's tension. And it's never, ever going away. And let's face it, gay marriage isn't the only issue that's going to punch us all in the gut with the question of how to respond. It's part of our life. Jesus navigated the tension better than anyone else alive, but He faced it every single day.
Do you want to know where I stand on the issue of gay marriage? Do you want to know if I think that someone's sexual orientation defines their entire lives and sums up their personality?
Then call me.
Let's go for coffee.
Because I want to talk with you. I want to have a relationship with you. Not your computer.
And we might argue a little bit. We might get a bit annoyed with each other. But that's ok. We'll still be friends when it's over.
I can't stand Christina Aguilera. Cannot. Stand. Her.
Yes, this probably makes me mean. But I can't help it. I'm sure if she met me, she'd dislike me, too.
I have many reasons for my annoyance with Xtina (as if her re-creation of her name wasn't enough). Her smug attitude on "The Voice" just cemented all of them. She's constantly smirking. She has a fancy fan with her at all times. I'm convinced that she's rude to anyone she feels can actually sing. I think she believes she's the most talented person in the entire universe. I think she'd challenge God Himself to a sing-off, and then refuse to believe she had lost.
But honestly, I've disliked her since she was a 12-year-old(ish) kid on "MMC."
Did I have a real reason back then? Nope. I just didn't like her. There was something about her that made me cringe.
My theory is that we each have one celebrity we dislike for real or unexplained reasons, and we get weirdly, passionately mad about them when they're on TV or in a movie.
My sister despises Hilary Swank. She says it started with "The Next Karate Kid," (which, yes, was really awful), but her irritation with Ms. Swank has lasted for about 15 years. "She's just...ugh," Holly Jo told me the last time I was at her house.
My best friend Ashleigh feels violent about Joseph Gordon Levitt. Every time he shows up in a show or in a movie, she makes a face and says "I would like to punch that guy." Why? No real reason. She just doesn't like his face. Or speech pattern. Or dance moves. Or speaking voice. (I actually think he's pretty cute.)
Donny Osmond makes my dad angry. Literally angry. Why? Dad says it's partly because he just cries too much for a man. Whenever Dad and I are watching TV and Donny O. shows up, Dad turns to me and says "Just wait. He'll start crying in a second." And he usually does.
Am I right about this? What celebrity do you dislike? Do you have a reason?
Sometimes I wish I was better at being a girl.
Now before some of you get all weirded out on me, let me try my best to unpack that statement:
1. I haven't decided to bat for the other team. Still like the fellas.
2. I was not born with lady-bits and man-bits. Straight up female here.
What I really mean is that sometimes I read magazine articles, books, and different blogs and then end up feeling like I'm just not doing a great job at being a girl.
My eyes aren't large, blue, and "full of womanly tenderness". They're average-sized (one is actually a tad smaller than the other one), brown, and...brown. My neck isn't long and graceful. My hair doesn't tumble down my back in glossy waves. It's curly and usually a little frizzy.
And that's just in the looks department - really, that's just above the chest. That doesn't even begin to cover my lack of cooking prowess or the fact that I have never successfully "crafted" anything. I'm not even going to begin to talk about the barren wasteland that is my love life.
I want to be careful here, because I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea - I really do love reading blogs, novels, and magazines. If it weren't for some of these mediums, I would never have perfected the art of the adult non-80's side ponytail and I wouldn't have figured out how to make the world's best scrambled eggs (gently nudge the eggs - just nudge). But I think that sometimes they make me feel a little "less than," a little stupid, and a little clumsy.
So here are some images from blogs that I saw yesterday. I'm not going to say where they came from, because I really don't want hate mail, and once again - I follow these blogs because I like them. I really do. But here's how they occasionally make me feel:
#1: "We look perfect, even first thing in the morning."*
This particular blogger states that these pictures were just part of her normal morning routine. Now. I dig the looks, honestly. The girl on the right is all kinds of cozy, what with her wintry pom-pom hat, chunky cardigan, and slouchy socks. The girl on the left did a bang-up job of mixing patterns. How I felt when I saw this picture yesterday: I was feeling good about the fact that my bangs dried straight. Now I feel like I should have a floral crown. How could I step outside without a floral crown?! Reality check: Come on. I have never, in the history of my time on this planet, looked this adorable first thing in the morning. I have never seen anyone in real life who looks this adorable first thing in the morning. I have never worn a floral crown that I made myself (except for that time I was Ophelia in "Hamlet"). Even when I am rockin' my style, I don't ever conveniently have a great photographer on hand to capture it in the most flattering detail.
#2: "What? You didn't bake cookies from scratch this morning? You don't have three kinds of sprinkles in your cupboard?"
This blogger claims that at this time of year, homemade sugar cookies "are a must!" She makes them every year. Several times a year. Everyone loves them, and everyone wants the recipe. How I felt when I saw this picture yesterday: I heated up a frozen waffle in the toaster oven for breakfast. I reheated pizza in the microwave for lunch. Yep. Reality check: Ok, so I'm not the greatest cook. Also, I don't want diabetes, which I would completely get if I made cookies all the time, because I would eat them all. All. Of course, I just checked on Facebook and my best friend just made about 14 batches of Christmas cookies in her limited spare time today. Ugh.
#3: "We handcrafted this play kitchenette today. No biggie."
This blogger loves her kids. I mean, really loves her kids. Enough to work with wood. And hammers. Enough to build a toy kitchenetteon a random Tuesday. How I felt when I saw this picture yesterday: I was pretty pumped to find someone who would embroider "My Aunt Manda Loves Me" on a bib for my niece for Christmas. But now I'm feeling like maybe I should have set up a buzz-saw in my living room and made her a homemade Easy Bake Oven. Will she think I don't love her? Will she wear that bib and realize that a stranger embroidered it? Will this cause her to take drugs in 2028? Reality check: I don't have any kids. My niece is six months old. And since I like my limbs, I should never come near a buzz-saw.
Of course, most of these bloggers make a living by being beautiful, cooking, and crafting on a daily basis. But that's just not real life, is it? Real life is a lot messier. Real life is more, well, real.
Maybe you can relate to this feeling of inadequacy, or maybe you're totally unlike me and you woke up this morning confident that you're going to work out, cook a ten course meal for your man, knit sweaters for your two perfect children, and gaze upon your entire family with womanly tenderness before you go to bed. Of course, maybe you'll do all that today, and then wake up tomorrow and do nothing but watch an all-day marathon of DVR'd "Revenge," eat a carton of ice cream, heat up Lean Cuisines for dinner, and run out of toilet paper just before bed.
Either way, let's just accept that most girls struggle with "less-than" feelings at some point.
We can all be these blogtastic girls every once in a while, but most of the time?
Let's just be us.
I will now get back to taking lots of pictures of my adorable cat. Just keepin' it real.
*I have created titles for all of these pictures. None of these bloggers are that annoying.