I’ve been waiting to write this post for a long time but I’ve always chickened out. Here I go.
I’m having trouble reconciling my growing desire to speak out on subjects I feel passionate about, with the way I used to speak out about things I believed passionately.
I have been so worried about sounding strident and prescriptive that I’ve simply stopped saying what I want to say. It’s crazy. And it’s time to try and explain why. Please stick with me.
I want to be clear – I’m reflecting on my experiences, how I’ve changed and how those changes leave me feeling about my days in a position of influence in the Christian communities I was part of in years gone by.
Looking back, I feel a bit like I was a member of the Thought Police for Jesus. In the churches I attended, the level of fundamentalism, biblical literalism and group think has varied. Until I wasn’t, I was pretty gung-ho about living by the rules, as I understood them – or was instructed to understand them.
The thing is, sincerity does not cover a multitude of sins. A person can be deeply sincere in their beliefs, and profoundly mistaken, misguided and even dangerous. That’s how I now feel about my sincere spiritual police work.
There is nothing at all wrong with having a set of principles to live by, be they Christian, animist, Hindu or humanist.
The stumbling block comes when a like-minded community becomes a place where making sure other people toe the line or bow the knee is prioritised. The idea of being your “brother’s keeper” has been bastardised beyond recognition.
Loving others is a generous, expansive act. Control is the complete opposite of love. It doesn’t hope, trust or believe.
Dressing up the urge to control others as a measure of love and spirituality…. I don’t want to put into words what I feel about that. For my part in that kind of behaviour, I feel mortified and embarrassed that I ever sincerely thought I had not only the right, but the responsibility to tell other people how to live.
Reflecting on my experiences as a spiritual mentor of sorts to people is not black and white, though what you’ve read so far may lead you to think I see it that way. I loved the bonds of friendship I formed with the people I spent all my time with. We had purpose, we felt called to something greater than ourselves, we were serving our hearts out. I have dear friends who are still serving their hearts out, and I love and respect them for it.
So what’s all that got to do with my ever diminishing blog?
The fear of reverting back to being prescriptive and narrow in my opinions has stopped me from writing. I am so determined not to become the 2.0 of the Thought Police that I’ve censored myself into having nothing to say.
Trouble is, I have so much I want to say. What I’m grappling with is how to say the things I want to say while maintaining a deep respect for the differing points of view, life experiences and wells of joy and pain we each carry.
This is hard stuff.
I’m trusting that those of you who know me, or have been reading the blog for a while, have read this far into this odd blog post.
I am trusting that who I am somehow gets transmitted through my words.
I guess I’m wondering if I can trust myself to speak my truth without slipping into old habits.
Writing this down here is one of the first steps. I’ve been having a few conversations about this with people lately, trying to find my feet. I would genuinely be grateful if you’d let me know what your reaction to this post.
Deep breath, it’s time to press publish.
9 thoughts on “Walk This Way; Talk This Way”
I’m hearing you on this one. I feel like I too have a blog post burbling up within me but I’m not sure how to phrase it as my personal thoughts and observations and not as criticism or complaint.
You just have to write it Mossy. Let the words out, it’s cathartic.
I know you. I hear you. I value you.
And, I don’t always agree with you. I think that’s bloody brilliant.
I champion you and your writing in a truthful way as much as I want to myself. I know how hard it is to want to write everything. I believe, in time, we will. Our voices will be heard. The similarities and differences will be as they are. The colours of conversation will be as brilliant as the colours we see in nature. I believe in you, my friend. Keep going!!
Thank you so much Sair. Knowing that you have my back is such a source of strength and comfort to me. ❤️
Well, if people don’t like what you say, they won’t read your blog. I enjoy your directness and honesty. x
I love the authentic voice you write with, that’s why I keep reading. I use Instagram as my blog. I have found myself self censoring sometimes and it bugs me. Why tell our stories if not to be true to us
That’s the key I think, to be true to ourselves. Thank you for being one of my readers!
Well dear friend this was a beautiful piece of reflective and expansive writing. I read it when you posted it and have enjoyed coming back to read it again.
It is a euphoric thing to find a voice and then bloody difficult when you get scared of your voice. It frightening as we begin to grow our own because it is fraught with danger. We have to question, explore and feel. AAARRGH wouldn’t it be easier to to write about your 10 favourite books. 😉
Perhaps you wrote yourself here … and as you stumble into some of these deep seeded feelings, mortification that’s a really dangerous one, no wonder you avoid it – who wouldn’t? Except that you can’t because you’re a writer and a meaningful contributor who’s not scared of truth seeking.
What I love about this particular piece is the bravery, honesty and I think forgiveness and acceptance that you are gifting yourself. Self awareness, let me connect, encourage me to think … shit man that is the #reallife I want to see online … not messy kitchens.
Last but by NO means least you write with humanity. Calling bullshit, speaking your truth and standing for something is vulnerable work but never ever do you write with authority or control. Always honesty, vulnerability and authenticity. I actually admire that about your writing and have hopefully learnt that from you in my own. Sometimes a little break to call our own (BS) and step into new stories is ‘productive’ it’s expansion at its finest (sticking tongue out, hopefully you get where that is coming from).
Fran, I feel like I need to read these words every day.
Thank you for being so generous in your willingness to see the good in my writing, and in me.
I will keep trying to formulate these swirling a in my soul into words here.