Thursday, August 02, 2007
Authenticity with Guidance
I am in favour of people trying to be as authentic as possible, but given all our personal demons, hurts, fears, wants, wishes and desires, we can't help but be silenced or schackled by people and circumstances.
However, with that said, I still crave the desire to be who I really am called to be minus all the baggage I bring with me. Where does a christian or non-christian go to figure this all out...where does a person like myself find the guidance or direction on how I might better live within the circumstances I find myself.
I would like to think that our churches offers that guidance, including spouse, friends, family, prayer, music, books, poetry, and the Bible...Scripture is a powerful tool...it is a weapon that slices open your wound, sears it, and then applies a salve for healing. Sadly, I don't think there are many churches using scripture as a tool to heal and release people from bondage versus churches that use it to condemn you further into our self-imposed prisons. Or equally bad, scripture used as sound bites to bolster personal idealogies, visions, money grabs or feel good, no accountability sermons. You need only to view what is on the so called "religious channels" to see samples of all of the above.
I think the call to be your "authentic self" can be a dangerous one, especially for the vunerable & weak. Yep, forgive me but I do! Your authentic self is one filled with ugly and nice, gaping, painfilled wounds that need a salve. When you share your uglier side, you better make sure that the person or church body is going to receive your "stuff" and honor your vunerability with the love, awe, honor and grace that it deserves. Watch that they don't shield their eyes, or turn away from your nakedness, do they try to redress it how they think it should look, do they look away in fear, can you take that chance?
Of coure you can...but choose wisely. Don't fall victim to the group mentality of letting it all hang out. There is comfort in sharing...I agree, but you have to weigh the morning after affect...can you live with the reality of sharing your innermost thougts and feelings? Instead, look around to the ones you love and care for. Give them a chance to be there for you. They aren't perfect, they have their stuff too! But, whatever you do, try to judge wisely because sharing your stuff and then not receiving the validation for your pain or suffering can damage you further.
So, for anyone who thinks you can feel safe "revealing" your stuff...I would suggest that you look around. Will those same people be there when you need them, have they been there for you in the past, do you really trust that you won't be discussed over tea...sometimes, our stuff is meant only for you and Jesus. He knows our dark side, he sees our sins...he loves us in spite of our failings. There is nothing we can hide from him...it is us/me who trys to hide from him.
This is part of my lament on authenticity. If we are going to preach it...then there is a responsibility within the church to guide us using scripture on how to live it, not just your own personal version or vision of what authenticity looks like! Using scripture, help us to grow, become accountable, inspired to go further in our lives with the freedom that comes through Jesus. Jesus not only healed people but He taught his people how to live, he never assumed anyone was a mature christian ready to take on the world. We need guidance on how to deal, accept or overcome the things that bind us? How do you reach married couples with real problems, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, spousal or child abuse, anxiety, debts, anger, self-doubt, sadness etc...how do you reach those people through scripture to encourage and inspire acceptance, growth and change within their given situation.
I for one believe it is out there...I see nuggets of it here and there, at my church, within the people of my church, my friends and family, I will struggle on, aching for scripture based guidance on how to be my authentic self without sacrificing others in the process or going down dead end roads searching for the path to freedom.