I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
November 12, 2011
Even now, I have a hard time writing about being a Christian.
Every single time I start a faith-related post, worry and doubt creeps into my mind. How are my non-Christian readers going to feel about this? Will they think I’m weird? Unrelatable? And what about my Christian readers? Will they wonder how I can write a post about the fruit of the Spirit one day and one about the numskulls in the car rider pick-up line the next? Will they think I’m a hypocrite? A fraud?
Not the best way to start a post…
But no matter where you’re coming from, I think you can understand why all these thoughts run through my mind. Christianity, if written about outside of the publicly approved circle of Christian writers and readers, is totally. Not. Cool. And as a blogger, veering off into Christianity when I’ve always been known for my snark is… well, it’s definitely not part of my brand.
But with every year that has passed on this blog, my faith has become more and more a part of me.
How can I not write about that, at least from time to time?
And here’s where I really struggle… While I do try to incorporate my beliefs into my day-to-day life, and teach my kids about them, and attend church and Bible studies and all of that stuff, I would still say to any of you out there only that this is what’s working for me. I don’t presume to know whether these things would change your lives, but I also am not being honest with you if I omit the fact from my personal blog that they’ve changed mine.
What hasn’t changed and never will is that it doesn’t matter to me whether you are Muslim or Jewish or Mormon, Atheist or Hindu or Agnostic. In fact, I love that people come here from many faiths and cultures and walks of life and feel comfortable chiming in to the conversation. I love hearing what you have to say and why you believe what you do. And in fact, most Christians I know feel this way. Like anyone else, we’ve got enough junk of our own to deal with without making pronouncements on how anyone else is living their lives. Seriously.
As a society, we are in favor of tolerance, right? Religious tolerance is a big part of that. We believe that it’s important to allow others to express their beliefs and to follow the tenets of their faith (within reason) without hindrance. I think all of you would agree with this statement.
But while I would never say anything to disparage your belief system and you would rightly be all over me if I did, I can’t help but notice that all bets seem to be off when it comes to Christianity.
In our society, it is totally okay to either make fun of or complain about Christians. Any time. Anywhere. It’s become such a norm that even Christians often don’t think twice when we hear it from non-Christian friends or on television.
But lately, I’ve started to really notice it. Christians are constantly being lampooned, mocked and sneered at in media. And yes, all faiths are mocked on comedy shows from time to time and often, it’s all in good fun — but when there are negative undertones behind the mockery, we have a problem, right? Unless we’re talking about Christianity.
Why is that?
This came to a head for me when I read a blog post that a friend wrote not long ago, about whether it was appropriate to have signs or symbols of your religion (specifically Christianity) in the workplace. What followed were a number of comments, many from other bloggers I know, containing stereotypical references to Christians. The Christians were always the ones who didn’t pay their bills. The “public” Christians were always the worst in private. The Christians who publicly displayed Bible verses were inappropriate, and making others feel uncomfortable.
I didn’t feel any anger at my friends for writing these things, I just wondered to myself what they must privately think of me, the blogger they know who’s gone public with the fact that she’s a Christian. It’s the kind of thing that tends to shut me down when I’m trying to write about the topic on this blog. I don’t want to alienate my friends or make them think poorly of me. Who would?
Not long ago, I was having dinner with a group of non-Christian blogging friends. Someone was telling a story when suddenly, she stopped short, looked at me and said in a sarcastic tone, “I hope I’m not offending the churchgoer.” Everybody laughed and I did too, because what else was I supposed to do? But I felt singled out, to be honest, in a negative way. Everyone at that table believes something, right? Why was I singled out for what I happen to believe? I had never discussed my faith with anyone at that table.
The last thing I want to do with this post is create ill will — I’ve actually gone weeks with it in my mind, hoping that the need I’ve felt to write it would wear off. It is not a post I’m excited about putting out there. But it needed to be written. If there’s anything that I hope will come out of it, it’s this:
I support your right to live out your faith as much or as little as you feel comfortable doing so, regardless of whether I agree with what you believe. If someone were to put you down for your faith, or criticize or publicly mock you, I would have a problem with it. I would come to your defense, if it came down to it.
I’d like to see this same courtesy extended to Christians. I think that a significant number of Christians out there have been scared into silence about their beliefs, whether it’s on their blogs or in real life, simply because our culture thinks it’s okay to disparage and criticize them for it. Maybe I can’t hope for widespread change with one blog post — But perhaps I can make one person out there think twice before she makes a mocking comment to her friends about the family praying before dinner at a restaurant, or bristling at the well-meaning saleslady who says “God bless you” in parting. Our faith, no matter which religious system we claim, is what gives so many of us hope, and a reason for living.
Why would anyone want to take away from that?
Image via Leland Francisco/Flickr