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Unnaturally Unatural September 12, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep, God.
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I’m a teaching assistant for a class this fall and we had the opportunity to put a brief profile up on the web. One of the questions it asked was what books and music we would take with us to a desert island. I would definitely take the Bible and some of my worship CDs, but I hesitated to put it on there for fear that it would either turn people off or label me in such a way that would make open discussion in the classroom difficult (ie. would being known as a Christian make students less likely to trust my answers in class). That bothered me somehow because the answer to a question as simple as what books and music I like should be a no brainer…answering it should come naturally. I began to think of other areas such as asking for advice about school decisions. Its really hard to include in the conversation the fact that my overall orientation towards such decisions is a belief that God is leading me. Instead, I’m usually very concious of leaving that sort of info out.

If my worldview is such that I believe God is intimately involved in my life, that he is in control, that he loves me and so forth, there are countless places in conversation where that should jus slip out. And yet, it doesn’t very often. There’s a sort of preset choke mechanism within me that is always valuing appropriateness. And thus, what should be natural feels very unatural.

And the fact that it feels unatural…is well unatural. Thus, the fact that I don’t feel comfortable simply making reference to my faith and how I see God involved in every aspect of my life is ‘unaturally unatural’.

A big consequence of this is that we actually grow to doubt what we believe rather than strengthen it. Its a psychological reality that our attitudes often align themselves with what we speak, and if we never speak of what God is up to in our lives, we will find it more and more difficult to recognize his presence and involvement ourselves.

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Comments»

1. patti - September 12, 2007

I don’t know. You are in an academic atmosphere, which is often quite anti-spirituality (at least Christian faith).

Right?

I think you get to choose when and where you reveal more about yourself.

One of my Dad’s favourite sayings is that Jesus was totally honest, but he wasn’t totally open.

You could use the profile to reveal what you want people to know about you, what you think could draw them into more conversation with you.

Use a little humour even – “Book I would want on a deserted island – Boatbuilding for Dummies”. LOL

2. Sheepdog - September 15, 2007

I’m with Patti on this.

I’m lucky to have enough Christian friends and friends who know that I’m Christian (and therefore it’s going to come up a lot), so that I can be pretty open.

My professional life is a different story. I’m in a position where talking about my faith would be disasterous. If someone asked me straight up, I would tell the truth, of course, but otherwise I don’t talk about it.

Just like I wouldn’t get into other personal, intimate details at work, I don’t get into my faith. I don’t think that reflects a lack of faith, merely an understanding of circumstance.

Look at Esther in the Bible. (at least I think it was Esther -yikes) She was in a position where she couldn’t reveal her faith, but it did not mean she wasn’t faithful nor did it mean that God wouldn’t use her in a huge way.

“Jesus was totally honest, but he wasn’t totally open.”

I’ve never heard your dad say that. It’s really good, though. It’s something I need to get better at. Sometimes I’m far too open for my own good.

3. amybeth - September 15, 2007

I wasn’t arguing against prudence. I was just commenting on how, if this world wasn’t so upside down, so far from God’s intention for it at creation, speaking of God’s role in all the various facets of everyday living would be the norm, not something we have to conciously assess for appropriateness. Biting my tongue is thus, unnatural. But so is getting sick, broken relationships and a whole host of other stuff.

4. Sheepdog - September 15, 2007

if this world wasn’t so upside down, so far from God’s intention for it at creation, speaking of God’s role in all the various facets of everyday living would be the norm, not something we have to conciously assess for appropriateness.

You are right about that!

I didn’t think you were arguing against prudence. I think I was just trying to commiserate in a way and to say that your situation (being in the academic world) makes it harder.

Anyway, I can see how it might have looked like I missed your point.


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