Seduced by a Blog

Remember dances in the gym?

Today, I am afraid of my blog.

Blogging is, by its nature, both a mirror and a temptation. Why? Because in almost every instance, blogging is primarily self-focused. We write about what we see, and feel, and like. While we include interplay about God and children and puppies and the Grand Canyon, it is of our experience about our own world that we write. Blogging subtly centers on me. It is the design of the brute. Think about it. If no one reads our blog, we feel saddened that more people don’t know us. If many people read our posts, we begin to feel like we have significant wisdom and influence. Our value is tethered to the wispy balloon of stats and notifications. If the comments are good, we smile. If they disagree, we want to craft such a witty or wise response that the whole world stills for a moment and looks on admiringly. We write and rewrite. Read and reread. Blogging is a seductress.

Under a cheap mirror-ball, Blogging dresses in clingy spandex and approaches, beguiling me with long eyelashes over a sweet smile. The Most-Popular-One sweeps in to summon me for a dance. My pimpled soul swells with pride as it stares, teenager-like, at the gym floor. Me? Ah, sure. My date, Humility, is in the washroom right now, it seems. I am led away by the hand, trailing undone laces from my both my tennis shoes and my brain.

The Breakfast Club

Perhaps because I am such a wall-flower, God has been teaching me about humility recently. In Hebrew, humility is anawa. In Greek, it is tapeinos. Both mean, “low to the ground.” In my life, I think about it as “to be brought low,”as in “planting your face,” or “crashing and burning.” I am, most reluctantly, being trained to dance by Humility. Like I’m trapped in a clip of The Breakfast Club,one example from a few months ago is caught in the DVR play cycle of my mind. I remember it clearly.

I am walking down the main hall of my church with one of my pastoral teammates. We are coming from a tortuous afternoon meeting, and my low blood sugar is intersecting my mental fatigue. I am stoically mentioning (read, ‘whining about’) how I wish I could sneak a short nap. At that moment, I notice a young family sitting at the other end of the hallway. A father is guarding his toddler’s exploring circle-stagger. And a mother, too, sitting and holding a sleeping infant in her arms. Very picturesque. Currier and Ives stuff, featuring the Madonna and child. I insert myself in the postcard, of course, as the Christmas carols cue. From down the hall, I cry out to the family in a stage whisper, clearly but gently, so as to not wake the sleeping baby. I enunciate every word: “That’s—what—I—need!”

A few steps closer and I can now see the parents’ faces, vividly painted crimson in embarrassment or horror. Only then do I notice that the baby isn’t really napping. Cradled in a large blanket, he is quietly nursing.

Echo: “That’s what I need.” Humility. The feeling of being brought low. Reminiscent of the dark days following the crash of a prehistoric asteroid, my dignity becomes extinct. Picture me for the next few minutes, waist deep in the tar pits, explaining, apologizing, groveling, and dying. An Ice Age dawns. The toddler, now somehow steady and stalking, circles me like a saber-tooth tiger on a dodo bird. And the baby keeps on, well, eating, but to my ears there is now an accusing sound. As if to say, “Mine!” I remember thinking, “So sad. I really loved being a Pastor here.” Finally, the young father speaks, thankfully with a grin and a twinkle, “We’re fine, Pastor Brad. We think it’s funny. Now just walk away. Please.” Humility.

“Back off! Mine!”

Life is not really about me. God has a perfect sense of humor and a dedicated command of his purposes for me. Humility is your date, Brad. Are you counting blog hits again? God presses the mic button. Run the nursing baby clip again, Gabriel.

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33 comments

  1. I was literally just looking at my site stats and wondering “how can I get more people here?” when this popped up on Facebook. Nice. God is good at reminding us He gets the glory whatever our level of influence. Thanks His goodness for that, too.

  2. I’m not sure what to say Brad….I just like how you write. Thanks for reminding me to smile when God puts those situations that brings me to my knees. I’ll be back. God bless.

  3. We just celebrated for the 20th year World Breastfeeding Week around the world. The headquarter is in Malaysia. Our aim is to promote breastfeeding as the cultural norm. Your embarrassment is just so sad to me. There was a Star Trek episode where the alien culture found eating in front of another embarrassing and were appalled when those on the Enterprise did so. This is how I feel about breastfeeding. It is a meal. Why are we embarrassed when a child is eating his/her meal? The response of the father of the baby for you to just “walk away please” substantiated the embarrassment even though he tried to make light of it, Ah, we are so backward here in civilization….

    Dawn

    • Sorry for any confusion. I’m not embarrassed about breast feeding. Many mothers feel free to nurse at my church, and my wife and I are big breast-feeding supporters. What embarrassed me was what I said, accidentally, to them. Not at all about what they were doing.

  4. Oh my goodness, Brad, I just cackled out loud and made my husband pause the Olympics to share your wonderful story of humility. Thanks for sharing it. I’m so glad the folks in your church have a sense of humor. Your story of bloggers and their preoccupation with themselves, stats, etc., is also spot on with me. I go back and forth – struggling and not struggling then struggling again. Thanks for your encouragements.

    • Bonnie, we all go back and forth, dark and light. I’m working on changing the sine wave curve to greater time between downward cycles. Join me?

  5. Brad, that reminds me of a time many years ago when one of my reports at work, a young woman, was trying with her husband to get pregnant. She was in the process of going through a series of blood tests, so every week I would see her leave to see the doctor. One day as she was heading out of the office, I passed her in the hall and casually said, “let me know if you need some of mine.” She immediately got a strange and uncomfortable look on her face and kept walking past me.

    She told the the next day that she had been on her way in for the insemination procedure.

  6. Your commentary parallels what I’ve often thought about social-driven media activities; they can be narcisstic to the core. All day long as a society, we announce our every thought and activity to the world via Facebook, Twitter, blogging and vlogging. It’s as if within ourselves we don’t exist unless somebody acknowledges our every activity and thought. We are now a society which says everything and yet nothing all at once. We are steadily losing our inner lives in favour of our public ones. It’s sad and will do us know good.

    All I do is Facebook with some friends, many who are Christians, and we support, encourage and share with one another online, but even then, I’m guilty of checking to see if anybody “noticed me”. Even now if I see a lone status, I feel compelled to comment so the person doesn’t feel badly. It reminds me of those verses in Timothy which describe the world in the times of the last days: “….they will be lovers of themselves…” and much worse. : (

    • Well said. I do find there are people I can keep in touch with through FB. And I have made many new friends with social media. But the battle for peace and health is a wrestling match between my focus on me and my focus on God. Self wears the pirate cape and patch, looking to steal both my faith and God’s glory.

  7. There but for the grace of God go all of us Brad! We all have stories of foot in mouth moments we wish we could take back. Thank God for examples like these to keep us all low to the ground. Thanks for sharing about blogging, it was brilliant!
    Barb Hale Schmeling

  8. WOW! This is only the 2nd time I’ve read your blogs. The first one I read (The Miracle inside the Aurora Shooting) had me spellbound, and I I I had to add (follow) your blogs. I’m new to this so I’m still not familiar with the parameters of this sort of communication, however, I’d like to say that…regardless of why you have this blog and for whatever reason there is…you have effectively promoted my love for God with these last two blogs. Please where ever God leads you, continue to share that. Thank you!

    • Tired from today’s many services, but energized with your note. Thank you so much! This is a shepherd’s prayer: “promoted my love of God.” (I was wondering if you were having an identity-identity-identity crisis moment.) 😉

  9. Thank you for this! I was experiencing that same seduction today myself, since I added a plugin to measure my “success.” I read your words to the sound of God gently pulling out the plug.

    • I hate it when that happens. But maybe God knows the right number of cords to have plugged in each day. You think?

  10. “Our value is tethered to the wispy balloon of stats and notifications.” Best sentence I’ve read all day. I may just post it above my monitor and see if it slows down my incessant stat-checking….. 😀

  11. Heh heh heh I think we’ve all been there, but I don’t think everyone learns what they should from their stark moments of humiliation. Thanks for sharing a funny, and admonishing story. 🙂

  12. Excellent! I blog, therefore I am?? And when no one reads what I have to say, do I cease to exist? Have I no importance? Sometimes it feels that way 🙂 We are each so self-important, humility goes against our proud grain.

  13. Written as though you were inside my head. I quit blogging over a year ago because I found that my emotions seemed to be a roller-coaster depending on my readers’ responses. I want to begin again, and I have promised myself I will soon. By sharing your words here you have helped me to realized I am not alone and I need to return to writing for the reason I began in the first place – because it’s how God created me. Thank you for your willingness to share. Gwynn

    • Introspection and emptiness (a pouring out) is required for growth and filling (a pouring in). The gift of God is that we do not have to be what we were.

  14. I hear a lot of people talk about it but no one can define it. It seems more than being brought low. What Is Humility?

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