I recently stumbled into a blog called jesus needs new pr via twitter (I love twitter. You need to join, seriously). Today, Matthew offered a thought-provoking post that compares porn and the church. He does so by telling of his own experience walking into an adult store for the first time and the anonymity of that experience. He writes,
Because in reality, the porn industry has more in common with the church than some might realize. Not only do they sell a lot of the same ideas, many of us who go to church every Sunday, do so as anonymous people. Sure, church members know our names and faces and certain parts of our stories, but they don’t really know us. We fear what would happen if they really knew us. So parts of our lives remain anonymous, invisible to the outside world. And many of us, have become so used to hiding behind “fake smiles” and “I.P. address” that we’re okay with being anonymous. Frankly, we prefer it. So I ask, are you living anonymously?
I’m struggling lately because I am craving anonymity in my small group. I’m tired of being honest about what I really think and having people in the group look at me as if I am strange and fetish-plagued for what I believe about the Bible or God or politics or the world. I’m tired of being told that my views aren’t valid because they don’t match church group-think. I’m tired of my views being used as litmus tests for my salvation and measures of someone else’s idea of spiritual maturity […]
When I’m honest and really seeking to have questions answered–looking for the next wrinkle in my story or still entangled in the last one–these people make me feel dirty for doing it. When I’m not honest–when I sit there silently and they think I agree with the B.S. being spouted in the “name of God”–my own conscience makes me feel dirty.
So if I speak up, I’m labeled strange and dirty (“Liberal” or “Heretic”) and if I don’t speak up, I feel strange and dirty (“Hypocrite” or “Coward”). What’s a girl to do? The only sensible thing seems to run […]
But there aren’t very many Christians that I find myself running toward these days. Most Christians only want to be my friend if I’m theologically brilliant, financially able and willing to support their pet causes, and agree with every jot and title of their assessment of what makes a “TRUE” Christian. Otherwise, I might as well go lurk at the adult store.
At least there I might strike up a relationship with someone a little more like me–flawed and seeking something more, but not needing to shop in the costume section because I’ve already purchased, used, and tried out every available mask.
I realized after reading ttm’s words that in my own way, I’ve also been living anonymously – for many of the same reasons. So the question I want to ask is not, “Are you living anonymously?” (even though that question is obviously important) But “Why are you living anonymously if you are?”
And what does it say about the church when it’s the last place that people seeking answers want to go?