With the absence of white-horsed knights and the increase of citizens chained to illuminated screens, our society has developed a new form of bravery. Instead of using vocal cords to scream for help, we plug in our electrical cords–which supply us the power to be connected with everyone else in virtual reality. We want to be heard, we want to be known; we want others to know that we have serious thoughts, even if we don’t exhibit them in our real-reality. So what do we do? We obviously can’t have these serious, thought-provoking, deep conversations with our peers. Oh my, no. That would be like social suicide.
“Whoa, you actually thought that?” Person laughs. “Wow, you sure are one strange salamander.”
Okay, so I doubt you would be called a salamander–I’m sure it would be something far less creative! 😀 But you can see what I’m saying. We don’t talk about the “deep” things, because it makes us vulnerable. As Christians especially, we don’t admit to many people that we have insecurities about our appearance, or that we struggle with a particular addiction (and there are many addictions other than drugs and porn!), or that sometimes we even…*whispers*…have…questions…about………….God.
*gasp* I’m still alive.
So what do we do? We have these questions, we have these deep thoughts, and we feel we have to express them. Yet instead of having a “serious, deep” conversation with another human being–we post our thoughts on a screen. It’s like handing someone our journal and with the other hand shielding our faces, “Yes! Please read! Buuuuuuuuut…don’t tell me you think I’m weird.” One hand goes up over our eyes…and after a minute of this sheer bravery in letting someone else read our thoughts, we peek over our fingers as the person peers over our pages.
This “bravery” is defined in many terms. Texting. Twitter. Facebook. *cough*
I made a commitment when I began this blog, that it would not be my online journal. I do want to post “personal” stuff, but only in the sense that it “pertains to other persons”. And originally when I began blogging, one of the reasons for doing so was that it would give me a venue “to talk about things that I normally don’t get to in real conversations”.
But see, returning to the issue of this newfound social bravery, it’s actually not bravery at all. It’s a façade we create so that people get caught up in our passionate writing, our crisp pixels, our “sheer honesty”, and they fail to realize we haven’t actually said anything. Don’t get me wrong, writing is good and writing is important, but if our only link to honesty and bravery begins with “www” or a buzz in your pocket, our real-reality hasn’t changed at all. The other sneaky element of wireless communication, is that we don’t actually have to deal with a negative reaction. As Christians, if someone dumps a whole cup of expletives over what we’ve just written, or maybe they dislike and attempt to disprove our faith in God, we can simply close the screen and walk away from it. Yes, we can return to it later, but we can step out of the virtual reality when we so choose. The scary thing, is that eventually you will encounter someone who dislikes your God and you are going to have to know how to respond. You can’t just walk away.
Boldness cannot be limited to the “enter” key.
For me, I need to not limit what I am learning to my blog posts. If my friends and family, when reading this site, are tilting their eyebrows and thinking to themselves, “Wow…bold words…too bad our little blogger isn’t that way in real life.” or “Could we really have this conversation in person?” Um. Perhaps I have some things to work on.
Paul, in one of his letters to the Corinthian church, illustrates a concept that I should be implementing. He apparently had a reputation for being “timid” when speaking in person, but “bold” when away–yet he asserts that his words do align with his actions.
“For some say, ‘His [Paul’s] letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.’ Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.” – 2 Cor. 10:10-11
So my current goal, *sigh*…amongst others 🙂 …is to not resort to typing bravery, but living it. Easier said than done. If I can’t talk about what I post, in real life, then perhaps I need some time away from virtual reality. Or I need to make my conversations more purposeful…or both.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the faith we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23