This is 31 conversations from the front porch day 23 – The Day I Fit is the Day I Quit … you can find the rest of the series here.
Day 23: The Day I Fit – is the Day I Quit.
I stopped listening to Christian radio. It makes me nauseous. I used to love that stuff when I was a kid – it was like crack to my Christian Good Girl Soul. My tiny purple boom box with a cloth handle hung on the closet door and morning, noon, and night I listened to that music. I called into the radio station to try and win Michael W. Smith lottery tickets once in elementary school. I didn’t win. Although I will say that seeing him in concert – finally in my late 20s for his Christmas show was one of those full circle holy moments. It was fabulous.
But I am finding in my 30s a complete distaste for KLove and friends. I do not find God in those spaces for me anymore.
I have also stopped reading popular Christian books. For the past few years I have hung out on the fringes of Christian writing circles. There have been book deals, speaking engagements and more – voices that have been blogging and sharing are now in actual print. Books I can hold in my hands.
A blogger I really like and have followed for a long time wrote a book – I got a copy – was super excited to read it, but then BAM I couldn’t finish it.
At first I thought there was something wrong with me.
- This was a good message
- People needed to hear what this writer had to say about God and life
- BUT I have already been down all the roads the writer is writing about – a long time ago.
What she wrote seemed to be needed by people who simply didn’t know. It felt like the shallow waters again. And while I have patience for people still there, and you can not judge or discredit where people are in their faith walk and what message they feel that they are supposed to share with others…
I have no desire to go back there again.
Christian publishing – Christian Writers – Christian music… we play it safe. Safe means seeking Lifeway (a Christian resource conglomerate of the Southern Baptists) APPROVAL.
But in seeking their approval we are being homogenized in message and looks. These gatekeepers are weeding out what they consider dangerous and unsafe – while keeping out prophetic, sacred voices that will keep the American Church from becoming Americanized.
Americanized Christianity has a way about it – a rightness, an exclusivity, a gospel of entitlement – and it has seeped into songs, books, and sermon notes. I find myself changing radio stations, putting books back on the shelf, and avoiding church pews.
Americanized Christianity sells – it is no wonder our books and our songs and our sermons notes all sound alike.
In Christian publishing it feels like nothing is new. It feels like we have already been here before and maybe even better. Why would I want to hang out in these same spaces, leaning the same directions, and not learning anything new?
So I guiltily put down the book, and the several books to follow.
While folks rave about how awesome this new study is and how amazing this new book is – I am over here not getting it. Their words do not even come close to meeting me where I am right now. That doesn’t mean that I think where I am is better or more mature, it is just very different from what Christian publishing will allow on it’s bookshelves.
What I am willing to read and connecting with right now has also affected my own writing.
- How can I write without the God slobber?
- How can I learn a new way of speaking and writing that does not include all the Christianeze?
- I’m having to rewrite my book without the religion.
- And why would I want to write a book that sounds like everybody else?
Isn’t God more creative than this…
I think that is why my mantra is that if I ever actually finish writing this book and if it actually gets picked up by a publisher I am hoping Lifeway books doesn’t approve.
I hope they do not even stock it in the Religion section at Barnes and Noble. Throw me in with the self-help or the new age… those books I had always been taught to “read with discernment.”
I don’t want them to approve of me. I don’t want to fit in.
The day I fit – is the day I quit.
Exercises For Your Own Front Porch Conversations
Thoughts: One of the series of books labeled “highly suspicious” and even “Satanic” in the last decade was J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I was older when this first started coming out so I did not pay it much attention at the time. But one evening they had the beginning of the movie series on television so we watched. Soon I was checking out the whole series from the library to read and then we bought them all on DVD to watch. I remember going to see the final episode in the movie theater with my aunt. We – evangelical Christian good girls – were hooked. We cried. We rejoiced.
Harry Potter is one of those controversial books because of magic both dark and light. The message – is so deep and powerful that I greatly encourage my kids to read them when they are old enough.
There are many things that the Christian community labels – dangerous – that are life-perspective giving, filled with hope, and focus our eyes on a world that is far bigger then the church box we’ve been encouraged to shove ourselves into. Get out of the box. It is safer out here then you’ve been told.
- Are you a consumer of Christian goods?
- How has that changed over the years? Are you still reading the same authors?
- Have you ever seen a “warning” label on a Christian bookstore book?
- How did you react to that?
- Do you have a list of books that your church has deemed “dangerous”?
- What about Christian radio?
- Have you ever considered what types of Christianity you are ingesting?
- How does what you take in effect what you put out into the world?