"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Sunday, August 30, 2009

positive, negative, it just is

Kel and I have been thinking a lot lately about this. You see, we have been accused of being too negative at times (on our personal blog). And we have apologized in advance for possibly being negative for some of our posts. Truth is, we have apologized when we really didn’t want to or think we needed to. It was the non-apology apology; the I am sorry, but not really. When we write (most, if not all the time) we don’t gauge whether it is positive or negative, it just “is”. It is what is going on, what we think or feel- that’s all. We don’t run it through the PC filter to see if it passes for publication. We don’t try to paint everything pretty as a picture because rarely is life ever that way.
Who/what decides what is positive or negative? Everyone has a different perception when it comes to that. It often depends on your upbringing, background, family, culture, etc. It is perception, and everyone’s is different.
Look at Scripture-is it all positive? Not hardly, many would fall into the category of “negative”. Talk about being a slave (whether to sin or to Christ), struggles with the old flesh/sinful nature, temptations, persecution, etc etc. But does it fall into either category? I don’t think so. I think it falls into the category of “it just is”. I am sure there were those way back when that said “Paul, do you need counseling?” “You should really try to be more positive in your letters.” Maybe someone went so far as to tell one of the writers how he should write! How to make it sound “nicer.”
Maybe you are one of those who have always looked at Scripture as always being positive, or even all negative. If so, look more closely! Often the Scripture itself, just is. It is what the writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write. If that is so, then it is our own reactions to the Scriptures (or in our case, the blog post) that determine if we think something is positive or negative. We’ve written things that we are thrilled about, only to be chastised later for saying it the way we did-it wasn’t positive. Oh well, you can’t make all the people happy all the time. And we aren’t even trying to make some of the people happy some of the time. We are just telling it like it is. It seems like over and over again we are having to explain ourselves and why we write like to do. Boring stuff for those who read consistently, I know. Sorry. Just take it for as a reminder and a preemptive warning from us for the new readers.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Brian, I know how this can be. When I lived in Jordan, I often posted all sorts of things to my blog. A lot of it "just was", and contained both positive and negative elements. Once I looked back, I could probably understand what people were referring to if they thought that many of the posts were "downers", but those types of posts were me trying to get my readers to understand the daily struggles of living in a foreign culture. After all, if they didn't know what I was facing, how could they pray accurately?

I guess the challenge is to balance the posts out with the good and encouraging things you face, as well. I know how easy it is to become so accustomed to everything and the good (and even normal) things tend to become "un-newsworthy". You can recognize those good things because they are the exact things you will miss when you leave for a period of time.

What readers also need to understand is that sometimes you just need to let it out...to tell someone about it. You don't want to gripe to the locals, of course; and talking amongst yourselves starts to feel a lot like preaching to the choir. Readers need to be aware that life over there can be a huge challenge, and sometimes just telling someone about the tough times can be a giant stress reliever. So to all those who read this blog, remember to be encouraging, understanding, and prayerful. You may not understand how much Brian and Kelly Jo need those three things, but having lived overseas, I do!