“If you have God all over your profile and I don’t follow back, it’s not that I don’t like you. I’m just trying to avoid an argument.”
This was a tweet that I wrote a few days ago, but never sent – partially because it may be a tad inflammatory, but mostly because I really didn’t want to hear it. People get very uptight about religion and a clenched bunghole isn’t the ideal posture from which to begin a dialogue.
Someone from a dad blogger group that I belong to on Facebook followed me on Twitter. As usual, I clicked over to his profile to see if we had anything in common. There it was. Right at the beginning:
“I am a follower of Christ,…”
My eyes glazed over. Elbows on the desk, I cupped my chin in my hands.
This can’t end well.
Now, I knew that my apprehension was based on a lot of assumptions. That’s not fair. If you’ve read my blog for any period of time, you know that I’ve preached against that sort of thing, so I visited his blog. I discovered that just about every post began with a bible verse.
Damn it. I knew it!
Tonight, unrelated to the above, I saw a tweet from another member of the blogging group. It seemed like it might be a trick question, but I was feeling adventurous. I decided to play along.
#dads are you concerned with teaching your kids your views about god/faith?
My views? No, not concerned. We’ve talked about where the church and I differ. They are encouraged to decide for themselves.
And you’re ok with whatever they decide? Like you don’t think there is a right/wrong view. Or a good/better view to have?
There it is. That’s what he was going for. It is his raison d’etat. Here comes the sermon, but before he delivers it, I’ll give him this to chew on for a minute.
I am okay with it. Assessing right/wrong in terms of religious choice is pretty subjective, don’t you think?
I’m currently struggling with what used to be my religious affiliation. But I feel pressure to teach my kids about God.
What? Wait. This wasn’t a trap, and he’s not out to convert anyone. He’s just a guy looking for answers.
Pressure from whom? Just as you are deciding, they will too. Introduce your beliefs, but know it’s not necessarily permanent.
Pressure from myself. From my upbringing. #faith #fatherhood
What we learn isn’t always what we should teach. My parent’s beliefs are not mine. Only you can decide what to teach yours.
That’s how it ended. He went on to tweet a related question to the world, but I didn’t join in.
It’s not an easy thing to realize that the trouble I anticipated was just in my head. I could blame previous encounters with hyper-preachy people for my mindset. Yeah, I could do that. Or I could write this post, complete with a mea culpa. It’s clear that I should have gone into the conversation with an open mind. I’m sorry now, that I didn’t. At least it seemed to go well.
The Rest of the Story
I went back to that first blog. This time, rather than flee at the sight of scripture, I stayed a while and read his last three posts. Turns out, he’s just a guy trying to live a good life. That life, for him, is rooted in his faith. His posts may play off of the selected bible verses that precede them, but mostly he just writes about being a dad.
And from what I have read, he’s working hard at being a good one.
I’m following him on Twitter now, and I’ll direct him to this post when it’s published.
I don’t know how he will react when he reads this, but I wouldn’t want to put my foot in the presupposition bucket yet again.
I’ve had my fill.
Neither one of these two men would have ever known that they had been profiled, by me, unless I told them. But I couldn’t tell my story honestly or completely without them.
I hope we can be friends.
01/13/2013 – Mark Vander Ley has written a response to this post. He was the first of the two men who I wrote about last night. You can read it here: I’ve Been Profiled