I have been publicly sharing my work online for over a decade.
The name “nakedpastor” originated from my desire to bare my soul as a pastor, to be honest about my journey, my thoughts, my vocation, my life, and to be vulnerable about my weaknesses and struggles as someone serving the church.
Someone once told me: If you stick your head up above the rest you’ll get shot at.
They were right!
To be honest about yourself in a public way is to invite shots. Whether it’s to thousands of people or to a few. To expose yourself is to invite exposure.
The reactions to my exposure are numerous: sometimes encouragement, support, and praise, but also pity, criticism, neglect, rejection, and ridicule.
Just this weekend I had very different messages sent to me:
One was coaxing to be more explicit about my Christian faith as a rebel for Christ.
Another was pressure to deny and reject everything religious altogether and come out as an atheist.
Still another one was this:
“You can’t let anyone define you and put you in a box. It’s the one thing you have to guard with all your might. You have no need to apologize for who you are now or create a safe definition to appease others.”
I like the last one. You know why? Because it was encouraging me to be true to myself rather than true to someone else’s idea of who and what I should be. It was liberating rather than just another attempt to get me to sign up for a particular party.
The pressure to belong in a conforming kind of way is very strong. Is it possible to belong while still being free? Can we achieve being a community of free people while at the same time being responsible to one another?
In other words, can I be free without violating your freedom?
I think this boils down to the simple question, “Can we be free and kind?”
There would be advantages for me to sign up for one side or another. But the disadvantage would be that I’d lose myself.
And we can’t have that, can we?!
Love you guys!