Stuck In The Middle With You

Well. That was fun.

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last couple of days, you know about the World Vision hiring/not hiring the gays thing and the emotional wasteland that remains in its wake. Progressives and conservatives alike lost their ever lovin’ minds. Conservatives were filled with absolute rage – while progressives were doling out rallying cries and e-high fives. Fast forward 24 hours and those feelings reversed.

It was quite a thing.

God knows it’s not the first time an emotionally charged issue has inspired such a clash of ideology and it certainly won’t be the last. There are powerful voices on both sides who know how to get to heard.

But what about the rest of us? Those of us who fall much closer to the middle. Where’s our loud voice? Where’s our super blogger? If ever there was a silent majority, the not-a-conservative, not-yet-a-liberal is it.

Why is that?

I’m thinking it has a lot to do with fear.

Fear of being called lukewarm.

Fear of disappointing family, friends, pastors.

Fear of letting go of decades of theology that you’ve realized isn’t what God intended at all.

Fear of the world not being flat.

Fear of losing business connections in the Christian music industry that sometimes pay a lot of bills.

Was that last one too specific? Oops.

Let me take care of at least one of those for you right now. Fear of being called lukewarm. In a word, bullshit. Those of us in the middle are not lukewarm. We are peacemakers. We are observers. We admit we do not have all the answers. We live in the struggle. We love hard. And we do our best to see people. There is a lot of humanity in the middle.

We may not be first to the front lines, but we sure as hell aren’t lukewarm.

Still, we are quiet. It could be fear. It could be sheer exhaustion from constantly playing emotional and theological ping pong.

It could be because we feel alone.

We are always wondering what we can or should say and who we can or should say it to. But I think I have an idea.

Everyone likes to be asked what they think, so let’s start asking. Let’s begin conversations. Let’s attempt to find others in the middle while still listening to and learning from those on the ends.

My parents are conservatives. Pretty straight forward evangelical Christians and they are full of wisdom. I’m old enough to stop telling people how old I am and I still learn from them. My brother-in-law is a raging liberal atheist and I adore him. I do not get to where they are going when I explore the same questions they are considering, but I’m glad to have them along as part of my journey. Even though our faiths, or lack thereof, look very different, there is enough grace and respect for everyone.

Being in the middle isn’t so bad. There is a very nice view of perspective from here. We are less concerned about being right and more focused on being content. But do not mistake that for complacency. There is passion in the in-between. We just don’t feel driven to be the squeaky wheel. We’re more like the oil.

Maybe someday we’ll find our super blogger. Maybe we will quietly build bridges that lead us all back to the Family table. Maybe we’ll get bolder. Maybe we should make peace with our desire to not draw battle lines.

Maybe we should stop being afraid.

What say you? What causes you to hold your tongue or rethink that tweet?

 

Yeah. You didn’t think I’d post a title like that and not leave you with some Stealers Wheel, did you?

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So…Politics Suck.

Today I have a guest post over at The American Jesus. Poor Zack Hunt is a sleep-deprived new dad and asked me to pinch-hit. I pretty much tell everybody they’re wrong.

So I guess what I’m saying is it’s a riot. Click on that truly wonderful banner to see who I might have offended.

American-Jesus-Header2013

Dear Sharideth, How do I move on from a bad break up?

dianearbus

Okay, this one was long so I’m going to give you guys the bullet points.

  • High school sweethearts
  • He figured they’d get married
  • Ended up at the same college
  • Moved in together
  • She got restless
  • She started staying out and not telling him where she was or who she was with
  • Things went to hell
  • She found someone else
  • Vicious breakup
  • He’s devastated

Here’s the rest from his email:

Seven months have passed since then. I’m finding it hard to completely get over her. Especially now that I’ve met this girl that I really like. I haven’t spoken to another girl in such a manner in years. I don’t know how to speak to her or even let her know that I like her. It’s obvious to me and everyone I know that she likes me. But I’m just still mind fucked from my previous relationship that I don’t know how to start a new one. This girl also has a boyfriend but has been considering breaking up with him for awhile. I would appreciate it if you could give me any advice on getting over my ex. I would be grateful for advice on how to win the heart of the new girl I wish to be with. Most of all, I am thankful for your time.

Sincerely,

Busted

Dear Busted,

You are not going to like my answer. I’m not going to tell you how to win the heart of the new girl. The new girl can go screw herself. If she’s stringing her boyfriend along while she’s chumming the waters for someone else, then she’s not for you.

Why?

Because she is your ex-girlfriend, only with a different face. And you, my friend, are the “someone else” she found while still in a committed relationship, making her boyfriend…are you ready for this…YOU as you were when your ex cheated on you and strung you along.

Are you following me?

No?

Let me put it like this…

You are trading one unfaithful girl for another. By doing so, you are putting some poor schmuck through the same thing that just happened to you. Don’t be that guy.

I know you’re still hung up on your ex so I want you do something.

Get angry at her. Let yourself be furious at what she put you through. Let the anger burn the remnants of what you feel for her down to ash, dust yourself off and move on. Anger is a tool. It is meant to be short-lived. Let it do its job.

Then go find yourself a nice, UNATTACHED girl and start clean.

Oh so sincerely,

Sharideth

If you’re going through a bad break up right now, here’s some help:

There’s Nothing Worse Than a Bad Break Up

What else would you say to our friend?

Pocket-Sized Garage Sale

jasonsbooks

Going off the rails today, y’all.

My boy Jason Boyett is writer. A good one. A funny one. A published one. He’s kind of who I want to be when I grow up both as a writer and as a human being. I’m way behind though since I’m older than he is. *kicks rocks* I’ve listened to his “O’ Me of Little Faith” on audiobook four times. I don’t do anything four times. Jason is profound, transparent and humorous when dealing with issues of doubt in faith. Yeah. You try to pull that off.

Anyhoo, through no fault of his own, Jason finds himself with a garage full of his book “Pocket Guide to the Bible”. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how good this book is.

Okay, sure I can.

It’s hilarious and accurate and looks amazing on a coffee table. Jason is as educated as he is insightful and clever. Pocket Guide to the Bible reflects all of those things. From teens, to those new to the faith, to seasoned spiritual veterans, it really is for everyone.

So help me help Jason be able to park his car in his garage again.

He’s got 1400 copies and dwindling available. When I say dwindling, I mean I am not the only blogger out there hawking Jason’s book today. He doesn’t even know we’re doing it. Well, maybe he does by now. A couple of people have beat me to it on East Coast Time and the sales are already underway. jb-garage-2

Get greedy and hop on getting yours.

You can buy it by the case for your youth group/church, which will make you a superhero of generosity and wisdom. Or you can buy an individual copy for yourself to impress your friends with your depth and eye for insightful humor. Either way, you’ll become better looking and increase your IQ by at least 12 points. I’m pretty sure.

Individual Book: $4.00

Case of 48: $48.00

Case of 75: $70.00

You read those prices correctly because I wrote them correctly. See what I mean about buying them for your church?

You can click on anything I’ve written in bold to place your order.

Or if you the type of person who needs a properly titled link, here you go:

Jason Boyett at Big Cartel

If you want to go a step further and lay claim to my undying gratitude, then head over to my Twitter and retweet the link.

@sharideth

Be sure to let me know in the comments if you placed an order. You guys are awesome.

What do you need to get out of your garage?

phone it in phriday

eventually you end up pooping in front of the one you love while he brushes his teeth.

i have to go see Magic Mike this weekend for research purposes.  that’s not a joke.  i’ll be taking a notebook.  but not The Notebook.

what are you doing this weekend?

the 5 people you meet in Zumba class

bonus saturday post!  boom!  it has nothing to do with relationships.  enjoy or eat a sweaty leotard.

i took my first Zumba class yesterday.  it was scheduled from 12pm to 1pm.  however, that part of my brain that should have said, “hey dumbs#!+, you haven’t exercised in 10 years.  how about you not start with an hour long assault on your person?” was clearly eating a bon bon and surfing Stumble Upon.

this self-inflicted hour of pain is a direct result of getting a look at myself in a dressing room mirror.  the hateful thing.

oh and short of a state reservoir, there is no container of water large enough to last an entire Zumba class.  i was tempted to drink the pool.

here’s the 5 people you meet in a Zumba class:

1.  the instructor that looks deceptively unfit.  that awkward moment when i realized that roll around her middle was excess skin because she’s lost over 100 pounds and can Zumba my ass into the ground for another hour if she wanted.  and i’m pretty sure she’s a sadist.

2.  the shy but brave overweight lady who does the minimized moves in the back.  i can’t help but respect her.  she’s making an effort and looks very determined.  however, i begin the class feeling a bit superior to her, then end up doing the minimized version with her at about the 40 minute mark…

3.  the 50 something lady who shows up in full make up and jewelry.  why would she do that?  does she enjoy hearing her rings clink to the rhythm?  do her necklaces (yes, plural) have some magical sweat absorbing properties i am unaware of?  what kind of spackle is she using on her face that holds up under such punishment?  seriously.  i’d really like to know that.  i also suspect she spent at least half an hour on her ponytail.

4.  the jack rabbit.  she’s the size of my 12 year old and appears to have springs on her stupid tiny feet.  her every move screams “give me more!” while she adds extra steps to all the routines.  at the end of class she says, “you took it easy on us today!” while i hyperventilate.  i wanted to pop her head like a zit.

5.  woman who tries to keep up out of pride.  her ability to follow the routines hint at her having been a pretty good dancer in a former life, but she has been reincarnated in her late 30’s as a heavy footed clod who clearly hasn’t moved much in a while.  she is obviously trying to make a good show of it, but when she fails, she has visions of murdering everyone in the room.  she also says offensive things to class members after class because all the oxygen has her left her brain.

guess which one i was.

i made it the entire hour.  my pride wouldn’t let me leave.  my pride is a bitch.

i’ll be going back next week.  three times.  (insert a lot more swearing here)

anybody else trying to not look like a stuffed kielbasa in swimsuit?

what do you do for self flagulation exercise?

how to be a better blogger

oooooooohhhh!  Agent Smith is going off topic again?  whatever shall i do?

you’ll get by without my dating genius for one day.  i promise.  it’s Monday.  nobody dates on Monday.

besides, it’s not really off topic for me.  my blog and the transitions and improvements i have made and am in the process of making (hint hint) are a direct result of the advice and ass kicking i’ve received from Bryan Allain.  not to be confused with Jack Lalanne.  although they both do have super powers.

Bryan’s super powers are in his ability to make the in and outs of blogging not only accessible, but also hysterical.  Jack Lalanne makes juicing exciting and easy. 

this is what passes for my review of Bryan Allain’s “31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo”.  you’re on your own with the Power Juicer.

when i started reading “31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo”, i got a few chapters in and thought, “nailed it!  i’m doing everything right.  yay me!”

then i got a few more chapters in and things began to change a bit.  Bryan continued to lay out the structure for building a successful blog and i realized i still have a ways to go.  change is a comin’, dear readers.  and it will be a direct result of what i’ve learned from this book and from Bryan. 

but don’t worry, content is staying the same.  i will still be your favorite terrible person.

one of the things i implemented right away that Bryan suggests is writing down my ideas as they come to me.  which means keeping something to write on and with at all times.  Bryan says it’s probably not best to write on your jeans with a Sharpee, but i think that’s genius.  i call them my “idea pants”.

other reasons you should man up and spend $4.99 on 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo:

1.  it’s practical:  Bryan lays out a plan that simply makes a ton of sense.  i totally face-palmed more than once while reading it.

2.  it’s doable:  all the steps are easy to take.  there’s no jumping through flaming hoops into vats of orange jello.  not that that wouldn’t be fun.  but they are broken down into chewable bites that makes for better digestion.  like fiber.

3.  it’s hilarious:  i know Bryan’s humor.  i read it everyday at his blog, i’ve talked to him on the phone and even served him probably the worst coffee he’s ever had (that i later found out kept him up past 1 in the AM), and i was still surprised by how fresh the humor is in this book.

4.  it’s cheap:  $4.99?  seriously?  the vente salted caramel mocha i’m drinking right now cost me more than that.  Bryan, you totally undersold yourself.  it’s worth way more.  and i would have happily paid it.

5.  help a brutha out:  those of us with blogs should know what it’s like to need to be supported by others in the blog-o-sphere.  Bryan is not only working harder than most people i know to make a dream into his reality, but he’s offering a genuinely needed service to the rest of us in the process.  help him get there.  buy the book.

have a blog?  going to have a blog?  think that maybe someday you might have a blog?  buy the book.  it will save you countless months of frustration.

buy the book.

buy the book.

buy the book.

and…do what i also did.  i’m a member of Killer Tribe.  Bryan’s online blogging forum and advice center.  totally worth it.

bloggers?  what’s your biggest frustration with your blog?