So I was reading this book the other day... a book about social justice and spurring Jesus-followers to get aware and involved. At one point, the author, in her easy and conversational tone, uses her uppity, Christian, non-social-justice-minded neighbor as an example of bad Jesus-following. She just put it right in there between HIV/AIDS statistics and the Christmas cookie social.
I read it, and I thought, "Oh snap! Girlfriend just threw her neighbor under the BUS!"
And then I wondered if she used her real name. Even if she didn't, you know her friends (and neighbors--let's not forget the other neighbors) know who she's talking about. You can just see them standing around in the cul-de-sac chatting, while one with arms akimbo smacks her lips and says, "Girl, you know she be talkin' bout Luanne!"
And I think, poor Luanne. Now we all know what a schmuck she is.
And I see this all. the. time. I see it in blogs and books and magazines and... and ... well.. that's pretty much all I read, so blogs, books and magazines. We are, as a society-- secular or sacred, a culture of full disclosure. And I wonder, do we disclose too much?
And what we don't disclose, we censor, right? No one likes censorship... not even people who say they like censorship!
And why is this important?
Well, for me, I've been thinking about what parts of my story to tell, who to tell it to and how and when to tell it. My story is nearing four decades now. In telling it, I could throw some people under the bus. Those that know me, know I'm feisty and a bit like Peter, all too comfortable with brandishing my sword. Shoot, who am I kidding? I have thrown people under the bus.
I've sacrificed the reputation of another human being to tell a story. Sometimes I did it for what felt like very, very good reasons... like you know it was necessary to include the horrible thing someone did in order to see God's greater providence in a situation, or in order to relate to the person I was talking to.
Sometimes, I did it because I was angry and wanted justice.
Sometimes, I did it just for fun.
And a lot of times, I wonder if I should have censored the story.
And I wonder if I'll get thrown under the bus. Probably. Will he or she ask permission first? My sins will find me out, I know. Will it be in the court of public opinion and social media?
I hope not.
And I don't want to be preachy and moralizing here, but I've been thinking a lot about this and thought that the other five people that read my blog should think about it too! :)