Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shut up, Rob Bell...I've been Tartuffified.

Blogging. Hate it. I stalk friends and strangers who do it so well, and I feel like I do not, cannot. I glare at the blinking cursor wondering which tumultuous storm to record. There is always so much that I could write about, and yet, refuse to. My blogaholic friend keeps stalking me, leaving subtle hints to step it up. She doesn't believe that I have nothing to say because I talk her ear off everytime I see her. Which may be why she wants me to blog -- so I'll shut up. Hmmm...

So yesterday, we had lunch together, and at the end of our time, she (while replacing her ear) again recommended blogging. I seriously do try. I look at this blank page all the time. I even started two more blogs and updated my MySpace page, so I try. Here I am again.

I think (and she knows) my biggest concern about blogging is the vulnerability that comes along with it. What good is it to take the time to write if it all nonsense, if it's all surfacy dribble. I feel concern about allowing myself to be deep and real and then alienate people. I am concerned that people know me (or even those who don't) will read what I say and perceive me to be something I'm not. Or worse, something I am.

Today, I was goofing around online to avoid homework, and Tim Gunn's Guide to Style was on TV in the background. He sent his fashion client to a Life Stylist who had her sort of chant this mantra while wearing a garbage bag and looking into a fun house mirror. Over and over, she said, "I cannot control how I am perceived. I can only control how I am presented." I was doing my best to ignore that distraction for this one, when it occurred to me that that's been my problem all along. I have not been blogging because I've been too busy tightly controlling my presentation so that perceptions of me would remain generally positive.

Who wants people to know that they're a mess -- for all the right reasons, but also for all the wrong ones? I don't want people to know that I hurt, that I struggle, that I have questions and doubts. I don't want people to know that I attack about as much as I'm attacked. I don't want people to know that I am imperfect. It would be such a shock. What nonsense.

It sounds so ridiculous writing it out, but that is truly how I felt inside. Because I am so important that evidently if things are wrong in me, then God would be proven totally unfaithful. What self-importance. What pride. Or even moreso, if I could just go on without admitting my pain, questions, or struggles, they perhaps wouldn't be real.

Last week, I read this play called Tartuffe by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere. It was written in 1664, but the subject is so contemorary and relatable. Tartuffe is a religious hypocrite who was brought in to live with a wealthy man and his family essentially so that the wealthy man could kind of earn a passage to Heaven. Tartuffe condemned the family in every way possible, and manipulated Orgon, the wealthy man. In one scene, Tartuffe tried to seduce the Orgon's wife, and these were the passages I could take for self-evaluation.

Story: She's tempting him to prove to her husband Orgon that Tartuffe is a hypocrite and a liar, but Orgon isn't coming to her rescue. She's preserving herself by telling Tartuffe that she doesn't understand how an affair could be acceptable to Heaven. This is Tartuffe's reply to her resistance:

Madam, forget such fears, and be my pupil,
And I shall teach you to conquer scruple,
Some joys, it's true, are wrong in Heaven's eyes;
Yet Heaven is not averse to compromise;
There is a science, lately formulated,
Whereby one's conscience may be liberated,
And any wrongful act you care to mention
May be redeemed by purity of intention.

When Elmire still resists, Tartuffe goes on to say this:

If you're still troubled, think of things this way:
No one shall know of our joys, save us alone,
And there's no evil till the act is known;
It's scandal, Madam, which makes it an offense,
And it's no sin to sin in confidence.

So this is what I've been doing. Remaining quiet to remain blameless. And then I read this:

"Well...It would be great if the leaders that are telling everyone that they need to trust Jesus actually did it. " -- Rob Bell, on his blog.

How mad I am at myself. Every week, every day I proclaim to others the freedom that comes from confession. I encourage people not to let their darkess consume them, but rather to trust in the Lord and allow Him to bring light. I have been such a Tartuffe, telling others what to do, but not doing myself. I've been broken, and had it not been for the piecemeal patchwork I've put together on my own, I would be wholly broken still. But that's the key. I'm trying to repair myself in my brokenness instead of just remaining here in shambles and allowing the Lord the time to restore me properly.

So this is it for the moment.

I have loads to work through -- some in process, and much more yet to come. I hope this blog works out to be a space for that work to occur. And now to honor my blogoholic buddy further, I'm off to take a nap.


  • brodie

    Good post. I'm not up on my 17th century liturature so it was interesting hearing about the book.

    What blog are you referencing for the Rob Bell quote btw. I don't think he has his own that I know of.

  • Amanda

    Rob Bell's blog is on his MySpace page. My particular quote is pulled from his thread "Interview with".

  • Amanda

    I probably should clarify that Rob Bell's blog is not a blog in the traditional sense, but rather a complation of interviews and transcribed sermons. It's kept under the blog section, and therefore a blog in my mind.

  • Amy

    WOO HOO! I'm glad that I stalked you into it... oh, I mean "talked you into it". I love all of your new entries. I love that you are vulnerable. I love that you let me see that. And I adore that you went to take a nap after you wrote this.

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