March 13, 2011

Personal, Not Private

This has been rolling around in my head for a few days now and I wanted to just spitball some thoughts with you. This is off-the-cuff, but not very long. It seems appropriate for a Sunday musing, even though I know blogland is basically dead on Sundays, so probably nobody will see it.

Anytime I see the same topic or phrase on multiple blogs in a short amount of time, it gets me to thinking. So, the last week or so, I've seen this phrase pop up on multiple blogs: "I believe faith is very personal, so I don't like to talk about it on my blog." It probably has something to do with the season, the topic of faith/religion keeps popping up.

{before anyone hops on me, yes, i use the terms "faith" and "religion" interchangeably sometimes, because i believe the two are very closely related, rather than valuing one over the other. that's a blog post for another day, so wait for that one to comment on that idea, please?}

Anyway, it got me to thinking. Yes, I do believe faith is personal. It has to be, doesn't it? I have known people who held communal faith, or only claimed a religion because their family/country/culture demanded it. It doesn't take long to see that the faith is pretty disingenuous.

Here's where I'm really going with this: just because faith is personal, does that mean it's also supposed to be private? Because I think there might be some confusion over the two terms. I certainly believe the Bible teaches that faith is personal - Jesus came and died on the cross so that we would have a personal relationship with God. But does the Bible also teach us that faith is supposed to be private?

"You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." Matt. 5:14-16

"For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have appointed you as a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth." Acts 13:47

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9

"...but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you." 1 Peter 3:15

These are just a few Scriptures, but there are many other examples. Look at the lives of the Apostles, for instance. There's no doubt their faith was very personal - they had in-person friendships with Jesus! But was it private? After Jesus left, what did they do? Even when under the very name of "Jesus" was forbidden, they said, "we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:20)

Genuine faith is transforming. It takes over every part of your life. A friend of mine recently posted about her own struggle with allowing her very personal faith into every area of her life.

Anyway, all that to say, I don't really understand the idea that this faith we have, this faith that supposedly changes us completely from the inside, out, that we are supposed to treasure it and nurture it to growth - and not really try and share it with anyone? Or apologize if the subject comes up?

I don't mean this to sound negative. Instead, I hope to encourage you to be transparent. We have a treasure meant to be shared. The very last thing Jesus told us while on earth was for us to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1), which pretty much requires us to talk about our very real, very personal faith. I think blogs are a good way to do that. We can be iron sharpening iron (Prov. 27:17) to one another and witnesses around the world to others. Why not start this week, today?


  1. Oh, I completely agree.

    Of course faith is personal. But is it so personal that it keeps you from sharing it with others? It really makes me wonder if these people really are believers. If they were, wouldn't they WANT to share their faith?

    Personally, I can't stand it when bloggers say things like that.

  2. well said! there may be aspects of your faith that are "private" but the more transparent we are about our faith, or struggles, or our victories in Christ the more likely we are to be a catalyst for change in other's lives- how can you be a new creation and it not be evident in your personal life?!

  3. I agree as well. I don't understand why people say that, especially on a blog. It is YOUR blog after all and you can write on about anything you want to...don't make excuses though, about why you're not writing about something. Especially if it is your faith. If someone isn't going to read your blog because you are real and write about your faith, that's their choice. But be real and be who you are!

  4. Faith is called to be lived out. We are called to evangelize. We are called to share about God, not only the scripture but it is much more impactful to share the personal story of Christ in your/our life. For me, prayer is private, it's intimate (which is why I can't stand praying out loud), unless I am prompted by the Holy Spirit.
    It concerns me when people don't share their faith because it's "too personal"... It makes it seem like there isnt complete faith and trust in Christ.

  5. I am Jewish, so this may or may not be relevant, but we're not very public people in terms of our faith. We don't believe in prostelitizing. There are some things that we do that are public like for men the kippah. But for the most part we keep our religious practice to ourselves. I was always taught that you bring more people to the faith by living out your faith--being a good person, doing good things, etc etc--then you do talking about your faith. I suppose for me its like your no more a Whatever religion by sitting in a temple/church/mosque then you are a car in a garage.

    So for me, and the way I grew up, A lot of talk about any religion makes me uncomfortable. I respect people's right to preach their religion (no pun intended) especially in their own blog but I prefer to know someone is a good person then to know someone talk a lot about their faith without showing me some action.

    I hope that makes sense and isnt offensive

  6. AWESOME post :D I had dinner with a close friend last night, who happens to be a chaplain's wife (the wife of the chaplain who married us, actually), and religion always comes up because I feel so comfortable discussing it with her. I understand some people don't want to be all "in your face" or pushy with relifion, or maybe they strictly adhere to the "no talking about religion, politics or money" theory, but religion is such an integral part of who we are (if you've really accepted God into your life at least, it should be!)

    How can you possibly avoid talking about something as large a part of your being as this? I'm Catholic, so we don't really invite others into our faith, or reach out to others as much as other Christian religions, and I like that the least about my religion. Shouldn't we be sharing the love Jesus has for us? Shouldn't we be wanting others to feel the same way God makes us feel? I was writing a post about this very thing and finding all the right words for today.

    Sorry for my long comment, but thank you for writing this. Thank you for making it public, because it is so much who we are!

  7. It's funny how something so important to us can feel so taboo at times. Thanks so much for the encouraging reminder!

  8. I've seen similar comments on several blog posts lately. One even went so far as to apologize in advance for asking her readers to pray for her...seriously, since when do we need to be apologetic about our need for prayer???

  9. I, too, along with some of the readers agree. I am a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) and as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have also been taught to learn, live, and share His gospel by being an example as well as through service. Personally, I believe if you believe in something so passionately (which in this case for us is the gospel of Jesus Christ) and there comes a time you might have to stand up for what you believe in, do it. Even if you are standing alone. You might not get noticed from society, but at least you will get noticed for standing as a witness by God.

  10. Sometimes I think things like this are "personal" because they don't want to offend anyone (why people get offended over religion/faith)...I don't have a clue). Why someone would care about that on their own blog I again have no clue. I have posted issues with my "religion" posted with disclaimers that people might not agree. It's whatever. It's the blogger's space. If it is an important part of your life, share it! Does this make sense?

  11. I haven't really posted anything about my faith on my blog, but it's not because I don't want to offend, it's just because I haven't decided how to broach the subject. I wrote about being interested in the liturgical calendar and I know that will probably offend some fundamentalists I know.

  12. Very well said! It's our whole purpose (as believers) to openly share our faith :)


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