Friday, April 16, 2010

My Motivation

Lower center of the The Last Judgement by Mich...Image via Wikipedia
It has come to my attention (more than once) that at least a few of my Facebook friends think I choose what I post simply to stir up debate.  Among those friends, I found out, is my wife.  I'd like to take a moment to present my side of the story on that issue.  And, I'm not presenting my side just to "defend" myself.  There is another motivation behind this, too. 

When one person accused me of posting simply for the sake of inciting people, I thought it was just her point of view. She's a Conservative and I know it must seem like I just bash Conservatives for fun. And I would guess some of my Conservative friends think I am picking on them personally.  My wife doesn't understand why I get so involved in controversial issues and why I have to air my opinions on "personal matters" publicly.  So, she (and others) have assumed that I must post things when I get bored just to get conversations started so I won't be bored anymore.  That is not the case.  Actually, I don't have a lot of time to get bored.

Rarely, do I post blog posts or news articles that are directed at a particular person.  There are exceptions.  The other day there was an article about eating well and eating cheaply.  My friend Annie and I have discussed that several times with me taking the position it is nearly impossible to eat well and eat cheaply and that junk food is much cheaper and easier to get.  The article took Annie's point of view.  I posted it mainly for Annie to see.  

So, why do I post the things I do?  Well, I post things that interest me.  Hopefully, they'll interest other people, too.  If you've been my friend on Facebook for long or read my blog more than a couple of times you probably realize  I am one of those "social justice" Christians.  I mainly post things that, in my humble opinion, will make you (and me) a better person, my state a better state, our country a better country and/or our planet a better planet.  I am one of those Christians who believes when Jesus said the Kingdom of God is at hand He did not mean that G-d was about to come swooping in on chariots (then or now).  He meant that Jesus was here to usher in a new kind of relationship between people and with G-d and that we have to work to bring that to fruition.  I believe that we each have to do our part to make that happen and that is what I am trying to do with my "voice" on the Internet.  I do not believe Jesus is coming back to either save or destroy the planet (depending on your view of eschatology).  I believe it's up to us to work with G-d to make the planet what He envisions it could be.  

Are my posts biased?  You betcha!  No claims of "fair and balanced" here.  I am not a news organization.  I present one man's opinion.  I am not ashamed to be Liberal in my politics and in my religion.  If asked, I'll give you justification for my point of view.  If you disagree with me, I am more than happy to discuss why you are right and I am wrong and I'll tell you why I think I am right.  Do I like it when people discuss my posts?  Yes, I do.  That means you read it and it had some impact on you.

A confession.  I do try to stir things up.  I try to stir up people's hearts and minds.  I know I'll never convince my Conservative friends to become Liberals.  But, maybe I'll make them think about a particular issue differently.  Maybe I'll cause them to think what's the motivation behind people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.  Maybe I'll get them to realize that the government does have some role to play in social justice issues. 

While I am not a Buddhist by religion, I do agree with the majority of Buddhist philosophy.  One of the most important things about karma is that karma is not determined by the actions we take but by the motivation or the intention behind those actions.  We cannot cling to the outcomes we hope to get from our actions because the outcomes are beyond our control.  When I do things I try to remember to ask myself "What do you hope to accomplish by doing this?"  When it comes to my blog, I am putting out thoughts into the world with a hope and a prayer that it makes the planet just a little better.

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Don said...

And I fully appreciate what you do here and on Facebook.

Because of self-interests (I don't want to hurt family members still within the institution and subject them to criticism unnecessarily...Isn't that sad). I restrict myself to "freedom of speech" on my blog. I admire you and your firm stand. Stay firm, stand tall.

Brian said...

Thanks Don. Your support means a lot to me.

My family is ultra-conservative. Recently, my father joined facebook. I hesitated to send him a friend request thinking that what I write might upset him. My family doesn't read my blog.

So far not a peep from anyone in my family. Jesus said something about hating your family. Obviously, that's not meant to be taken literally. But, I just can't keep quiet about what I believe about the church, our government and the world. I was deeply, deeply wounded by the church for most of my life and I can't be silent while that happens to another generation.

kc bob said...

I often tell my wife that I wish that lived closer to you Brian. My life has been enriched by our online conversations.

I find that most people are not comfortable with civil debate because they do not like to leave their comfort zone. I would not pay attention to those who question your motives.

Brian said...


Thanks. I appreciate your support and I really enjoy our conversations, even when we're on different sides of an issue. I really enjoy talking to people like you and Annie who are true "Independents". It helps me keep things in perspective. Most people I know look at things from one side or the other (conservative or liberal). I wish we lived closer too. I don't do caffeine. But, I do drink decaf. ;-)

It did hurt a little when people questioned my motives. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. But, it's not going to stop me or even slow me down. I really made this post in hopes that, if people read it with an open mind, they might actually get what I'm trying to say in my posts rather than read them as provocative for the sake of being provocative and dismissing them.


Chaela said...

I can so relate to this, Brian. This is why I post the sometimes controversial things that I do. I want to make people think, and I do enjoy discussing and even debating these things. It's an "iron sharpening iron" sort of thing.

And, similar to your subsequent comment under your main post, my family doesn't really engage in these sorts of discussions either, nor do they read my blog (unless I send them a link, which I only do for "lighter fare"; they don't take the initiative to peruse the heavier material).

Jesus said something about a prophet being unwelcome in his own hometown. I think that this is also reflected in blog readership, especially theological blogs about the Good News. People out in Romania somewhere might visit one's page almost daily, while "Uncle Bob" right here in Anytown USA won't be bothered. 'Tis a puzzlement. :)

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Brian, I always assumed you posted things that you were passionate about. I know if I'm passionate about an issue, I feel it needs to be discussed so that we can all more fully understand it.

I have several friends who post things just to stir people up. They use names like loony left to refer to liberals or some of my atheist friends will go after conservative Christians. I am not drawn to posts like that and seldom read them, mainly because I know there is no point in discussing with someone in that mindset.

I've always liked the way you approach topics and I appreciate you as a person. I never felt you were posting just to stir things up.

Anonymous said...

Just happened to stumble upon your post here looking for something else. Amen, brother!

Jesse Ahmann said...

I love discussing theology with my FB friends. I find some enjoyment knocking down paradigms. I find it's healthy to discuss issues like healthcare, tea parties, philosophy ect... As a libertarian I have much in common with both my neocon and lefty friends.
Like you Brian, my wife is a church-going conservative. Although I am a fiscal conservative, government has no right to legislate morality.
email me at
if you want to connect on FB

Barbara said...

How can one be other than a "social justice" Christian? It's what Jesus preached.

Part of the problem with conservative Christians, IMHO, is that they pay to much attention to the Hebrew Bible without really understanding the thought stream of man's understanding of G-d from the earliest stages of social formation to the social development of the Jewish people in a Gentile world at the time of Jesus' ministry.

I am studying the Hebrew Bible this year as part of a four-year course in bible study, theology, and church history.

Jesus said that there are only two commandments: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy soul; and thy neighbor as thyself.

This was presaged by the Hebrew prophets Jeremiah, Ezekial, and Second Isaiah. In Jeremiah, God says (roughly translated): I hate your religiosity. I don't care about your sacrifices. I won't come to your next service because all your religiosity does not excuse the fact that you aren't living right (i.e., not living a life of love and justice)!

Ezekiel and Second Isaiah presage the idea of an individual response to G-d and an individual responsibility for the tenor of one's own life. (As opposed to the idea of the sin of the father being visited on succeeding generations.)

Keep telling it like it is.

SavageSoto said...

Yeah, this pretty much describes my reasonings behind posting such things on facebook (besides the politics part, Im not very politically opinionated). I just find it more interesting to try and get people to think rather than telling them some bit of info they dont care to know like "its 9 am and I am brushing my teeth".

Some people are okay with doing that, and thats your thing. Me, I like to have deep convos and outside the internet I dont get to have much if any of those so, yea...