I was asked to speak at my very first blogging conference this year. It's the Casual Blogger's Conference (code for "those of us not making a ton of money off this thing"). (Also code for "girl's weekend"). (You should come!)
I'm excited but also getting a wee bit nervous. The topic of the panel I am on is "Blogging Your Faith: How to Incorporate Spirituality". I am starting to panic a bit (as I am prone to do) about whether or not I even know how to do this. I am spiritual -yes - but I often feel very conflicted about how to communicate that on my blog. I never want to alienate people, and I realize that I have readers who don't share my views.
I am also very aware that some of my views on things political and social don't always line up with the traditional Christian camp. I am a Christian, and while I am morally conservative, I am politically liberal, and always striving for tolerance. Because I feel Jesus is often maligned by the very people professing to be Christians, I to tend to take a critical view of mainstream Christianity - a fact that often mortifies my mom. When you add all of these elements together, I think the only thing I can be confident of when blogging about faith is that I am sure to offend everyone at one time or another.
I have to confess that I even feel a little ill-equipped to write about faith, much less speak about writing about faith. I can think of so many bloggers that are very upfront about their Christianity, like Kelly and Amanda and Angie. They seem to have an easier time incorporating their Christianity in their writing, and write so eloquently about their faith . . . but then I wonder how this is received by people who don't share their views. At the same time, I really enjoy some faith writing by people who hold very different spiritual views than mine, like Liz or Cecily or Loralee. And then I am a columnist at CoversantLife, a blog devoted to faith and culture, where I am often astounded by the way people write about their spiritual life in relevant ways.
I seem to live in this tension of wanting to talk about my faith, but not wanting my "Christianese" to leave non-Christians screaming and running for the hills. (Or clicking that X button up there on the right, anyway. THE HORRORS). In my self-important moments, I fancy myself as being some sort of ambassador for a kinder, gentler, more Jesus-like Christianity. A little more love, inclusion, and social justice. A little less intolerance, judgment, and Rush Limbaugh. On other days, I think maybe my "don't jam it down their throats" mentality is just a convenient excuse to avoid my own ambivalence.
So, I'm very curious. If you are a regular blog reader, here or elsewhere, how do you view people writing about their faith? Does it turn you off? Draw you in? Offend you? Encourage you? In your opinion, how is faith and spirituality incorporated most effectively in writing for a diverse audience?
(And yes, this is me trying to get you to write my speaking material for me. Thanks in advance, people. I don't know what the heck I'm doing).