blogging and spirituality

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).


  1. I feel encouraged when people write about their faith. Nor would it offend me if our beliefs are not the same. Maybe because I view everyone as humans and acceptance is important to me. I believe what I believe. I enjoy hearing about others beliefs and points of views. I am not a big fan of sermon writing and choose not to read those posts, but I do enjoy quotations with life applications.

  2. chiquita9:44 AM

    I don't mind other people blogging about their faith, in fact I find it interesting if they talk about how it reflects on their life/parenting/whatever. What turns me off is any hint of "and you should do things the same way I do/believe the same thing I do/are going to hell because you don't believe X." What I would like to read is something sort of in the tone of Anne Lamott, if you have read her writing. She is clearly Christian, but knows that everyone has their own path and it may be different from hers.

  3. As a recent regular reader I enjoy hearing about your faith and the "real" part of your life. It's what keeps me coming back and thinking of/praying for your family. With that, I think it is important for a blogger to stay true to who they are without fear of what non-believers may think or say. Just to Keep it Real in their faith. :)

  4. I enjoy the blogs that apply one's faith to practical life situations. When I see how others deal with and handle the stresses of life, I am encouraged to follow Christ and live my life for Him. BUT, I don't care for the blogs that preach to me, trying to make me feel guilty for decisions that I have made in my past. I like to know that people are "real" and have made mistakes and have been forgiven! Blogs that make me feel inferior because I don't live my life the way they do, turn me off. I read one sentence and then say to myself, "Yah, yah, yah, another religious post," and move on to another blog. I don't regularly attend church and I have really grown in my faith by reading blogs. I can't say that I believe in God 100% at the moment, but I am striving to live a life for him. If I could just get over the "business" aspect of church and the hypocrisy of those who attend church, I just might find myself at church again.

  5. I really appreciate your occasional references to your faith, but most of what I know about your faith and commitment to values is from your actions. I like that and find that I (being not actively religious and uncomfortable with the more fundamentalist branches of Christianity) can relate and see where your values & mine overlap. If your writing were more overtly Christian, I might have to work harder to see that.

    It's the difference between thinking 'Kristen's values are similar to mine AND she's a Christian' versus 'Kristen's a Christian, AND we have similar values'.

    From my perspective, I like that your blog shows your faith in action, rather than posts specifically on "Faith".

  6. Anonymous10:04 AM

    I enjoy it. I know we all hold different views, but it's the only way we will learn what we believe. You do a great job of incorporating your faith into your writing. Keep up the good work Kristen. Love you!


  7. I enjoying reading about faith's like mine and unlike mine. What turns me off and never makes me want to return is judgement and harsh tone. Promote what you believe many think there is a need to tear down and debate...I do not think that is how you win people over.

    You walk that line well. Just keep sharing you and all that God is doing in you. God will use that to gently pull people in.

  8. I, too, enjoy the speak of faith and God as it relates to your family/life in real time.

    I read a blog by a lady, Corey (, and she has been very candid about her struggles with her RAD daughter and how she wonders if praying really does anything, or if it's mainly for the person praying to feel better about whatever they're concerned about. If that makes sense. She's spiritual and believes in/loves the Lord, but she never ever tries to come across like one of those people who never waivers and never questions the 'whys and the what fors' when it comes to God and his hand on her life.

    Just keep it real, is what I say. Keep it to how it relates to your struggles and triumphs as a busy family with a diverse background.

  9. I agree with what you wrote! I also have this conflict in my blog. One of the commenters stated that she knows who you are by the actions she sees in your life through your blog and not what you write. I think this is the key. I do however think that at some point there has to be a reference to Christ letting readers know where the strength to do the action comes from. Best wishes at the conference. Love, J

  10. As a non-Christian reader, let me say that I appreciate open and honest discussion of faith and how it impacts your choices and behaviors. I really respect and admire people who live by faith and do so honestly and with integrity. And I also appreciate those who are able to be ambivalent about their faith and who may at times acknowledge that religion is a practice and not an absolute - that sometimes, even when doing our best, we fall short. And that's okay.

    I'm definitely with the earlier commenter - self-evaluation and reflection are what draw me in and keep me reading but prescriptions for the "right way" frustrate me and make me click away.

    By the way, you're not making us do the work for you - it's called "Crowd-sourcing" and it's very cutting edge and high tech of you. Go you!!!! :-)

  11. I am a "new reader" to your blog. I appreciate that your beliefs are all incorporated into your blog, but you keep it real. Just by reading, you can tell that you fundamentally believe in and live peace, equality, justice and love and not so much in judgment, intolerance...and Rush Limbaugh! You do display your faith through your writing casually, not preachy and I think that is why people from all paths of life can relate or at least appreciate what you have to say.

  12. I have read your blog everyday since the Haiti earthquake and the post you just wrote reminds me of why. You demonstrate your faith in all of the blogs you write, even when you are not trying to. You are extremely talented at striking that balance between sharing your viewpoints and being completely open to everyone else's at the same time. I am sure that this is why you have been asked to talk about this topic, and if you just repeat the post you just wrote, then you will do great!

  13. I agree that you can totally "see" and hear your faith through your actions even more than when you overtly/directly talk about it. . . but I also enjoy hearing more about your faith because I feel like your religious and political views are so similar to my own :-)

  14. Heather11:19 AM

    In general, I find it to be a turnoff. I generally don't follow bloggers who constantly talk about God and the bible. It usually feels too preachy, and I just don't enjoy reading that. I don't find it offensive. I just don't care to read it. I've never been turned off by anything you've written though. :o)

  15. Heather11:20 AM

    P.S. Ditto what "Little Dude" said.

  16. I find that I appreciate reading blogs where the author doesn't try to hide anything. I want the writer to be real. I am looking for a writer who is living an authentic life and when you are a Christian, I believe that all that you do comes from a place of your belief. You don't have to be preachy but you don't have to shy away from what you believe. I find that being authentic makes a blog more interesting.

  17. Kristen...this blog entry IS your presentation. Don't change a thing. This is the most profound message you could send. I share these exact beliefs. I don't want to alienate the people I have grown up in faith with but even more I cannot BEAR the idea of alienating someone who has been damaged by Christians who do not live out a Christ-like, all-inclusive faith. That's not a cop-out. That's Jesus at Matthew's house. He didn't preach, he didn't testify, he didn't proselytize. He had dinner and some wine, laughed and just was. Period.

    I'm proud of you, and I think your balance is aligned with whom you are in your faith. To change it now to fit whatever expectation you perceive is required of you at the conference...well that would be the cop-out.

    You're going to do great.

  18. I like reading any blog where the person is passionate (and factual... can back up what they write) with out being condescending and hypocritical... have fun with the speech! You'll do great!!

  19. Reading blogs where people share their faith, especially if it isn't "mainstream," makes me feel a little less lonely. A few years ago I moved to an area where it seemed everyone around me was a cookie-cutter Christian and assumed every other Christian was the same or should be the same. The internet connected me with communities of people at different points on their spiritual journey.

    We're all on a spiritual journey (whether we want to admit it or not) and it's nice to read about those journeys when they're authentic. For every person that might be offended, I'm sure there are lots who are encouraged. Keep being yourself!

  20. Oi.

    Me and my terrified self are right there alongside you in feeling nervous. I mean, really? What do I have to say on the matter? And who am I to say it?

    Good thing we have 80 some days to pick our (and our readers') brains!

  21. Anonymous1:00 PM

    I agree with the person who wrote this comment earlier: "I'm definitely with the earlier commenter - self-evaluation and reflection are what draw me in and keep me reading but prescriptions for the "right way" frustrate me and make me click away."

    I feel similar in that I don't mind reading about how faith plays in a blogger's life, but what does make me click off is when a blogger uses his/her blog for prayers. Long prayers. It's so intimate and it's not something I am comfortable reading. I prefer that if a blogger writes about faith it's self reflection, it's spiritual, not a sermon, a prayer session or a guilt trip.

  22. Michelle1:47 PM

    It draws me in if I agree with it and if I don't, I'm still intrigued to try to understand why they believe what they do. But ultimately, what I appreciate most is when someone is honest and not just trying to say something to please the masses or make it their soapbox. I think it's important to ask yourself "Am I saying what I really think or am I worried about offending someone so not really speaking what I believe is true". I try to say what I believe but just do it in a loving, non-offensive way. I get frustrated with so much focus on "tolerance" because it implies that you're being judgemental and intolerant if you don't agree with someone. Jesus was not tolerant. He loved everyone but he was not tolerant of the overly-religious Pharisees, nor was he tolerant of the "sinners" lifestyles of the tax-collectors and prostitutes. But he loved them anyway and pursued them. I wish writers would stop using "tolerance" and use another word instead (not sure what as I have a weak vocabulary?). I love most of Dan Miller's writing for instance about faith...his truth, honesty, vulnerability and love. But I sometimes feel that he and many other Miller type followers are judgemental of the religious right or conservatives as being intolerant. It feels like they're trying to be culturally relevant because right now it's "cool" to be tolerant and help people. To me it feels like an intolerance for intolerant people. This is the kind of thing that turns me off. It bothers me too that there are many over-religious fanatical people but they need prayer and love and help just as much as the people that are "living in sin". Ultimately, to reach a more diverse audience, I think it's important to be honest and not preachy, to not worry about being "hip" or politically/socially/culturally relevant, to be really unbiased in recognized the good and bad of both sides, and to recognize that if Jesus were here he would probably be in the religious middle and politically independent. :)

  23. I'm there, too. I love my church. I love the people in my church. But I feel like I'm part of a movement away from the Christian label. Jesus didn't call Himself a Christian, either. So I say I'm a follower of Jesus. And I try to do just that.

  24. I haven't really thought about it in regards to spirituality, but I have in regards to other potentially polarizing subjects (politics, etc). I blog as a release, so I am pretty open about my faith in regards to how it influences my decisions and emotions about my life. For me, if I wasn't open about it, I would not feel like I was being honest about who I was since it is a big portion of what makes me. How much you share may be different though depending on the reason you blog.

    Spirituality doesn't have to be polarizing if it is handled with grace. I'm not saying that I always do that well, but I try to at least. That's my two cents ;)

  25. I think that trying to please ALL people on your blog might be a little stressful. I think that you have enough of a following that know your style of writing and like it that you should not worry about it. Isn't that what blogs are for anyway. You share your thoughts and feelings on one issue or another and those who like it read and those who don't don't. They might like the next one. I have been reading your blog since the earthquake in Haiti as well and I like reading what you write. I am a mother of 4 ages 7-1 and can relate a lot to what you are writing. I also agree that I sometimes feel inadaquate in sharing my faith with others or incorporating as well as peole like Angie on my blog, but as a missionary I have had to speak in front of groups and share what is on my heart and they appreciate it even though I don't feel like it may have been that good. You said it yourself that some of your readers do not share your point of view....yet they are still reading. You do not have anything to worry about, you are a great writer, that can be funny but not over the top and you live what you believe and that is why you were picked to speak! Don't try to please anyone but God, and don't worry about those who may or may not be offended. You are right there is always going to be someone.

  26. From your description of yourself and your beliefs, you could never offend me b/c I would describe myself with the same terms! I like that you let us know you are a believer and that lets us know that your faith is what drives your decisions in life. But I also like that you don't pretend to be perfect nor have everything together. You are real. I guess authenticity is really the key in being relevant, isn't it?

    Plus, we need more believers out here on the blogworld that care about social justice issues! Both Christians and non-believers need to know that all believers aren't white Republicans who think there are always only 2 issues on the ballot. :-)

    You are doing a GREAT job and I love your blog! Best wishes for a fun and successful conference!

  27. Caitlin2:35 PM

    You are doing a great job exemplifying the more Jesus-like Christianity. Your people often get shrouded by the more-vocal, less-tolerant "Christians." I read your blog for my interest in mixed-family parenting and your adoption experiences, and I never mind your own spiritual sentiments. I simply can't read some of the blogs I've come across that include a sermon in every post...especially if they clearly believe in one regimented, orderly, blind-faith path to eternal salvation. I'm politically moderate, socially liberal and religiously open-minded and I enjoy your blog greatly.

  28. Anonymous2:40 PM

    Okay, I'm going to try to say what I'm thinking - without over-thinking it, so if it comes out of a jumbled mess -just know that I have a jumbled brain, too.

    1st, ACB, Cherie and Janelle, I completely agree. Although it was a little eerie feeling like someone else was in my brain!

    Michelle - your post is very thought-provoking to me. I say this because I've struggled with this myself -- I have realized (and was aghast at myself when I did) that I judge those who judge others. Yes, I know, how condescending, right? But, I can't reconcile it with religion b/c I believe at the root of ALL religions and spirituality is kindness. So while I may not agree with someone, I will still speak kindly and show respect; which is not unlike others, I realize that -- they just don't make the news!

    So, I struggle. and I worry. and I read Kristen's blog and realize that "hey others out there think like I do" I, too, am passionate about social justice and politically liberal.

    I took Latin in HS, so let me clear some cobwebs and give another perspective that I haven't seen here. But, the roots of the word "religion" are "re ligre" which means "to bind". This is both a comfort and a trouble spot for me, b/c I can see where people take hold of a religion and its rituals as a source of comfort or to 'bind' themselves to God (or the Holy Trinity, Yahweh, Allah), but at the same time I feel like I was given free will -- shouldn't I exercise it? Shouldn't I be concerned that history (all of it) is written by the winners and sometimes translated over multiple languages and things are bound in different books, with similar names, but yet none of them can be wholly complete b/c we weren’t there? And, all the wars started in the name of ‘religion’? Where does that leave us? What do God and Jesus think about all that?

    So, I’m getting word-y, but I think what it boils down to is not what you think (although that may matter to some readers), but your actions. And girl, do your actions SPEAK! And I love it. I love your ambivalence, your tolerance, your love of family, your love of people (all of them). I wouldn’t be turned off if you spoke more about faith, or less, as long as you kept leaving your stamp wherever you were and then blogging about it later.

    Thank you. Thank you for being you, and for being open and honest.

    Jill (from IL)
    P.S. I totally agree w/ Phyllis. Gathering opinions from your target audience is a great technique for giving a thoughtful speech.

  29. Chelsea3:04 PM

    I enjoy hearing it. I think most people do too. It should be okay to share that huge part of your life. It's what makes you who you are :). People aren't going to agree with everything you say. And that's okay. (As long as they are polite about it...).

  30. Anonymous3:35 PM

    i'm a new reader (found you through Marvelous Kiddo). I am not comfortable at all with religious blogs, but I think through insightful (and often hilarious) blogs like yours, people like myself can learn to realize that not all Christians are scary, closed minded fundamentalists!
    kudos to you for being honest and open in every blog post.

  31. Anonymous3:41 PM

    I have been reading for about a month now and like others have said, you strike a great balance between (mostly) living and (occasionally) speaking your faith.

    I think when (Christian) bloggers get into long explanations of what they believe and why and how that impacts everything they do or don't do and so on and so forth, I get really bogged down in all the talk.

    Personally, I like a little mystery. I mean it is pretty apparent who (or what) a person bows down to after a few posts, whether or not they ever explicitly get to faith. I think what frustrates me most about the Christian crowd is that we have lost a lot of the subtlety (and inclusiveness) that Jesus was rather fond of. Like it is pretty clear what he's about if you pay attention for a bit. And the bloggers that live that are the most appealing to me.

    Also, I'm a mom who has struggled a great deal in becoming a mother. I know all the right answers and all the right language, but it has really fallen short in some ways in this particular stage of life. So I guess, I have been the most helped by fellow strugglers who can admit that parts about the journey really don't add up the way all that discipleship taught me they'd add up. But still stay in the arena with their faith at the end of the day.

    It is very easy to pay attention to a person who is authentically, thoughtfully and humbly living and processing through their life. That kind of life easily intersects with Jesus at times, and when it does, I think it is the rare person that would mind discussion of that intersection.


  32. I'll be honest. As a Jew, I skip over posts when bloggers preach about Jesus. It's their prerogative as a blogger to talk about what they want to, and I would never tell them not to, but I simply don't read those posts. Also, if I find a blog I like, but ALL the posts are religious I generally stop reading.

    I totally get asking for prayer requests and whatnot, but when people are trying to tell me to accept Jesus, I'm just not interested. A lot of times I don't feel like I can say anything though, because I'm not Christian and I don't want them to think I'm being a kvetchy Jew.

    There is one blog I used to read, but it got WAY too preachy. It got to the point where I started to feel bad about myself for being Jewish, like this blogger thought I was a lesser person for not being Christian. They took a very hard stance on a lot of things, and seemed to imply that their word was the only right one. I also have a real issue when someone uses their blog to preach discrimination against Gays. That's one thing I will not stand to read.

    That said, I do follow a lot of Christian bloggers, because I found a lot of them through my adoption group. The ones I like strike a balance between life and faith (like you, MckMama, etc). I LOVE reading, getting attached to the kids, I like seeing them grow up, it's awesome. But there was that one blog that I just couldn't stomach anymore. It's frustrating to know that someone genuinely believes you are going to Hell because of one thing or another. It made me feel like less of a person for not being Christian, and I don't need that in my life.

  33. Ok, wait let me clarify. I LOVE people like you, who follow the teachings of Jesus that support inclusion, social justice, all that GOOD stuff. It really seems to do good. I just have an issue when people use religion to hurt, demoralize, criticize, reject, demean, and hate others.

    It's not the mention of Jesus that turns me away from the post. It's the preechy thing, the "I know better than you" tone that some blogs end up having. yours is FAR from that, and I love reading it!

  34. I get a little turned off when I see the name/word "Jesus." Just being honest. If it doesn't happen all the time, I continue reading. If it's Jesus, Jesus Christ, and his holiness every other word, I can't go there.

    I think you are hilarious and honest and can talk about any subject without bothering me....why I love your blog.....I have not been offended once reading your blog and if I was?! Who cares! :) Being offended is MY problem, not yours! :)

    All this said, I think you should design your talk around your blog post itself...the confusion....the uncertainty.....the honesty in all of that.

    We don't always have to be so "I am 100% confident in what I believe." In fact, I think it's really refreshing when people are NOT that way!

  35. I am reluctant to post about my faith because I don't want to push away those who I know read my blog and who don't have the same beliefs that I do. However, I also know that my blog is mostly a journal about my family, so I try to keep it open and honest. If something spiritual is on my mind, I will blog about it.

    I am drawn to read blogs that are well-written, those that are written by my friends with whom I don't get a chance to see very often and those that are about subjects important in my daily life (like adoption). Most fall into all three categories.

    Many of the blogs I follow are written by Moms who post very openly and often about their Christian faith. I stopped reading one blog in particular because the writer made many assumptions about other Christians. I felt like I didn't fit into her definition of a Christian, so I was more annoyed than entertained by what I read.

    You do an excellent job of blogging about living your life. I feel like you handle your life with grace and are honest with yourself (and your readers). By showing us all how you walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk, you are being a beautiful human and a beautiful example of a Christian woman.

  36. i like to read about faith issues and struggles. i am a Christian, but i do read blogs that are not Christian blogs. i think it is good to read not only the things that align with my beliefs, but get a good idea as to the other perceptions others may have....i don't get offended by blogs. they are opinions and everyone has one. :)

  37. Hey Kristen.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog... There are times when I am reading and I laugh so hard that I snort! (and I am not a regular snort-laugher). My husband is always curious as to what is cracking me up, so I read aloud a few lines and he laughs.

    You have a way of communicating that conveys all things authentic. It doesn't seem that you're spending your days trying to think up a good blog post. You just write what's going on in your life. And it's relatable. =)

    I think that you could probably talk about anything on your blog because of the WAY that you go about it. You aren't trying to make a convert out of a reader (if anything, you've encouraged discipleship with Jesus--following His life and example, controversial as it was and still is). I appeciate that.

    If you love Christ and have a relationship with Him, it will seap through the HTML codes of your blog. It doesn't have to be pushy. It's real. And that brings readers back... it also helps them to analyze things in their own lives because of the way that you've articulated it (in a genuine manner).

    Hope you're encouraged.
    You're really stellar.

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  39. I will be totally honest :D

    I am of a Christian faith. Religious references (of any faith) really don't bother me when they are relevant, like when something good or bad happens to the blogger and they blog that they prayed, what they prayed etc. Or that they were inspired by God/Allah/deity to do x...that's fine.

    I also sometimes enjoy when people break down their beliefs, as in, personally and what their religion says. That is interesting.

    When I'm reading blogs, I'm not really interested in the ones that are just really excerpts from the Bible or similar. I'm sure some people are, but that's just not my bag, baby. I'll go to church or read the bible myself if I feel like being preached at, thanks.

    And that's my 2 cents :) Hope it helps.

  40. Well this is timely. I am posting about something very similar on Thursday with other bloggers I love. We all have radically different faith (or lack of).

    I NEVER mind someone writing about their faith. I NEVER mind someone saying they will pray for me. WHIFF that they are judging me and then? SO NOT COOL. (And yes...the "I'm praying for you" needs to be very carefully handled. If I am struggling or there is personal tragedy? GOOD. If I get it in response to the fact that I posted a photo of me with liquor in my hand? NOT GOOD.)

    I think that there is room in this world for people of every color, orientation and faith. It's what makes us all so beautiful.

  41. How did you just write my every thought about this speaking gig of ours? AND exactly how I think about writing about my faith? EXACTLY?

    Now I have to go back and read the comments...all of this is on my mind too, lady. Somehow, we're going to do just fine on that panel...somehow :)

  42. I find it interesting to read about the faith other people. I think there is a fine line between writing about your faith and attempting to convert everyone to your faith.
    For me it's about understanding that I believe my faith, as a Catholic, is the best choice for me and it may not be the best choice for everyone else.
    I enjoy reading how people experience God and share their faith with others. If I am going to read about parts of their lives where God isn't the focus, I also want to read about the parts where God is!

  43. Okay. SO. MY THOUGHTS... ahem.

    I think there's hardly a time when I sit down and write a deeply spiritual post.

    BUT. I think, overall, in the way my blog reads, in the way I live my life, that you can SEE it. That old adage "Is my religion showing?" comes to mind.

    I think one of the greatest things about spirituality and faith is that for a lot of us, it's so deeply ingrained into who we are, that we show it without every really thinking about it. We write the way we write, because of what we believe. We parent a certain way, because we believe it's right. We speak, and live, and breathe our truths, as we believe them to be.

    Do you have to shout from the rooftops "Hey! I believe in God!" No. Of course not.

    But it you mention it, and you're not ashamed, or worried about offending people, if you're open and honest, I think that blogging can be a fantastic means to opening the paths of discussion.

    Do we need to filter? Maybe. Just as you need to filter what stories you tell about your kids and your husband, you might need to filter the stories you share about your faith.

    Meanwhile, if you do open up that can of worms, you need to keep your heart open for the comments and criticisms that are sure to come in.

    Have I ever taken offense, or singled any of my readers out for asking a question about my faith? No, of course not! What would that possibly accomplish except to add fuel to the fire?

    Religion is so personal, and unique to each individual, that as long as you keep an open heart and mind, I think you'll be safe.

    By the way, I'm SO looking forward to this panel at the conference!

  44. Irene8:58 AM

    I think you have a wonderful balance on your blog, not alienating anybody, but showing what your life is about. I particularly enjoy the way you write about adoption - you manage to show all sides of it, including the hurt of the mother or family who give up a child. Some religious adoption bloggers fail to see that side, I feel (of course, I am grossly generalizing here!) The way you write about Haiti and adoption is just wonderful. (Oh, and I love all the other stuff to!)

  45. Grr. I wrote a super long comment and blogger made an error. Durn.

    So I make another comment and hope for the best.

    MY blog is ultimately my blog isn't it? I blog about me, my daily trials, things that make me happy, things that make me laugh, things that get me down, things that give me strength...And yes sometimes religion and spirituality is on there. I try NOT to make it look like I am shoving a whole bunch of religion down my reader's mouths. This is me first and foremost and I like me. If you don't like the tone of my blog--you are missing out.

    i don't blog about my spirituality often. Only when I feel it is needed, because I need it. Ya know?

    Get me?

    Looking forward to hearing you speak at CBC! Don't worry you will be among friends--don't be nervous.

  46. Oh and BTW, heard about you thru Mombabe. She tweeted this out and I clicked on this post!

  47. Shelby9:46 AM

    I just started my own blog (haven't gone public...yet) and the reason I did this is for personal writing, recording, thoughts, memories, milestones, etc. So I understand the whole blogging thing to be for personal benefit and therefore think that ANYTHING YOU want to write or discuss YOU should do. No one is forced to read or like what you say and can choose to not return. Now, maybe when you get to your blogging status (excellent writing, intriguing, lots of followers, making a little money) your personal desires must be compromised? Although I think we, as bloggers, have every right to literally write what we want, I don't think we should compromise our beliefs in our writing for the sake of our viewers just as we shouldn't compromise our beliefs in the real (non-blogging) world. So if you want to incorporate more of your faith - go for it! (I really like to hear how you encourage your children and work on your marriage, etc. with faith based solutions.) If you don't want to, don't! I really think it boils down to YOUR desires as the blogger/writer.

    PS...whatever you decide/do, please keep writing! You are inspiring and entertaining :)

  48. Anonymous9:54 AM

    Keep doing what your are not offending anyone...even tho I write as "Anonymous" because sometimes I think your a bit off, I keep coming back because your life and your love for your children is so REAL and so JESUS!!!! I know you and Mark by watching you for yrs. at Rh...You know your "truth in Christ"...I, too am conservative, but my heart at times is a Democrat...rights for kids, feeding the poor etc...the most important thing I can share with you .."is be yourself, look inside and be who you are in Christ". That is the only was to be at peace with yourself, your husband and the world around you!

    Go share who you are at this conference in Christ...and who you are in the real world we all live in!!!

    Who cares if some don't agree with you, they will LOVE YOU and Respect you because you are who you truly are in Christ..and isn't He the important we will all answer to in the end?

    Go get'em my friend in Christ...A~

  49. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Jesus commanded us to "Share the Good News"! The Good News is the message of redemption, forgiveness, everlasting Life!! That's all you need to do, Kristen. Be passionate about the grace and faith you have...the GIFT of eternal life in Christ!! Plant the seeds.....and don't make excuses for yourself, or for the message of Christ. The Gospel needs no excuses. The seeds youplant by simply sharing your passion for the Good News will be cultivated in your readers, or in your case, hear-ers in one way or need not worry how it "effects" them.....that's God's job! And, that is indeed GOOD NEWS!!!

  50. Karon9:57 AM

    I totally agree with Michelle, especially her comments about Donald Miller. I find it refreshing when authors of any type can talk about what they believe without criticizing or putting down another perspective (intolerance of the intolerant was a great way to put it, Michelle!). Sometimes I think that even mentioning the terms "traditional" or "mainstream Christianity" can be polarizing --I think that people can read between the lines and see where your views line up, and if they don't line up with what they have traditionally believed, maybe they will be challenged to think about it in a new way. I think you do a good job of balancing it, Kristen. :)

  51. I'm chuckling (in a warm friendly way) that you struggle with not wanting to offend anyone. I've been so encouraged by your audacity to speak out against racism, especially when it is targeted at children. I trully believe that same audacity, that same stand up for truth and fiesty determination are charecteristics of Jesus. I'm with ya that who the church today portrays Jesus to be is almost an entirely different entity than who He is and who He was during His time as a man. He's the only one I know that can get politicians and prostitutes in the same room with out illegal activity going on.

    That being said, I'm sure Jesus would love that same fiesty gal who defends her children against racism and ugly (on the inside) people to stand up for Him. I also think you ARE doing that.

    See, I almost deleted this comment 'cause I thought it may be controvertial. I've learned something from you though. ;) If in doubt, post it and see what kind of response you get. Life is much more interesting when we choose to color outside the lines. Ok, that last line was corny, but well...hopefully you get the point.

    ‘Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.’ Dr. Suess

  52. This is the one thing that I feel very passionately about. There is so much filth on the internet and anything we can do to promote spirituality on the internet is good, and right.

    There are words that you use when you write about your faith that are inspiring! There are words that others use, in various blogs I have read, that have inflamed... I don't like feeling like I am being judged by Mr Judgy-McJudger-pants. I just want to feel other people's commitment and love for Christ. It is inspiring to me when I can read about how a person saw the hand of God in their life.

    Too many people get caught up in the name of their religion, and they forget that the way they live (or treat a commenter) speaks VOLUMES to what they really believe.

    We need more women (and men) who are not afraid of being spiritual in their blogs without being judgmental, critical, heavy handed, or lets face it- cheese-bally!

    This panel is the one panel that I am the most excited about at the #CBC10! I can't wait to hear people talk about ways to promote Faith & Spirituality on the internet!

  53. Most already commented about you obviously live your faith and it is reflected in your blog writing. You are awesome! Don't over think this one.

    As a Buddhist, I respect all religious beliefs. The only thing that makes me click that red x in the righthand corner is talk about "Satan."

    Oh, and my guilty pleasure in blog reading/life is reading ultra-Christian commentors get into fights with other commenters who question the blogger. It happens all the time on MckMama's blog. Someone will question her or her motives and her followers will go nuts and say mean, horrible, un-Christian like things and quote the bible and tell them they will pray for them. I love it. I'm not proud of this, but I can't help myself. You're a psychologist- I'm sick, right?

  54. Anonymous2:06 PM

    OK, you have enough comments above to go out and get'em!!! Go speak your truth and see the rewards...coming home to your kids who love and adore you and a husband who wouldn't love anyone but you!!! You got your speech my friend, now go deliver it and hold your head up and your shoulders back! Your armed and full of the Spirit. I'll be praying for you...A~

  55. I'm a new visitor here and love your blog.

    I myself think it's a false dichotomy to pit "tolerant, social justice, nice" Christianity against "judgmental, Rush Limbaugh, rigid" Christianity.

    The essence of Christianity is radical love... and it isn't always pretty, nor does it follow any political platform. The way it's expressed is always going to depend on the personality and sensibilities of the writer. I think there's room for different styles.

    What I appreciate most is when people are authentic when they incorporate their faith (or lack thereof) in their writing -- even when it's not exactly the language I'd use or the beliefs I share. Turn offs are: ignorance about how hard faith really can be, a superiority, pollyana-ish attitudes about the way God operates, and lack of respect for others.

    That said, one of the biggest lessons any writer and blogger can learn is that you will almost always piss someone off. Unless the only person reading is your dog. If you can accept this, you can get on with being yourself.

  56. I started reading your blog because my daughter (and her husband) just adopted two Ethiopian siblings, and your experiences are nearly identical to hers. I keep sending her post links that she needs to read so she doesn't feel isolated in her experience. That you are Christian adds to my interest. I'm more politically conservative than you are, but so are a lot of other people, many of them my close friends.

  57. I have wrestled with this same pondering with my own writing. I came across a quote just today that spoke to me...

    "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~Mahatma Gandhi

    That's how I DON'T want to be pegged! (But I know it's the truth!) I'm learning that sharing my personal journey, the experiences along my path makes for authentic writing and choosing an unfiltered honesty when it comes to what I'm learning and discovering and being challenged on is the way I can stay most true to the thing that means the most to me in this faith.

  58. Anonymous8:44 PM

    I only recently started reading your blog (followed a link from somewhere, but of course can't recall where), but can identify with your statement of faith (so to speak) in this post re: social justice and differentiating moral vs political views. I am a Christian, but am horrified by a lot of what I see being said and done by those who claim to be followers of Christ in the US (and Canada, to a lesser extent). I would be interested in reading your reflections upon faith, as I find it fascinating to read how others think/believe/work through situations.

    - Lisa

  59. Everyone has a unique voice and yours happens to be, well, er, more unique. That's why we love you. I know this isn't supposed to be a rah rah Kristen's blogfest, but hey, while we're here...

    I am what I affectionately call a 'hard core Christian' (note: not a Rush fan, had to say it). You don't have to talk to me long before my faith will come up on some way shape or form. That's just my faith in action. I try not to be pushy, but honestly, I'm probably kind of a pushy person. Knowing that about myself, I try really hard not to be and add lots of humor. What I love about your blog is the reality of it. I read over the other comments and that seems to be the recurring theme. YOU ARE REAL! We all identify with you because you are just being you! You have good days and we cheer for the wins. You have bad days and we hurt with you. We totally get it. Life is a roller coaster and my house isn't always ready for company either. It's the lack of judgment and the honesty that draws us in. The current of faith is there. I believe that God has you right where He wants you and you need to be faithful to that calling. Keep on doing what you're doing Kristen!

    I love that you're nervous about speaking and yet I have a feeling you'll do a great job. Just be you and keep it real. Perhaps that is the topic for you. We did do some of the work at least. Now you need to write from there! Praying for an awesome talk to blow everybody away and give God all the glory! Then come tell us all about what a great weekend you had -- all by yourself since you're not nursing and you can actually go alone! :D Woo hoo! (Do you remember how to do that!?)

  60. I feel it's better to fear offending God than offending my readers. He is our One and Only Judge, thankfully! :-)

    As for me, I am saddened when people don't share the good news of how their lives have been changed by Christ. I think of all of the suffering Christ endured for ME on the cross, and I just pray that I will be willing and have the courage to honestly sahre what His unfailing love and grace means in my life on a daily basis, through the good times and bad. That's reality. He is my Rock, my Salvation, my All in All. To deny Him of that is to deny Christ. I don't want to be Peter.

    But that's just me...


talk to me.

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