I've started this new blog in hopes of being provocative. As in thought-provoking provocative, not so much dodgy provocative. In my attempts to embrace the former, however, the latter always seems to creep out. But I swear, dodginess was not my original goal. I suppose it's just the by-product of a bit of raw honesty :)
So, my first little tale here on The Virgin Verdict is my not-so-innocent start in the world of prolific-blog posting. As a Christian college student, Take One didn't pan out quite as pure as I intended. My first blog was deemed dodgy provocative, not as a result of racy writing, but from an unintentionally scandalous photo...
My favorite photo of myself is of me at my brother's wedding, wearing a strapless bridesmaids dress. Unfortunately, in order to put up that particular photo on my profile, I needed to crop it. And, silly me, I happened to position the crop so that it revealed only my face, neck...and bare shoulders. (I'll let you deduce the potential scandalousness of that...a fact I didn't truly recognize at the time...).
A week later, one of my blog's followers told me a co-worker walked by his desk as he was reading my latest entry and chastised him for his un-wise use of the Internet.
"Whoa, dude, what are you looking at???"
The implication? This upstanding Christian fellow should clearly not be reading (smut) from the blog of a little harlot with no top on.
Now, to purposely garner a bit of shock from my blog is more of a dilemma for me. Head-turning, attention grabbers are hard to come by when it seems that so many topics are taboo for the believer. It's like telling a clean joke: What they offer in G-rated appropriateness, they lack in actual humor. You hear one and offer a bland, tight-lipped smile, "That's cute..." Since cute isn't exactly the adjective I want attached to my writing. (I liken it to someone, after reading my manuscript, placing a hand on my shoulder, and giving me a pitying: "Bless your heart."), developing a clever, yet moral, blog is certainly a challenge for my wit. Perhaps that's why I took a 7 year hiatus from blogging. Until now...
Thus, I was forced to change my profile picture. But I really didn't want to. I just wanted to put a caption under it that said: "This is me in a STRAPLESS gown. Put your stones down!" Such a disclaimer, I hoped, would convince them to suck it up and look at my pretty, pretty face instead of my apparent lack of clothing.
I, however, am not naive. Realizing that many a man's mind would likely remain in the gutter if the pic stayed, I swapped out the photo so that I could no longer be accused of being an accidental tramp.
Convinced that I could combine creativity with honesty (inspired by a chat with one of my favorite authors this afternoon), my I-95 commute was made a bit more interesting by brainstorming some witty possibilities. Instead of offering a new revelation, I decided to go with an unpublished classic (having resided in my head for years).
I've always wanted to write a book with the same title of this post. The use of the S-word, coupled with the irony of such a curious statement, would surely be a good marketing tool for a book. Although my college friends loved it, I knew it would probably never happen. Having floated from one Christian bubble to another--from youth group to Christian college to the multiple Christian organizations I've worked for--I've had my fair share of encounters with censorship. And through it all, I've discovered that not only are non-Western cultures concerned with saving face, Christians very much are as well. Sadly, we value appearance over vulnerability.
Note the collective verbiage there. With dozens of students looking to my example, my thoughts often revolve around how I look to them. Am I worthy of imitation? I can only imagine what actual celebrities, whose influence extends around the globe, have to go through when they make decisions. (Which is why, I'm sure, many choose not to care). It's so much pressure! And perhaps needlessly...
I want to teach my students how to navigate their lives in a real way, not striving to do/say everything in a fake-y "Christianese" way. And while I'm certainly not about to start condoning sin, I do want to be vigilant to guard against the legalism that can so easily creep into the Christian walk.
I think it's pretty amazing that Jesus pushed a lot of (social) limits but still remained radically pure. If He could do it, there's gotta be a way that we can as well...
p.s. Yes, I'm ending it there. I decided that I would compound the irony of this post by giving it a title that didn't exactly describe the subject matter. Someday, when you least expect it, I'll post a Part Two in which I actually write about the experiences of the un-experienced. But until then, I'll keep you guessing... ;)