Why “That’s Just My Personality” is No Excuse for a Christian

Hi, I’m Abby. I’m a Myers-Briggs INTP, and an Enneagram 5 with a 4 wing. What does that mean, you ask? It means, among other things, that I really like to be alone. It also means that I become borderline obsessed with new ideas on a regular basis, thinking that I’ll fuel their fire until kingdom come, only to find that after a few months, I’m either dropping what I once praised or I’m applying tremendous grit in order to stay committed. These letters and numbers mean that I have an insatiable curiosity coupled with a lion-like ferocity for determining that which is right and true. Often, I’d rather get to the bottom of an issue or conflict than think about the affect my digging and prodding may have on those involved.

So, what I’m saying is, I’m clearly super enjoyable to be around at all times. And if you think I’m not, well, what do you want me to say? It’s just my personality!

Just kidding, kind of. It is my personality to forge past your feelings on my quest for the facts. It is my personality to skip gatherings in order to be in my room with a book. It is my personality to add people, their needs, and my involvement in their lives into my world only when it fits into the paradigms I prefer.

All of that is true. My natural God-given wiring, when swirled together with my sinful, fleshly desires, produces all of the above. It’s true, indeed. But it is not ultimate.

Keep reading at iBelieve.

Christians, we need to stop social shaming our children. 

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Friday Features to bring you a piece I wrote for iBelieve this week, in which I explain why I think the trend of sharing our children’s more embarrassing or annoyance-inducing moments online is a dangerous one, and share some helpful tips for how we can build a legacy of trust with our children through how we talk about them on social media. 

There’s a theme I’ve noticed recently as I’ve scrolled through Facebook (other than the election, I mean). Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the near end of summertime and parents are exhausted from seemingly eternal days with their children surrounding them. Maybe it’s the omnipresent nature of social media, beckoning us to write, respond, engage, and share. Maybe it’s a quest for community. Whatever it is, though, it’s concerning, and little discussed, though the ramifications are potentially damaging to some of the relationships in our lives that matter the very most.

What I’m seeing, what I’m wondering about, is this: why are parents sharing their children’s moments of shame on the Internet?

I can hear the backlash now, so I’m going to address it. I know that some of you are thinking, “Are you kidding me? All I see on my feed are pictures of perfectly dressed children sweetly smiling while playing with one toy for a sustained period of time until their sibling asks for it and they gladly hand it over.” I get it. I see them too, those pictures of the children of Pleasantville.

Continued reading at iBelieve

the friday features: august 5, 2016.

The Friday Features exist to fuel you with you sparks of joy and propel you toward the things that matter as you head into your weekend. If you’d like to submit an article to be included in the features, you can send me the link here.

For When You’re Feeling A Little too Fabulous and/or A Little Snarky: Woman Returns From Conference Deeply Convicted Of How Awesome She Is by The Babylon Bee

For the Pastors, the Curious, and Those Who Like Right Answers: An Unschooled (and Uncreative) Church by Barnabas Piper for The Blazing Center

For When You See the Words “White Privilege” on Facebook: 3 Reasons Why Christians Should Talk about Race on Social Media by Me for iBelieve

For the Politically Engaged or Exhausted: The Campaign for Character by Sharon Hodde Miller

For When You’re Longing for Eternity: The Lord’s Supper Is a Rehearsal Dinner by Derek Rishmawy for The Local Church (Christianity Today)

For The Sinners & the Singers: Let’s Sing the Beauty of Confession by Sandra McCracken for The Gospel Coalition

For When You’re Seeking Community (and/or Loving Literary Fiction): A Common Quest: Searching for Belonging in Emma Cline’s The Girls by Me for Christ and Pop Culture

Here’s to a restful weekend!

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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A Common Quest

***This article contains major spoilers for Emma Cline’s The Girls. ***

“I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls.”

So begins Emma Cline’s recently released debut novel. As eerie as it is personal, as unsettling as it is relatable, The Girls tells the story of a woman, Evie, a 60-something who is temporarily staying in the home of an acquaintance. In the middle of the night, intruders, who turn out to be the son and son’s girlfriend of the homeowner, interrupt Evie’s sleep. Through their questions, Evie recalls the dark memories knocking at the door of her mind. The memories are harrowing, prompting questions that she does not want to answer: who she is, what she wants, and finally, if she ever found what she was looking for.

During a summer in the late 1960s, Evie is fourteen, clinging to her friendships, pining over boys. Her best friend, Connie, provides a seemingly safe place amidst the turmoil of Evie’s parents’ divorce and the jarring evolution of her mother from a domestic homebody to a serial dater, hardly aware of her daughter’s whereabouts, much less her feelings. Evie is stammering and searching; she is looking for love, any kind at all. Then, one day, she sees the girls, the ones who prompted her with their laughter and kept her gaze with their mystery.

Keep reading at Christ and Pop Culture

3 Reasons Why Christians Should Talk about Race on Social Media

Opinions on the best way to use social media run far and wide. Some prefer it for sharing pictures of their children, pithy quotes, and inspirational content. Others seem to find every conspiracy theory ever invented and share it as though it should have been front-page news. Still others use it for marketing purposes, and others to spark political debates that practically engulf their profile in flames. Above and beyond each of these juxtapositions, however, there seems to be a new division that is creeping up, one that I’m both fascinated by and, honestly, hope to help mend.

On one side of the divide are those who think that the current racial tension in America should be addressed on social media, and on the other side are those who don’t.

If you’ve ever read my work or are connected to me on social media, you know that I have my feet firmly planted in the “let’s talk about racial tension on social media” camp. I’ve posted articles and opinions that have sparked days-long debates. I’ve openly disagreed with others in public spaces like Facebook, and I use phrases like “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” and “peacemaking rather than peacekeeping.” I know that this probably makes some of you uncomfortable. Some of you may be about ready to click away, and I want you to know that I understand that tension. Some days, I just have to click away from the tough stuff and head to Netflix. I get it. If your soul can’t take it today, then this is my blessing, even my encouragement, to head somewhere else. If it can, though, if you’re wondering what the possible merit of talking about all of this chaos while online could be, then I hope you’ll stick with me.

Keep reading at iBelieve