“Christian influencers” are everywhere on social media — I even follow a few of them, hoping to find posts that address the same spiritual struggles I deal with, or kindred spirits whose backgrounds are similar to mine.
In a recent Instagram story critiquing the popular self-help book, Girl, Wash Your Face, one such “influencer” I follow made the claim that you shouldn’t call yourself a Christian blogger, or use the word “Christian” anywhere in your “brand,” unless you are fully prepared to take on all the responsibilities that come with it.
As a representative of the faith, she said, you need to make sure that your “message” lines up with what Scripture says (her point being that Girl, Wash Your Face, despite having a Christian publisher, is decidedly not Christian in what it has to say).
For practical reasons, I agree with her — there are so many people out there calling themselves Christians who are, let’s be honest, terrible spokespeople for the faith.
At the same time, to issue such a warning to other believers, you’d have to be pretty confident that your interpretation of Christianity is the correct one, wouldn’t you?
I am not so confident.
I use the hashtags #ChristianBlogger and #FaithBlogger rather frequently, but that’s just so my posts are more likely to reach the people who would be interested in reading them.
What if, in simply being honest about my doubts, struggles, and questions, I’m actually leading people away from faith?
And yet, here I am, peddling the “brand” of being a culturally/ethnically Jewish woman who fell in love with the Episcopal church. Does that make me an official representative of what Episcopalians should look like?
Honestly, I hope not.
I write about theology and the Bible a lot — but I don’t consider myself a “Bible teacher” of any kind.
I write about what I believe God has revealed to me over the years — but I don’t know his will any better than I know whether I’ll actually keep any of the resolutions I’ve made for 2019.
I would hope that most people who read my words and follow my social media platforms would know better than to take their theology lessons from a complete stranger with an unfinished seminary degree.
I would hope that most people’s spirituality is not solely formed by anyone they follow on social media, period.
At best, we are all just people with stories who have built up a following because other people are interested in what we have to say.
While I hope to educate Christians a little bit on Jewish traditions they may not know too much about, I’d say that my target audience is the people wandering through the wilderness with me, perpetually unsure of which “boxes” they belong to — if any at all.
I don’t have a ton of wisdom to share — I’m just a sounding board. Some of the best feedback I’ve ever gotten from my books and blog contain the words, “Me, too” and “I thought I was the only person who felt this way.”
I hope my transparency along the way has some sort of eternal impact, even if the most I do is offer words of comfort to fellow sojourners, and never make any new converts. I don’t want a bunch of people gathered at my feet listening to me speak, but walking in a group with me instead.