Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Putting Myself Out There

When I first started this blog, I did so with a few goals in mind. First, I wanted to see if I could do it. Second, I wanted to see if any elements so available to anyone would be helpful on my husband's business websites. Lastly, I wanted a place to share my thoughts, if only as a journal for myself.

A co-worker had shown me the blogger site, sent me a link to his blog, and told me his business plans for his site. This was all fascinating, but when he told me how quickly he did it all, it was worth a shot to me! I did it. I also surprised myself by how easy it was for me to share personal, controversial/religious information! I decided not to share it, although I mentioned to several folks that I was working on a blog in order to learn the components in hopes of improving our own websites somehow.

My very trusted friend, someone from whom I shouldn't have felt the need to hide my blog in the first place, discovered it. She complimented me on it and I suddenly felt as though I had been viewed naked! Really, that's the closest parallel I can make on how knowing my thoughts had been read (and were apparently out there for anyone to read despite making it private, blocking it, and not sharing the link) on the internet!

My friend was so kind in her assessment of my writing, and apologetic after I shared my surprise at her discovery of my blog, that I figured I needed to get off the fence. I either have a blog or I close it down and go back to journaling! I decided to post more and make it public, although, even now, I am hesitant about including the link on out-going emails.

Part of my reluctancy is that my blog can be very religious at times and in our world where we prefer scandal to scripture, I was concerned that I would look like a wack-o. Truth is, I am flawed and hardly the best example of a Christian -- as are most Christians I know. To me, the reason Christians are often scoffed at is that we come off as self-righteous, hypocritical, and insincere. Famous Christians and their phony tears often come after admitting betrayal and theft. Most of us have had it with them! Despite that, my journey through the Bible and as a Christian woman/parent/businessperson has put me in a position where I feel that stifling the words of Christ, hiding my own convictions, and ignoring Biblical mandates is not only wrong, but a dis-service to other people. I felt that I owed it to myself to be true to myself, afterall, God knows my thoughts, for right or for wrong. It is my deepest hope that, by sharing my words, others will see Christians as educated, peaceful, honest, and accepting. It is also my hope that others will express their Christianity, not just by example, but by allowing their words to be shared in order to give the image of a Christian a much-needed face-lift and get the message of hope to others. After completing a 'Shape' class at church, I scored high on evangelism *gasp*. This is a way to further that tendency. (Even now, it is hard to use the word "evangelism" because of the imagery it creates even for me!!! Yup, as a teen of the 80s, I think of the Bakers too.)

I have included a link to my blog on some of my yahoo groups and a few personal, out-going email messages. I have had nice responses. Thank you for that. A common theme in the responses is that it is refreshing and surprising that I mention Jesus. It reminded me of Rick Warren's comments after presenting Obama's inaugural prayer where he said there was great pressure on him not to mention Jesus. It is just hard not to mention Him if you are a Christian, but I understand the pressure of just using the name 'God'.

I only recently felt comfortable sharing a link to my blog with my husband. To illustrate the absurdity of my not sharing this with him sooner, you have to know that my husband is by best friend. We pray together, work together, and talk about EVERYTHING. We commonly discuss the Bible and world views as they relate to religion. I have shared things with him that I would never express to others. I trust him completely. I guess that since he knows me better than anyone else, it seemed even more implausible that I would be so religious -- I mean afterall, he, above anyone else, knows how flawed I am!

So, like all things, when I finally showed him my site, he pointed out a few things. He told me I had graven images on it. (It is to be noted that he is often trying to get my goat and he said it with a smile, but it bothered me!) First, I had to really research what a graven image is. I found this perfectly for my defense:

I am the LORD your God,...(7)You shall have no other gods before me. (8)You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (9)you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, (10)but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. [Deut. 5:6-10; RSV]

Verse 7 forbids the worship of other gods, while verses 8-9 forbid the making of graven (carved) images that would be worshipped as gods, i.e. idols. Now worshipping statues with divine honor is one way of worshipping other gods. Verse 7 is a general statement of the First Commandment, while verses 8-9 give a specific case of this Commandment. Verses 9-10 present the punishments and rewards that are associated with these Commandments.
I have used art to illustrate my messages. I have a degree in art! Religious art is a HUGE part of art history, as many cultures mandated subject matter in the form of [church] government art programs. I see nothing wrong with using this art! I also do not feel that anyone will be praying to my blog! For these reasons, I say, "Sorry, honey, you are mistaken. I do not have graven images on my blog." Yes, that had to be said publicly. (I'm gettin' used to this blog thing as a real helper to me *smile*.)

So I have overcome a real hurdle with my concern about sharing this blog. I intend to continue to use it to share the message of Jesus, to share interesting books and interviews, to share photos of my family, and to share the fruits of my hobbies (paper crafts, sewing, reading, and soon gardening). I cannot apologize for including religious overtures and I hope that they are read as intended, a bit of information shared-as-learned to inspire and offer hope.

And so something completely off-subject (thank goodness) for your glittering eyes:

"You are the master of your own fate, the captain of your own soul." -William Ernest Henley
From the age of 12 Henley suffered from tuberculosis of the bone leading to the amputation of his left leg below the knee either in 1865 or 1868-69. Frequent illness often kept him from school, although the fortunes of his father's business may also have contributed. In 1867, Henley passed the Oxford Local Schools Examination and soon afterwards moved to London where he attempted to establish himself as a journalist. However, his work over the next eight years was interrupted by long periods in hospital because his right foot was also diseased. Henley fought the diagnosis that a second amputation was the only way to save his life by placing himself under the care of the pioneering surgeon Joseph Lister (1827-1912). After three years in hospital (1873-75), Henley was discharged. Lister's treatment had not effected a complete cure but enabled Henley to lead a relatively active life for nearly 30 years. His friend Robert Louis Stevenson, based his Treasure Island character, Long John Silver, on Henley.

His literary connections also led to his sickly young daughter, Margaret Emma Henley (b. 4 September 1888), being immortalised by J. M. Barrie in his children's classic Peter Pan. Unable to speak clearly, the young Margaret referred to Barrie as her "Friendy Wendy", leading to the introduction of the name Wendy. Margaret never read the book; she died on 11 February 1894 at the age of 5.

Henley died at the age of 53 and was buried in the same churchyard as his daughter in Cockayne Hatley. His wife was later buried at the same site.

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