I really like reality TV shows. They're a guilty pleasure. When I was in between undergrad and grad school, my roommate and I would curl up with our nail polish, a glass of green apple Riesling, and "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Yes. It was a long time ago, and before the "Real Housewives" took over Bravo and every large city in America. We would paint our nails, sip our wine, and gasp (and laugh!) at the intricacies of what "lunch with ______" meant to everyone else in the group.
I stopped watching reality shows shortly after this. The human reason was a change in roommates. For some reason, my brother wasn't interested in manicures and over-groomed women... But as my faith grew in maturity (my goodness, will I ever be done with these growing pains?!), I recognized that the exploitation of people's personal lives and drama, while fascinating to those of us who don't consider "Tiffany & Co." a regular shopping spot, is in and of itself, a little pointless.
So, yes. I loved the Kardashians. I watched their first season with great glee, but as the series continued, my interest (hallelujah!) wained, and my time was filled up with other things.
But you know one thing that reality shows do really well? They're transparent. Sure, the people may have perfectly contoured features, but something about having a camera in your face 24/7 makes you see people for who they really are.
A buzz word in Christian culture these days is "transparency" or "being real." There's a lot of interest in "doing life together" and mimicking the early church in our "life on life" interactions. Sounds good, right?
But I'm afraid that a lot of us are just starring in our own, undocumented reality show. Our transparency can exist for a lot of fake, cardboard, feel-good reasons. But it stops, just as the Kardashians do, short of being used for a higher purpose.
Transparency does not exist so that you can play a comparison game. Whenever a mom posts a picture of a messy kitchen, everyone goes crazy, "Look! She's being transparent!" We then measure our kitchen by the posted picture, and we either feel good ("Yay! Mine is so much cleaner, and my children are so much younger.") or justified ("Well, mine isn't clean either, so apparently dishes growing mold in the sink is the new norm. Hallelujah."). What about the idyllic, clean play room, the sunshine pouring in to a tidy room... these are real, too. But they don't receive the "transparency" applause that someone's messes do. Why? Because they don't always make us feel as good.
Transparency is not a therapy technique. We live in a culture that loves our therapy. We love having hours to talk about ourselves and our problems."Getting it off your chest" is not a need found anywhere in scripture. Prayers, seeking wisdom/counseling... these are seen. But hemorrhaging goop for the sake of hemorrhaging is not found in God's word.
Which means that being transparent does not exist to just feel better. Sure, there are all the necessary caveats for those sitting around you: when a person trusts you with vulnerability, don't gossip about it. Don't beat them over the head with a list of "do this, do that." Don't dive into smugness and pride, "My sin is never THAT bad. But we are told to "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (An instruction that was given in the context of confrontation and restoration, by the way. Not a sharing-feel-good fest.) We are encouraged to "weep with those who weep" and "rejoice with those who rejoice."
You may have jumped in a different sin tank than I did, but that doesn't mean that there's any substantial difference between the both of us, as we stand before a holy, unblemished God
So, we are transparent because we have nothing to hide. Romans 3:23 is a blanket truth and a damning premise: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." You are a horrible, disgusting wretch. So am I. You may have jumped in a different sin tank than I did, but that doesn't mean that there's any substantial difference between the both of us, as we stand before a holy, unblemished God. So, honestly, it doesn't matter that you know the details, because you already know the general truth. We are all hot messes.
We are transparent because the God who flung galaxies and makes atoms hold together, is also the God who working in the tiny minutiae of your life. "For we know that for those who love God all things work together for good." All things. The coffee dump down the front of your sweater: good. The carpool mess up: good. The berating boss: good. The internal mental fights you're battling: good. The upbringing you had: good. The parents, the kids, the coworkers, the friends: good, good, good, good. All things: good. He chose you and your refining, Christ-mimicking path before he flung a single galaxy or fashioned the first atom. So, why wouldn't you want people to know how this loving God is working in your life? If every little circumstance is making you like Christ, why wouldn't you be open and honest about his presence in your life?
All that to say... welcome to my transparency.
That's why this blog exists. Because I wholeheartedly, without a single reservation, believe that God is using every aspect of my life to be fashioned into the likeness of his Son. And I don't want to hide a minute of it. Because through the blessings of peace and the bruising of suffering, my God never leaves me, I'm never alone, and he never stops molding me to look like my big brother, Christ. Shall we walk this way together? In transparency, in honesty, in fearlessness? Because we have nothing to fear, and we stand before a God who has everything to give.
Welcome to my reality show. We're going to have some fun.