What a post about a gay Bible professor and holiness taught me about the internet

IMG_2347.GIFOn Sunday night, I was laying in bed debating whether or not I wanted to write a post about the guy who spoke in church that morning. I’d gone back and forth all day on what to write, when to write, and if I should write. Since I couldn’t sleep, I figured I might as well try. After all, maybe it’d wear me out and I could sleep after.

I opened Evernote, started typing on my phone, and posted the blog.

Then my world exploded.

Over the past two days, you guys have shared that post to 23 countries on six continents. It’s been read almost 20 times more than a normal post and has been the most impactful post I’ve ever written by far.

Having a post “go viral” is the dream of any writer. I’d always wondered what that would be like. It was actually much different than I expected it to be. The feedback, the shares, and the personal comments gave me a look inside what people on the internet are really thinking and feeling. It taught me a few things about you, me, and all the other people out there on Al Gore’s intranet. Here are three things I learned from it:

People want to talk about the hard issues.

The biggest example of this is me. I’ve had a post about homosexuality rattling around in my head for well over a year. I don’t know how it would be received so it’s stayed in my head. The past few days have taught me that people want to have conversations about hard topics like homosexuality, holiness, and other “controversial” issues we face everyday.

I don’t know how it will happen or where it will happen, but we’ve got to figure out places where we can have honest discussions about the things that confuse us. I fully believe God’s word is the absolute truth, but applying a book that’s thousands of years old to our lives today can’t be figured out on our own without the help of other people. We have to be able to ask questions, civilly disagree, and work out the questions of our faith.

Your story matters.

If I didn’t know Christopher Yuan’s story, he would’ve been just another preacher talking about holiness. Instead, knowing he was a gay drug dealer who met Jesus and had his whole world flipped upside down changed the message. It was the same topic, but his story made it different.

The people around us have a story. They have their unique perspectives based on their unique experiences. We have to get to know them and their story if we ever want to have a chance to really know them.

You have a story based on your unique experiences. Those experiences influence how you perceive things and are the lenses with which you view the world. Your lenses are different than mine. For us to have those hard conversations, we need to be able to see the world through lenses other than our own. Your story will help me. My story will help you.

We really aren’t that different.

While we all have different stories and different lenses, there are a few universal things we struggle with. I wrote about holiness knowing my personal struggles but so many of you related to it based on your personal struggles. I’ve written before about my insecurities in certain areas and you’ve related to it through your insecurities.

The great philosopher Topanga Lawrence once said, “I do my thing and you do your thing. You are you and I am I, and if in the end we end up together, it’s beautiful.” The beauty of life happens when we end up together. Hard conversations are able to happen when we realize everyone comes from a different place but we’re all made in the same image.

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it: I want to change the world. You all have reminded me over the past two days how possible that dream is.

I know many of you are reading this knowing nothing about me other than someone sent you a link to read. I invite you to stick around. This blog is based around my story and I hope to use it to talk about real issues.

You are you and I am I.

I need you, and I think you need me too.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.

-Jonathan

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2 thoughts on “What a post about a gay Bible professor and holiness taught me about the internet

  1. This Adrian Peterson thing is something that this post made me think about. There are hard issues out there that I personally want to talk about. But I find it difficult because of fear. and I think that may be the case with a lot of people. Fear of being wrong, fear of upsetting someone you care about with your views. etc. thanks for this.

    • Totally meant to reply to this earlier and didn’t. Fear motivates us to not do a lot of things. There are plenty of things I’d like to have a public opinion on but I know that it’d be unwanted attention for where I work. Unfortunately, we live in a world where public disagreement brings heat instead of simply disagreement.

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