Tuesday Re-mix –
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:15-25 (selections)
“My name is Blake. And I am an anonymity addict.”
I am thinking further about the notion that the American culture has become addicted to anonymity and that the church must choose whether it will “enable” that addiction or be a place of healing from it. This healing, I believe, is an important objective for the church today.
The “addiction” manifests itself in me every time I find myself in trouble or in pain and the little voice inside me tells me to just keep it to myself, do not show anyone this weakness, do not trouble anyone with my problem, and definitely do not let anyone see my flaws or my brokenness. All those words and phrases like “be a man” and “buck up” and “don’t be a whiner” rattle through my thoughts. I take it to the Lord in prayer and I decide He and I can deal with it by ourselves. But my theology betrays me, because other words and phrases also haunt me: “We were created for community” and “there are no lone ranger Christians” and “confess your sins one to another” and “carry one another’s burdens”. And so this tension inside remains and, alas, I usually decide against community. I decide to just stick it out, keep it inside, and deal with it that way. In short, I know the right thing to do…but I choose otherwise. That, my friends, is what addiction feels like!
Like any addiction, it spins out in a variety of ways in my life. It’s not just about my brokenness and my flaws. It is about how genuine intimacy with friends makes me a little uncomfortable. It is about my preference not to be bothered by YOUR problems either. It is about my desire to bury my head in the sand and to just see the people in my church as Godly Christ-followers and not as broken vessels. It is about being comfortable, and clean and positive and pretending to be trouble-free. It is about deception and pretense dressed up in “positive mental attitude” clothing. It is profoundly and pervasively present in every area of my life.
So what is the pathway of healing for this addiction? That is what we will explore in this series of Tuesday Re-mixes.
If this problem is truly an addiction, then the solution must also be a solution for addiction. It must be Spiritual and it must be practical (I see those two things as always going together…for me, truly Spiritual experiences have an unmistakable practical feel). What we need is a 12-step program for our addiction…one which emanates straight out of God’s Word. It must be founded on the eternal truths of scripture and the power of the Spirit moving through God’s people. And if we are truly serious about healing from this particular addiction, then we will need each other. This will not work if it is just me and my thoughts. I will need you and your thoughts as well. We will need to do this together.
We will call it Anonymity Anonymous: a 12-step program for our addiction to self-reliance and anonymity. We will form our own “little” group right here on this blog. We’ll meet here every Tuesday for the next couple of months. I’m looking forward to it. How about you? Are you in? Can we do this together? I hope so. See you right here next Tuesday!