Most of the time I am genuinely a nice guy. I like to help people, do things for good causes, and give back when I can. I’m not rich, but I have enough. I also can give my writing and my talents. Some people think I am too hard on organized religion and churches, and I admit I do have a bias and a certain measure of bitterness.
I messed up too. Yes, I’ve been the church teacher. I’ve been the leader, and I’ve even lived in hypocrisy. For those years I am truly sorry to those I hurt without knowing better. But I matured and I learned, and I now I give back, but not in the confines of a “church” or as a “Christian.” I’ve come to question the very foundations “the church” is based on, and found them lacking.
Giving Back. That being said, I’ve spent the last four years where my only “day job” was for a non-profit. Recently I started a charity drive around one of my stories in an anthology as I’m sure many of you know. Proceeds go to Boston Children’s Hospital, and even if you don’t want to buy the book, you can give directly to the cause here. You can even buy t-shirts the publisher helped design here. There are a variety of ways to give, but even if you can’t afford to help at all, even by buying a book, you can share the link with your friends who may be able too. I’m not even asking everyone to participate. So why this post?
Backlash. I’ve only gotten one negative message on the page so far. I won’t use names, but if you are around the promotion groups on Facebook you have seen her, and her “bombed with five star reviews” posts. The first message from her was basically “I already liked your page, now like mine.” I did and then posted this: “Thank you. This page is for a charity giveaway. Please consider donations, buying books, or just spreading the word about this event for a great cause.”
The “Christian” response: “Living hands to mouth daily. Unable to give. Please don’t ask me again.” Not to pick apart the grammar, I was shocked. I certainly didn’t intend to ask her again. The purpose of the page is not to boost anyone’s likes, mine included. It is to raise money for a worthy cause. Her blog had a recent post: Blessings Abound When …” Not to edit that post, or the phrase under her photo: “Writing for Fulfill The Great Commission.” (That is an exact quote, capitalization and all). No matter what else she writes, I’m not inclined to follow whatever creed she ascribes to. With her response, I’m not sure her commission is that “Great” after all.
Do no harm. I don’t share her name here, or bash her book, although I might suggest proofreading mission statements and blog posts (I’m sure someone will find an error or two in this one now), but I don’t know her circumstances, background, etc. so I won’t put her down. I’m told to love my neighbor, and like it or not she is in my neighborhood, so I can’t throw stones. I’m sure in some contexts she is a wonderful person. Listen, I know you can’t embrace all causes and support everything you are invited to. I have to pick and choose. I love dogs, adults, kids, and starving tribes in Africa. But I had to pick one charity, and I let my readers pick mine so I wouldn’t play favorites.
Make a difference: I’m one guy. But you are one person too, and you can make a difference. You can share the causes of others. You never know who will be the one to spark a fire, and really make a huge impact, maybe one of your friends. Sometimes though, you just have to say no. But if you are going to say you are a follower of Jesus, please be polite about it.
For that matter, if you are going to claim to be a follower of anyone, or if you are just a human, stop damaging our reputation. Be nice. You may not be able to help every time with everything. But at least be nice when you say “no thanks.”