No Geldings Allowed

“It’s not my intention to offend anyone. I have discovered, however, in recent years, that it’s very difficult to speak to a large group of people and not offend someone.”

~ Dr. Benjamin Carson, Johns Hopkins Hospital, at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 7, 2013.

I had such high hopes for this blog. It was going to be different from my last attempt. I was going to write about a variety of topics. I wasn’t going to have long dry-spells between blog posts.

(Go ahead. Look to see how long it has been since my last post. I’ll wait.)

I could tell you that life has been a little busy. That home-schooling is more time-intensive than I thought. Or that cleaning, shopping and cooking for a family of five takes time. And while those things are all true, they aren’t the cause of my writer’s block.

It turns out the problem is me.

Seems that every time I think of a topic I’d like to write about, I’m instantaneously plagued with worry about who might be offended by it. I spend way too much time thinking of ways to tip-toe around the topic, and I eventually give up, because it isn’t fun anymore.

But the quote above served as a sort of wakeup call for me, because it is true that the larger your audience, the more likely it is that someone out there will disagree with your viewpoint.

Nothing earth-shattering in that statement. Except that choosing this particular quote by this particular speaker could be considered inflammatory, because he made the remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Just before he launched into a speech questioning many of our nation’s current policies. Much to the chagrin of many in the current administration. So if you’re a supporter of Dr. Carson’s viewpoints, you might love my choice. If you’re not, you might never come back to my blog.

Stated another way, although countless other speakers have likely made similar observations about addressing a large audience, my choice to quote this particular speaker will carry added meaning for some readers.

But my point isn’t to debate politics here. It’s simply to point out that it’s impossible to ensure that no one will be offended. The words we say and the choices we make are a reflection of where we’ve been, what we’ve done and what we believe. And those same experiences will shape the way we interpret the things around us.

The only absolute certainty is that we won’t always agree with one another.

I’ve recently been challenged to believe that we weren’t put here to just “get along.” Our purpose here is to really live and to accomplish something. And if we always take the safe route, we’re missing what we came for.

“Gary had checked out. He was still going to work, paying the bills, and cutting the grass, but that was it. There was no emotion, no investment, no reaction to anything. The more vital parts of him were shut down…. All his life, Gary had been a good boy. A gelding. And geldings, though they are nicer and much more well behaved than stallions, do not bring life. They are sterile.”

~ John Eldredge in “The Journey of Desire”

This is not to say that this blog should be your future destination for all things incendiary. If you’re looking for gossip or in-your-face writing, this won’t be the place. But if you do visit often, and I sincerely hope you will, I trust you’ll find compelling, thought-provoking topics that we can kick around together.

No geldings allowed.

 

7 thoughts on “No Geldings Allowed

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  1. Your blog struck a note with me…I try to behave very nicely, but find that I am very much like Gary. Maybe my mental health would be better served by not worrying so much about others and more about myself. 🙂

    1. For me it isn’t even a matter of who I’m worrying about, Cindy. I have a pretty strong sense that the lessons I’ve learned in life could be of benefit to the people around me, but I sometimes talk myself out of sharing what I know for fear that it might not come across the way I intend it to. As we all know, when you write, it’s so easy to “read in” things that weren’t ever really intended. This book I’m reading (the one by Eldredge) paints a picture, specifically sometimes of Christians, of a life in which we get up, go through our day, go home, go to bed, and repeat the whole process the next day. We’re missing something. We’re missing our purpose for being here… and in my case it’s sometimes out of fear….
      Love hearing your thoughts on it, too.

  2. Thought-provoking post Shannon. I’ve been struggling with similar thoughts regarding my own blog. Only my lack of posting isn’t so much fear of offending as it is fear of too much transparency. Keep posting though, you have a great writing style and keen insight. If those that you offend can’t reconcile a different point of view, then they’re probably not learning anything from your life experiences anyway. Keep it up!

  3. If I go a long time without posting it’s rarely a writers block, my mind is always 90 to nothing. I just get caught up in different things and projects but then again from the outside that could all look like the quote from John Eldredge you used.

    I never worry about offending, or making a purposeless/stupid comment on an issue, it’s the last thing on my mind. I think it makes people think and wonder more about there opinions or what issues set them off in the first place.. Gets people to respond..

    1. I know that I worry too much, but I’m just not one of those “throw caution to the wind” personalities. I’m glad they exist in the world, though, because the world needs them. You’re right, though: staying safe rarely accomplishes much.

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