Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a little more on authenticity

i've recently read david kinnaman's book "unchristian"

it's a fine book and i recommend it to anyone curious about the latent attitudes of american christians in the early 21st century; but my real interest in the book was more in his sidebar commentary on those within the church, than those outside of it

in one section [pp.56f] he talks about the hallmarks of authenticity, noting especially that "even transparent people have boundaries"

here are my cliff notes on his opinion:

1. there are situations in which caution makes sense
being transparent and authentic requires real balance
authenticity is not synonymous with graphic detail

2. the basis of authenticity is scripture's clear teaching that we do not attain perfection in this life
the adage 'christians aren't perfect, just forgive' is a cop out
we can never prove our worth, we are deeply fractured
our gratitude to god ought to produce the effort to please him

3. the motivation of transparency is important
it's not about being candid or blunt [this is just self-centeredness]
it's not about shock value or personal entitlement to express your true
our candidness should be motivated by a desire to please god

4. the outcome of our transparency should be restoration
it should produce more of what god wants in our lives

kinnaman does a great job of laying this stuff out in ways that make sense, and it leaves us all with some questions:

when, and with whom, is it appropriate to share my deepest and darkest secrets? could those ever be hurtful to someone?

am i using my brokenness as permission to disregard the commands of scripture to live well?

am i being truly persuing authenticity? or just looking to out-do the others around me with a glorification of my flaws?

am i being transparent because it feels good? or because i'm hoping that sharing my own pain and experiences will bring comfort and act as a conduit for the spirit of god to other people?

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