Photo from here.
I’m still shamelessly grabbing every opportunity I can to tell people I now have an agent. Anytime someone innocuously asks, “So…what’s new? How’s things?” I blurt, “Oh not too much…I got an agent for my book!!!” My officemate surely wants to clap her hands over her ears and run screaming from the room, but she’s been remarkably gracious and patient with my boasting.
So last week my colleague Penny asked the question, and after I blurted my answer, she said, “Oh! I didn’t even know you had written a book.”
Then, when I mentioned to Penny that I’d written a memoir, she said this: “A memoir…huh…interesting. So what’s it about?”
Commence awkward silence.
And then even more awkward bumbling:
“Uh. Well, um…it’s sort of a faith story…I mean kind of a story about religion. Well, actually it’s like a conversion story…about finding God. Sort of.”
Penny laughed. “I think you better work a little more on your elevator pitch,” she advised (good-naturedly).
She’s got that right. My conversation with Penny illuminated two distinct problems. One: I lack a concise description of my book for these very situations. And two: I’m still not very comfortable admitting that I write about God, especially to particular audiences.
You see, I know Penny well enough to suspect that her views may not be exactly in line with those of a conservative Christian. Not that I’m the most conservative Christian you’ll ever meet…but honestly, I worried that once Penny had heard I’d written a “God book,” she would lump me in with however she defined “Christian.” And I wasn't sure that's where I wanted to be lumped.
Of course, I didn’t have any idea what her definition was, but I was afraid of it nonetheless. I was afraid of the label. I was afraid of how that might affect our polite office friendship. I was afraid of how that might affect how she thought of me. I was even afraid of what that meant for how I define myself.
I know. All that angst over a two-line elevator pitch.
Maybe I should have thought about all this before I started to write about God.
My awkward conversation with Penny reminded me of a similar one I’d had with my big boss a couple months ago. He’d read my newspaper column that weekend and had stopped by my office to chat about it.
“Huh,” he said, when I confirmed that I wrote a monthly “religion and faith” column for the Journal Star. “I wouldn’t have expected that about you.”
Expected what? That I wrote a newspaper column? That I wrote about faith? That I had faith?
I had no idea what he meant by that cryptic statement, and I didn’t dare ask. Later, of course, I obsessed over it. I figured his comment either implied that I’m so cool and jaded and edgy that I don’t fit the Christian mold…or that I’m so evil and crass and ruthless that I couldn’t possibly be a Christian.
Given the choice, I want to be the edgy Christian. They do exist you know – look at Rob Bell. Or Jon Acuff. They’re totally cool. And not one bit sheepish about being Christian. I want to be like that.
But who am I kidding, right? If you’ve read this blog for more than three days, you already know that I could never pull off Edgy Christian. For starters, I’m a Lutheran. Totally not edgy. Secondly, I don’t wear enough black – in fact, horrors, I prefer shades of turquoise and terra cotta. And third, I don’t even have a single tattoo. And even if I did, that tattoo would somehow look preppy on me.
I’m afraid I don’t have a tidy conclusion to this post. I can’t tell you I went home from either conversation, prayed about it and then comfortably and confidently slid into my place on the Christian spectrum. Frankly I still feel pretty befuddled about the whole thing.
So for now, I’m simply focusing on finding satisfaction and comfort in the process itself, in the growing and learning and becoming whatever God has in store for me.
What about you? Can anyone relate to this? Or am I simply the weakest Christian on the planet?!
Linking up with Emily...