Once I wrote about blog about how sometimes the church mistreats single people. I learned a lot in the wake of the response to that post. Here’s what I learned the day I blogged about single people.
I learned that I must have touched on something really important.
Who knew that blogging about what my single friends have felt and experienced would create such a firestorm? Yet I had single friends cheering, married friends staying silent, moms all upset, pastors’ wives nervous, home school moms in a tizzy, single guys agreeing, and cousins arguing.
Church, take note. Something happened here. What was impressed upon me was that many people, from all different walks of life, feel misunderstood in their communities, to include church communities. And many people, it seems, from all different walks of life, could do with a little thoughtfulness, kindness, and hospitality. Let’s not take this lightly.
I learned that bloggers don’t get to choose which of their posts go viral.
I care about how single people are treated, but I am WAY more passionate about topics other than this. If any of you happen to stick around, you might get to hear about some of those things.
I learned what it’s like to get thrown to the wolves.
Helloooooo, internet! I have never met you before, but apparently it’s totally okay to judge a person you have never met. Since my very first semi-viral introduction to the internet, I have personally been called “rude,” “hostile,” “judgmental,” “whiny,” “catty,” and “ignorant” by people I don’t even know. (And yes, this is different than calling a group of people “rude,” which is what I did in my generalized post about the church.)
On the other hand, I have learned how incredibly supportive readers can be! First, thanks to anyone who bothered in the first place to read my work AT ALL. But also thanks to many of you who have shown your genuine support. It truly means a lot.
I have learned that we still have work to do in the English classroom.
Apparently, in high school English class, we need to keep drilling the difference between satire, sarcasm, and irony, and we need to continue discussing its place in journalism. Satire is “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” Satire is sarcasm that is not intended to hurt, but rather is intended to effect change. I’m amazed at how many people took my tone seriously and not with a grain of salt like I intended. I hoped you would laugh along. You took this seriously? In my last post, there was a picture of a MAN DANCING WITH BUBBLEGUM. How could you take that seriously?
Secondly, in high school English classes, we need to keep teaching students how to understand the theme of a written work. MANY PEOPLE apparently got hung up arguing about who’s busier, married people or single people. That is not the point! The point is that a lot of my single friends have been mistreated in church contexts, and I think we need to talk about it.
At my Christian school, I train my high school students to pick out the theme of a work, rather than get hung up on superfluous details that might tick them off. I have always said: “The sign of education is listening and not reacting.”
I have learned that the internet is a tricky thing.
I think I’m writing this tiny little blog for a few close friends and family members, and WHAM-O! My audience changes overnight! Audience is SO important when it comes to writing and speaking, and if I were to write a speech about these issues, I would have taken a much different approach.
Many people who know me weren’t offended in the LEAST by what I wrote. The key here is that they know me. Writing responsibly means that I am responsible for how I come across to people who don’t know me. Looks like I’ve still got some work to do in how I come across on the internet. Was I a little too brutal? Probably. (Know how I know? I asked my mom. She’s always my voice of reason. Thanks, Mom.)
I learned that blogs are a really fun way to practice writing voice.
Fellow writers! Wasn’t this little experiment SO fun?! One commenter pointed out that overall it seemed that many single people took it well, but many married people had a problem with it. This totally has to do with voice! In the post, I set up this us/them dichotomy, where the singles were the “us” and the marrieds were the “them.” Nobody likes to be the “them.” (Yet the marrieds were the “them” for a split-second while they were reading the article, and they were not happy about it.) I’ll just let that sink it for a bit.
Also, would the post have had the same effect if I had changed my main points from “You are rude” to “We are hurt when…”? If it wouldn’t have had the same effect, would it have been more or less useful? So many questions.
To sum up:
1. Maybe I should get a new hero other than Sara Willis Parton. (But she is SO FUNNY.)
2. One thing that is really cool, whether you agree with me or not that single people are mistreated sometimes, is that I’m pretty positive that this whole blog has sparked some pretty important conversations everywhere, and that’s all I wanted.
3. Yet, as one friend pointed out: “It’s not like we can really ‘argue’ here. I mean, who really wants to argue that single people should be mistreated? Who’s really going for that?”
Finally, to people who know me, including friends, family, and fellow church members past and present: I have not experienced every single one of the points from my last post, and some things were written tongue in cheek, so don’t go trying to match these examples with places I’ve lived in the past. I currently attend a very welcoming church, one whose friendliness on a single Sunday prompted me to start attending there full time. However, many of the examples have happened to single people I know, and unfortunately, they are VERY believable, and therefore, I included them.
Satire aside, I stand behind my post.
Internet, it’s been nice knowing you. Why don’t we all move on to bigger and brighter futures where speaking, listening, and understanding (and maybe even a little forgiveness) are commonplace?
Let’s also be on the lookout for ways we can encourage and include our single brothers and sisters in Christ.