In reaction to my blog post, A Plain White Jennifer, a Baptist church canceled my (non-faith-based) workshop on the use of music and movement in early childhood literacy. The blog post had nothing to do with my workshop, but it contained the f word.
It’s a little funny, because I was using the word to hi-light the point that sometimes I feel ostracized (by Christians) for being both a worshiper of God, and very broken. But it seems like the word itself muted the message. (Rookie mistake? I don’t blog much. I usually have a live audience in front of me.)
The woman who cancelled told me that she had seen my workshop, and had loved it. She agreed that I was respectful, and professional, and fun. But she told me that their church didn’t want to be seen as ‘endorsing’ me. Note: she didn’t say that they didn’t want to be seen as endorsing the f word (which I wouldn’t have used in the workshop) (but kind of want to now). She said they didn’t want to be seen as endorsing me.
I’d like to host a “Let’s explore HOW to approach words and songs.” Word choice, hyperbole, tone, jackassedness… Let’s respect the artist enough to 1) Trust that the use of each word is intentional, and 2) Listen to what is actually being said. We’re quick to judge, but slow to engage. We’ve lost the ability to be penetrated. (Stop. No that’s-what-she-saids today. It’s just…it’s too soon.)
This is not a blog for kids. This is a blog for Creatives. And maybe for Creatives who are also Christian. Because I’ve seen (and felt) you get judged for your art, and have witnessed your Callings being devalued.
It’s also an attempt to be responsible to God for what we put out into the world. (Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?)* We should wrestle with how to present truth and beauty. But let’s be for real, People! The Bible is not devoid of dark and violent and offensive language!
As Creatives, we have to take risks in what we explore, and how we try to connect. No one can please everybody, but I don’t offend anybody on purpose. (glance upward) For the most part.
Help us make honest expression easier, not harder. If you want to have the conversation about why a word is good or bad, or even if you want to respectfully reprove me, then I’m all ears. But take into account what I’m actually saying.
Anyway, if anyone wants to hang out on the lost gig night, I’ll be sipping whiskey, and reading excerpts from The Catcher in the Rye.
*I cannot be responsible for any Alanis Morisette ear-worms that this post may contain. (Honestly. Maybe I AM reckless. Fire me.) (I’m kidding, People. Please don’t fire me.)