Thursday, October 6, 2011


We've all seen them.  Status updates that make you go, "huh?"  These open-to-interpretation posts have even warrented an entry into the urban dictionary:

Vaguebook (noun): An intentionally vague or one-worded status update, alluding to something else. This could be an inside joke, or anything meant for only a few people. More simply, it could be a plea for someone to comment.

Examples: Mark "is wondering if it is all worth it," Tom "decides to let go," Leila “should have not done it, now feels really guilty," Amy "loves it when a plan comes together."

Whether the intent is playful or protective, the end result is the same:  the reader baited into commenting, while knowing full well they're firmly on the outside looking in. 
I wonder if church-speak comes across that way to people.  If the specialized words we use just leave listeners going "Huh?"  "What does that even mean?"  or "I must have missed something."  It reminds me of that moment in A Bug's Life when Princess Dot gives Flick a pebble.  It's a highly personal moment, but the circus bugs just dismiss it thinking "It must be an ant thing."
And like the majority of Facebook readers, I think people are more likely to be annoyed than to get engaged.  If it's a private thing and you don't want to share, then don't put it out there for your web of friends to see.  And if you do want your joy doubled or your burden halved...give your friends enough information for a proper response!  But leaving folks in that awkward space of knowing but not knowing is just...well...awkward. 
Peter encouraged the early church to be prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15).  My hope shouldn't be vague.  Neither should my source of help when I'm struggling. 
I realized that I've been sharing my faith this way.  Somewhere along the line, my Christ-centric language has morphed into something vaguer.  It struck me that I have been choosing my words in a way that could be interpreted through many spiritual lenses, justifying the practice by saying that I don't want listeners to have a hostile reaction to the J-word or that I want to start my conversation in neutral ground in hopes of embarking on a grander dialogue.  And maybe it's not wrong per se, and maybe it doesn't leave people annoyed the way that vaguebooking might, but it does seem to dilute what God is doing in my life (whether encouraging or convicting).

Dr. Seuss would have something to say to that:  "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
So I'm making a conscious effort to give honor where honor is due.  To be transparent with just exactly where my hope comes from.  I don't want to leave anyone on the outside looking in.  I want them to rejoice with me, to see where I'm growing, and to discover for themselves what a difference Jesus can make.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Regina! This will be the 3rd time I've tried to comment today, so I hope it goes through! I just wanted to say this is a great post. I like the Dr. Suess quote, and agree that it's easy for our desire to be kind and maybe "politically correct" to water down how we relate our beliefs/opinions to others. I don't "facebook," but I've seen what you mean by vaguebooking when I read the Tweets on some blogs. Enjoy your weekend! Bess