The Unpublished Chapters

20130327-112312.jpg“My dear fellow. We all have chapters we would rather keep unpublished.” Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey

Jennifer Lawrence has wooed Hollywood and beyond with her real, down to earth, gutsy honesty. She seems to be what everyone has waited for. Some authenticity from Hollywood plastic.

We are in an era where authenticity is applauded. We want ‘real’. We want ‘authentic’. We want the gritty, the broken, the messy. Those of us who are Christians say we want it because we want to remind ourselves, and others, that Christ died for messy. He died for broken. He died to redeem all that.

And that’s not a bad thing.

But at the end of the day – all of us have unpublished chapters and perhaps we should keep it that way.

Perhaps it’s a good thing.

The idea that we are to be emotionally ‘naked’, fully honest with everyone is a cultural value gone wild. The idea that all can carefully handle our truth is a myth, a dream of a perfect society. The notion that ‘authenticity’ means bearing it all – a 21st century fallacy.

Because much of God’s work takes place in our unpublished chapters.

Much of his cutting, his cleansing, his replacing is done behind closed doors. Surgeons don’t let everyone into their sterile field – only those who have been properly trained and can assist with the surgery. I believe the same is true with God – he doesn’t want us to let just anyone in.

And perhaps that is the danger of the public world in which we live. A world where we are to tell all and more in order to appear authentic.

But then we realize the world can’t handle it and does not treat it with care. We thought we were being authentic – but we are skewered in the name of analyzing and critical thinking. That real, authentic, genuine stuff that we have gone through, felt deeply, shared with trembling, is figuratively cast before the swine of our day.

Instead of feeling free and supported, we end up crushed and hurt, feeling the weight of being misunderstood with our private selves revealed.

Can we give each other grace and understanding that there is a major back story without having to share it with everyone? Through blogging I have been privileged to hear a few of your back stories – your unpublished chapters. And they are amazing – they reflect resilience and grace, courage and faith. And I guard them with care.

In turn, I have been able to share with some of you my unpublished chapters – the things that will never go on this blog. They are too dear to me, too fragile, too counter-culture to share.

And so I say to you – Guard your unpublished chapters. Everyone is not capable of reading them and handling their truth.

“Because you’re not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are. “~ Madeleine L’Engle