(Un)wanted Words of Faith

This is an observation that clobbered me this morning around 6:00 a.m. over my first cup of coffee. Words of faith and insight are largely unwanted, unappreciated.

I had just finished a small bit of blog-hopping, reading the words of a few online acquaintances about faith. I saw some recent posts with no comments, no love in return to these people for filling with web with words of faith.

But it isn’t just the crowded traffic of words on the internet. It’s also in the synagogues and churches. Few come.

And it isn’t just in places of worship, it’s in the literature and entertainment fields as well. Words of faith are muted, rarely peeking out, for the most part unwanted.

By contrast, I, as a Messianic Jewish rabbi, was reading the words of a Conservative Jewish scholar (Jacob Milgrom) and a Catholic New Testament scholar (Raymond Brown) this morning. And my soul was on fire.

I suspect the yawning public staying away in droves has no idea what they are missing. Things that do not profit, to paraphrase something I read yesterday from Maimonides, fill up our viewscreen. And I’m not suggesting that out interests should in any sense be limited to theology.

But life is more than possessions, thrills, or a good laugh.

And I shouldn’t overstate my cynicism. The lonely words of friends on the internet certainly do reach people we will never know in full.

But you may ask yourself: are words of faith unwanted by me? Are those who write them unappreciated? Do I write my own words of faith? Does my soul thrill with the electric spark of life beyond the narrows? The wise sage said, “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Eccl 12:12), but some words we can’t truly live without.

CLARIFICATION: I am not complaining that too few people comment on my blog. Actually, I get a lot of love and feedback publicly and privately. I have a lot of readers. My meditation here is noting with sadness that some worthy blogs seem to get few readers or attention, that words of faith in general are too little appreciated, and a little nudge to you, dear reader, to highly value the regular penetration into your soul of words of faith.

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6 Responses to (Un)wanted Words of Faith

  1. dhuckey says:

    Derek – As our sages have said, “Words from the heart, enter the heart of another.” What you’ve spoken here resonates within me. It’s a constant tug-of-war within me, and is part of the reason I all but quit blogging and turned my attention to face-time with people in our community (both our spiritual community and our physical one). However, I continually see how that flame within me has been poured out into a blog post, and eventually lapped onto another without my knowing until some months, or even years later. I’m constantly amazed when I go to an event and meet people for the first time and they say they have been inspired by my blog. It gives me hope and it stirs something inside me.

    I’ve recently been given hope that within normative Christendom (at least in our area) there is a renewed hunger for spiritual truth, and it has presented some very interesting opportunities. I feel it is our job to blow on the ashes around us to see what sparks flicker, and then to gently add a little kindling & tender, then a few small sticks, etc. until the flame is burning hot. Previously, I would just dump a whole pile of firewood on top of it and smother it. However, I’ve learned that through a small, gentile progression of feeding truth to a hungry spark, a roaring flame will soon follow.

    Maybe I’ll be able to invest more in the blog in the future, but I know where I’m making a difference now for the Kingdom and I’m “ashrei” because of it… 😉

  2. jennbrooke says:

    I don’t think that’s the case at all, Derek. I know there are many times that I read a blog post, and it gives me a lot to think about, but I don’t really know what to say, comment-wise, so I just read it and take it to heart. Don’t judge the worthiness of what you have to say by the number of comments received, or not received. If you feel God is pulling on your heart to say something, say it, regardless. You never know how God may be using what you have to say.

  3. jennbrooke:

    Thank you and I genuinely appreciate your encouragement. I added a clarification to the post just now after reading your comment. It vaguely occurred to me that someone might think I was feeling unappreciated. Actually, as a long-time and frequent blogger, I get a lot of encouragement and feedback from people. If you will look at the clarification, it will clear that up.

    But I will say this: now that I avoid the merely controversial (mostly issues like Jews, Gentiles, and Messianic Judaism), my daily reads are down about 40%. I’m okay with that. It is worth noting, however.


    • jennbrooke says:

      Thanks for the clarification, Derek! Glad that wasn’t how you were feeling.

      On the 40% reduction, I wonder if at least of the reduction in readership involves people reading the e-mail version, but not necessarily going to the actual blog online, unless they feel compelled to comment. If one has subscribed to the blog, they get the whole blog post in the e-mail message. I think you’re right though, people usually feel more compelled to comment when it’s a more controversial subject that gets their dander up.

      And this may be a similar phenomenon for other blogs. Not that people aren’t reading necessarily, but they may be getting the information in a way that makes in not always necessary to visit the actual site, and aren’t always feeling stirred enough to comment, unless they feel they have to for some reason.

  4. tripwire45 says:

    Gene referenced this article of yours in response to a similar lament of mine: http://searchingforthelightonthepath.blogspot.com/2010/07/first-female-rabbi-and-how-she-was.html

    As human beings, we have a tendency to be more vocal in conflict than in agreement.

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