Real talk on Religion with Bristol Palin

Ok, I’m not talking WITH her, I’m just talking TO her.

Bristol Palin is pregnant again.

However, lest any of you judgy-mcjudgerson’s want to pass a verdict down from your lofty bench of responsibility, abstinence, or safe sex-i-ness, she planned the pregnancy this time.

So there!

She doesn’t want your lectures or your sympathy, and she cares “this much” about negativity. In fact, if you don’t like her choices you should just “deal with it.”
What she presumably DOES want, however, is for you to continue reading her blog on “faith and being a mom,” buy her book, and watch her on reality shows– (she relied on her faith to get her through Dancing with the Stars). Oh, and also, support her in her important causes (for which she is paid), such as preventing unplanned (teen) pregnancy.

*blank stare*

Here’s the thing: If Bristol were the “single mother who lived next door to me, ” I like to think we’d be friends. I bet she’s fun. I like her tenacity and boldness, and I resonate with her desire to speak her mind. Alas, we aren’t neighbors or friends. But as a woman, a mother, and a Christian, I am her sister.

So, I am left with saying this here; Bristol, Please stop it.

Please stop publicly using your faith and projected moral superiority, as a reason that no one should judge you, all the while judging other people.

Please stop standing and shouting on the moral high ground when you’re knee-deep in a pothole.

If you are going to make a living out of broadcasting your life and your faith to the world, please stop being confused and frustrated when others have commentary on it.

The problem with a “deal with it” attitude is that it paints Christianity in an ugly light to the rest of the world. The beauty of our Christian faith is that we get to be gloriously imperfect, and ugly, and still redeemed. A little humility, particularly at this juncture, would go a long way toward endearing others to you, but also–and more importantly, to me–in drawing the world to God. “Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief “- you know, that kind of preaching.

I don’t blame you completely, though. The faith community is obsessed with public displays of faith in the sense that we love to relate to someone in the public eye – and we often have the mistaken idea that somehow being famous makes those people a “better” advocate for our faith. So, we repost their quotes, blog posts or speeches, as if somehow by osmosis, our religious purposes will be accomplished. I can’t tell you how many Facebook memes I see daily with “Christian” quotes from celebrities or politicians, coupled with a proverbial “Amen” from the posting party.

If you asked the human brother of Jesus Christ what “real” religion is, you might have heard him say this:
True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties, and to keep the world from contaminating us. – James 1:27

I have a friend. He’s not famous. He plays basketball with prisoners at a large prison most weekends, and loves them in their brokenness. This is pure religion. Another friend collects coats and blankets for the homeless in our city, and hand delivers them with love and prayer. Another friend organizes backpack drives for foster children. Yet another friend works tirelessly to eradicate juvenile sex trafficking. None of these people have a national platform, but if they did – I’m pretty sure they would use it in the good cause of “pure” religion.

Instead of being snarky to your critics, I suggest you welcome them, Bristol. Don’t blow them off with smug pictures and trite sayings. BE about what you talk about. And use your public platform at this pivotal time in your life to affect some real change in the world, and not just spare change in your pocket.

I write this to encourage Bristol Palin and other public people of faith; Instead of talking about your faith and cloaking your public persona in it, and then being annoyed when others use it against you, WORK out your own faith with humility in the public square. It’s pretty hard to criticize someone who is in the trenches doing the good work.

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