Full self-disclosure and transparency are empowering and powerful tools for those who endeavor to enrich and elevate lives for the better. The caveat is that the influencers often go unsung and underappreciated by the recipients of the self-disclosure statement.
When I was a pre-teen, cable TV was in its commercial infancy. One of the few cable stations available was Nickelodeon. I remember my father literally forcing me to watch their kids talk show, Livewire. He would lecture me on why I needed to learn how to express myself, and watching the kids on this show would serve as my model on how to do that. But the fact was I knew that I was expressive already, yet on things that mattered the most to me. I just didn't want to comment when it didn't make sense or didn't have a point to make. I was going to make a statement when I had a statement sparked by my own emerging belief system.
So I watched the show, albeit grudgingly, viewing in my adolescent African-American mind a bunch of white kids commenting on subject matter that often did not jibe with my worldview. Not that I had any major issue with the show itself, or the fact that it was predominantly Caucasian in cast and perspective, because it was still a good show, both informative and empowering. But for me, being a young Black Christian male at that time, I needed something else that spoke to my consciousness. Unfortunately, there was not much.
So I figured that, instead of waiting for someone else's voice or some entity to create the platform, it was on me to create the platform...to become and use my voice and presence to express what I felt needed to be said or done, regardless of who was unwilling to validate and "Amen" the veracity. It was God's Spirit that moved me to voice my opinions and perspectives in any form, be it written or verbal, oratorical or homiletical, musical or improvisational. I summed it up with these spoken word/rap lyrics some years ago:
Word and the Spirit/to mind to mouth creates phrases
Spoken from wood pulpits to hip-hop stages/throughout all ages
Art and science blended together/in any weather
Out of season or back in/with souls to win
So keep the party goin' again and again
So what is the point that I'm trying to make with this blog post?
Full self-disclosure: I'm just seven months into my venture as a blogger. I didn't begin this venture with any lofty expectations. My goal was simply to express myself as I have always done, spark dialogue on issues that matter, and gain a following that would become larger than myself and ultimately honor the God that I serve.
Full self-disclosure: I had some fledgling hope that support from those who profess to know and love me would increase...not all at once, but incrementally. That hope somehow remains despite battling self-doubt and the subjective whims of social media.
Full self-disclosure: I'm not a savvy or aggressive self-promoter. It has never been my way...that's not how I get down. So please know that this particular post is not my plea, push, or cry for pity to others so that I can "blow up the spot" on the blogosphere, catapult myself into a national figure, or build my brand. If that is what the Lord wants, that is what will happen. I have already mentally prepared myself to accept the possibility and likelihood that my intellectual property will be appreciably circulated and discussed, much less recognized, posthumously. The potential influence may likely outlive me. It is what it is.
Full self-disclosure: I recently prayed about this blog, and this is what the Lord revealed to me. (And no, I did NOT hear His voice.) It is no wonder that the words of a prophet are not fully appreciated and heeded until the prophecy is fulfilled or the words come to fruition. It reminds me of a quote loosely derived from the work of 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer - a quote sometimes used to illustrate the ministry of Christ and, by extension, the growth of Christianity:
All truth (or change) passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.Having said that, I realize that the wheels of change grind slowly. And when it comes to this blog, I'm quite sure that this is a road less traveled. But change in most cases requires trailblazing. And when it comes to the voice that God has given me to express the truth of a matter or bring conscience into the madness, I feel compelled to speak louder and resist others who may want or unintentionally act to limit this blog to a self-imposed echo chamber.
Full self-disclosure: I said it on Day 1 of this blog - I will no longer be silent. I unapologetically live for Jesus out loud. And attempts to ignore, dismiss, placate, or snuff out my voice and presence will only embolden me to live and speak louder.
So prepare to cover your ears...or better yet, prepare to be challenged and influenced to do more for God's sake.