May 19, 2011

Taming the Hunger for Fame: The Discipline of Secrecy Part 1.

I am struck by this discipline because it seems that so many of us do not practice it. It is so needed in evangelical Christianity. Most everyone is vying for attention, vying for numbers. Pastors, churches, musicians, writers, media outlets. In our pursuit of numbers, of fame, of notoriety--all in the  name of God of course, are we being faithful?

Well, let me not be coy. God has given me the ministry of writing. But I wrestle with my gift all of the time.  Because everywhere I turn I hear, "Get more followers! Build your platform! Do something to attract more people to your blog!"  One agent told me that I'd have to have 5,000 visits/hits a day to be considered famous enough to be considered. Really there's no chance for me via blogging, unless of course, God makes a way. Perhaps you've heard something along the lines that obscurity is death for an artist--death for a writer.

But then again, I think about how Jesus labored in obscurity for thirty-years. I just cannot take illegitimate actions to try and accomplish only what God can do. I am not saying that I won't continue to write or speak; what I am saying is that I can't take this business into my own hands. God says "no" to me as far as illegitimate self- promotion goes. Perhaps all forms of self-promotion are illegitimate. Christians go back and forth about that. And I am in no way standing in judgment over what others are doing. I am accountable to God for my attitudes and actions though.

The discipline of secrecy is of great help in this area. This disicpline takes all kinds of forms in our individual lives depending on our temptations. Here I will include an excerpt from Dallas Willard's book, The Spirit of the Disciplines, that explains secrecy:


"In the discipline of secrecy--and here again, the word is not perfectly suited to our purposes--we abstain from causing our good deeds and qualities to be known. we may even take steps to prevent them from being known, if it doesn't involve deceit. To help us lose or tame the hunger for fame, justification, or just the mere attention of others, we will often need the help of grace. But as we practice this discipline, we learn to love to be unknown and even to accept misudnerstanding without loss of our peace, joy, and purpose.

Few things are more important in stabilizing our walk of faith than this discipline. In the practice of secrecy, we experience a continuing relationship with God independent of the opinions of others."

pp. 172-173

* More on this in the next post

3 comments:

The Dreamer said...

A huge contribution to self-lessness........I need to practice it more.

Reformed and Renewed said...

Hi, yes I have worked through Dallas Willard's books on Spiritual disciplines. He does have an intersting view on spirituality

Nikki said...

Great thoughts, Marlena! I was struck by how often this creeps into day-to-day life too, even if it's only the much smaller spotlight of the people we directly interact with. It was a good reminder for me to 1. not seek to promote myself even in that setting, and 2. to put a more concentrated effort into encouraging those around me who really are doing great things, no matter how big or small. :)