John Pavlovitz writes a blog entitled, “Stuff That Needs To Be Said”, and has been doing so since 2012. I stumbled upon him via a Facebook post today. As per usual, I’m late to the party, but hey, I’m enthusiastic, and that ought to count for something. The post was a copy of his open letter entitled, White Evangelicals: This Is Why People Are Through With You.
This intrigued me, because he himself has been a Christian Minister for 25 years, in North Carolina no less, and yet here he was, having the courage to speak truth to the very people who you’d think would be on his home team. I’m kind of surprised he isn’t a fellow Unitarian Universalist.
He wrote the white evangelicals piece in 2018, at the height of MAGA insanity. Integrity. That’s what that is. It’s my favorite quality.
After reading that letter, I just had to hop over to his blog and see what he had to say for himself. I have to admit that his early posts aren’t exactly my cup of tea. I’m not a Christian and I don’t feel the need to be prayed for, but even then, he meant well and was all about the betterment of mankind, so more power to him.
As the years went by and the posts rolled out, he seems to have become increasingly inclusive and more about justice and decency than he is about Jesus, even if he does still drop that name quite a bit. His voice has gotten stronger. His dismay at the dangerous path this country is on has intensified. He often writes about the very same concerns that I write about. But I have to admit, he does a much better job of getting his point across than my rants ever have. I think that deep down, he still believes that he might be able to bring people back from the dark side, so he’s still willing to moderate his tone somewhat so that he’ll be heard by a broader audience. I wish I had that ability. But I’m quite certain that the very people who need to read these things are the people who won’t and who never have. It’s heartbreaking.
One of his most recent posts almost brought me to tears. An Apology to My Daughter was written right after Roe v. Wade was overturned, and you get the idea that he’s in mourning for the country that his child will never have the chance to grow up in. In fact, he says, “When your mother and I chose to bring you into this world, we never dreamed that you would spend a second of your life without the elemental freedoms over your body, over your decisions, over the care you receive from doctors.”
It’s amazing, really. He makes it perfectly clear what this nightmare of a supreme court has visited upon us, and he does so without once using the word abortion. He understands that it’s about so much more than that. It’s about the effort to strip women, bit by bit, of their personhoods (personshood sounds better to me, but I can’t find any use of this anywhere). He sees it and he says it. And it’s possible that maybe someone who is sitting on the fence might actually take his words to heart. That’s not something that happens in my blog. I can’t say that I’ve ever changed anyone’s mind about anything. I see myself more as a writer who voices things that other people can’t, but want to. My blog makes people feel heard, but it doesn’t make them see reason if they don’t already see it.
I see that he also writes a great deal about grief, and I look forward to his thoughts on the subject. No, I didn’t sign up to have his posts sent to my e-mail. I have several blogs that come to me daily, and I never quite get around to reading them. I “follow” even more blogs on WordPress, but I don’t actually look at what I’m following very often. (That’s why I don’t take my number of follwers nearly as seriously as I take my number of views.) But for now, just knowing that John Pavlovitz is out there, saying the stuff that needs to be said, is comfort enough for me. And I know he’ll be out there in cyberspace when I really feel the need to hear someone say it the way I wish I could say it. That feels like a welcoming candle in the darkness, indeed.
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