Thoughts on “reblog if”
I was recently subjected to a tears-in-her-eyes come-to-Jesus alter call.
For anyone who hasn’t had to sit through one, an alter call is when a speaker makes a public call for the people in the audience to complete some action (stand up, sit down, raise your arms, sing) to show your willingness to commit to the Christian faith. These generally only happen at actual church events (though sometimes really enthusiastic evangelists will try it on a smaller scale in public, like at food courts) so usually it’s only towards people who are already foot-in-the-door with Christianity.
This particular one was at a church-hosted group for moms with young kids. We go, volunteers play with our kids in the gym and we drink coffee and talk for an hour. There’s some kind of ice-breaker game, there’s maybe a 5 minute video or message relating to faith that is often semi-ignored. So it’s church-related but not explicitly an evangelical effort.
So when this woman got up to do the short message thing and did a tear-soaked alter call I was caught flat-footed and honestly came near to a panic attack. I grew up with these things and I have always hated them. I hate the social pressure of it. So for me it becomes a question of:
a) do the thing, and hate myself for participating, hate the organizers for putting me in this position, know that my participation is probably adding to the pressure on others to perform
b) don’t do the thing, be perceived as not a person with any faith, have to field all the evangelicals who will probably try to save me later, hate the organizers for putting me in this position
In this case I took c) pretend to get an important message on my phone and leave the room. And hate the organizers for putting me in this position.
I think this kind of thing is why I truly hate “reblog if” posts. Reblog if you support human rights! Reblog if you think friendship is as fulfilling as romantic relationships! Reblog if you think sex is not default necessary in a good marriage!
I do, and I do, and I do but fuck me if I’m going to reblog some random post to prove myself to strangers! Augh!
And I know that some people take a lot of comfort from these things, and feel less alone and really, that’s great. I’m glad this thing is helpful and supportive. But for me this thing is an extension of the oppressive environment I grew up in, where we had to perform on command or face the consequences.
This isn’t a message at anyone in particular. I know the people making and rebloging these things aren’t doing it at me either. I just found this style of post particularly difficult today and wanted to share. And to try to ease the shame-guilt-failure-rage feeling I get when I see a “reblog if” post that is about a topic that’s very important to me, and scroll by.