Absence of Pretense

I receive a daily quote from Inward/Outward . Not surprisingly for a daily reflection series, some resonate with me more than others.

The reflection that appeared in my in-box this morning was authored by Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, who observes

There’s so much pretending out there. We have to pretend that we’re not smarter than our boss. We have to pretend we love our partner more than we do. We have to pretend that everything is fine. There’s just so much pretend in our lives we have to muster up, I think the Church needs to be a place where that doesn’t have to happen. Just for one hour during the week, they can exhale and the truth about everything can be spoken in a sacred space.

I think there is enormous truth to the fact that we live with an enormous amount of pretense. The almost inevitable response to “How are you?” is “Fine” when the realty is anything but. We often feign a level of strength and competent we do not feel. We pretend things don’t bother us when they do.

There is even greater truth to the fact that we need space where we can let go of the pretense. Perhaps that place is Church, as Bolz-Weber suggests. Perhaps it is a trusted friend or group of friends. (I am sometimes able to gather with a group of people I went to grade school with. As one of the group observed, it is hard to engage in pretense with people who knew you when you were still wiping your nose on your sleeve.)

But whoever and wherever it occurs, we have to have some place where we can be exactly who we are, with no pretense.

Do you have such a person or place?

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