Running a blog is like posting a big sign on the gate outside of your house that says, “Like this house? Come in! Have a seat! Talk amongst yourselves!”
And people do! They wander in, they look around; they might say a word or two: perhaps a big speech, perhaps only a snide aside. They might stop in once; they might stop in so often pretty soon I can practically give them the keys to the place and let them run it while I take a little vacation. Maybe they show up in a good mood; maybe not. Maybe they’re angry, lonely, curious, proud, passionate, inspired, defeated, confused, happy, buoyant, drunk.
And it will all be perfectly okay with me. I love it all. This blog is my house; I deeply enjoy being its host; I’m happy presenting the meal, and then working in the kitchen while listening to everyone throughout the house being whomever it is they are. It’s all good, rich music to me.
Everyone is welcomed here, period.
Except, that is, for one type of person. Every so often a very particular type of visitor comes into my open house, and that person I always end up showing the door.
That person is a Silly Putty person.
Silly Putty people are a very rare breed indeed. In the four years since hanging out my welcome sign here, I’ve had but a handful of them come through.
The Silly Putty people pretend to be something they’re not. They pretend to be truly interested in deep and sincere discussions—but they’re not.
They always start off stating positions that are fundamentally extreme—but are then quick to make clear that they’re open to new input, that they welcome learning how they might be mistaken; that they’re willing to modify or even abandon their way of thinking, if only someone were intelligent, compassionate, and caring enough to take the time to explain to them the error of their ways. And because here on this blog we’re very often dealing with matters of significant spiritual concern, the Silly Putty invariably receive the reaction they’re after.
You come into this house asking for enlightenment and understanding, and people here will respond to you with care and respect. Because so many of the people who hang out here are intelligent; they are compassionate; they do care.
And so such people begin to sincerely and thoughtfully engage the Silly Putty person.
And the Silly Putty person then settles right in. They’ve gotten what they want. They’ve found people to play with them.
If you’ve ever played with Silly Putty, you know that it has the unique quality of seeming to change in all sorts of ways, while actually never changing at all. It stretches, it molds; it becomes one shape, it becomes another. If you roll it up into a ball, it bounces! If you press it over a newspaper cartoon, it’ll have that picture on itself when you peel it back up!
Hours of fun!
It’s fun, that is, until you finally get it into your head that you can’t really do anything with Silly Putty.
It looks and feels like gum—but you can’t really chew it. It bounces like a real ball—but too quickly gets all bent out of shape. It kind of picks up images—but mostly it’s unclear what you’re looking at. It seems like it would be tasty—but it’s actually poisonous. At the very least it will clog up your system.
And that’s just how Silly Putty people are: quick to very smoothly assume all kinds of accommodating qualities that, in fact, they don’t possess at all. They pretend to be open, curious, understanding, vulnerable, impressionable, tolerant, and reasonable—when, in fact, they’re none of those things. Like Silly Putty (um … if Silly Putty had a will), all they really want is someone to play with them.
To get the attention they want, they pretend to be people they’re not. They lie.
I hate liars. And that’s why I always bounce Silly Putty people right out of my house.