Can Spin Be Redeemed?

- - Life With God

Can spin be redeemed?

I’m not talking about the stuff that advertisers, politicians, and religion in general are pitching.

The question is aimed at us. Can our spin be redeemed?

Maybe I should just personalize this. Can MY spin be redeemed?

I honestly don’t really know. If I asked Sister Angela, the nun my family met at Saint Francis’ 13th century hermitage in Assisi, I think she would tell me no – there is no redeeming quality in spin.


But then if I asked Kanye West, or the average charismatic pastor, I’m guessing they would affirm the many wonderful benefits of spin.

Hmm. What to do?

Well, a few ideas come to my mind. Here they are:

1. If and when we spin—just admit it.

I think it helps when we’re honest about what we’re doing.

Why can’t we say things like, “Hey guys, I just need to brag on my self for a moment – so please look impressed.”

I don’t think advertisers or politicians are ever going to admit their spin, but I wish Christians would. Instead of acting like our particular brand (with all of its various ways of interpreting Scripture) is spot-on, and all the other brands are populated with hell-bound idiots – it’d be nice if we could just admit our spin.

Why can’t we say things like, “Those guys have some great Bible verses about why women shouldn’t be in ministry leadership. We also have some great verses about why they should. We’re more comfortable downplaying their verses and elevating ours – so we’re pro-women in ministry. It’s a tough issue and good people have debated this for a long time. We like our angle on it.”

When we teach, why can’t we just say things like, “I exaggerate to make a point…”

Maybe there is something redeemable about spin when we admit that we’re doing it.

2. Listen to the quiet voice.

You know that internal tension we feel about things? It’s good. Real good. And we shouldn’t ignore it.

There are times when I want so badly to inflate, exaggerate, and spin my story. But there’s also a wrestling match going on inside of me. I know what my ego wants, and there’s a quite voice in my heart that asks, “What about humility?”

That tension is good. It causes me to tap the brakes instead of putting the pedal to the metal for my ego.

Maybe there is something redeemable about spin when we listen to that quiet voice.

“A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.” —1 Kings 19.11-12 MSG

3. Balance spin with ugly truth.

Spin just becomes white noise when it is constant. Like the boy who cried wolf (or cute bunnies), we will eventually be ignored when our stories are always inflated, exaggerated, and spun.

I think there’s a pressure (for pastor-types like me anyway) to be all hype, all the time. Our tweets are full of superlatives: “That was the bestest, brightest, biggest, baddest, bomb-est church service ever!”

I think it would be wonderfully refreshing to share the ugly truth once in a while – something like, “Church wasn’t very good today and we should all forget my sermon—it was bad. I’m sorry. I think it will be better next week.”

If someone was THAT honest, I’d be more likely to believe their hype.

Maybe there is something redeemable about spin when we balance it with ugly truth.

4. Spin “us” less and “them” more.

People who talk about themselves incessantly are not fun to be around, but we all enjoy being with people who are interested in, curious about, and proud of us.

There’s a great lesson.

Brag less about me and more about them. Instead of using all the positive superlative adjectives on myself, use them generously on others.

“You’re my favorite – the smartest 7th grader I know.”

Maybe there is something redeemable about spin when we spin “us” less and “them” more.

“The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: To do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” —Micah 6.8

Is spin redeemable? I guess it depends on who you’re asking – Sister Angela, Kanye West, Pastor McPopular…

So I’m asking you.

What do you think, can spin be redeemed? How would you redeem it?

This is part 3 of 3 posts this week. Check out part 1 “SPIN: Can We Just Admit It?” and part 2 “Spin & My Ego

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

9 Comments to Can Spin Be Redeemed?

  1. “Listen to the quiet voice” and “tap the breaks”. I’m going to remember these phrases today. I think Sister Angela would have no use for spin because she has nothing to prove. She’s wrapped up in Jesus, in surrender, in seeing the beauty around her. She doesn’t have a need to get ahead or posture herself. Hers is a life of surrender. How I learn from her. Thanks for the reminders Brian of a very moving experience for me. I’m so thankful you’ve supported my dreams Brian. I love you.

  2. PB, I love that you’ve taught be to balance spin with the ugly truth. It’s so easy to take a verse like Jeremiah 29.11 or Romans 8.28 and spin them to make people feel like their Christian life should be a walk in the rose garden…but it’s not. Both of these overspun out of context verses are in the midst of passages expressing present or pending upsetting news. There’s tension.

    Spin happens. Maybe it’s redeemable if it helps pull us into the truth.

    Thanks for teaching me and being a great example to me over the years. I love you PB.

    • I love the sincerity of the last several blog topics, it’s a refreshing reminder of how human we are and that everyone else is too.

      Too often people are afraid to ask questions and show their “morning face…or back” and these blogs have allowed for the conversation to be opened.

      I remember a previous blog post that talked about avoiding generic encouragement statements and that post is a constant voice in my head when I do want to show someone some love.

      It is easy to say things like: “Your the best, I love you, etc…” because in that you don’t actually have to get to know the fun details of people.

      I don’t think God cares about the COSTCO size brand of Christianity that says I have to use generalized superlatives because there are so many people that need encouragement and building, it takes too much time to be specific.

      I believe He wants everyone to get saved, be loved, encouraged, but that He has called a whole heck of a lot of us to do it. So the opportunity for individual connection is not lost.

      Thanks again, I love the tone of these fun flavored truth blogs sprinkled with the tiniest bit of snark.

  3. Sabrina Young

    I really have loved these posts on spin! I love point number 4, I think the more we focus on promoting others rather than ourselves, the more God will promote us. I do think, however, that we have to be careful to not cross the line of flattery. Flattery hides in just enough dishonesty to inflate their ego and give them a slighted picture of what the truth is about themselves. Like those American Idol try-outs who are HORRIBLE, yet you know someone was in their ear saying, “You have the best voice ever!” It sets people up for disappointment and unrealistic expectations. And, if we are honest, our motives are usually selfish when we use flattery… We just want people to like us or we want to get something out of them… It’s typically a form of manipulation. Encouragement, however, is bringing truth to someone’s heart to give them courage to walk boldly in who God created them to be… But if we exaggerate those truths, it turns to flattery, and flattery just feeds pride and inflates egos (which sets people up for a fall).

    Also, I had no idea Micahn wrote scripture! ;) I laughed when I read the reference because it took me a minute to figure out if it was a quote by Michan or if you typo’d a scripture reference! Ha!

    Good thoughts Brian!

    • Brian Dolleman

      SUPER FUNNY – about me typing Micahn instead of Micah. My fingers are more used to typing Micahn’s name than Micah as a reference.

      Fixed it.


  4. You should have left it Brian- I went a looking for it- that’s so funny. We love our Carters!

    Elise, I loved your point that it takes time to care for people and offer them specific encouragement. Just today I said “you’re amazing” when I could have detailed what I appreciated specifically- because it was a quick text- it takes more time. Time that I could probably have given. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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