I wrote on my blog constantly. I self-promoted it through comments on other blogs, and in online discussion threads. Visitors started coming, commenting, sharing, and my online traffic steadily rose. Next I took some of my posts and turned them into article submissions for various Christian magazines and websites, particularly those focused on young adults and this “emerging” crowd. I got published a lot. So I kept on writing.
A visiting professor in seminary was one of the Christian “celebrity” authors I referenced earlier, and I developed a relationship with him through class discussions. Eventually we spent time outside of school discussing theology and culture. He liked my writing, encouraged me, and asked me to review and edit several manuscripts. Soon I contributed to a book he was compiling and editing. After that, more doors opened, I wrote in several more collections, and my professor put me in touch with a literary agent.
During this time, I was also assisting him with an online video series where we interviewed other authors. This, while attending seminary and working full time, created some logistical challenges. Eventually, my schedule conflicted with his needs. He gave me an ultimatum. I could not provide the availability he required. And he disappeared.
No more emails, phone calls or invitations. The agent stopped returning my calls soon after.
This man characterized himself as a pastor, friend and mentor, but as soon as I stopped being of value, he ended the relationship.
I stopped being angry at him many years ago. As I have done my own work, sitting in circles with lots of men from different backgrounds and stages of life, I have realized: this was a symptom of how capitalism has groomed us all to commodify people and relationships. I’ve done it too. This commodification ultimately leads to dehumanization, and that all ties directly into the conversations we’ve been having about race and supremacy. But I think it also relates to an inadequate cultural framework for male friendship and healthy masculinity.
I wonder in what ways you have experienced the realization that what you thought of as a friendship was more of a business relationship. And what relationships ended when there was no longer anything “in it” for the other person?
More painful to consider: what relationships have you cut off or let die when you stopped getting what you wanted? My stomach churns as my own examples come to mind.