Category Archives: Stuff, nonsense, & values

Stop, In the Name of Love

A post is circulating on social media with the caption “Why isn’t this going viral?” It’s about a Chick-fil-a restaurant in Orlando which, despite being closed on Sunday cooked up and brought sandwiches and food to people waiting in line to donate blood following the Pulse shooting. The story is awesome, but the post is abhorrent.

It originates with a website that lands on the conspiracy end of the far-right spectrum. They think the media is out to get conservatives – Christians for sure – by always profiling the ugliest warts of the church but the most lovely Instagrammed images everyone on the political left. There is some research about media bias, but the problem really isn’t as bad as most people like to think. Being a martyr is fun!

The post is disgusting because this act of kindness is the very least that the Christian community should be doing in an event like this. And we should do it without fanfare, with faces hidden and our hearts crying out to God for grace and comfort for these hurting people. Who cares if the news pays attention, as long as the people in front of us know we are there to serve them unconditionally. There is nothing heroic about opening on your day off to provide comfort, because our doors, as believers, should be available 24/7 to whoever needs us. Whether we agree with their lifestyle or not. Whether they leave our presence and go straight back to doing whatever we disapprove of, we are to be their resource. We don’t get to have the details about how God is working in their life we are just called to provide our barn for them to sleep in, and a manger for their newborn.  My father always said “You don’t win awards for doing what you’re supposed to,” so no, you don’t get to go viral. We are the least of the least. It’s what we’re called to.

I know there are arguments against enabling self-destructive behaviors and that’s another conversation for another time. It’s the reason the body of Christ exists, so others can come alongside prodigal children or loved ones and bouy them up when family support would simply be destructive. This excuse is not a deal-breaker.

Author Jen Hatmaker made a great point on Facebook today about one problem with the way the church is responding to last weekend’s events. This is not an opportunity for any believer to pretend to be big-hearted. If you haven’t loved the gay community up until now, don’t pretend. Here’s a snip of Jen’s post:

“Can we have an important discussion together? And can we do it in love and respect?

I’ve been listening to my gay friends and leaders the last two days (Listening! It’s so 1991), and this is what I am hearing:

It is very difficult to accept the Christian lament for LGBTQ folks in their deaths when we’ve done such a brutal job of honoring them in their lives. It kind of feels like: “We don’t like you, we don’t support you, we think you are a mess, we don’t agree with you, we don’t welcome you, we don’t approve of you, we don’t listen to you, we don’t affirm you. But please accept our comfort and kind words this week.”

Do those words make you bristle? Then you may need to spend some time talking to God about your heart. About how, in your eager desire to please Him by what you think He wants you to do you have circumvented what He actually commanded.

Read the rest here.

Enough, Christians. Enough about viral news. Enough defense about every.way.we.are.persecuted. (We are not.) If you’ll look up for a moment and stop listening to carnival barkers posing as webmasters you’ll realize that we are in no little of having our religious freedoms circumvented. We still live in America, where we have the right to speak to our representatives and impact our government – using facts.

Hundreds of Muslims gathered to pray for the victims in Orlando yesterday. This mosque in Pennsylvania made a public condemnation of the actions of the shooter, if he indeed is trying to represent some radical Muslim theory. But instead I see my evangelical friends posting links to one video, of one Imam from Iran who was invited to speak at an event in Sanford, FL. He condemns gays and calls for their execution as an ‘act of mercy’. This is who Christians are choosing to give attention to? Then Satan has already won Christian hearts because he has made you afraid, angry, and protective of yourself. How can you possibly love in that condition?

Go without fear. Love with abandon. Serve with joy and live in grace.

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Sometimes It Doesn’t Get Better

Bullies don’t always grow up. And sometimes It Doesn’t Get Better. Bullies grow older and get jobs and continue to be dominated by their need to overpower those they think they can. It doesn’t get better. But we get better at dealing with it. That’s the goal.

I feel bad for them– the ones who mock and probe and deceive you into thinking they’re a friend, then throw a verbal machete at your head. Always in public. Bullies need an audience. Continue reading

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2000 years after the garden

On nights like these all I can think of is a snake, a garden, a woman and an apple. A memory wiggles around somewhere in my soul – not my mind – that this isn’t how things were supposed to be.

The family of Trayvon Martin will never know what happened. They’ll always wonder if their child was someone other than they person they knew.
George Zimmerman will sleep the sleep of the self-righetous, the innocent, or the tormented. None of us need to know.  His life is his own to work out with his conscience and his God.

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Simple, silent Saturday

Today is my favorite Christian holiday because it is, in essence, a day of waiting. It doesn’t have a weird and confusing name like Maundy Thursday, or the commercial clout of Easter and Christmas. It’s so much like the rest of life, just another day.

With so much possibility in it, and so much promise. Continue reading

Guilt, grief and grace

I found an obituary today for a – nemesis? I don’t know what to call this person who devastated life for more than year, ending in employers and lawyers getting involved. And I won’t go into details, because they don’t matter, but I will say that this person’s behavior was bullying, plain and simple. Though in our 20s, it happened, and it still does today.

The shocker was that this person committed suicide. So as a Christian, how do I deal with this death? Continue reading

The math of marriage

I have many friends who are single in their 40’s and in no way do I try and say their single life is easier than a married one. As part of a couple there is (theoretically) someone to send to the store for chicken soup and 7-Up when you’re sick, someone who may surprise you and put away the laundry, someone to cry with when the dog dies. Singles surrounded by married friends are on their own in many respects, no matter how close those friends may be. You know that in a choice between your crisis and a crisis in the life of your married friend’s spouse, you will always come in second place.
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Our little secrets

A good friend told me that she has begun acting on a same sex attraction she has been pushing away for years.

“Fine,” you might say.

Except she’s married, and her husband is supporting it.

“Good,” you might say, “as long as everyone is happy.”

Except that all the people involved are Christian.

“So what?” You might respond, “God made us who we are and they’re all consenting adults.”

True. But what you might say is not what’s on my mind. It’s what I might say.

I’m a Christian too, in fact I’ve shared my faith closely with this friend and have leaned on her for prayer again and again. But here she is, clearly living outside of the boundaries of acceptable sin.  Yeah, I said acceptable sin. You know – the sins that everyone participates in so everyone overlooks them – that’s acceptable sin. Just bring up politics in a room full of Christians for a demonstration.

We’ve talked about my friend’s feelings about God and the church and they’re not as black and white as “God wants me to be happy and the church doesn’t.”  Her question is more “If God all loving what does that look like?” I translate that as “Can God forgive me so I can be happy?”

What does God’s unfathomable love look like anyway?

I know a roomful of Christians who would tell me I shouldn’t associate with this sort of decision.  I should tell her what the Bible says and if she chooses not to be my friend anymore, so be it. I can’t grasp that. It’s too easy.

To quote verses and hide behind the notion that I don’t want to be tainted by her sin is ridiculous. Something you do to feed your own sense of holiness. The one that says “I had a friend who decided they were gay and then they stopped being my friend because they didn’t want to hear about God.”

Fact is, it’s easier NOT to deal with the problems that will arise in the life of a friend who is dealing with this. It’s easier – cleaner – to walk away with a quick hug and a promise to pray for them.

I kind of want the other way. I want to get dirty and muddy and beat up as I walk the road with my friends and family, and they walk it with me. Dear God how thankful I am that they choose to walk it with me.

I may not choose to leave my marriage for a same sex relationship but each day I live with jealousy, pride, greed, sloth – you name it and I’m probably guilty. Sometimes they quote the Bible at me but you know what? They only do that when they know I’m ready. When they know I’ve admitted to a sinful behavior and committed to confront it, then they are my accountability. In the meantime, they are the heart of Jesus.

I thank Him that none of us are too good for His love.

You make me want to be a better woman

Connie Britton on Friday Night Lights makes me want to  be a better women – a better wife – and after 33 years, this is great feeling.  Not 33 years of marriage, but 33 years of entertainment.

The first time I remember being inspired by moving picture was when I was 7 and Princess Leia…yes, you heard that right…made me want to be regal.  White Nights made me want to be a dancer, Out of Africa made we want to visit see a bigger world, Logan’s Run made me interested in science (I know, but you never know where inspiration will come from.)  And I’d be remiss not to mention the way that Disney taught me that dreams, while they may only be that, are worth entertaining.

Connie’s character Tami embodies what I love about being a women – independence, smarts, sensitivity – a full plate of confusion mixed with certainty.

As the FNL crew moves on – thank you Ms. Britton, for reminding us that grace today can look like a wife, who is also a partner.

The Age of Outrage

It is the age of outrage.  I would say it was the first, but that would just be a lie to cover my own ignorance. Obviously, there were the 60s… then the feminism of the 70s. The 80s claimed no outrage but instead gave it all up to excess, but the 90s rebounded nicely as the Internet brought us consumerism and global concerns. At the end of the ’00s we again have a nation apoplectic with rage.  

Are we better for it? A lot of talk rolls around about “engaging in the conversation” these days. Igniting any fire is acceptable as long it ends in that clause. But at the end of the talking, who is listening? 

I don’t have the answer to that question, I’m just asking. Yes, just talking

Do we dare to listen as much as we dare to burn with conviction?

The issues are real.  Real in a way that our vocabulary fails. Alarmingly? Disturbingly? Shockingly? All, and none. How do you make others care? 

What makes you care?

What does that mean anyway?

I’ve been home a lot during the day and listening to talk radio while I work. I love New Life Live, a call-in discussion show about relationships, love, life, addictions…you name it and these people are pretty much equipped to talk to you about it.
Almost every day there is a call about someone whose marriage is in trouble. Or they’re reeling from divorce, or they don’t know what to do with the current boyfriendalways women, men rarely seem to take these questions public. Tonight at the gym I flipped past the Suze Orman show and for some reason I stopped. Suze was trying to get the whole story from an emotional, beautiful, exotic woman who met her husband at 18, married, and years later discovered his massive, crushing debt.
 
Watching this segment I heard the phrase that, as a Christian woman, raises my hackles: “You need to support me.” It was her husband telling her that she needed to follow him into yet another money making scam, since she had the good credit that would get them qualified.
 
As a husband – as a MAN – I can’t tell you how important it is for you to be someone who is worthy of support.

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