Why is This Kiss News?

controversial_kisses_trek

 

Oh wait, that’s not the picture everyone was talking about? Nope, it isn’t. But it might as well have been. More about that later… Yesterday, someone (or rather, many someones) asked the above question on the interwebz beneath a picture of Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend when he was selected by the Rams. “Why is this news?” The collective cry went up on social media. People called it all the usual descriptors “disgusting” and “abomination” being among the favorites. Some people lamented that “There are children watching.” Some wondered, “Why would ESPN would show such a thing?” And again many asked, “Why is this kiss news?”

 

jackie-robinson-e1399921380815Why is it news you ask? I’ll tell you why it’s news. First, it is news for the same reason Captain Kirk kissing Lieutenant Uhura was news; it makes people uncomfortable. It makes people uncomfortable now the same way it made people uncomfortable when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. People say the same things: it will ruin team chemistry; it will make the locker room awkward; it just isn’t natural. As far as the first two go, if you have played a sport or participated in gym class or belonged to a health club, you have already shared a locker room with LGBT people. Get over it. If you are worried about it, here is the link to a very handy article published by The Huffington Post a while back called, How to Behave Around Your Gay Teammate in the Locker Room. As for the last one, “it isn’t natural”, tell that to the 9 million people in the U.S. who identify as LGBT and the 1,500 species of animals that exhibit homosexual behaviors.

Second, it is news for the same reason as it is news when any other public figure (and sometimes regular folks) kisses…9 times out of 10 they are celebrating something. Think about it. People kiss when wars end. People kiss when their team wins. People kiss when they win anything: awards, games, elections, promotions…anything. People kiss when they have a baby and when they get married. People even kiss on the cheek to greet friends or when they are introduced at a party. People also kiss for weird reasons and make the news: when there are riots, when they start college or when they set world records. People kiss. It makes the news. It happens, literally literally (just for you Josh Mitchell) every day. Just most of the time people don’t notice because it doesn’t make them uncomfortable. I am hoping someday soon the picture of Michael Sam and his boyfriend kissing will seem as normal as these pictures of other athletes celebrating their victories…

 

kel brookSanyaRichardsRoss:aaron ross St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Pujols kisses his wife Deidre after the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers to win MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis Chris Bosch Short Track Speed Skating - Winter Olympics Day 3 kyle busch bubbawatson Elway

Or these politicians…

inaugral ball mitt romneyLauraPresKiss

Or these entertainers…

SJP and MB at Oscars Perry:brand grammys brad and angie SAG awards jayz-and-beyonce-pda-kiss-grammy-awards-2014-lead matthew mcconaughey best actor oscar

Or these everyday people…

Vancouver_riot_kissing_couple vj

Listen lovelies, people like kissing (we even like pictures of animals “kissing”). They like to kiss and be kissed. And yes, many even like to see other people kiss. I have a theory as to why. Kissing is an outward sign that love still exists. Kissing means there is still hope for humanity; there is still hope that we can love and be loved. It is a sign that there are still things worth celebrating. And in times of uncertainty and fear, kissing is a sign that love can still win. For me that is what the Michael Sam kiss and all these other kisses represent. And that my friends is why kissing and this specific kiss are news. Good news.  http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/05/10/michael_sam_kiss_the_st_louis_rams_pick_the_openly_gay_missouri_star_in.html

World Vision vs Hobby Lobby

world-vision

 

Today in court Hobby Lobby is asserting that because certain owners of the company are Christians,  the for profit business is also “Christian” and should be allowed to forego supplying coverage that goes against their conscience, i.e. birth control. They feel this way because they believe some types of birth control can be abortifacient. Rather than allowing women and their doctors to discuss all the options available and decide on the best course of action, Hobby Lobby would also like to make sure the insurance they provide does not even cover such discussions if they involve the types of birth control they disapprove of. Nevermind the fact that they sell thousands of products made in China, a country which encourages (and sometimes mandates) abortion if it is necessary to maintain the one child policy. Forget about the fact that employees can use the money they are paid (by Hobby Lobby) to engage in other activities (sins) the owners may feel offend their conscience when they are off the clock (or shall we also allow them to decide how their employees spend that money as well, perhaps the employees should have to provide expense receipts to justify their choices so that Hobby Lobby can avoid inadvertently financing what they consider sinful activities). Perhaps they should just set up an old school company store and employees could live in a company town where only Hobby Lobby approved, sin free products and activities are condoned. Sorry for the snark, but honestly, it is just nuts.

Do they not understand that contributing to the cost of an employee’s government mandated health care plan which may or may not mean they choose a birth control method they disapprove of is NO DIFFERENT than giving them a paycheck that the employee then uses to buy the EXACT SAME type of birth control? It is the same money! It came from the same place! You bear the exact same responsibility for the employee’s choice of birth control and you should have the exact same amount of say in that choice…NONE!

Hobby Lobby’s supporters also say, as do all the defenders of the various “turn away the gay” laws, that they are merely fighting for their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom. The first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.  In the decision written by Chief Justice Waite, however, the Supreme Court in Reynolds v. United States ruled that “Freedom of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order,” and that allowing people (and in this case Hobby Lobby) to do so “would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government would exist only in name under such circumstances.” Personally, this is why I am confident (and will be extremely disappointed if the Court comes back with any other decision) that the Supreme Court will rule for the government in this case.

In other news, yesterday World Vision, a Christian non-profit agency whose mission is providing “emergency assistance to children and families affected by natural disasters and civil conflict, work[ing] with communities to develop long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocat[ing] for justice on behalf of the poor, set the evangelical world on fire by stating that:

…since World Vision is a multi-denominational organization that welcomes employees from more than 50 denominations, and since a number of these denominations in recent years have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians, the board—in keeping with our practice of deferring to church authority in the lives of our staff, and desiring to treat all of our employees equally—chose to adjust our policy. Thus, the board has modified our Employee Standards of Conduct to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision.

Since World Vision’s announcement, the evangelical world has their knickers in a twist.  Benjamin L. Corey sarcastically translated the collective twitter rants on Formerly Fundie:

“I have sponsored this child for many years now and built a relationship with them. Yes, I know that this is a specific child with a real name and real story who will miss my letters. I know that this child may end up dying from lack of access to clean water or medicine without my help. I understand that without the education my donation provides, this child is at high risk of a life of trafficking and exploitation. Yes, I know that my donation makes sure they get three square meals a day and that without it, they’re going to be hungry. But, I simply must abandon this child now that I realize Janice from accounting has a wife.”

The best (and by best I mean worst) part of the comments for me are the folks who say it is World Vision’s fault that these kids are going to go without now. They have no choice but to pull their support. WOW. Really? You really only give money to people who agree with you 100% on what is sin and what isn’t or do you only give money to the people who sin like you do? I mean come on, isn’t that what it comes down to? Many of us would prefer that people only committed the “sins” we are comfortable with. But wait, we are talking unrepentant sin here. Really? How about we stop contributing money to organizations who hire people who are gluttons? Maybe we should stop giving money to organizations that hire people who are divorced and remarried? Or having sex before marriage (none of us have done that, right? Oh snap, some of us have.)  So here we sit, World Vision tries to be inclusive of all of the beliefs of the 50 denominations of people they employ and THEY are cutting off the kids? If only Jesus had given us some clear direction in all of this, then we might know what to do. Oh wait, he did.

These arguments would be simpler if only Jesus had said something like “Whatever you did for the least of these you did for me” #WorldVision

— Micah J. Murray (@micahjmurray) March 25, 2014

As Kristen Howerton said on her post on Rage Against the Minivan,

Is access to food, water, and education trumped by keeping gay people out of a job at a nonprofit? If we want to serve people, we should not make distinctions about who we serve, and we should not deny those we serve out of disunity or division. It’s astounding to me that Christians would take food from starving children because a gay person might have helped in getting it there…I’m also just so, so dismayed that this is yet another instance in which Christians are telling the world that their feelings about gay people are stronger than their compassion. That their anger over gay employees is greater than their anger over starving children.

I cannot for the life of me understand people who would rather see all Hobby Lobby employees lose their jobs (the owners have threatened to close their stores if they lose) to protect the religious sensibilities of the owners (who coincidentally also sin) than see some of their employees be allowed their choice of birth control (some of which Hobby Lobby deem sinful). These are the same people who would rather have the child they sponsor be left wondering why they were dropped than continue allowing World Vision to use their funds to be the hands and feet of Jesus because the dude who is in charge of bringing clean water to villages in developing countries is married to a man named Jim instead of a woman named Jane.  Jesus wept.

—————————————————–

There are tons of ways to help World Vision. You can fund a microloan, sponsor a child, provide disaster relief, buy handmade gifts for friends, or choose any one of several items to give from their catalog including water wells, anti-trafficking aid, farm animals, schooling and many many more. Please go visit WorldVision.org and lend your support today.

Don’t ask me if you can marry my daughter.

purityballMy husband never asked my father’s permission to marry me. We also didn’t ask for his blessing. Not only that, I have a feeling if Kent would have asked him he would have said it wasn’t his decision to make.

Because it wasn’t.

It was mine. My life was mine to join to someone else’s. My future was in my hands. My heart was mine to give.

Once Kent and I decided that we were going to get married we told both my parents together. Simple.

My parents, wise as they are, knew that even though they had given me life, raised me and protected me, they did not have ownership of my heart and could not give the naming rights to whomever they chose as if I were a sports arena. They knew that even though they had dreams for me, and thoughts about how my life would turn out, those were not necessarily my dreams for myself. They knew that they had raised me to be independent, wise and trustworthy and they knew that they had given me more and more freedom to make choices, to try and fail and to try and succeed. They knew that if at some point I found the one person I wanted to give my heart to, that they had already done what they could to help me make the best choice. They knew that if I wanted advice I would ask them for it. And I did. Plenty. But they also knew, lovelies, that it was my decision to make. My heart. My future. My life. My choice.

Recently the topic of so called “Purity Balls” (hee hee) has been back in the news. (I think maybe because it is spring? Not really sure. Is that when these things traditionally take place? Or possibly on Father’s Day (um, ewww)? Thank God I don’t know from first hand experience.) The first ball was put on by the Wilson family in Colorado Springs in 1998. Randy Wilson is a field director for the Family Research Council, which was originally part of Focus on the Family until 1992. The recent Nightline feature which ran March 22nd, featured Randy Wilson, Ron Johnson, the Pastor of Living Stones Church in Indiana and their daughters. Johnson, is quoted in the program as saying to the young women (who typically range in age from 9-14),  “You keep this [ring] on your finger and as this point you are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.” Seriously? Seriously? Does this creep anyone else the eff out?

The Balls, according to Wilson’s Generations of Light web page, now take place in 48 states. The ceremonies themselves resemble wedding receptions. The fathers give the daughters a ring (often they wear a ring themselves that they later gift to the future husband at the wedding), there is a father daughter dance, the girls wear white dresses and the father and daughter exchange pledges. The amazing thing to me is that these balls are considered “godly” events by their participants.

On Saturday night I shared this story with my Dad. He was disgusted and appalled and I thank God every day that I was raised by a father (and mother) who respected me as an individual, and never believed it was his job to be my “boyfriend” and who never taught me that I, individually, was to be married to Jesus. Ewwwwwww.

I am proud to say, my husband and I are carrying on the proud tradition my parents started. We are our daughter’s parents, we are raising her to be strong, brave, independent, discerning and trustworthy. When the time comes I hope we don’t know about her proposal before she does. If her future spouse does come to us first, I know exactly what I will say, “She is not mine to give. Her heart is her own. You will need to ask her. It is her choice.”

 

Mike Huckabee: A Lesson in Missing the Point

Dear Mr. Huckabee,

Yesterday you gave a speech in which you said,

“If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it,” Huckabee said at the RNC winter meeting. “Let’s take that discussion all across America.”

May I respectfully submit that you are thoroughly and completely missing the point of the conversation. Let’s start with the subject at hand: the Affordable Care Act’s mandated contraceptive coverage. There are many points being made by the Democrats about this coverage, none of which is that “women are helpless” and “cannot control their libido or reproductive system” without the help of the government. Personally I resent the statement that women who want their private insurance companies to be required to cover birth control are akin to having a sugar daddy. Mr. Huckabee, if your goal with this speech was to dispel the myth that there is a war on women, you are doing it wrong.

Up until recently, I have been a life-long Republican. It amazes me that there isn’t a meeting where someone from Party HQ sits every candidate and elected official down and says, listen, “STOP TALKING ABOUT WOMEN AND SEX AND BODY PARTS. It never goes well for us.” Honestly, what is amazing to me is that when you sat down to write this speech with your speech writers and advisors, you all thought this sounded like something that would play well with American women. Heck, my guess is that this line of bs doesn’t even go over well with most Republican women.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in a middle class American home. As I said before, I have been a life-long Republican until recently. I am 44 and have been married since I was 18 years old (26 years – thought I’d save you the math). I come from a military family and my father is a decorated retired Air Force Colonel. My husband and I waited 13 years to get pregnant with our first child. I have 2 beautiful children and 1 lost to miscarriage. I have never had an abortion (not that it is any of your business). My husband was the first in his family to graduate from college and now holds a JD from Pepperdine University. I have a BFA in Graphic Design from The University of Texas at Arlington. We did not always live as comfortably as we do now. When we were young, my husband and I had to rely on Planned Parenthood for free/low cost birth control pills. Thank God for them. At the time we had no health insurance and the cost of going to an Ob/Gyn and the prescription was just more than we had. I want you to know a few things, Mr. Huckabee,

  1. I did not need “Uncle Sugar” to help me control my libido.  I was married.
  2. I was, by going to Planned Parenthood, controlling my reproductive system.
  3. I was not helpless, but I would have been without the services provided to me by Planned Parenthood.
  4. My husband and I knew we were not ready to be parents, but we would have been forced to practice less effective methods of birth control were it not for PP.

Sir, I understand you do not personally think I needed the government to control my libido, etc., but you think that the Democrats do. YOU ARE AGAIN MISSING THE POINT. The point is…

Providing women with free/low cost Ob/Gyn care and birth control empowers them to be able to follow through on exercising wise and informed family planning. Also, studies show that providing free birth control actually REDUCES ABORTIONS. And isn’t that something we can agree on?

I personally am done having babies and using birth control. However, I am happy to pay my ACA health plan premiums so that other women and families can be provided the services I was, but at their doctor’s office instead of Planned Parenthood. Why, when women just want to be responsible with their choices, do you not want to help them do so? As far as I can tell, you want to do away with the ACA and Planned Parenthood. What then, sir, are we as women supposed to do when we cannot afford a health plan that covers Ob/Gyn care as well as birth control? Have an abortion? I don’t think any of us want that. Have a baby when we cannot afford one or take care of one? Doesn’t that just cause more family and societal issues? What about adoption? What if every woman who has used birth control to prevent a pregnancy since the advent of modern contraception had just had all those babies and given them up for adoption? That would be MILLIONS of babies. Do you honestly think we would have homes for them all? We would have to go back to having orphanages. Not everyone would be able to afford to take care of those children, especially since younger people are most likely to be on birth control. Some of us would not have been able to finish college. And that would add even more people to the welfare system. Perhaps you think women should only have sex when they are prepared to have a baby and that couples should have as many children as God gives them. That is up to you and your wife; you get to make that choice. When and how others choose to plan their families is not up to you. With all due respect, butt out.

A Christmas Love Story

love-winsThis year, Kent and I decided not to do Christmas gifts for each other since we had just spent a bunch of money doing several projects around the house. Instead, we each wrote something for the other. And now lovelies, I would like to share our words for each other with you.

From me to Kent – You make me want to:

You make me want to
Sit in the dark and stare at the stars
Go dancing late into the night
Or Drive up the coast in a rented convertible
See the scenes from far off lands
Eat fine dinners from trucks or linens
And feel the sand between my toes
One look at you and I’m off to Paris
Or stuck in a London fog
You are like the most arresting lyrics, the most beautiful picture,
the most thought provoking article.

Somehow I don’t know how to describe you but I must try

You are like a rainforest downpour
or the sprinkles in the desert on a sunny day…
You are rare and you make me want to dance
Or stop and lay in the grass and stare at the clouds

You are

That thing I can’t describe from that violinist whose music stole my breath.
The experience of a new kind of delicious taste or sound or feeling  that I have never experienced before.
You are exhilarating like a walk in San Francisco or New York City
You are calming like dinner on the beach at sunset

You are

Like a dream I wish I could fall back into even though I can’t remember exactly what happened
when I can still remember the feeling and I want that same lightning to flash again;
Like the first time you kissed me
Like the way that you need me
Like the sound of your voice when you say my name

I like

The way my food is better and my laugh is longer and my faith is stronger because you exist
The way Nate Ruess sings even better when you stand beside me.
Songs and singers ring truer because they sing about you and I even though they don’t know our names.
The way you are exactly the same yet nothing like the man I married.
You are somehow more, much more than the sum of your parts and your years and my memories and the present moment.
I like that together we are much more than all of me + all of you

You are

My happiest place on earth
My Disney World and my swim up in Puerto Vallarta.
My Vegas and my rural Ohio
My Newport Beach and my Washington DC
My trip to Europe and my Hawaiian vacation
My hometown and my favorite getaway
You are the part of me that is good at basketball and hates coconut
You are the part of me that does the things I never could
That part that makes me more than I knew I could be
I love that because of you I have become more me and because of me you have become more you.

I like

How when I look at you, I see it all
Everything we have ever done and all that makes us who we are, heartbreaking, ecstatic, melancholy, joyful, mundane, content,
boring and spectacular…
It is somehow all more real,
This life, my life because I found you.
I love how even at the end of all this I still struggle to find the right words that will say it all but I can’t find them.
You cannot be contained in mere words; you who are made of stardust.

You are simply too majestic for that.

From Kent to me –  How long have I known you?

How long have I known you?
How long have you stayed?
How long have I annoyed you?
How much have you paid?

For my heartache, my selfishness, my pain and my pride?

No matter the words, no matter the deeds
No matter the hurts, no matter the pleas
You stayed by my side

What makes you love so?
What makes you see?
What makes you so sure?
That there’s beauty beneath?

All of the layers
All of this junk
All of this pain
Everything, so .. fucked .. up

About me
About my mind
About my words
About my heart

This glimmer of beauty
That you see beneath
I hear it too
Screaming to be released

I am in here
I really am
Is there anyone who hears me?
Anyone to understand?

And then
In that moment when all seems lost
When no one answers
And no one is willing to pay the cost

When all any one sees
Is the ugliness and pride
You look down deep in my heart
I mean way, way down inside

And you see
You see
You see all the guts and intestines and muscles and blood

You see cancerous cells obstructing the path
But you see past it all
You see way down inside
And you pull out the best of me

As I writhe in pain
As I fight you because it hurts; it hurts; it hurts so deeply
You stand
You stay
You love

Sometimes it’s impossible to believe
That someone could love me so, deeply; so completely
As they see the infected flesh
As they smell the rancid guts
As they endure the waging war
And yet you do

You reach right in
You pull the goodness out into the light
You don’t ignore my pain; you feel it with me
You endure the sting of my decaying flesh, with me
You don’t ignore the putridness, you smell it, too
But you persist

You pull
You never shrink back
You never give up
You stand, and love
You wage a war
And then, my beauty arises
Even love unfolds

And there I stand

Here, I stand
Who am I?
How did I get here?
I am now a man
Perfect? Oh no.
Better? Oh yes.

Only you know the real me
Only you have endured
Only you have really believed
Only you are a part of me
Only you have truly loved me

Just as I am
I am yours
All of me
Just as I am
You have loved me

You saved me
You made me believe
You are saving me
I will always be yours

And now my new year’s wish for all of you…

I hope your holidays were beautiful and that your new year brings you joy unspeakable.
I hope you find someone who learns the words to your sad and your happy songs and then sings with you.
I pray you will know the all surpassing love of Jesus.
I trust that you will learn new things, spread joy and practice deliberate acts of kindness.
And in the end I pray that 2014 leaves you a better version of yourself…
Happier, healthier, more generous, more satisfied, more humble, more thankful, more joyful than ever before.

Thank you for sticking with me through another year. I am honored.

The Hall Boys, Miley and the Moral Compass.

madonnaSo this week I watched as my feed filled up yet again with talk of modesty. The cascade of digital atta girls, also known as reposts by people I know and love were of an article by Kimberly Hall called, “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)” (If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out. I will wait right here).

These reposts were prefaced by statements like,

“parenting win”
“it’s about time”
and
“as a mother of sons, thank you”

I was also encouraged by a number of response articles. Some grace filled, some snarky; some from other christians and some from non or former christians. Posts such as Seeing a Woman by Nate Pyle, which said in part:

Unfortunately, much of how the sexes interact with each is rooted in fear.  Fear of rejection, fear of abuse, fear of being out of control.  In some ways, the church has added to this.  We fear each other because we have been taught the other is dangerous.  We’ve been taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin.  We’re told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things.  Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you.  Her body will not cause you harm.  It will not make you do stupid things.  If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things.  So don’t contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.

A woman’s body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious.  Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings.  Let her be confident.  Encourage her confidence.  But don’t do all this because she is weaker.  That’s the biggest bunch of crap out there.  Women are not weaker than men.  They are not the weaker sex.  They are the other sex.

I’m not telling you to not look at women.  Just the opposite.  I’m telling you to see women.  Really see them.  Not just with your eyes, but with your heart.  Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.  

My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them.  Don’t just be around women.  Be with women.

Or this gem from Renegade Mothering (Language warning): FYI (If you’re a Hall boy)

In other words, it places the responsibility of YOUR morality on the shoulders of others, and that is wholeheartedly idiotic. I mean, how could anybody ever be a decent person if circumstances beyond our control determined what we think and how we behave? It also, incidentally, fuels what we like to call “rape culture,” wherein the girl is raped by the boy because she was a “slut” and therefore “asking for it.” The boy was the real victim because he was rendered powerless by her unprotected vagina and lack of bra. Your mother’s idea that GIRLS need to cover themselves so YOU can behave like a gentleman is the exact same mentality that fuels rape culture, and results in things like Steubenville or 30-day sentences for pedophile rapists.

And this one. THIS ONE. I want to post it in its entirety because it is just that good. But I trust you, go read this one yourself. It is called An “FYI” to My Daughters by The Lippy Lactator. Here is a small taste of the greatness:

Don’t get caught up in it all, my darlings.  Don’t wear that mini skirt because you want the attention of that guy.  If that guy is worth your time, he will like you regardless of what you wear.  Sex obviously sells, which is a sad thing.  You see it everywhere, I know you do.  Remember that you are MORE than just sex to the world.  You deserve to be treated that way, and the way you dress doesn’t make you any less deserving of that.  However, if you love how confident you feel in that mini skirt, or that bathing suit is *just* your style…by all means…rock it, sister.  Wear the clothes you love for you.  But be sure to take the time to get to know you.  Take the time to learn to love you.

Parents need stop with the gender stereotyping.  They are doing much, much more harm than good.  They teach their boys that girls who dress a way they don’t find appropriate aren’t worth the time and acceptance of their son.  They teach them that girls are just temptresses out to muddy the thoughts of their precious little boy.  They teach their children that it is OK to sit down as a family and scroll through their social media and shame anyone who doesn’t fit in the tiny little box they keep them in.  They teach them that girls who act or dress or believe differently than them have no character.  No self respect.  No right to be respected by others.  They are doing nothing but perpetuating this horrible cycle.  And trust me, no matter how much you try to be *perfect* for their son, this type of person will always find something “wrong” with you.  No girl will ever be deserving of their perfect little son.  Ever.

Now, let’s flashback to the VMA’s of a couple weeks ago when my feed was full of Miley & Robin. Well, actually if we are being honest, it was full of Miley, because frankly we all know Robin Thicke had nothing to do with what happened to him on that stage. He was the helpless male totally at the whim of Miss Cyrus and his own libido. I mean if presented with the opportunity no man alive would have the power to make another choice. Nevermind that Ms. Cyrus was nowhere to be found when he made his Blurred Lines video. But I digress.

I have been thinking about writing about “The Performance” on and off since it happened. Part of me was exhausted by just the thought of trying to organize my thoughts on the topic and part of me was just bored of it all. I mean, a shock value performance on the VMA’s? Ho Hum. Hasn’t that been happening like, forever? First there was that grandmother of all shockers, Madonna, then came her offspring… Brittney, Christina, Gaga and Miley. [Special mention to Prince and his assless pants: what you don’t remember that?] I guess the girls are the ones we remember most] Its like 4 generations of powerful women shocking people all the way to the bank.

Admit it. America kind of gets off on feigning shock and outrage over these performances. And yes, I agree they don’t do much to elevate the conversation on gender equality. Except, I suppose, when they shine a bright light on our tendency (as made blatantly obvious by the general pass given to the married, 36 year old father, Robin Thicke) to throw out the boys will be boys cliché and make sure we tell the women involved to cover up and be a lady.  I mean, Mrs. Hall, back me up on this one…have the women of our generation who ran around dressed like Madonna in bustiers, crinoline and rubber bracelets forgotten that a little rebellion and a little sexuality didn’t kill us like so many thought it would? Or that most of the women who were doing that are now grown up productive members of society, some even of churches?

This morning I read a piece by Christian Piatt over at Patheos in which he discusses the Miley post fest and I couldn’t help but think of it in light of Mrs. Hall’s letter to teenage girls. He writes:

Although in some respects, women and girls have made strides toward gender parity in our culture, there is still a persistent, if sometimes subtle, subtext narrated to our girls, which is that sex is the most efficient and potent mean of access to power they have. Yes, my daughter is told now at such a young age that she can be anything she wants when she grows up. And I hope that is true, but I already hear the comments from friends, family members and teachers about her appearance and anticipated future success with boys, and how it affects her behavior. and honestly, it only gets more pronounced as girls reach puberty and beyond.

So perhaps, rather than men in power resisting the progress of women being the greatest current barrier to parity, it now is the unpleasant reality that sexualizing young women works for innumerable purposes in our world. None more so, perhaps, than the popular music industry. So it’s really a bit disingenuous of us to express shock or disgust when Miley Cyrus fondles herself or engages in orgiastic dance numbers in front of an audience of millions. After all, the culture set up the rules of the game long ago and, in spite of our assertions to the contrary, the economies of power, money and fame depend heavily on appealing to our baser instincts.

So judge Miley if you must, but in doing so, realize that she is only a speck that is part of a much larger log in our collective cultural eye.

Do you see lovelies? When Miley states that she told people her performance was going to make history and then it becomes one of the most tweeted events ever we expose our morbid fascination with the perceived sins of others. We are all stuck with Miley on a merry-go-round that is very hard to get off. The cycle goes something like this:

  1. Women/Girls are slut-shamed and told they are responsible for the sins of men and protecting their morality –>
  2. Women/Girls act out in an attempt to grasp power not afforded to them in equal measure by other means –>
  3. People say “see, Women/Girls really are sluts at heart and must be told to cover up before they corrupt men who are just being who God/nature made them (visual creatures who are compelled to spread their seed and are slaves to their anatomy)” –>
  4. Society believes and perpetuates through feigned shock and shame that women/girls are responsible for the sins of men and protecting their morality.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

And around and around we go.

side note: I actually read one article today posted by a friend that made many good points. But then he lost me. He kept saying that the reason the church is obsessed with modesty is because of get this, “the church has become feminized”! Once again, it is made the fault of women. The reason women are told to be more modest is because we have believed the lie that we have power over men. He says,  

“I believe the Church has become feminized in this: we talk about the Woman as being in control over the Man.  She can dress one way to seduce him, or dress another way to leave him free to choose.  This is not so.  The Man chooses to be seduced or not seduced.”  

While I agree that the man is free to choose, I emphatically disagree that this is the result of the feminization (the shift in gender roles and sex roles in a society, group, or organization towards a focus upon the feminine) of the church. This idea that women are responsible for all sexual sin including having the power over a man’s impure thoughts comes not from women or feminism but from the church fathers. Look it up. John Wesley, Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Saint Augustine and many more including scads of popular pastors even today espouse this very doctrine.

Honestly it is hard for me to blame Miley (as uncomfortable as her performance made me). She has followed the script and played a role played by many before her. She has taken the reins of power away from the people who have held them in her life and is attempting to chart her own course. Yes, IMHO she is making the mistake of confusing notoriety for respect and fame for admiration. But it is a mistake I have seen over and over. People who were given little or no freedom or autonomy to make decisions, and yes even mistakes (PKs, Quiverfulls, Ultra Conservatives, Child Stars and kids with over protective helicopter parents and yes, perhaps even the Hall boys) sometimes, when they finally get an opportunity to taste freedom, make some pretty destructive choices before they figure out how to lead a balanced life and what course they want to follow. For child stars, children of politicians or mega church pastors they have the unenviable lot of having to do it in the public eye. Their mistakes and missteps while trying to figure out how to live a life of freedom that doesn’t lead to destruction can be very difficult and some sadly won’t live through it. [Here is a question, how could we actually increase the odds that they do live through it? Perhaps a little grace or maybe even just a little less judgement?]

For me lovelies, it comes down to this: Growing up is hard. Raising kids is hard. Stopping the cycle mentioned above is hard. I certainly don’t have all the answers. I empathize with Mrs. Hall in that she really thinks she is helping by joining in the chorus of voices telling girls to cover up and blocking people we deem unworthy by virtue of their perceived shortcomings. But here is the thing: We do not learn to make good choices by turning over our moral compass to someone else to police and we cannot teach our kids to find their moral true north on their own by never letting them hold their own compass. We do not do them any favors when we tell them that an entire gender, a preacher or even we can read the compass for them and that if they follow the bearing of our denomination, gender philosophy or political party they will be safe. Sooner or later they grow up, and they must navigate the often choppy waters of this life for themselves. Hopefully by then the compass we give them has a needle that points them straight to the true north of love, grace and mercy for others and for themselves. And hopefully they know how to read it for themselves.

In the end, it is for me like this song…and I pray that what we have taught both our daughter and our son is enough. That they use the love of Christ as their compass. Love that covers a multitude of mistakes. Love that forgives and keeps no record of wrongs. Love that sees past twerking and selfies and awkward teenage hormones. Love that speaks truth and healing. Love that gives second, third and ninety-fifth chances. Love that says we are all valuable and equal and bear the image of the living God.

The Boat
Billy Falcon

I built this boat
The best I could
With hands of love
From the finest wood
I braced the bow
I stitched the sail
I blessed every brass screw and nail

Lord, go with her when the sea is angry
Lord, go with her in the raging storm
Lord, go with her when the days are cruel
Lord, go with her when the night’s too long

Studied the stars, searchin’ to find
The safest course, and the kindest tide
Lifted her down the stony trail
I set her in the water, and raised her sail

Lord, go with her when the sea is angry
Lord, go with her in the raging storm
Lord, go with her when the days are cruel
Lord, go with her when the night’s too long

Worrying from the watchtower
As the red sky fades
My heart drops to my stomach
As she tumbles through the waves
She slips past the horizon
That’s when I realize
She was always yours
Never really mine

Lord go with her when the sun is golden
Lord go with her when way is clear
Lord go with her when the whole world loves her
Lord go with her When I’m. no longer..

Lord go with her when the sea is angry
Lord go with her in the raging storm
Lord go with her when the days are cruel
Lord go with her when the night’s too long

P.P.P.P.S. This is a thought provoking article called The Moving Target of Morality. I couldn’t figure out how to fit it in so I am just tagging it on as a value added bonus.

Separate is not Equal & Together is Awesome

1010073_10151428607366735_362495096_nThis is a concept you have heard over and over if you were raised in church; you may have even heard it in some other marriage book or seminar. It is a distinction without a difference (a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things even though there is, in fact, no actual difference) and that as my wise husband said upon seeing this meme, “I don’t know whether this is accurate or not. But it seems to me that if men do derive more self-esteem by being respected instead of loved, this is likely due to men’s psyche evolving in a patriarchal society. And it also seems to me that many Christians have taken one small comment made by Paul and blown it up into an entire doctrine. I think everyone should be loved and respected and everyone wants to be loved and respected. Mutuality is the way of Christ.”

Because of this doctrine we as Christians (and others) often divide up like junior high kids at the roller rink or a school dance, boys on one wall and girls on another. So without further ado, here are my top reasons why all this division stinks and why togetherness is effing awesome.

1. Separating the genders fosters misunderstanding and fear and also contributes to the “battle of the sexes”. Togetherness shows us that we need not be afraid of each other and that men and women should not be in competition. Moreover it shows us that we should be in cooperation and community with one other. ONE BODY. Not two bodies, one male and one female.

2. Separation of the sexes during bible study fosters the idea that men and women are not equal in God’s eyes and that women cannot teach men about the Bible. For TONS of amazing FREE material on this check out CBE’s Biblical Equality 101 page. Penis≠Power.

3. Separation also confirms the fallacy that we have nothing to learn from hearing how others feel and encourages us to “tune out” when we are together and someone from the opposite sex is speaking. We can all benefit from another person’s point of view no matter what equipment they have.

4. Keeping boys and girls apart (or single men and women apart) will not stop them from having sex. Take a gander at these bullet points lifted from a Christianity Today article…

  • Three surveys of single Christian adults conducted in the 1990s determined that approximately one third were virgins—meaning, of course, that two thirds were not.
  • In 2003, researchers at Northern Kentucky University showed that 61 percent of students who signed sexual-abstinence commitment cards broke their pledges.
  • Of the remaining 49 percent who kept their pledges, 55 percent said they’d had oral sex, and did not consider oral sex to be sex.
And this is with keeping the genders separated most of the time. If we put the genders together in almost every context what we would find is less fear, more respect and more understanding. When we have that, we may not have lower rates of premarital sex, but we probably won’t have higher rates either. At the very least we will have people who are able to communicate, love and respect one another, which will make (at the minimum) casual sex rates decline.
5. But what about separating when it comes to talking about the deed itself? Surely then Michelle you think we should divide up based on parts, vaginas to the left and penises to the right. But seriously…my answer is no, not even then. When we discuss sexuality separately it encourages secrecy and says that sex and sexuality is something to be ashamed of. We train our kids and ourselves to be ashamed/afraid to discuss intimacy with even our spouse. I know for me (and most of my friends) the way we were raised to keep such issues quiet and certainly not to discuss them in mixed company. It took me YEARS to undo the effects of this training with my husband and I am STILL working on it. When we stigmatize sexuality the way we have we do serious harm to our marriages. All we teach our girls right up until they are engaged is only how to say no. Oh wait, we also teach them how they are like a chewed piece of gum or a glass of water every boy in the room has spit in and no one is willing to drink if they fail to do so. And then we condemn these same women when they are sexually clueless and have nothing but negative thoughts about sex. Also, separating the sexes by parts has another issue. NOT EVERYONE IS HETEROSEXUAL. Sooo, yeah. There’s that.
6. Lastly, for now, it plays into the myth that women cannot be understood by men and/or men cannot be understood by women. Perhaps the reason we can’t understand each other is because we have been separated since the day we were born. Ironically, especially at the times it matters the most. Do you want to know a secret? The way to get to know someone is to SPEND TIME WITH THEM! Shocking, I know. We learn about each other when we stop dividing ourselves into us and them, boys and girls, mars and venus. We learn about each other when we listen and speak even when we are uncomfortable or afraid or even mad. We must overcome the awkwardness that we feel because of how we have been taught and allow our children to know a better way. The way of togetherness.

So yeah, today happened and it was good.

179745_10151545572514582_1652368408_nDOMA is dead and marriage is coming back to California. And while we could move on to what comes next, which states still do not have marriage equality (on a state level) and the numerous haters out there, instead I would like to give voice and blog space to those I know who have shared their feelings today and several heartwarming or poignant or just factual things I have seen around the interwebs. This is my own personal celebration.

Let’s start with the statement of the Department of Defense:

 The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act.  The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court’s decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies.  The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation — as soon as possible.  That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.

Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment.  All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country, and their qualifications to do so.  Today’s ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve.

My friend Eric Herring was on the steps of the US Supreme Court today where he shot this video:

Eric’s video from the SCOTUS steps

From Sheryl LeSage (a friend of a friend) via Facebook:

I had managed to convince myself that it really didn’t matter that much, because my relationship with Jocy Denton is real no matter what a bunch of old people in black dresses say about it. And I told myself I would just check in to see what they said, but again, it wouldn’t change my life. And I am not the sort of person to get over-emotional about things.

But I’m not kidding here: I actually shouted out and burst into tears when they handed that decision down. I STILL have tears in my eyes. DOMA has been a thorn under the saddle for two decades, declaring me a less-than-equal citizen in this country. To have that lie officially removed from the books is like having the sun come from behind the clouds, at last.

So yes, it’s personal. And it’s a good thing.

From my friend Elliot Fladen via Rhett Millsaps II (http://wakingupnow.com/blog/the-happy-stories-begin):

“This is what excites me most about this partial equality victory: “At 10:30 a.m. EDT this morning in a New York Immigration Court, attorneys from [Masliah Soloway] requested and were granted a continuance in removal (deportation) proceedings for a Colombian gay man married to an American citizen for whom [they] had filed a marriage-based green card petition last year. A copy of the 77-page Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor was delivered to the court by [their] summer intern, Gabe, who ran five blocks and made it in time for the decision to be submitted to the Immigration Judge and to serve a copy on the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Assistant Chief Counsel. DOMA is DEAD and it had its first impact on a binational couple within 30 minutes of the Supreme Court ruling.”

Post by my amazing husband Kent Krabill:

Powerful language from the Court today: DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state – sanctioned marriages and make them unequal. The principal purpose is to impose inequality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency. Responsibilities, as well as rights, enhance the dignity and integrity of the person. And DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities. By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect. By this dynamic DOMA under¬mines both the public and private significance of state ¬sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, see Lawrence, 539 U. S. 558, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.

Rights and stuff:  After DOMA: What it Means to You

Edith Windsor’s reaction and the 40+ year love story that inspired it:

971315_623734884304160_1930834219_n(1)

From my friend Liz Dyer via Facebook:

Thanks to the friends and family who have continued to show their loving support of my efforts to make the world a better place for lgbt people (you know who you are).

My passion about this started out because of my wonderful son who is gay but over the last several years I have gained so many friends that have been affected by the injustice and oppression of lgbt people and so these days in addition to this being about my son I am also driven by the faces and stories and hearts of so many more that hope and work for equality.

Today is an important day because today many people have been able to take back some of the human dignity that has been stolen from them and therefore their hope and courage and strength is being renewed so we can all go on to continue fighting for equality (there’s still work to be done).

As my son likes to say (it’s a movie quote of course LOL) “One day can make your life; one day can ruin your life. All life is, is four or five big days that change everything” and today is one of those days that can change everything.

President Obama:

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well….The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”

My friend Emily Allen:

Never have I been so personally affected by decisions of the Supreme Court. I’m glad that my boys won’t remember these first four months of their lives when their government — the government I serve every day — didn’t think their moms had a relationship deserving of respect and of dignity. We still have a long way to go, but today…today was a good day. I love you Laura, Ben, and Will.

My friend Melissa Sligh:

5 years ago I got engaged, bought my dress and started planning my first wedding (I eloped before), then Prop 8 came along too fast, before we could get married it became illegal again in a blink of an eye. I saved my dress and outgrew it in a fat n happy life. MAYBE the true reason I got sick and lost all this weight was so I could fit my dress again! Sooo we missed the chance last time, if marriage becomes legal in California again I EXPECT her to propose and marry me. 5 years is a long friggin engagement!

My friend Mytaege Anderson:

There is so much anger & judgement going around today with the recent political news. Seriously it just makes me sad. Love is Love!!! People are people & it’s not my place to judge anyone. My sins are no better than yours they are just different. But make no mistake sin is sin. The day I can honestly say I’ve gone even this very one day & not sinned ever just once, then maybe I will fell worthy enough to judge another……. But that day will never happen. Why? Because I’m human. God doesn’t love me because I’m straight because I’m Italian because my eyes are brown, I live in America or even because I am pretty damn awesome. He loves me because I am his child!!! There is NOTHING I can do that will ever change that or ever change his love for me or anyone else on the face of this earth. People say God’s heart is breaking because of politics. Wrong! It’s breaking because of the hate that surrounds politics. People are people & Love is Love. Stop judging & spreading hate! If you want people to know God share his hope, his peace, the amazing gift he gave each of us, his LOVE!

My friends Tracey Hughes & Liz Johnson when describing their wedding ceremony. They are also a bi-racial couple. After today’s decisions they are planning to renew their vows in California soon!

Liz Johnson Mary – we jumped the broom. Tracey will no doubt write more eloquently than I will, but slaves were not able to legally marry, so their ceremony included jumping a broom – from the past into the future, so, since we also could not legally marry, we decided to jump the broom too.

And This. Just this.

I love gay people and I love Christians. I choose all.

David & Jason can finally be together FOR GOOD.

Missing Husband Video

Today was a victory for all of us because here in America we have a Pledge, a Declaration and a Constitution. It says in our pledge, “Liberty and justice for all.” It says in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And as it says in our Constitution, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Today the Supreme Court’s decision aligned us more with who our documents say we are. Today I am proud.

Welcome Home

Mad props to http://admschnder.com/ for the use of his original art. Thanks!

So I haven’t written much lately. You may have noticed. You may not have noticed. But oh well, here I am again.

Last week I went to see a production my friend was in of In The Heights. I have to tell you I was completely unprepared for my experience. My one regret is that I didn’t see it earlier in the run so I could urge more friends to go see it. As it would happen lovelies, we went to the very last performance. It was at the Rose Marine Theater in Fort Worth and it was stunning.

Before the performance the Artistic director came out and welcomed us home. He invited us to a place where we were all welcomed. We were all celebrated. We all belonged. And then, he said this, “You have friends who become family, and though you may not always be friends you will always be family.” I have rolled this around and around. And I totally get it. I was in theater and chamber singers in high school and I experienced this in that context. When you perform with people, when you pour your heart and soul into a shared emotional experiences you give and take little pieces of each other and they change you. You become family. And though I am not really day to day friends with many of these folks anymore, they are still my family. They are part of me.

Isn’t that how it is with life? We give and we take pieces of others and exchange them for pieces of ourselves and like chemistry, we become something different. When we give ourselves fully to the art of life and the sharing of that art, that life… we change each other for the best. When we rip and tear off pieces of the other and give back pieces of hate, or bitterness or judgement we change each other as well but in a very different way.

We must learn, as these performers did, to hold our heart outstretched in our palms and offer it unselfishly, gloriously to the other. I beg you, I need the beauty you are. When I am able to take hold of it, it makes me freer to hold my soul out to another. It changes the very cells of my body.

As we were riding home, Kent and I were trying to describe the feelings we were having. And we talked about Litmuss Lozenges. If you have not read Because of Winn-Dixie, go do it. What are you waiting for? Anyway, Litmuss Lozenges…

” . . . I lay there and I thought about how life was like a Littmus Lozenge, how the sweet and the sad were all mixed up together and how hard it was to separate them out.” –Because of Winn Dixie by Katie DiCamillio

And Kent said, he had been thinking about how all of life, all of our experiences, sweet and sad, make us who we are. The scraps and bits we collect of each other. The scars we absorb and the scars we inflict. And it is melancholy. Sweet and beautiful and sad and stunning. And we agreed that though the consequences of our sin, as far as separating us from God, will be done away with in the new heavens and new earth, we will always bear about, like Jesus himself, our scars.
We just finished Six Feet Under. And although we wouldn’t recommend the series for everyone, it provided a vivid picture of life and death. Often when people pass away they are identified by their scars. How poetic. Aren’t we all? We are identified by the marks we leave on each other. How sweet and sad and beautiful and stunning.
So if this is your first time here or your millionth time here, welcome home. You belong here. I celebrate you. I hold out my heart in the palms of my hands and invite you to change me. Welcome home.

For the love of God (and our neighbor) can we please stop using these 3 phrases?

Lovegodandneighbor

There are 3 phrases Christians love to use regarding homosexuality that I wish would just go away. They belie our claim to love God and our neighbor (If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. –1 John 4:20-21) You may think I am not being fair by using that verse and you may not even hate your LGBT brothers and sisters but if you know a LGBT person ask him or her whether these phrases communicate love or hate to them.

“I disagree with homosexuality.”

“You Can’t Be Christian and Gay.”

and

“Love the sinner. Hate the sin.”

I disagree with homosexuality

I have seen this phrase or its sibling “I don’t agree with homosexuality” all over the place. Just google it and you’ll see what I mean. This statement makes no sense on several levels. First of all grammatically (I can’t be the only one who sees this). How can one disagree with something that isn’t an idea or a hypothesis or even a theory but actually a factual thing. Homosexuality is a real thing. Saying you disagree with it is like saying you disagree with the sun or the color green. I personally disagree with gravity so I think I will go fly now. I think this is a big disconnect for me. When you try to persuade me that you are indeed correct by starting with “I disagree with homosexuality…” you lose me right away. Saying you disagree with homosexuality sounds like you are either denying it exists at all or that you believe people wake up one day and choose to be attracted to members of the same sex (jut like they woke up one day and chose to be attracted to people of the opposite sex). Can we all please agree that grammatically this is just not the right way to say what you really mean?

The second way in which this phrase is all kinds of jacked up, is Scientifically. That same sex attraction (i.e. homosexuality) exists is a scientific fact. To say you “disagree with homosexuality” is simply a denial of the facts.

I think Mr. Broussard and those who I have seen use this statement fall into two camps. Those who actually believe that homosexuality is a choice and would not exist at all if everyone actually chose to obey God and be heterosexual. They believe the simple fact that a person is attracted to members of the same sex is a sin, period whether they ever act upon those attractions or not and that in a sinless world those attractions would not exist. To take that to its logical extreme no one will be gay in heaven. (Try if you will, to separate yourself from your sexuality if you are straight, can you do it? Isn’t that inherently a part of who you are?) Those in the second camp are the ones who don’t really mean they disagree with homosexuality so much as they disagree with people acting on their attractions, living what they perceive as “the gay lifestyle” (Excellent article by Justin Lee on this.), or legalizing same sex marriage. These folks believe homosexual practice is a sin, like any other sin that can be repented of and forgiven.

Love the sinner. Hate the sin.

Often times these are the folks in the “love the sinner, hate the sin” camp. On the blog, Disoriented. Reoriented., I found this quote regarding LTSHTS:

Further, it is not actually a biblical phrase. To paraphrase Andrew Marin in his video accompaniment to Love Is an Orientation, “There are plenty of places in the Bible where Jesus tells us to love sinners. And there are plenty of places where we are told to hate sin. But nowhere are those concepts put together.” In fact, Jesus’ message to us does not appear to be “love the sinner, hate the sin,” but to “love the sinner and hate our own sin.” Marin quotes Billy Graham: “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”)

This camp includes the folks who say gay people do exist but they can’t be Christian unless and until they repent. Chris Broussard falls into this category. This week in his on air rant on ESPN Mr. Broussard said the following:

“If you’re openly living that type of [homosexual] lifestyle, then the Bible says you should know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin,” Broussard said on ESPN show Outside The Lines. “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality….I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

You Can’t Be Christian and Gay

This phrase is patently false and is even contradicted by the people who use it when they then turn around and say well, you can, as long as you repent, and get back on the wagon, like an alcoholic or a liar or a glutton or any other sinner.

Yesterday the Huffington Post reported on an interview Broussard gave on the radio where he did exactly that. He explained his first statement and back pedaled a bit by saying this:

The life of a Christian, Broussard explained, means having to constantly fight temptation. “And if you stumble and fall, then you get back up, you repent and ask God for forgiveness, and you move on,” he said. “I think that applies to homosexuals as well.”

Men who are attracted to other men can still be considered Christian if — and only if — they constantly try to counteract the same-sex attraction, Broussard said. And if they “repent, and they ask for forgiveness, and they keep trying to serve God, and they fall time and time again consistently, I believe that person is a Christian.”

So, Broussard and those who agree with him would have us believe that Jason Collins and any other LGBT persons cannot, by virtue of their gayness (unless they denounce it, deny it and repent), be followers of Jesus. This is because they say these folks are in open rebellion against God. Really? They are? Are you sure?

Folks such as these (and many of my friends) say that the Bible is crystal clear on this topic. (I have written extensively on this topic and the so called “clear” verses. You can read those posts here.) That they just read what the words in their Bible say, that this is what the church has believed and taught for thousands of years and therefore they are right. Here is my question, What about slavery? Do you think the church was wrong about slavery for thousands of years? The Bible says MUCH more in support of slavery than it does in opposition to homosexuality. (Great article called Is Abolition Biblical? by RHE on this topic.) Now maybe you are one of those folks who thinks slavery is ok. (Yes, I am serious. These people exist. Scary, I know.  Look… Why Is a Famous Evangelical Defending Slavery?) In which case I am not even sure what to do with you.

For my money these are people who have forgotten the verses that say,

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.”
–Matthew 23:13

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
–1Peter 3:18

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
–John 3:17

“Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, “Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
–Matt 7:1-5

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
–John 16:8-11

No matter what you believe about homosexuality and whether or not it is a sin, what is clear is that God tells us it is not our job to convict or to judge but it is our job to LOVE. In fact, Jesus says that is our only job. And it NEVER says love includes excluding people from worshiping God.

side note: Some “Christians” have even extended their rejection this week to people who simply tweeted their support of Mr. Collins. Just yesterday, Former Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler was disinvited from speaking at a church in Wisconsin because he had tweeted this, “Congrats to Jason Collins.” Apparently that is all it takes to piss God off in their minds. Butler was disinvited and told that if he removed the tweet, apologized and asked God for forgiveness, he could still come and speak. He refused. Butler, being a class act, refused to reveal the name of the offending church and was issued an apology which blamed some parents in the congregation for complaining about the tweet and thanked him for not revealing their name in the media. He was not however, reinvented to  speak. *SIGH*

For me, I will stick with Billy Graham on this one. “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”  I personally don’t believe same sex attraction is a sin. I don’t believe homosexual relations are a sin. I do believe sex outside of marriage is a sin. That is why I support marriage equality. I think it is good for the individual, good for the family, good for the church and good for society as a whole. Marriage stabilizes families, it encourages commitment, it celebrates sacrificing for each other, giving to each other, loving each other. That is a beautiful thing.

Here is a small list of some prominent gay Christians who you should get to know:

Justin Lee –  the founder of the Gay Christian Network (GCN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides resources and support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians.

Mel White – an American clergyman and author. White was a behind-the-scenes member of the Evangelical Protestant movement through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, writing film and television specials and ghostwriting auto-biographies for televangelists such as Jerry FalwellPat Robertson, and Billy Graham. After years of writing for the Christian right, he came out as gay in 1994.

Micah’s Rule – a vocal trio originating from Wilmington, NC. Made up of Alto: Mary Anne Hewett, Baritone: Greg McCaw, and Contralto: Chasity Scott, and singing the very best in inspirational, gospel, southern gospel, black gospel, country, and rock stylings with powerful voices and intricate harmonies. Great article on them here.

Jennifer Knapp – an American-Australian, folk rock, and formerly contemporary Christian musician. She is best known for her first single “Undo Me” from her debut album Kansas (1998), and the song “A Little More” from her Grammy Award-nominated album Lay It Down (2000). The Way I Am (2001), was also nominated for a Grammy.

Ray Boltz – a singer-songwriter who first came to wide notice in contemporary Christian music. Many of his songs tell stories of faith and inspiration. Boltz was raised by his parents William and Ruth Boltz, and was married to his wife Carol Boltz for over 30 years. They have four children. He came out in 2008.

Gene Robinson – an American retired bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Robinson was elected bishop coadjutor in 2003 and succeeded as diocesan bishop in March 2004. Before becoming bishop, he served as Canon to the Ordinary to the VIII Bishop of New Hampshire. Robinson is widely known for being the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate.