The Speech & The Blogger Who Loved It


They tell me in order to have a successful blog I need to focus on a particular genre or theme, i.e. mommy blog, politics, feminism, current events, religion, entertainment.

*sigh*

If that is the case my lovelies, I guess this blog will never be wildly successful.

Side notes: 1) If you had told me last December when I started this thing that I would have over 30,000 page views by the end of November I would have been shocked and I might have laughed in your face so for me numbers wise, totally winning.  2) Writing this blog has been the catalyst for so much amazingness in my life, that for me, on a strictly personal level it is a huge, wild, cacophony of success.

Now that my tee up is out of the way, I am here to tell you this blog is NEVER going to have a single focus and if that is what is necessary for “blog success” in terms of rankings and book deals and whatever, I am totally okay with that. I for one am just thrilled to be here, on the interwebs talking to you fine people and sharing my thoughts such as they are in all their glory and messiness and
in-processness (I am in a making up words mood this morning. You have been warned. I think it is the lack of sleep. Or maybe it is my giddiness afterglow from the speech).

Ahhhh, there we are! The speech! That is what I am writing about today. Not so much the election itself (as that is all over but the shouting) as the deliciousness that was Obama’s acceptance speech. Here we go…

OBAMA:

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

ME:  A friend of mine posted today that “a nation divided against itself cannot stand.” My response to him/her was this quote from the President’s speech along with these words. “Nations are pretty much always divided against themselves. Part of what makes America great is the way in which we treat those whom we disagree with.” We are passionate, we debate and yes (as we have seen recently) we argue. But we do so without threat of imprisonment or retaliation from the opposition. We disagree long and loud and on Facebook and we don’t think twice about it. Do you even realize how amazing that is. Think about that the next time you read a political rant and stop and be thankful, especially if you are a woman. As you know, even though we hold up half the sky, there are still far too many places where our voices are muted, discounted or silenced altogether.

OBAMA:

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president — that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go — forward. That’s where we need to go.

ME: Please tell me you believe in a generous and compassionate America. I do and whether you agree with the President’s policies or not, please stop saying he doesn’t want the same things you do for these children. He is not a monster. He is a father and a husband and an American and a human being.

OBAMA:

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

ME: I love that! It isn’t about what can be done for us but what can be done by us when we work together! Government of the people, by the people and for the people. As the three musketeers said, “all for one and one for all.” There is a song called Brother’s Keeper by the late great Rich Mullins that says in part:

My friends ain’t the way I wish they were
They are just the way they are
And I will be my brother’s keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won’t despise him for his weakness
I won’t regard him for his strength
I won’t take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will ~ I will be my brother’s keeper.

OBAMA:

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

ME: I wholeheartedly agree. What is amazing about us isn’t just that we are the most diverse nation in the history of the world but it is the fact that in spite of that diversity, in spite of all that divides us we understand that we share one dream. A dream of freedom and equality and justice for ALL regardless of their differences. We in the United States realize that in order for me to have lasting freedom, I must also defend your freedom to worship differently, choose differently and live differently than I do.
At our house we watch Once Upon A Time, and on that show Rumpelstiltskin is fond of saying, “Remember deary, magic comes with a price!” I would change that to say, “Remember lovelies, freedom comes with a price!” The price is being our brother and our sister’s keeper through love, charity, duty and patriotism.

OBAMA:

I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.

I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president.

ME: If we can’t agree that this girl should be able to receive care without her family losing everything they have then I am shocked and saddened.

OBAMA:

And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

ME: Yes.Yes.Yes. And for me, hope has a name and His name is Jesus. He taught us to pray that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven and he invited us to be a part of bringing his Kingdom; Not by becoming a theocracy, or through military power, but by loving our neighbors!

OBAMA:

America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

ME: It is either liberty and justice for all or it is liberty and justice for none. We should reject the lines that divide us and reject those who would through fear and hate try to convince you that it is us vs them, men vs women, rich vs poor, gay vs straight, black vs white. Reject the scripts that tell you that you are somehow superior to your neighbor. You are not. You are, just as your neighbor i,s an image bearer of God, and he or she is just as valuable,and just as loved.

OBAMA:

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

ME: I believe that. I believe we are more than the sum of our individual ambitions. I believe that when crisis hits and our country is attacked. I believe it when the storms hit and I see people (even Governors and Presidents) drop everything to help their neighbors. I believe it when I host a dinner party and all my friends come (black and white and Hispanic and Asian and Native American, young and old, rich and poor, able and disabled, gay and straight) and bring food for the food bank and have a totally out of control gift exchange. We wish each other happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and safe and prosperous new years all around. I believe it every day in the kindness of strangers who don’t stop first to ask my party affiliation before the lend a helping hand. Don’t get me wrong. It bothers me that my kids had to talk most of the other kids at their Christian school off the ledge yesterday because they were freaked out by the election results. It bothers me when people call George W. Bush evil. Please lovelies, these are just men. We elect them to do a job. They each try to do it to the best of their ability in accordance with their values, beliefs and consciences to make the country they love a better one. Do they make mistakes? Do you? Can you imagine having that job? “Sir, we need to know what you want to do. The seals are waiting sir, should they go in or stand down? Sir? We need to know right now!”  Oh my gosh, I don’t even like to make the call on where to have dinner when I am put under pressure. Grace please. Prayers please. Peace, please.

On a related issue, can we please stop saying President Obama isn’t a Christian. He is one. He professes Christ. He believes in the tenets of the faith. God sees hearts, I do not and neither do you. It says God will judge. Neither you nor I will be making those calls (thank God). For now perhaps we who call ourselves followers of Jesus should pray for him and trust that he knows we cannot accomplish any of the things he set out in his speech without God’s grace.

Me: So, God bless you my lovelies and God bless these United States.

Oh, by the way, they also tell me I have to keep it short. Anyone who knows me knows there is probably not much hope of that.
michelle krabill

http://www.mlkcreative.com

 

Render unto God that Which is Caesar’s?

So there is this story Jesus tells in the Gospels

The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.        (Luke 20:19-26 ESV)

I have been thinking a lot about this story since a couple weeks ago when I read God and Our Political Platforms by Rachel Held Evans. In it she said,

When Jesus was asked about taxes, he didn’t hold up a coin, point to it dramatically, and shout to the crowd, “WHY ISN’T MY NAME ON THIS?! I NEED YOU GUYS TO GET MY NAME AND PICTURE ON THIS THING—STAT!” (…or whatever the Aramaic equivalent of “STAT” would have been).

No, Jesus, when pressed to use his authority to make a political point said simply,  “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

I had never thought about this passage in that way before. It was a revelation. Jesus didn’t care that his name wasn’t on the money.

HE DIDN’T CARE.

I think all too often, American Christians spend too much time and effort on rendering to God that which is Caesars and to Caesar that which is God’s. It is a funny thing, I think Jesus understood the seperation of Church and State better than many Christians do. Case in point, this week Governor Rick Perry of our great state of Texas had a conference call in which he attributed the concept of separation of Church and State to Satan. His exact words were,

This separation of church and state, which has been driven by the secularists to remove those people of faith from the public arena, there is nothing farther from the truth…Satan runs across the world with his doubt and with his untruths and what have you and one of the untruths out there is driven — is that people of faith should not be involved in the public arena.

Rick is convinced that the separation of Church and State is a grand conspiracy to keep people of faith out of the public arena. I would suggest (to use his words) that “there is nothing farther from the truth”.  As , The Friendly Atheist said, “people of faith have always been welcome to participate in the public arena. What they can’t do is legislate their religious beliefs; when the Constitution and the Bible are in conflict, the Constitution must win. If you can’t handle that, then you belong in a church and not public office.” I agree. Gov. Perry wants to render to God that which is Caesar’s and to Caesar that which is God’s.  He in effect wants the United States to be a theocracy. He would like to effectively take away the religious freedom our founders fought for from people whose beliefs differ from his. The problem with people of faith making laws based on what they believe to be sinful or permissible is three fold: First you must decide whose religious tenets you are going to make law (i.e. Will we allow drinking? What about dancing? Will all women have to wear skirts and long hair?); Second, you must go against God’s design by denying people the liberty and freedom of will to choose how best to follow God. God gives humans free will, forcing people by law not to “sin” as you define it does not change hearts. Paul actually discusses this in Colossians.

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.        (Colossians 2:16-23 ESV)

Lastly, when you enact laws based on preferences or even deeply held religious beliefs rather than on “liberty and justice for all” (even when the majority of the people happen to agree with you) you run the risk of someday having laws enacted based on someone else’s religious beliefs. They are fine with someone else’s beliefs being trampled but don’t realize their own could be next. Jesus expects more of us than that. He says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” with no qualifier. That includes your Muslim neighbor, your gay neighbor, your Democrat neighbor, your Jewish neighbor and your Palestinian neighbor. You MUST love them as yourself in order to follow Jesus.

People in Jesus’ time looked for him to be a political or military savior. He was neither. When asked point blank he said give to Caesar that which is his and God that which is his. Jesus was not concerned that his name be on the money or that the Jewish people were being required to pay taxes to Caesar (who the Roman’s regarded as divine). Once again, HE DIDN’T CARE. I think we often spend our time as American Christians fighting battles Jesus would be unconcerned about such as prayer in school, gay marriage and having his name on the money when we should be loving our neighbors, caring for the “least of these” and reconciling people to the lover of their souls. Everything already belongs to God (“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” Psalm 24:1). Giving tribute to Caesar or taxes to the US government that they in turn spend on things you may or may not agree with cannot change that.

God will not be erased from existence because we don’t have specific time set aside for praying in the school day, his purpose will not be thwarted nor his cause advanced depending on whether his name is on our currency. His love cannot be stopped because of who we elect as President of the United States or even whether or not the government recognizes same sex marriages. God is not American nor is he partisan. God belongs to all nations and peoples and is at work everywhere in every culture. He is much MUCH bigger than our politics or even our religious beliefs (none of us has everything right, just ask a Pharisee).
Jesus, It seems, is much more concerned with whether his name is written on our heart than on our money.

Sally Ride, DOMA, Chicken Sandwiches, Military Pride and the “Gay Lifestyle”

By NASA (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1. Sally Ride‘s obituary is not a political statement it is a statement of fact. She is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessey. The fact that she lived her life committed to the woman she loved does not make her any less of a pioneer, scientist, explorer, astronaut or champion of women in science. When she was alive she kept her private life private, perhaps because she knew it might make her uphill climb steeper or perhaps because she wanted to be judged by her accomplishments and character and not by her sexuality. I guarantee you Ms. O’Shaughnessey’s pain isn’t any less because her partner was a woman. I hope you will join me in praying for peace and comfort for her as well as the rest of the Ride family.

2. The current rules do not allow for Ms. Ride’s benefits to be extended to her surviving partner. That is currently the way it is. If you do not like it, work to change it.

3. Chick-fil-a has expressed their beliefs about many things of late including marriage equality. You may like what they said and continue to eat there. You may dislike what they have said and discontinue eating there. You may also dislike what they say and decide you are going to eat there anyway. That is the beauty of America. They have freedom of speech and you have the freedom to spend your money where you wish. I find it troublesome that people have a problem with people choosing not to eat there. If you told me my marriage was the reason God was going to send judgement on America I probably wouldn’t buy your Chicken sandwiches either.

4. This week military members were allowed to march in Pride Parades in uniform for the first time. Their presence there should remind us that many gay and lesbian service members have served and sacrificed to bring liberty and protect freedom around the world. They deserve our thanks and admiration. Period.

5. Today Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network wrote an eye opening blog about the term “gay lifestyle“. You should read it.  I for one will endeavor to choose my words more wisely. There was one comment about the article I thought communicated very well.

Roger Smith Here’s a lil example I like to give people who talk “gay lifestyle”: so what’s a “straight lifestyle”? Billy Graham, and … oh, let’s say Hugh Hefner. Same orientation? Yep. Same lifestyle? Um … not exactly.

Well, there you go my lovelies, that is all I have to say about that.

The Afore Promised Vows

So, as you know I have been absent from the blogosphere for a couple of weeks. I am not 100% sure of all the reasons why. Some of them are simple like, I was in Mexico celebrating my birthday and 25th wedding anniversary. Some of them not so simple like, feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed. And then there is just plain busy. But, I am here now and how I have missed you. Without further ado, here is the post I promised you before I left on my trip.

 

These are the vows I made to Kent Krabill on the occasion of our 25th wedding anniversary.

25 years ago we agreed to be there for each other. We agreed to be the witness to each other’s life. We promised to care about everything; even the small things, the good things, the bad things the mundane things.  Over the years we have learned things about each other that have surprised us and we have learned things about ourselves that we never dreamed possible. For example, I learned that I like basketball and you learned that you like So You Think You Can Dance.

When we got married I expected that we would love each other forever, that we would have fun together, make a family and be best of friends.  What I couldn’t have predicted were the ways in which you would evolve to become the man that I love more than I could have imagined at 18.  I love all kinds of things about you. I love the way that even when you think you are 100% right about something you still walk away and consider that you could be mistaken and I love that you shift if you learn that you were wrong. You are not afraid to say you are sorry or to ask for forgiveness and you always tell me you love me. I love that you still bring me flowers.  I love your creativity and problem solving ability. I love the way you take care of the money and how generous you are. I love that you like to go places and do things. I love your passion for people and the way you choose to do things you really don’t want to do to bless someone else. I love how excited you get about racing and basketball. I love that you want to give our kids great experiences and teach them how to live a full life. I love that you like to eat good food. I love that our kids playing music is important to you. All of these things I love about you point to your love of Jesus and your love of people that drive you to be who you are and do what you do. I love you for all of these things and a million more.

I also love the things I have learned about myself because of you. I have learned that I am stronger than I think I am. I have learned that sometimes I need to be willing to get worked up over things I believe need to change. I have learned that I am a good writer and a good speaker. I have also learned that I am adventurous just not the kind of adventurous that jumps out of planes. I am the kind of adventurous that moves half way across the country with two babies so her husband can go to law school.

Most of all I love what we have become together. I love that we are one of the most “we” couples I know. I love that the people who know us know how much we love each other. I love that young people want to be like us. I love that we made amazing beautiful smart creative crazy extroverted kids together. I love that we have family hobbies. I love that we can watch basketball and dancing and idol and Brave and Mission Impossible and love them all.

I am looking forward to our future together. I am looking forward to finding more things to love about you. I am looking forward to the things you will help me discover about myself and I am looking forward to seeing Caedmon and Rosalind become who they were always meant to be.  Mostly I am looking forward to being with you though all of it. Becoming more myself, as we become more us. Isn’t that the magic of it all? Because we are together we get to be more of who we were always meant to be.

But these are supposed to be vows where we make promises to each other about our future.
So today I promise all over again to love you and to notice all the things that happen in your life.
I promise to be your witness.
I promise that I will hold you up when you are weary; That I will hear you when you are frustrated; That I will laugh in your joy and cry in your pain.
I promise that on all our adventures you will find me right where I always am, right next to you.
I promise you that even when I discover something new about you or about myself that it will never change my commitment or love for you.

You know I won’t be perfect, and I know you won’t be either and some times our dance will struggle to find the music but know this, I will be there.
I will be the one stepping on your toes until we find the melody again. You see we have a quantum entanglement. We are an us, always.
So again I promise that I will be part you.
And I promise that you will be part me.
And I promise that I will love you always.

A Little Late to the Party

Somehow I only became aware today that June is Gay Pride month.
So, WOW. I am a little late to the Gay Pride party.

It is interesting but at this time last year gay folks in the military were still under the umbrella of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” and I would have told you that I wasn’t sure where I stood on the issue of gay marriage. Oh what a difference a year makes. In the past year I have read and studied and prayed and refined and defined my beliefs about homosexuality and God and written about them in detail here. I have come out of the church closet (so to speak) as an affirming straight ally and supporter of same sex marriage. And then today, I read an amazing article from the Associated Press on plans for the military to honor gay troops and their service to our country for the first time in their history, much like they honor other service members during Black history month or Women’s history month.

In many ways my journey has paralleled what I read in the article. (quotes taken from, Pentagon the Mark Gay Pride Month)

  • The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy forced over 13,500 service members out of the military.
    • The way I used to view gay people has forced thousands out of traditional churches.
  • A Pentagon spokesman was quoted in the article as saying, “Now that we’ve repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ he [Leon Panetta] feels it’s important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbiantroops”.
    • Now that I have researched and prayed and changed my position, I feel it is important to find a way this month to recognize the ways in which gay and lesbian people contribute to society and the church.
  • “Although some feared repeal of the ban on serving openly would cause problems in the ranks, officials and gay advocacy groups say no big issues have materialized”
    • Although many of my friends feared the support and inclusion of gays and lesbians serving openly in our church would cause problems, no big issues have materialized.
  • “I don’t think it’s just moving along smoothly, I think it’s accelerating faster than we even thought the military would as far as progress goes,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, a finance officer and co-director of OutServe.

    • I don’t think it’s just moving along smoothly, I think it is accelerating faster as my gay and lesbian friends are welcomed to worship and serve with us and as my straight friends are realizing that we have more in common than they thought.
  • He said acceptance has been broad among straight service members and has put a spotlight on unequal treatment that gays continue to receive in some areas. “We are seeing such tremendous progress in how much the military is accepting us, but not only that – in how much the rank and file is now understanding the inequality that’s existing right now,” he said.
    • Acceptance has been broad on the blog and has put a spotlight on unequal treatment that homosexuals continue to receive in many areas. I am seeing tremendous progress in how many of my friends are becoming more accepting, but not only that – in how much they are now understanding the inequity that exists.

So, even though I am a little late to the party I am really happy with where I am.  Recently I have had friends come out to me who remain closeted to their church and their family but who love Christ and seek to serve him because they knew that with me they would be encouraged in their future marriage and walk with Jesus. I have other friends who say that through this blog they have learned to look at the way they have treated gay people and to become more loving in their speech and actions.  Sadly I also have friends who have severed ties over this issue, who say “stay away from her she is a dangerous woman”. They say it is because I am accepting of my gay friends who come to my church. They say it is because I support them in their marriages. They say it is because I publicly speak out in support of marriage equality. All I have to say is this, I am proud to be known by my love for ALL people.

I may be late to this party, but I am here, my glitter is on and I’m ready to dance.

A Change of Focus

That moment when someone says something to you that changes your focus. Ever have one of those?

I bet you have. I know I have.

Recently I have had a couple conversations that have shifted my focus on the way I am going to be handling the crazy ass, hateful, ridiculous things being said by people who think they are serving Jesus by cheering for kids who are taught to parrot hateful songs, or calling for the extermination or legal prosecution of our homosexual brothers and sisters. Rather than focusing on these negative and hateful messages that do not bring life or hope, from here on I am choosing to focus on the people who are living in the light and bringing a message of hope and love to the world.This does not mean that I will stop standing up for people and standing up against injustice. On the contrary, I intend to fight it with the only weapons that work.

My focus was becoming increasingly negative and I was allowing the hate they have been spewing to become my focus which only brings hopelessness.  I had become increasingly frustrated, especially since the passage of Prop 1 in North Carolina, because these things are going on in churches. In a recent poll 91% of people 16-29 choose “anti-gay” to describe Christians. Heck, even 80% of church going people in that age group described the church as “anti-gay”.  I am hurt and distressed that people are taught that God can’t possibly love gay people. For crying out loud people even if you believe it is a sin, Jesus died for sinful people and the cheering for such a horrible song this week made me want to do something. Say something. Maybe because I didn’t know better when I was young and listening to people like like the leader of my former community saying homosexuals should be lined up and shot and producing songs like Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Homos”.

Well, this is where hope breaks in. While I do think it is important that people realize just how pervasive this kind of thinking is and while I do feel that people need to be informed, I also think that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr . had the right idea. Whenever he spoke about injustice he always cast it in the light of the truth. That side loses. Love wins. Dr. King called us to be our best selves, he called us to overcome, he called us to love. He set a vision for the dreamers. He invited us to hope that things could change; that God’s will could truly be done on earth as it is in heaven.

In Romans 12:14-21 it says,
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Not that this is easy. It isn’t. Individually we must love, even when someone is hateful towards us. This week on Primetime: What Would You Do? the scenario was that a young white woman was introducing her black boyfriend to her dad for the first time. He was not happy, to say the least, about their interracial relationship. There was an elderly woman who (after the young couple left) expressed support for the father and her extreme distaste for interracial relationships. At the end of the segment after it had all been revealed for the social experiment it was, this beautiful young black man hugged that ignorant old woman and do you know what he said when asked why? He said I have been taught all my life that people like her exist, I wanted her to know what kind of person I am.
Dr. King said,
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
That is my plan. Let us drive out the darkness with the light. Let us drive out the hate with love. Let us overcome evil with good. Starting today, whenever I am feeling hopeless about the state of this or like the darkness might be winning. Instead of focusing on that I am going to feature a person or organization who are bringing light, hope and love. I am going to start today with Minnesota Pastor Oliver White.  According to the Independent, Southeastern Minnesota‘s daily newspaper, Pastor White is

A black leader at the helm of a predominantly black church, White — who marched for racial equality during the Civil Rights era — faced pushback from his own community after he stood up for gay rights in 2005.

During a national synod of the United Church of Christ in Atlanta, he joined a majority of delegates from across the country in voting to adopt a resolution supporting gay marriage.

He returned to his congregation the following Sunday and explained his decision. Almost immediately he saw church membership plummet. Within weeks he lost two-thirds of his followers, and now a Sunday sermon draws at most about 20 people.

He now stands to lose his church for good as their balloon payment of 200k came due yesterday. Even though Pastor White, 69, stands to lose everything he stated in a recent interview,

“If we are not successful, I am not going to feel that we are defeated,” White said. “I’ve often said if one person has been turned around, if their thinking has been turned around, and they are no longer homophobic, and they can reach out and love their brothers and their sisters as they love themselves, unconditionally, without labeling them in any way, then losing the church will not be in vain.”

Here’s to you Pastor White. You are my hero of the day and the champion of those who Christ loves. Your reward sir is in heaven.

Grace Community United Church of Christ
You can email your word of encouragement here: mystory42@hotmail.com

It Does, It Must and It Will Get Better.

Last week Dan Savage the founder of the It Get’s Better Campaign lashed out at the Bible and some of the students during an anti-bullying conference at a high school in Seattle. In his statements he clearly went over the line and became that which he most despises: A bully. In his statements Mr. Savage attacked the Bible, belittled the beliefs of others and used a slur to attack the students who disagreed with his statements by simply walking out. This is a transcript of the portion of the speech in question:

“We can learn to ignore the bullshit about gay people in the Bible the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waived Bibles over their heads during the civil war and justified it.”

“If the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong, slavery, what are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100 percent.”

Afterward, Savage remarked: “You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible. It’s funny as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-ass some people react when you push back.”

While I vehemently disagree with Mr. Savage’s attack on the students because of their protest, I do believe that he can be forgiven. He has issued an apology for the “pansy-assed” comment saying it was “insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong. And I apologize for saying it.” Therefore, he gets a second chance. I have certainly spoken in the heat of a moment words I wished I could retract as soon as they left my mouth. I am sure you have too.

I also disagree strongly with Mr. Savage’s view of the Bible as I read it. I do however think that some things people have used the Bible to say and do are BS. And honestly when I think of the way the church has used and in some cases still uses the Bible as an excuse or even an encouragement to bully, hate and abuse the GLBT community as a whole and individual GLBT people I can easily figure out how  Mr. Savage ended up on a stage calling bulls%#t on the whole thing. Sometimes I actually want to stand up and join Dan Savage in calling BS for the way people use the Bible for purposes which I believe were never intended. After all, this is the same Bible that says that Jesus came not into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. This is the Bible that says  people will know we are Christians by our love. Today is a day I am going to call BS. Today I call BS on Pastor Sean Harris of the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Currently the state of North Carolina is in a battle over Amendment 1 to their state constitution which states in part:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.

This past Sunday was declared “Marriage Sunday” by Vote for Marriage NC, a political action committee. Their purpose for organizing the day was:

Marriage Sunday is an early voting awareness campaign focused on equipping churches and citizens to vote FOR the Marriage Protection Amendment during the 4/19-5/5 early voting window. Churches participating in Marriage Sunday are encouraged to preach a marriage themed sermon on April 29th, and encourage congregants to vote early on Monday April 30th.

This is the United States of America and this is the way we decide things here. We vote. I am for voting. The good people of North Carolina get to go to the polls and decide how they will define marriage in their state. What I am not for, what is complete BS, is the hatred and abuse that was spewed out in the name of my Lord Jesus and my God. I will not be silent. I teach my children to stand up and speak out in defense of the weak and the oppressed and today I will do the same thing.
http://www.goodasyou.org/player.swf

If you are unable to listen to the audio, here is a transcript (emphasis added):

So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting to Butch you reign her in. And you say, “Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.
You say, “Can I take charge like that as a parent?”
Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.

Well, you are going to need more than a special dispensation because Jesus authorizes you to do no such thing.

In fact, I would assert that parents treating their children in this way does not prevent one person who would have grown up to be gay to suddenly become heterosexual. Just ask any number of people in the GLBT community. I bet you can find many who were treated in exactly this fashion by their parents. My guess is that not only did it not stop them from becoming gay it also made them think that God didn’t love them, didn’t come to be near them, and doesn’t offer them salvation. All I know to say is, God forgive them for they know not what they do. Forgive me for the times I know not what I do. This has nothing to do with whether or not people have the right to believe whatever they want about homosexuality. It has to do with the fact that Jesus does not give you the option to hate, bully or abuse your child or anyone else ever. You don’t have that right, Sean Harris doesn’t have that right and Dan Savage doesn’t have that right. So far Dan Savage has apologized for bullying the kids, I wonder if we will ever hear an apology from Sean Harris? I hope so. I pray that the radical love of the Jesus who died for us all grips the hearts of Harris and Savage. Today I shout at the top of my lungs that it does and it will get better. Lord, let your Kingdom come.