Thursday, March 28, 2013

An Apology

It's hard to escape the news, the FB post and all the talk going on about the Supreme Court and gay marriage. I have spent the last two days with a heavy heart. I have been sharing tears with friends, and shedding tears over friends. I have had conversations with those on both sides and with those who are unsure where to stand. I have had moments where I have bit my tongue and moments where I have poured out my heart. And I have spent these two days with my head bowed and with a silent heart and prayed. And prayed. And listened. And prayed. And listened. And prayed. And this morning these words weigh heavy on my heart . . .

To whom it may concern,

I am sorry. I am sorry that we as Christians have handled a lot of things poorly. I can pin point the time and place where I sat in a Sunday school class and was taught that you cannot be gay and a Christian. And if you heard this same teaching, I am sorry. I am sorry that you have heard over the years that God hates you, and that hell is the only place for you. And I am sorry for believing this myself for so long. I am sorry we as Christians have spoken so loudly on this lifestyle, when we have failed as a whole to hear your story, or taken the time to understand and listen about your experiences. I am sorry that you have encountered friends who have stood beside you when you weren't a "practicing gay", because they thought God had placed them in your life to help "save" you, but when you entered a same sex relationship they abandoned you. I am sorry that we have made you feel broken and have forgotten of our own brokenness and that the broken is who Jesus came for, who He befriend, who He did life with. I am sorry that we as the church say that our doors are open, but question why you just don't go to a gay only gathering.  I am sorry we cherry pick scriptures from our Bibles too. I am sorry we claim you are ramming your beliefs down our throats when you change your FB picture, but are outraged at your judgment toward us when we post a picture of our chicken sandwich. I am sorry we deny that we can be hypocritical. I am sorry you know more about what we stand against than Who we stand for. I am sorry the Church is divided on if and where you can serve within the church community. I am sorry that we have made you feel inferior, forgetting that we are all God's beloved, and are all created equal.

For so long Christian's defined who I thought Christ to be. And I adopted this faith that the only way God could love me, is if I lived my life like Jesus . . . perfect, according to the rules. And boy did I try hard to do so. Standing strongly, proudly on the “issues" that were very easy for me to follow. While all along hiding and covering up "issues" that I struggled with. I played the game. And then one day I met Jesus, and my whole world changed. I would love to stand here and tell you that since meeting Him, life's huge EASY button was hit and life just fell into place. We (Christians) can tend to get stuck on that thinking at times. But to be honest, I have never faced as much heartache and pain as I have since. But through it all, I have learned what grace is, what forgiveness means, what joy encompasses, what compassion involves, what living in peace is all about, and what love really means. Love is Jesus Christ. And as we head into Easter weekend, it is Love that gave His innocent life on that cross, it is Love that conquered death, and it is Love who lives so that I, so that we, do not have to live according to a religion that grades us a pass or a fail, but rather where we get the choice to surrender our lives and to be active in a relationship where we can walk daily with the One who radically changes us for the better.

I am sorry we have failed you here. And I am sorry that we will most likely, fail you again and again. But there is hope. There are Christians who want to hear you. Who want to know your story. Who want to start this conversation. Who want to see change. Who want to sit beside you in the church pew.  Who want to be your friend and do life with you whether or not we all can be on the same page and in agreement. Who want to introduce you to the One who flipped their world upside down in the best most possible way (not with hopes to save you or to pray you straight), but because we are completely intoxicated with who He is and what He has done. There are Christians who know that in the end, Love wins and long for you to know it too.

And it is because I encountered the Love of Jesus Christ, Love itself,  that I can boldly stand here, as one of you, and one of them, and as a confident beloved of God, asking you for forgiveness, praying for change and trusting that if not, His plans are better than we all can imagine.

A friend

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Boring Post

Go ahead. Stop reading now. This list of weekend plans is boring.

1.     Once snuggling and coffee get old on Saturday morning, I'll hop up and run to the gym. Pretend that I am hiking up a mountain that once about killed me and take victory as I wipe the sweat off my brow.

2.     I’ll return to my abode and crank up the tunes, do the household chores that have been set aside in the name of fun gotten away from me in the business of this life this past week.

3.     In the center of a brilliantly sparking kitchen, I will pull out the secret ingredients to my delectable homemade taco soup and wait for that special someone to come home from work and keep me entertained company.

4.     In the evening we will jump into a car and congregate with some splendid individuals, lift our voices up in worship and hear all that God is doing in the midst of our community.

5.     Well sneak off just a wee bit early, and drive a little ways down the road and join in the celebration of marriage with a beautiful couple that I highly esteem. And you better believe I will be wearing my my my my my boogie shoes! smiling to be a part of this joyous festivity.

6.     Sleep. Hiking dangerously steep mountains, keeping up with Cinderella and dancing the night away in blue suede shoes will make a lady tired. So I’m tired.

7.     Sunday the alarm will go off. Which means it will be early. Two good looking bicycles will be hitched to the car. This now sporty automobile will head to the sticks of Powhatan to attend the early church service.

8.     Not take a nap. Because a. it’s going to be 66 degrees on Sunday and b. we are heading to Highbridge Trail to spend the afternoon with the breeze in our hair and our bums on those good looking bikes.

That about sums up all I will be doing this weekend. Is that so bad?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Writer's block? Maybe? Maybe not?

Writer's block! A writer's worst nightmare.

It's defined as: The inability to write. A condition in which an "author" loses the ability to produce new work.

There are several reasons that can contribute to the reality of this horrifying phrase:

Creative issues.
Lack of inspiration.

I do not begin to classify myself as a "writer" or an "author" or any other title proclaiming such caliber.

For that, I'm not worthy. Rather, I would prefer to call myself just a simple woman who processes life through written word. And lately, this simple processor just can't write. I am not finding myself in a position that lacks material. Creativity doesn't seem to be a short coming, nor do I feel that I am having the trouble finding inspiration. There is a red journal I carry with me the contains an ocean of ideas I wish to explore, questions I would like to propose, and life moments I would like to share. . .yet when I sit down to type, nothing that I'm willing to reveal comes.

This blog alone, I have sat on for over a week.

Perhaps here lies the problem: everything I wish to write, or ask, or discuss--everything on my heart that I want to share, to pour out and chew on together . . . are things that are just too close.

It's funny looking back over this blog and how some entries, whether you--the unseen faces, have known every detail of what I was writing about or not, I wasn't afraid to write, to be vulnerable, to be honest. And yet, now, that's where I find myself. I feel afraid in sharing my thoughts. I feel cynical about letting people in. I feel jaded.

And it's a place I do not like to be. It's a place where I have let unresolved hurt fester. I have let myself curl up and hide the pain, the disappointment, the sting, behind the thick skin of "I don't care."

But the truth is, I do.

I've been hurt.

It happens. And I know it will continue to happen.

And more truth---I have caused hurt. I know that no matter how hard I try not to be a source of hurt and pain, I will, time and time again.

People are messy. You are messy. I am messy. And just maybe, living amongst the messiness of our human nature, and being more aware of it, yet stuck on how to move forward are why the words spoken from the pulpit Sunday have haunted me this past week.

Love and unity over our integrity.

As Christ followers, we can so easily fall into the trap of getting on our high horse and standing firm on our integrity, our truth, our rightness, and leaving love and the common bond of unity as a body of believers by the wayside.

I've lived in this for the past few months. I've been caught in a battle. Side A has planted firmly on their integrity. And I have staked my integrity confidently on Side B. I have wrestled and prayed and spent many sleepless nights in hopes of finding the right words to express my side, to shed understanding on an issue that I believe is so misunderstood behind the church walls today. I have willingly participated in this conflict of integrity, and for that I am sorry. I want to apologize for those who I have hurt along the way. Those I have walled off and disconnected from in the process. Those I have failed to show what Jesus truly gave up His life for.

I ask for your forgiveness and offer forgiveness to those who have stood on the opposing side. We've fallen into the trap that the enemy hopes we will stay in.

The truth is, we are sisters in Christ, brothers in Christ, and we can't let wars of our integrity divide us.

We are one body.

Writer's block?


Maybe not?

Maybe I am finally just ready to lay it all down. To wave my white flag over here on side B in hopes that the battle line will vanish and God's grace and love will once again pour over the common ground of Jesus Christ that we should be steadfastly grounded on.