Sin incarnate…

It’s been a week.  This time of year gets so busy.  Before I realized it, I spent 3 and a half hours looking for red bows for my window wreaths.  That’s ridiculous!  NO ONE HAD THEM!  I was going from store, to store, to store before I noticed how much time I had wasted.  Then there was the mess I made in the kitchen.  I was packing up leftovers from dinner for my lunch.  I was chatting with my husband while getting them together.  I tried to pick one of the containers up and the lid popped off.  Tomato sauce, rice, and ground beef went everywhere… including the open kitchen drawer where I store all of my containers.   Lucy, my dog, thought she had hit the jackpot. She was a very helpful participant in the clean up.

All the business of the holiday season…the crazy drivers, grumpy shoppers, never-ending to-do list…are so trivial in comparison to what some families have gone through this last week and a half.  Three young LGBTQ people have taken their lives.  The youngest being 12.  And these are just the ones I know about…unfortunately there are many more.  The pain that these families are facing this Christmas season is unfathomable.  It puts things into perspective that’s for sure.

I’m sharing a blog post by Benjamin Moberg today from his blog Registered Runaway.  He has first hand experience and is able to explain the despair that so many LGBTQ people experience.  Please, please read it.  We need to make some changes…it will save lives.

From One Degree of Glory to the Next

 

 

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Fishing for the truth…

When I was a young girl, my grandfather taught me how to fish.  It was an activity that he really enjoyed and he looked forward to the day that he could share his love of fishing with me and his other grandchildren.  My grandmother would pack up some sandwiches and snacks and off we would go.  She would come along with us…I think in her mind she went to keep my grandfather out of trouble (smile).  They would bicker a bit on the way mostly because my grandmother was a back seat driver.  “You’re going to fast…slow down.  You missed the turn…you should’ve gone that way.”  But that was part of the adventure.

There is one particular outing that stands out in my mind.  We got to one of our favorite fishing holes and got ourselves set up.  It was a beautiful day. Perfect weather…nice and quite.  We had the spot all to ourselves.  We fished along 72007743the shore because we didn’t have a boat.  I had a good cast and sat on the shoreline waiting for a nibble.  I gave my pole a tug and felt like I had something.  I reeled it in a little and I felt some resistance.  I thought, “this is it…I’m finally going to catch a big one!”  I fought with it a bit, but continued reeling in my line.  Boy was I disappointed when I pulled in a BOOT.  Of all things.  Really?  A boot? Who puts their boot out in the middle of a reservoir?  I wasn’t going to let it get me down.  I stooped down by the cup of bait and got myself another worm.  I took the worm and eased it onto the hook being careful not to prick my finger.  I wrapped the worm around the hook weaving it on to disguise it from the fish…also making it harder for the fish to steal it.  I admired my handy work and looked up just in time to see…BAM!  I was a little too close to my grandfather who liked to kick his foot out when he cast.  His foot came right in contact with my face and I went flying backwards into the sand. Luckily he didn’t hit me hard so I wasn’t hurt, but I will never forget the image of his shoe heading straight for my face (smile).

I liked spending time with my grandfather.  He had some of the greatest stories, and was a good teacher.  He went home to be with God when I was 16 years old.  My time with him was definitely too short.  Although I loved learning from my grandfather, when I became a Christ follower I received an even greater teacher.  The Holy Spirit.

John 14:26
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 16:13
When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come”

The Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.  He helps believers discern between what is true and what is not.  The Holy Spirit is God’s way of communicating with us.  Everything he communicates to us is from the Father.  1 Corinthians 6:19 says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.  It’s pretty amazing that God sent us such a precious gift that actually dwells inside of us.

Here’s what I find interesting.  Some fellow believers are very quick to point out what they perceive as weaknesses in other believer’s faith.  They may not mean to, but they come across as haughty.  It is very off-putting to be told that your faith just isn’t as strong as the person that is speaking to you. When they have not experienced what you have, but they insist that your faith just isn’t strong enough, it is very insulting.  So many times LGBTQ people are told that once they really come to know Jesus and become a faithful follower then they will be healed from their sexual desires.  They will be the first to tell you that they don’t need to be healed because they aren’t sick. They don’t need to be fixed because they aren’t broken.

Have you spent countless hours, years even, pouring over the scriptures that speak about homosexuality?  Have you questioned and cried out to God about it?  Have you put every once of energy into making sure you were hearing God correctly about those verses in the Bible?  Praying desperately for the Holy Spirit to guide you.  I can assure you that most LGBTQ Christians have done all of these things.  And I believe that the Holy Spirit has led them through the process.  I know He has led me.

But aren’t we supposed to hold people accountable?  Aren’t we supposed to show them the truth?  Well, I trust the Holy Spirit more than I trust my own understanding.  I’ve seen first hand the struggle, the questioning, the agonizing hurt that some of my LGBTQ friends and their families have gone through.  I trust the Holy Spirit in them.  Our God is big and full of mystery.  I will never have all of the answers, and I don’t want them because that would make Him small.  My hope in all of this is that when I get to heaven God tells me that I loved well.  Period.

Picture1

Here is a picture of my grandparents.  I think they are just adorable.  I miss them both very much.

I leave you with this:

Romans 5:5
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Love has been poured into your heart…don’t let it go to waste…because love matters.

#Giving Tuesday

2013-11-18-givingtuesday3

Today is Giving Tuesday!  We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday where we get our steals and deals.  Now use some of those savings to give back and help some charities on Giving Tuesday!

Here are some organizations that work hard to help the LGBTQ community. Please consider giving to help support their efforts.

 

The Trevor Project – Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

 

The Reformation Project – The Reformation Project exists to train Christians to support and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Through building a deep grassroots movement, we strive to create an environment in which Christian leaders will have the freedom to take the next steps toward affirming and including LGBT people in all aspects of church life.

 

The Gay Christian Network – Founded in 2001, the Gay Christian Network (GCN) is a nonprofit Christian ministry dedicated to building bridges and offering support for those caught in the crossfire of one of today’s most divisive culture wars.  Our membership includes both those on Side A (supporting same-sex marriage and relationships) and on Side B (promoting celibacy for Christians with same-sex attractions). What began as an organization to provide support to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Christians has grown into a worldwide movement for compassion with many straight members as well.  GCN helps create safe spaces both online and offline for Christians of all sorts to make friends, ask questions, get support, and offer support to others.

 

Caution…deconstruction up ahead…

One of my favorite shows on television is Top Chef.  You would think I liked to cook with as much as I watch it, but in reality I really don’t.  Part of the reason I find it unpleasant is all of the dietary “restrictions” that are in my family.  For instance, my husband hates tomatoes, and any color pepper.  I guess it could be worse…when I met him all he ate was boxed macaroni and cheese, and stove top stuffing (smile).  My daughter hates anything Italian, and doesn’t care for garlic in her meals (there are many other dislikes, but the whole post would be about that).  My son is a vegetarian. He isn’t always home for dinner so that isn’t much of an issue, but when he is I am at a loss for what to feed him.  This also means no chicken or beef stock in recipes for him.  Then there is me.  I’m not supposed to have white potatoes, rice, pasta, or bread.  So, it’s a whole lot of no fun when trying to figure out what to make for dinner.  Sigh…

Despite all of that…I love the cooking shows…especially Top Chef.  They put those poor chefs through the most tc_episode_504_14difficult challenges.  I like to see how they come up with creations with all of the wrenches that they throw at them.  Not only do they deal with some strange food sometimes, but the kitchens that they give them to work in aren’t always the best…in fact…they aren’t always kitchens!  And the amount of time they give them to come up with elaborate dishes…forget about it!  They rush around the kitchen, cooking like crazy, waiting for the dreaded words, “Hands up – utensils down.”

One of the things I find fascinating is when they deconstruct a dish.  You will hear them say, “this is chicken pot pie deconstructed” and it looks nothing like what a chicken pot pie is supposed to look like.  The chefs break down the original recipe by looking at each ingredient individually.  Sometimes they elevate the ingredients by choosing a more healthy option, or a more gourmet replacement.  When they cook the dish, they make it their own and arrange it in a completely different way.  It’s the same, but it isn’t. (smile).

Well I can say that my faith has been deconstructed.  I’ve shared before that when I first learned that my son was gay, I was afraid to read my Bible.  I didn’t want to read that I would need to abandon my son.  I didn’t want to read that I shouldn’t love him anymore.  I know that sounds crazy, but there are churches that teach this doctrine.  I never heard this teaching at my church yet I was afraid.  This intrigued me.  Why did I feel this way if it was never taught from the pulpit?  As I’ve met more people, I’ve realized that this is really common…even in churches where it wasn’t talked about.  I think it stems from the overall message from the Christian community.  It’s an unspoken belief in many cases.  Since I believed something that was never taught directly to me, I wondered how much more of my faith was “tainted.”

I read the Bible and I’ve been in tons of Bible studies.  But even given that, my faith was flat.  The scary thing is that I didn’t realize it.  I took the different teachers at their word.  I didn’t really question what they were telling me.  I’m not saying that what they taught was false, but I decided that I should dig deeper.  So that’s what I did, and it’s been amazing!  I have learned so much.  When something hits you personally like this, it has the tendency to turn your faith upside down.  And that’s ok.  I would say that it’s actually a good thing.

I took the pieces of my faith that had shattered to the ground.  Questioned them. Examined them.  Then took the parts that made sense to me, elevated the ones that were weak, and turned them into a gourmet faith that has deeper roots and bears more fruit.  At least that’s my hope.

Strong-faithTab

I was so inspired by the faith of the people who attended The Reformation Project conference that I went to in November.  I sat in the back of the church the first night.  As worship began, you could feel God’s presence.  I had already met several people who stories with the church were not good stories.  As I watched faces turned upward, hands lifted, and voices raised tears flowed down my cheeks.  I couldn’t get over the expression of love that I was witnessing.  This coming from some who weren’t even allowed in churches in their home towns.  People who have been told that God hates them.  Told that they are an abomination.   They were finally free to worship God in a church with fellow believers.  Their faith was strong and it flowed out of them like a river of love for God.  It was beautiful and it has changed me forever.  Despite their trials, they had a deep faith and love for God and it was inspiring.  My prayer is that they will one day no longer feel rejection and be free to worship where they want to worship being loved for who God created them to be.

Love matters…now go show the world.

 

coffee for your heart