Wednesday, March 27, 2013


It’s so easy to say we know what it means to love, especially in a Christ-like manner, when we are sitting in our primarily white, suburban churches and donating money to charities and missionaries without actually doing any of the work ourselves.  
I hope that Christ breaks me out of that box.
That I will realize that I should predominantly follow the teachings of Jesus.  Teachings that talk about caring for the oppressed and the widows and the orphans.  Teachings that talk about carrying my cross, and suffering for the sake of the Gospel.  Like actually physically suffering… not just sitting at my computer and being upset at what people are posting on facebook about marriage equality.
I hope that I will realize that I need to follow this Jesus, and that no matter how great the teachings of Paul are in his letters, that Jesus is to come first.  While Paul is important and significant (after all, he is published in the New Testament Canon), he is just as human as you or me.  
Paul talks about his sin all the way throughout the New Testament.  Jesus is sinless.  He is perfect.  
I hope I will realize that when I read the story of the Great Samaritan, that I am the pharisee.  I am no greater, no better than he.  I don’t see hurt around me, and I continue on my selfish road to my own selfish gain.  Just because I claim to be a follower of Christ doesn’t mean that I affiliate with the hero in the story. 
So please tell me whose teachings are more important?
So even if homosexuality is a sin, I think that the American church places far too much importance on it.  
It is mentioned 5 times total in the whole Bible, 6 if you include Sodom and Gomorra, but that is a stretch considering that scholars most often say that this verse is primarily concerned with hospitality.  The two verses in Leviticus, while being significant, can’t be put into a real Christian argument.  There are so many other laws in Leviticus that we don’t follow, that saying we uphold these is hypocritical and creates a we-are-better-than-you mentality.  Besides, as Christians we believe that Christ came to fulfill the Old Testament laws and to create a new covenant.  Therefore these verses can’t stand up in religious argument very well.
We then must look at the passages in the New Testament.  These verses are found in Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy… all books that are attributed to Paul (although scholars are unsure as to whether Paul actually wrote all of those based on writing styles, etc).  So here we can see that the phsycial act of homosexuality is wrong according to the New Testament.  Therefore, it can be taken as a sin. and wrong.  However, nothing says that the emotional side or the attraction is wrong.  This just gets all messed up because so much of a person's identity is bound in their physical acts.  So much of our relationships, our pains, and our emotions are caught up in our physical and sexual acts and pasts.... no matter what sexual orientation we affiliate ourselves with.

But homosexuality is never once mentioned in the Gospels.  I am fairly positive that it is not a central theme to the life and teachings of Jesus.  Instead Jesus talks about love, service, and salvation.  If Jesus wanted to talk about homosexuality, he would have.  His words in the Gospels, a few of them especially, are so selective, that I have confidence in my belief that if homosexuality was something real important to Christianity, then Jesus would have mentioned it at least once.
I think that the American church places far too much emphasis on homosexuality.  I think that if Jesus didn’t talk about it, then maybe we shouldn’t focus as much on it either.  We should focus on finding the best way to care in love for people.  There are other issues we should focus more on in the political spectrum.  Issues such as providing health care for people who can’t afford it.  Issues such as providing governmental assistance to the many people who are below the poverty line.  Providing food to the many, many adults and children who are starving on the very streets of our cities while we walk into an overstuffed kitchen and complain about not having anything to eat.  Things that we can tangibly do for the "least of these".
While I think that the American church places too much emphasis on the legality of homosexuality, I do think the issue of homosexuality is important.  Especially in regards to the culture and times that we are living in now.  I think that it is important that the American church do something about the way it is treating people.  No, this doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what is being said, but you do need to realize that while America was founded upon Biblical principles, it isn't really a “Christian nation”, and has the separation of church and state.  Laws aren't made based on the Bible.  That would be like the Sharia law that is imposed on many Islamic countries (although the Bible is far more ambiguous).
What you need to be able to do is look at your neighbor who is hurting.  Look at your neighbor who is hurting because they have struggled with their sexuality their whole lives, grown up in a Christian environment where they are told that God hates them, and to say that you are sorry.  

And not just look, but know.  

Have the conversations.  Get to know his or her story.  Get to know why he or she may have left the church, or is doubting their faith.  Why they struggle every day in a world that tells them they are less than valuable.  Get off of the church pews, and out of the buildings with stain glass and beautiful crosses, and carry that cross out to those who need it.

I am sorry.

I am sorry that the church hasn’t extended love, because if you are feeling hate, then obviously there is something wrong with the picture.

I hope that my life will be a reflection of Jesus’ love.  Of his perfect, self-sacrificing, mercy-filled, love.

**if you have a comment, please contact me privately.  I would love to discuss this with you, but not in a public forum.  I have written two 10+ page papers dealing with these issues in my undergrad, so I am more than welcome to conversation. Thanks.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

For learning. For knowing. For Loving.

A lot of times you hear people say that their college years were the best time of his or her life.  This causes multiple feelings to run through my head.  Is my life at its climax right now?  Is it all downhill after 22?

In some ways I can definitely see that it is.  Especially being a senior days away from graduation, and sitting on the cusp of a new kind of independence which ironically may involve moving in with the parents for a few months in the summer.

College is a time of growth.  A time of learning.  But it is also, especially in today's culture, a time to get away from the world.  To get your independence but not have to really pay for it.  A time to step away from many of the real issues in life, and a time to have fun.  To make friends.  Join clubs.  Become who you are meant to be.

And people say that that is the best it gets?  That going to parties and being involved in college is the best their lives will ever be?

That to me is sad.  I guess I've kind of always had this picture of what life would be.  Especially lately as I've started to think about what I really want to do.  And that picture for me is really, really exciting.  I know this sounds silly since I don't have any definite plans yet for after I graduate, but I am really excited.

The way I have envisioned my future is with people.  I want to know people.  I want to hang out with people, talk to people, love people.  I want to help people.  And help people I will.  I have really just developed a need to do so in my life this past year, and that is nothing short of the grace of God.

I long to travel.  I want to go to Israel and Europe and the Grand Canyon.  I want to live somewhere different, maybe Europe or the East Coast.  I want to learn more about other people's cultures.  I want to learn why people act the way they do.

So perhaps this reason why I don't see college as being the best part of my life is because I see it as a launching pad.  I have had these passions come into my life, and God just keeps opening these amazing doors full of nothing short of His grace alone, that allows for me to do his will.  And I am so, so grateful.

And yes, I know there will be pain in the future.  Loved ones will pass away, money will be an issue, heartache will come... but I know I can make it through.

Because the hope of the world tomorrow and the many tomorrows after that is something that keeps me going when I'm feeling upset.  A hope for learning more about this every changing, ever beautiful world.  A hope for learning, for knowing, for loving.

Monday, March 18, 2013


I almost shoplifted.  Not intentionally.

When I was younger I always thought that lipstick was for older women.  Recently, I have come to the realization that I am 22 and in that time of life when I am “allowed” to wear lipstick.  So yesterday, when I went to HEB, I mustered up the courage, picked out a bright red color, and added it to my shopping cart.  

As is always the problem with small items, it blended into the cart and had a hard time keeping itself in there.  When I was checking out, I seemed to have forgotten it.  I was focused on the high price of my vegetarian food selection on a college kid budget, and the lady in front of me after her full conveyer-belt piled high with food and a screaming toddler at her side.

So I checked out, and as the guy was helping me put the bagged groceries back into my cart, he noticed the lipstick.  I felt like a little kid sneaking candy from the candy drawer and being caught by Mom.

He quickly turned on his heals, already stressed from a long day and no help with the bagging, and went back to the cash register.  My guess is that my face was washed out and red with embarrassment.
As quickly as I could, I told him I was very sorry, got my cart and exited right to my car.

Let’s just say that the red color of the lipstick is very representative of the circumstances in which I bought it.

Sorry HEB guy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013