This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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Friday, December 20, 2013

That's Not Me Anymore

The nice thing about having an unknown blog is that hardly anyone reads what I write.  The bad thing is that usually the people that do read what I write are my friends and family.  As a fairly private person, it's a bit unusual for me to put my business out there, but I suppose things are a bit unusual lately.  Bear with me friends.

On Wednesday night I had the privilege of taking my kids to practice for the Children's Christmas Program at our church.  It was nice being able to get a sneak preview of cute kids singing and also be able to strike fear into the hearts of my boys as they lined up, walked in, sang, stood up, sat down and did their thing.  Yep, I'm the mom that stands in the back doing the "I got my eyes on you" motion as I point to my eyes and then to them.  Honestly, I believe that even if I had not been there, my kids would have been well behaved, perhaps even better.

Liam, my middle son, signed up to write about his favorite Christmas memory and share it during the program.  When his moment came, he moved to his marker, listened to a sweet 6th grade girl share her moving story, held the microphone to his mouth and said "I can't do this."  He then set the microphone down and walked off stage as one of the teachers followed him out of the room.  I didn't run to him.  I let his teacher provide the counsel and encouragement that a Mom just can't provide, especially a Mom that seems to be watching your every move.  When she brought him to me, he was red eyed and still visibly upset.  Probably embarrassed.  We sat at the back of the sanctuary and he told me all the reasons he could not do it.  "Hers was so good."  "I'm scared." "I'm only in 4th grade." "Mine is so different from hers."

We dissected all of those concerns and discussed that his story was special too and needed to be shared.  Then I reminded him of two moments in his life.  The first was may be 3 years ago when he insisted on getting on the platform at our previous church to pray into a microphone in front of hundreds of people.  I was more scare than he was and he did awesome.  The second was about 2 years ago when he was baptized in front of a couple hundred people and he boldly proclaimed his faith, again into a microphone.  I told him that those moments reflect the boldness and courage inside of him and that THAT is who he is.  Then he said something kind of timely.

"That's not who I am anymore."

How often have I said these same words to God?  I am currently in kind of a funky place.  A place where dreams have been shelved and nearly forgotten.  A place where the person who I was seems so distant and almost a little mythical.  There is a certain boldness, courage and, dare I say it, passion that seems to have waned. 

And I say "That's not who I am anymore."

So, on Wednesday night, as I sat in the pew at the back of the sanctuary, I told my son that, of course, THAT is still him.  That God had created THAT in him.  That, no matter what, THAT will always be him.

As we wrap up this final week of Advent and contemplate Immanuel, God with us, take a moment to pull a dream or two off the shelf.  If Christ came so that we might have life and life more abundant, then would it not seem appropriate to reacquaint ourselves with the "us" we were created to be? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Waiting Room

"The radiation waiting room is a special place. A sea of broken people; adults of all ages, children, brain cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer. We exchange knowing glances, we learn each others names, we smile. There is solidarity here and I find myself thankful that I can never un-know that such suffering, such valor, exists. It makes me a better person. It keeps insignificance in it's place." - FB post by a Christian father of a young cancer patient.

Image courtesy of Ambro / 
Should this not also be a picture of the Church; vulnerable and broken and honest with one another.  I am not attempting to degrade those that have been tormented by cancer or its treatments.  Let me show you what I mean:
"The Church is a special place.  A sea of broken people; adults of all ages, children, liars, cheaters, thieves, the lonely, the brokenhearted.  We exchange knowing glances, we learn each others names, we smile.  There is a solidarity here and I find myself thankful that I can never un-know that such suffering, such valor, exists.  It makes me a better person.  It keeps insignificance in its place." 

But this is not what I can say about the Church.  Though it is true that She is a sea of broken people of every age and knowing glances are exchanged, but those glances usually come in the form of judgement.  We do learn each others names, but only because we must out of some unwritten church-going law.  Yes, there are smiles, but they do not often come from a deep place of vulnerability, but rather from the shallows of our facades. 
Of course there are places where people are permitted to reveal their brokenness, but they are not the rule.  Most certainly the Church is not perceived as such by the non-church-going sect.  In fact, if radiation treatment waiting rooms were like our churches, can you imagine what you would find there?  Thickly painted, clownish faces and uncomfortable clothes stuffed with padding; some would have no people at all.   
Yet this is what we do every weekend, we paint on our smiles and wear our best clothes; tell our kids to straighten up while we tell everyone that we're fine, wonderful, in fact.  We are the sick that sit across from the doctor and say, "I feel great!" all the while we are desperate for help and healing and wholeness.
I pray that you find a place that allows brokenness and I pray that you find the strength to allow Jesus to identify it, name it and treat it.
When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

Friday, June 21, 2013

What Apology|2013 is not... and what it is.

The LGBTQ Community VERSUS the entirety of Christendom. 

It's a hot topic. 

It doesn't matter if you're talking about it in the context of marriage, adoption, the Boy Scouts, professional sports, fast food chains, or any other battleground, it is a topic that can quickly set a blaze between individuals both online and off.

So, you must be thinking, why have I created Apology|2013 and what is my intent?

Let me start with what Apology|2013 isn't.

It's not an attempt to rewrite the Bible or refute it's contents.

It's not a statement about what is or what is not sin.

It's not a condemnation of Christians across the country or around the globe.

It's not an apology for being a Christian or our beliefs.

What Apology|2013 is.

It's just that, an apology.

It's intended to say...

I'm sorry for every time I ever thought my sins were more tolerable than yours, they aren't.

I'm sorry for every time I ever thought God loved me more than He loves you, He doesn't.

I'm sorry for every time I wasn't loving, that doesn't reflect Jesus and not just MY Jesus, but the actual Jesus that lived and breathed and walked the earth, Who I believe still lives.

I'm sorry for every time I didn't jump to your defense or looked the other way when you were hated, Jesus would have.

I'm sorry for every time I assumed I knew more about life than you did, I don't.

I'm sorry for every time I judged you, if sins had a hierarchy, pride would be at the top.

I'm just sorry.

Now, I have had people that have suggested that we cannot apologize for the actions of another human being.  After all, we are all human and we are all broken.  I agree on some levels, but on the other hand, I do feel that we can apologize on behalf of our family, especially when other family members are not representing our core values.

This is not a personal apology that I've blown out of proportion to some kid I knew in high school.  This is not a response to some guilt that I have floating around.

This is me standing for something that lies at the core of my CHRISTIAN beliefs and an invitation for you to join me.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


So WAAAAAYYYY back in January of this year I decided to create an event called Apology 2013.  You can read more about my idea here.  I was passionate about it, harrassed people via email, blog comment and twitter. 

Unfortunately, I only had a handful of people get on board.  Not on board enough to promote it, but on board enough to say they would participate.  But, hey, I took what I could get.  After a few weeks of pushing my idea onto people, I realized that it just wasn't working.  Few people cared and some even flatly disagreed.  I was deflated.

So as June 25th quickly approached, I found myself with a tough (for me) choice.  Do I continue knowing that I was a single voice amongst a clamorous online community?  Do I just throw my hands up, knowing that my efforts would reach few?  Well, after contemplating my options I've decided that even if I stand alone, I've still got to stand.

So, I remain firm in my belief that there must be a move like this to bridge the ever expanding gap between many people in the world, those that are members of the LGBT community and those that simply support them, and the Christian community.  So, once again, I invite you to join me in my efforts to do just that.  To keep it simple I've included a .jpg that you may use.  I recommend:

1. Change all of your online profile pictures on June 25, 2013!
2. Share it on Facebook, your blog, Instagram, Twitter. 
3. Turn it into a T-Shirt or Button.  For those more economically minded, you can print it on a file label and wear it on your shirt.

Here's a post I read today over at Matt Appling's blog that stirred me. 

I invite you to join me in this cause, however lost it may be. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Controversy of Christ

I've had a concept that has been floating in the vast abyss of my mind as of late.  In fact, this post has been begun, deleted, restarted and deleted again. 
Here's the thing.  Jesus Christ is controversial.  As a follower of Christ, I should be controversial.  In fact, ALL followers of Christ should be controversial, but, for the most part, we are simply not.  Sadly, those that are, are rarely controversial for any of the reasons Jesus was.
When was the last time you ate dinner with a pimp or a gang member at their house? 
Have you ever befriended a drug addicted prostitute?
If given the opportunity, would you publicly decry Church leaders taking advantage of church members or elevating their position?
Do you truly love others regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or pasts?  How about atheists, agnostics, universalists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, homosexuals, transgendered individuals or what about those that simply hate you? 
Let me set a scene for you.  
A young girl is exiting an office building.  She's looks about 20 years old with shoulder length brown hair and a pretty face.  Nothing about her is striking.  She takes a step onto the asphalt and she keeps her head down as she is trailed by a young man also about her age. 
On the sidewalk running parallel with the edge of the parking lot, a small crowd of individuals with hand-made signs have gathered.  They are not there specifically for her, but in a way, they are.  One sign says, "Abortion Kills Babies."  There are others, but girl about 9 years old, also pretty with shoulder length brown hair is holding a sign that says "Abortion Kills Children." 
One woman in particular, in her mid-forties with cropped blond hair framing her pudgy flushed cheeks, yells out "I hope you're not one of them baby killers!!  Abortion's a sin, you know!!!"
Instead of slowing her pace, the young woman, visibly uncomfortable, hastens to make it to the safety of her vehicle. 
Now, I ask you, the controversial Jesus whose name we just love to bandy about, where would He be standing in this scenario?  Would He be holding a sign?  Or rather, would He stand in between the young woman and the protesters asking for those that had never responded in anger to anyone remain?  Would He put His arm around her after the protesters had gone and told her it would be ok, but that there was a better choice?  Would His eyes be filled with Love and His action be filled with hope?  I think so.
Who is this Jesus we say we follow really?  Are we really following Him? 
Yes, Jesus is controversial.  Yes, American Christianity is also controversial, but typically for polar opposite reasons.
I ask you, if you have found yourself controversial, was it as Christ was or was it simply in His name?   
I could set scene after scene where "the world" clashes with "the church" and I bet MOST of the time, Jesus would not be standing with us.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thirty-Six and Counting

Whelp.  It's my birthday again.  I've fallen off the blogging wagon as of late, A-gain, but I feel a certain sense of obligation to post something on my birthday.

This birthday is a weird one for me.  We recently lost my husbands grandfather, well, we didn't lose him, as much as he peacefully passed from this life into the next.  Somehow my birthday falls in between his death and his funeral, so I guess you could say that my BIRTHday is a bit shrouded this year.

Isn't that how life works sometimes though?  With the constant ebb and flow of life and death, we are daily celebrating new life and lives well lived. 

On this, the day where we once again commemorate my Mother's strength and conviction to bring me into this world and her self-control and patience that prevented her from taking me out of it between the ages of 12 and 23, I want to share a bit about Andy, Rob's grandfather.  Given his influence on my husband, my children and me personally, it seems fitting.

I met Andy and Angie when I was 19 and really got to know them when I lived with them for about a month from May to June 1997.  Yes, I said lived.  You may be wondering if it was Rob and I that lived with them and the answer is no, it was just me.  I won't go into the back story that lead me, basically a stranger, to living in an RV parked in their driveway like a bum, but just know that I was kind of an idiot. 

Admittedly, Andy wasn't my blood grandfather and so many people are much more deeply connected to him, but he definitely didn't let on to that fact in the way  he treated me.  Now that I'm a bit more mature, I look back on how our relationship started and am in awe at the grace, integrity and love that were constant in his life.  I don't know that I would have let some odd looking girl with black hair and lip ring come live in my yard, even if she was my grandson's girlfriend.  I mean, how long is THAT relationship gonna last anyway?  Haha!

I am really sensing that this post could get pretty long and in an effort to make it easier for you to digest, here are my top 10 qualities or memories I loved about Tata (a cherished moniker that he gained when he became a great-grandfather).  Keep in mind that this is just the tip of an expansive ice berg of 87 years of a well lived life.

1.  Memory: Road trip to the Bay Area, just him and I, to make a delivery for Central Auto, his auto dismantling company.  It was on this trip that I learned that there is always room for a cheeseburger.  It was also on this trip that our bond began. 

2. Memory: Watching "Stories" with he and Angie each evening.  I think he really thought I might learn Spanish.  Sadly, I never did. 

3. Memory: How happy it made him that I craved his chile when I was pregnant with the boys.  He always made sure that I had a jar of my own to take home.  He also convinced me to try nopales, which, as it turns out, I love!

4. Memory: Watching my boys flock to him each time we arrived at their home.  He would always say "Now come here and give you Tata a kiss."  Anyone who loves my kids like he did is a giant in my book!

5. Memory: He would always, always, always try to teach me to load the dishwasher.  As much as I would try to shoo him out of the kitchen, the conversations were filled with a lot of "Thusly"s.  If you've had the benefit of spending more than 5 minutes with him, you know what I'm talking about.

6. Memory: The nicknames and words that he made up.  Often times we found out later that they were not totally fictional, but they were always awesome.  This trait has been passed on to my husband and will likely continue with my boys. 

7. Memory: The hammock.  I don't know why, but it always made my heart smile to see him relaxing in his hammock under the canopy of his redwoods and plum trees.  I imagine him in heaven relaxing in a hammock even now.

8. Quality: He was a family man.  He always put his family first. He was generous and loving and was always happy to see us.  He was patient with the kids even when they were rowdy or wouldn't eat their food.  He loved all of us unconditionally. 

9. Quality: He lived a life that was founded on integrity.  He was a business man, a veteran, a friend, a husband, a father, a (great)grandfather and many, many other things and he did all of these things as a man of integrity.  He said what he meant and meant what he said. 

10. Quality: He loved life!!  He was funny, he was hospitable, he loved food and was an excellent cook, he was always going and doing and traveling.  He loved mechanical dancing and singing animals and figurines.  He LOVED to make them perform for the kids and they loved it too!  He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.  I literally don't think I can conjure a picture in my mind of him not smiling. 

Andy Gonzales may not have been my grandfather from birth, but he has been my grandfather for the last 16 years and to say that I simply cared for him or liked him would be an incredible understatement.  He has always had my deepest respect and my love.

Yes, it  may be my birthday, but today I consider my life in light of a man who lived his so, so well.  It is my hope that my husband and I are able to live a life which one day leaves a legacy that is even remotely as powerful Andy and Angie. 

Andy, you will be missed each and every day.  We promise to give Nana an extra kiss for you every time we visit.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dischord. Distress. Distraught.

I should stay off of the Internet.

Much of what I read causes my stomach to turn and on more times than not, just the headlines are enough.

I feel like crying today.  Weeping, really.

If what is happening in the world isn't quite enough, reading all of the crap floating around the world wide web of Christendom isn't any help. 

It's funny, I can read about things that occur outside of the context of being "Christian" and though I might find it sickening or heartbreaking or unfathomable, I understand that mankind is capable of depravity and remind myself "But for the Grace of God go I."

As much as that is bothersome to me, I know that there still remains hope in every situation that lacks Jesus.  Jesus is that hope.  As proved time and again, with Christ there is hope for forgiveness, transformation, grace, peace, wholeness, love... 


"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other."

That is where I am paralyzed with fear.  In the community that should be so full of love and compassion and grace for one another, we are ravenous.  We are piranhas.

We travel in packs and feed in frenzies.

We feed on the brokenhearted.  We feed on the famous.  We feed on the lost.  We feed on the confused.  We feed on the gentle.  We feed on anyone who we perceive as different.  We feed on anyone who we perceive as "wrong".

In that frenzy, it seems, we gain momentum as others join our ranks.  Our hearts pump with life giving blood, all the more fervently, as we drain the life out of others.  Our skin tingles as our teeth sink deeper and deeper, tearing away at each other. 

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

There are traumatic events in our lives that can be repaired on this earth and made whole in eternity.  Events that we elevate as being eternal, which are not. 

Likewise, there are choices we make that have eternal consequences, which we demean as not carrying much weight, outbursts that we justify by being "right", stripes we place on Jesus' back in our righteousness.  Choices we determine that are necessary, in our pride.

"By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]." 

I am grieved. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Glory of Making Mistakes

I make lots of mistakes on a regular basis.  It does not feel glorious.

I do not enjoy making mistakes, in fact, I tend toward nurturing my mistakes into little pets that I let out whenever I want to feel bad about myself. 

I'm not sure why I like to remind myself that:

I'm a bad Wife
I'm a bad Mom
I'm a bad Friend
I'm a bad Daughter
I'm a bad Employee
I'm a bad Human Being

But I do.  Even in moments where I imagine I'm not mucking things up too badly, I rain on my own parade.  I mean, who throws themselves parades anyway.  Am I right?

I know, I know.  There is no humility in this type of thought process and it also undermines God's purpose in my life.  Hey, if the only victory I achieve is found in self-defeat, I'll take what I can get.  (That was a joke, sort of.)

This mindset goes against the "You are good enough.  You are smart enough and dogonnit, people like you." mentality of this world.  But have you noticed that they stop giving out participation awards in grade school? 

So here I am, surrounded by decades of mistakes staring at me with their puppy-dog eyes, begging to be let out of their cages.  They just want to play a quick game of Walking Dead.  It'll be fun.

It can feel like I'm being mauled if I stay there too long.

Then there's God. 

He never undercuts the mistakes, He never pats me on the head and says they didn't matter or that they were fine.  He uses them to create something new.  He is both Creator and Redeemer, after all.

If.  I.  Let.  Him.

He can use those same mistakes and create something beautiful. 

Something that inspires others to share their mistakes and find freedom. 





If. I. Let. Him.

He will take my mistakes and paint a picture of His Love.  A Love that can spread like wildfire to everyone around me.  And that, is the glory of making mistakes.  Or rather, the glory that can come from making mistakes.  If.  I.  Let.  Him.

I suppose therein lies the rub... I can't keep my mistakes AND let Him make something more of them.   

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted at Peter Pollock’s blog. The word is "Mistakes".  Check out other posts and/or link your own.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Freedom & Love

This world offers freedom, but the freedom it offers isn't free or freeing.

We simply become captive to success, money, other people's opinions, our jobs, the societal norm, the cookie cutters that we all have to fit into.  We have become numb to our prison cells because we stay doped up on consumption and entertainment.  Feeling a bit dissatisfied?  There's a movie for that.

So, you think you're different and you find your freedom in your individuality? 

Well, Hipster has become so normal, it's not even cool anymore.   

Goth?  Yeah... that's kind of just funny now.

Punk?  Wait.  Is that even a thing any more?

Emo... ok, that's just lame.  Does anyone even remember emo?

Scene?  Passe, just like that hombre hair color.

Like to put a little bright color in your hair?  So does Barbie.  Got Tatoos?  Yep, Barbie has them too.  Fan of ye ol' Dubstep?  It's cool, you can find it on the jukebox at your local pizza parlor.

Do you feel different?  Maybe like no one understands you?  Like you have something in you that would blow everyone away if they knew? 

Are you getting it yet?  Everyone is different and, in that fact, no one is special.  Or maybe it's that everyone is special and, in that fact, no one is different.  In either case, I have good news.  You are different and special, but not for the reasons you think.

There is no outward force that can mold you into something special.  There is no government agency that can make you free.  There is no army or fashion magazine that can help you discover your potential or cap it.

You will not find your identity in a crowd of people protesting or in the rhetoric distributed by people who have set their face toward division. 

You may be reading this today as an atheist, or a deist of a non-Christian nature, or a confused Christian, or just confused; regardless of that, just know that you were hand-crafted for a purpose in this life.  That *thing* that you carry around in your heart was carefully placed there and the only way it can be fully understood is when it's purpose is explained by it's Creator.

I'm not peddling Easter Bunnies or Eggs or "correct" Resurrection Sunday memes.  I'm not pushing pews and crosses and NOTW t-shirts either.  I'm pointing to that thing inside of you that wants to burst out and be free (Don't picture the scene from Alien, Hahahaha!).  It can't without Jesus. 

No matter what you do to your external-self, you will not harness your true potential, which is the thing that ACTUALLY makes you different, until you acknowledge it was created by Someone Who loves you and may have some thoughts on the matter.

Freedom can only be found in true love.

True love doesn't come with exceptions.

True love is not just a feeling, but proved by action.

True love has come in the Man named Jesus, who loves you without exception and proved it by the Cross.

Until you know Him, you will not be free.  You may be sedate, you may be confused, you may be numb, you may be angry, or you may be lying to yourself; but you will not be free.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Gaze Outside of Time

So, the entire chapter of Hebrews 12 is worth reading, as is the entire book of Hebrews, and the New Testament and, well, while I'm at it, the entirety of the Holy Bible.  That being said, my post today is about 2 half sentences that show up in Hebrews 12:1-2.  They read:

"...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame..."

Do you see it?  I didn't until Sunday night during a prayer service. 

The gaze outside of time itself.

As Jesus entered this most diffcult week, this Holy Week, this Passion Week, there was one thing that encouraged Him to endure and that was you. 

"For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame..."

He was looking at you.  You, in your most wretched state, lost and broken, were enough to get Him through. 

This gaze, however, was never intended to be one way.  Just as Jesus is outside of time looking at you now, you have been invited to return that gaze and be encouraged during your difficult days.

When you set your eyes on Jesus, know that He is looking right back at you.

Is it as crazy for your to think that Jesus found endurance in setting His gaze upon you?  It's still crazy for me.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Don't Judge Me | It Just Sounds So Biblical

I don't know the exact level of irony that will be displayed in what I am about to share, but I do know that this post may be perceived as having been woven with a substantial amount of irony.  Given that it seems as though I may be judging others who are judging others for judging them.  Yeah, that just happeed.

So, here goes.

There seems to be a surge of memes posted online demanding that others not judge them.  To drive the point home?  They quote Jesus. 

Luke 6:37

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged."

Matthew 7:1

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

Seems straight forward, right?  Jesus said don't judge, so people shouldn't judge me, right?  I don't think that was His point.

I think this teaching falls under the same category as so many teachings I've sat under, as soon as I hear the word spoken, I think of someone else who should hear it.  Funny how that works.  We are always so quick to apply the commands of God to other people, instead of ourselves.

We always want to be forgiven, but struggle with forgiveness.
We declare "Don't judge me!", yet often judge others.
We say others should be generous to us, but find that we withhold.
We remind others of unconditional love, yet have many filters on our own.

Jesus tells the story of an unmerciful servant in Matthew 18.  To summarize what occurred, a servant was forgiven a pretty significant debt by his king.  Shortly thereafter, he ran into an old friend that owed him a pretty minor debt and had him thrown into prison when the friend was unable to repay him.  When the king heard this, he had some pretty harsh words for the servant and then reinstated the debt, throwing his butt into prison. 

I understand that forgiveness is a very specific topic, one that should not be glossed over, but I believe that this command against judging others should be grouped in with forgiveness relative to its application. 

Jesus never commanded that we not judge others so that we might avoid being judged by people, but rather so that we might avoid being judged by God.  I'm not suggesting that we won't be held accountable for our (in)actions, because we will.  I'm merely stating that the purpose of His command was that we might address the issues in our own hearts and make adjustments. 

The world as each of us knows it would change dramatically for the better if we simply stopped concerning ourselves with what judgements other people made of us and spent some time judging our own hearts and motives.  We need to take down our "Don't judge me!" banners and begin the work of becoming renewed.  

Trust me, if you are overly concerned with what others think of you and spend time defending yourself, you will spend very little time with the Holy Spirit searching out the real issues in your heart and making the necessary adjustments.  Once in defense mode, it's hard to let God show us what is broken.

I can only tell you what I, myself, have gone through.  Or rather, what I am still going through.  So, don't worry!  You are good company.

Can we all agree to stop posting those stupid memes now?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Funny Thing About Parenting

The funny thing about parenting is that it's not all about teaching what you unswervingly know, but rather, more often about learning as you teach... well, learning as I teach, since this is from my experience and perspective.  In other words, as I guide them, I find myself becoming my own guide. 

By example, our family has recently begun a huge shift; we have stopped attending the church where we've attended for 6 years and are starting fresh.  Perhaps you are reading this and don't see the magnitude of that statement.  It's like moving to a new country, or joining a new family.  You have to understand that the people with whom we attended at our old church were our family.  They were the people that we saw 2-3, sometimes even 4 times per week.  We were witness to couples announcing their courtship, then their wedding date, then the birth of their first child.  Those people were people that I thanked God for each and every day.  They were OUR people. 

But, God, as unchanging as He may be, is not tied to our comfort.  He asked Abraham to take his immediate family and leave his community for a place unknown, and in many ways, that is exactly what God asked of us.  Once we determined that we needed to start making preparations to make the move, we made them.  It was sudden and scary and weird, but we did it.

Rob and I are resilient, we can pretty much roll with anything, because after 16 years together we've experienced quite a bit of change, surprise, disappointment, fear of the unknown, joy, etc.  However, we have 4 little ones at home that don't roll as smoothly and I didn't realize what I was asking of them until the tears began to flow. 

When that happened:

I began consoling them, that didn't work. 

I began commanding them, that didn't work.

Finally, I began encouraging them with the Word of God.  It just flowed out of me.  Then the most amazing thing happened, I was encouraged.

You see, 75% of me (perhaps a tad more) didn't want to make the change.  Staying would be so much easier.  I'm an an introvert, sprinkled with just a touch of social awkwardness.  Meeting people is not easy for me; it makes my stomach hurt, literally for the most part.  It took me 6 years to build the relationships I had, 6 years to feel increasingly at home when I stepped onto campus, and most importantly 6 years to find just the perfect seat.

Ok, that last one, probably wasn't THAT important, but it was nice.  In fact, not that I went to church at a bar, but for me my church was much like the T.V. show Cheers.  When I stepped onto campus for any given event, gathering, service or meeting I would hear "BRINAAAAA!!!" somewhere, even at a distance.  It was my Cheers.  If you could somehow merge Diane and Carla, you'd get me.  Odd, but true.

In case you think I loved my old church simply for the community we were a part of, I most especially loved it because of God's presence, the truth of His Word being shared and the growth that occurred for my family there.
I think you get the point, I loved my church.  But, in speaking with my boys about the impending change, I began to tell them of the Israelites and how along their journey through the wilderness they had the opportunity to move when God said to move and remain under His grace and blessing and enter their promised land, or they could hesitate in disobedience and miss their opportunity.  We did a little pop-quiz on the name of the 2 smart spies (Jacob won $1) and just explored that situation.

At the end of our discussion, they better understood why we had to do what God asked of us and, frankly, I did to.  He has something more for us in this new place.  Something that He's intended all along. 

So what did I learn while I was tryin' to learn my kids some Bible stuff?  I learned that God's ultimate goal for our life is not sedentary comfort, but rather that we would be in His presence under His grace and blessing all the days of our lives, where ever that might lead. 

You gotta move when God says move.  So we did.   

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why Apology 6/25/13 Will Never Work.

Since posting my idea for Christians across the internet to use their public platforms to post an apology to the LBGT community on 6/25/13, I've had quite a few people read my submission, but very few respond.  By few, I mean my husband, a handful of close friends and a blogger who played a central part in the inspiration of this idea.  I'm not entirely sure what I expected.  I guess, I kind of thought people would read it and yell aloud "I can't believe no one has ever thought of this before!  I'm going to repost this a million times!" 
But that didn't happen. 
I did have a gay Christian woman support it immensely, which I love, but that doesn't prove anything other than this is desperately needed.  We have an entire community of people who deserve an apology which may never materialize.  And even if it did, would it be enough?
Perhaps some Christians read my proposal and assume what I am proposing is Christians everywhere should stand up and say, "Hey, we're sorry!  We've been wrong in our beliefs this whole time."  That's simply not the case.  What I am suggesting is that we stand together and apologize for our behavior.  Regardless of what translation of the Bible you read or what social lense and historical context you view the Bible through, Christians, as a lumped sum group, have not expressed the heart of Jesus.  We just haven't. 

As a Christian, I find that sad.  Sad for everyone.  We haven't even given most of the people in this world and virtually none of the LGBT community a chance to really experience Jesus. 

It occurred to me that we've become bouncers of Club Jesus and I'm not even sure that Jesus is inside anymore.  He's out there, trying to heal the wounds of those we've injured.  The injured, though, cringe at the thought of His touch because of who WE said He was. 
In reality, my plan probably won't work as I had hoped.  There are too many bridge burners and too many idle hands to be productive. 
Even if we could get some momentum, how much impact will it truly have?  Some people may feel the apology is disingenuous.  Too organize.  Too little, too late.  Or perhaps not the apology they want to hear.
A simple apology can't mend all of the hurts involved and it may not fix the complex dynamics of the issue at large, but, guess what? 
I don't care because it's the right thing to do. 
Even if only a handful of people join me on June 25, 2013 to apologize, it won't change my heart.
I know that 1 Corinthians 13 is so, so popular and quotable, especially for weddings.  But I challenge you to read it again.  The following is in The Message translation.

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
So, tell me.  How can we look at all that has transpired between the "Christian" camp and the "Gay" camp and even remotely say that we, Christians, have walked in this love.  We can't, but we can stop and simply apologize.  I cannot apologize for what Christians believe relative to homosexuality and sin, but I can and will apologize for how poorly our actions represent Christ's love.
Let's love extravagantly. 
Would you join me on June 25, 2013? 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Apologetics All Around!

(DISCLAIMER:  None of the following individuals, Sammy Adebiyi, Ed Stetzer or Carlos Whittaker have endorsed this post or anything in it.  I am merely sharing some of the posts that I've recently enjoyed reading.)

No wait!  I meant, APOLOGIES all around!  Dang!  I never understood why those two words can mean something so different and yet sound so similar.
I do think though, that if we sprinkled our apologetics with a few apologies, people might be interested in our Gospel.


Recently, Sammy Adebiyi wrote an article for Prodigal Magazine which chronicles his experience of repentance toward the LGBT community.  Please, please, please read it HERE.

After reading his article, I posted a comment that included this statement:

"I'm really glad that you took the public stance you did Sammy. I think more people with public platforms should do what you did."
Then it occurred to me.  Why can't we?  Why can't Christians who have a public platform that feel the same way Sammy feels, the same way I feel, say "Sorry"?  And not just at random, but on the same day.  I mean if Christians can organize an impromptu eat in at Chick-Fil-A, then why can't those of us who felt a little nauseous on that day take a day to express how we feel?


We need a voice.  Not just one voice, but many voices.  Brave voices.  Loving voices.  Gentle voices.  Loud voices.  Voices who sound a whole lot like Jesus and who will make a pact to post on their Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Blogs, Google+, Bumper Sticker, Lapel Button, or whatever, on Tuesday, June 25th 2013:



I read an article on Ed Stetzer's blog yesterday and it really brought clarity to the issue for me (please read it HERE).  There is no way to fully reconcile two such polar opposite points of view, BUT something must be done and it must be done soon.

As Christians, we serve a God that always sacrifices first, loves first, forgives first, gives first; so, in light of this example, we must waive the white flag of humility first.


I was scanning my twitter feed late last night and @loswhit tweeted he would be posting an interview with a homosexual Christian today.  My heart leaped.  I was so excited and scared to hear what he or she would have to say.  I believe if you read it, which I'm kind of insisting you do, (read that HERE) it will really cement the truth of my cause.  At one point in the interview, after being asked to give advice to Christians, she said:

"Listen to them and love them gently. Even acknowledge and apologize for how the Christian community has wounded them."

There it is.  Simple as the sky is blue and as difficult too.  We can't ignore this any longer.  We must all become Jesus and jump into the middle of the mob and demand of ourselves and each other “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then, we must drop our stones.


But you know what does, not loving people.  We twist the truth of the Gospel when we tell a single person that Jesus doesn't love them just as they are, but we also twist the truth of the Gospel if we would suggest that Jesus ever leaves us just as we are, but that is a discussion for a different day.

Today?  Today, we, Christians, just need to apologize and not just to the LGBT community, but to anyone that ever felt the searing stares of rejection as they walked into a church service.  Anyone who was ever told to go and get their life together BEFORE they could come into the presence of Jesus.  Anyone who felt like they had to LIE about who they were just to fit in with some "ideal" Christian community we tried so hard to sell everyone.  Anyone who we ever convinced that Jesus was a big ol' judgmental unforgiving guy like the rest of us.

He's not.  And before the big day of Apologies rolls out, I must say I'm sorry. 

For any moment that I EVER made anyone feel less than worthy of love.  We are all in the same boat.  We need Jesus.  And the GLORIOUS thing about HIM is that He is available to all of us, just as we are.

Join me, won't you? 

Please, please, please, I BEG you to:

1) Read the articles I posted.  They are wonderful resources.  If you have time, read other articles these great men have posted.

2) Comment below if you're in. (PLEASE BE IN!)

3) Share the plan!  If you're reading this, you likely have a Twitter, a Facebook, a Pinterest, an email account, or a piece of cardboard you can make a sign with.  Let's get the word out. 

If you are a Christian and you don't like this plan, then please do us all a favor and keep it to yourself.  We are trying to build bridges and cross them, not burn them as quickly as we build them.

Jesus never met us halfway.  So, let's build bridges... then cross them, to the Glory of Him Who loved us first.