This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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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.