Jesus was trying to communicate to his contemporaries: “Put God first in your life. Orient your entire being toward the sacred. Not because I’m telling you that you should, not because it’s what scripture tells you to do. Do it because it’s who you are. It is who God made you to be.”
If your God is love but your church won’t accept the disenfranchised, those on the fringe, the forgotten, something doesn’t line up.
And as we continue to speak from a place of ignorance, our neighbors are drowning in confusion and judgment.
Maybe it’s time to loose the death grip on our precious moral stances and open our hands to those around us who are hurting and longing for love and acceptance. Now, more than ever, we should love the person in front of us. Lives are changed through relationship rather than rule-keeping. This is the essence of the message of Jesus.
It happened at a church basketball team lock-in. Coach Mills had made us shower one at a time while he sat and watched us. It didn’t feel strange because there was only one shower in the gym for us to use. What was strange was the way he looked at us. Another kid Joey was on the basketball team too. Before we went to bed, Joey said to me, “That was weird.”
When abuse is your first memory, it colors who you are.
I was molested when I was a preschooler, and it has rippled through my life ever since. The “predator” was a 17-year-old kid who lived across the street. And knew my family well.
Abuse happens. It is scary and horrific and life changing, and we victims are all terrified it will happen to our children the way it happened to us.
But we have to be honest about where abuse happens. It is so very very rarely a stranger in a public restroom.
For years, I have said my struggle is not knowing what I believe about homosexuality and Christianity. But that’s a lie. My struggle has been more about my own fear of being kicked out of fellowship in the Bible Belt for being willing to defend gay people. I have been afraid to come out and say I believe all people were created by a God who loves us all the same. My struggle has been admitting that what you do behind closed doors in the privacy of your own bedroom with someone you love deeply and are committed to is none of my business.
As an artist (whether it’s written word, musician, photographer, painter, etc.), having our work validated, appreciated, and shared is such an honor. I have been given the opportunity to turn my passion for messy grace into a brand-new weekly column for my friend Jason Ramsey at Altarwork.
My heart is heavy as I sit down to write this article, which is sometimes the best time to write and sometimes the absolute worst. We’ll see what happens. In the past week, I have seen some of the most hateful, closed-minded, judgmental, ostracizing comments paint the landscape of social media, all in the name […]