Tag: Jesus

Obergefell v. Hodges

On June 26, 2015, SCOTUS released their finding in Obergefell v. Hodges; their ruling was that Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. This changed precisely 13 of the 50 states; the rest had already legalized it.

It was, without argument, one of the most devastating blows to the Christian community I have ever seen.

Not for that reason, though – not because boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls, but because what little community still identified as Christian turned decidedly against each other in a hateful attack of unbelievable proportions. It stunned me and as I sat reading the responses, I became completely incensed, shaking in disbelief. The anger. The rage. The hatred. You know, just like Jesus was. Oh wait a second…

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus wasn’t some “anything goes, love is love, free hippy, you do you” kind of guy. He wasn’t. He was stern and did not pull punches when it came to Truth. He was clear about the issues. Jesus was not an “any love is good” kind of guy, but He DID talk a lot about loving each other, and doing it well.

People cite the John 8 passage where Jesus says “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” quite often to say that we aren’t called to judge, but that’s not true. We judge daily, and we have to in order to keep ourselves safe. We judge the distance to the car in front of us, the background of a babysitter to ensure our children will be safe, and what time we need to leave to get somewhere on time. The John 8 passage is coming up for me not because of the part where He says not to judge, but in how He speaks to the woman – “Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.””

He doesn’t pull her aside and tell her all the ways that what she’s doing is furthering the downfall of society. He sets her free, with the instruction to sin no more. And somewhere, we stopped letting the response of our Savior be enough. We didn’t want the Savior that Jesus was; we wanted a King, not a Servant. We want a ruler that will tell people they are wrong and punish, not love them and set them free. We wanted royalty, not someone who rode a mule and washed others’ feet and hung out with murderers and thieves and prostitutes. And despite not getting that Savior, we try to make him one, and this war that started yesterday may be the best example of that.

If allowing people that don’t claim Christianity to have secular rights is ruining marriage, why aren’t we fighting the marriage of Atheists? What about any other religion getting married? If we are desperately trying to save marriage, why aren’t we fighting to abolish no-fault divorces? Do we feel that, if given $500 million, Jesus would have spent it fighting gay marriage instead of feeding the poor, rescuing orphans, caring for widows? If you haven’t fought for the abolishment of marriage licenses to Atheists and all other non-Christians (FYI, I don’t support any of that), or fought to abolish divorce, don’t even start with the Chicken Little scenarios of gay marriage. “Pastors will be forced to marry the gays now!” Yeah, just like how a Catholic church is required by law to marry Muslims, right? Let me nope that.

1 Corinthians 5:12 says For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

There is more dysfunction in the church than outside of it, but why worry about that when we can hyperfocus on this one sin and shout at others that they are weak and wrong and hell-bound. Why worry about the fact that I screamed at my kids this morning until I was red in the face; the real threat to family is that guy in the rainbow pants wanting to hospital visitation rights and health insurance.

I am divorced, so let’s not misunderstand me, but the people I saw that were outraged yesterday were nearly all divorced or had children out of wedlock or some other type of scandal in their background; one that I know they wouldn’t want to be mocked and ridiculed for. We don’t see what WE do as contributing to the downfall of society, though, much like how we demand justice for others and beg mercy for ourselves.

If you are truly the devout Christian you claim to be, you wouldn’t see yesterday as a threat to marriage because you would understand the difference between secular and non-secular marriages, and how that since they didn’t order the rewriting of the Bible, they didn’t change your marriage at all. In fact, you’d understand that the government doesn’t have the ability to define non-secular marriage. They can’t threaten Christianity because they don’t control it. If you think the American government can lessen your God, your God isn’t the same one I have, because mine is MUCH bigger than SCOTUS.

The real problem is that we no longer have to worry about Christianity being torn apart from the ones outside wanting to destroy us. We are being destroyed, absolutely. Unfortunately, we are disassembling it from the inside – ourselves. We, and our ability and lack of ability to love and SHOW the Gospel is what’s killing Christianity. Christianity isn’t dying from homicide, but from suicide.

And that’s the very worst part of all of it.

Scared

brave

I heard this quote listening to Jen Hatmaker‘s Willow Creek podcast from Mother’s Day, and I immediately thought of how scared I am as a parent. I think I’ve gotten better, I really do, but I have a long way to go.

This was never more apparent to me than Continue reading

Kids Are Resilient.

This picture was taken the day we separated.

This picture was taken the day we separated.

They are, aren’t they? Kids can withstand so much; they’re just so resilient.

I hear this a lot when adults justify the decisions they make; I actually said it once to justify my own divorce. Kids are resilient; and she’s young! At five months old, she’ll never remember us together, so it’s not like she’ll miss having her mom and dad together. It will be her normal. 

Lots of rationalizations, there. In retrospect, it wasn’t actually important that I end my marriage sooner because it wouldn’t actually be better for her. It would actually be better for me.

It hurts just to type that, y’all. To admit it, right there in black and white. Sometimes transparency is for the birds. I convinced myself that The Oldest One would be better if mama was happy. You know what didn’t occur to me, though? Making the best of the situation. Maybe not making it obvious that we were unhappy. Perhaps acting like a grown up. You know what kids don’t do? Analyze their parents to see if their happiness is at an adequate level. Kids are naturally kind of narcissistic, and I don’t think they really care if their parents are happy because I don’t think they notice, unless there is abuse.

What she needed was to not feel the gut wrenching pain of not being able to see her daddy every day when she was two years old, and then three, and then four, and so on; she needed to see her brother on a daily basis. What she needed was to feel loved and secure, and to have a predictable schedule. She needed to feel like she could speak freely about her love for both of us.

Many of us wake up every day at a time we don’t like and drive to a job we can’t stand because it’s the responsible thing to do for the season we are in. We call that responsible, mature, hard-working.

When we wake up one day in a marriage we can’t stand with a partner that makes us want to punch a face, we make the decision to leave or to stay. And if we leave, we call that strong and brave. And if we stay, we call it weak and stupid.

Yet both are responsibilities; commitments that we have made. Ones we honor because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s the only thing to do, or because we don’t have any other options. And somehow, leaving the spouse we hate seems more logical than leaving the job we hate.

We take a situation and say “I can’t do this anymore. They are awful to live with. I am slowly going crazy here. I deserve better than this.” And we leave, because even with all the coping mechanisms we have as adults, we can’t handle it anymore. And what results is a situation where the parent has escaped the madness, and the children, who don’t have the mental capacity to rationalize behavior, understand triggers, or build protective barriers, to deal with it. Alone. We need them to be resilient; more resilient than we are ourselves. We have to believe that this will be the best for them, because it’s the best for us.

Unfortunately, children aren’t resilient, they just don’t know how to express it. And if they do, they don’t want to add to the mounting emotional problems that they see their parent going through. And they do see it. They have very little coping mechanisms and what little they do will likely damage them as they carry them into adulthood. What they do not have is a group of friends that will bring them dinner and sit at the table and ask them how they’re handling things.

Kids aren’t resilient, they go into survival mode. They do what they can to survive, and they learn all new behaviors to cope with the changes in their lives; and not always good ones.

As an adult, I cannot fathom coming home one day and finding out I don’t live there anymore. I cannot fathom switching places that I live 3 days a week (ever noticed how draining business trips are?). I cannot fathom one day finding out that strangers live with me.

But kids are resilient. If you need proof of how children cope really well with traumatic situations in their childhood, watch Intervention.

There was no abuse in my first marriage, and I want to make that very, very clear. We were just not good together by any stretch of the imagination. This entry is not written as all-encompassing, and it is not written with regards to abuse.

 

Reflection

Get your popcorn, y’all; it’s long and it’s taken me 3 months to finish it.

I haven’t thought about this in a long time, which is why it seemed odd when it kept coming back to me, replaying itself over and over in my mind. Something tells me to write about it, so here we go.

I started this blog in 2012. At first, it was going to be about home renovation, and then it just…morphed into parenting and cooking and whatever else was on my mind. Back then, I posted about parenting and fixing the house, and I had more viewers than I thought I would. I attempted to cultivate a persona of what I thought wanted to be read, and I wrote to that demographic. I posted things that weren’t Continue reading

Putting Christ in Christmas

This keeps weighing on me and I finally have to say something. This phrase, the internet memes, the signs, the biting blogs – they make my heart sink, though likely not for the reasons you may think.

I don’t know about you, but Christ IS in our Christmas. He’s also in our Thanksgiving, our Easter, our Sundays, and every other day of the week. He’s in there because we put Him in there. You see, other people can’t put Christ in our Christmas. You can’t put Him in mine and I can’t put Him in yours. And you know how to ensure that He’s NOT in Christmas?

  • By yelling at people who say Happy Holidays (come on, people, it’s a pleasant greeting, accept that someone took time to wish you something nice and move on).
  • By posting nasty, judgmental memes (seriously, do you feel like that shows the love of Christianity?)
  • By acting trite.

If you want to put Christ back in Christmas, thank people for wishing you well. Donate your time to feeding, clothing, and housing the poor. Counsel those struggling with their faith. Bring a hot meal to someone in need. Read your Bible. Observe Advent. Read Matthew (or any of the rest of the Gospel. Or the New Testament. Or the prophesies in the OT.). Pray. Speak your true testimony to someone that needs to hear it. Forgive the people you haven’t forgiven yet. Extend mercy to the person who cut you off by not hanging out the window yelling. Love others that you deem unworthy of love. Call Social Services and ask if you can sponsor a foster family for Christmas. Examine your heart to see where it is hardened.

Notice that none of these things are things that other people need to do. They are all things that start in our home; things that we need to do. No one is taking Christ out of your Christmas without your permission. If your Christmas is too materialistic, it’s no one’s fault but the one that bought into it by getting all the things (us).

Start new traditions. Carry on old ones. Love others. Care for them. Lift them up. Hand out blessing bags. Offer empty space (or even crowded space) in your home to someone in need. Serve a hot meal. Do Random Acts of Kindness. Go caroling. Be patient.

Yelling that Christ isn’t in Christmas doesn’t bring people to Christ, it pushes them away. Don’t complain about the bad, participate in good.

I genuinely think it’s just that simple.

Blessing Bags

Ok, you guys know that the holidays are coming up, and with that? Cold weather. I know I’m excited about knee boots and tights and the smell of fall, but the changing temperatures mean something totally different to those without homes.

I know I personally don’t have a problem giving cash to the homeless (though I rarely have any on me anyway); I figure that I’m not going to spend that $5 any more wisely than they will – maybe a soda and candy. I know that a lot of people don’t feel this way, though, and are stuck in a position where they want to help, but don’t know how to without enabling.

Pondering this, I came across Blessing Bags on Facebook, which talked about things to put in Ziplock bags to keep in your car; such things included a bottle of water, bar of soap (wrap that a few times or it’s going to permeate everything else in the bag), granola bars, juice box, tissues, antibacterial wipes, bandages, packets of Tylenol, toothbrushes/toothpaste, etc. Hubbin got me like 40 handwarmers as a joke one Christmas, so I throw a couple in there, along with sanitary items for women.

I reached out to Rick Hughes, who runs Warm Streets, a local organization that helps the homeless. He was kind enough to give me a list of things that they frequently pack in backpacks; if you click here, you can download a list of them, and if you are blessed enough to fill backpacks, please consider doing so.

A note of encouragement would be helpful as well; something that makes them feel human. Regardless of your feelings towards the homeless, it’s important to keep in mind that many of them are veterans who served our country. Many of them are drug addicts, and here’s the thing – addicts still need food. They still get cold at night. They’re in a cycle that is extremely hard to break with little resources either out of bad families or because their families needed to walk away for their own sake. Many are mentally disabled and are caught up in a vicious cycle. And truly, we just don’t know their story. And really, do we need to know their story to know we need to help? Maybe you’ll accidentally help someone that doesn’t truly need it; but isn’t that worth the risk when the alternative is helping someone that really DOES need the help?

matthew

 As we go into the holiday season, let us all remember to treat others kindly, and show the same mercy we desire to be shown to us.