October 28, 2009 will mark 11 years since my born-again Christian experience began and in some ways I feel like I’m still where I started back then. Let’s be clear, God has done some miraculous things during this time – I have a LONG list of what God has done in and through me and life certainly wouldn’t have just ‘happened’ this way. Where I’m challenged right now is in that I am still the same – I struggle with my own humanity and all the messy things that come with it. I want the issues and struggles that have been brewing and stirring my whole life to be purely memories from before I “got saved”. I want to be fully living out all the wonderful ideas in my head about life in Godliness. But the reality is that I’m just as much a wretch in need of a savior as I was that night that I screamed out to the Lord in 1998.
I Love this video. it speaks in simple ways about the awesome things that God has called us to. “How can we worship more than singing?” is a question we have to ask regularly.
Right now, I’m knee deep in planning an Arts Reception for all the creative, musical, artistic types at my church. My hope is to empower as many people as possible to connect with our church and use their gifts and to connect with other individuals who share their passions. I’m extremely excited about the potential of what could come from people gifted by God to do creative things getting together to spread the Gospel, provoke thought and action, and to communicate the heart of God.
Keep me in your prayers as I can get a little overwhelmed with the minute details (that I don’t really need to worry about). I know that God is in control and working things out wonderfully according to his plan. If you’re in the Chicago area on August 30th, I’d love to see you there! You can get details at WCarts.eventbright.com!
This evening I took part in an awesome gathering called Living In The Tension led by my friend Andy Marin. In discussing how people respond to change, I bean to think about my own experiences with sudden fear and rejection because I’d done something different or the other person learned something about me that they didn’t know before. People get defensive when change happens, especially if it’s unexpected or doesn’t fit within the parameters of what they are already accustomed to — just look at the responses to the recent Facebook change.
In 2005 I’d begun to grow and loc my hair for the first time. I was doing it totally on my own and had no support – and it looked like it 🙄 . Most people liked it at first, but you could see the reserve in some peoples eyes. As the weeks turned into months, that reserve grew into outright disapproval and even a few accusations. Up until that point, I was the only one in my circle (community, church, and even small northwestern Indiana city) who was locking their hair. People just didn’t understand why I wanted to do that to my hair. They asked all kinds of off the wall questions as well. One even went as far as to say locking was a “gay thing”. I chose to loc my hair because I wanted to do something different. Up until then, I’d always kept my look and hair styled on what I thought others would approve of. Never before had I dared to embrace a different look. And in doing so I met great resistance. I was doing something different and the community reacted — to protect themselves from the unknown.
I think this is a natural response that’s at our core – when we encounter something we don’t understand we put up defense just in case it may harm us. We also ‘alert’ those around us to the danger. You see it on Animal Planet all the time. But as humans created in the image and likeness of God, we’re called to do more than simply react. We’re able to examine and think and choose how to respond to what has been introduced to us. Unfortunately, that takes some examination, vulnerability, and even an intentional effort.
But why make all this effort when you can just go with the crowd? Is that in part the foundation of how our society works? We have sets of generally agreed upon beliefs and practices that allow us to somewhat peacefully coexist. Anything that threatens that existence we expel from our circle for the sake of the circle being unbroken. For the most part it works for us, but it also can lull us into not thinking for ourselves. We don’t examine or cross examine, we just do what’s been done and never think twice about if it’s helping or hurting. And so it goes that when people, ideas, or whatever else is different, we shy away or even violently reject it.
And what happens to the outcasts? Well even an outcast needs friends… and so the outcasts join together unified by their rejection. They may even identify themselves based on whatever has caused them to be rejected. It becomes their identity even though it’s only part of who they are, but for the sake of belonging, they now adapt the values of this outcast circle.
What’s one to make of all this? Just think…
If we stay conscious about what we think and feel, I hope that we can make these circles better. We don’t have to abolish these circles altogether, but rather, make them better. We can be intentional about who we include in our circle realizing that if we do it right, it makes things richer for everyone involved.
It’s late and I hope that makes sense to whoever the 10 or so people are who will ever read this. 😕
Wow… it’s amazing how differently things can seem just 24 hours later. Yesterday when I wrote, I was pretty down. This morning and the rest of the day have been a 180 change from the night before. Some great things happend for and to me today, and some other things are still very uncertain. The good news is that my focus is renewed on God — which makes everything else clearer.
Par of my trouble has been that I’m so concerned about what I can’t do or don’t know how to do. I’ve spent so much time worrying about that that I lost sight of the fact that everything I do has been through God’s empowerment! I never really had much of anything together, but I’m learning and growing and basically getting ahead of myself.
With that being said, I’m gearing up for a busy weekend. Tonight I was invited to work on a potentially big project. It’s still pretty sketchy, but it may be the beginning of GREAT things! 🙂
If you have 10 minutes, check out this interesting video looking at change in our world. It’s amazing how much we expect things to stay the same when in reality they are changing faster and faster every day!!!
Currently there is an uproar that our nation (and our world) is in right now when it comes to rights for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) people. I’m not even prepared to argue the pros and cons of the rights that they are fighting for: including Marriage, Hate-crime protection, and adoption rights; but I do want to address the topic from a standpoint that isn’t often heard:
What is the responsibility of the Church in regard to where things are today? Right now, much of the opposition for these changes in our laws and society is coming from Christian / Faith-based groups. However, I’m wondering if WE as the church are now reacting to the cries of GLBT people rather than responding the needs of hurting people that have been illigitimized and ignored for years.
What happens when we as the church DON’T comfort hurting people?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. ” (NIV) 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Our God is the God of all comfort… as believers, he comforts us in all of the troubles of life… so that we can comfort others out of a personal understanding. I believe this to be a key part of our commission to the world… that we extend the love and comfort that God provides to a hurting people.
However, right or wrong, GLBT people have not been comforted (for the most part) by the church. Most of us have had the experience of ignoring something only to have it manifest in greater form later down the line. The fear, shame, and rejection that these people have faced in our society have forced them to organize, unite their individual power, and force their voices to be heard– by everyone.
It’s my belief that homosexuality stems from family and societal imbalances that as we grow up form in us a desire for the same sex. I believe that these are real and godly desires being expressed in ways that aren’t God’s intention for humanity. I believe that just as with anything else, we have a choice to act on those desires or not. But I also believe that finding healing and wholeness is a family and societal matter in much the same way that the issue originated.
When I read the Bible, I see God showing love and compassion for a hopelessly MESSED UP (read sinful) humanity… full of all kinds of situations that are less than his ideal for us. But just as we value our free-will, God upholds this gift in us but still gives us the option (through Jesus) to choose a different path– one leading to the original design. In his justice, he pays the price for sin through Jesus, and in his love he redeems us to our original design – the abundant, God-shaped life.
My hope right now is that we as the church take on the commission of compassion … that we be vigilant in offering hope and resources for two under-served groups: 1) Those who have same-sex desires, but believe change is possible or are seeking change and 2) for those who are self-identified as GLBT and are seeking to know Christ. I classify these groups differently even though some may fall into both categories. Jesus came to reconcile us to relationship with the Heavenly Father. If we’re going to stand in opposition of the rights that GLBT groups are fighting for, then we MUST provide alternatives and real support for those who these rights would benefit.
This isn’t a popular view-point, but it’s mine. One thing that I certainly have learned from the GLBT community is that it’s ok to be different and to speak your mind! (lol) So it’s my prayer that we begin to seriously consider how we can allow God to use us to reconcile relationships and restore people in the context of a society where GLBT isn’t going away anytime soon (at least not before Jesus’ return).
Agree or disagree, I hope to hear thoughtful response to any issues raised from this post. Thanks.