Leader

Husband as leader
Really bothers me
Husband as head
Must have been cultural
Because today, women are strong
Today, women are equal
Today, women are independent

I want to live my own life
And let his supplement mine
And vice versa

He is not my leader
Nor am I his
Equals
Partners
In love and in life

Not with two heads
But with no head
Shoulders above all of this
Part of the body

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The Worst of These

I think that all Jesus wants is to give us eternal life so we can spend it with him.  I think all he wants is to love us.  No matter what.  I think that he came to the world to save it, to save us, from death.  That’s all.  And what began in the garden, what began with sin, was death.  There’s no escaping this, because although Christ came to save the world, and although he succeeded, we did not suddenly become perfect.  But we do get to have a choice now.  We do get to choose him, if we want to.

It seems to me that a lot of people have forgotten the “if we want to” part.  It seems to me that some people swing to the side of “you must choose him or you deserve to die.”  As if they forget that we all deserve to die, whether we choose Christ or not.  Because you do not suddenly become perfect or sinless just because you call yourself a Christian.  Yes, your slate is wiped clean in his eyes, but he still knows you.  He still knows the judgment in your heart.
In Matthew 18: 21-35, Jesus tells the story of a ruler who decides to collect on his debts.  He calls a man before him who cannot repay him, and the man falls to his knees, begging for more time, begging not to be thrown in prison.  The ruler has mercy on the man and forgives him of his debt completely.  But then the man seeks out someone who owes him money, as if he has learned nothing, and demands the money be repaid.  When the money is not repaid, he has him thrown in prison.  When the ruler hears of this, he throws the first man in prison to be tortured until his debts are repaid.
Forgive as you have been forgiven.
I think a lot of us forget that we have been forgiven already.  We forget about our sin as if it never existed, as if we had never done anything wrong, as if we had never been in debt, and then we try to force others to “turn or burn.”  We tell people little one liners like, “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”  HELLO! WE ARE SINNERS TOO!!  All have sinned and deserve death.  And all sin is equal, because all sin is deserving of death.  
So we do things like telling someone, because they’re gay, they’re probably going to hell.  No.  Because they were born into an imperfect, sinful world, they might miss out on eternity with the Creator.  And you telling them their lifestyle is wrong does not allow them to see the loving God you claim to serve.  Who wants to follow a God who will not accept someone for who they are?  I honestly don’t believe anyone wants to be gay.  Nor do I believe anyone really wants to be straight.  I think you just are gay.  You just are straight.  You just are short.  You just are tall.  You just are lanky.  You just are stocky.  You. Just. Are.  I cannot make myself taller unless I add something that is not myself into the mix (tall shoes).  I cannot make myself love a woman unless I pretend to be something I am not.  Wearing high heels is masking who I really am.  Someone pretending to be straight when they’re not would be masking who they really are.

Christ did not come so we could point out people’s differences, flaws, or downfalls.  He did not say to Peter, “stop being so zealous and causing trouble,” he said, “follow me.”  He did not say to Mary, “don’t sleep with so many people,” he said, “follow me.”  Follow me.  The rest will get figured out along the way.
I had a professor in college who told a story about when he first gave his life to Christ.  He went to his pastor and said, “Well, now that I’m a Christian, does that mean I have to stop doing all these things,” and he listed off a bunch of “sins.”  Because he didn’t want to stop.  The pastor told him that he didn’t have to stop doing anything.  It was more about what he started doing.  He started spending time with his savior.  He started serving more.  He started worshipping.  And a lot of those sins?  He stopped doing them when he felt he needed to, when he felt led to, through his personal relationship with the Spirit.
That’s how I honestly believe God wants it to be.  Not every person is the same, so what is “sinful” for one person might not be for someone else.  Yeah, murder in cold blood is probably always a sin, and infidelity, and anything else that can hurt someone else.  But having a few drinks?  Loving someone of the same gender?  Eating shellfish?  Probably not across the board sinful.

Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, said in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”  Paul equated himself with every other sinner, while we like to call him a saint.  In fact, he put himself below everyone else, because he knew his sins, knew himself, better than he knew anyone else.  Yes, he did his fair share of judging and calling people out.  But you know who he was calling out and judging?  Those who had already turned to Christ.  He was calling out those in the Church!  He wasn’t finding random strangers and telling them they were going to hell because they weren’t in the pews every Sunday.

Be like Paul.  Be like Christ.  And never forget who you are.

 

 

Why hate Mary?

I walked out of my apartment the other day and the air smelled like weed.  I first thought it was my Dukes of Hazard neighbors, but there’s a possibility it was just post rain smell.  For some reason they smell similar to me in the South.  But this, mixed with a few other conversations as of late, got me thinking.

Smoking pot is completely illegal in Alabama.  It’s not just a slap on the wrist like it used to be in California.  And you can’t use it medically or get a medical card.  Like I said, it’s completely illegal.
The Bible says to follow the laws of the land and pray for those in leadership, so from a Christian stand point, if you want to obey the Bible, you shouldn’t smoke pot if you live in Alabama.

But what about the states where it has been legalized such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California?
See, the Bible doesn’t say anything specifically about smoking anything, or really anything about drugs at all.  Yes, in Titus it talks about being sober minded, but that also applies to drinking, and a lot of Christians drink.
I personally believe that anything can become sinful if it excessive.  I like to say, “anything in excess.”  So if you’re in a state where it is legalized, go for it, or don’t, just don’t let it take over your life.

So why do so many Christians freak out about it, even in those legal states?  Is this something they didn’t think they were going to be confronted with?  Seriously, I’m asking.  Well, maybe don’t answer me though.
Someone close to me was rumored to have been smoking pot.  Which, whether that was true or wasn’t true isn’t the issue (it wasn’t true and most likely will never be true).  But someone was telling people to stay away from this person close to me because they smoked pot.  And that just doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason.  That’s like telling people to stay away from me because I drink wine.  Sure, if you have an issue drinking and expect me to offer you wine, maybe let me know, and if you really think it’s an issue, stay away from me.
If someone had a problem with marijuana or was trying to stay away from it, I could see why they might let this person close to me know why they might want to spend less time together.  But the thing is, the rumor wasn’t true.  So the person close to me called me laughing, because they thought the whole thing was funny, or at least pretended to.  But I’m not okay with gossip or slander.  Especially from Christians.  Especially from Christians who are supposed to be in high standing and have influence.
Why do we feel the need to talk about people?  Even when we don’t know the facts?  Ugh, it’s just so frustrating, and I’m across the country and can’t protect my people.

But really, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.  Because in California marijuana is legalized.  It’s fully legal now, but has been medically legal for quite some time.  So Christians freaking out about it doesn’t make sense to me.  I’m not saying whether you yourself should smoke it not, this isn’t about that.  It’s about the thoughts and the fears behind it.

I’m not saying that Christians should or shouldn’t advocate for Mary Jane.  That’s not what I’m doing.  It’s not even legal where I currently reside.  But stop being afraid.  Stop spreading rumors and shunning people because you heard they might have smoked pot.  It should not matter.

Why don’t we love each other anymore?  This is why it’s so hard for me to trust.

In the Anyway

I forgive.  Some would say that I forgive too easily.  But I forgive as I have been forgiven.  I forgive as I would like to be forgiven. Maybe I follow the Golden Rule too closely.
In the midst of all of this mess though, in the midst of all of our mistakes, Christ loved us anyway.

In the Garden, Adam and Eve hid, because they knew they had disobeyed, and they knew God knew.  They had realized their nakedness.  And though punishment did follow, God never ceased to love them.  He loved them anyway.

Moses told God he couldn’t do it.  He needed help.  Aaron had to speak for him, because he believed he couldn’t.  He had a stutter.  In spite of his weakness, God loved him anyway.

Solomon asked God for wisdom.  With his wisdom, he did a lot of great things, but also made a lot of mistakes.  He established high places, and he worshiped other gods.  At the end of his life, he realized how meaningless it all was.  And God loved him anyway.

Israel was such a disobedient, easily manipulated nation.  God let them be taken captive, then restored.  They continued to break his heart.  Yet he loved them anyway.  So much that he sent his son, himself, to die.

Peter denied knowing the messiah.  And Christ loved him anyway.

Thomas had doubts.  Jesus loved him in them, anyway.

Anyway.

There has been an awkwardness, a hurt, in my recent life.  And I could choose to hold on to it, a grudge, that would only hurt my being.  Or I could let go.  I could forgive anyway.  I could love anyway.  As I have been loved anyway.

Trolling

I don’t often comment on things on Facebook, unless it’s to say how much I love a photo.  People can go on political rants that I don’t agree with, and I let them have their opinions.  Arguing online is the dumbest thing you can do, because it takes away tone of voice and people get angry when they miss context.
I have a few friends, one of them being my manager at work, that troll me pretty hard.  They will never fail to find something funny and teasing to say on a status that I post.  But I’m okay with it.  I can see the humor.  I understand that they’re being funny.
You know who’s not okay with funny trolling?  Christians who post memes.  Not all Christians though, just the ones who are a little older than me, a different generation, and who are a lot more conservative than I am.  I really feel that they take things too seriously.  Sometimes I’m like, no wonder people hate us.  We can’t laugh at things that are funny!

A week or so ago, one of my overly conservative Facebook friends posted a Muslim hating picture on Facebook saying that our nation is “One Nation Under God, not Allah.”  If there’s anything that annoys me, it’s Christians hating on other religions.  Yes, we don’t agree, but putting them down is not loving them.
In one of my classes in college we studied how Islam got started.  They literally believe that Allah is the same God of the Jews and the Christians.  It’s one God, three religions.  Not that all of these religions are equally right, it’s that they all believe in the same God.  So one nation under God is one nation under Allah to a Muslim.  It’s the same thing.  However, those conservatives refuse to accept that.
Anyway, on the photo I commented this fact.  I also mentioned that America is pretty into freedom of religion, so it’s not technically a “Christian” nation anyway.  Another fact that we need to accept.
And I got flack for it.  “God and Allah are not the same smh.”  Actually… you’re wrong.  But whatever.  It literally doesn’t matter.  Stop being mean to people because of their religion.  You don’t like it, do you?

Another conservative Christian friend of mine posted a photo of a manger that said “The very first king size bed.”  Now, I get where they’re going with this, but I saw an opening and I took it.  I commented, stating that Jesus technically wasn’t the first king to have a bed.  Because like… all the kings in the Old Testament, and in history, they all slept too.  So technically they had “king size” beds too.  I was just trolling and being annoying.  But I thought it was funny.
And then more conservative strangers freaked out, not seeing the humor, only seeing blasphemy.  But I don’t think I’m very likely to blaspheme.  I just like to laugh.

Anyway, I like trolling on Christian things too much.  I should probably stop.  It’s just funny.  And annoying.  Makes me wonder.

About Hope

I tend to remember everything.  More specifically, I remember almost every conversation, especially minor ones, that I have with people.  As of late I have learned not to bring up old conversations, because the speaker usually doesn’t remember saying the things that I remember.  But I digress.  

I once had a conversation with a good friend of mine, Aaron.  I was 2.5 years ago, and my mind was still pretty messed up.  I wasn’t sure how long I would be metaphorically “sticking around” then, but I had a little bit of a grasp of what I would do if I got through my ish.  I had an answer for everything, even in my brokenness.  I was pushing people away in a successful manner.  Throughout our conversation Aaron noticed something.  He then asked me where my hope was.  I had no answer.  I had no answer, because I had no hope.  Even though I was in Bible college, doing my best to follow a God who I felt was betraying me, I had no hope.  My hope was not in God, even though I desperately wanted it to be.  

Fast forward a few years to where I am right now.  For church on Sunday we made s’mores and had community time.  We separated into groups around the four separate campfires and we told God stories.  I had on my heart a need to share where I had been and how I got to where I am now.  I talked about how I had always had a plan, and now that I have no plan I am more content than I have been in a while.  My sharing sparked an ongoing conversation, and some prayer and some vulnerability.  One of my roommates, Gus, went on to point something out to me.  He said that it seemed that for a long time I have had no hope in my life.  When I had a plan, I had no hope.  But now, he said, I have an evident hope.  Even though I have no idea what my life holds, I have hope.  

So maybe when I have plans, I put my hope in them.  If I have learned anything in my life though, it’s that if I don’t get my hopes up, they can’t be let down.  Now that I have no plan, I cannot be let down.  My hope is in God’s plan, and not knowing what it is makes life a little bit more of an adventure.  And I want to be in love with adventure.

What is the Real Meaning of Christmas?

It’s Christmas, isn’t it?

A lot of people this year have been asking, and sharing, their family’s holiday traditions.  I’m not a big holiday fan, and I don’t really see my family as having traditions.  Each holiday, each Christmas, has been different, unique.  We have no traditions because no two years are the same.  And I think I’m okay with that.

I remember when I was a kid, Christmas was so exciting.  We would put up lights and tree and my brother and I would decorate it.  There would be gifts under the tree for a week or more and I would always try to figure out what I got before the fateful day when I would actually get to unwrap my gifts.  I don’t think I ever made a Christmas list, and I don’t remember ever believing in Santa, but Christmas was purely about gifts as a child.  I think it’s like that for most children.

Most Christmases people would come over for Christmas dinner, which was basically identical to Thanksgiving dinner, and we would eat and be happy.  After dinner I usually retreated to my room and played with my new toys or whatever.  I guess I’ve always been an introvert.

When I was about eight or nine my family started opening all our gifts on Christmas Eve so that we didn’t have to get up early.  Before then we would only open one or two on the Eve and open the rest Christmas morning.  One year I got a bike, but my dad hid it under a tarp in the back of his truck, whereas the gift I unwrapped was a dirty old shoe that I had stick my hand in to go on a scavenger hunt.  I think that was my most exciting Christmas.

The last few years my family basically stopped doing Christmas.  I want to say it was when I left for college, but in reality it was probably my junior or senior year of high school.  This year my brother asked if I just wanted to do our own gift exchange with him, since my parents probably wouldn’t want to participate.  He got my an awesome sweater and a new camera case/backpack.  That was nice.

Other than that, Christmas isn’t really joyful for me, it’s just something that I endure.  I like giving gifts a lot more than getting them, because it’s exciting for me to give someone something that need or really want.  My quad did a secret santa this year, and apparently I’m a good gift giver.  That was nice to hear.  I’m rambling a bit now, sorry.

Really though, what is the meaning of Christmas?  I know that it’s celebrating Jesus’ birth, but I wonder if even He did that.  Did the people in the Bible celebrate birthdays?  Or when did that start?  It’s weird to think about.  In reality Jesus was probably born in the spring, but December would be cold and nearly unbearable for most people if Christmas wasn’t now, so I’m okay with it.  Christmas gets us through the year.  But why?  Is it about the gifts?  If it is, then it just shows how selfish and consumeristic the Christmas celebrating culture is.  Or is it about family?  For me it isn’t really, because my family, although all in the same house, have hardly spoken all day and are all doing separate things.  I’ve been bored all day.  I don’t know what Christmas really is about.  I like celebrating Jesus’ birth.  I like thanking Him for his life and death for humanity, but that is something that I do year round.  I am fully grateful for the life I have because He gave it to me.  Is Christmas about the Jesus story?  Yeah, probably, but I think it’s more than that.  I think Christmas is about others.  Giving to others of your time, your presence, and your story.  People deserve to hear the Jesus story, and what better time than now?  What better way than through you?  Maybe I’ll spend next year figuring Christmas out, and make it the best one ever.

Sorry for the rambling.