Today Truth Wins

The truth is … this time of year, has always been the most difficult time of year for me because of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  The cards, the commercials, the sales, not having anyone to call, everything about it has always been like a dagger in my heart. But this year I began thinking about it and realized I am 54 years old and as some would say a grown ass woman.  I have always believed that truth triumphs over lies and light will disperse the darkness.  So, that is exactly what I am going to do and stop generations of lies, deceit and manipulation in its tracks.

The truth is … I do not have a relationship with my parents.  Most people assume my relationship with my parents is non-existent because I am lesbian.  It is true, I am a lesbian, but that is not the reason we are estranged.  In fact, my sexual orientation was never discussed.  It is not that I was afraid or ashamed to discuss it, it was that our family was so dysfunctional there was never a sane opportunity to have an honest conversation.

The truth is … I have not had a peaceable relationship with my parents since I began living with them full time at 4 years of age and started kindergarten. Prior to that I spent most of my time “visiting” my maternal grandparents.  My parents would say this is because they both worked and my grandparents had more time to spend with me.  But I was born 9 months and 7 days after my parents were married and they were ill prepared for a child.  My mother was not ready to give up being the center of the universe and my father was not ready for his wife to be a mother.

The truth is … as hard as it is to admit this, I grew up in an abusive household.  There I said the word … abusive.  I have spent my entire life minimizing the abuse of my childhood.  Making excuses for both my parents and accepting blame and feeling guilty for their behavior.  That stops today.

The truth is … the home I grew up in was violent, controlling, demeaning, manipulative, irrational and for the most part incredibly sad.  It is not that anyone intended for it to be that way, but it is what you get when you have one adult who has a personality disorder and the other adult is extremely self-centered.

The truth is … my parents provided very well for me materially.  But there was little in the form of warmth, love, kindness or compassion.

The truth is … I am uncertain if my parents love each other.  I would like to think they do … but honestly it is so dysfunctional it is hard to tell.  Behind closed doors there was a plethora of yelling, throwing things, breaking things, choking, hitting, biting, withholding of sex and many other unhealthy, vile things.  After five decades of marriage, I think they are simply tired of the battle and are more comfortable together than apart.

The truth is … as long as I can remember, my parents told me I was their greatest disappointment.  They further told me that my friends did not love me and were using me.  I never really understood why, and I have heard they told others outside the family a very different story.  I never figured out what I could do to make things different.  What I could do to be better.  What I could do to be more lovable?

The truth is … I have made many, many mistakes in my life.  I have not always done my best.  I have not always been honest. I have not always acted or reacted in an honorable way.  I am a deeply flawed human.  I will own every bit of that and more, as long as it is the truth.

The truth is … regardless of my past, my mistakes or any other multitude of circumstances, I am finally content with where I am and who I am.  I am happily married.  My wife is not only my best friend, she is an equal partner.   I have a church home that welcomes my wife and I and allows us to worship freely.  I have a safe and peaceful home.  I have a small group of intimate friends who support me and love me unconditionally.  My life is sweeter and more fulfilling than I ever thought possible.

The truth is … I am making peace with the past.  I have accepted what is … well … just is.  So, this Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and all the ones yet to come will no longer be spent grieving what never was.  I will no longer accept feelings of unworthiness for having biological parents who rejected me.

The truth is … I have so many wonderful people in my life who genuinely and deeply love me.  Consequently, I choose not to waste any more precious time grieving two people who chose not to love me or want me in their life.  They decided to not share life with me and I am respecting that decision.

The truth is … life is full of twists and turns, up and downs.  It is full of unexplained events.  Life is entirely too short to live in the past and let the decision of others affect our perception of ourselves.  Just as I am worthy of love, consideration and kindness, so are you.

The truth is … detoxing your life is freeing.  I cannot for the life of me understand what took me so long.

What A Beginning

After 3 months of arduous study, I spent 3 days with the most amazing, authentic, transparent and honest group of people with whom I have ever had the honor to interact.  It is difficult to put into words what my heart is aching to say.

To an outsider, we may very well have looked like a gang of ragamuffins.  As a group, we were younger, older, faddish, classic, tattooed, pierced, dress pants, flip flops, floppy hats, skinny jeans, warm-ups, shorts, straight, LGBT, Midwesterners, Eastern Coast, Western Coast, Southerners, Pacific North Westerners, Plainsmen, Australians, married, single, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, varying religious and denominational backgrounds, different skin colors and heritages and the list goes on.  But despite the richness differences can bring to any conversation, I found that foundationally, at our cores beings, as humans, we have much more in common than not.

While I dare not speak for anyone else, on any topic, a few things I found to be true include, but are not limited to, the following: It is frightening to be vulnerable.  It is daunting to expose our flaws.  Love is generally easy to give, yet it is ever so difficult to receive.  Broken hearts abound and the only difference between a shattered heart and a broken heart is the person experiencing the pain.  Family is of utmost importance, whether the relationships are intact or not.  Familial DNA often fails us.  We deeply love people who cannot, will not or do not love us in return.  Everyone has secrets and keeping those secrets hidden leads to shame.  There is a vast difference between who we are and who we pretend to be.  Outer appearances are not always an accurate reflection of inner dynamics.

Inner self talk left unaddressed, generally defaults to the negative.  Being unprepared for self-care is to be selfish and dangerous.  Organization goes beyond our closets and our lives to our relationships with others and our community.  In being open and gracious, our hearts are expanded.  Broken trust affects us in innumerable ways, for longer periods of time than we realize.  The action of “becoming” is not so much an adding to, as it is a chipping away.  Wearing masks is a tiring, abusive practice; and through intentionally abandoning those masks, it is actually possible to be loved and accepted as we are.  Not only can the older bring wisdom to the younger, but the younger can bring wisdom to the older.  Forgiveness, even though completely given, does not extinguish the pain.  The cost of success can at times be high, but the cost of failure is often times insurmountable.  The failure to launch can and often does take a toll in human life.  While some biological parents abandon their children, many do not.  And when those biological parents do abandon their children, God brings in a surrogate, whose love reigns down as manna from heaven.  It is never the wrong time to do the right thing.  Sometimes bridges need to be built, sometimes they need repairing and still others need to be burned.  As adults we have the opportunity and the permission to begin a new story for the rest of our lives, keeping what is good and letting go of what is not.  It is rare to see God’s purpose completely in the beginning of a journey, but the further along the journey one goes the more clearly we can see God.  There is a difference in being chosen and being invited.  The more you get to know an individual, the more beauty you find in them.  It is okay, to be not okay.  Not all wounded people have a tendency toward wounding others; for some, wounds increase the human ability to exude grace and love.  Finally, there is no difference greater than the sameness of God’s love.

A person does not have to be directly and personally affected by a cause to champion it; but if you are, the power of your story cannot be overstated.  The stories and lives of these courageous people who have been rejected by their families, their church communities, their neighbors, their friends and often times complete strangers, yet retained hearts overflowing with love, seemed on the surface to be an oxymoron of gigantic proportions.  But just as sure as the sun will rise in the East and set in the West, these people are real.  They are flesh and blood and have hearts that reflect Christ more accurately than most church sanctuaries on Sunday morning.

So as the introduction to our new lives has come to a completion, we each head out today to bring back to our communities the things we learned and experienced.  Which is to speak the knowledge and truth of Christ’s love for everyone to the powerful beast of exclusion.  If we remain diligent, in time, every chain will be broken and the beast we be defeated.  God be with us!

Same Sex Marriage a Christian Perspective

First, let’s get right down to the ugly truth no one wants to talk about.  Marriage is a LEGAL status.  It is not a RELIGIOUS status.  You can get married without the church, without a pastor, without a prayer, but you cannot get married without filing paperwork with the appropriate legal agencies.  In fact, until you file with the proper legal agencies, your marriage is not valid, even if you have had the most extravagant wedding imaginable.  So bottom line marriage is a LEGAL status.

But having said that, I believe marriage is sacred.  Some would argue marriage is a sacrament.  Indeed, marriage is a union which was created by God, and can most certainly be blessed by God.

So what did God have in mind when he created marriage?  Scripture tells us several things that should be considered:

  1. It is not good for humans to be alone
  2. Procreation
  3. Companionship
  4. Kinship
  5. Support, etc.

But the foundational reason God created marriage, is the very same reason he created everything else.  For His Glory.  God created marriage and I suspect he said It Is Good.

The question that must be answered is can a same sex marriage glorify and honor God.  My belief is the answer is a resounding YES.

The primary argument I have heard from many Christians explaining their unwillingness to support same-sex marriage is directly related to the ideology that a marriage is supposed to be a reflection of, Christ as the groom and the church as the bride.  I could not agree with that proposition more heartily.  In fact, that is the VERY reason I believe same sex marriages can be and are God honoring.

The pill in the jam which is often overlooked is relationships between married individuals and the relationship between Christ and the Church is not entirely symmetrical.  People focus too much on the usage of the words “groom and bride” as it is found in scripture.  Many people are unwilling to admit that not only is the Bible filled with truth it is filled with symbolism, i.e. faith like a mustard seed, holy communion, all the parables told by Jesus, etc.    In light of often used symbolism it seems perfectly reasonable to believe the wording GROOM and BRIDE are symbolic as well.  Additionally, the greater weight of the evidence, implies this symbolism DOES NOT suggest, much less support, that these words were chosen to enforce or mandate opposite sex relationships.  If a person digs a little deeper than a cursory reading of scripture it is easy to see that these scriptures are not sexual in nature at all.

Primarily, a marriage should embody and reflect the same FAITHFULNESS between two people as Christ has for the church.

The same deepening love Christ has for the church.  The same exclusivity Christ has for the church.  The same delight Christ has for the church.  The same sacrificial behavior Christ has for the church.  The same deep desire for unity Christ has for the church.  The same selflessness Christ has for the church.  This is how two married individuals are a reflection of Christ and his relationship to the church.

When a marriage consists of two individuals who are bound together, who resist the human nature of excess and self-centered desire, and resist behaviors that shame or degrade the other, a marriage, regardless of the gender of the two married individuals, glorifies God in everyday, mundane and common ways that are expressly human and not bound by gender or sexuality.

If you choose to follow Christ’s lead in these ways as you enter into marriage, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, your marriage will glorify and honor God.  It is for that reason alone the Christian faith demands that we support same sex marriages fully.

Fear, snakes and other unwanted things


, , , ,

We have some friends who had a beautiful home on a lake. The only problem was out of that beautiful, peaceful lake came some very unwanted snakes. In the summer snakes would come out of that lake and take up residence in their back yard. One of their puppies and a snake tangled up more than once. Fortunately, the puppy got the best of the snake every time. The last time was very touch and go, very costly for them financially and emotionally, but the puppy eventually recovered. The snakes were such a problem that they decided to sell their home and build a new one. It had gotten where in warm weather they could not enjoy their beautiful backyard. Even though they had a large fenced yard, they had to take the puppies out on a leash every time they went outside.   Their backyard went from being a paradise they frequently enjoyed, to a fenced in prison no one could visit without being very conscience of their whereabouts. The snakes made them re-adjust the way they lived their lives and what they were comfortable doing.

Their experience with snakes made me think of the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden. You know the serpent in the story lied to Eve about who she was. The serpent further lied to her about who God was. Which made me wonder just how many voices do we allow to speak into our lives to tell us and help us develop our own personal stories. Stories about ourselves, about how God sees us and about how God feels about us.

This world is filled with voices, speaking into our hearts and lives. Some are of God and some are not. I suspect God allows multiple voices to be alive and well because he places such a high premium on freedom of choice. The problem is we have to be careful about which voice we allow ourselves to listen to.   Which voices we decide to believe.

There are a couple of things about the Garden of Eden story that strike me. First, Adam and Eve were in the garden, naked, unashamed and enjoying a personal relationship with God. Then they tangle with the serpent and become ashamed and afraid of God. Which makes me wonder exactly what happened. But I think the secret could be found in the third chapter of Genesis, when God is calling out to Adam and Eve and they hide from him “because they are naked and afraid”. Then God asks an important question, they never really answer. God says “who told you that you were naked”. I suspect it was the serpent who told them. But regardless, it certainly was NOT the voice of God that told them. You see I think the lesson here could be that when we allow voices, other than God or godly voices, to speak into our lives, we become afraid. The serpent told them they were something other than what God told them they were … they believed it and their reality took a 180 degree turnabout. Lies have a way of undermining faith and breeding fear. And be clear, faith and fear cannot co-exist. When we hold tight to beliefs that are not of God, even if we think they are of God, we live in fear. God is love and perfect love casts out all fear. The parallel here is if you are living in fear, you are listing to the wrong voices. People who self-identify as Christians, yet spew out hatred, are simply living in fear. People who self-identify as Christians who do not love their neighbor, are simply living in in fear. People who self-identify as Christians, yet kick their gay child out of their home, are simply living in fear.

Which brings me to my final thought. What is it you have been told, that I have been told, that is something contrary to what God has said? Instead of God calling out to us and saying “who told you that you were naked” He is calling out saying “who told you that you were unlovable? Who told you that you were an abomination? Who told you that God does not love you? Who told you that you are unworthy? Who told you that you are not welcome at the table of God? Who told you that you must abide by a list of rules in order to gain favor with God? Who told you that you are going to hell for something innate, inborn that is out of your control? Who told you??? Who. Told. You.

Just like it did at my friends beautiful home … The snakes in our lives make us re-adjust the way we live our lives and what we are comfortable doing. So if voices in your life begin to instill fear in you. Begin to heap shame on you. Do not listen to them! They are lying as sure as the serpent in the Garden of Eden lied.

Do not accept lies about yourself. Do not accept lies about God. And certainly do not accept lies about your worth or relationship to God. The truth is God loves you inexhaustibly, unconditionally, and relentlessly just as you are right this moment. If someone tries to tell you differently, look them straight in the eye and see them for the serpent they are and quickly separate yourself. Quickly. Because your soul is FAR too precious to be sacrificed on the altar of someone else’s fear.



The Church is Responsible for This

Candice Czubernat


by Candice Czubernat

I hold the church personally responsible for any LGBTQ person who walks away from God and Christianity. Every week, I get emails from individuals all across the country who are full of desire to be a part of a church. They want to go on the church-wide mission trip, join the choir, serve in the youth group and attend a small group. These are people who long to serve God, connect with other Christians and be a part of a wider community.

Sounds pretty good, right?

Here’s the heartbreaking part: they write me because the church won’t let them do those things and they don’t know what to do.

Their church has found out they are LGBTQ and because of this are no longer welcome to join in these church activities they long to be a part of. The worst are the emails I get are from young…

View original post 2,784 more words

In Which I Have a Breakdown: An Open Letter to the Church

This is a moving, articulate blog . Many of us know exactly what he is talking about.

Sacred Tension

Back in October, just before I left the blogosphere for my sabbatical, I had something of a breakdown.

What made the breakdown so devastating was that I didn’t see it coming at all. It had been a fairly good week, and I, for the most part, was feeling perfectly happy and content.

And then I made a mistake: I read theology. I read Wesley Hill’s response to James Brownson’s book Bible, Gender, Sexuality, and it felt like the ground vanished beneath me and I went into a terrifying free fall. (I tend to have a bad track record with Wesley Hill’s work. Every time I try to read something of his, I usually end up sobbing in a corner somewhere, not able to breathe.)

Old feelings that I used to struggle with on a daily basis suddenly materialized inside of me – feelings of debilitating unworthiness, fear, shame and anger…

View original post 1,060 more words

Twenty Four Days

I am a 51 year old female.  I am a recovering republican, who is actually more libertarian leaning.    I love dogs.  Really I love all animals.  I attend church regularly.  I tithe regularly.  I volunteer my time regularly.  I was saved at a Billy Graham crusade in 1977 and walked down to that huge football field all by myself because I wanted to be in the family of Jesus.  I have not always given my relationship with Jesus the time, attention and faithfulness it deserves, but I have always returned to my basic Christian core beliefs.  I have sung in choirs, taught Sunday school and participated in multiple ministerial outreaches.

I love college football.  I have worked for the same agency since 1987.  I have lived in the same community since 1987.  I pay my taxes and file my taxes on time.  I believe voting is not only a privilege but a responsibility.  I have a grown foster son whom I adore, who makes me proud on a daily basis simply by just being.  I am a stable, law abiding citizen, as well as a good neighbor.

I am getting married in 24 days.  I am marrying a remarkable, loving, compassionate, intelligent, beautiful, God loving woman.  I realize some of you just referred back to the first sentence to double check because you thought you just read I am marrying a woman.  Yes I am marrying a woman. That is the good news.

The bad news is we are being required to travel thousands of miles to get married.  Because of the distance, time and financial obligation it takes, we are being married without many people whom we love and adore in attendance.  We have to arrive 3 days early to declare our intent to marry and then wait 72 hours, thousands of miles from home so we can get married.  We have to get married on a Thursday so logistically we can file our marriage intentions on Monday, wait the required 72 hours, have a ceremony, then get the papers back to the Town Clerk by Friday to register our nuptials.

We will file Federal tax returns as a married couple, and then have to refigure them as single people so we can file our State taxes.  Even through our home State law says it is illegal to file your State taxes with a different marital status then the Federal taxes (talk about a pill in the jam).

I say all of this to say, marriage means something.  Not just to opposite sex folks.  Why are we jumping through all of these hoops, when it is simply easier to go with the status quo and wait for legal marriage to arrive in our home State?  For many reasons, one of which is there are 1138 Federal benefits married couples qualify for that unmarried couples do not.  That in and of itself is a compelling enough reason; but the real reason we decide to do this is because we love each other.  We want to protect each other.

I was recently diagnosed with cancer.  In the hospital, the doctor’s offices, the pathology labs, etc. I did not have a life partner; I had a “sister” or “a person”.  In my home state, when I die, the funeral home has the LEGAL right to deny my life partner the right to make my funeral arrangements.  The hospitals can refuse to allow her to spend the night with me during my multiple surgeries because we are not family.   My biological family who has not spoken to me in years can fight my WILL in court, because she and I are not married and not considered family.

It is ironic to me when over 50% of all marriages are ending in divorce (and were ending at that rate before same-sex marriage became an issue) why is it that same sex marriage is “destroying” the institution of marriage? I have never been able to figure that one out.

Same sex couples have a much harder road to become legally married.  Yet, we still jump through all those hoops, to experience the luxury and wonder of being married.  When opposite sex people are getting married less frequently and waiting longer to get married, same sex couples are begging for the right to be treated as equals.

When opposite sex people have the option of a covenant marriage, which is harder to get out of, and refuse to do it I am puzzled.  If you are not that serious about marriage and are already looking for the easiest way to dissolve it “should things go south” why bother?  My fiancée and I would enter a covenant marriage in a heartbeat … but alas we are not allowed to do so.

I really do not understand why the gay community has to beg to be offered solace and membership in church families, and after repeated rejection we continue to stand at the door and continue to knock.  Hoping one day someone will find us worthy of God’s love, even if the church membership cannot find it in their heart to love us.  We are begging to be allowed to be married.  The fact that we have to beg is pathetic.  We live in a secular world, where legal unions should be available to everyone.  People who are not citizens of this great country are allowed to marry, while gay citizens are not.

If you don’t want us getting married in your churches, I am fine with that.  If you want to make a policy where it is not allowed by your denomination, I am fine with that.  But do not tell me in a secular society I cannot legally do something that other citizens and non-citizens are allowed to do when I work hard, pay my taxes and live a law abiding life.  It is time for that double standard to go.  It is an undue hardship on those of us who want the dream of a marriage.  Who deserve the dream of a marriage.  It is time for same sex couples to be able to get married in their home communities surrounded by people they love and whose support is paramount to them, instead of being forced to travel thousands of miles.

I am a lesbian and I am going to be a wife in a God honoring marriage.   In 24 days I am getting married and I could not be happier or more blessed.

Convenient Legalism

“…it is a mistake to reduce every decision about Christian living to a “Heaven-or-Hell issue.” David K. Bernard

The problem I have with legalism is the inherent hypocrisy. Generally speaking anyone who needs a book of rules to live by, who needs all answers in black and white, has either weak or lazy faith. Now before you jump to some awful conclusion or defense, let me explain. Often times legalism is ONLY applied to things which the individual is uncomfortable. If you are going to be a passenger on the legalism train then be bold enough to take it all the way into the station or jump off the train.

Example #1. If you are the type of person who is going to pull your support from World Vision (10,000 people did just that) and let 10,000 children lose sponsorship , food and material well-being because the organization thought about and then retracted their policy on hiring and/or not firing gays … then take that train all the way in to the station. Stop shopping at Amazon, Dell, Apple, Starbucks, eBay, Nike, Gap, Ben and Jerry’s, Banana Republic, Levis, Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Oreos, Orbitz, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Marriot, Expedia, and countless others; stop using Google, Instagram, Facebook, MasterCard, Citicorp, AT&T and Jet Blue; and for gosh sakes do not ever buy a graham cracker from Honey Maid. You see it is easy to pull sponsorship which does not directly affect you and you feel all puffed up and self-righteous, but to do without something you use day in and day out is difficult. It is easy to sacrifice an unknown child, but not so easy to sacrifice your comfort and convenience. It is hypocritical to pull your financial support from World Vision and continue to shop at these other retailers. Not to mention in your effort to be “right” children are left starving in third world countries who know absolutely nothing about gays or straights and even if they did, could not care less because they can’t concentrate over their growling empty bellies. Righteous indignation that only comes to the surface when it is convenient is not righteous at all.

Example #2. If you are going to refuse to go to the wedding of a loved one because they are gay … then refuse to go the wedding of the person who is divorced, had pre-marital sex, is marrying an unbeliever, is marrying someone of a different religion, etc. It is hypocritical to single out one “sin” as a reason not to attend a wedding.

It is amazing to me how many will use the Bible and God as an excuse to be hurtful and non-supportive of loved ones, BUT only when it is convenient. The convenience of it all really does say much more about the person doing the rejection than the person being rejected. Until biblical literalism becomes a way of life for EVERY part of your life and you are willing to enforce it equally across the board, I respectfully ask you to keep your hate spewing, intolerant, non-supportive opinions to yourself. The double standard of you wanting to enforce your list of rules on everyone’s life BUT your own is outdated and puts your arrogance on stage front and center for everyone to see. Trust me it is not a flattering look.  If you do not believe enough to believe it 100% of the time, you belief is lukewarm. Your belief is a convenience. Your belief is shallow and your God is small.

What if we took the Bible and God at his Word? What if we got on our knees and let God talk to us individually? What if we dared to have a mature relationship with God? I realize that takes much more faith. I realize it is a scary proposition. But if God cannot lead us through the Holy Spirit which Jesus himself said would come to us, then perhaps he is not God at all. If we are relegated to a list of rules thousands of years old, we do not need Jesus Christ or his death on the cross. We might as well be followers of Moses and not Christ. Jesus death on the cross gave us a new covenant. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he left this earth to send us the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is your life. You can chose legalism if you want. But sadly those same rules you judge others by will eventually condemn you to hell as well. And that my friend is a very sad place to be. Very sad indeed.

Don’t Fall Off the Edge of the Earth

Great Article!

Susan Cottrell & FreedHearts

flat-earth-society1 “When Columbus lived, people thought that the earth was flat. They believed the Atlantic Ocean to be filled with monsters large enough to devour their ships, and with fearful waterfalls over which their frail vessels would plunge to destruction. Columbus had to fight these foolish beliefs in order to get men to sail with him. He felt sure the earth was round.” 
- Emma Miler Bolenius, American Schoolbook Author, 1919

In the Medieval cultural mindset, the world was flat. Period. Anyone with any brains at all knew for sure that if you sailed too far, you would fall off the edge of the earth. Period. This picture gives me chills! I KNOW the earth is round, no danger of falling off, I’ve seen the photos taken from the moon. But I still get a little freaked out imagining these ships going over the edge! Yeah, mentally, no prob; emotionally, a…

View original post 770 more words

Fruits or Fruitloops

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16

I had a really great conversation yesterday with a woman whom I respect immensely. She is fair, balanced, knowledgeable and even handed in her approach to spiritual matters, and if I am honest, life in general. This woman is wise beyond her years and is incredibly meek, which I define as velvet covered steel.

I love God and follow Jesus, but I am no theologian. I do not study the scripture as much as I should. I, quite frankly, am a ragamuffin with a checkered past who is embarrassed by the things I have done, the short comings I still have, and struggle from time to time to be more faithful to Jesus every day I live. I am also like any other human, I am more committed sometimes and less other times and I do not always agree with the woman mentioned in the paragraph above. However, as she and I were discussing “gay issues”, we both agreed that being gay was not a salvation, eternity deal breaker for God. We started at the exact same point in our theology, faith and belief system. However, we would venture down a path and would be in agreement to a certain extent and then she would say something to the effect of we have to remember or bring in to the equation what the Bible says. To which I nodded my head and in my heart was in total, absolute agreement. The fly in the jam is that we both deeply believe the Bible says two different things.

Which got me to thinking, what does the Bible say? How do we know what the Bible says? Whose interpretation is correct? Whose essay is the most accurate?

When a person can go to any bookstore and pick up a book which supports just about any stance, on any issue, how do we wade through the mire to get to the truth? For instance, I can go to any Barnes and Noble and in a matter of three aisles find books that say the faiths of Islam, Hindu, Buddha, Jews, Mormons, Catholics or Protestant are all correct and the ONLY way to the hereafter; if in fact there is a hereafter, because there is a book for that too. It can be confusing at best.

So back to my conversation. As this woman and I were talking she said “I think the thing that bothers you most is the hypocrisy”. At first I thought, yes that is it … people want to strain the gnat out of another’s life while swallowing a camel in their own. Yes, that is it! That is what bother me! Case settled.

But the more I pondered her words, I discovered, yes that bothers me; yet it is not what bothers me most. Quite frankly what others say DOES have an effect on me. My feelings can be hurt by critical evaluation or rejection just like anyone else. So when someone tells me I have sin in my life it bothers me. I want to honestly self-reflect, see what is going on and make it a matter of prayer.

You know the old adage we all live in sin, we are sinners fallen from grace, no sin is greater than another, etc. I agree with all that. I agree we are all in a fallen state. I agree I have sin in my life. No argument from me on any of those points.

The problem for me is when people point out a “sin” that is NOT a sin. Just because a person is uncomfortable with something does not make it a sin. Just because a person heard all their life it is a sin, does not make it a sin. Just because a person’s momma or preacher or auntie said it was a sin, does not make it a sin. Just because a person believes something, does not make it truth.

Yes, it is hypocritical of anyone to point out sin in another’s life while they have sin in their own, and she is right, I do not like it. But when you tell me by simply BEING I am sinning, I have a problem with it.   If you are going to point out sin in my life then pick a REAL SIN. Pick out something that can be changed, pick something I can address and become more Christ like.   The solitary fact I am gay does not make me less like Christ.

Tell me I am uncaring, inhospitable, a liar, a cheat, a thief, a gossip, unloving, lazy, prideful, impatient, undisciplined, greedy … something … give me something that can be changed. Do not tell me I am living in sin each and every day when I wake up and draw a breath just because of who I am.

The reason I don’t want to hear this is because I have petitioned God for YEARS, I have cried innumerable tears, I have fasted, I have prayed for hours, I have read books, I have contemplated suicide, I have attempted suicide because death seemed like a relief, I have been excluded from churches and ministries, I have been laughed at and bullied, then at my ropes end I have petitioned God some more, cried some more, prayed some more and guess what … nothing. Silence. Deafening silence.

Instead of giving up in the silence, I leaned in more. I repeated the prayers, the moans, the tears, the fasting, etc. then one day, in my spirit, I heard God whisper … “You are as I have created you. All I ask is for you to be willing and obedient and I will take care of the rest.” Since that day my prayer each and every day I breathe is for God to lead me to do what He would have me do and give me the courage to do it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

My life is not perfect. I am not perfect. I am still a ragamuffin who is saved by grace and lives through mercy. But strangely my life is fuller than it has ever been. My relationship with God is deeper than it has ever been. My ministry to others is more effective than it has ever been. My heart is more expanded and compassionate than it has ever been. My motives are purer than they have ever been. While I have millions of miles to go, I am more Christ like than I have ever been. God is bringing me to a place each and every day that is sweeter than the day before.

So how do we know what is true? When it comes to really difficult decisions or issues within major theological splits we have to remember there were Christians BEFORE there was a Bible. Therefore, there has to be something more than searching scripture and fighting over interpretation. Doesn’t there? Two people look at the same thing and see two different things. To each they speak the truth as they see it. But truth by definition excludes opposing opinions.

This ragamuffin has a humble opinion that what is true is discovered through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Through talking with Him daily. Getting to know him intimately. Christians are Christ followers, by definition. We become more like who we commune with. We become more like what and who we surround ourselves with. So if you are steadily pouring Jesus Christ into your life, guess what … you are going to become more Christ like. If you cannot go straight to the source for the difficult questions then to whom should a person turn?

Like I said previously I am not a theologian, I am simply a human who loves God.   I might be wrong. If I am, I will have eternity to think about it. In the meantime I will take great comfort in reminding myself a tree is known by its fruit. I have dedicated my life to Jesus Christ. I know the fruit that is being produced in my life through Jesus Christ. I know, that I know, that I know what God has brought alive in my heart. I can only pray he brings such things you question and struggle with alive in your heart too.

Maybe, just maybe, we need to be open to the idea that many, many answers may never be found in libraries or concordances or reference manuals, but rather in times of prayer and communion pouring our questioning, doubtful and wounded hearts out to a loving God.  Let’s dare to put feet on our faith and see where God takes us.