Equality in Scriptures

Awesome articles redeeming a very controversial word through the lens of scripture. A reflection  and expansion my own personal long-held beliefs.



The Meaning Series Part Three: Community

Today’s topic in The Meaning Series is Community (No, not the TV show). I wasn’t quite sure how to address this one, as it’s going to be a bit of a broad topic, but I think the word Community about covers it.

People need other people. It’s been this way since the Garden of Eden, when God decided to create someone for Adam to be with. Humans were not meant to live a life of solitude, we were meant to interact with other humans, forming meaningful relationships. In the modern age of the 21st century, this will likely look a little different for everyone. Studies show that Milennials are marrying much later in life, creating more of a need for creative solutions such as living with a roommate. I think we’re entering an era where the threshold to adulthood will look very different in coming years than it did in past generations; leaving the Church with questions about how to minister to their congregation.

One Bible passage that I have always loved and that I believe applies here is Matthew 12:48-50. “He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”” I believe that this is a particularly powerful and overlooked passage in the Bible. I love the idea that as Christians, we’re one big family; that all of my Christian friends are my brothers and sisters. Could you imagine what it would look like if we, in the Body of Christ, operated like this? One phenomenon that I’ve noticed at different churches throughout the years, is that we often fall into a pattern of looking like small, individual puzzles in the same box rather than one big puzzle. What if we really took the time to invest in each others lives and love each other like a family?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a big fan of 80’s TV shows. One thing that I’ve noticed in watching some of those shows, such as Full House, Who’s The Boss, Boy Meets World, etc., is that they really show strong examples of loving those who aren’t biologically related. On Full House, Jessie and Joey really become Uncle/Second father figures to D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle. On Who’s the Boss, Tony and Angela treat other’s kids as if they were their own. On Boy Meets World, Cory and Shawn are close enough to be brothers, with Cory’s parents treating Shawn as their own son. Not to mention that Mr. Feeny is like a grandpa to his students. What would it be like, if we as Christians looked like that? What if we saw each other: our friends, our mentors, and those younger than us, as family? Imagine the witness of Christian love this would be to the world. What if, instead of living disconnected and independent of each other, we lived in such a way that we could count on others to be there for us, and in turn, we were there for them. What if we lived out friendship and community in such a way, that we really became a family? I believe that a vital aspect of life is other people, both our biological families and those who aren’t related to us. As the song, No Man is an Island by Tenth Avenue North says “We’re not meant to live this life alone.” This may look different for you than it does for me, and yet even more different for your neighbor across the street. Nonetheless, we all need others and God calls us all to be one big family; loving each other as He loves each of us.

Beautiful Article By Wesley Hill

In the wake of increasing discussion following the LGBT topic, I’ve stumbled across a powerful article by Wesley Hill, a prominent Christian speaker on this subject. I found it so good, that I felt compelled to share it with all of you, and I urge you to try to understand and be a friend to those whose struggle looks different than yours. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Hill and others like him, and hope that their philosophies, solutions, and musings, are continued in decades to come.


Appreciating Diversity: God’s Fingerprint on His Creation

I’ll be honest, people fascinate me. Some people like to observe trees or mountains or animals, but personally, I enjoy observing people. I find it incredibly interesting to observe differences among people. The ways that different people think, feel, and interact among others. Perhaps it has something to do with being an author. Being that I tend to see life as a story, it seems only natural that I would see people as an interesting cast of characters. Naturally, on the surface, there are the obvious things that we notice.

Baker. Activist. Stay at home mom. Career woman. Firefighter. Actor.

The list goes on and on. Nonetheless, I try to look deeper than labels. Why is that person the way they are? What life experiences has shaped that person’s political, religious, and life views? What are their deepest desires in life? What are their motives? I often find it incredibly hard to view people through the lens of black and white, because I believe that people usually have experiences and dreams that have helped shape who they are.

Furthermore, I don’t just look at outside experiences that shape people. I believe that a lot of who a person is at their core is the fingerprint of God. God’s stamp of approval, saying “This is my unique child, whom there is no one like.”

Perhaps a person is deeply moved by the underprivileged.

An expression of God’s compassion. 

Maybe a person is drawn to ensuring equality

An expression of God’s justice.

Maybe a person is into the arts, loving things like painting and music

An expression of God’s creativity. 

Unfortunately, as a society, we sometimes have a hard time understand and relating with those who are different than us. You see this everywhere, ranging from the local high school’s hallways, to hateful comments on Youtube and social media. Instead of embracing each others differences, we view people negatively for being different. What if we didn’t turn a nose down on people who are different, but instead embraced those differences? What if we saw those differences as a form of beauty, rather than a threat? I believe that if we appreciated, learned from, and tried to understand people who are different than us, we’d be a much kinder and more Christ-like society. God created mankind in His image. Though we’re all fallen as a result of Adam and Eve, I believe that we still bear the unique fingerprints of our Creator.

I personally am grateful that God decided to make each of us so unique, and create a diverse group of humans. Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all the same. Not to mention that we wouldn’t function that well as a society. If everyone had my personality, we’d have a whole lot of people who wrote novels and observed people, but things like scientific discovery and mathematics would suffer greatly. Nonetheless, because of all of you out their with your unique and special personalities and concerns, our society is able to function in a way that we can flourish in multiple areas of life. I encourage you to take a fresh look at the unique and awesome people all around you and appreciate the masterpiece of God’s creation.

In the words of Britt Nicole, “you’re worth more than gold!” 🙂

A Better Way (Part Two)

Jesus payed much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come-Casting Crowns

Good morning fellow bloggers and readers. Sorry I did not get a chance to blog yesterday. I had insomnia the night before, and thus, was pretty exhausted yesterday, with little energy to think in-depth about my current blog two-parter. 

Nonetheless, I’m feeling good today and I’m going to pick up where I left off. In my last blog post, I talked about a way for Christians to have a more compassionate response to the LGBT Community, and information and conclusions that I’ve personally come to find. Thus, today I’m going to be talking about what we, as the church, can do.

1. Accept singleness as a viable option. I think that is one that can apply to both gay and straight people. There have been times when the response to being single in the church seemed to be “What’s wrong with you?” In not so many words. If churches solely focus on marriage and the nuclear family, it can leave a gay celibate person in a very awkward position. If you look through the Bible, singleness is actually commended, not discouraged. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:8. “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.” Nevertheless, the single person in the congregation should be looked at in the same way that the married couple with kids is looked at. Valued members of church and society.

2. Be a family.The last thing that I’d ever want to tell a gay person is to be lonely. This was a big reason why I struggled with my response to this topic for a while. Because whether you’re an introvert or an extravert, we all need people. We all need love, acceptance, and community. Someone to vent to after a long day and someone who we can share a pizza with. In the words of Bill Withers (I’m actually listening to a cover of this song right now!) “We all need somebody to lean on.” Nonetheless, I believe that if we, as Christians begin outreaching to this community and acknowledging these genuine needs, gay oriented people can find this love they need in friendships. Wesley Hill even has a book on this concept, called Spiritual Friendship. I believe that there are a lot of steps that we can take to show Jesus’ command to love your neighbor to the LGBT Community. Julie Rodgers recalls an experience once had in the video that I posted to my last blog entry. She said that her friend once told her that if she ever gets to a place in her life where she feels she’s not known, she’s welcome to live at her house and be Aunt Julie to her kids. Now, I recognize that we can’t all have someone live in our house, but I really love the aunt and uncle concept. What if nuclear families in the church did have an honorary aunt or uncle? I feel that this could be a blessing to both single people and nuclear families. The single people would have a place to go for Easter and Christmas, and a family to call their own. Meanwhile, the nuclear family would have someone to help watch the kids when they go out, or when they simply need an extra hand.

3. Don’t be afraid. I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem to have at least some fear of gay people. However, I believe that once we become more informed, the topic no longer becomes one to be afraid of, but rather a people group that aren’t that different from you and me. I believe that pastors need to be especially careful about what they say from the pulpit. It would do immense good to create an atmosphere where gay people feel welcomed and loved, not outcasted and hated. Gay people aren’t just out there somewhere in the world, they can be in your church, silent about their struggle.

4. Never Stand For Gay Bullying. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org says, “According to recent gay bullying statistics, gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths. About 30 percent of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis. Students who also fall into the gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered identity groups report being five times as more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation. About 28 percent out of those groups feel forced to drop out of school altogether.” This is devastating. Gay people deserve to be treated like people. They do not deserve hate crimes or hate speech. No one does. If you see a gay person being bullied, stand up for them. Though this one ought to be somewhat obvious, we should never condone people being bullied. For orientation or for other reasons.

5. Don’t push for a universal mold-Though there are likely many gay guys who are athletes or soldiers, and many lesbian girls who are supermodels or fashion designers, some may not fit the stereotypical mold of what a guy is “supposed” to be or what a girl is “supposed” to be. Julie Rodgers wrote in one of her blog posts about being paranoid that someone would find out that she was gay, and how she’d even question if she was sitting gay. Granted, I’m sure there are many straight guys and girls who deviate from gender stereotypes as well. Basically, what I’m getting at, is to not freak out or turn your nose in disgust to someone who isn’t your typical model of “guy” or “girl”. If you look through the Bible, there is not one place that says that a guy can’t take ballet or that a girl can’t play sports. In fact, if you look at 2 Samuel 6:16, you see King David leaping and dancing before God. Furthermore, 1 Samuel 16:7 says “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”” (NIV) Furthermore, according to http://www.theguardian.com, in 1890, the Ladies’ Home Journal advised blue for girls, and pink for boys. “In the UK the Women’s Institute was still recommending pink for boys up until 1921.” Thus, I urge you to not make jokes about a guy acting “girly” or a girl acting too guy-ish. It would seem to me, that God looks more at the heart than what a person takes up as a hobby or their mannerisms. If we take the focus off stereotypes, and embrace people’s wonderful and unique personalities, I believe it will take a lot of pressure off of a lot of people and allow us to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.

This is the final post for my A Better Way two-parter, nonetheless, I hope that the information that I have posted within the last two blogs has been interesting and beneficial to you. I believe that we all have the opportunity to create a better way for gay oriented people. Change starts right where you are, as you interact with people everyday. I urge you to show kindness and God’s love to LGBT oriented people and people in general. Who knows, you could make a new friend, and you could impact a life.

I have no idea what the band Tenth Avenue North had in mind when they wrote their recent hit, No Man Is An Island, but this song has always seemed to fit very well with what I just blogged about. Thus, I feel it is fitting to post this song as a final conclusion to my two part series.

A Better Way (Part One)

Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did-Casting Crowns

Today I’m going to be addressing a topic that’s difficult, yet one of the most pressing issues in Christian circles right now. It’s a sensitive topic, so admittedly, I’ve been a little apprehensive about blogging on this subject. Thus, I’m going to ask you to put biases and preconceived notions aside and listen objectively to what I’m going to say.

We live in a generation with a lot of big topics and news articles popping up. Nonetheless, one that seems to be especially reoccurring is the topic of homosexuality. According to williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu, there are approximately nine million adult Americans who identify as LGBT, not including teenagers. While the LGBT crowd is still technically a minority, nine million is a pretty huge amount of people.

Homosexuality is still a fairly new topic in American culture. Though it’s been around since the Biblical days, and though there were likely “closeted” gay oriented people throughout American history, it’s only been openly discussed since roughly the 1980s. Nonetheless, the newness of it in American culture hasn’t stopped people from speaking out very loudly on the topic. The best analogy that I can think of to describe the conversation surrounding this issue would have to be a game of ping pong. Both stances, hurling insults back and forth. Often, the shouting match is so loud that neither side can really hear what the other is saying.

I remember I was about fourteen when I first really started having serious questions about the topic. As many young teenage girls do, I read articles by my favorite singers and actors. By doing so, I was exposed to a pretty good deal of information on homosexuality, as many of them spoke out in support of the LGBT Community. I heard statistics of gay suicide rates and some of the legitimate struggles of gay oriented people. Hearing about how often gay oriented people struggle with depression stirred up a lot of compassion in me. I than thought back to things that I heard on the topic from Christian circles, and felt seriously conflicted. What was my view on the topic?

For a long time, my view simply bounced back and forth, whichever seemed right at the time. To some degree, I tried to avoid the topic as hearing about it only seemed to cause more confusion. One problem with that method. I couldn’t escape hearing about it. The harder I tried to avoid the topic, the more it popped up. I remember hanging out with some of my friends one day, and one friend telling us how her friend recently came out of the closet to her. None of us had any real advice. One friend simply said she disagreed with it and my other friend and I merely sat back and said nothing. Another thing that triggered questions was a character on a long running TV show. Throughout the show, it is speculated that one of the characters is gay. Interesting thing is, it’s never even hinted that the character is with someone of the same gender. So it made me wonder, what about people who are just attracted to people of the same gender? What are the rules when it comes to mere orientation?

Finally, I confessed my questions to my Mom, who told me to go research it. I had thought about that before, but was always a little hesitant, worried that I wouldn’t like the answer that I would find. Reluctantly, I googled Christian view on homosexuality, expecting to see somewhat homophobic answers. To my surprise, I found a very lengthy article on the subject. It said something that really struck a chord with me. It said that just as an alcoholic can stand up in an AA meeting and say that they’re an alcoholic, but through God’s grace, not drinking, so can a gay person stand up in a prayer meeting and say that they have a gay orientation (Same sex attraction), but through God’s grace, they’re living chastely. That one sentence, though relatively simplistic, was packed with a lot of information to me.

One, that having a gay orientation is not a sin, two that churches should allow gay oriented people to be open and honest about that part of themselves. I really liked that stance there. It allowed me to hold to both my understanding of scripture and my compassion for the LGBT Community.

I didn’t have to compromise anything.

That article prompted me to research the topic even further, spending hours reading books and articles on having a compassionate, understanding, Christian approach to homosexuality. I found some articles and videos by awesome, wise, Christian gay and lesbian people such as Julie Rodgers and Wesley Hill who helped me better understand this issue.

I’ve been asked why this is such an important topic to me, being that I’m not gay myself. I suppose that a big reason that this topic is so important to me, is because gay people have often been outcasted for being different. While I can’t relate to being attracted to other girls, there have been times in the past that I’ve felt like an outcast. I’ve been in classes where I didn’t have any friends, forcing me to sit awkwardly by myself. There have been other times that I’ve been the “odd one out” because my taste in movies or television has been different than what’s popular, because I don’t share in the same hobbies as the people that I’m hanging out with, etc. I’m not saying this to have a pity party but rather to explain why this is an important topic to me and how many of us, in that way, can find common ground with gay oriented people.

To sum up this blog post, what if there’s a better way to handle this topic than merely saying “I don’t support gay marriage”. What if, we loved this group of people unconditionally, the way that Jesus loves all of us? What if we took the time to try to understand their struggles and listen to their stories? What if we befriended them, looking deeper than gay and seeing them as one of God’s beautiful creations? I understand that this is a topic that isn’t often addressed and that it can be somewhat complex, so if you have any questions about what I said in this article, I urge you you to post them in the comments section. I’ll do the best that I can to answer them.

This is a very thought insightful and thought provoking video by a woman who is both gay and Christian, Julie Rodgers. Julie has a blog on WordPress as well if you would like to know more about this topic from someone who has lived it first hand.