Friday, May 22, 2009

My Gay Pride Bracelet

So I was out to eat with a female friend awhile ago at a local Chinese restaurant. We were eating and minding our own business amongst  several other parties in the dining area. One was a middle aged man in a wheel chair with a slightly younger woman.

On one trip back from the buffet line the man in the wheel chair was appearing to get ready to leave. He said “Excuse me” as I passed but I ignored him assuming I had been too close to his path and he was wanting me out of the way. Well lo and behold, moments later he appears at our table. “Excuse me” he repeats. He then goes on to tell me that he liked my bracelet. Slightly caught off guard I ask which one. I have a grey one that says “Pray for China” and another one that says “Good News”. The latter one I discover is what has caught his interest. As he points he says semi hesitantly, “I assume that’s a *pause* gay pride bracelet”. “No”, I reply, “It’s a Good News bracelet”. As I’m answering I’m rotating it on my wrist with my mind spinning and momentarily unable to remember what color to start on.

As I finish enlightening him that it isn’t a gay pride bracelet I find the color I’m looking for and without missing a beat continue. “This yellow represents God. Only He is perfect and (turning to black) our sin separates us from God but He sent His Son to die for us on the Cross (transitioning to red) so that we may be washed clean (white). Because of this we are a new creation (represented by green) and have eternal life and can be in fellowship with God (back to yellow).” He was fading past after I was going from red to white in my explanation but I pressed forward anyway without pausing to breath. With that I was thanked almost apologetically and he motored his wheel chair swiftly away.

My friend and I sat there in a slight stunned silence asking ourselves what just happened. Then we began to process everything. What are the odds? It had totally been God. At least fellow Christian came to mind when contemplating how others would have reacted. Unfortunately too many Christian’s lack of understanding in regards to homosexuality, they would have possibly focused on the gay pride issue instead of the opportunity to share the Gospel, albeit briefly. Then while processing everything you go through the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s. Could I have threw in there “Just like He cleansed my sin which just so happened to be homosexuality”?

Should I have said something more? Dunno. God knows. All I can do is trust in Isaiah 55:10-11 where God assures us that His words do not return empty to Him. Now my prayer is for this stranger!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

“Family: The good, the bad and the ugly”


As I ponder life many things come flowing through my head. Some thoughts I capture and process, others just keep on moving. Lately one thought that has been coming back to me is that of loved ones and family.

I’m not just talking about biological family members. But also the members within the family of Christ. As I process all of this I began to consider what it is to disown someone. Merriam Webster’s definition of the word is “to repudiate any connection or identification with”. I know that this unfortunately does occur within biological or legal family members. But what about within the Body of Christ? Is this possible? Since we have the same Father and Brother it would be kind of tough. Plus with that definition would want to??

So again coming home from work today I heard the Addison Road song “Sticking with You”. It’s such a great song with lyrics that speak to the depth of what the Christian walk is to look like. This has been reconfirmed also these past few weeks by the book I’m currently reading. “Searching for God Knows What” by Donald Miller. I’m sure some wouldn’t like his writing style or even his view of life. But the very fundamental truth that he is focused on is that we are relational creatures created this way by our Creator. It’s not an accident.

We are to be relational to non-believers so that our lives can show the love of Christ. Just like Christ Himself as He was spending His time with the prostitutes, adulterers and other societal misfits and sinners. He loved them and simply showed them a Way out of their current hopelessness.

We are to be relational with our fellow believers. To be there for each other, love each other, support each other and learn from each other. This definitely doesn’t allow us to disown those that we really don’t like or are sick of.

Galatians 6:9-11 draws a good picture of this. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” We are supposed to stick with people.

Just like the song says… “I'm staying here cause that's what love's about. I might let you down, but I won't let you go. So lean into me, I want to know everything about the fear you hold inside cause you and I are better than just one,”. That last statement takes us back to Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “Two are better than one, they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Fellowship is a fundamental need that has been created within us from the very beginning. Look at Adam. He was hanging out with God in paradise but still something was missing until he traded a rib for a woman to be named later. Eve. God even said that it is not good for man to be alone.

So what does this really look like as we traverse this life?? I know that things look real different on paper then when you are in the middle of the storm making real life decisions. I have gotten to apply these things in real life. This is not something that someone goes around looking for so they can walk into. But once in the middle, I wouldn’t back down or turn around for the world. I see more clearly now what Christ is trying to get through our thick skulls. This is all part of our Christian journey. Key word being journey. It’s not a short trip to the corner store. It’s a journey through the unknown. What will the terrain be? What will the weather be? What will the obstacles be? Through it all we continue on.
The next part of the song could probably be offensive to some. These ‘some’ being people that would rather go it alone and take that easier trip to the corner store. Or the people afraid of being real. But to me, they speak volumes. ” So if I have to jump then I'll jump and I won't look down. You can cry, you can fight, we can scream and shout. I'll push and pull until your walls come down and you understand I'm gonna be around I'm sticking with you” We are to be real with each other. God’s family sticks together.

So… I’m sticking with you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009




So what is love? How do you know if you have experienced it? To me I have discovered that it is in the same plane as becoming a Christian so to speak. You can learn about it. Talk about it. Even pretend to be an expert about it. But I can tell you that none of that will come close to the night that I took that step and surrendered my life to Christ. It’s something that I could never put into words. This is what comes to my mind when I consider love. It’s an experience that can’t truly be explained to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

There are all of the different words for different ‘levels’ of love in different languages. In Greek you have agape, eros, storge, thelema, and philia. Then there is raya, ahava and dod in Hebrew. I know that I could go on and on. I heard someone call philia love the ‘phooey’ love because it’s a more superficial love. But is it really?

It’s interesting that in English we just have the one word, love. So what is it? What does it look like? Is it the love they are seeking on The Bachelor/Bachelorette? What about what the sexually driven ‘love’ portrayed on shows such as ‘Two and a Half Men’ or ‘Sex and the City’. Is deep true love even sexual? It could be argued that it is by some of those afore mentioned words that I listed. But I don’t think so. That is all so superficial.

What about throwing the word around for inanimate objects. I just LOVED that cheesecake. I LOVE that color on you. I LOVE my new car. Is that true love? Or just great appreciation?

What about love at first sight? I was talking to a friend recently and was relayed a story of a couple that knew they were meant for each other within 2 months. Not to say that isn’t possible but I’m a skeptic. To me it seems that it’s infatuation that will possible lead into true deep love. Obviously there needs to be a foundation for love to be built on. Each time you love you give a bit of yourself away. You make yourself vulnerable. Obviously you wouldn’t want to be doing that with every stranger that you meet on the street.

I have been thinking about love a lot lately. I do love someone. I love them so deeply that it hurts. I love them even though I’m not loved back. Am I crazy? I think not. True love stands firm. Sadly I thought it was mutual. But how can you really know someone? This I’m still trying to figure out. How can you know if the other party knows what love is themselves? How does one get to this point where they give their love away? It’s a slow and interesting process. One could get jaded in situations like this. But it’s a process that I wouldn’t turn back if given the chance. I would walk this road over and over again.

To me love is everlasting. Love is not just reserved for a spouse. Love is something God created that dwells within us. We were instructed by Christ that it is the greatest commandment. So there must be a reason that true love holds on through the pain. There must be a reason that true love speaks the truth in all things. Even when you know it will drive a stake in the heart of the one you love. Even when you know it will drive an even bigger stake through your heart. So I must to be true to this love that I profess. Someday I pray you will see my heart for what it is.

Just hang on. Have patience. Be still and know that I am God. A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. And it goes on and on.

This is what we have lost in this informationally driven world. People focus on facts and stats. Not on true feelings. Love is a choice that we make. Sometimes it might not be rational or even make sense. I choose to love through the pain. I choose to love till the end. Relationships take actions on both sides but love can stand firm if even on one side. God knows why.

So all I can say is, here I stand. I LOVE YOU… and I mean it. I can love someone like you because you are beautiful. I love you because I want to. I love you as you are. I love the real you.  I love you and wouldn’t change anything that I have said or done. I have done it in love. I now know what my parents meant when they told me as I was getting a spanking that it hurt them more than me. They told me that they were doing it because they loved me. I now finally know 20 some years later what they meant. Love is a crazy thing. I’m glad that I have had a chance to experience it to this level this early in my life. Who knows where it will take me… but God knows… so that is all that matters.

If I had to pick one of those words to inadequately describe even a piece of my love it would be Ahava. It is a love of the will deeper and more profound than just fleeting romantic feelings. It is the commitment involved in making a relationship work. It is a deep affection and desire that is unquenchable, a wish to be with the other person that makes your heart ache.

So AHAVA with all my heart.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sticking with you

So I have written a ton of what has been on my mind for some time now. I have an entire folder on my computer. Life has been interesting that is for sure. I was talking to my friend at work today telling her that it felt like I was in boot camp for marriage. I know what sticking to a commitment means more than most of my peers. I know what continuing forward no matter what means. I know what lowering my head and continuing on through the pain and tears means. I have deleted some of my previous notes that I posted even though they were general. I don't need people trying to figure things out. Even people that do know what is going on don't seem to be able to figure me out. I can't even figure me out sometimes. I just know that God is my guide. Last night as I was driving thinking and praying about these things in life a song came on the radio that says it all. I am living this. I wouldn't want to turn back time to avoid this. Right now I just pray for the continual patience to wait for the Lord's timing. He knows what the end looks like. That's what keeps me going as I continue through the beating. Love. It's the greatest commandment. I pray you all experience what true love looks like and feels like. It's unconditional. It's never ending. It is patient. It endures all things. It's amazing. You can't explain it until you live it.

Addison Road
"Sticking with you"

Come on, it's me you're talking to
There's something going on inside of you
Don't have to say it, but I wish you would
Cause it would be much easier

You always hide behind yourself
You walk a lonely road with no one's help
I hate to break the news
You're headed for a fall

And if I have to jump
Then I'll jump
And I won't look down
You can cry, you can fight, we can scream and shout

I'll push and pull
Until your walls come down
And you understand I'm gonna be around
I'm sticking with you
(I'm stinking with you)

Even if you try and shut me out
I'm staying here cause that's what love's about
I might let you down, but I won't let you go

So lean into me, I want to know
Everything about the fear you hold inside
Cause you and I are better than just one,

So if I have to jump
Then I'll jump
And I won't look down
You can cry, you can fight, we can scream and shout

I'll push and pull
Until your walls come down
And you understand I'm gonna be around
I'm sticking with

If that's what it means to love you
If that's what it means to have your back
If that's what it takes to show you
Then I'm in, I'm in

If I have to jump
Then I'll jump
And I won't look down
You can cry, you can fight, we can scream and shout

I'll push and pull
Until your walls come down
And you understand I'm gonna be around

And if I have to jump
Then I'll jump
And I won't look down
You can cry, you can fight, we can scream and shout

I'll push and pull
Until your walls come down
And you understand I'm gonna be around
Cuz I'm sticking with you.
(I'm sticking with you)