May 23, 2012 § 2 Comments
I never thought I would get married. No white dresses. No happily ever afters. I’m a gypsy. A nomad. I have a tendency toward the ridiculous. I work in spurts and intervals. I’m what you might call a little more on the independent side. I’m a critical thinker. Emphasis on critical, heavy emphasis. Needless to say these are not the usual adjectives you see on the “to be desired in a wife” list of eligible bachelors around town. How I tricked him into loving me I’ll never know (or tell!)
Justin and I met in the prime of our polarity. I think he dreamt of someone who would frequent indie rock festivals and write him poetry. I dreamt of someone who would frequent political fundraisers and write me (not them) checks. To be honest, I’m not sure either of us has really changed, we’ve just been introduced to reality. The person you love is often better, and wildly different, if not slightly more refining than the one you dreamed of.
When our lives shifted from being polarized acquaintances to good humored friends we were older. We had had first loves, broken hearts, and were not looking for each other. We were honest. We were open. And within eleven months from the first time I told
him I was not interested – I married him. Best thing that ever happened to me. Every story is different. Every person is different. Every marriage is different. No one can tell you how to do yours. Should they try, run. It’s just too unique, too intimate to try to work out in a broad spectrum. There are certainly principles that can be applied and wisdom to be gleaned from people that have great relationships, but it simply can’t be duplicated. That’s the crazy, wonderful adventure of love. It’s unique. All our own. Just ours to understand.
Today, in a moment that both made me feel loved, known, and lovingly teased – Justin said, “[that's you] Always going confidently in the wrong direction.” Except with you. With you I couldn’t have gotten it more right. Thanks for the most beautiful years of my life. “The best is yet to come and baby won’t it be fine…”
May 16, 2012 § 2 Comments
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States famously said,
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
In September of 2010 I started college for the 3rd time, at the age of 33. To say I was rusty is an understatement. I have experienced some real successes and some real blows. I got As in math… I also got a C in math. I soared through some classes, and struggled my way through others. In Chemistry, the class I struggled the most in, I received an incredibly sweet email from my professor, in a highly redacted and edited clip here is the essence of what she said, “… even though you didn’t get a 100, your effort still shows… you never gave up trying to understand the material. You were a great student to teach because you never gave up. Don’t give up that effort as you continue your education.” I am more proud of that than almost anything else that I did. Well, that and the 5 weeks that I spent at Vassar. Not because it was Vassar, but because I lived in a stifling hot dorm, deprived of sleep, any comfort of home, and took 2 Ivy level classes as an essential freshman and kicked ass. There again, I had some significant personal low points, and it was a battle, but I did it.
I think that the thing that no one tell you. After it’s all over and the sighs of relief come, it’s easy to forget the incredibly low moments. The fight for your life. The reality of the work, the difficulty, the sacrifice, the cost, the toll, the difficulty… This is really hard. This is really stressful. It is not easy to be an adult non-traditional student. It is not easy to try to make life decisions about transferring when I have a husband, with a job, and a home… but this is where we are. I have done exceptionally well in some places, and I have had some areas of flat lining. I am learning how to achieve a greater equilibrium with every non-exceptional success. I am learning to swallow my pride and be realistic about what I am capable of. I am recognizing the incredible gift that a tirelessly supportive husband and family are. I am humbled to be in a nation that values education, and honored to be able to apply to the caliber of school that I have been able to apply to. This journey has been nothing if not a humbling honor.
I will also say that were it not for the advocacy and support of my professors at BHCC I would not be experiencing the same incredible success and opportunity that I am now. I am so incredibly grateful for that. I know that the years ahead are going to be much more difficult than the last two. But in a rare moment of contentedness I would like to say that as I walked out of my Chem final and closed the door of my car I cried with pride. I did it. I believed I could do it and I did it. I did not do it perfectly, it was not easy, and I was not a soaring success at every single thing, but I am so proud of my effort and integrity. And now, as we work out what the next step is, I am happy to take a moment to rest here, in this moment of success. There were so many times that it would have been easier to give up, but I chose to press forward. And it was difficult, and sometimes heartbreaking, and I didn’t always get a 100, but I never gave it less than my all, and I am so incredibly proud of that. “Press on.” The human race faces problems that need to be solved!
May 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The Gospel Coalition (a group of very conservative mostly Presbyterian – reformed- pastors) posted an article entitled “How to Win the Public on Homosexuality.” I saw the article posted on a very intelligent and respected friend’s Facebook page. She addressed it, instead of to the public at large, to fellow conservatives (which I respect – though the post and dissenting conversation by myself and one other man have now been hidden on her wall.) I am pretty sure that we all know that I am a reformed conservative, and actually, had I not seen the title the Gospel Coalition gave the article, I would not have clicked – as I am reformed.
I will say, as I have said before, I feel an increased concern regarding the political behavior of conservative Christians. However, this is not an attack.
Full disclosure: I supported GW the first time (he has a great governor of the Great State of Texas.) And as a human I genuinely believe that he is a good man.
Conservative Christians – in clinging to family values, and talking about the original intent of the founding fathers – seem to be confusing the constitution (a living, or changeable document) with the bible, which many CC believe to be’absolute’ (unchangeable, to be interpreted according to author’s intent.) For the non-CC reader, it is important to interject here that all Christians do not interpret the bible the same way, even among denominations there are deep divisions regarding “truth” – this the case in Episcopal and Anglican church – two factions of what was formerly the same denomination, as well the Presbyterian Church has STRONG opinions about absolute truth, therefore there are 11 different factions of the denomination, because they cannot agree on which version of absolute truth is the MOST correct.
However, my concern is not about the church’s inability to come to a consensus on absolute truth – here is my growing concern – If there is discussion of original intent, the reason we formed the US was because of the oppression of the Church of England, if the CC continue to force the issue of making their moral conviction legal legislation, they will establish a precedent that will make us the very country we sought to escape.
Some of the most worrisome things that I read in the post intended to “win” the public to the Conservative Christian view (I am afraid this article is woefully and wishfully titled):
Christians declare our right to speak out and legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions. Gays pursue their right to life, liberty, happiness with regard to their sexuality. But homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all.
Legislating according to religious conviction is in direct opposition to the constitution. Here is why. Because we were founded by a group of religious zealots with wildly different beliefs who had all been marginalized by the dominate Church of England, they knew that even with a 98% majority of the population a truly free and democratic state MUST adhere to a separation of church and state. This was actually the beauty of democracy, that while majority was allowed to rule according to vote, the rights of the minority were still protected. This was UNHEARD of at the time. Particularly when it came to religious liberty.
I won’t even begin to explain why saying “homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all” is wrong – but in an era of horrific and increasing bullying of gay teens using language like ‘threatens us all’ is nothing short of propaganda.
It’s so easy for us to look up Romans 1 and observe the obvious gap between biblical teaching and homosexuality.
I would like to respond to that quote with this one -
[The] Problem is, gays don’t see us as agonizing over our acceptable sins. The pursuit of self-fulfillment covers a multitude of adultery, divorce, and pornography in our churches. Why shouldn’t it also cover homosexuality?
There is that – one might contend that there is an obvious gap between what the bible says about dozens of issues and the actions of most believers (and non-believers)- judgement, slander, selfishness, hate in your heart, a controlling spirit – the difference is that people aren’t getting kicked out of churches or taking away people’s constitutional opportunities as a consequence.
It does seem strange to the rest of the world that in the midst of all of the aforementioned things- Christians stand up, plank in eye, and take their tweezers to homosexuality. Particularly that they spend a good amount of their time trying to tweeze homosexuality out of the eyes of people who are not, in fact, Christians.
As my non-CC readers may or may not know, Christianity was established because New Testament (not yet) believers were living ‘under the law’ this is when you are forced to live according to religious law that you do not believe… Think “rules without relationship.” Then Christ came and liberated them from the law and drew then into relationship. I think you can see where I am going with this. Imposing a moral Christian belief on an entire nation of people who may or may not agree with that religious conviction could be construed as bringing them under the law. As I understand the bible, this is not a good thing, or something that draws people into relationship with God (or into relationship with his followers.)
Many gay-rights advocates have excused themselves behind a professed love of God’s Word. You won’t likely win a debate with them by citing Bible verses they’ve been trained to explain away.
I hope I don’t need to point out, that this article is a training exercise into how to explain the opposing view away. In this vein of logic, no one is likely to win. In fact, it is likely that everyone loses.
For presidents and paupers, gays and straights, there is no other way to true happiness than the one Jesus traveled, the way that ended in the agony of the Cross and the ecstasy of the Resurrection.
Here is the crux of the article. These convictions are biblically based for a specific sect of Christianity, even the article acknowledges that the church is divided on this issue (this sect simply claims to be more right than the ones that don’t agree with this point.)
The way to morally transform America, according to the Christian faith, is to introduce people to the God that you know – not to impose your religious conviction, via legislation on an entire nation of people.
For those of you who will cry, “UNIVERSALISM!” and call this a postmodern or relative truth argument – I assure you this is a pragmatic argument.
There is no denying that Christians do not agree on INNUMERABLE topics, not just this one. I’ve been aquatinted with a church community that for 20 years can’t come to a consensus about drinking, they are not talking about getting drunk, literally – there is an inability to come to consensus over just one glass of wine…
Separate to, but in light of, the inability of the church to be on the same page regarding interpretation of the bible, and who is most right about the absolute truth - the protection by the federal government from being pulled back and forth in that battle is a welcome protection. The separation of church and state is in place to protect people from having their rights taken away by people acting in the authority of God, on behalf of the greater good of ‘all.’ If the church can’t agree amongst itself what the authoritative word of God says about this issue, it’s hard to think that in the name of God and on that God given authority that one faction of the Christian church should be creating legally binding policies based on their conviction. More simply stated, we’ve got enough to deal with with Congress, don’t pull the nation into your battle. Also, it’s in direct opposition to the Constitution of the United States of America.
If this does not convince you that what you are doing is outside the methodology of Christ, and logic then there is one final plea.
If you believe with all of your heart that it is your duty as believers to,” declare our right to legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions” I urge you to consider this…
One day, you may not be the moral majority.
When I asked my friend who posted the article if she was OK with religious legislation imposing on her religious liberties, she answered “In a nation where 78% of Americans (Pew Report 2009) profess Christianity as their religion, yes, I expect the majority to vote biblically.” (believe me, she has carefully considered this, it is the topic of her dissertation at Baylor - I told you she is respectable and smart.)
Let’s consider hypothetically that the next moral majority is muslim. They decide, as the religious majority, that Ramadan should be required – legally, the majority of the nation affiliates with Islam anyway. Continuing in the course of action being proposed by this article, the precedent will have been set that legislation based on religious conviction of the ‘moral’ majority is OK. I would speculate that there would be fighting tooth and nail against this by Christian Conservatives, but it’s the precedent that is being advocated and pushed right now.
The truth is, for the most part, no one is asking you to change your MORAL conviction on homosexuality, I am simply making a plea for you to not impose that conviction by way of legislation. This is an appeal made as much for your sake in the long term (Revelation seems to assure us that the days of Christian moral majority are numbered) as it is for the protection of the fundamental rights of Americans.
In light of these things I want to revisit Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians, “Of these three now remain; Faith, Hope, and Love – but the greatest of these is love.”
We should make sure that we are careful not to be convinced that “the greatest of these” is Faith – because as any CC knows – faith without love is “a resounding gong and clanging cymbal.”
***disclaimer – I recognize that this is not an inarguable topic (and I am no Demosthenes,) but I believe that this perspective is strong and needed. It was not easy to write, as I am sure for many CC it will not be easy to read. I am simply asking you to thoughtfully/prayerfully weigh the perspective and consider pouring your energy on this topic into sharing the Love that you believe in, instead of battling this legislation.