When following Jesus looks different than Christianity (pt. 1)

Jesus dancing

An Article just went viral (surprise surprise) about a community that is trying to create a separate prom that won’t allow gay students to attend.

WHAT?!?!?

I am not going to debate the theology that surrounds our friends in the LGBTQ community, as I know plenty of Christians on both sides of the proverbial aisle: those who DO believe homosexuality is a sin, and those who do not. However, it seems that for the most part instances of exclusion, discrimination, or outright hatred toward the LGBTQ community seem to arise from those who DO view homosexuality as a sin; therefore, what I want to address is what is seemingly anti-Jesus behavior coming from these folks.

Let me tell you a story (for those who feel that the LGBTQ community are “sinners”):

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the prom ticket booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

While Jesus was dancing at prom, many gay, lesbian, transgendered and queers came and danced with him and his disciples. When the “Christians” saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher dance with gay, lesbian, transgendered and queers?”…

For my friends that don’t view the LGBTQ community as “sinners” (at least not for their sexuality) – the notion that their Christian faith is demonstrated, in the manner in the article, is heart wrenching.

I fear that we are at a place where we need to have honest discussions about this. If you are in the camp that holds homosexuality as a sin then please follow Jesus’ examples of how to treat the folks you think are missing the mark – don’t wind up in the same camp as many of the Pharisees in this particular situation above (Matthew 9.10-12). If you are in the camp that accepts homosexuality please follow Jesus’ examples of how to love those that disagree with you as well!

Article (as referenced above)

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Round and Round…I went.

Merry Go Round
Round and Round I Went

It is difficult to adjust to new settings, to change perceptions of yourself and your role. We become accustomed to who we are. There is no need to ponder and reflect once we know what is…and what will be.

We no longer have need for words such as: Fate and Destiny…because, good or bad, they are our now. When we ponder – future – we simply ‘rinse and repeat.’ Spontaneity and discovery are words reserved for our past – our youthful adventures…for today we are far too responsible for such frivolous behavior.

Few people proclaim that this  is how they had “dreamt it up.” That, today, is their culmination of dream and wonder…yet, they continue marching to the same dull drum in order to maintain this norm.

Life can be like riding a carousel – round and round – trading one painted horse for another, but the destiny is always the same. Turn after turn…miles behind you, yet the journey and the destination remains the same.

It is difficult to adjust to new settings, to change perceptions of yourself and your role. To get off of the carousel.

When I was a child, my favorite past-time at the playground was to be spun on the small merry-go-round – pleading with friends or my grandfather, “Faster! Faster!” Life flashing by me…I felt like any moment I would take off and fly miles and miles away. Holding on, white knuckled, my entire person wanting to escape the motion of endless spinning. I would fight the urge to be freed from this contraption until, slowly, she would come to a stop. Right where I started.

Sometimes, in life, something happens – your grip comes loose and you are thrown, tossed, spit out…at first you are disoriented, then you make sure you survived your flight (however short it may have been), then you decide to try and get back on (I hope I’m not the only one who’s tried to jump on a fast spinning merry-go-round!), and then you realize that you don’t want back on…afterall your head spins, your stomach aches, and the world is unsettled whilst going round and round.

It is difficult to adjust to new settings, to change perceptions of yourself and your role.

Sometimes it is best to be thrown from the merry go round because now I find myself, right now, staring at that from which I was tossed. Still wishing I could have hung on a bit longer, still feeling dizzy and queasy from the ride. But I am also realizing that there are other things in this life’s playground. Swing-sets. Sliding Boards. Teeter Tots.

Maybe someday I will try my luck at the carousel again…but today I think I may just go for a walk and see what else is out there, to be spontaneous and to discover.

It is difficult to adjust to new settings, to change perceptions of yourself and your role. Today I become an explorer and trailblazer, scouring the landscape looking for adventure, putting miles behind me and watching the landscape change before me.

This is who I am becoming. What about you?

Beginning from the End

We begin so many conversations from the end; from our conclusions. I find this to be unhelpful both when we agree and when we disagree. When we agree we assume the journey that was travelled was either the same or very similar…this, of course, allows us to swim in very shallow waters. The second problem with this is that the underlying fundamental belief that brought us (or, at the least, was our foundation) to our conclusion(s) may be diametrically opposed and therefore our conclusions are incompatible with each other!

What, then, with ones we are in disagreement? The inherent danger is that to argue backwards from differing conclusions is that it is nearly impossible to make an argument (convincingly) from a premise that the other sees as fundamentally flawed.

So, then, where do we begin? I would argue that we must begin at the last place that we found mutual footing (keeping in mind the problem with agreeing from above), this becomes our common ground that we can at any moment return in order to reorient or return to civility.

Today, we are inundated with memes, sloganeering, and bumper stickers that contain polemic conclusions and no effort to help bring about understanding and mutual appreciation for the other’s view, intellect, and lifelong experience. The danger of anonymity today also plays into this..we are able to lay in wait, unseen in the fringes of the internet’s forest – sniper rifle raised just waiting to fire upon those whom you oppose. No chance for them to confront their assailant.

I recently came across a statement that we must be reminded that even though we do the vast majority of communicating with others through machines, gadgets, and objects –> we truly are interacting with subjects! (See Martin Buber’s I and Thou for a great treatise on the importance of others as subjects!)

The great tragedy of our day is that we have so many ways to communicate with each other…we’ve lost the appreciation of that time. Flippancy and shortness rule the day…gone are the days of handwritten notes and other thoughtful discourse. Text messages, tweets, Facebook status updates – these are the things that line our shallow shores.

So let’s start from the beginning – let’s start from a place of mutual adoration and appreciation for the other’s views. Respecting one another and treating them as humans and not objects to be discarded. Maybe then we’ll get some place a bit deeper and more meaningful.