I have a lot of people reading my blog whom I don't know or haven't spoken to in years. I get different kinds of feedback, for the most part positive. Some say I make them think, even if they disagree.
On occasion, what I post really concerns some people, and they tell me so. They feel the need to correct me with their interpretation of Scripture.
Those writers usually try to deliver the correction out of "Christian love and concern". But what really comes through is anger and fear. I typically don't engage the vitriol anymore as that is not a spiritual energy I want in my life. I'm probably not going to change them, and they aren't going to change me. So it's a waste of energy.
However, I was particularly encouraged by this recent email I received. I am sharing it with permission and have changed some of the identifying details to preserve the writer's anonymity.
Keep in mind that this writer is an Evangelical Christian. There is a positive, spiritual shift happening in the culture and also the Church at large. My Christian tradition teaches me it's a fresh move of the Spirit. Some will fight it, but in their fighting they are unwittingly promoting it as what one resists, one strengthens.
For starters, I am a Christian, and I was a member of Maranatha Church. Your mother and father were my main pastors. I moved away in 1989 but never found a church that compared to their church.
I agree that there should be marriage equality and equality for everybody. I understand discrimination because of “sin” as *they* call it. As a single divorced parent when raising my children, I suffered much discrimination when we moved back to the Bible Belt. I sucked it up, and remained in church for my children.
DISCRIMINATION CAN CHANGE A PERSON FOREVER
My kids and I experienced discrimation of various sorts. I was told it was because I was divorced. Even one small discrimination can change a person forever.
The Christian church is doing his to homosexuals now. They are keeping them out of church. I know of many homosexuals who would love to have the pleasure of worshiping with other believers but they can't because of the hate and discrimation that they receive fromthe Christian church. The Christian church is guilty of keeping the homosexual population out of the church and therefore costing them the chance to know Jesus. That is just too sad.
I am straight so I am not just another gay person defending who I am. For the most part, people can't help that they are homosexual. I use to think it was a sin but after working in the prison system, and I saw and learned about the physical aspects of homosexual, I totally got it. Many start showing signs of homosexuality way before they are thinking about sex when they are young.
STOP THE NONSENSE AND LOVE EVERYONE
For the most part, the public and especially Christians need to be educated in the science behind “made this way” because they are simply ignorant.
Christians need to stop the hate and love everyone. Many who are spewing the hate are sinners who call themselves Christians, but I guess their sin does not count...what gets me, many who I see posting on forums against homosexuals such on facebook are overweight and that's considered a sin so why are they not worried about being fat? They need to be speaking about the love of God and stop the nonsense.
On another blog, you mentioned that you were bullied. I was bullied too. I use to be smaller than my classmates, and I was not good in sports (even females were expected to perform and excel in sports where I attended school). I also had problems learning. Back then they did not have names like ADD and such so we were called dumb and stupid, even by the teachers. I suffered much bullying all of my life until a couple of years ago when I removed the bullies from my life...mostly some unhealthy family members.
Now a day my life is happy and blessed. God has been working in my life big time, and He has been healing me of the pains of my past. I am happy now. I am who I am, and I have came to realize that my short comings are between me and God, and my problems were never about me and them anyway.
God bless you. I just wanted you to know that I have enjoyed your blog and share my thoughts and opinions. You are very wise, just like your parents.
My Welsh friends Keren and Mark Riley of ReUnite have been living in Uganda the past several years resettling orphans to their families of origin.
I'm very impressed by their work. They are people of faith who are doing an amazing work among "the least of these", orphans. If not for their efforts, many displaced children would end up overseas and never see their families again.
This short film shares one of their success stories which I found very moving. There is definitely Good News coming to--and out of--Uganda!
I have remained mostly silent on the subjects of terror, violence and gun control this week--mainly, because my heart has been so overwhelmed.
I was asked yesterday by a mental health professional what I thought of the Boston bombings and how I was responding.
I replied I woke up on Wednesday feeling very anxious. I think there is a lot of internalized fear and anxiety in our country, and I was experiencing part of it.
I believe American society has been carrying a good deal of internalized fear since 9/11 and part of the polarization and rage in our society is because we just feel so powerless over random violence. We still don't know how to handle this "new" world, so we take it out on each other.
Of course, I'm shocked by the bombings. I'm grieved. I have prayed for the victims in Boston.
Someone last night asked me how I'm praying. I'm meditating and releasing healing, peace, and restoration to the families of victims, to victims themselves, and to our country at large. I'm praying for the perpetrator(s) to be found.
I'm praying for those suffering in West, Texas this morning. I'm praying for the politicking going on regarding gun control. I contacted one of my senators to voice my opinion.
I'm asking for rational thought and conciliatory action, that we can all come together, that our pain won't further divide us.
I'm mostly just feeling the anxiety, the fear, the pain and releasing it spiritually, when my tendency otherwise might be to stuff it, medicate it, or deny it. I even went for run to get myself centered.
It's important to feel fully right now, deal with it in our own way, and do our portion for healing, help, and recovery. That looks different for each one. But it's important we experience it and do our part.
It's also important we keep a normal schedule. The media reports can distract, preoccupy and consume us. It's okay to change the news channel, turn NPR off the car radio, or not engage Facebook or Twitter.
Monitor how much you take in. Know when to unplug. The soul can only take so much.
Most importantly, take care of yourself and each other. That's what we really need right now: to be present for each other. To lean on, support, and love.
This week I went to a screening of the documentary God Loves Uganda at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. The film "explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in Uganda, where American missionaries have been credited with both creating schools and hospitals and promoting dangerous religious bigotry. The film follows evangelical leaders in America and Uganda along with politicians and missionaries as they attempt the radical task of eliminating 'sexual sin' and converting Ugandans to fundamentalist Chrisitianity" (synopsis).
It spotlights Lou Engle and the International House of Prayer's efforts to evangelize Uganda and see their view of sexual immorality legislated out of the country. Lou and other prayer missionaries gave open interviews in the documentary.
I first heard some of this rhetoric from Lou over ten years ago when I sat in a closed door meeting with him and several young leaders. It was 2004 in Pasadena, CA, and he was strategizing how to raise up an army of young people to effect his view of social change. Part of that was to pull young people out of the university systems and get them to the stadium Call events and International House of Prayer in Kansas City, then send these young people around the world.
What concerned me was not the evangelistic zeal or even passionate stadium events. These individuals really love God and their hearts are coming from an extremely pure place.
What concerned me was the lack of theological understanding and how it could adversely effect not just their movement but other nations and peoples.
Much of the ideology coming from IHOP and various related groups is based on dominion theology. Put simply, dominionists teach that the insitutions of this world should be taken over by people who represent their Christian viewpoint. Government should be modeled after Biblical laws to the exclusion of secular law. If this happens, the land is blessed. If this does not happen, the land is cursed and various disasters could ensue.
I believe this to be at best, reckless and at worse, a very dangerous ideology as the result is the rejection and even destruction of anyone who does not share their particular Christian worldview.
My friend Tina and I connected with the director of the film and his team. Roger Ross Williams is an Oscar winning director. He spoke about how he has developed a warm friendship with some of the IHOP missionaries in the documentary. He and his team are endeavoring to shine a light on what is happening in Uganda and build a more thoughtful, rational conversation in America and Africa.
He and his team also stated they are not against Evangelicals. In fact, high regard was given to the evangelical heart of reaching the poor and the suffering. What is being exposed at present time is the ideology that can result in the subjugation and deaths of people who believe differently.
I highly recommend viewing this film if it comes to your city.
Devon Skeens, a straight Christian, recently came out in support of marriage equality. Afterwards, he was accused of being gay and not being a Christian.
It's interesting to me how many straight Christian people are coming out of their own closets of fear, finding their voice, and speaking what they believe--regardless of the religious vitriol that may come their way from other Christian friends and family.