FYI (for girls and boys)

So in the wake of one lady’s attempt to get her son’s Facebook friends to cover up (complete with bonus pictures of her topless sons), as well as one friend’s wife’s attempt to bring a little clarity to what it feels like as a Christian teen trying her best not to be seen as a hussy temptress, I’ve been thinking a lot about what responsibility women do have to their bodies.

Here’s the thing:  women have heard it all.  “Don’t be a stumbling block.”  “Don’t cause your brother to sin.”  “You have a responsibility.”  “If a guy sees your breasts he won’t respect you, you’ll forever be an object to him.”

I can’t help but remember one time when I was wearing a pair of hole filled jeans my brother had given me, and a band tee that was two sizes too big.  I remember walking around at a (Christian) music festival feeling pleasantly asexual, when one leering guy loudly said to one of his friends, “girl tries to hide it but I bet if you peel away the layers there is one sweet body wrapped up in there.”

God, I was so embarrassed.

I never wanted to be a sexual object.  When I was young, a so-called friend of my brothers grabbed the neck of my tshirt and pinched my ass and ogled my breasts.  It scarred me in a serious way.  Some girls, after something like that, choose to be sexy to feel in control.  I chose to be asexual until I was in college.  I’d dress in baggy clothes and keep my body hidden and blush for any attention at all.  Yet, guys still talked about my body.  Guys still asked to see my breasts.  Guys still obviously lusted for me.  So what was I doing wrong?

I would be openly, violently opposed to any male advances to the point that guys called me a lesbian.  Yet once, one drunk friend got me pinned in a corner and kissed me.  What was I doing wrong?

I was being female.

I realize now that it was all I ever did wrong.  I was a girl in a world that tells girls that their bodies are a problem.  Yet I cannot stop being a girl.

Here’s the problem:  when you tell a girl to cover up her body to keep men from stumbling, you are telling her that her body is a stumbling block.  Her body, which you also say was made to glorify God.  You give her conflicting messages, saying in one breath that her female form is a source of shame but also telling her that she should glorify God through childbirth.  As if the end result is holy (she will bear children) but the function itself is vile (she has an attractive body which she will give to a man in order to conceive.)

It simply doesn’t make sense.

Women cannot control men’s attraction.  Even by covering up.  The knowledge that the female body is possessed of breasts and a vagina does not fade just because they are out of sight.  Pure attraction, involuntary attraction, the longing of one body for another to touch, doesn’t fade no matter what clothing is involved.  The only responsible way to handle that primal, human, urging is by teaching our children what it means and how to control it in themselves.  Blaming it on females is recklessly irresponsible; especially, given the knowledge that males are not the only ones who experience it.  (Yet we do not caution our men to hide the traits which women most find appealing.  Imagine if we told our young boys to speak in high pitched voices, avoid growing muscles, and to disdain showing any affection or appreciation towards girls in order to protect girls from feeling lust!)

Women’s bodies should not be seen or treated as a source of shame.  Yes, I understand that in the Garden of Eden, after eating the fruit of the tree of Knowledge, both Adam and Eve felt shame in their nakedness and God clothed them.  Yes, that is all good.  But didn’t God at the same time throw layer upon layer of curses on them?  Are those curses, and that shame, things that we as redeemed people should embrace?  Absolutely not.  We have freedom from those curses, we seek out a more perfect state of being, one in which we can taste the taste of Eden and walk unashamed at the side of God.

Let me be absolutely blatant:  This fervent, senseless shaming of young girl’s bodies is a stumbling block to achieving that blessed state.

I would never unfriend a young girl who posted a coy selfie.  I would never tell my daughter that it is her fault if young boys see her as a sexual object, and I would never tell my son to blame a young girl for his attractions.  No.

No.

No.

I will tell my daughter that her body is a blessing and a beautiful gift.  That it can give her joy, it can give her future lover joy, it can offer comfort and safety and warmth.  Her body is capable of creating the miracle of life and her breasts are glorious gifts that can give sustenance to a child.  I want my daughter to rejoice in her body.  Will I explain to her about society’s expectations, and dressing in a way that people show respect?  Yes.  But I want her to understand that there’s a difference between dressing in a way that shows respect for your body and others and dressing to hide yourself.  Those two are not the same and should not be treated as such.

A woman who wears shapeless dresses and lives in terror of being seen as the sexual being that she is does not show herself, or others, respect by doing so.  She shows fear.

And I will explain to my son that the things he feels are not to be blamed on the people that incite them in him.  It’s not other people’s fault when he is sad or angry or bored, nor is it their fault when he is sexually excited.  They are his feelings, his to understand and his to control. Those feelings, when shared with others, can be a blessing or a curse.  I will teach him not to curse others with his sexual urges.

So, remember that your body is a gift, the feelings it can create in others and yourself are also a gift.  There is no reason to be ashamed of having that capability or feeling.  What matters is how you take responsibility for yourself.  You cannot take responsibility through blaming or shaming.  Women, dress yourselves with grace and love.  Men, treat your attraction with grace and love.

And don’t be ashamed.

rape should be blamed on the rapist.

So a few days ago, a friend of mine linked to an interesting picture on Facebook.  It was of a topless woman who had written “STILL NOT ASKING FOR IT” on her breasts and abdomen.  I won’t post it here, because I know some of my readers find nudity distasteful*, but it sparked a very interesting debate.  I’ve seen it shared a few other places since, and every time the comments are just breathtaking.

You wouldn’t wear a chum suit to swim with sharks.

There is this idea, beneath the surface of almost all of the comments, that women’s bodies are a dangerous weapon that once unleashed turn normal respectable men into mindless automatons of desire with undeniable destructive force.  There are two issues to be addressed there:

  1. Men are not savages, and society should not give them permission to behave like such.  Showing men a pair of perky breasts should not turn them into raping machines.  If they cannot control themselves in the face of a flash of skin here or a lowcut top there or a pretty lady in high heels and a skirt walking through the park in twilight, this really isn’t the lady’s problem.  It’s the man’s.  If the men in our society cannot bear the sight of a little boobs or butt without losing their minds, I think that we should either blame society or men, not women.  That’s sort of like saying, “I know I promised not to eat any more sugar but then there were chocolate bars in the checkout lane and I completely lost my mind and woke up the next morning with a Hershey’s mustache surrounded by shredded wrappers.  I blame Safeway.”  Uh, no.
  2. Women’s bodies aren’t chum.  They aren’t a shredded bucket of viscera whose only purpose is to attract sharks.  Imagine for a moment that a man was painting the side of his house in only a pair of tight shorts and the woman who lived there invited him in for a cup of lemonade, roofied him and raped him.  Do you think society as a whole would say, “man, you really shouldn’t work with your shirt off.  You KNOW what those rock hard abs do to women.”  No.  Because there is a double standard, and women’s bodies are the only ones treated like a weapon.  Women are told to be demure, to be “good”, to keep their breasts and buttocks covered, to not wear too high of heels, etc, etc, etc, to “protect themselves” or to “protect men from temptation”.  Then, women are told that they should be sexy to keep their husband and they must dress attractively to be respected and on and on and on, because apparently our bodies aren’t our bodies, they are a tool.  A tool that must know when to be used and when not to.  A tool that is constantly meant to be in the service of others.

I don’t normally cuss on this blog, but I can only think of one word to sum up my feelings on this subject:

bullshit.

Let’s make one thing clear; the only time a woman is “asking for it” is when she says, “give it to me, I want it.”  Simply having a pair of breasts isn’t asking for it.  Even showing you her breasts isn’t asking for it.  Her body isn’t consent, period.  I know people who think the act of sexual intercourse is in and of itself consent, which is such an utter crock of insanity I hate to even write about it because it makes my heart bleed.  It really does.  Women have a right to decide when they want to have sex and when they don’t.  I once jokingly told someone that it’s a little different when you’re married, because there’s this assumption that your bodies are there for each other.  I was talking to a guy, as a matter of fact, and his response was that while some guys might think it’s cool for their girl to just stick her hand down their pants and say “give it to me” it really doesn’t work that way.

And you know what?  It doesn’t.

We live in a world where privacy is something that you can have or give away with the click of a button, it’s a commodity that is bought and sold without so much as our knowledge.  Our bodies may be our last line of defense.  Our bodies may be the last place where we can truly feel ownership of ourselves, the last thing that isn’t being bought and sold and grasped at for profit.  And for women, that feeling of ownership and peace has never really truly fully been there.  We’ve always understood that our bodies belong to our children, to our husbands, to our world as a whole.  Our beauty has always been something we’ve been told to use to our advantage, if we’ve got it, or if we haven’t that’s always been something that has set us apart.

But violence.

Violence.

To tell us that our bodies deserve violence because they are appealing, that it is our duty to avoid violence by hiding our bodies…

NO.

Let’s make everything very, very clear:  No one’s body belongs to anyone else, even if you are married.  You give access to your body, but it must be a gift and it must be given freely.  If a woman is less than dressed, that’s not consent.  If she’s passed out on the couch, that’s not consent.  If you have some control over her, as her boss, as her lover, as coercion, that’s not consent.  If you didn’t ask and she didn’t say please, one of those two things has to happen.  And the reverse is true, ladies: men don’t want it by default.  Don’t go around sticking your hands down their pants.

We don’t have a right to each other’s bodies.  Nothing but permission gets that for us.

I know in the romance novels he always gets that look in his eye and she just knows and they fall on each other like wolves in heat and it’s so whatever, but that’s not life.  I know in the movies they never talk about it either.  It’s ridiculous.  We’re adults, and we’re responsible, and this is the real world where consent is necessary.  If you’ve got someone willing to communicate with you about sex, by all means communicate.  And if you don’t, you should very seriously think about whether or not your sexual life is really what you imagine it is, because there are plenty of people out there afraid to say no, afraid to say slow down, afraid to say I don’t want this.  They are afraid because society has taught them that if someone goes after their body it must be their fault for taking the lid off the chum.

So don’t treat each other like chum.  Honor and love and respect each other.  Treat the gift of a lover’s body like the miracle and art that it is.

I guess that’s all I’ve got to say.

 

* Side note:  I see nothing shameful in nudity.  God created Adam and Eve naked, and they only felt ashamed after experiencing sin.  I, personally, believe that our bodies are a good creation, and in their purest (nude) form are not an embarrassment but a testimony to the art and pleasure of our Creator.  

Bloggy Potpourri

So today is my birthday.  Today is also the start of my first full week sans classes until January, which means my brain is actually functional in terms of personal thoughts instead of just school, kids, dinner, school like it seems to be during classes.  I have so many things I want to write about and can’t seem to keep a thought straight, so I’m just going to put it all out there, potpourri style.
* * *

I’ve changed my major.  I’m going to be entering into a teaching certification program next fall, where I’ll be studying English, Literature, and Language Arts with a focus on High School/Secondary education.  I’m going to… teach.  It’s a long way away from social work in some ways and only a short hop in others.  I had this realization that without language we really have nothing.  Without language people can’t grow, can’t succeed, can’t understand.  So I want to give people language.  That’s all I want to do.
* * *

On TV shows people always seem to see turning 30 as some sort of tragic event that has to be denied.  I’m turning 30.  My first reaction?  Thank God.  I’ve learned a lot.  I earned another year under my belt.
* * *

Newtown.  It’s this immense tragedy that I don’t have words for.  People react in anger, they react in demands, they react in grief.  People also react in love, and I think that gets overlooked.  So many people shared words and prayers, tried to find ways to send support.  I saw far more of that then I saw people talking about guns or prayer in school or God’s judgment on an unholy nation.  The love is so strong, the grief so sincere, the prayers so honest.  If you remember anything from this tragedy, remember that.  Please.

* * *

I want to write a poem.
* * *

I’m going to get back on the horse with regards to Ravens.  Really.  I’ve already started writing it again, and I made a promise to myself not to just abandon it.  One of my personal goals for the next year of my life is to be more intentional with the goals I set for myself and plan ahead for how I’m going to meet them.  I’ve always been good at that in SOME areas of my life, but other areas have really suffered, and blogging always seems like the first to go.  That’s a real tragedy because blogging has given me some really incredible gifts, and I don’t want to take that for granted.
* * *

Wreck It Ralph was a great movie.  I want to see it again.
* * *

Not so sure about the Hobbit.  I haven’t seen it yet.  I’ve seen mixed reviews though, and that book was my first love.  You know how sometimes you see a crush all grown up and you hate it, and want to forget that they got chubby and their hair was different and they’d suddenly become an obscene jerk?  I don’t want that to happen to the Hobbit.  No, no, no…

* * *

I could compare you to a winter’s night/

you are colder and far more treacherous.

(No, not YOU.)

If you want the whole poem, buy this book.

* * *

Oh, I, uh, wrote a book.

* * *

I’m currently editing and expanding Honest Conversations and plan to re-release it later this month, a sort of Christmas Present to myself.  It’s like moving back home, or like…  I don’t know, eating apple pie.  Comforting, but also a little strange.  Like chatting with an old friend but knowing that there are all of these years in between you, even if their voice still sounds the same.  I would say like falling back in love, except it’s not that sentimental.  It just is.

* * *

How is it that EVERY TIME I make cookies I’m wearing a black t-shirt and flour myself?  Every.  Single.  Time.

* * *

Sex and bacon.  (God wants us to be happy, folks.  He really, really does.)

* * *

God also wants us to learn self-control.  Those two things always seem to go hand and hand.

* * *

We’ll call it a day.  I miss you all.  I promise to write at least once a month.

Being honest about sex (without bringing God into it)

I’m a Christian.  (Shocking, I know.)  I waited a long time to have sex, in fact I waited for my husband.  I realize that in some circles this makes me seem uptight and prudish and irrelevant.  Understand:  I didn’t wait to have sex because I was scared,  I didn’t save my sexuality as a precious gift, I didn’t sign a promise card when I was a teen and hold myself to it as if breaking my promise would mean immediately burning in the pits of hell.  I’m a practical person, and thus I had practical reasons.  Today I will share those with you instead of my regularly scheduled programming.

It’s a big issue- it’s important- and it deserves more frank conversing than just saying “save yourself.  Because.  Or else.”

  1. Sex may be “earth shattering”, but that’s not always a good thing. Having sex is about more than just physical pleasure- it’s about boundaries and knowledge.  It’s about revealing yourself wholly to another person, it’s about allowing them complete and uninhibited access to yourself.  The first time you go on this journey is a pulse-racing experience- not because it feels awesome, but because it can be absolutely terrifying.  What if he/she laughs at my birth mark, thinks I’m too fat, is repulsed by my private areas… do I have an odor?  Should I have an odor?  Is everything working the way it ought to?  And it’s not just about the things that are potentially embarrassing, it’s about (hopefully) the first time someone sees you as you are, and embraces you.  This first journey should be taken with someone worthy  of being that first person- because if you’re going to climb Everest you want to have the right guide.  Your memories of those moments will never be able to be altered.  Your first sexual experience could very well color every subsequent one- whether it is with fear, embarrassment, shame, or pleasure.  Set yourself up for success- for a sexual life that is full of grace and hope, pleasure and fulfillment.  It probably goes without saying that giving (or getting) a handjob in the car while terrified of someone you know finding and exposing you is not the best way to go.
  2. Your first  sexual experiences will look nothing like what sex will be like in the future. It seems contradictory, doesn’t it?  In order to illustrate my point, let’s talk about learning how to knit.  When you first start learning how to knit (or any new craft) first you have to take little steps.  You have to learn the broad strokes of terminology and craft.  You have to make something stunningly stupid, like a flat scarf you’ll likely never wear.  And you have to keep making dull and unimpressive things until you get good enough at it to do something really amazing.  Sex is the same way- your first time will be clumsy and awkward.  Your second and third time will be, too.  For some women it takes years of learning their body’s language before sex consistently has a “mind blowing” effect.  It also takes a partner who listens to you, communicates openly, and is willing to set aside their own pleasure in an effort to find yours.  Good sex requires a level of maturity, compassion, and respect for others that isn’t commonly found.
  3. Sex is a privilege, not a responsibility. Overheard at a local mall:  “I’ve been dating him for like a year, I feel like I kind of owe him sex.”  Sorry, sister, but no. You don’t ever *owe* someone else the privilege of seeing you fully, of being given total access to your body and heart, the honor of receiving you completely.  Anyone who pressures you into giving yourself before you are ready doesn’t deserve you.  Sex isn’t something that is earned by buying you dinners, giving you gifts, or sitting through a certain amount of dates or phone conversations.  It’s not a “stage” of a relationship that is reached after climbing steps in the proper order.  It doesn’t go, “proper amount of dates, kissing, meeting each other’s family, sex”, or any other order.  If relationships are built on a “pyramid” model like dietary suggestions, sex doesn’t even appear on the pyramid.  It exists on it’s own plane, separate from every other stage of a relationship.  (<sarcasm> It doesn’t even have to come prior to having kids- you could always adopt! </sarcasm>)  What I’m saying is that sex is not something your partner earns- it is something you choose to offer based off of nothing other than your desire to have complete intimacy.  Any partner worth sleeping with will understand this, and will wait for you.
  4. Sex isn’t just about physical pleasure, it’s about intimacy. You will likely never hear a preacher say this from the pulpit, but:  If what you want is an orgasm, masturbate.  Sex is not just about achieving orgasms.  Sex is about so many other things.  It’s about power and submission, it’s about requests and obedience, it’s about sacrifice and acceptance.  It’s about forging a bond with another human being, about creating a world that exists nowhere other than between two people.  It’s about learning to love, about being loved, about offering and accepting love.  If all you want is to feel good, you can do that on your own.  If what you want is someone else adoring you- let them by you flowers and write you a sonnet.  If what you want is to have them show their commitment to you (or for you to show your commitment to them) get married.  Sex is something far too important, too precious, to waste on a relationship that won’t last.  Trust me on this one- the sex you have with someone who you’ve been married to for seven years, someone you’ve suffered with and rejoiced with and loved and hated, makes all sex that came before seem not worth having had.
  5. Having sex means taking responsibility for your life. The world of sex is a world that has a lot of pitfalls.  I’m not going to exaggerate the failure rate of condoms or other birth control, but let’s be honest.  If you’re not having sex you don’t have to worry about pregnancy.  You don’t have to worry about STDs.  You don’t have to wonder when in a relationship you need to disclose your sexual past or tell the person you’re interested in that you have had genital warts.  Having sex complicates things- and life is already complicated enough.  Waiting to have sex means having one less thing you need to be concerned with.  I know precious few people who did have sex as teenagers who don’t confess that the sex they had as teens wasn’t worth the extra worries.  Before you have sex, you have to ask yourself if you’re ready to deal with the risk of disease.  If you know what you would do should you happen to get pregnant.  If the person you are considering having sex with is the kind of person who will be forthright with you about their own health and sexual past.  If this relationship ends- are you ready to be honest with your next significant other about the sex you’re thinking about having now?  It’s not as if you can have sex, go to your local church, sign a new promise card and pretend you’re still a virgin.  Some people do this, but it’s dishonest and petty and shows just how unprepared for sex they really were.
  6. Having sex means doing your homework. I’m not talking about vocabulary or biology- except inasmuch as learning about birth control and your own biological rhythms is about biology.  Sex may be as simple as stripping naked and inserting A into B, but there’s a whole lot of background information that needs to be absorbed.  Like, what kind of birth control will work for you?  Condoms are an easy first choice, but some men don’t like the way they feel and they can cause discomfort for women (especially those first few times).  A girl can always go on the pill, but it won’t protect you against disease.  That means there are a lot of choices to be made, choices that absolutely should not be made in the heat of the moment.
  7. Sex is like glue. It is.  It’s one thing to look at another person and think, “I like them.”  Or, “they matter to me.” Or, “I want to have them in my life.”  It’s another thing entirely when the night before that person was completing you, was giving you pleasure, was seeing you naked and accepting you fully.  The intimacy sex brings makes it harder to part from your partner.  In a marriage this is a good thing.  It means that you’ll be quicker to try to resolve a fight before nightfall because you want to go to bed happy.  It means that compassion comes easier, belonging is more desirable, intimacy more refreshing.  But outside of marriage?  It can make you want to blind yourself to flaws that you ought to be more concerned with.  Don’t glue yourself to someone unless you’re sure you want to be stuck to them.

That’s all I have to say.

Note:  I realize that everything written here is rhetorical and based off of only my observations.  I never pretended this blog was about more than just one girl’s opinions.

Splenda is Perverse: my thoughts on the “Natural Order” of things.

Recently I saw a remark that (paraphrased) said, “you never know what man’s perversion of the natural could lead to.”

I was sorely tempted to reply, “Splenda?”

But I held my tongue.  Of course, the original comment was in reply to the “normalization” of “aberrant sexuality”, the kind of language I always feel is used in too broad of strokes.  There are still sects of Christianity that feel that any sex that isn’t intended to produce progeny is aberrant, so how do we define what is or isn’t good?  (A conversation for another day.  Bear with me.)  But in any case, to say that “aberrant sexuality” is man “perverting the natural order” also seems to me to be a bit ridiculous.  It’s defining what is natural, here on Earth, in relation to God’s intent.

Are we really very sure that we know what God wants our planet to be like?

Does God want us to have microwaves?

Does God want us to have cell phones?

Drive cars?

Drink things sweetened with Splenda?

Does he want us to cage animals in zoos?

Feed dogs prepared meals from tin cans?

Wear polyester?

Live in cities?

Watch television?

Buy food that comes in cardboard containers?

Wear makeup?

Dye our hair?

You may think that I’m being sarcastic, so let me assure you that I am not.  Humanity has given shape to the world we now live in.  This is not my Father’s world.  From the cement skyscrapers blocking our view of the night sky to the McDonald’s wrapper tangled in the bushes in my backyard, this is not my Father’s world.  This is our world, and the imprint of humanity “perverting the natural order” is all over the freaking place.  I’m telling you, Splenda is perverse.  Sugar ought to be sugar, dogs ought to be treated like dogs, people ought to know how to put seeds in the ground and get food from them.  To think that our daily lives align with the natural order is truly laughable, unless one truly believes that humanity (given it’s dominion) ought to be able to define what the natural order is.

In which case, why can’t two men decide that there are enough procreators out there, and they can love whom they will?

Again, I am not joking around here.  You will rarely read me being more serious than this.  If your argument is against perverting nature, take off that polyester shirt when you’re making it.

Okay, maybe not.

My point remains.  Humanity, (or at least Western humanity) is removed from nature.  Our perception of the natural order is perverted.  We really shouldn’t be making that argument unless we’re ready to give up an awful lot of comfort.

Discuss below.

The most important question isn’t “is being gay a sin?”

Please, dear fellow Christians, stop telling me that homosexual acts are a sin. Please. And when I balk at your reprimand, do NOT tell me I obviously haven’t read the Bible.  What you really (very much so) shouldn’t do is tell me that to be a Good Christian means “following the Bible”.  I really am never sure what you mean by that.  I read my Bible, I find revelation in it, I can demonstrate that who I am and how I behave has changed accordingly.  But do I strictly follow every rule and regulation (especially the internally conflicting ones?)?  Well…

Is the Bible our best source for truth about Christ?  Absolutely.  Did Christ strictly follow the religious code of HIS time?  Absolutely not.   What I have learned by reading that good book is that questions of sin and salvation run far, far, far, far, FAR deeper than following lists of rules.  It’s a balance of faith and works that even the most eloquent of passages cannot clearly explain.  You could go your entire life trying to understand, trying to achieve, trying to explain… but you’d never get all the way there.

If there were a simple equation, don’t you think Jesus would have told it to us?

But what did he say? Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind…  And love your neighbor as yourself.

All the Law and the prophets hinge on it.

Hm.

So here’s the point:  The most important question will never be what is sin (or what isn’t).  The most important question will always be if we are trying.  Are we trying to hear God’s voice?  Trying to better ourselves?  Trying to leave behind what we can demonstrate is a wrong being?  Sure, someone may be gay, but if they’ve heard God telling them to be less cruel and more patient and give more and help in their community and they are doing all of those things, doesn’t that mean something?  Demonstrate their true heart?  Or is the ONLY important measure of our commitment to God found in our sexuality?  Because if that’s the case, I know a lot of straight Christians that haven’t got a chance.

So please, let’s have this conversation.  I want to.

Just stop insisting that the most important thing is that homosexual acts are sin.

Can a “Good” Christian embrace gay people?

So recently a post of mine made it to StumbleUpon, which is always an interesting experience.  One of the reviews of said post both assumed I’m a man (which I always find gunny) and said that a REAL Christian wouldn’t show tolerance to gay people because a REAL Christian believes in the Bible.

I have several problems with that statement.  The first is that suddenly Christian seems to be redefined as Person Who Believes As I Do For The Right Reasons.  I think it’s wholly possible for someone to be a Christian and not share my doctrine.  For example, I don’t think my harshest critics aren’t Christian.  In fact, I believe that I am in no place to cast judgment on their faith.  A greater issue, though, is the fact that I feel as if the critics weren’t able to get past their fervent opposition to the idea of homosexuality long enough to fully digest my post.

Why do I say that?

Because I never said being gay was awesome.  I tried to outline the reasons most Christians use to affirm their rejection of gay people whole cloth, and then to point out that those excuses end up being counterproductive, and if they were applied to ALL sins, the pews would be empty.  How is that saying, “really, being gay is a-okay.”  I never even questioned the belief that homosexual behavior was condemned in the Bible.  (Although I did poke at the common interpretation of Romans One, which could raise some serious hackles.)

I feel as if my posts aren’t truly being read.

So, I will once again try to explain my beliefs.  But, instead of using homosexuality as an example, I’ll use something a bit less controversial.  (And all apologies to any gay readers that may find this an unfair comparison:  I know, it really is.)

Imagine a drunk comes to your church.

What do you do?

You may well be afraid that he will tempt other members to drunkeness.  You may worry that your children may think his drinking is “cool.”  You may have many valid worries about what sort of an example he is setting, or if Satan sent him to your church to be disruptive.

But what does God call you to do?  Does he call you to send the guy back out into the streets, only to come back when he no longer drinks?  Isn’t that tantamount to cursing him to a life of sin?  Isn’t the power that he needs to overcome found in God, and thus necessarily needing to be demonstrated through YOU?

Obviously if the man is throwing chairs and puking in the aisles, you don’t want that on Sunday mornings- but if he isn’t openly and belligerently disruptive, isn’t the best move to walk beside him in grace and compassion and pray that God (not you) brings him to a revelation of his weakness?

Or imagine a less obvious sin.  Imagine a husband comes to your church, and over the course of a few months it becomes obvious that he speaks to his wife in a snide and combative way, and it is emotionally abusive to her?  Do you then cast him out and tell him to only come back when he’s ready to overcome his pride and cruelty?

Obviously there comes a time, in any situation where sin is “obvious”, where you tell the sinner that they need to make a commitment to change.  My issue is that I feel that most churches handle this issue badly now- and not just with homosexuality– with ALL sin.  We feel that WE must cast conviction, that WE must pass judgment, that WE know man’s heart.  And guess what?  We don’t.

We need to learn to trust God to do His own job.  If someone is seeking God, and God is seeking them, God will speak to their heart and call them to change.

And for the time being, let’s trust each other.  Show each other love and compassion, understanding and true friendship.  Let’s not allow our house to become divided.