August 6, 2012

Why this?

Let me start by saying that it is not my heart or desire to stir up controversy or arguments, though maybe it's inevitable because of the nature of what I've written.  I hope we can remember kindness and grace for ALL.  Including my humble opinions that I'm risking to post on my little blog today....

I'm one of those people that "amen's" in church.  I hear truth and it stirs something in my soul and I agree, out loud.  It's what I do.  I probably got this from my Grandfather and my dad.  My lineage is made up of passionate believers and I'm no exception.  I have encountered my Savior in the depths of my heart and He has changed me.  This is what leads me to amen, to cry during a worship song, to write down questions when I hear something in a message that I don't understand or agree with.

To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with the church.  I know that I need to be a part of it, yet it's hard to be a part of it too because often times it leaves me feeling empty or disappointed or sad.  I find myself often not wanting to be affiliated with "religious" or "churchy" people, because I have found those kind of people either life-less or shaming.  And I want to be neither.

Yet I go because I love God.  Because He has invited me to consider church-going more than just something to do or get, but someone to be.  I don't just go to church.  I am the church.

Even though I am an "amen-er," I don't go to an amen-ing kind of church.  Just as an observer, it seems as though for the most part, people stay silent.  Amazing truth can be preached and declared and there is little or no reaction.

Yesterday's church service was different.  The pastor preached on marriage and when he declared that marriage was between one man and one woman, the church nearly erupted with amen's. Immediately I felt myself become furiously angry.  Not because I disagreed, but because my silent, seemingly passionate-less church, was amen-ing.  They haven't amen-ed anything else, but this?

The one man, one woman = marriage thing?  This, they amen?  This, they affirm?  This, they are passionate about?  Why this?  I simply don't understand.  Perhaps, this is what the world, the unbelieving, doesn't understand either.

And my fury turned soft and became great sorrow.

Maybe the world sees that the church has no real  passion or fervor or love for God.  When it comes to traditional marriage - this we stand by and become vocal about?  We stay silent and unmoved by poverty, by orphans and widows - all which Jesus made clear we were to take care of and minister to.  We have nothing to say to the imprisoned, the lost and the lonely.  We offer little to the hopeless, the depressed, the addicted and the oppressed.  The world is full of hurting, hungry, lonely, abused and abandoned people.  And where are we?

We have shown up in the masses to a fast food chain to take a stand for something.  This is what we show up to support.  This is what we amen in church.  Because this is what really matters? 

All of this confuses me.  Grieves me.

I can't help but feeling like we're missing something here.  Is our passion in the right place?  If the world doesn't see our passion for God and for others, if the world doesn't experience love and grace through us, then why would they listen or consider our beliefs on marriage?  Especially when we have failed them everywhere else.

We've stayed silent and quiet and motionless about every other thing.  And when we finally speak up, it's too little too late.  It seems like we have lost our ability to have any real impact.

Me personally, I struggle here.  I struggle with what the Bible does and doesn't say.  And unless I've missed something, Jesus never addressed homosexuality specifically during His ministry and I'm curious about that.  I struggle with knowing where to land, how to be, and what to say. 

Where would He be in this mess?  How would He speak in to all of this chaos?  This is what I've been curious about and where my prayers have been.  A friend of mine posted a scripture on his Facebook wall last week in response to some of the controversy going on:

2 Timothy 2:23-25 - "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth..."

Will others know truth if we are in the middle of foolish and ignorant disputes?  Will others know His love if we are quarreling?  What would gentleness and humility look like here?

I think that maybe I lean towards the side of over-extending grace and compassion.  I want to be accepting and loving of others regardless of their sexual orientation.  And that is because of my heart - the heart He made, the heart He is mending, the heart He continues to change.   I really don't know where I stand here, what I believe, and what I'm supposed to do with all of this - with gay marriage, homosexuality, etc.  Honestly, I feel more convicted and sorrowful about my lack of involvement in helping the poor and the needy and the orphan than I do about whether or not our next President supports gay marriage.

I just know that I want to love others and live a life that reflects the grace that I've been extended by God.  I want to show up how He wants me to and I'm still figuring out what that is supposed to look like.

And for me, it was not standing in line for my favorite chicken sandwich.


  1. seriously, i got such goosebumps and i want to jump through this screen and give you the biggest hug you've ever been given.

    i could not agree more.

    it saddens me to no end that we as Christians who have been called to show love as God shows love but only do it when it feels good for us. wow, thanks for writing this. i hope many are led to read.

  2. I am glad that God brought us together, my friend! I love your heart and this was a beautiful example of your sweet heart!

  3. Very, VERY well said my friend. Thank you for putting it down in words. I think communicating and living God's grace and spreading His love speaks much louder and effectively than ... well, the condemnation expressed. Someday God will create a new heaven and a new earth but as far as I know we aren't going to create that now. It's His business. If He didn't come into the world to condemn the world then I don't think I should either.

  4. I read a blog last week that expressed the idea that God didn't command us to love God/love causes...he commanded us to love Him and love people. Amen!

  5. beautiful post, are so eloquent and I think said many things that so many of us wish we could say.

  6. That was SO good, Jennifer. The best thing I've read on this controversy! "If the world doesn't see our passion for God and for others, if the world doesn't experience love and grace through us, then why would they listen or consider our beliefs on marriage? Especially when we have failed them everywhere else." Well said.

  7. This totally made me shed a tear... not sure why. It was just so incredibly well put. I agree with every single letter you wrote, and I feel the same.

  8. Wow. Jenni (above) recommended this article, and she and I had a very similar conversation to this one months ago before the whole Chick-fil-A scufuffle. I could've just about written this post myself! The whole thing makes me so, so, sad. I hate being associated with "the church" sometimes. It's frankly embarrassing. In my mind the gay lifestyle is a sin - just like any other. Some people have a propensity toward it, sure. But it is still a choice - just like every other sin. But why, WHY does the church not speak out about any other sin, like they do this one??? Why not divorce or infidelity if they are so darned set on "protecting marriage". It's sanctity obviously doesn't mean THAT much to Christians if our divorce rate is just as high (or is it higher now?) than non-Christians... Sheesh. I could go on an on...but you have already done that very well. Suffice it to say. I understand. You're not alone!

  9. I'm not sure any response to this situation has moved me more. And for that I am extremely thankful. Thank you for making me feel. For making me think. For making me question. I stand by your side.

  10. I am so glad that you posted this Jennifer. I am moved by your love and passion for truth and grace in love. I understand your position and empathize with you. Furthermore, I am in the same boat with you and I have yet to figure out this church as well. Amen?

  11. This is just simply beautiful. I fall short.

  12. Well said. Totally and sadly agree, wholeheartedly.

  13. I agree with all of the others here who say this is so well said and necessarily said.I am also glad that it stirred something up in you that you can act on and because you shared it with others they can act on it as well, including me. However, I feel it must be said that I see absolutely nothing wrong with those who wanted to support an establishment and it's founder (or president)that simply did not deny what he/she believes when directly asked dispite what it might mean for the bottom line of the business. That I think is honorable and required from us as Christians. I feel it was not about gay bashing but just about respecting each others beliefs and it goes both ways. Days later when the gay and lesbian supporters conducted a "kiss-in" outside of Chick fil A restaurants it was reported that the managers and employees went outside of the Chick fil A to offer free sandwiches, lemon-aid and water and also love. That was awesome!! That is Christ love and I'm so glad that they did exactly what Jesus would have done. They were well received by the Gay community. I have gay friends and I will tell you that I love them and pray that I only show Christ love to them because he made the World and everyone and everthing in it. I am no different than they are. I am sinfull, just like they are. But if asked what I believe I will say what I believe to be true
    according to my faith in God even though it is not a popular thing.

  14. Well said you.

  15. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so so honestly, so profoundly. The chorus to a song comes to mind, "They'll know we are Christians by our love..." I learn lessons easiest when I can "see" examples. When I see it, the concept becomes an experience that I can understand.

    When I see love in action, it always inspires me, it often moves me to tears. It is the only thing that I believe really matters. I think that when all is said and done, it will be the only thing that remains.

    When church-goers become vehement about issues and I see all that frothy hatred being spewed, it hurts something in my spirit. I have an auto-response to both love and hate. It is something that got built in. When words and deeds do not match, that is a lesson and I ponder what it means.

    Jesus gave us teachings that address these issues. Those who only love those who are easy to love are the same as the godless.

    Ouch. That hits home.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and your experience on this. It helped to focus my thoughts on what matters. God bless us, one and all.

  16. One of your best posts! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Jennifer, I love that you were open about your experience. Such a moving post. Keep the faith sister. Happy that I found your blog. CONGRATS on upcoming baby #2! I feel like I should end with "Amen!" :)