Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Personal Culture Wars

October 8, 2014

Lil’ man just started kindergarten. He spent almost three years going to a Montessori preschool. He loved it. We loved it. The school and staff were great. He made friends. We made friends with parents. Most days he loved going to school. We recently moved and were unable to find a Montessori school around us. The closest one was more than forty-five minutes away. The local public school has a good rating. Parents seem to love it. So with great hesitation and reluctance we chose to enroll him in the public kindergarten. And his teacher is great. He still seems to enjoy school. He definitely seems to be learning a lot. The teacher is pretty good about keeping parents informed about what is going on at school. But something has changed. Something I don’t know how to deal with. Something that probably has more to do with where we have moved than the public school environment. Kids are making comments that lil’ man takes to heart and now we are faced with fighting against a tidal wave of opinions we are not okay with.

When we paint our nails lil’ man likes to get his painted. Almost always orange, his favorite color. He had his nails painted at school and another kid told him only girls paint their nails. We’ve faced this before. In our old state. And he responded “my uncle paints his nails, and he’s not a girl”. Which is true, and was enough. This time his teacher told us his response was “I’m not a girl, I’m a grown-ass man” (which is something we tell him regularly). But now he won’t paint his nails because he doesn’t want the kids to think he’s a girl.

On the walk to school one day he saw a little girl riding a blue bike. He asked me why the girl was riding a boy colored bike. I was floored. We have always taught there are no such things as boy colors and girl colors. We talked about it again. Where is he learning this?

This morning I pulled out a shirt he hasn’t worn for several weeks. A shirt he had picked out and loved over the summer. He didn’t want to wear it. When I asked him why he answered “what if the kids don’t want to be my friend anymore?” We talked with him and ended saying “If someone doesn’t want to be your friend because of the shirt you are wearing then you don’t want to be friends with them”.

It’s frustrating. It’s heart-breaking. He is such a sensitive soul. He takes everything personally. He is legitimately hurt by things that most people shrug off. How can we help him stay true to himself amidst such things? How do I teach him to let these things roll off his shoulders without making him callous and causing him to lose such a vital part of who he is? How do I help ensure he doesn’t turn into one of those kids causing hurt to another? I feel so inadequate, so limited, so unable to help him be himself in a world that is determined to make him think a certain way and act a certain way. I don’t want to see his spirit damaged by others and at the same time I can’t bear the thought of seeing his spirit damaged by compromising who he is to fit in with the world.

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Resuming My Journey

October 7, 2014

I have had this blog for years. I used to post frequently. And then I stopped. But now I feel a need, a desire, a prompting, to write again. I considered starting a new blog. The things I wish to write about are so different than what I had written it would make sense.

But I realized something as I started to set up a new blog. I realized that I am still the same person. The person who wrote those posts was me, struggling. The person who will write future posts will still be me, struggling. My struggles are different now, but they are still part of my journey. I think anyone who chooses to take the time to read several posts from the past and now will get a much better picture of who I am than if I were to simply start a new blog. And so, I will resume this blog. This blog with some posts that perhaps feel untrue to who I am now, perhaps even some posts that I now disagree with.

At one time that was how I thought. At one time those were me. We all change, we all evolve. Please don’t hold me to past standards, and please don’t dismiss the person I am today because of something I wrote years ago. That WAS me, but this is me NOW. We are the same but we are different.

Welcome to my journey. Thank you for joining me.

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2 Years of Blessing

October 30, 2011

2 years ago I sat on my living room couch crying my eyes out and at the same time feeling the faintest glimmer of hope. It was a day I may sometime forget, but it was a day that will live with me forever. The day I finally realized that I am gay, and that it was okay, and that I needed to stop pretending, stop hiding, stop running, and learn how to accept this piece of who I am so I could be a complete and whole person. It was at this point that my relationship with God grew and grew at exponential and unprecedented rates. It was at this time that I realized that I was completely alone and began to realize that God was all I had to help me through the process. A little less than a year later I took the final step in truly trusting God and accepting and embracing who it is God made me to be. I couldn’t even begin to imagine where it was going to take me.

When I left my secure job with a community of support and friends- all be it perhaps not true friends, still people I considered, and for many still consider, friends- I had no idea what amazing things God had in store for me.

He provided every step of the way. I was never without an income, even though it wasn’t enough to cover all my bills, it was enough to get close. I discovered a new love, and had fun working in a bookstore, which lead to a job working at a book publisher, a job I love. A job, I think, I honestly enjoy more than my old one.

What’s more, I’m still working with you. I’m still a youth leader at my new church, which is as close to my picture perfect idea of church as I think it is possible to find. I still can’t believe there actually is a church out there that fit into my idea of what church was supposed to be. I have found a new family of friends at church, and I have found a new family too.

My family isn’t thrilled, but they have supported me every step of the way as much as they can. And God has blessed me with the one thing I honestly didn’t know if I would ever get- a family of my own. My girlfriend and her son have become the center of my world. I had no idea what it would be like. And while it’s not always a walk in the park having people with which I share my life- the good, the bad, the boring, and the exciting, and everything in between is the most amazing thing ever.

Am I living a life that God approves of? I think so, but I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I have never before in my life felt so blessed, so loved, and so accepted. I believe that God will provide no matter what, but I also feel that the blessings that have been showered down have to be God’s way of saying to me, “Lisa, I love you. You, not who you are going to be, not who you “should” be, but you. Exactly as you are right here and right now.”

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Infantile Romance

February 12, 2011

It’s Valentine’s Weekend- the “official” weekend to celebrate love and that significant other you have found (or for those who until this year were in the same position I was, a weekend to grumble and complain about all the lovey dovey stuff going on around you). Today marks exactly 2 weeks that my girlfriend and I have been dating. It’s crazy to look back and realize it’s only been two weeks, it feels like a different lifetime. But as I rev up for our “big” celebration I realize that while I’m not big on Valentine’s day, or any of the commercialization surrounding it, I do want to show L. how I feel, and so there’s a lot of pressure. But, what’s more I am realizing how major a change this is in my life.

I used to talk with my other “single” friends about how frustrating and irritating it was that once someone started dating they suddenly disappeared. I always swore that would never be me, and yet, it is incredibly hard to not be that person. I don’t really want to give up a night with L. to go have dinner with friends. I don’t want to give up an afternoon with L. to have coffee. I don’t want to give up a single second that could be spent with her to spend time with my friends- who I still like a lot, but who just can’t fill the desires that L. does.

I feel safe. I feel comfortable. I feel challenged. I find myself expanding. I am becoming more aware of what I want, and at the same time becoming more aware of what she wants. I love the feel of her hand in mine, the smell of her as we sit watching a movie, the sound of her laughter, and the way her face looks when I say or do something that she finds humerus. I feel pain when she is sad, I worry when she worries, my heart breaks a little when I see her hurting.

So why say this here? Why do I feel the need to share this with you all? It’s because to me this is the point of celebrating Valentine’s day. It’s a silly holiday, it should be completely unnecessary. But when a relationship is no longer new I think we forget about celebrating these remarkable things. When time has passed we become comfortable and complacent and we need to have occasions that remind us of the joy and beauty to be found in a relationship. Much like we have holidays in the church calendar to remind us of what’s important, we need holidays and momentous occasions to remind us what’s important in a relationship.

Get past the cheesiness of this holiday and remember the joy you first had in your relationship. Remind yourself and your loved one just what a treasure your relationship is. And if you can’t do that, take the time to figure out how you can get that back.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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National Day of Prayer

May 6, 2010

Today is the National Day of Prayer. I don’t care about the constitutionality of it, or the public aspects of this day. As Christians we should be in constant prayer for our country and the entire world and so today take some time to pray specifically for your government leaders. I had to do some homework to figure out mine, but I think it’s important to pray for the decisions being made.

I also think this is a great time to focus on praying for your community and other specific nationally needs (economy anyone?) without it having to be about politics.

I’m terrible at praying, it is by far my weakest spiritual discipline. I talk to God a lot, but I don’t take time to pray for others nearly as much as I need to. Days like today remind me that this is a vital part of my faith and spirituality.

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My Idol

May 4, 2010

In January it was Haiti, a short while later it was Chili, then something in China, then I seem to have lost track. Now it’s Nashville, TN. Haiti caused an outpouring of aid from all over the world, but it seems to have touched Americans more than the other tragedies- everyone jumped on board the “help Haiti” boat, and that’s good, because they certainly have a lot of need which they cannot take care of within their country so we should be stepping in. On the other hand Chili and China seem to be able to handle the disasters in their country without a lot of outside assistance, and that’s great. Nashville will get a lot of government and NGO help as well and probably won’t need you and I to step up like was necessary for Haiti. But I’ve been thinking and wondering what is my role when tragedy strikes, but even more so, what is my role before tragedy strikes?

China and Chili and Nashville are countries/cities with wealth. Sure, the wealth isn’t spread evenly or in a balanced manner, but within the government they have the money and ability to respond to disaster, if not to the full degree needed, at least in a significant way. Haiti, on the other hand does not have the wealth and ability to respond to the needs they have in the country. I think this is what has raised my question- there are lots of countries all over the world- in Africa, in the Gulf, in Asia… that do not have the money and therefore the ability to respond to crisis, let alone respond to every day needs.

Every day people in parts of Africa walk an hour to get clean water, and walk an hour back just to provide water for the day for their family. Think about the weight of that water and trudging through the heat not wanting to spill any. And yet here I sit on my comfortable, new couch in my climate controlled home, on my almost brand new computer, sipping my ice cold, filtered water. Sure, I give money each month to help drill wells in Africa. Sure, I “sponsor” a child through World Vision. And yes, I do indeed give money to my church which they then use to help those in need. That’s great, that’s important. But it’s not enough, is it?

This morning I opened my devotional Bible to the passage for the day, it happened to be from Micah 1 and was all about idols. What are my idols? I sat and waited as God brought to mind several things that could be viewed as idols, but the one I have struggled with the most is “comfort”.

American society tells us that seeking our own comfort is our God-given right. We should be comfortable, we deserve to have certain luxuries. Really? I think this is completely opposite of what Jesus said- “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head”- where’s the right to comfort in that statement?

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before. It’s pretty easy to talk about, it’s a lot harder to actually do. I mean, I own my home, I have a nice couch, a nice table, I know what improvements I would like to make and what things I don’t want to change. I have plans and visions and ideas for what my home is someday going to look like. If I start to live a sacrificial life I probably have to give that up, if not all of it, most of it.

I think this might be the area that Satan has the largest grasp on in my life, that Satan has won the greatest victory in in America. We want comfort and we view it as our right to have certain basic things- like air conditioning and cable television and a nice car and our own home. I’m not sure where the line is, I don’t think these are bad things, I don’t think we need to give up these things in order to be living as true Christ-followers, necessarily. The problem is, there are people who don’t have clean water or safe homes or access to basic health care or freedom to live freely.

When the woman poured the entire jar of expensive perfume on Jesus the disciples scolded her that she should have used it to help the poor and Jesus scolded them and said the poor are always there, this thing she did was beautiful and not wrong. Perhaps the line is the reason behind what we do. I don’t know.

I don’t think buying my condo was wrong. Expense-wise other than the initial cost it doesn’t cost me more than renting. Perhaps that’s me trying to justify, perhaps not. What is wrong is me spending money on improvements to my already perfectly acceptable home in stead of helping the people who cannot meet their needs. If I’m buying a couch for $1,000 and only giving $50 a month to help people who are barely making it through the day I’m doing something wrong.

The problem isn’t me being comfortable, the problem is me putting MY  comfort ahead of the needs of others. Whether they be in Africa, Haiti, Nashville, or my backyard. God needs to be first in my priorities. And when God is first others become equal to me. My needs are not more important than anyone elses, my  needs should be met, but before I meet my wants I need to meet the needs of others. Because they are equal to me. What I need, they need. What I want, they want. And we should be having these things equally fulfilled.

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An outrageous parable

April 27, 2010

The parable of The Good Samaritan is very outrageous. Often very smart people point out the outrageousness of this story by informing us all of how very ludicrous the idea of a “good” Samaritan would be to the group of people hearing this parable. And I don’t question their correctness on this point. But I think it is even more ludicrous than that. I think the truely outrageous part is that Jesus said the Levite and the priest did something WRONG by passing by on the other side.

Leviticus 21 says “The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: ‘A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean for any of his people who die, except for a close relative, such as his mother or father, his son or daughter, his brother, or an unmarried sister who is dependent on him since she has no husband—for her he may make himself unclean.  He must not make himself unclean for people related to him by marriage, and so defile himself.”

The law is quite clear, priests were to stay away from people except immediate relatives. In the parable, the priest and Levite passing by on the other side would have been them UPHOLDING the law. So the truly outrageous part of this parable is that Jesus is saying, by upholding the law they actually failed to uphold the law. Crazy talk.

I think this is something we need to really think about and apply today. We often try to follow the rules, obey the law (though not the OT law so much), but the cost of this is that in following the rules and obeying the law we miss the whole point. We fail to love our neighbor and we fail to love God because we are too worried about whether we are following the rules and/or whether our neighbor is obeying the law.

Jesus says “sometime loving your neighbor requires breaking the law”, sometimes in order to love someone I have to be willing to let go of the rules and recognize the purpose behind the rules.