Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Straight but NOT Narrow - thoughts on Marriage and (=) LOVE

(taken from @noh8campaign instagram)

OK. So here's the thing. (I've done this before) I don't blog for forever and then I show up and throw something like Marriage Equality on the table. 

Why can't I just post cute pictures of my kids beating the crap out of each other over candy filled plastic eggs? Why can't I just talk about how my Fangirl life was made when K wrote my name on a bookmark and acknowledged my birthday? It is Wednesday after all. Can't I just write a nonsensical post about What I Wore last any given random day and be done with it? Why can't I just show up out of the blue and blog about the silly stuff? I mean, I hardly ever blog anymore. Can't I just keep it light. Simple. Sweet...???

Again - here's the thing. I REALLY WISH I COULD. But I can't. It's just not me. I blog the things that move my heart. Sometimes that's tiny jockstraps. Other times it's serious ish. 

So here I go...

Prior to this point, I haven't made it a secret that I am liberal. That I voted for Obama. Proudly. Twice. That I support mass health care and welfare and immigration. That I'm fine with giving The Man my paycheck so long as my needs are met and it promotes a greater common good. Frick. I'm pretty much a Socialist in a staunch Republican city and I love it. It's fine. 

But prior to this point, I have refused to enter into any {online} conversations about the pros and cons of gay marriage because my own viewpoint (and the ensuing argument) are not likely to be productive in a cyber forum. Getting into this kind of debate on the blog would only serve to further the debate. Not bridge the gap. And I HATE THAT. It is relationships and love that change hearts. Not political rhetoric. Certainly not blog posts.

But this past week has done a number on my soul and I can no longer stay politely on the sidelines. My parents tell a funny story about disciplining my younger, strong willed, brother. They say that he has always been "standing up on the inside." That even when they sat him down to talk to him about how he had done wrong...they could look into his eyes and SEE that he was thinking in his head, "Sure, Mom and Dad...I hear what you are saying and I respect you, so on the outside, I'm sitting down. But on the inside....I'M STANDING UP!!!" 

I love that story. I feel like I've been standing up on the inside for awhile. But I'm over it. It's time to stand up on the outside. 

This past week social media has been over taken by a sea of red and pink. Profile pictures have showcased these colors as equal signs as well as crosses, both sides equivalently fervent in their beliefs. My personal profile picture was an equal sign. And here is why:

As a Christian, I have a hard time understanding why "we" spend more time speaking against things instead of speaking FOR people. I don't understand why MILLIONS OF DOLLARS are spent working against causes instead of being used to better humanity. 

Is is really possible that "we" think we can BEST show HIS love by being discriminatory? By being judgmental? By being mean spirited? This is the opposite of how HE showed HIS love.

In my heart, I understand the complexities and the nuances of this matter. I also appreciate that the "church" as a whole is made up of humans, and by biblical definition, humans are not perfect. But at the core of my being, I cling to the belief that while we may be irrevocably flawed...even more so, because we are irrevocably flawed...we must walk in Love. We must always error on the side of humility and mercy and grace. We must embrace everyone HE loves and work towards being remembered for what we fought FOR. Not for what we stood against. This is what I want for my children. This is what I believe HE wants for all of us. We must allow Love to get in the way. To override every other emotion, thought, decision.  

Because, guess what? None of us need to alter our personal interpretation of scripture in order to support the basic civil rights of others. I'm dead serious. Think about it. At the very simplest, middle core, crux of the matter, our great nation was founded on the need for religious freedom. Our forefathers FLED their homeland because they were being persecuted. They yearned for a place everyone could openly revere and rejoice in their own God (or lack there of.) The basic necessity for a separation of church and state seems so simple in these terms from 200+ years ago. The right to worship, or NOT worship, is a basic HUMAN right afforded to every person - straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, Christian, Jew, Hindu - in this country. We champion it. Celebrate it. Immortalize it in bells and fireworks and declarations. It's what we are founded on.

So why today, 200+ years later, are "we" feeling threatened? Why are we are no longer championing these values? On what grounds? Are we afraid that committed same-sex couples can't raise children to be just as happy and healthy and secure as committed heterosexual couples? Research has shown this to be empirically FALSE. Are we afraid that sanctioning same-sex couples leads to a "slippery slope" of pedophilia, bestiality and polygamy?  I'm sorry, but this is just absurd. That's like saying eating bananas leads to having sex with monkeys. The correlation is based on ignorance and refusal to face facts. Research has shown that same-sex attraction is not a choice. Attempting to force someone to change their attraction can lead to low self-esteem, depression and even suicide. Furthermore, states that have legalized same-sex marriage have not fallen apart, nor has the institution of marriage been jeopardized. On the contrary, more people have simply been welcomed into this beautiful institution. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, their own beliefs, and their own feelings...but nobody is entitled to their own FACTS. And one person's right to their beliefs should not override another's right to equal protection under the law. 

Your own personal interpretation of MARRIAGE can stand firm. No matter what it is. Because when it comes down to you interpret marriage has NOTHING to do with individual sexuality and vice versa. Furthermore, your religious beliefs have NOTHING to do with the governmental definition of marriage. Ultimately, none of us can really attest to know how God truly feels. I'm straight. I'm married. And I am looking forward to the day I can ask Jesus these very questions myself. But in the meantime, can't we have the GRACE to acknowledge that all of us, men and women of all religions and sexual orientations, are doing our best to seek the truth, and we may disagree? Can we do our best to support the appreciation of differences and stop the ignorance of hate? I hope so. I have to hope so. 

I have seen so many scriptures thrown around this past week on social media. Genesis. Leviticus. But for me...I want to throw around some Matthew. 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

It strikes me that if Christians actively FOUGHT all the injustice and sin in our world - the killing, the starvation, the poverty, the corruption, the greed, the gluttony - with the same passion that is applied to homosexuality and gay marriage, what a better place this would be for all of us. 

Did you know nearly a BILLION people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or write their name? 

Did you know that half the world's population - over 3 BILLION people - live on less than $2 a day? 

Did you know that there are 640 million children without adequate shelter today? 

Did you know that there are 400 million children that lack access to safe water? 

Did you know that 10.6 BILLION children will DIE before they reach age 5?

2.2 million of them just due to lack of simple immunizations

This BLOWS MY MIND and breaks my heart. Into pieces. 
This enrages me waaaaaayyyy more than the fact that a woman loves and wants to commit herself for life to another women. Or a man to a man. 

Time and energy and money is spent FIGHTING LOVE. 
When it could be spent on so much more. 
On so much more that REALLY MATTERS. 
Causes that really need us to care. 
Causes that really need us to rise up and champion them. 

Be remembered for what we fought FOR. Not for what we stood against. 

"We need to stop giving people excuses to not believe in God. You probably heard the expression 'I believe in God, just not organized religion.' I don't think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live."
-Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God


HaleyV6 said...

Never. Said. Better. You are a rock star.

"It strikes me that if Christians actively FOUGHT all the injustice and sin in our world - the killing, the starvation, the poverty, the corruption, the greed, the gluttony - with the same passion that is applied to homosexuality and gay marriage, what a better place this would be for all of us."

Can we please post this everywhere on earth??

Kelli said...

Yes...yes...and YES!

Heather @ Glitter and Gloss said...

LOVE every damn thing about this post!!! Love you and your heart!

Paige said...

You are awesome!!

Jodi Nina R. said...

As a Christian, I'm always trying to sort through all these feelings. You said it for me, so Thanks for standing up on the outside - it inspires me to do the same.

jiles said...

wow! so well said. i wish more people could read this. thank you.

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