Monday, March 26, 2012

.deliver us from these prisons.


every expletive.
that's what i would use.
but instead i don't say anything.

i feel so alone.
i know i'm not.
but i hate this.
so today i made art.
i used every perscription bottle label that i could find.
angry art that speaks of pain and exhaustion.

my roomate is the best roomate.
and im so hateful twards him today.
im so sinful.

and i hate that i hate him.
but i just want to scream at him.
this isn't fair.
i want to smack him and yell at him.
i want someone to hold me.
someone to understand.
but instead
there's nothing.
i just recoil from his every word and touch.

it's beautiful out today.
i talked to the mailwoman.
she and i decided we would have good days.
i pray that God makes that true.

im just praying that this goes.
i'm praying.
God knows what I need.

one of my friends texted me this morning and said

"I would hug you every morning if I could"

i miss her.
i miss that kind of love.
the kind that feels your pain with you.
that holds me.

i'm mean today.
i'm so mean.
i hate this.

i've been trying to do better.
i really have.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

.oy vay.

I’m not a good arguer.
And sometimes when things mean a lot to me I can’t adequately express myself when speaking about what I accept as true. So I thought I’d write it down. After all I fancy myself secretly as a bit of a writer. And thusly it begins-why I believe what I believe about this subject.

My whole life I’ve grown up with people telling me what to think. To a certain extent I assume we all do. Information from my environment going in and out. Pieces of things I’ve heard. Lessons people have “taught” me. And then at some point in my adolescence I came to this fork in the road. Experiences begin to shape my viewpoint instead of hear say. Questioning things instead of accepting information at point blank. A curiosity and sense of responsibility began to build. A responsibility to search for truth. And to speak it. It has materialized in different forms at different times (rebellion, anti-establishment tendencies, non-traditional inclinations, etc.) but I believe that once I work through that it always comes back down to the search for truth. In every way this is about truth.

I’m a very emotional human being.
Everyone who knows me can attest.
But I am more than that.
I want God’s truth.
But I also love the mystery.
A strange combination indeed.

It’s hard for me to believe that there may be no right or wrong answer even when I know that sometimes (and more often than I’d like) that is the answer.

What I’m questioning today is what I think of the Bible.
What do I truly believe about it?

Today I thought about it long and hard. And came up with this…

In a sentence- I believe that the Bible is God’s love story of and for us, his children.

I was listening to a sermon this morning about how the words “infallible” have only recently in the last century been used to describe the Bible.  And how men have arrogantly and pridefully used the Bible to endorse slavery, to negate women’s rights, and to speak against the civil rights movement (that’s only what we’ve done in the last two-hundred years in America). The preacher this morning was a Southern Baptist, which because I’m a jerk took my by surprise, and his message spoke of how men contort and translate and interpret(on purpose or accidentally)the Bible in so many ways without taking into account the historical context or trying to educate themselves and attempt to dive deeper into the heart of God. That men think that they know the mind of God and use it as a weapon to harm people. His main point was that we are now doing the same thing to homosexuals. This is a hot button issue for me. And I don’t want to talk about it. But I really really do want to write about it.

  • ·      My grandfather was bi-sexual and died of HIV related complications, I never met him.
  • ·      My friend in third grade told me she was bi-sexual and I was really confused as to how she even knew that about herself.
  • ·      In high school two of my best friends came out to me.was in theater and all of my guy friends were wonderfully flamboyant.
  • ·      After high school I made two knew best friends who loved Jesus and later ended up falling in love with each other.
  • ·      And I met my current best friend a year ago- and he told me of his struggles with homosexuality.
  •       After meeting him I went on a walk with a friend and really started to think about the amount of close friends that I have had in my life who have been homosexuals, it seems like I attract a lot of wonderful people, a lot of whom seem to have same sex attractions.

In high school I wrestled with the idea of what God thought of it. My heart was broken for my beautiful friends who were terrified of what their parents would say and how they would be treated by their friends not to mention strangers. I was confused as how to treat them and how to love them in the best way I could even though they were sinning., because that’s what I had been unspokenly taught. I came to a new conclusion one day while reading my Bible. I distinctly remember getting into the car with my father one brave afternoon and saying “what do you think about gay people?” He told me of course that it was unnatural and an abomination (people love that word) and I retorted with my conclusion – “Dad, if all sins are equal then what’s the difference? We sin all the time.” And I remember coming to a standstill and thankfully we had arrived at our destination and didn’t have to talk about it any further. In the same time period I asked my mother what she would do if I was a lesbian. And she responded beautifully “I would pray for you and I would love you.” And that is something that I love about my mom.

After high school- when my two friends fell in love with each other I had to re-evaluate my stance on this subject yet again. When they told all of their Christian friends that they were in love- almost every single one of them exiled them. None of their secular friends gave a rat’s ass because to them they were the same and all of these people who believed in Jesus abandoned them. One of the girl’s parents kicked her out of the house and took her off of the cell phone plan then stopped talking to her indefinitely. At the time- I was surprised that they had fallen in love but came to the realization that I didn’t care. I just liked them so I kept hanging out with them. On nights when we would be driving together they would ask me questions such as “What do you think Justine” and I would have to respond with “I don’t know. But I know you love Jesus and I’m not worried about you- God loves you and everything else is just semantics.” I tried to stay away from researching it. They were so patient with me. They bought me books. And one time forced me to watch a documentary. And invited me to any and all things LGBT and The Pride Parade even though I would never attend. They shared their lives with me. And all I asked was not to watch them kiss- I hate any form of PDA. Looking back on it now I wasn’t a very good friend to them in that respect. I loved them very much and I hated what everyone was doing to them. But I didn’t fight for them. I cried for them and with them. But I didn’t feel their pain as it was my own. I think I was afraid to believe in something so completely different than what most of my brothers and sisters in Christ believe. I wasn’t up for opposing the “Church” at this point in my life. I was afraid to actually try and find the truth. I wanted not to know. But this in itself is a form of emotional abandonment- to not be willing to make that journey fully with them, to choose to be ignorant. I’m still friends with both of them but the wrecklessness of "Christians" is still an issue.

And then I met him. One fateful Sunday I was feeling particularly weird at Church so I sat down next to a cute kid with a sweet beanie on and asked him what his name was. Strangely it was the masculine version of my own. And so it began. As soon as he spoke I knew he was gay and I knew that I loved him. We sat for a second and I stared at the stupid screen and told him how much I didn’t want to be there and asked if he wanted to get out of there and talk. So we did. He told me about how fiery he was for missions and how excited he was for life. How his old church was old and he needed something new. He told me about all of the music he loved and I hated it all immediately. He told me everything with such passion. I was immediately in love with this kid.  

We didn’t get to hang out much until months later when I came back from the Ukraine but I don’t even remember how that happened- we moved in together as room mates. And then we became better friends. And then we became best friends. I just know that I had never met anyone like him. I had never met a young man with such a pure heart. Such a kind and compassionate man who loved God. I’ve never met a man who was never intentionally trying to hurt me. I’ve never met someone who was so oblivious. I’ve never met someone who was so patient. A young man with a heart after God’s heart. I don’t know how it was different this time but it was.

 I was ready to really delve into things this time with God. To fight for the truth. I knew that there was no possibility that God had made my friend like this for him to feel like He was condemned. This time somehow it clicked. I know God. He’s not like that. I know my God. He isn’t cruel. Right? He is good. Correct? He is loving. Really? He is compassionate. Is He? And my God would never want his children to feel ostracized and isolated. Am I right? He would never give His bride permission to cast out the wounded other people. True? So I started looking into the Bible. There are six verses in the entire Bible that speak about homosexuality. So I watched more documentaries. So I listened to people talk. So I read blogs. So I read books.

So I prayed.  And then prayed. And kept praying. And what did I come up with?

I know my God.
I feel it.
I believe it.
I researched it.
(Most importantly I feel it.)
And I know that His love for his children surpasses anything that we can even fathom.
Do you believe that?
And I know that same sex attraction is not a sin.
I know that no one chooses it.
I am not gay.
I’ve been reminded.
But I ache in pain for my brothers and sisters who are and who believe that they are fundamentally unnatural.
My heart is broken for God’s children who are told that they are made wrong.
Shame is not of God.
Do you agree?
I will no longer be afraid to say that I disagree with what people interpret the Bible to say about homosexuality.
I also disagree with slavery, injustice twards women, stoning people, and keeping ethnic groups segregated. You can’t accurately interpret the Bible exactly.
It is living and it is mysterious.
I think we like to put God in a box.
But I’d like to say that God is bigger than the Bible.

I believe that my God is beautiful.
Jesus would be with and for the homosexuals today.
The strange thing is that I have no doubt.

My friend asked me… what if you’re wrong? If being gay is a sin?

Nothing changes. God is good! Those who love him are saved. He will always answer those who call on him. Always. Is this not true?

And I’m not wrong.

Let me say it one more time.

I’m not wrong.

Everyone has to figure things out on their own. Everyone has to come to their own conclusion. The mystery is that there could be more than one right answer.

This is mine.
I believe in the Bible.
I believe that as I grow to know Jesus more and see His face more and more that He is so loving and patient and merciful and graceful and compassionate and joyful.
Jesus is where it’s at.
I believe that the Bible speaks to that.

I don’t think He would tell anyone that they were excluded.
I would never hear Him say that someone wasn’t worthy of loving and being loved by another human being. I would never hear Him say to those who love Him that they are going to hell.

Not my Jesus.

I believe enough in the Bible to say that
It is God’s job to judge.
The Holy Spirit’s job to convict.
And my job to love, no matter how horrible I may be at it.

Amen and out.

you could have your pick of pretty things

"this one's bout a dream i had last night"

listening to switchfoot's faust, midas, and myself.
i find myself coming back to this song time and time again in my life.
i think it's when i come to places of mystery and confusion.
here i am.

"you've one life. you've one life. you've one life left to lead"

sometimes, often i get so hung up on small things.
on things that are noteworthy but not the point.
i feel like I care more about the details than the actual point.
screw the details.

"you've one life. you've one life. you've one life left to lead"

i wish my friends could know my heart.
i wish i could give them adequate words that display my affection and deep pain for them.
i wish i could hold Jesus' hand today.
i'm not afraid.
i'm afraid.
i'm so sad.
im so thankful.

"a heart of gold can't really beat at all"

i don't understand why everything has to be so complicated.
i don't understand why sometimes love just isn't enough.
i don't understand why isolation comes so easily
and sharing is the hardest thing to do lately.
i don't understand why people can't see.
i don't understand why i am so mean.

i look forward to the days when i'm free from this world and this body.
until then i will promise to try to try.

i look forward to the days of summer.
the days of my youth.
this is my youth?
there's so much pain.
i've heard promise of joy.
i wait with baited breath holding onto that hope as loosely or tightly as the moment calls for.

life begins at the intersection."