An Open Letter

November 9, 2012

{posted with permission, after reading each other’s words and deciding to post together. Vikki is co-directing LTYM Minneapolis with yours truly, and it’s a crazy good thing to be working with her.}

Dear Vikki,

I know there are a lot of political issues and I care about those issues, but yesterday (election day) you were heaviest on my heart. Maybe because we had lunch this week. Maybe because you shouldn’t have to be an issue. Isn’t that such a big part of it? People were voting about you, not just marriage, even if they don’t see that. That’s how it must feel. That’s how it feels to me. I try to imagine what it would be like if I were you, and I think I’d feel like a puppet and not a person–a stereotype, a label, a cardboard cut-out signage version of the all of me.

All these months, while ads blared and signs were put out on lawns and bumpers, it’s like you have been standing on a big stage, waiting to see if more people love you than hate you. All the while people are pointing at you and arguing with each other, about whether or not you count. About whether or not your family should really be called a family, in this state, in this country. And then, it seems impossible, but we tried to finish all the fighting by casting ballots over your life.

Fill in a circle. Yes. Or no.

I can’t even begin to fathom your pain.

I don’t think any kind of faith, any belief system and its believers has the right to inflict pain in the name of God. Because even if the intention is not meant to harm, it does. I want my faith to mean that I sit in the quiet with my God and I don’t concern myself with right and wrong in others, only in me, to be sure that I’m loving as radically as He does.

But as it is, people get to insert their religious beliefs into politics. It’s always been this way but what confuses me about that is this–in the end, our morals and values, whatever they are, are ours. No government or Constitution or political party or President or State Rep. can take my heart and soul away. Our country will always be changing, and that’s okay. It is not a threat. It just is.

So I want you to know that I think you belong here, where you are and you have love in your life and you tell really great stories. We’ve only just recently met and what I know about you is that you’re my kind of person. Witty, kind and talented, and when you talk about your kids, what shows is that you love them but you aren’t pretending you don’t get tired and you aren’t pretending to have all the answers. There’s a humility about you that I don’t see often at all. You have no idea how good you are for those kids, despite any of the times it hasn’t felt like that’s true. All I needed to hear to know that is their dialog in your stories. They are secure enough to say it like it is, and they are loved so unconditionally, they don’t fear being exactly themselves.

They’re going to need these gifts of confidence you’re giving them. They’re going to need what you’ve instilled more than my kids are going to need the same gifts that are coming from me. That’s not fair or right, it’s just the truth.

:::::

In August, simply and beautifully, you described clothing, a ritual, and years and years of having what you look like matter too much. You told a tale of insecurity turning to something that feels like home. A shirt, a belt; the things you put on after pulling them from your laundry baskets or your closet or dresser. In your home. All the things that make up home. Your kitchen and your couch, how the floor creaks there and the door catches there. Home. Those three people under that roof that give you what we all need: People to talk to, cry with, fight with, eat with and stay with. Home is a place where we belong.

Maybe I’m telling you this because I just finally wanted to say it: That yes I’m a Christian but I’m not going to hurt you. I mean, maybe it’s not obvious at all that not every Christian has this mentality that sets them apart in ways that are exactly not what Jesus was trying to say. I mean, I just want you to know that I don’t have that mentality that shouts that I have the truth and therefore I’m better. Come in and be just like us, clean up your act in the ways we see fit, or go out and go to hell. 

I’m not ever going to do that. It would go against all of my truths, those whispered by a loving God over my seriously messed up drunken history and my ongoing battles with pride and selfishness, etc, infinity… And the truth I don’t get to share often enough, maybe because I’m scared of fellow Christians, is that I don’t even think about sin and sexual preference when I meet someone who happens to be gay. I don’t put you in a category or in my political beliefs or my faith. It simply is not my job, even if I thought you were wrong. It is not my job and it doesn’t fit in my heart because I’m not here to decide anything for anyone else. I really believe I’m here to know stories and love the people behind them no matter what, always.

People say things like, Well, it’s obvious. It’s just biblical. Homosexuality is wrong. And then the other side says, Well, the Bible also says that women should have their heads covered and we shouldn’t be eating unclean things like meat, so you’re just picking and choosing. 

I just don’t know why we’re focusing on this. Is that so bad? Why is it up to us? I mean, in a paragraph or so I’m about to lay out why it’s confusing in the first place. We don’t even know what we’re talking about! So I’m just heart-broken and truly sorry that Christians are shouting and shaking their heads and making fun of you. I hate it because it is right to hate hate. Because no matter what a person believes and no matter how sure they are of those beliefs, I don’t understand why it would ever be okay for anyone to govern the personal lives of others while vehemently throwing around self-righteous judgment. I guess since I’m a Christian I’m supposed to go over there and stand at the front of the line with Christians that behave that way, but I just can’t. I can try to forgive them, but I cannot stand with them. I will not.

Oh, that the those who are always considered last would be first.

:::::

You know what’s always tricky for me? I’m in the middle, right? I mean, I grew up with Christians and I have Christian friends and I believe in the foundational powerful gospel of Christ. But if I say what I think, I’m attacked by them. And if I don’t say what I think, I’m not serving you (and so many others) like I think I should. I guess I’m kind of screaming, finally, by writing this to you. When I imagine Christians directing their arguments toward me in response to the beliefs I’m writing about here, I want to tell them, first of all, this:

The Greek word that we now read as “homosexualilty” is “Arsenokoitai“. But this word did not refer to same sex relationships of any kind. In fact, the word referred to promiscuity, of any kind. As well, in the New Testament, as Paul was writing about sexual relationships, he did not use the word “paiderasste”which actually does translate to homosexuality.

I wanted you to know that too, in case you didn’t. It’s just kind of interesting. I mean, I’m sure other people would read it all differently, that’s the thing. They’ll throw their research back at me and that’s just it. We can’t even figure it out. I wonder if it’s because God is smart and we’re not supposed to because it comes back to shut up and just love everyone. It’s so simple and it sounds so trite, but it’s just truth.

Many Christians have been translating the Bible to fit their comfort level for all of history and then doing their best to implement that into the lives of others. It’s not working for anyone, but relationships are, you know? I don’t want to know you so I can change you. I don’t want to take part in trying to enforce laws on you I want to know you because I like you. You are not a puppet or a project, you are you.  Vikki.  I just wanted you to know that I see the wrong of hate and I’m here with you, at the end of the line. I don’t get much of anything right, and all I really want is to know a God of love more and more so I can love well.

I just wanted you to know. We’re the same. I know that. Writers, mothers, co-directors and and sisters and daughters and all of those roles in life and we are both, just as we messy-and-beautiful are, so wholly loved. You know how in Lutheran church (and I think in Catholic church) they share the peace of Christ by shaking hands? When I visit those churches I always like that part. If you weren’t two hours away right now, I’d want to come over for sharing the peace right now, which is sort of a humorous mental picture while it’s also totally moving. Jesus is my bridge to peace, and I really appreciate it when my friends end up somehow seeing HIS love and peace instead of seeing me.  If THAT makes any sense at all…

Also. Can we have lunch again in the next couple of weeks? I need to laugh that hard again. You acting out your children fighting will never ever get old.

{you can read Vikki’s response to me on her blog, Up Popped a Fox}

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{ 122 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda @ Click. The Good News November 9, 2012 at 9:06 am

Bravo bravo! Thank you so much for your courage & heart of God’s heart to love people. I hope this message gets shared far & wide, that people read it, think about the things we do know about our faith & drop the fears/hate that are only used by politicians to win elections.
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Heather November 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

Amanda, thank you for saying that. Yes, I just want to think about the things I do know. I know that God is love. Many people think that’s too simple, but it’s not simple at all.

Heather

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Cheryl November 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

What if it IS simple? What would be wrong with that? Why do we have to make God – and love – so hard?

I like simple. I think we don’t like it when things ARE simple. I think Jesus was pretty darned uncomplicated. He said to love God and love our neighbor. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out …

Heather, I don’t know you, or Vikki, or anyone else here – I saw this on Justin Lee’s FB – and anything he shares, I read, because, well, because he’s awesome like that. I loved what you wrote. Totally, radically, crazily, LOVED IT.

Thank you!

‘.

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GrandeMocha November 9, 2012 at 9:14 am

Bravo! Very nicely done.

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Vikki November 9, 2012 at 9:25 am

Like I told you via email earlier this week, I have said, “I am not a crier” more times in the past couple of weeks than in my lifetime. I am generally not much of one and yet, here I sit reading this and crying again.

Today, this line got me:

“They’re going to need these gifts of confidence you’re giving them. They’re going to need what you’ve instilled more than my kids are going to need the same gifts that are coming from me. That’s not fair or right, it’s just the truth.”

Because that right there? That is a deep understanding of privilege without guilt. It’s beautiful.

There are a million things I love about what you have written here and so many that I love about you even though we’ve only really known each other for a few months.

And yes to lunch because we both have so many more stories to tell!
Vikki recently posted..An Open Letter

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Shannon November 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

Thank you (and Vikki, too) for sharing your written conversation with the world. It is a conversation that needs to be read and one that could serve as a wonderful model for others. But, mostly, thanks for writing that letter in the first place, for putting your heart out there to a friend.
Shannon recently posted..My Thoughts on Election Day

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Vikki November 9, 2012 at 9:28 am

It was an act of courage by Heather. Truly.
Vikki recently posted..An Open Letter

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Alise November 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

So beautiful. You nailed it – this isn’t about an issue, it’s about people. When we forget that, we hurt one another.

Thank you so much for sharing this.
Alise recently posted..Seven Lessons in Seven Years

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Erin November 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

As a Mormon who supports marriage equality, I’m definitely in the minority within my religion. And I don’t care. I think God is love, and love is love, and love can and will transcend all. Thank you for writing this. Standing ovation.

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Lynn November 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I just want to know. If love is love, may I marry my brother? My brother and my sister? May my brother and I have children together? May I marry five people?

Love is love. People should be free to love ALL the people they want to.

I honestly want to know if we, as a society, are okay with opening the doors to allowing all to love and marry whoever they want. Yes?

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Laura November 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

The right to marry one’s sibling, or to marry 5 people, is not being given to some people and arbitrarily denied to others.

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Heather November 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

Lynn, honestly, I’m kinda of confused by your comment. I’m sorry I can’t answer because of that. Maybe it should be clear, but in my sick household, I’m tired. So my brain is tired. If you’d like to clarify, great. If not, I understand that too.

Peace.

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Kathy December 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm

One of the purposes of marriage is to establish a legal kinship between two people who are unrelated. This is important for many reasons; those reasons should be fairly obvious. A legal kinship between siblings already exists, so marriage isn’t necessary to establish it. I think that the government has legitimate interest, backed by scientific and medical research, to prohibit marriage between siblings.

I think that if all people involved in a plural marriage are well informed consenting adults the government has no rational basis to prohibit those marriages. I reiterate, however, that all parties to such an arrangement MUST be well informed, consenting adults.

At the present time same-sex marriage is widely prohibited in the USA. For the life of me, I cannot discern any rational basis for the government to deny same-sex couples the benefits, privileges and responsibilities associated with legal marriage. I have asked hundreds of people to provide definitive examples of the harm same-sex marriage poses to traditional marriage. Not one has ever been able to answer.

The incestuous marriage, plural marriage and marriage to inanimate objects slippery slope argument has been used by people who oppose marriage equality for as long as the issue has been widely discussed. The problem with the argument, though, is that it is a logical fallacy. It is not logical to assume that anything on the “parade of imaginable horrors” would ever happen. It is also impossible to link any of those components to being directly correlated to same-sex marriage.

I have tried to respond to your comment respectfully even though I think your comment is extremely disrespectful of people who are homosexual and of our marriages.

I ask you to consider the deep antipathy one would necessarily harbor toward people who are homosexual to equate our loving and committed relationships and marriages to incestuous relationships. In an incestuous relationship there is usually a person who is dominated and controlled by another. These relationships can be emotionally and physically damaging.

There is nothing inherently damaging in a same-sex relationship. It really is about two people falling in love and desiring to legally commit to each other to form a legally recognized family. I don’t understand why anyone wants to exclude same-sex couples from the respect and dignity that society confers on traditional marriage. It simply makes no sense to me at all.

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tracy@sellabitmum November 9, 2012 at 9:44 am

Amazing. Tears. Speechless. Agreed. xoxo Love yous.
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Alexandra November 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

My nose always gets tickly right before I cry.

And it’s tickly now.

Love you guys.
Alexandra recently posted..Forward 2012

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Heather November 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I’m here to tickle your nose. and to wipe coffee off the floors off hotels with you. xoxo

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Suebob November 9, 2012 at 9:47 am

Once again, Heather blows my head up with her words. Thank you, Heather.

You two deserve each other. And I mean that in the best possible way. I wish I could join you for lunch.
Suebob recently posted..All Growed Up

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Heather November 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I wish you could join us for lunch, too!!! Maybe you can come for LTYM? Maybe you and Laurie and whoever wants to…can come, and we can book you guys a great little hotel and we could hang out for a day or two after. FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

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Alison November 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

Love is love. For me, that’s it.
Beautiful words, Heather.
You’re an amazing person and friend.
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Heather November 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Oh thank you, Alison.
xo

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Laurie November 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

You said it all in the phrase “loving radically.” It’s often not easy, but it’s proving, to me, to be the only way that’s worth it.

There is a reason why you are both my friends. I’m so glad you get to know each other well, and to be friends too.

This show is going to be amazing.
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Deb Rox November 9, 2012 at 9:55 am

I love you, Heather. We’ve had similar conversations, and they mean the world to me, because you don’t default to assumptions or platitudes and you have such a deep-hearted understanding of us all–Christians, LGBTs, moms…you know, humans. I learn from your openness and the way you hold dear and challenge Christianity. This conversation is amazing. Thank you both for sharing it.

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Heather November 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Deb,

I love you back, you know. Your words here, about me…well, I’m going to treasure them. Thank you.

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Schmutzie November 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

We all belong, and thank you for being an ally.
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tara pohlkotte November 9, 2012 at 10:02 am

oh Heather. gahhhh. YES.YES.YES. These are the words, the concepts, the love in action that will overcome hate, heal, and give rest to the weary. When will we learn that we were never made to be hold a position of right or wrong? We were made to love. purely, and holy and as messed up and so fricking hard as it is sometimes. Love. We belong to eachother. I am *so* very glad to belong to you. to your kind of love. i need it.
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Heather November 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm

and people think we’re here to love and to point out wrong and right. they do feel it’s our job, to show people a “new way” (see Lacee’s comment) and I get WHY they think that, because they’re assuming that’s what being set apart means, along with other things they’re reading that way…but I just can’t reconcile that with the way Jesus did it. HE had every right to say to the woman at the well, for instance (who totally could have been me) GO, and sin no more. But let’s look at the context. He should not have been there with her. He should not have spoken to her. In those times, it was INSANE for Him to do that. And I highly doubt she would have stuck around unless He was loving her well. And I think He proved to her that He could see her desperation. That He could see that sleeping around was making her feel like trash and she suddenly had this FEELING, around Him…she felt too full to want to treat herself like just another body anymore and so He agreed, and sent her on. That was a relationship…and she was actually hurting herself and others. So we can’t take that kind of story and think it means WE are to instruct people who are gay. It’s a different thing entirely and I just can’t believe it would be my job. I’m too incapable to hold that position and it is too dangerous for God to give me that job. He’s smarter than that. All we have to do is look around at people trying to play that role. Is it working in any way? Is it doing any good? Is it drawing people to sit down with a quirky guy in the wrong location asking for water? I don’t think so. Thank you for “listening”. Sheesh, apparently I could go on forever.

xoxo

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tara/pohlkottepress November 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm

i could not agree more. He’s all Jesus and stuff, that’s HIS job because he’s perfect. I’m um. well. not. the only job he gave me was to love, oh, and to have an answer for that love. not a mandate what that love should make others do or not do, but simply why it is i love. – - you just keep on going on forever. we need your voice. we need all of ours… soft whispers over coffee, over e-mails, over smiles at the cash register to the person who is working hard with little to no credit. We’ve got it in our pocket to make this world a better place, one interaction at a time. i’ll be damned if i don’t believe in it.

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Tiffany November 9, 2012 at 10:02 am

You have once again said what I feel more perfectly than I could have dreamed.

I think you speak for more people than you realize.

Every time I hear someone spew hatred over same-sex marriage, I think of my son’s face when I explained that our government doesn’t recognized gay marriage. He took a moment to process and then said, “Are you sure? Why? That doesn’t make any sense. I thought you could marry who you love in a free country.”

I pray that by the time he reaches voting age {in 6 years} this issue is no longer an issue and my gay friends are enjoying all the rights and privileges they deserve living in this great country, but I know that may not be the case, and that hurts my heart.

Heading off to read Vicki’s post and wrap her up in a big, virtual hug.
Tiffany recently posted..Misadventures with Andi

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Sandi G November 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

So moving. As a woman who was raised Catholic but then denied by my church when I wouldn’t deny who I am I am given hope by this.

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Becky (Princess Mikkimoto) November 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

You’re a good woman Heather. one of the very good ones. and I love ya so.
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Ann November 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

I’m crying because this right here is the world I want to live in. You know…as a Jew.
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Vikki November 9, 2012 at 10:34 am

Look what you did Ann! You helped bring Heather and I together.
Vikki recently posted..An Open Letter

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Elaine November 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

Amazing!! :D
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Jessica November 9, 2012 at 10:38 am

Oh I couldn’t love this more, this is the power of blogging and connecting and looking deep inside people and loving them from the core. Amazing.
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Sherry Carr-Smith November 9, 2012 at 10:51 am

I’m so glad you’re in the world and putting the words to paper that live in my heart.
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Elaine November 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

Heather, oh Heather. You just made my heart explode. You just KNOW how to say everything. How to string the words together, SO WELL. This is amazing and human and full-on awesome. Love ya!
Elaine recently posted..A "Cher Bebe" Kinda Party

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Amy @ Never-True Tales November 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

Heather, as a fellow liberal Christian (sometimes liberal agnostic) and a supporter of gay marriage, I thank you for this post.
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Lacee November 9, 2012 at 11:16 am

I think most people confuse a person being in opposition of gay marriage for a person that is filled with hate. Jesus has never given us the command to hate anything other than the evil powers that be. As far as people is concerned, we were given the command to Love one another as Jesus has loved us. That is true! God also wants us to live right, be holy and set ourselves apart (those who love him, his word, and choose to follow him completely) and to not design or create our own standards. God continues to love us, AS WELL AS, give us correction when we need it. What we choose to do when we receive that correction or chastening is up to the individual person. I will not hate you, try to kill you, put you in jail, make fun of you or ridicule you for being a gay or lesbian person. Simply put your lifestyle goes against what I believe! If I see you are in need, I will help. If I see you hungry and I have money to give, I will give. If you are sad and need a hug, I will be there with open arms! Would I be willing to lay down my life for you, the answer is Yes!!! But when you ask me to support something that goes against what I belive in my heart of hearts to be wrong according to the word of God, the answer will be no. I am called to Love everybody…there are no exceptions! Am I called to accept everybody’s lifestyle…that answer is no! God Bless!!! Lacee~

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Heather November 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Lacee,

I understand what you’re saying to a point. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything that goes against what they believe personally. But I don’t understand what you think you’re being asked to “support”. My point is that I don’t think we should even be involved at all. Firstly because there really is still confusion about what the Bible is actually saying about this and the confusion is there because of the original Greek language. I think we can agree on that. I ask God for discernment when it comes to that kind of confusion and He keeps leading me back to “none of your business”. Which isn’t “support” of anything other than minding my own store, keeping my side of the street clean…

for a long time I had a lifestyle that included binge drinking and promiscuity. The Bible is clear about those two things. No confusion. That’s because God loves us so much that He doesn’t want to see us hurting ourselves. I was hurting. Some Christians hurt me a lot during that time and I have to tell you, it didn’t help me at all. It shamed me and left me scared when I was so sick. It was the unconditional acceptance of my husband and best friends that helped me reach for a God that was reflected in their faces. They knew it wasn’t THEIR job to do anything but love me.

Now, I’m not comparing my history with being gay, because I think it’s different entirely. But hopefully it speaks something to what you’ve said here. I don’t want to argue at all, and I certainly don’t think every person that believes homosexuality is wrong is a hater, as in, doing hateful things. But if people walk around trying to insert that into politics and government and churches, etc, it feels hateful because can you imagine? If you were the person on the other end of that? WHY would that help anyone? I just don’t understand it.

People who are loudly unsupportive of gay rights only come across as self-righteous, prideful people who think they’re somehow better, when the truth really is, we are all the same. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Jesus did not insert Himself into politics. That seems clear. He avoided Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. New covenant and all that. I mean, holiness really does mean “set apart” but to me being set apart means radically love, not being more “good” than others.

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Susan November 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

Without getting into any type of debate, or even stating my beliefs or opinions, I simply want to say that Lacee was very brave to state her deep felt feelings in the face of the overwhelming amount of comments that are entirely supporting Heather’s opinion and her own deep feelings.

Is there room for differing convictions here?

Bravo Lacee for explaining your thoughts, your viewpoint in a respectful way.

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Heather November 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I agree that Lacee was really respectful. My response to her was meant to be just as respectful because there is always room for a difference of opinion. I moderate comments and I approved her comment. I don’t approve inappropriate comments. I’m grateful for anyone taking the time to be a part of the conversation in a way that is productive, and I think Lacee did that.

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Susan November 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm

You misunderstand me, Heather – I did not think your response to Lacee was disrespectful. It was entirely respectful. My point was that sometimes when everyone is flowing along in one current, it’s difficult to interject a thought on a different vein.

My intention was to applaud Lacee. Perhaps I’ve muddled that. Sorry ~

Mallory November 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

That was brave! It’s difficult to say when we disagree with behaviors because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or be thought of as narrow. But I think it’s pretty brave to say what you think in a loving way and still not compromise your convictions. You handled that very well!

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Tanya November 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm

So well said. I 100% agree.

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Jen @ CraftyMisAdventures.com November 9, 2012 at 11:39 am

Heather and Vikki,
I hope you don’t mind, but I was so impressed/touched by your posts today that I just had to share them on my blog.
http://www.craftymisadventures.com/2012/11/time-out-for-love.html
Thank you for setting an example of love and acceptance from your corner of the blogging world. Hugs from my corner.
Jen @ CraftyMisAdventures.com

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Jennifer November 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

Love this. Love you. Love everyone. OMG, I need a hug. :)
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Stephanie Precourt November 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

The only thing that has ever shaken my faith and still has me questioning questioning and yearning for More (because certainly history shows Christians have landed on the wrong assumption and learning, it has to be) is homosexuality. I’m mortified, ashamed that it is even *air quotes* an issue.

I don’t hate much, but I hate when people I care about hurt people I care about. And that almost put me over the edge especially in this past week/election year/ever.

Steph
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deb November 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Love this and you.
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Ellie November 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I am speechless with love for you, your words, and your bravery. I know this must be scary to write about, for all the reasons you mention, but OH this needs to be said.

I’m carrying your words in my heart. And sharing this with as many people as I can, because this is so full of love and truth and wisdom and grace.

Thank you, my friend.

-xoxo

-Ellie
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Jester Queen November 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I’m so moved by this. I can’t think of anything substantive to say but that I admire both of your frank honesty.
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gigi November 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Thank you, Heather, for being such an inspiring part of our blogging community.

And for saying what many of us feel, but can’t possibly put into words as beautiful, sincere, brave and honest as you just did.

I am over the moon honored to have met you this past weekend. YOU are the real deal.

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Ashleigh Baker November 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

“We can’t even figure it out. I wonder if it’s because God is smart and we’re not supposed to because it comes back to shut up and just love everyone.”

I didn’t think it was possible to love you more, Heather King, but I do. I’m right with you. Right there with you.
Ashleigh Baker recently posted..rising up, calling them blessed

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Stacy Jill Calvert November 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Wow. Just Wow. This was amazing. I read this not too long after I wrote my last post. I really appreciate the love and support shown by both of you. Thank you so much for sharing this!
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Laura November 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Thank you for writing this, Heather. Like Ellie said, it must have been scary, but it’s so important. It’s important for everyone and for people like me, who start to lose faith in faith when so much judgment runs rampant. I was raised Christian and I’m still Christian, but I drift further and further away from so many parts because of issues like this. I haven’t been to church in years. When people like you use their voices to share their Christianity and beliefs, it gives me hope. Usually, it’s the the more judgmental people that are the loudest.

My preschool daughter’s close friend has two amazing moms. For both of my kids, it’s just another family that doesn’t “look like everyone else” – a family that in some small way is like ours, because we don’t look like everyone else. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. Some families have one mom and no dad, some have one dad and no mom, some have two dads, some have two moms, some have family members that are different colors… When we first talked about it when my kids were 3 and 4, it was what it was. It was normal. Little kids are amazing like that.

But my heart split into two last week when she asked me, out of the blue, if “two mommies like xx’s moms or two daddies can get married.” It was during the election campaigning and I cringe to think she could have heard something on the news or at school.

I lied and I said yes of course they can. Because she’s just four years old now and my son is five and I didn’t want to expose them to the ugly judgment just yet. If I had said no, she’d have asked why. And that is a very valid question. I didn’t want to have to explain that some people think it’s “wrong” and those people fight to prevent other people from living their lives in a happy way – a way that has no impact whatsoever on anyone else.

I protect my kids as much as I can from the scary, the ugly, the judgement and the bubble-bursting. I censor what they watch on TV. I protect them from unkind people. And apparently, now, I lie because I think the truth is too ugly to share.

So thank you for what you wrote. Thank you for your honest words and your huge, amazing heart. xo
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Jenn R. November 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

This is the best post I have ever read on this topic. My favorite? “I wonder if it’s because God is smart and we’re not supposed to [figure it out] because it comes back to shut up and just love everyone.”

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molly November 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I’m so proud to know you, Heather. You cut to the heart of the issue. God is LOVE. I’m glad to be in His arms where I know that no matter my choices there is always grace.
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Megan November 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Heather, thank you for being amongst the group of women who are serving as examples for us young moms. We want to do it differently. We love our parents, but they didn’t get it right, especially in the conservative Christian community. We won’t get it right, either, but I’m hoping and praying with all my heart that my young daughters will learn to LOVE others, not tow the line of a political party or a certain pastor’s ideologies, or focus on hating the sin while the sinner’s own heart doesn’t really matter. Can you tell I was a PK? :)

Anyways, bless you mama, and thank you for writing what so many of us could never put into words.
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The New Girl November 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I have a family friend who is a Catholic priest. He’s an amazing dynamo of a man. He works with incarcerated, addicted men and has turned down promotions multiple times, preferring to do his work in his way. I’ve often said if every Catholic priest was like this man, the church would definitely be practicing what it preaches.

I feel the same way about your words, your description of your Christianity. It is everything that Christianity is meant to be, I think. More Beatitudes than commandments. It’s how I wish every Christian would operate. That would *truly* be practicing what’s being preached.

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Galit Breen November 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Oh Heather,

This is breath taking in its beauty and transparency.

YOU are breath taking in your beauty and transparency.

Blown away with love for you both.

xo
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Hayley November 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Wow. This really speaks to me and how I understand God/faith. This is really, really wonderful. So glad to know there are people like you out there,

“I’m sure other people would read it all differently, that’s the thing. They’ll throw their research back at me and that’s just it. We can’t even figure it out. I wonder if it’s because God is smart and we’re not supposed to because it comes back to shut up and just love everyone. It’s so simple and it sounds so trite, but it’s just truth.”
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Anne November 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Wow Heather. You really are that Big Little Heather. So young and so Brave! I suspect you’re breaking down walls with this post and with your conversations that you’re not even aware are falling. BRAVA to you. The only way we can each be truly free is if every single one of the rest of us is free. Thank you for driving a truth spike into this divisive subject.

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Trish November 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I’m just an emotional mess after reading this… in a good way.
After I read Vikki’s response, I left a comment. Then I came back here to do the same.
I stared at the screen through watered eyes for what seems like forever but actually was just until our 3yo son asked me what was wrong. How can I possibly explain to him just how warm my (normally cold to Christians) heart feels. I simply replied, “someone with a great amount of courage has spoken deep words with love and acceptance”. He shrugged and walked away :P
I stared for a bit longer just wanting to savor the feelings of hope that one day perhaps I could return to a church, or a gathering, or whatever, where people of faith stand together with their judgments or acceptance and not feel fearful, anxious, and angry. Angry at God for allowing my life to be dictated by their system, angry with my mother for re-enforcing that system and loving conditionally. Angry with myself for feeling such anger towards the whole dynamic, when all I really wanted was to be a loving person and feel that I am loved, just like them.
I really don’t even know where I’m going with this… I wanted to write something poetic and honest to respect the courage and grace your letter exuded. Instead, I sit here with tear stained cheeks and watery eyes… again, blessed to have been given the opportunity to read this as it was shared by Jessica, someone that exhibits qualities that I will forever cherish and respect. Her kindness and acceptance radiates as I believe a true Christian’s heart would. You will be held in that regard as well.
Thank you. My heart thanks you. I feel I can begin to forgive.

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Heather November 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

Trish,

Thank YOU. How can I not get all weepy reading your words? Thank you for reading my heart between the messy words of working it all out in my head and trying to bring it to “paper”. Thank you.

H

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Tone November 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thank you so much. I am a Norwegian, living in Norway, but I’ve lived in the US and therefor followed the elction through my friends on FB – and in the end I couldn’t hold my tongue anymore – I had to let them know that they couldn’t judge other people’s faith by their political conviction. I too believe that first and foremost God is love!
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Justine November 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Beautiful letter, Heather. If more Christians were like you, I would’ve remained one myself.
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Suki November 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Oh Heather, your writing is so beautiful.
It’s a good thing to support friends or even strangers in heated arguments like this.
Thank you for putting it out here to read for us all.
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Danielle Smith November 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

My friend… This is beautiful and brave and brilliant in so many ways. Thank you for being a voice of reason, a voice of heart, a voice so many need to hear. I’m hopeful you are opening the floodgates of this conversation and inspiring others to speak up about the love in their hearts even as it resides next to the connection with their faith. And yes, Catholics do the Sign of Peace too :)

Love you more today than yesterday. Xo
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Lady Jennie November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Hi Heather, I’m back again at your blog for the second time, this time at Emp’s prompting. :-)

I already wrote about this issue recently with some similar points to what you say, and some points that differ. But the two things I feel very comfortable saying (shouting) alongside you are:

1. Religion has no (or very little, miniscule) place in politics.
2. How we live our life is a very personal choice, and yes – Jesus was radical in the way he loved us sinners. He had no problem hanging out with the worst of us and obviously the people didn’t feel judged or rejected by him. THAT is our role model.
3. Other than perhaps being allowed to say what we believe *once* at the beginning of a friendship (because that makes us who we are and it’s part of getting to know each other) (oh, by the way, I believe that following the Bible is pretty straight-forward so that’s what I do and teach to people who ask to be taught – just to get that out of the way), we should just put aside all the things that make us different, and rejoice in all the things we have in common. That means shutting up on anything that’s going to distress someone for no good cause, and let them feel loved and supported instead.

Oh, that was three things. And I just wanted to say that I love your heart. Ever since I read your “about” I’ve been wondering if I should dig into the whole alcoholic past thing on my blog, which astonishingly, is one of my many weaknesses that I have not really written about. The only thing holding me back is that I’m working on my memoire and its all in there so I’m afraid of a spoiler. ;-)

You guys have a kick-butt LTYM team there.
Lady Jennie recently posted..Dining in Tranquility

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L.T. Elliot November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm

It’s been a long, long time since I left a comment here and for that I’m sorry. But what I want to tell you is that for YEARS I have loved the way you love. I have cried over your posts. I have smiled over your posts. I have literally knelt down and talked to God after reading your posts.
On this particular topic, all I can really say is Thank You. Thank you for loving as radically as He does. I want to be more like you and open up my heart in these full, safe ways. You’re a haven. Thank you.

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Yuliya November 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I love the way you love. That is all.

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love November 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm

oh, tears. yes. YES.

you have beautifully put my heart into words here. i felt much, but especially the way you cautiously told her you are a Christian. i have felt those moments so many times, where i just don’t even want them to know because i don’t know that they’ll believe me that really–believe that i just love them. not want to change them. not put them in some category.

why can’t we just LOVE?

thank you for this.
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Melissa November 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Beautiful. This was so great to read. My heart is happy because this gave me hope. Hope that maybe little by little, people are becoming loving and accepting of others regardless of their sexual orientation. I know how especially hard this is growing up in the church.
Thank you for sharing.

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Michele November 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

This was a great post Heather, and a wise one.

Brave? No, not really.
Telling the truth isn’t brave , its necessary.
Struggling with our faith or beliefs or ideas isn’t brave, it’s necessary.
Unless we believe in a puppet master god that answers our prayers directly (thank you jesus for the grammy!, or oscar!, or new house) then the only truth is that we are all in this together, and alone, working it out step by step, belief by belief.
Things change only with open minds and speaking out truths, loudly.
Thanks for this, it was good.

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Brandi November 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Amen!!

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Varda (SquashedMom) November 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Oh, Heather, love you guys so much, and this is such a beautiful, honest heartfelt post, and I love that you and Vikki have connected, and I love the conversation you are having and I love that LTYM and Ann have brought you together and that I am a part of that too so thus further connected to you both (besides having been with Vikki on the same stage this summer and also having been so moved by her reading), and see what you’ve done now, girl, you’ve got me speaking in a giant run-on breathless sentence, even more than is my usual wont, because my head is spinning and my heart is fluttering so from all that you invoke with your beautiful, important words.

As a currently conventional nice married Jewish lady but former lesbian pagan, I come from such a different place to my understandings of these things, but as so much of this country is Christian and being influenced by those who read the bible with their own prejudices firmly intact, I hope fervently that many will come to read your words here and at least some few may be opened, moved, changed forever by them. Loving you and loving your being motivated by love and compassion, which is the truly Christian state.
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Varda (SquashedMom) November 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Also FYI this post is totally going into my monthly round up of “What I Loved on OTHER People’s Blogs” post at the end of November. (& I’ll notify you when it’s up.)
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Julia November 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Beautiful, truly. Love that you two addressed this so eloquently and publicly.
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Playful Karen November 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I couldn’t be more grateful to hear your thoughts Heather. You had another similar post during all the craziness of pre-election, but pointing to a similar thought process. I don’t personally identify as a Christian, but I LOVE the teachings of Jesus. One of the reasons I’ve always been reticent to even try out Christian churches is because I have always been turned off by the very black and white, right and wrong thinking. And not even just “I don’t agree with you,” but “you are WRONG and you will pay for all eternity!” I really appreciate the love that is in your heart that you share every time you speak your truth, no matter what the potential backlash might be. Hugs and many blessings to you!
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dusty earth mother November 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I just want to say thank you to Heather and Vikki for opening up this incredible dialogue (and to Jennie for writing about it last week). There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that causes me more tears and sleepless nights than the haters who identify themselves as Christians. It has been very difficult for me to even “come out” as a Christian because of my fear of being lumped in with them. Now I’m crying writing this, because I was almost afraid to talk to Vikki at VOTY in August, because I thought “once she finds out that I’m a Christian, she won’t want to be friends with me.” How have we come to this? All I ever wanted was “the love that surpasses knowledge” that the Bible speaks of so beautifully. I have never believed that God sees us with the labels that others give us, or even the labels that we give ourselves. I have much, much, much, MUCH more to say on this topic (and you can tell, because I just used CAPITALS:-), but I just want to say that I love both of you. Truly. And I’m in constant prayer that this dialogue can continue and we can all respect each other and treasure each other the way that God treasures us.

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HouseTalkN November 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

What a beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for this. “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
Kerry at HouseTalkN

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Stayce November 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I hope this is HH….I really want to get tof no u….I dont let no one in because of trust….I truly no up loves God as I do…I am ashamed of sum of there things ive done and said….I just wanted closure…. Of do hope to be able to come up and hug up and say we both no what it’s feels like…. I hope to hear from u…. I think ur a good person just put in there, middle….xoxo lelestepp

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Stayce November 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Omg that made me cry…. My daddy use c to.sing that to me all the time….and I sang it’s to him there day before he died……thxxs I dont think up no what that meant just to hear it….thxxxs heather and no mayyer what ive always thought up were a good person in ur heart….lelestepp

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Stayce November 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I just want to.stay.strong.I no I deserve better but when sum one tells up other up start to believe no one will.want me :(

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Jen @ Martymom's Musings November 10, 2012 at 9:18 am

Thank you for reminding me it is about love. Sometimes in this crazy, entitled mixed up world love gets lost…I don’t want to judge, just love. Like He does!

Bless you Heather!

In His Love,
Jen
@jenchic
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Allison Zapata November 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

I am in tears this morning, reading this. Perfection. xo

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Kristin November 10, 2012 at 10:32 am

I totally understand what you are saying about loving people and not casting judgment on others. But are you saying that there is no sin, and that God does not judge? I think your post was good, but I kind of get from your message that Jesus only loves and that there will never be any wrath for our sin. I don’t think it’s right to single people’s sin out because we all sin and fall short from the glory of God, but at the same time we cannot deceive people into thinking that there will never be any punishment for our sin. The truth is few will find the way to heaven, and I believe that through Christ it is the most loving thing we can do to share truth in love with someone if they want to know. I am not saying to stand outside with hatful signs telling people they are going to hell and God hates them, but instead through a loving relationship and diving into the word together. The truth is God loves us, but his heart breaks because we do not worship him. I am not trying to discourage you in loving others and developing relationships with people(I agree completely), but I want to know if you are saying that there is no sin in homosexuality?

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Heather November 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Kristin,

in my post, I hoped to make it clear that Christians often believe two different things about the same parts of the Bible, you know? And both will think they are right, depending on their life experience and the culture they grew up in, etc. There are even very different opinions about what the Bible says about eternity. Both sides sit firmly in confidence that they are right. I’m uncomfortable with THAT. That’s why I don’t want to engage in a discussion where I try to say what *I* think about those things that are actually more confusing than people like to admit because it makes them uncomfortable. I hope that makes sense. It’s a really hard thing to articulate the way that my heart and mind are trying to say.

In short, because I feel so much is unclear, especially when we take a look at the Bible historically and through the lens of original language, or when we try to decipher OT from NT and keep in mind the new covenant in Christ and the context of so much of scripture. The only sin I feel worthy of considering, is my own, because I am obviously here with me and so is God…so He allows me to listen to Him in my heart-gut, to discern my own pride and selfishness, dishonesty, ETC. I absolutely cannot turn that outward to point any kind of fingers.

Thank you for your honest and respectful comment, Kristin. I truly appreciate your thoughts.

Heather

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Elizabeth November 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm

“The only sin I feel worthy of considering is my own….”

Out of the whole post and all of these comments I’m reading through, those words are what jumped out at me and really brought the YES.

Well said, as always, Heather.

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KeAnne November 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Heather, this post was beautiful. I was confirmed Methodist but find religion very uncomfortable due to my experience of seeing anyone who didn’t fit a certain mold excluded, taunted or insulted. I agree 100% with what you so beautifully wrote; I wish more Christians thought the way you do. Happy to be part of LTYM 2013 with you :-)
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Jason November 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Heather,

I think the forum of discussion you created here is beautifully human and should give all readers pause to reflect on the powers of communication, love, and tolerance. I find it odd I am the first man to post. Although I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised as I only came across your letter because my mother emailed me the link. Perhaps more blog following mother’s need to be emailing their sons to spread the word!

Heather I have never read anything from you other than the letter listed here, so I don’t know much about you. I do know you write very well, you are obviously Christian, and you read as very pensive. I also know I already respect you, your opinions and your thought processes. I applaud your insight and identification that the bible’s meaning can often bifurcate depending on what individual or branch of christianity happens to be reading it. In my limited investigation, it also appears this same scenario applies to the other sacred religious texts. It’s this commonality among religions in general that has inspired my post.

I, like you Heather, have spent a lot of time searching, asking, and listening. It seems to me that religion is all too often the problem and unfortunately not the problem solver. It seems you have done a lot of thinking about the Bible and about what it means to be Christian. I ended up asking myself why I “was” Christian? How did I “become” Christian? I ended up Christian for the same reason that a boy who grows up in Kabul ends up Muslim; for no good reason at all. By my nature that forced me to explore many other religions. My childlike
conclusion is that it’s the “right and wrong” of religion that gets in the way. It somehow empowers its followers with the authority to announce the proper way to live.

Heather you candidly touched on your insecurities within your religion as well as eluded to the insecurities you have faced on other levels. I share these same insecurities as does everyone else who took the time to contribute here, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, or otherwise. This is where I find the unfortunate irony of religion. The very basics of Christianity for instance, immediately puts you in an insecure position. Humans are doomed, we will always fail, do your best, repent and hope you get into the club. Somehow we are supposed to find security in a very insecure set of circumstances. This insecurity breeds contempt, whereas security breeds tolerance. Tolerance breeds love. Love feels good. For me, the individual acceptance of my myself became tangible and accessible once I was able to take “god” out of the equation.

I have found that not believing in god hasn’t disabled my ability to love, nor has it disabled my ability for compassion, nor has it affected my ability to tell right from wrong. What being an atheist has allowed me to do is think for myself, to be pragmatic and inquisitive and to hold myself accountable for my actions. I own what I do; I have to because there is no one else left to blame, good, bad or otherwise. It has also allowed me to not spend countless hours trying comprehend obscure passages written by prophets thousands of years ago in a language I know nothing about. I do know I am no better than anyone else. I know that treating all people and living things with respect is right. I know love feels good and I think love transcends religions, cultures and sexual persuasion.

Homosexuality is not a choice. If that sentence is true (and in scientific circles it seems to be the case) how can a loving homosexual couple be living in sin? How could “god” create people who were instantly in opposition to the rules? All humans are longing to experience the elusive gift of a loving partner, but for some the only partner they can experience that gift with happens to be of the same sex and therefore sinful. It’s not pragmatic. It doesn’t make sense. I respectfully suggest Christians answer their own questions instead of packing “god’s word” around for verification. Love makes sense, religion doesn’t. I vote for Vikki. I vote for loving, tolerant, and accountable people!

Heather from reading one post by you I know we would have many great discussions around a coffee table and in conclusion I have one humble suggestion for you to reflect on. Could it be possible that instead of searching for ways to interpret the bible that agree with your core feelings, may it be more powerful and liberating to just trust your intuition, continue being the good solid person you are and drop the baggage and inconsistencies of the religion?

Thanks again for providing the opportunity for this forum to occur!

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Heather November 11, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi Jason,

I’m going to invite you to a virtual coffee table, because you’re right, it would be so good to sit and talk a long time.

I would just respond here, in comment form, but what you’ve written is so much (not complaining) that I feel like responding via a new post. So I’m working on that and I’ll hopefully publish it today. Sunday. Seems like a good day for a theological discussion. :)

Peace.

Heather

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Michele November 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Beautifully written Jason….

thanks for this…all of it, but especially
“love feels good and I think love transcends religions, cultures and sexual persuasion”.

I own what I believe and do also, tolerance, love and compassion are my watchwords, what I strive for. I fall short, but that’s on me.

Anyway, love the way you stated this

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Heather November 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

Just a note for people reading through these. Jason and I took it to email because I was so (shockingly) wordy in my response, like a book, not a blog post. Lucky Jason. heh.

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MidnightCafe November 11, 2012 at 9:32 am

Nice work, Heather! Thank you for writing this.
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Connie November 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I think my favorite part is “even if I thought you were wrong,” Because YES. I have come finally around (from hyper-fundamentalist origins) to this: EVEN IF you’re going to have very specific ideas about how life should be lived (and everyone’s entitled to an opinion), there is still no excuse for mistreatment. We are called to love, to treat others as we’d want to be treated. And ya know, I will not answer to God for anyone else’s life but my own.
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Marta November 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Oh Heather I so vehemently agree with you. I do. I can see the passion in your heart and the kindness through your words. I am constantly mystified how people can walk through the streets and think of themselves as kind and open. And be friends with people who are gay and have lunch with them and laugh with them. But then turn around and Vote Yes because their religion told them to. And somehow not see the trouble with that. I don’t understand how anyone could ever feel like they had the RIGHT to tell someone they are LESS than someone else. How they could cast their ballot and go back to work and talk with friends who they had just discriminated against. I don’t understand it. How they excuse their actions by simply stating “well I am Christian and its wrong.” I hate that. You have done an amazing job articulating what religion and Christianity should be. It should be about love and acceptance and not a tool to be used to explain your actions of discrimination.
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Karla Archer November 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I have this post opened since you published it because I really wanted to write something that truly expressed the depth of gratitude that I feel for the fact that you so nicely summed up what I’ve been trying to sum up for quite some time.

I still still can’t think of the words, so I’ll just say thank you.

Truly — love this.
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Mary DeMuth (@MaryDeMuth) November 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I found you via Kristen Howerton. Beautiful post, beautiful words, beautiful heart. Earlier today I tweeted, “God is big enough to deal with the apparent lack of morality we perceive in another.” And then, “Our words define us. They define others. They define God. Choose wisely and carefully. Love is the language of God.”

Your words seem to dance that line. Thanks.
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Angel V November 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Beautiful. Amazing. Perfect. Thank you, Heather and Vikki, for your brave and honest conversation.

Loved it!

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Sarah Bessey November 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Heather – you are my people and I love even more now. Bless you for this and thank you for introducing me to Vikki. Love this.

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Nicole November 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thank you. It’s so brave and honest it love it. You make me have faith that someday we won’t judge like we do. Thank you

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Melody November 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I love this. I just do. And your point about the Greek? Why is gay marriage such an issue, but the immorality and promiscuity and two-faced-ness (that’s not a word is it?) in today’s youth ignored? Why is it okay to ignore the fact that young people go out and sleep with whomever they please, drink whatever they want, act however they want and still claim to be Christians? Why is it NOT okay to support and love homosexuals and still be a Christian? Hasn’t Christ called us to love unconditionally? Sorry…that may have gotten confusing, but it’s just a thought.

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Randi :) November 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Thank you (both) for your openness.

I am a Christ-follower & a true believer that the world would be a profoundly different place if we had close relationships with our “neighbors” (even if that’s geographically far sometimes because of our social media now)……those we agree with & disagree.

I learn more & more it’s so easy to hate from a distance. So hard to hate up close.

Our lack of genuine close relationships/community is at the root of so many of our issues.

I don’t know where I stand on these issues exactly…. but I do know where I stand on love & grace so for that reason I can appreciate this conversation.

There is love & grace in this communication & appreciation for each other’s hearts.

and yet I do believe & understand Lacee & her viewpoint. If we believe that this lifestyle is destructive for whatever reason and against God’s design or intent, then *love* would be open & honest about our beliefs and warn our friends – up close, in a loving way. So again, I’m back to loving relationships being the key. Throwing out “shoulds” from a distance never did/does anything. Love does change. Sometimes love does take the form of admonishment or warning. but not before the gospel is passed & Jesus above all else is the message.

Thank you :)
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Chloe Jeffreys November 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I am a Christian who supports marriage equality. We are out here, but we’re drowned out by the loudness of others who act like they speak for me. They don’t speak for me.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Do Our 20-Year Old Selves Have Anything to Teach Us?

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Heather C November 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I don’t often subscribe to blogs written by Christian mommies, for many of the same reasons that Vikki fear Christians. And I’m not gay. Nor Christian (anymore).

Back to my point, you’ve gained a new reader/cheerleader. For examining your views so openly, for sharing them so honestly and “putting yourself on the line” within your community. Trust me, I know how hard that can be.

But above all, I appreciate that you have put yourself into the light to show that ALL people are full of beautiful complexity, and assuming you know everything about someone because you know one thing about them is fallacy.

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Christa Edmonds November 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I can’t explain to you how many ways this touches my life. I have longed for someone to put this in words so well. This is almost exactly my heart on the matter.

Thank you so, so much.

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Mark Allman November 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

I sit in the quiet with my God and I don’t concern myself with right and wrong in others, only in me, to be sure that I’m loving as radically as He does.

Awesome words here that we should all adopt.

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Ami November 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

thank you so much for writing this.

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Diana Trautwein November 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Heather, Thank you for these words of love and acceptance. I find it sad and troubling that so many Christians have chosen to make this issue such a firestorm of hateful rhetoric. Like it or not, we live in a democracy, not a theocracy. And even just a cursory look at what that means should enable us to back off and at the very least make room for people whose backgrounds/mores/lifestyles are different from our own. We don’t even have to change what we believe about it all in order to do that. We just have to say – yes, as a fellow American, you have the same civil rights that I do. That, it seems to me, is the very LEAST we can do. To move beyond that basic status and begin to talk about loving acceptance – well, that is what you’ve done here and I salute you for it. I do believe that it is possible to honestly admit our own struggles with the teachings of scripture and of tradition, to say we’re not sure what we believe about this any more – and still say to one another, “Yes, of course. You are welcome in this community.” No one is forcing churches to perform these marriages. But the Law of Love, over and above the laws of the land, should enable us to co-exist peaceably and well. Why is that so hard to grab hold of?
Diana Trautwein recently posted..Of Rainclouds and Wildfires

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Mallory November 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm

This was thought-provoking.

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Steph Groutas November 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Thank you for this beautifully written conversation. You have put on “paper” what I have been feeling and thinking for so many years. I am blessed to know many Christians that feel/think this way. Thank you.

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Libby Edwardson November 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

What you have articulated so beautifully is the echo of my heart! I am a liberal Christian mama of 6 transplanted from NYC to Appalachia. My God overwhelmingly compels me to love, not to judge. I sort of wish we had to take the Hippocratic Oath for Christianity – first, do no harm. My life is richly blessed by people who do not worship the same way I do or love the same way I do or look the same way I do. What a miracle of our Creator to love diversity so well! Thank you for this post. It has blessed me and I am sharing!
Libby Edwardson recently posted..You Are Good

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Chrissy November 13, 2012 at 10:02 am

What an exquisite gift to write the very words that live in the hearts of so many……thank you for sharing these words so the rest of us can breathe deeply in them and know we are not alone. XO
Chrissy recently posted..25 Days to Love….

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Roshni November 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

So beautifully written! I feel so sick of people sermonizing about the right for other people to marry each other and throwing out fear-mongering statements about it destroying the sanctity of marriage. And, then we have other people having affairs and making a public spectacle of it; where is the sanctity of marriage in those conditions?!!
Roshni recently posted..On the joyous occasion of Diwali…..

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Rebecca November 14, 2012 at 1:15 am

Thank you so much for just your openness and love. I am an out of the closet lesbian that God loves which sounds so contradictory and I have lost friends over it but the truth is He loves us all. I have always loved God and loved his Word and loved sharing his word and when I came out… well I lost A LOT of friends and family and people that once came to me and begged me to lead and teach Bible studies now shunned me and thought there was no way I could even talk about God without it being a hypocrisy. I am grateful for brave souls like you… I shared my story here if you ever want to read it
http://www.punkerdoos.com/2011/03/and-out-of-closet-came-lesbian-that-god.html

Thank you again!

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Casey November 14, 2012 at 7:26 am

Heather, thank you for your witness. I want you and Vikki to know that you are not alone in any of this. In particular I wanted to point you to the ecumenical Institute for Welcoming Resources, which is based there in Minneapolis! There are great materials available for starting conversations within local worship communities.

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Lauren November 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Hey, Heather, I so much appreciate and love your desire to love others and to treat them as Christ would have us to. I think I gleaned some of it from your discussion in the comments, but could you share how you came to your conclusion that the Bible is unclear in regards to homosexuality?

Trying to love well, too,
Lauren :)

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Kathi November 19, 2012 at 2:36 am

Thank you to both of you for inviting us into this conversation.
Kathi recently posted..The Lullaby of Thanksgiving

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Shari November 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Thank you for this! Much needed and filled with love.

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Carol November 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Thank you for putting into words all that I have been thinking & wrestling with for a long time. This is so important for Christians to understand: love God with all your being & love others like you love yourself. Do not judge or condemn but leave that to God who is the only one just. I’m tired of thinking its ok to tell people, force them, to believe the same as me. Thank you for this open letter. You’ve set my heart free.

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Amy Peterson Derrick November 20, 2012 at 9:08 am

So Beautiful. Thank you for warming my heart this morning!

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Lori November 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Bravo! With tears streaming down my face bravo!!! All things I have been expressing over this subject and having people judge me for it. I lost friends when I posted support on facebook…just trying to get them to see the other side to their hate. Wish I would have had this to share then. I am from Minnesota and my daughter and I rejoiced when we seen the election results that it had passed. I pray that one by one more would open up their hearts and minds to the truth. Satan more than loves all this hate and judgement that gets spewed out because then he is getting the glory and minds are off of the beauty of Jesus and all that he is. He showed us how to live yet we look for loopholes to point fingers at other people’s “stuff” so that the attention is off of our own “stuff”. Thank you for this post. I am off to share it!

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