bricks: final thoughts on An Open Letter

November 14, 2012

There’s no point. 

Before trying to sleep, I had said, “We’re not going to agree here are we, friends?” Where is our time better spent? I wondered that, too. So I hung up, if you can hang up on facebook, which is often a really good idea.

Here’s a platform not only for “keeping in touch”, but for constantly impulsively spouting off what we think. Rapid-fire! We are so much better off being quiet and waiting. Immediate gratification is over-rated.

I wrote Vikki (who happens to be a lesbian) a letter and she wrote back to me. We made it public in hope. We hoped. Well, we hoped to show what a loving conversation can look like.

But then that night, someone on facebook supported the letters and it started, as per usual. We were arguing about homosexuality for all the wrong reasons and am I the only one who can see that? What reason is there, really? No. REALLY. Don’t tell me you are arguing “in love” to “teach and correct and admonish” because I already know what you are going to say and so does Vikki and so does most everyone everywhere because you’ve been so quickly and easily dishing it out. If it’s not on FOX news it’s on facebook.

Yes. I’m talking to Christians. Evangelicals. Conservatives. Because you were the majority of the thread that kept me up, talking to God, saying I don’t understand. (yes, yes. I know not all Evangelical conservatives are the same. I get it. But it was right there in black and white and I’m so tired. I’m just so tired.)

One day we will certainly all fall apart at once and with faces to the ground in our messes we will have to cry over all that we did not see. Oh no, actually, I do not mean the state of the sinful awful world around us but the state of our own hearts and minds and how did we not see?

Chasing tails. Hamster wheels.

For now we argue because we have to be right, because if we’re not right, then we have to change. The hard work of change is not appealing. To see something even a little differently than yesterday, we have to have at least a small shift of heart and mind and that makes us uncomfortable and humans avoid discomfort like it is the wrath of an angry God. So instead we stay comfortable in our conditioned responses and label them Right because of the wrath of an angry God. He will come to judge us, we say. Look out.

But I don’t think He wants me to love Him because I’m cowering in the face of wrath and I know that He doesn’t send terrorists to blow up buildings or hurricanes or tornadoes because of homosexuals. And He doesn’t invite us to tea parties that feed into our better-than mentality, serving up pride and self-righteousness with a side of sugar to make it all look okay.

All I can do is think here. That’s a part of what blogs are for and even though I’m saying it here to you, it’s not that I’m saying I’m Right or perfect or all-knowing or the wisest. I am trying and striving and begging. To decide to stay open, like a lake, full of wonder: to keep open an invitation from my heart to a furious Love that is God, to transcend all my former, current and future understandings born of experience and feelings and striving and failing.  I am saying here I am with these thoughts and I don’t know everything or even anything and maybe later I’ll find out I was wrong. So be it. That will be for me to deal with in me, then. What right do I have to say THIS is the way to think?

This may feel like pointing fingers but maybe it’s time for me to finally say that I will not do it with you and that’s that.

You can think along with me, on facebook threads and in comments, sure. But it is not thinking along with me, to demand and correct and stomp. Picture us both walking in place, foreheads to a brick wall, pushing nowhere and not ever getting through because that’s a facebook thread battle and it’s what it looks like when you spout your opinions or even think so hard about everyone else and how they’re getting it wrong.

Please tell me, what are you changing? Who are you loving?
Update your status: It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!
Tweet! What’s next? Will we be able to marry our sisters or animals? LOL.
Comment box: I’m not being hateful, I’m just standing on the TRUTH. Being GAY IS A SIN!  

type type type faster faster hit enter! hard! *head to wall stomp stomp stomp* what’s that verse? the one that has something in it that fits what I’m saying? look it up! quick! type it in! type type type  *fists hit the wall over and over*

Log off.

Vikki said,

For most of my life, Christianity has been an ominous whisper, a voice that calls for my attention and startles me but when I turn around, I find no one is there. 

If you can read that and roll your eyes or remain numb, I’m sorry. I don’t mean that in any kind of hateful way at all. I really am sorry because it is so powerful. A mental picture that leaves me with chills. I get it, Vikki. That’s Religion and I’m not that and I’m going to be standing there when you turn around, not expecting a thing. Surprise.

Bricks need to fall in the face of her words. Boom! Truth fists cracking mortar and bending heads, up. Look up. Look up. Look up. Out of the comment box and the facebook threads and the opinionated tweets.

No wait.

Sit down. Just sit there and think on that. Take the hands off the keyboard where they hover with their ominous whispers, startling and then empty, void of any kind of real substance at all because no matter what the Truth is, if you are tearing it down as the go-between human carrier, your words might just maybe have become an empty stance. They might be born of this need to be right to stay comfortable. Just wait a second. At least one. It’s facebook! For Pete’s sake, as we say here in Minnesota, it’s freaking facebook!

There was a particular thread (as I’m sure you’d guessed) in which the focus completely left the heart of our letters and went back over and over again to something else. A simple and never-ending circular argument that sent me away grieved. Really? After all of that, all of the powerful truth spilling out of a woman in complete honesty, and all you can do is fight amongst yourselves about whether or not homosexuality is a sin?

Oh my…we are missing the point.

Sure. Go ahead, focus on sin, always, every Sunday and every morning and take a good hard look at it all around you and in you and never sway from staring there and you will stay behind that brick wall and I for one am choosing the tools I need to rage against it, not against you. Because a constant focus on sin sin sin is an Idol like any other.

It is division and judgment and never getting past this focus on sin sickness that is not working for anyone except for the reader of facebook arguments who gawks in agreement with the extreme remarks. Anyone with differing views? (Because ALERT the media, we’re all very different!) No, you’re not getting through to them with your slanted jabs. You’re just another zealot with no perspective outside your navel, that’s what it looks like even if it’s not true.

I wasn’t writing to Vikki and sharing it so we could carry on this way. Please.

Nor will I say hello to her and nice to meet you and guess what I believe? I’m a Christian and I need to correct you, Vikki, maybe you want to go to church with me, in love?  I mean, I realize you can’t even possibly feel comfortable in getting to know me in the first place, but hey, why don’t you just go ahead and jump on in to my belief system? Who needs a relationship or trust building or laughing over coffee? Let’s get down to it before it’s too late! 

No. Instead, we will laugh over coffee and witty little emails back and forth and we will work together and not one of your rants on facebook will make me want to “correct her in love”. This will not change. You can take me or leave me. You can keep walking into the wall or you can walk around it and quietly respect our differences as I do the same for you.

The only question people had for me, after all of my words, was, in essence a gawking curious one. This:

But Heather, are you saying homosexuality is not a sin? 

You are missing the point and I can’t help you with that. I don’t have any other ways to say it and so now I will be done. I will not argue. I will take deep breaths and love. I will sit down. Sit down. I will sit here and I will continue to be the Christian girl that I am and God will know how broken I really am and He will keep telling me, I know what you’re capable of….and I love you anyway. It is HIS end and I am His and I see a great grace in the face of all of this dissension and I am so grateful for how we all tie and so focusing on sin can only take you to one place and then you maybe want to move on…

around the wall, open arms and ears and eyes. quiet and sure and lovely while your fists and forehead lean in and people discover what love is through all that flows out and around you despite you.

BUT, HEATHER! THE BIBLE SAYS.

Oh it says so much and I’m going to always read it to carry around the knowledge it brings me and look out, it might not look like yours. So take me or leave me, it’s okay. I’m okay. I’m sitting down in the quiet, now, with my all different kinds of friends that I love so much–the lesbian, the Jew, the conservative Christian, the athiest and the agnostic, etc….They are my people, with names and not labels.

{Sarah Bessey wrote a post in response to the letters and it’s important. I love how she does not speak Christianese, while she speaks unconditional love because that’s the end.}

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Bessey November 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Standing. Slow clapping. Well said, Heather. Well said. I’m with you.
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Kelly V November 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Well said, my friend. Could not agree more.
If these cyber arguments have teams, your team is team LOVE.

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Abby Norman November 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I car pool with a friend, my dearest friend from work. She labels herself as “an agnostic, jewish, lesbian.” Yesterday on the way to work I ran out of gas. Instead of chiding me (this is not the first time I have stranded her in this way) she walked wth me in the bitter cold and told me how great the walk was, reminded me to not over fill the can. (I did anyway. Of course I did.) She did not tell me the “hard truth in love” that I should do better, that running out of gas is bad for my car, that it was rude of me to do this to her. Nope, she walked with me and catalogued all the good. I hope to do the same for her.
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Heather November 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I just love this. Thank you, Abby.

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Rosalie November 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Um, the BEST story. Thank you for sharing.
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Vikki November 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

As I mentioned in one of our recent emails, I never imagined that it was you taking the bigger risk in all of this.

I have written about the difficult decision people face when coming out as GLBT. We have so many factors to weigh – the potential loss of family and friends and even our safety (in all the ways that word can be interpreted). I come out in new ways every day. I feel that it is my responsibility to myself, to my children, to those who can’t speak up and to those who might learn to open their hearts and minds if they just knew someone like me. I take a breath each time and brace myself but I know that I am strong enough to take whatever comes my way…because I know love and am surrounded by it.

Your experience proves that coming out as an ally is not so different and I am filled with gratitude by your strength and compassion and willingness to speak out.
Vikki recently posted..Three Muskateers

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Heather November 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I hadn’t really thought of this that way either. And I don’t feel like credit is deserved for saying these things here. I thought it was obvious, in many ways. (I guess that’s similar to your coming out as well. heh.)

And you know what? I think it DOES open hearts and minds to know someone like you, Vikki. So much of this is simply a not-knowing. Ignorance is too strong a word for some people’s view, but it’s not too strong for others. I don’t think it’s bliss, either.

I really am okay with what people think of my heart words, my stance…I’m fully okay.

Now, let’s rock LTYM. Okay? Okay. Deal.

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CJ November 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Bravo, Heather! As a wife, mom and *gasp* lesbian….I applaud you. They say all is fair in love and war, but for a lot of GLBT families, love IS war and it is anything but fair.
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Nish November 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I love you. I love this. I stand with you & I’m so proud to call you my friend.
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Michael Vuke November 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I’ve run into this sort of thing before, and it never fails to amaze me how many of us fail to see the irrelevance of whether or not something is a sin (I was there for the longest time…”Is this a sin? Is this not?). It completely misses the point of what Jesus was doing.

He didn’t come to give us a new set of rules; he came so that we could live life–more fully at that–and love Him and others. As we do that everything else falls into place.

Heather and Vikki, I don’t know y’all, and probably never will, but I would like to apologize for the way that you are both treated by those of us who should be loving you the best.
Heather, I’m sorry for the way that we turn on our own and tear you down instead of building you up and doing the whole ‘iron sharpening iron’ thing.
Vikki, I’m sorry for the way that we have treated you. Your orientation shouldn’t change the way we treat you any more than your race or hair color. I hope you can forgive us, and I’m so glad that you’ve got a friend (Heather) who is looking out for you.
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Heather November 14, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Thank you, Michael. For taking the time to speak kindness and sense here.

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Michael Vuke November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm

It is my pleasure. Thank you for opening yourself up like this; it takes a lot of courage to do what you’ve done.
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dusti November 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Love doesn’t require explanation, whether it’s eros love or agape love. Beautifully written.
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Christy November 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Amen!! Thank you for sharing this, Heather! Love wins.

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Jesse November 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I cannot applaud you enough. I wrote something similar just a day or so ago. You’ll find it under the website I have posted. It would be wonderful to chat with you more sometime! Do people do google hangouts with coffee?

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HopefulLeigh November 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Amen, amen, amen. Let those who have ears hear.
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Kerstin November 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Well said.
What caught my attention most in this post is right in the beginning, when you write : “We were arguing about homosexuality for all the wrong reasons…” – what reason is there to argue about it at all?
It’s just another facette of human life, we ‘re all just people.
As a human being, it just does not make sense to me how religion/Christianity can be used as a platform to judge what’s wrong and right, while bending the rules to suit a particular belief-system…
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Heather November 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I’m with you Kerstin. What reason is there to argue about it at all? Exactly. I don’t know.

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Shosh M November 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Tears as always. Your words break my heart and make me have to catch my breath: ” I’m sitting down in the quiet, now, with my all different kinds of friends that I love so much–the lesbian, the Jew, the conservative Christian, the athiest and the agnostic, etc….They are my people, with names and not labels.”
You two make me want to pack my bags and head up to Minnesota to join you in the beauty of your partnership and the gift of your friendship. In Judaism, we are taught that if the Messiah comes and we are planting a tree, we must keep planting that tree. The work of this world is important work, and you are planting the most beautiful lush tree anyone could find. They are lost behind the wall and maybe you’ll bring them some sunlight and shovels with your words—but their darkness should never take you away from your light…if anything, it makes your light grow stronger.
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Laurie November 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I’m not a sin cataloguer at all. Raised Catholic, I’ve long since left behind that life, because it doesn’t work for me at all, especially not the constant ticker of right and wrong, acceptable or not, heaven or hell or purgatory, I choose, because, free will. I’m always shocked by people who think they know how the world or God or Jesus keeps score. I know I don’t know anything, so I go on my own feelings about people, and who they show themselves to be. My feelings move as they do regardless of whom someone chooses or is compelled, more accurately to love, how they identify on the gender spectrum, or even, gasp, their faith tradition. People who judge based on these things, as resolute and right as they may feel (because that is what it really is, the desperate need to cling to some construct, a truth that underscores their own choices and compulsions, and a flawed arrogance that allows judgment of others) miss out on so much by not seeing whole people, hearts and souls, where only surface identifiers will do.

I admire your willingness to see, and to speak up. Facebook, especially, can be a scary neighborhood. But if anyone can change hearts, it’s you, if only people are ready and willing to hear love and sense instead of old tapes. Allies are crucial. Your bearing witness will never stop mattering.
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Shannon November 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm

It is so frustrating when people won’t step around, or through the wall, and share the light with you. Unfortunately, they feel that their side of the wall is the side with the light. So, what do you do? What will change their minds, their hearts? Will anything?
I feel things are getting better. I feel that hope is alive in the open minds of our children. As more people come out, as more people live their truths, like you and Vikki did in your letters, then I hope more bricks will start to fall away and people will start to see through and over the wall.
That being said, I still don’t get it. I still have a hard time seeing how people can see families filled with love and well cared for children, and call it anything but wonderful.
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Carol Vinson November 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I just read Sarah’s post. I’m with her – bravo!! Love and grace are all we really have the right to offer anyone. Wish we could all see that.

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Cheryl November 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Thank you & Vikki for this series of posts. Vikki’s words mirror my feelings exactly. It’s cold and raw out here where we atheists live.

“For most of my life, Christianity has been an ominous whisper, a voice that calls for my attention and startles me but when I turn around, I find no one is there.”

There’s a huge difference between being a Christian and adherence to the rules of religion. I learned that very young being raised in the Catholic church and nothing I’ve ever seen has swayed me to believe differently. It is possible to be both and that’s what I feel coming from your heart.
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Heather November 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Oh Cheryl, I’m just moved by your words: “It is possible to be both and that’s what I feel coming from your heart.”

That’s what I want, really. To be able to own my Christianity, be the believer that I am, and still be someone who doesn’t focus on rules.

Peace.

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Ally Vesterfelt November 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm

This is beautiful. Beautiful message and beautifully written. Thank you for bravely sharing.
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Sherri November 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Oh, Heather…I had hoped that your heartfelt letters post would open some eyes, open a few minds or mend a few hearts. Traveling this week, I missed the rest. I am so sorry, but I love what you laid out here.

Banging our heads against walls…
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Heather November 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hi you.

It wasn’t that *I* was attacked personally, I should be clear. But when people linked to it on facebook there were a few threads that just totally confused me. It just went too far and too far away from what my point had ever been. That’s just how it goes, and it frustrates me and then I move on in the quiet and I’m good with that. ;) I got a TON of support and so did Vikki. Many people said supportive and loving, unconditional things. I probably should have made mention of that :)

xo

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tracy@sellabitmum November 14, 2012 at 9:57 pm

You know how I hate driving out to ‘the country’ but I almost did today just to hug you big. xo
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KeAnne November 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Again, beautiful. I wish more people were like you.

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Diana Trautwein November 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm

This is gorgeous writing, Heather – so full of love and passion and frustration! Thank you for your hard work in these two posts and I am so sorry for the facebook crap. I didn’t see any of it – and I guess I’m glad I didn’t. It exhausts me. This post, however? It encourages and enlivens me, gives me hope for the future and reminds me of the heart of the gospel of Jesus. See PEOPLE, not sin, however you think it’s defined. And if you insist on looking at sin? Then start with your own sorry self. That is truly the only way forward…
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Elaine November 15, 2012 at 12:39 am

What gets me is that Jesus loved everyone no matter what. And ESPECIALLY those who were condemned. Maybe because he knew that he would be some day too.

What REALLY matters is that we all treat each other with kindness, respect, compassion and love. That’s all HE really wants. That’s all he has ever wanted.

I “sin” everyday. EVERY DAY. Tell me who wants to condemn me now…

Love you Heather, love your heart. many, MANY x’s and o’s.
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Galit Breen November 15, 2012 at 7:32 am

Oh Heather, you take my breath away.

This is stunning, as are you.

Proud to be your Jew. xo
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Tiffany November 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

What a better and amazing place the world would be if we all felt this way and just loved.
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Krishann November 15, 2012 at 9:42 am

As a Christian who is often judged for choosing not to judge I adore you for this. I feel your words and they come from a genuine, beautiful place and as always I love them. I agree with Tiffany. Why spend so much time casting stones when we could spend all that time loving.
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MidnightCafe November 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

Bravo! Well said, once again.
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jana November 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

This? I love this exchange so very much. There are so many of us who feel this way. Just love one another. It should be that easy, right?
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Karla Archer November 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I admit to being a skimmer when I read. But I read every. single. word. of this.

And this: “Sure. Go ahead, focus on sin, always, every Sunday and every morning and take a good hard look at it all around you and in you and never sway from staring there and you will stay behind that brick wall and I for one am choosing the tools I need to rage against it, not against you. Because a constant focus on sin sin sin is an Idol like any other.”
… I read it 5 times… just to make sure I absorbed it all.

Love your heart, Heather. xo
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Heather November 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

You know what? All my life I’ve been trying to articulate that and it finally just wrote itself. Which tells me a lot. It was a part of a burst of free writing, which I think God uses a lot in me. With me.

So that part is something I’m always going to go back to…because it says what my heart has been struggling with for pretty much my whole life.

xo

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Amy @ Never-True Tales November 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm

This post has my mind spinning, in good ways. Homosexuality is a huge, tender subject for me, because I feel so strongly that it’s not a sin. But as you say, what I think, one person, as flawed as all the rest, doesn’t matter, really. It’s how we approach these questions that say the most.

And you touch upon exactly what I find flawed in the Bible (yes, I said it…flawed). There’s always a verse to support whatever you want to say. And always another to contradict it. It’s not the final word in my heart. I fought that for a long time as a Christian, but there it is.

(I love your posts that speak the things I’m always conflicted about.)
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Heather November 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I get it, Amy.

I just wanted to tell you that I understand completely.

xo

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Ashley November 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

As a formerly devout Christian-turned-agnostic, not only because of but significantly because of my changed views on homosexuality, I am with you.

I have to say that while I’m not interested in returning to my faith (the other significant issues are just too significant for me to overcome right now), there are parts of it I miss sorely. This type of dialogue is one of those things. People like you that I can surround myself with – one of those things.

I’m glad you’re speaking up.
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Erin November 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I am the right-wing conservative evangelical girl you’re talking to, Heather, except I hope I’m not. I struggle so much with some of these issues because I know what I believe the Bible says and sometimes I don’t know what that means for me, living here as a pastor’s wife in small-town Iowa, trying to love my church people and my neighbor and my family and honor God above all.

And so often I just have to be quiet, like you said– to post the cute thing my daughter said instead of the rant that is brewing. And so many of my friends are the ones posting the awful things and I don’t know how to respond. So I just don’t. Maybe you’re right and it’s better just to bite my tongue and scroll on down the page.

Because here’s the thing. When I look at the life of Jesus, I don’t see tolerance, really, but I also don’t see vitriol. I see a Man who loved people so deeply, even though He could see every horrible thing in their hearts. I see a man who forgave the ones who nailed them to a cross. I see a man who had harsh words for the religious leaders and gentle words for those caught in open sin. I see Him say “go and sin no more,” but I also see Him love the ones who tried and failed. And I wonder what He would say to me, and if my life is the kind that He wants His people to live. And I know that deep in me, and not so deep, are sins of all kinds– the ones listed right in there with murder and adultery. And yet He loves me.

I guess it hurts me to see the cruel, cutting posts, and to see the people with their signs, and I wonder if any of them have EVER actually gotten to know the people they are rallying against, or if they even realize that these are real people, beloved by God, sinners like the rest of us. And I wonder how we would feel if they were standing on the corners with their signs that say “God hates people who lose their temper with their kids” or other things that point at MY heart and not the heart of another person.

I believe that God created marriage and I believe that no matter how people define it we cannot really change what it is. I vote what I believe but I also believe that God talks more about loving others and about grace and about kindness and compassion than He does about homosexuality.

I don’t have answers, Heather, and I’m just sitting here and thinking along with you, and thinking that I am glad to know you, even just in cyberspace, because you are brave and full of compassion and you know how to speak the words that need to be spoken.
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Heather November 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Erin,

I have so much respect for you, and I can feel the gentle way you shared these words. thank you for that. Thinking along with me is all that I want. I guess for me it comes down to wanting the water to be less muddied by our fear and discomfort. So that we can stop putting laws around how we want things kept. If that makes sense. It’s okay to believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, of course. I mean, I have gay friends that say they aren’t looking for the same thing–they aren’t looking for their relationship to be perceived the same way as a Christian sees marriage of the Bible. But many are looking to simply receive the same civil liberties that the certificate brings. (This isn’t what every gay couple wants…I’m just sharing my experience).

You and I will always be learning together. That’s good. We should be so challenged as to be open to that. I don’t have to tell you to change your mind. I don’t want to tell you that. I respect what you have to say and what you believe. That’s what happens when we know more about someone than just that one thing.

Peace, my friend.
H

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Rosalie November 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Thanks for saying this, Heather. For saying that we are doing it wrong, and missing the point, and for sharing Vikki’s quote about Christianity being an ominous voice (I had missed it the first time). Heartbreaking. And thanks for saying that it’s ok to believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman too. Where I come from, it’s not ok to believe that. It’s terrible and it marginalizes me and no matter what I do or don’t do, that’s the belief that goes before me because it’s different. Your caveat is right though: it is ok, of course, so long as we are thinking and loving along with you, so long as we are open to what God has to say and not bashing or clashing or banging our cymbals without love. I have loved this conversation and I am so sorry for the internet-hurts that it brought.

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rebecca @ altared spaces November 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Erin,
It’s so healing for me to read your words. Thank you deeply for writing.
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Ronda November 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thank you. Whenever I think of this unforgivable “sin”, as some who also were saved by the Cross are so afraid of, and that’s what it is, when it’s all boiled down to the guts of the issue. Fear. If I can look at someone else’s “sin” than I don’t have to spend as much time looking at my own.

You have given me great pause to chew on your words, “Because a constant focus on sin sin sin is an Idol like any other.” So true! So true! So true!

The challenge will be for the community that is such a threat to the religious community to love them out of their “sin.” ;)

Will you forgive us too? More and more, the longer I live in this upside down world I hear sweet Jesus, asking God, Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing. Please give them, me, us the benefit of the doubt and the patience we need to see this as God sees it all.

Show us what you have come to know about Jesus and the freedom He brings. I’m not evil or holier than thou. I’m just ignorant.

http://ronda-rondasinbetweenlivingtoday.blogspot.com/2012/05/being-on-the-side-of-hole-filler.html
Ronda recently posted..The Journey of Leaving Comfortable

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Heather November 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm

“Show us what you have come to know about Jesus and the freedom He brings. I’m not evil or holier than thou. I’m just ignorant.”

I can’t tell you how important I think it is that you’ve said this. Why can’t more people say this? Too much pride, I guess. I realize it’s true of a lot of people and it’s definitely true of me, in a thousand ways. That’s why I always want to learn more and more, especially about what it is I claim to believe. What a humbling and honest thing to say. I just really appreciate it.

Thank you. I do try to forgive, every day. It heals me to do so. I go to bed in peace to do so. Since I’m a sober woman in recovery, this is really really important to me. I have no room for resentment. Sometimes I have to passionately plea and speak my truth, but at the end of the day, I can forgive even the most ignorant rant on facebook or anywhere. I don’t want to allow it or condone it, though, because I realize how dangerous ignorance can be in a whole lot of situations. It’s hurtful accidentally so much of the time and then who can own it? That’s hard.

Thank you again. Just…thank you.

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rebecca @ altared spaces November 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm

When I went to church, years ago, I was elbowed out, ever so gently, because my friends were gay. (I was a theatre major after all.) My homeless friends were a little too aromatic for coffee hour. It was a Protestant church and my boyfriend was Catholic.

Finally, during the sermon when my minister said, “We need to go save the heathen Catholics,” and I saw the grimace on my boyfriend’s face, I began to feel more on the outside of the inside circle.

I don’t think Jesus draws circles in the sand.

I’ve heard about Hell all my life, but I’ve sat next to several people as they took their dying breaths. I could feel that veil lifting. I sense it in my heart. When I ask my heart and soul what God says about the person next to me and about myself and the Big Pool of Inclusion…

All I can hear is a giant invitation, “Everybody In!”

That includes my gay friends, my Catholic boyfriend, the minister who wants to save heathens and those who link to FB posts ranting. People are frightened. Hurt people hurt people. That’s why God is so welcoming. God knows we’re all just in need of rest.

Big Love to you, Heather.
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NatalieJanette November 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Ok, I’m going to try not to leave a book here.

I read this post today and was brought to tears (sobs, actually) because YES. I just believe so strongly in LOVE and that the Jesus who LOVES me, LOVES us all. And so I left you a twitter mention because I hate commenting from my phone.

This post compelled me to open my computer so that I could leave a message – something I *never* do.

Then McKinley and I went to dinner tonight at our favorite little casual place, where we’ve made great friends with a manager there. In getting to know her, I found out that she is gay, and that she has a wife. I can say sure as I sit here that I didn’t change my feelings or opinion about her in any way upon finding this out. She’s a person. A friend.

I met her wife tonight. She was there to eat dinner and wait for our new friend to get off work. They ended up visiting with McKinley and I while we ate, played with McKinley, and we had great conversation. An hour and 45 minutes later, we left, with promises to hang out again. We had such a fun time, with lots of laughter and joy, and I left feeling very “filled”.

It just isn’t a coincidence that I read your post today and my heart was already so tender to the LOVE that Jesus has for us all.

Sorry to ramble. As I said on twitter, I just – yes. Just yes. To it all.

Jesus, be the fire in my soul.

xo,
nataliejanette

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Keryn November 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

I really love this.

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Elizabeth November 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Holy shit, Heather — I *feel* (physically) your passion and I am so freaking proud of you for this. This is fan-freakin-tastic and thank God for courage and determination or maybe just enough exhaustion that leads to laying it all out, cards on the table.

Amen, sister. I mean that with utmost sincerity.
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Ann November 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I want to hear your letter read at the podium in Chicago next summer. And echoed EVERYWHERE.
Ann recently posted..The Grade School Columnist’s Rendering of Good vs. Evil

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Jeff November 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Had the pleasure of meeting Heather today in a local store – The Happy Sol. The dialog here is refreshing and uplifting. So different from the muck (media) that so permeates our culture. I’m a recovering right-wing Christian, now just trying to do the best I can to live the life that Jesus would live if he were in my 21st century shoes. I too should apologize for the narrow minded bigotry that has fueled the divide between those whose piety makes the Church seem more like a fortress to those who find themselves on the outside looking in. I think The Word of God let’s us know that sin is worse than we thought, and grace is more significant than we know. I want the Church to be a place of healing and hope for all of us as we make our way through the tragedies and triumphs of life. Thanks for letting me join your conversations. Thanks for sharing your hearts.

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Kathi November 19, 2012 at 2:17 am

Hi Heather. Thank you for your words and for the bravery you exhibited in choosing to love. It has been something that has been on my heart heavily and I needed to read this.
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Gianna November 19, 2012 at 10:13 am

Our pastor preached yesterday about having the gospel as your daily companion….to never forget the core truths. If you are preaching the gospel to yourself everyday, the core truths are strengthened, and you won’t stray.

And when you know the gospel in your heart, you are safe to love. I feel like these people who are banging their heads on the brick walls (I don’t think we are pushing it, I think we are trying to move it by banging our heads on it–do you see the different mental picture?) are trying to preach the gospel to others without living it themselves. They don’t have the gospel securely in their own lives. They want it around them but not in them. If it is in them, they are free to love as Jesus loves.
Who did Jesus admonish? The people who should know better, not the people who need love.

So people, (myself included) remind yourselves what the truth is. Know the truth. Be secure in the truth of God’s word. And in that security, love, Love, LOVE!
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