say what you need to say

December 19, 2013

People are changing their profile pictures to either support or oppose Phil from Duck Dynasty. Let’s maybe pause a moment to think that over….

You know I love the Internet….but wow, I hate the Internet.

Anyway. I think we can agree: Freedom of speech is da bomb diggity. (What? So I use phrases from the nineties. That’s how I roll, yo.)

Today I’ve been thinking, what with all of this Dynasty of Ducks kerfluffle, that maybe what matters most is where these freely spoken thoughts and feelings come from. What’s the point in speaking them? The intention? The core? The things buried deep down in Self that are outing themselves? Do we stop to ask that? Really honestly? About ourselves? Openly…really?

This is what confuses me. I so rarely see Love in the voicing of the views. If it is missing, this Love, then how are we standing up for it? And if it is missing, what is in its place if not self-righteousness?

I want to read a new-ish book called Benefit of the Doubt, Breaking the Idol of Certainty. Maybe I can learn more about why certainty that seems to lack Love bothers me so much. Maybe I can articulate it better after I read that.

I mean, if we are going to have a controversy over a reality TV star and his comments and suspension from his overly-produced and overly-marketed job, and then we’re going to move into the homosexual debate again, then can we be sure we’re thinking? No, I mean really thinking, before talking. I have seen SO MUCH not-thinking and more spewing on Facebook and Twitter today than I have in a long time. And I cringe because I’m a Christian and most of the really awful stuff I see is being posted by Christians proclaiming a “Christian view” on this.

I know so many of you want it to be as simple as some seemingly straightforward bible verses, but it is clearly not that simple. Not just because if it were that simple I would be sitting here with a head covering on and I would be begging for forgiveness because of what we had for dinner last night, but because of the enormity of that Love. Yes that Love is simple in its authenticity, but it is terribly complicated because of its mystery and all the things we’ve accidentally learned that may have mucked it up.

If I had no gay friends and had not spent time digging deep on this issue, I surely hope I would be quiet. And if I felt so certain, I would hope that I could talk about my views with grace. But I do have gay friends and I have done a lot of hard work in learning about what this all means spiritually and yet I don’t join in the debates on facebook or in the comment section on blog posts. And I don’t write this today because I want to argue. I write it with hope that it speaks of a bigger picture, one that stands up for my gay friends who need not more trampling.

We are not quiet.

Instead we are back and forth and we stand opposed. And while we go, we are walking all over fellow humans. Like it’s our job. We think we are talking about “lifestyle” and “hate the sin, not the sinner”, or “homosexuals” and “a community”. But no, we’re not. This is not a package or label, and we are not innocent of hurting those we “discuss”. We are talking about that person and that person and her and him, like. a. job. And while we do it, we belittle and use language that defines someone as Sinner and their Lives as Sin. What if that were you? (Please don’t say you’d be glad to be corrected so that you don’t go to hell or so that you could get right with Jesus. A person can have faith without certainty of All The Things, I assure you. If we were all so sure we would not need to know Him more, and also, we would have too much pride ammo.)

This kind of self-assigned role that voices what it thinks is right and wrong by biblical law seems to have a lot in common with the Pharisees. And then there’s Jesus, who was given a role, assigned to Him by Love and it was all terribly mysterious and too big for us to grasp.

So now I have to ask myself, who is giving me this job, to say all of this right up there and down there? Where is this coming from? What is the goal here? What is at the core of me that is coming up and out, if I am to join in? I need to check myself. Take a breath. Think it through.

WHY. No really. Dare I say (honestly humbly) that today it feels like the answer is Yes and I’m almost certain it’s an Assignment? Because I’ve been having this “talk with God” (which I realize makes me sound crazy, but whatever) and these little things keep happening and these sentences keep coming to mind while I’m just typing along and I’ve never had popular opinions among most Christians anyway, so it’s fine.

So yes, I said it. Freedom of speech and all that. You can say you don’t agree. That’s fine. But can I just ask one favor, of us all? Both sides and sitting there with screens and all kinds of devices that make reacting too easy? Just one small thing?

When utilizing social media, ask yourself,

DoIREALLY

 

We’re here, in the land of free speech and reality TV and social media and the home of the brave with hashtags. So we walk back and forth, clickety-click, on whoever we feel like walking on at the moment and then it blows over, leaving its mark on only those we think it is our right to point to as the sign of a fallen world–under our dirty little feet and belittling (intentional or not) comments, under our thumbs and our scrutiny and verses, while we sit firm and certain and just fine.

:::::

Kristen Howerton responded more specifically about Phil’s remarks and suspension in her post today.

And here’s an informative and interesting link to The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

lesa December 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Thank you! Thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking.
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Vikki December 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm

When I saw the headlines about this, I chose not to read the articles but I gave in today and read and wasn’t surprised at all. What does that say about our society? What does it say about me?

I’ve heard it all. Having my relationship mentioned in the same sentence with bestiality is nothing new. It doesn’t hurt me and I can’t even manage to work myself up into a frenzied outrage over it because I know a few things…

I know who I am.
I know that my relationship with my partner is strong.
I know that our kids are loved.
And I know that the bigots have already lost this fight.

The world is changing and I can see the arc of the moral universe bending towards justice just as Martin Luther King Jr. said. And, the sad news for some is that, if you squint and the light shines just right, that arc looks an awful lot like a rainbow.
Vikki recently posted..Roasted Chestnuts in Portugal

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Momo December 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Not that my fight is IN ANY WAY (not even a smidgen of a tiny molecule) a comparison to the fight of the LGBTQ community, but when someone says something without thinking it puts MY Christian values on the line. And, MY Christian values are not your Christian values. Or yours, or yours. They are mine. See, I love Vikki and I love Jesus and I know that Jesus loves Vikki. So, yes to all the people who should keep their mouths shut, PLEASE KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT, because when you don’t it hurts LGBTQs and it hurts Christianity. MY Christianity. Vikki shouldn’t have to defend her decisions and you shouldn’t make it so I have to defend mine.

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Vikki December 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I am fond of you ;)
Vikki recently posted..Roasted Chestnuts in Portugal

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Alysa (InspiredRD) December 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm

YES! All of this fighting just makes me cringe. There is not one person who isn’t getting trampled in the middle of this “I MUST STATE ALL OF MY OPINIONS FOR EVERYONE TO HEAR AND AGREE WITH” social media way.
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anna whiston-donaldson December 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I read Kristen’s post earlier, and now yours, and found them both very helpful and thoughtful. With Love.
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Gonne December 20, 2013 at 1:39 am

Maybe it’s those who are quietly cautious who actually need to speak. Who speak their language. Those from within an echo’s reach of whom I would call Pharisees.

My relationship with Jesus makes me giddy. He floods me with love I cannot describe, nor even try to hold in and hide. It’s impossible; His love is just beyond anything in this world. BUT there was a time when I was holding back from letting Him in. It was because I had heard too many of “those Christians” condemn others.

I didn’t want their Jesus. I was terrified of being associated with them. God spoke (it’s freaky, I know) and said “sin is when you do not love me with your whole heart, mind, soul, spirit…and when you don’t love your neighbor as yourself.” At that (completely incredible, beautiful, piercing, bizarre, out of this world) moment my love fest began with a real God because I let go of putting God in their (or any) box.

I absolutely SHUDDER to imagine that those who profess to love Him have actually turned droves of people like me away. It sickens me to my core. Why? Because THIS love is not to be missed, and they are twisting and hiding it. The Pharisees of our day have hijacked this conversation and it’s time to fight back.

I am completely and utterly BLESSED by the glbtq people and families I know. I thank God for them. This struggle is for ALL those who realize that it is pure blasphemy to hide love. It is the opposite of love; it is evil that wants to squelch it, degrade it, hide it, destroy it, demean it, control it, fear it, kill it…and then I think, wwjd? Have supper (i.e. a relationship) with those who point fingers and feel haughty that they are keeping the law? Back then they were called the Pharisees…he actually condemned them for putting law before love.

The surprise is that there are many of us out here. Many who are smitten with Him and for whom the Word is alive and are grateful that laws are being changed so our glbtq friends (and thereby all of us) can love the way God made us.

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Angela Moore December 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Great post and definitely a thought-provoking concept of stopping and asking yourself do I really need to say this.

Also, for anyone curious, the Freedom of Speech is defined as the right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction. GOVERNMENT. Not A&E. Not corporations. Not the blogging community. Government.

Keep writing Heather! You’re doing the world some serious good :)
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Amanda December 21, 2013 at 9:14 am

The tides of hate that engulf our streams day after day, whether it’s an actress’s weight, a politicians antics, a tv personality’s rants, or legislation, end up saying so much more about the skewed right vs wrong mentality. So often it feels like wrong clashing hard against more wrong.

I love people, I love discourse, but man I hate the blame game.
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