Gay Marriage & The Bible

Note: This is 100% my opinion. Not fact. Just opinion. 

I wasn’t going to write this post. But then I realized: that’s exactly why I have to write this post.

Last week the Christian world got so jealous of this ridiculous election scandal that they had to have their own dumpster fire saga. Enter the Jen Hatmaker interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service. I strongly, strongly encourage you to read the entire interview, but here’s the bombshell:

You mention faithfulness and God. Do you think an LGBT relationship can be holy?

JH: I do. And my views here are tender. This is a very nuanced conversation, and it’s hard to nail down in one sitting. I’ve seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church. Every believer that witnesses that much overwhelming sorrow should be tender enough to do some hard work here.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-9-30-04-am

You guys, I almost cried when I read that. I can’t believe I even clicked on a link from “Religious News Service,” because, eye roll. But I was jaw-dropped, praise-hands, teary-eyed reading Jen’s honest words.

She knew the backlash that would happen, but she couldn’t stay silent.

She goes on to say that she and her family did not arrive at this opinion flippantly. They studied the scriptures, prayed, and sought wise counsel.

And yet, BACKLASH from the Christian community.

Let me say this: I am so hurt by the horrendous words said towards Jen and Brandon Hatmaker. I’m angered by Family Christian bookstores pulling the Hatmaker books. I’m sickened by people using God to shame and judge others.

And for that, I now refuse to call myself a Christian. | Jesus? YES ALL DAY LONG. | “Christian”? Heck no pass the peas please.

I’m so grossed out by the way Christians have behaved themselves in the last year. Not because they’ve behaved poorly, because we all have, but because they’ve done so in the name of God.

And, to my Christian friends who are already getting miffed by this post, you should just stop reading. Because this post isn’t for you.

It’s for the people who aren’t sure about Jesus.
It’s for the people who have been hurt by the Church.
It’s for the people who have, firsthand, experienced the hatred, bigotry, and condemnation that comes from our current Christian culture.
It’s for the atheists who say “There’s literally no way I could believe what you believe, because your actions are so insanely hypocritical and different than your Savior’s.”
It’s for my LGBTQ friends who are hurting and confused because they’re finally starting to feel accepted and then they meet a Christian who claims that we “love” them but “hate” their sin.

You know what? I’M OVER IT. My internet-soul-sister KT who is a lesbian says this: We are not offended by your theological stance, we are brokenhearted by the rejection of our person. And one can write emphatically about love, but LGBTQ people cannot feel love and the condemnation of their person, simultaneously.

I’m sticking with Jesus (#4lyfe), but ain’t no way I’m sticking with Christians if this is how y’all act.

Yesterday, one of Jen Hatmaker’s BFFs and another Christian leader that I love, Jamie Ivey, released a statement along with her husband. I was shocked at her words. She prefaced about how much she loved Jen and Brandon, but then went on to say, “God’s Word is clear and consistent when it addresses the practice of homosexuality, and it’s also clear and consistent on God’s intent and desire for marriage between a man and a woman, to represent Jesus and His Bride, the Church. To disagree with that requires such a degree of bending and distorting the original languages and contexts of the Old and New Testament.” (emphasis mine)

Basically, she is saying that Jen and Brandon have bent and distorted the scriptures.

AND THAT MAKES ME MAD.

Because, and here’s where I get so many Christians to get their panties in a bunch, I do not believe the Bible can be literally interpreted. (Go ahead, prepare the stakes and fire. I’ll wait.)

And that is my opinion.

And that was Jen and Brandon’s opinion.

And Jamie and Aaron are sharing their opinion (even though they believe they’re presenting fact, and that Jen and Brandon are not presenting fact and they’re just wrong but Jamie and Aaron are right.)

Looking back on Jamie’s statement about how the bible is so clear about homosexuality: IT IS NOT. It is not clear. It’s ambiguous at best. Christians who want to argue differently are grasping at straws, ignoring historical context, and misinterpreting language translations. (Again, freaking calm down, this is my opinion.)

Here’s something I want to be really clear about to those of you who are reading and are unsure about this whole Jesus thing: There are two (actually, probably a million) different camps when it comes to biblical literalism. One camp believes that the bible should be interpreted literally, word for word, and will always be exactly, specifically true. In fact, this is the camp most Christians fall into.

But then there’s the (smaller, less popular) camp that I’m in: those who believe that the bible is a beautiful book of legacy, history, poetry, storytelling–written over 2,000 years ago by eye-witness testimonies. AKA: men. This camp is much more liberal when it comes to interpreting scripture, mainly because we realize the following issues:

  • Historical context
  • Multiple translations over multiple languages
  • Cultural context
  • The unreliable nature of eye-witness accounts (y’all, my own diary isn’t 100% accurate ok?)
  • Many other things

I believe the main themes of the bible: a just and loving God, an omnipotent God, a Savior who was crucified and raised from the dead, and the promise of eternal life for believing in God. I believe that the men who wrote the scriputres were truly inspired by God, but that God did not come and inhabit their bodies, put them into a trance, and write the Bible himself. I just don’t believe that–but you totally can.

Past those general themes, things get a little sticky for me.

Many Christians want to jump in here and tell me I’m a heathen, that I’m literally costing people their eternal lives by not convincing them the bible is 100% accurate and true.

But alas, I disagree. I think that, put to the test, we’d each come up with different interpretations of the bible–even members of the same church. It’s the same as if we both read Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities–we’d get different things out of it.

Why?

Because we’ve all had different experiences; all valuable, all important, all influential on how we perceive things.

And I truly believe that the same is true for scripture. Our experiences color how we interpret things.

It’s easy for Jamie to come out against Jen’s stance on homosexuality, because Jamie isn’t gay (and neither are her children–yet).

It’s easy for a Christian to cast stones at a person who had premarital sex because they waited for marriage. (Forget that the person who had premarital sex was sexually abused as a child, distorting their view of healthy sexuality, but ya know, the bible doesn’t cover that part.)

It’s especially easy for a Christian to dismiss the bible’s claims that divorce is a sin, because, well, they got a divorce.

It’s especially easy for a Christian to dismiss the bible’s claims about lust and adultery being a sin, because, well, they’re lustful and adulterous (even if just in their mind & with their eyes #saysPaul).

We all play fast and loose with scripture, it’s just that some of us admit it.

To wrap this up, and to address the looming issue of gay marriage’s “holiness”:

I don’t pretend to know whether or not gay marriage is holy. No one should. But here’s what I do know: My marriage isn’t holy. Your marriage probably isn’t holy either (actually, let me help you: it’s not.). If I went up to God and was like “OMG look at how holy my marriage is!” God would literally LOL and slap me upside the head with the Book of Life. Because it’s not.

So what does it matter if gay marriage is holy if NONE OF OUR MARRIAGES ARE HOLY? Nothing. It doesn’t matter. Isolating and ostracizing the LGBTQ community is done only so that we can get the spotlight off of our own lives and onto others’. “Ohhhh but they’re going to go to hell! Stop sending them to hell!” Well, Karen, if they’re going to hell because what they’re doing isn’t “holy”–THEN SO ARE YOU.

Bless.

xo, A.

 

 

Power in Weakness?

fullsizerender

Matt and I have been going through a roooouuugghhhhh season (thankfully, not with each other!). It’s times like this that what I said still reigns true: Marriage isn’t hard, LIFE is hard. And I’m so glad that I get to have a hard life with a sweet husband.

With that being said, I’ve been insanely mad at God over the last few months. I feel like he has let me down. And that he isn’t helping me. And I feel really distant from him.

We’re taught to turn to Scripture for everything, and I usually turn to a verse like 2 Corinthians 12:9 in times like this:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

That’s cute. Real cute. And it’s a verse that is hard to actually understand. We kind of take verses like these at face value, saying/reading them to appease our need for a reason, a why for something bad happening.

But sometimes, glossing over verses like this is just taking the easy road, and it doesn’t actually help us. It’s like me being in a tough situation and someone saying, “But Amanda, the sky is blue. So blue.”

And I’m all, “Yes, sister. PREACH. The sky is blue. I’m so comforted that the sky is blue.”

Eye roll.

So let’s dig in here, and start by figuring out what this verse is not saying.

It’s not saying that God needs us to be weak for him to be strong. Because guess what? He’s already strong. He’s the definition of strong. He has ALL the power. He doesn’t even need us to be weak for his power and strength to be perfect. Because he’s already perfect! This isn’t yin and yang, where we’re playing some fun balancing act where when our weak meter goes up, God’s goes down and he gets more powerful.

This is important. Because some people interpret this verse to mean that we have to suffer for God to be made perfect, and that’s just not true. I know it helps to think about us having a reason for our suffering, like somehow we’re helping God here by suffering and being weak. But nope. That’s not it.  He loves us, but he doesn’t need us to be perfect. He doesn’t need us to be strong. And, he doesn’t need us to be weak, either. We WILL suffer–that is guaranteed–but it isn’t for God to gain power or to somehow perfect his power.

So what is this verse saying, then?

We know that God has perfect strength and power. Already. Without us. And here’s where it gets beautiful: God’s power is in us, and when we become weak, WE experience the perfectness of that power. It’s already perfect! But when life is good and we’re stubborn and don’t need God, his power isn’t living up to its potential in us. It’s just kind of waiting for its chance to shine. So when we hurt and we are weak, the perfect power of God radiates in us, whereas we don’t normally let it.

 

So, let’s kind of re-write this verse (I know, I’m a heretic, get over it): My power, which is totally perfect and complete, lives in you already. If you’ll just lean into this pain you’re feeling, you can experience my power, too. It’s there already, and it’s already perfect. You have a hard time seeing that when life is hunky-dory, so now that we’re in the trenches together, let’s explore. You’re hurting? I have stuff for that. You’re weak and can’t keep going? GREAT! I have perfect power, so I can help there. In fact, it’s your weakness that’s making my perfect power shine in your heart! Lean into it! Don’t you feel better already?!

God’s perfect power is like a backup battery for your heart. If you have a backup batter, but you’re also plugged into the wall, you think there’s no use for a silly battery. You’re all, “But I’ve got the electricity! I don’t need a battery!” Until the power goes out. And then you REALLY need a backup battery. And that’s how this verse works. You don’t need the battery (which works perfectly, even when not in use) until you literally. shut. down.

So here’s to having a lifelong, everlasting backup battery. Lord knows we need it.

xo, A.

Shut Your Freaking Pie Hole

bf370ad429883a3c8d7a4109d15fe700

One day I was in Walmart with my nephew Donavan. He was maybe 2 1/2, 3 years old at the time and had to go potty. So I whisked him away to the Ladies’ Room. In this magical place there was a young woman, on the phone, talking relatively loudly. I scooted Donavan inside, trying to get him into a stall, but he had other plans. Continue reading

Battling Emotional Exhaustion

Image

{Note from the Editor: This article deals with mild emotional exhaustion and tips on how to handle it. If you or someone you love finds themselves dealing with more extreme bouts of exhaustion or depression, please seek the help of a medical professional!}

With the holidays upon us it is inevitable that we will all encounter some form of emotional exhaustion. Whether it’s from the overwhelming task of creating and serving Thanksgiving dinner, hosting your family, deciding whose family to spend the holidays with this year, or battling even more extreme things like a recent loss, there are steps we can all take to relax and truly learn to enjoy the beauty of these stressors. Continue reading

Let’s Hope.

Concordance
This weekend was a rough one. My dad had emergency open heart surgery, and as someone who has a track record of multiple death scares (dad, not me), the stress level was even higher (see: nine lives?). But in the midst of the stress and the fear and the smell of hospitals (what is that smell anyway? Nevermind, don’t answer that), we came down from the terror of the experience to being eternally grateful that now our biggest worries were just when he would be discharged and if he could take a shower. Continue reading