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In the wee hours of the morning, I had an incredible dream. I feel like it so deeply depicts my heart in this current political and religious climate, especially this week after the release of Nashville Statement, and I have decided to share it with you.
I drove to the parking lot of our local Starbucks. As I pulled up, people were gathered in two separate circles to stand on their side of the Nashville Statement.
In one circle, there were nuns in full habit. I saw people I knew from the internet, along with my Christian sibling. They were singing hymns and praying. Whoever was praying stepped into the middle of the circle.
On the other side of the parking lot another group gathered. There were rainbow flags and “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts.
I made my way to the circle with the nuns and eased into the circle next to my little brother, a statement in and of itself.
I cringed my way through a hymn I didn’t like (although I can’t remember upon waking exactly what hymn it was).
When I saw an opening, I stepped boldly into the middle, and started with these words:
“God, I got to be honest…”
I pointed to “the other” group, and said, “A lot of those people are good people.”
After a pause, I continued.
“Yes, they do some things that are not right. Just like I do some things in my life – and in my home – that are not right.”
An older white man from “my” circle started muttering under his breath and shaking his head in argument. I held up a hand, with a parent-like attitude and firmly said, “I’m PRAYING!” to still his arguments.
It was at this point, I awoke to my 6-year-old bounding into the bedroom excited about the day.
I honestly don’t know how I was going to finish the prayer in my dream.
But I do know a few things I was going to say:
I was going to pray for my lesbian neighbors and their two little boys, by name. I was going to say something like, “It’s easy to say that we know what we believe and why we believe it when we don’t have any LGBT people in our life. It’s a lot harder when, every morning, I see them bravely walk to the bus stop – a loving, committed, modern, American family – and put those little boys on the bus with a hug and a kiss.”
I was going to pray for those of us who have grown up in evangelical or fundamentalist circles who have been hurt in the name of God and the Bible. I was going to pray for the many of them that, as they have struggled through messy faith, have come to openly affirm the LGBT community. I was going to pray for those who still are trying to figure out where they stand on an issue that is becoming so prevalent and unavoidable in our society. I was going to pray for comfort, for wisdom, for discernment, and for healing.
I was going to pray for those who stand with the Nashville Statement, that in their stand for truth they would also know how to show love and grace to all people.
I was going to pray for families divided over the Nashville Statement. Churches divided. A greater “evangelical” community divided. A nation divided.
I don’t have a lot of answers here.
I can’t answer the hard questions – like if “Sodomy” is so bad, why does God seem to wink at other forms of sexual immorality in the Bible like polygamy?
I don’t know what to say to the people who have committed themselves to celibacy, engaged in self-harm, and spent years begging God to take away their same-sex desires.
I try to wrap my brain around what it would feel like to feel like you are trapped in the body of another gender. I watch documentaries on the subject and browse Twitter feeds in hopes of trying to understand better. If I’m honest, this is still somewhat unfathomable to me.
I also don’t know how to completely disregard biology and the creation story, when God so beautifully brings together a man and a woman, different and so in need of each other, with different biology…different purposes…different design…and different roles…in the first sexual and relational union.
I look at my body in the mirror and see stretch marks over a floppy belly that homed my two children, breasts that fed those two little boys of my own, beautiful long brown hair, and tired eyes. I am wondrously (exhaustedly) feminine. And while sometimes I feel like God didn’t know what he was doing when he gave me boys when I am so incredibly introverted and don’t like people touching me and just need some peace and quiet, I embrace who I am. I sit on my bed after changing pee-soaked sheets and God whispers the verse to me, “…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
I fell into bed last night, recommitting to my God-given role of designed-to-mother.
I pushed aside my fears and worries about how to raise children in this confusing generation and instead focused on these words:
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
I do my best to raise my boys to grow up to be men who love and respect others. I buy them coloring books with trucks and cars, passing over the Barbie and My Little Pony ones. I buy my son a John Deere dump truck for his second birthday. I cut their hair military style every six weeks. The only one who wears pink in our house is me, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
But when they run up to the two little boys that live across the street, I smile at their two moms and engage in pleasant conversation. I don’t know what to say or how to act. I try to treat them like they are any other two-parent family, and I hope that it’s not painfully obvious how uncertain I am of my behavior.
I am so conflicted. A messy mixture of grief, uncertainty, and – surprisingly – admiration washes over me. I try to see them how God sees them. I’m pretty sure I fail.
Tears roll down my eyes as I tell my husband, “They are so brave. They must face so much ugliness and hardship everywhere they go.”
I can’t hide in my house behind my Bible anymore. And no, I don’t feel like I deserve some kind of medal for this. This is just being a Christian – a good person.
Love walks across the street.Love walks across the street. #nashvillestatement Click To Tweet
As the internet simmers with angst surrounding the Nashville Statement, may we commit to asking ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?”
Jesus stood for truth.
Jesus also said of the woman taken in adultery, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” and “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:7, 11)
How he was able to combine grace, truth, and love with such finesse, I don’t really know. It honestly seems impossible in our current political and religious climate. People on both sides of the Nashville Statement claim to speak for Jesus, God, and Christianity. They can’t all be right.
May we be honest with ourselves when we don’t have all the answers. May we reach out in love. May we not get our theology from Twitter feeds and angry blog posts. Let’s shut down our computers and pull out our Bibles to form Biblical conclusions on sexuality and gender.
May we search our hearts for the sin in our own lives before judging the sins of others.
May we pray for each other.
May we walk across the street.