Pride Comes Before The Fall: We All Come Off Our High Horse Eventually

Pride Comes Before The Fall: We All Come Off Our High Horse Eventually

Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

I had a great fall one time. I’ve had several in my life, but one comes to mind as the greatest one I’ve experienced. Eventually it happens to us all, as there is nothing that can stop it. The moment when your ego is crushed and your spirit is full of conviction. Those times when all you can do is apologize profusely to whatever higher power you believe in, and also beg for redemption from the people you’ve hurt with your prideful/haughty actions.

When the spirit of conviction blesses you with its heavy hand, it hurts at first, but what it can teach you is humility and acceptance of forgiveness. Conviction isn’t meant to press you down in guilt and shame. It’s meant to open your eyes wide to your own imperfections, your own sins. It’s meant to bring awareness to you of your humanity and the loving, forgiving, guiding hand of the Universe, who’s purpose is to bring us closer to unconditional love for ourselves and others.

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My fall happened shortly after deconstructing from fundamental Christianity. I was tortured with a memory of writing a haughty shame letter to my best friend after she had an abortion during our senior year of college. My words to her haunted me, and choked me like a breath of freezing air in January.  I wasn’t even assertive enough to speak to her face-to-face with my judgements, but rather, I wrote her a self-righteous “Christian” letter full of passive aggressive love and cruelty.

At the time of my letter I was at the height of my fundamentalism/evangelicalism. I was attending church weekly with my boyfriend, whom I was living with (ah-the hypocrisy). I truly felt at the time I was following Christ, and it was my biblical duty to show her the error of her ways. I was taught that abortions were the most sinful of sins. The pro-life, pro-birth rather, doctrine was ingrained in me since birth. People who had abortions were the worst of the worst.

And then I was put into a position where I would’ve had one. 

Thankfully, she forgave me after I humbled myself before her. She’s my best friend to this day, and someone that I’ll be hopefully sharing a nursing home with, living out the end playing cards and laughing hysterically.

No human is immune to being put into a circumstance where you have a tough choice to make. No human is immune to the Universe putting you into the shoes of a person you don’t understand. I’ve experienced it so many times now, that I know at some point, it will happen to the person residing on the highest horse. It’s a universal truth that spans across most world religions. The fall does come, and when you’re on the ground, you now can look around at everyone you’ve joined as your equal brother and sister, and no longer do you look up to the moral righteousness of the those looking down on you.

Their time is coming, and it will be the greatest gift to them, and humanity.

There was always a part of me that understood this, however. It irked me during my years of rebellion when judgements were cast my way. Here I was, receiving judgment from a “Christian”, when I could clearly see their hypocrisy.

For example, it fills me with such anger hearing and watching obese men and women shame and guilt LGBTQ. Now I say this not to shame and guilt people that are obese. However, using their biblical literalism, sin is sin. Gluttony is a “sin”, and they think being LGBTQ is a sin. Somehow in their minds being born with a homosexual pre-disposition is far worse and more evil than being born with a low-metabolism.

It’s ridiculous. Neither one deserves any shame.

What if being obese was against the law? What if people suddenly were working hard in the name of Christ to deny them from enjoying that cheeseburger? What if there were anti-obese protesters waving “Murderer” at McDonalds? Heart disease kills too. What if people were suddenly calling the obese “godless” and “evil”? What if religious folks refused the obese a seat at their dinner table?

What if no one would bake them a birthday cake?

If one can still see a difference between the two, then it is from homophobic ideologies that have been brainwashed into you. There is no difference. All of us struggle with being human. No one has any right to cast any stones, at anyone.

In conclusion, I hope the strictest fundamentalist/evangelical can look inside of themselves and come down off of the high horse that we all have ridden. Perhaps if they do, they can escape the catastrophic fall that is fated to occur. However, if they stay looking down on the rest of us, the day they come down will be a celebration, and may we accept them with open arms and forgiveness.

We cannot thrive until we are all equal. We cannot truly love until the “fall”.

I couldn’t because I didn’t know what it was. Love is understanding the shoes of another.

“Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom that said he was in love
He said, “don’t worry about a thing, baby doll I’m the man you’ve been dreaming of.”
But three months later he say he won’t date her or return her calls
And she swear, “g*d damn, if I find that man I’m cuttin’ off his b*lls”
And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walking through the door
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner and they call her a whore
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose.”

What It’s Like [Explicit]-Everlast

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Another Week, Another School Shooting: Our Prayers Need to Change

Another Week, Another School Shooting: Our Prayers Need to Change

“The problem I am submitting to you arises not about prayer in general but only about that kind of prayer which consists of request or petition…. I have no answer to my problem, though I have taken it to about every Christian I know.”

 C.S. Lewis

Prayer has taken quite a beating in the last few years. As weather catastrophes, human suffering, mass shootings, and global tragedies are in our face daily due to the recent development of the world wide web, prayer seems incredibly useless. I, too, am really tired of Christians offering prayers for the victims of gun violence, yet doing nothing and voting for the opposite of policies aimed at reducing gun violence. I, too, have wondered what the point is.

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This week, another school shooting in Benton, Kentucky, has devastated another community, more families, and more children have been taken from us in yet another horrific, possibly preventable way. It was the 11th school shooting recorded since the New Year, and the 50th of the academic year. In fact, since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings, which is approximately one per week.

Our prayers aren’t working. 

Is God listening?

Does God not care?

If God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, then where is the evidence of that? An all-good, all-powerful God wouldn’t just stand by as his children are being murdered, when He in fact could use His power and stop it.

What is the point of continuing to pray to God to stop the gun violence, when there are children in American schools being murdered once a week and nothing is being done about it?

Questions about prayer have churned and burned in my mind for a very long time, even before I left fundamental/evangelical Christianity. These questions have never stopped me from praying, except for my six month stint as an atheist, yet, over the years the way I pray has changed. Instead of praying TO God/the spirit/the Universe, I have learned to pray WITH.

The archaic, superstitious ideas we have about prayer need a major paradigm shift.

I was asked and blessed to review Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God, written by Mark G. Karris. For anyone interested in deconstructing prayer, I highly recommend this book. It is intelligent, well-written, transformative, and brings forth a fresh perspective on prayer that is desperately needed right now in the world.

What I love most about this book is the authenticity and courage of Mark G. Karris in asking serious questions about prayer and dissecting theological pitfalls. It is never easy to bring forth new ideas and doubts within the Christian religion. Often times, people who do so are ridiculed, deemed heretical, and face very heart-breaking judgments from close friends and family. He discusses his fear in the quote below:

“Deconstructing the sacred practice of petitionary prayer on behalf of others is no easy task. It has been performed for thousands of years across all theistic religions and is a staple in churches across the world. The last thing I desire is to be deemed a heretic and ostracized by the Christian community. Anyone who has ever questioned the status quo regarding any revered Christian doctrine or practice knows the anxiety it provokes. Still, a part of me was not able to shake a nagging fear that petitionary prayers for sick or hurting people from a distance, or for systemic injustice or world catastrophes, could very well be like rubbing a rabbit’s foot for good luck. It might help the person rubbing the rabbit’s foot feel better, but that is all that occurs. At least that was one of my fears as I began this investigative journey.”

I am thankful that he forged ahead with this book. I know first-hand how difficult it is to leave the box, and yet there is a pull we have to follow. Not only does this book dissect prayer for those of us who share the same curiosity, but it’s a fine example of breaking free from the confines of your religion to bring forth a new, useful, and needed perspective. This book will inspire readers to not only shift their beliefs regarding prayer, but also, hopefully inspire others to delve into their own investigative journeys about other doctrines and dogma that meet our needs and the needs of others in this dying, hurting world. He discusses the importance of doubt and questioning with the following quote:

“Doubting and questioning are, in part, what enables positive changes in society and across history, such as the abolishment of slavery, the empowerment of women to vote, the research undertaken to save lives with vaccines, the technology used to create computers and to take us to the moon, the raising of the minimum wage, and the crafting of new genres of music to name but a few instances. Can doubts and questions assist petitionary prayer in becoming more liberating and valuable? I hoped so.”

After reading this book, I feel that I have a better understanding of prayer; spiritually, empirically, theologically, and feel I have learned a better, more valuable way to approach it. This book will definitely live on my bookshelf  as an exemplary reference.

In order not to reveal too many spoilers, I hesitate to dive in as deep as I could with the material. However, I would like to leave you with this very important summation of this shift in perspective I hope will thrive. Mark G. Karris writes about the paradigm shift regarding petitionary prayer using the heart-breaking Syrian refugee crisis in the following quote:

“I wonder what the impact would be if, instead of praying, “God, stop the violence,” “God, heal their land,” or “God, save the poor children,” our first impulse was to pray, “God, we praise you, we thank you, and we know you care more about these people than we do. Show us how we can collaborate with you to stop the violence. Show us impactful and practical ways we can partner with you and heal their land. God, we are devastated along with you; reveal to us your loving will and empower us to bring forth shalom for these hurting children.”

In conclusion, we are co-creators. It is up to us to partner with whatever higher power you believe in to bring healing to this pale blue dot we all share. We cannot continue to pray the way we have been taught. Regarding America’s school shooting epidemic, I implore us to pray with God, like this:

“Show me how I can help reduce gun violence in America. Show us solutions via legislation, that will not add more weaponry, but more peace.  Reveal to us the ways we may be used as pawns for gun sales. Help me work with you to bring about gun violence reduction. Reveal to me the ways in which I have been an accomplice by inaction. Show me how I can act now, how to vote, what to say, and how to share with others my commitment to take seriously the need for gun reform. Give me courage to stand alone in my community if need be. Help me to echo your desire for healing and shalom.”

“We are the Divine Echoes!”

Read more: Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God, written by Mark G. Karris

Blessed Are The “Shithole” Countries, the Kingdom Belongs to Them.

Blessed Are The “Shithole” Countries, the Kingdom Belongs to Them.

Can you imagine Jesus calling Haiti or other countries in Africa “shithole” countries?

Yesterday in the Oval Office, Trump questioned why the U.S. would admit more immigrants from Haiti and Africa, as he rejected a plan by a group of bipartisan senators which would change the entrance rules for these countries. While arguing his opinion, Trump referred to Haiti and countries in Africa as “shithole” countries. People in the meeting have confirmed the “shithole” statement, but of course, Trump is denying it.

While this feels so immature to engage in he said she said, it is vitally important that we denounce this racist, derogatory, speech as an American value. Also, it is important to expose this non-Christian sentiment coming from a professed Jesus follower. Once again, we are seeing the true colors of Trump’s hypocrisy. Also, his “Christian” claim is only an attempt to manipulate the religious right into helping further oppression.

He isn’t fooling me. He isn’t fooling so many of us. However, work must be done to expose this lie, and so I shall persist, as should you.

Haiti was the first country outside of the United States that I remember learning existed. My grandfather used to love to tease us grandkids with stories of eating monkey brains and fire-roasted termites in Haiti. According to him, the monkey brains didn’t taste all that bad and the termites tasted like popcorn. My grandpa was very fond of his missionary experience in Haiti, and I remember him talking about it often.

Like many children from fundamentalist and evangelical churches, I grew up with a global perspective. My grandfather’s church that he pastored was heavily involved in supporting missionaries, some in Haiti, and many in Africa. I was blessed as a little girl growing up learning about other cultures and human suffering; poverty, famine, and disease. The missionaries that our church supported usually came once a year to give a slideshow presentation of their travels.

I remember the pictures. I remember the stories. I did not grow up with a nationalist perspective that seems to have taken over Christianity in America. I grew up learning that Jesus loves all the children of the world. I was raised in a belief system that taught me to care about others living in other countries. The stories and pictures I remember seeing as a child do not leave me, and I am unsure how they seemed to have left so many others.

My grandfather cared about people outside of America, very much. In 1969 he helped establish Technical Assistance Mission (TAM), a non-profit providing support to missionary organizations that provide religious support to hundreds of individuals worldwide. This non-profit still operates and is part of his legacy. He spent 30 years actively supporting global missionaries. Supporting global missionaries is largely a fundamentalist and evangelical tenet, and yet “America First” has plagued the pulpits.

Churches all over America should be outraged and saddened by this recent statement by Donald Trump. They should see the pharisee in him, the lie. They should see the rotten fruit. I am appalled at the church’s continued support and blind eye given. It is a tragedy that he is using Jesus Christ for political gain and manipulation. One only needs to read the Gospels to see that He is lying to Christians. Leaders such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Franklin Graham surprise me on a daily basis with their continued support.

I try and imagine my grandfather being here today supporting Donald Trump. I can’t see it. I have been unable to see it since the primaries. He wouldn’t be silent right now. I can’t be. If I were to be silent I would be dishonoring not only Jesus Christ, but the legacy of my grandfather. The man who taught me about loving the entire world and all people.

Immediately upon reading Trump’s words calling Haiti and countries in Africa “shithole” countries, the Beatitudes came to my mind. I doubt that Donald Trump knows what those are, however, he should know what Jesus thinks of Haiti and Africa.

 

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Blessed are the “shithole” countries, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

Those who have ears, hear.

Snow: What it Can Teach Us About Being Human and Helping Our Tribes

Snow: What it Can Teach Us About Being Human and Helping Our Tribes

It has been snowing for days where I live with no end in sight. The suffocatingly beautiful kind of snow, and I’m gifted with a fresh blanket of purity every morning. Aesthetically, the world outside is breath-takingly gorgeous. Spiritually, the world outside is becoming smaller and the tiny life I live has become more clear. My community is in focus and the noise of the globe is muted in the trappings of the weather. The people before me, the Native Americans, understood that nature has so much to teach us if we allow it to, and the never-ending snowflakes have brought forth the importance of my small little world.

This modern world has been a blessing and a curse. It’s put the world at our fingertips and has allowed us to connect with others unlike us for the first time in human history. I can talk to someone from Australia within seconds. I can learn of other’s cultures and experiences any time of day. This modern world has shaped me into a human being aware of the small little planet we all share, and all the catastrophic problems we face. However, it has also distracted me from the tribe I am apart of, the little town I reside in.

The snow has a way of opening your eyes and putting your tribe in focus. We all share a common struggle right now. Winter. Driving. The cold. Before civilization, humans lived communally in their little tribes. There was no time for judgements or ego because they were simply fighting for survival. I can’t imagine life without electricity, grocery stores, or 4 wheel drive. Amazingly, the human race learned how to survive through hardship, but they did not do it alone. They did it together. The men hunted for food. The women gathered. The tribe worked together and helped raise the babies. They weren’t so selfish as we are today.

If I time traveled 250 years into the past, geographically I would be a Native American in the Ottawa tribe. I wouldn’t know a thing about Christianity, politics, or Kim Kardashian. People in my tribe wouldn’t be fighting about baking wedding cakes or about who deserves food or healthcare. My concerns would be trading copper for corn, and defending my family from the Iroquois. I would have to depend on my community for everything. Food. Shelter. Clothing. Love. Nature would be my teacher, the animals my family,  and the Sun and Rain would be my Gods.

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My physical body is white. However, some of my ancestors were Native American. Their blood lives in me, and I share some of their DNA. I have no right to claim it as the percentage of my Native American ancestry is very miniscule. But I’m honored to have come from such a beautiful culture. I’m humbled by it, and I’m in awe of their beautiful spirituality and connection to nature. They were warriors. Protectors. Helpers. They loved the earth, the animals, and learned ways to survive that benefited everyone. We have so much to learn from them, and it’s so important to keep their culture alive and educate ourselves on the original dwellers of America. I don’t think we’ve done so well with their land.

In conclusion, may we learn the lessons from the elements and from the people before us. May the snow bring you back down to your small life, and help you see that we are all in this together. The drug addict down the street. The alcoholic next door. The elderly that may not have anyone to go get groceries for them. The homeless that do not have a warm bed to get into. The migrant family that doesn’t speak English. The single mom that needs her driveway plowed. The children that need educators and positive role models. Change starts with small little efforts in your small little worlds.

We’ve forgotten the simplicity and hardship of being human. We’ve forgotten our neighbors.

We need to remember.

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned,

only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

Native American Saying

 

An Ex-Evangelical’s Guide to Christmas: What I Told My Kids.

An Ex-Evangelical’s Guide to Christmas: What I Told My Kids.

Christmas 2017 was the fifth consecutive year I have not attended church services during the season. My children have never experienced being in a children’s ministry Christmas program. I do not have any pictures of them dressed up on stage singing Christmas songs with their Sunday school classmates. It’s been a little strange as my childhood Christmas memories are synonymous with church memories.

However, I have been unable to participate in church after deconstructing. When I lost my fundamental religion, Christmas was also something I lost. Christmas also deconstructed in my mind. For the first few years, I was unable to listen to any religious holiday hymns. It was too painful because it reminded me of the grief. These songs all placed me back into a community I no longer belonged in.

Even so, it’s impossible to distance yourself. It’s impossible to not feel the loss of your religion every single year.

I still weep during ‘silent night’. I still feel a strong, beautiful connection to the divine during ‘O Holy Night.’ Thinking about the birth of Jesus has never escaped me. Celebrating Jesus has never left me. However, I’ve been so confused about what to tell my children about Christmas that I have just let it be a festive, happy, time without throwing church into it. I didn’t want to confuse them like I was.

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The first belief that left me regarding Christmas was the accuracy of the nativity scene. My entire life as I can recall was spent with a very specific setting that described the birth of Jesus. I saw the nativity scene everywhere. Church. Home. Stores. Books. Movies. Here is what it included:

Baby Jesus was wrapped in rags, in a manger filled with straw. Mary, Joseph, three wisemen, and various barn animals surrounded him. Sometimes this scene included an angel. I believed this was accurate, until I read the biblical accounts:

Luke’s Account

Matthew’s Account

It was very disorienting. First, the biblical accounts never reveal that there were three wisemen. There could have been two, three, or ten, we do not know. Second, the wisemen did not meet Jesus as a baby. They met him when he was 2 years old, a small child.

It might seem petty to focus on these details, but for me, these deceptions were suspicious. Also, they opened doors to what else am I being deceived about? Did I truly believe Mary was a virgin and then miraculously pregnant? Logic and biology tell me that I can’t believe that. Does it matter? Shall I feel shame for using my reason and intellect? Does it change anything, for me, if Mary was not a virgin? What do I tell my kids about any of this? What does Santa have to do with it whatsoever?

Why so much commercialism? Why so much stress? Why are we breaking the bank to celebrate the incarnate of God? Why are they selling us nativity scenes that are not biblically accurate? Why the lies?

This year, however, I finally brought Jesus into the conversation about Christmas with my kids. I told them we celebrate Christmas for a lot of reasons. Here is what I told them:

  1. Jesus:  We are celebrating the birth of Jesus. A man that showed the world that God/the divine lives in us all. A man that told us to love one another, forgive each other, and be kind to all. A man that loved everyone and spent his time feeding the hungry, and healing the sick. A man that taught us to stick up for the bullied. Jesus is who we look up to as an example of who to be in our lives. His message was new to the world and it gives hope and light to all that is dark. Evil humans killed him because they didn’t want his message to thrive, so we keep love alive at Christmas time and try to remember it everyday throughout the year.
  2. Winter Solstice:  We are celebrating the rising of the sun. Christmas Day marks the day of the year when the days slowly become longer. The sun stays out more and more. Historically speaking, this was call for a massive party. The sun was a god that provided food and when it went down for the winter, famine was upon them. Winter was hard, people starved. Christmas marked the beginning of the end of difficulty.
  3. Love:  We celebrate the people we love. We give gifts, donate toys to needy kids, and give food to those that need it. Santa Claus loves to give presents to all the children because he loves kids. We celebrate our families with food, games, and conversation. We celebrate our friends and love for all of humanity.

They might have grasped some of this. Perhaps all they really care about right now is Santa Claus. However, this is what Christmas means in my home. As they grow older, the conversation will become more historical, more intellectual, however, I’m just an ex-evangelical doing my best.

Perhaps next year we’ll go to an Episcopal church. Maybe midnight mass. Perhaps we’ll celebrate Hanukkah instead, so they are gifted with a different perspective. The most important thing for me is to raise loving, giving, children that see the divine in all humans, especially within themselves.

One thing is for certain, however, there will not be any inaccurate nativity scenes in my home.

America in Trumpland: Top 6 lies in this Rabbit Hole

America in Trumpland: Top 6 lies in this Rabbit Hole

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

The world has gone mad it seems. Everyday it is increasingly becoming more difficult to make sense of this new normal or this new America. It appears that we’ve followed the white rabbit into a hole that has lead us into a land of confusion and exhausting cognitive dissonance. We are being told that what we are seeing and hearing are complete lies. This wonderland of nonsense is honestly similar to a bad acid trip, and yet everyday the flashbacks are compounded. I feel like Alice in Trumpland where everyday I’m supposed to believe impossible things and strange characters are appearing in droves.

All that’s missing is synchronized dancing and singing.

However, unfortunately this isn’t some fantasy world created by a literary genius. We are smack dab into a nightmare twilight zone, and I have to believe that the majority of us want to find our way home. In the words of the great Robert Frost, “the best way out is through.” Therefore, if we actively point out the nonsense, everyday, and as much as we can, I believe we will find our way through the looking glass and defeat this orange jabberwocky.

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Here are my top “Six Impossible Things We are Supposed to Believe Before Breakfast.”

  1. Donald Trump is a Christian.

There is no verifiable evidence in Donald Trump’s words, deeds, or history that even remotely resembles a follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, everything about him is the exact opposite as there is no positive fruit that he brings forth unto the world. There is no love, kindness, humbleness, or gentleness period in his character. Not only were we all well aware of this well before the election, but everyday since with everything he says and does. I would challenge anyone to show me a single ripe fig growing from his tree. Therefore, I reject this falsity with a rigorous, ferocious ABSOLUTELY NOT, and I implore evangelicals and fundamentalists to examine the mountains of evidence clearly exposing that he is using this lie to manipulate the religious right.

2.  Climate change is a hoax. 

The only reason this lie is important to tell is because of the oil industry. This lie is about money and believing it only benefits the rich oil tycoons. America is the only country in the world that is not part of the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact to combat global warming by gradually reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, which result from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. I am thankful that the entire world is onboard because this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed right now. The evidence of global warming is extensive and verifiable using exhaustive data and 97% of the world’s scientists are in agreement. America needs to lead the endeavor toward clean energy or we will leave our status as a world leader in innovation and technology. Also, our children’s futures are undeniably at stake.

3.  There was no collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign to steal the 2016  Election.

This absurdity deserves a post all of it’s own to refute, however, the evidence of collusion is impossible to ignore. Recently Micheal Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI, adding to the haystack in which the needle of the Trump narrative cannot be found. An excerpt from the Washington Post below is a minuscule attempt to uncover this falsity, however within it there are definitely enough reasons to reject this third impossible thing we are supposed to believe.

“We know President Trump during the campaign publicly encouraged the Russians to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s emails. We know he referenced the WikiLeaks email dump 145 times in the closing days of the campaign. We also know that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Russians in June 2016 with the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and we have learned that campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had extensive contacts with Russian officials that included discussion of “dirt” on Clinton. To say that there is no evidence of collusion, then, would be one more big lie in a series of big lies the administration has deployed to defend itself in the Russia investigation that threatens to sink this presidency.”

4.  Donald Trump is not a sexual predator/abuser.

18 women have continuously come forward with their experience being sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. In order for me to reject these women’s testimonies, I would have to forego all common sense, logic, and compassion. I’ve seen and heard evidence of  Donald Trump’s predator character with my own eyes and ears on numerous occasions via the Howard Stern show, the Apprentice, and the Access Hollywood tape. His words below from the Access Hollywood tape, released moments before the 2016 election should’ve been enough for everyone to dismiss him as a person with any moral integrity fit for office.

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5.  Donald Trump is upholding the Constitution of the United States of America.

The presidency of the United States is a sacred honor bestowed to an honorable patriot that will under all circumstances uphold our precious Constitution. Donald Trump fails this promise every single day via never-ending tweets attacking the free press. If mainstream media is not reporting the Trump narrative, he tries to silence them and tries to brainwash the public into believing it’s fake news. If it isn’t Trump’s word, it’s false. If it isn’t Fox News, it is dismissed, even when we have numerous reputable sources corroborating the facts.

Donald Trump isn’t honoring free speech of American citizens. He has spent half of a year attacking the NFL because black football players have used their platform to raise awareness of police brutality and racism. Trump has called for their firing numerous times, simply for kneeling out of reverence for our nation and it’s racial divide that we must change.

The list goes on in the ways that He is not upholding the Constitution. His fake marriage with the religious right makes policies that defend religious liberty, but only if it’s Christian liberty. The Muslim Ban violates the 1st, and arguably the 5th and 14th amendment. It is clear that the Constitution limits his power, and it is also clear He doesn’t care. Read this concise piece from the New York Times that transparently shows the ways in which Trump does not respect the Constitution of the United States.

We are so blessed to live in a nation where we don’t have to worship the flag or the president. We are blessed with having a voice to stand up for the oppressed. It is a right guaranteed to us, and without it dictators rise.

6. Donald Trump is making America Great Again.

If anyone truly can reconcile the current state of America with this Hitleresque catch phrase, then I would have to presume they’ve visited the caterpillar and puffed the Hookah. We are inching closer toward rock bottom every single day. Families and the Church have been torn apart this year, and rightfully so.  Everyday we are calling our senators to resist damaging policies such as Repealing the ACA, the Tax Scam, and the Trans Military Ban. Dreamers are at risk of being deported from the only country they know. We are constantly at risk to waste billions of dollars on a nonsense wall. The Keystone Pipeline recently spilled 210000 gallons of oil, marking the largest oil spill to date, in the beautiful landscape of South Dakota. Recently, The Trump administration reportedly banned the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) from using these words in official documents:

  • Vulnerable
  • Entitlement
  • Diversity
  • Transgender
  • Fetus
  • Evidence-based
  • Science-based

Who exactly is Donald Trump making America Great Again for? He isn’t making it great for me, mine, anyone I love, and any other citizen that isn’t white and rich.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that the Jabberwocky and ilk will keep trying to deceive us. Any news that doesn’t fit their narrative can and will be fought against with Fox News, Brietbart, or Infowars. Now, more than ever, we need to use critical thinking, check resources, and stay skeptical. There is enough evidence for me to reject all of these impossible things I’m supposed to believe before breakfast.

We will find our way home. Do not fear. Stay engaged. Keep speaking. Keep researching.

And above all else, fight for the human. If our motive is what’s best for the human, we will rise out of Trumpland.

Wild Horses: The Last was First to Ride, Here Is What We Found.

Wild Horses: The Last was First to Ride, Here Is What We Found.

“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day.” –The Rolling Stones

I’ve always been in love with horses. The thought of riding a horse into the wild excites my spirit with feelings of freedom and escape of all that I want to run from. There has always been so much to run from. Mostly chains placed upon me by other people and systems I never asked for. The shackles of oppression came in the form of needing approval from others, or from God, church, and society. Love was nowhere to be found in this prison, not within and not on the outside.  It wasn’t until I encountered other free spirits in hell that I began to understand love. There was a restlessness in them too. As one broke free and rode their wild horse away, I wanted to follow. They loved themselves enough to do it, and the courage was contagious. I caught the cure from them, which was unconditional love for myself and bravery to go.

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You aren’t alone if you’re actively trying to make sense of this past year. It feels like we’ve entered some strange plane of existence where everything we thought isn’t true. It’s some bizarre point of human history where truth is on display, and massive exposure of all that is wrong. Victims of sexual assault are coming forward, daily it seems, finally reporting their stories. Predators are being thrown into the spotlight. There seems to be a mass shooting once a week. Horrid deaths of unarmed minorities at the hands of police are happening every single day. The demonization of LGBTQ, atheists, agnostics, muslims, and anyone not a member of the religious right is cast into the limelight for us all to witness.

Humanity has cancer, a poison infecting the good cells from thriving. Some of us have been fortunate enough to discard of it, but not without a price. Faith has been broken and changed. Tears were cried. This year the misfits rose up, the black sheep, the “last.” How we have done that is by finally cutting all toxic chains that were binding us from loving ourselves. We finally have found the freedom to be our true selves, because the systems and people we’ve been hiding from, as it turned out, are just as ugly and stained as we are. By cutting the toxic chains off of our being, we’re free to finally be loved. Unconditionally.

Unconditional love is the missing piece to the puzzle. It was the missing piece to my puzzle. My life has been complete chaos. I have spent a lifetime striving, and trying to change and morph myself into being something for another. I have felt shame about simply being Kimberly. I’ve felt guilt that I wasn’t who I was supposed to be. I didn’t thrive. I didn’t rise. I couldn’t.

I just couldn’t.

So I was self-destructive. With alcohol. Drugs. Relationships. Anger. Depression. You see, when you’re  down, there is only one place to go…deeper into the demon swamp of you.

This year, watching the religion of my youth support such immorality, turned on a light bulb in my heart that I’ve longed for. It was like “Hey, wait a minute, Why am I the bad one? Why am I hiding? Why am I begging for acceptance from any of this?”

And just like that, I changed. In the blink of an eye.

It was a truly born again experience. I realized that this is what Jesus was trying to tell us all along. We are accepted. Without conditions. It is truly a free gift. We need to do nothing to receive it. The gift doesn’t need any active work. The gift is you. The wonderful, complicated, messy you. Once you stick yourself on the cross, with all the shame, all the guilt, all the bullshit that other people have told you, then you can let it die. You can truly resurrect into a new creature. One that is free of acceptance from others. No more are you emotionally dependent on another. No more are you worried about other’s opinions. All of the sudden, you love yourself.

A magical thing happens when you finally discard of that ego that needs so badly to be loved by others. Without that need, you just want to love others, because you finally know how. Support them. Listen to them. Accept them. Help them. Celebrate them. No longer do you care to control anyone, or try to make them feel guilty. You truly want to be a source of unconditional love for yourself, and for others.

It saddens me that so many people throughout history have lived full lives never being able to love themselves. It’s heartbreaking that people are still living in secrecy and shame.

I was exposed very early on with people not living authentically in the church. When I was about ten years old, many affairs were exposed among prominent men in the church. Many secrets came out. I learned right then that people aren’t truly being who they are in this building. They’re trying so hard, but failing. Church culture takes the authentic you and tells you it’s not good enough. There are always expectations that you aren’t meeting, or people you are disappointing. There are so many biblical rules and so much rigid doctrine, it is overwhelming because no one could possibly  adhere to it all. This is an absolute nightmare for sensitive people. It was a nightmare for me.

So we build our lives and relationships on complete facades. I knew who I was around certain people, and who I needed to be around other people. I learned to constantly live in a state of censorship. I’m not the only one, I’m just one of the few who isn’t afraid to admit it. This year, I shed the skin. I tossed the mask out to the wolves. They can devour that instead of devouring me.

All of the hate, racism, and bigotry in the world is an effect of this lack of unconditional love. People don’t feel so bad if they aren’t one of these groups that they feel are so low or sinful. Pointing fingers at another just elevates yourself into a place of moral superiority. Truth is, people feel terrible on the inside. They don’t love themselves. How can they, possibly? Every true thing is stuffed down daily for a God they fear. They need approval, they’re addicted to approval.

If anything, on all sides, everyone involved in this twilight zone should take away that they don’t need  anyone’s approval. The church has supported sexual assault, racism, oppression of the poor and sick, destruction of creation, and the worshipping of money. Your friend seated next to you in the pew that you care so much about what they think of you, was part of it. They are part of it. They voted for and still support this too. Everyone is on level ground with a line in front of us with no right to cast our stones.

I just want to help liberate everyone, and set everyone on their own wild horse to ride into a new, authentic life. You are loved. The deepest darkest parts. As long as you hate things about yourself, you can’t shine light into those things and grow. No one is free to love others if they aren’t free to be loved.

So let go. Be you. You can’t please a single soul, and it doesn’t matter. No one can. But when you’re free, everyone pleases you, just as they are, including yourself. When you’re free all you want to do is to love the hell (literally) out of everyone, no matter who they are.

In conclusion, this year has been a mass exodus for the “last”. We finally decided to leave it all behind and enter into a new life. One that we were always meant to live. Wildly free. Wildly loved, and wildly trying to drag others out of the stables of prison. I no longer have this need to run away. I have found life that I don’t want to leave. I have found life that I want others to have.

 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

-Jesus