Winter is Over. Now We Must Inspire New Life With Our Light.

This has been a rough winter for those of us in the resistance. A lot of us have had no choice but to remove barriers of self preservation and become who we really are at any cost. We have risked professional, familial, church and other relationships by speaking out, for standing up for what is right. The anger that has swelled in the last year has not let up, nor should it. We are facing serious consequences for every action right now, nationally and globally. 

Today, let us celebrate the first day of spring with renewed hope as life begins to bud around us. May we feel a rebirth in our spirits, letting go of fear, anger, temptation, and despair. It is so easy to fall into judgement and finger pointing guilt. Why does the other side not see what is going on? This entire year has been a daily trip through the twilight zone watching this disgusting display of the human condition rise. However, I am also watching love, hope, and truth arise as well. Will we gain more to come? Will the light grow brighter and attract others to it? 

I believe the answer is yes.

With the proposed budget cuts it is clear that this administration and the majority of the GOP is completely unconcerned with their fellow struggling Americans. It is clear that they want to keep the poor down. It is clear that the hunger of others doesn’t overshadow their greed. It is clear that the destruction of nature doesn’t matter as long as they profit. It is clear that giving sick people the health care they need is of no concern. It is clear that education is not valued, why would it be? Education is the only way out of poverty. It is clear that women are of no concern or the LGBTQ community. Veterans. Elderly. Sick. Disabled. Children. Artists. 

The list goes on and on at the lack of care for others in this country, other than rich, white nationalists. While it may seem like a lost cause to keep fighting the obvious move toward a fascist takeover, do not allow yourself to be deceived.

LOVE WILL WIN.

We are experiencing a legendary, historic call to act. We can give back to the programs that have been slashed. Use every monetary resource available to you as intelligently as possible. Do I need this bottle of wine? Or shall I send this $12.00 to PBS? We must change our thinking with every dollar spent, at least for a little while. Every small sacrificial act adds up. Develop fundraisers. Volunteer. Let them see that we refuse to be taken down and/or let this greed and suffering arise. 

Maybe if the blind sees what love looks like they will shed away their sin of self importance and resurrect to new creatures. Symbolically, as nature begins to thrive around us with the gift of the sunlight, may we be a gift of light to death as well. 

Just like Jesus calls us to be. The light. 

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I Asked God to Break My Heart For What Breaks His…

Ten years ago, when I was at the height of my Christianity, I prayed a very earnest and sincere prayer to the Lord. I prayed that I would be used and I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His. 

God listened and willingly I followed a path paved for me. A winding road full of interesting people, eye-opening books, and personal situations of crisis that cracked my heart wide open. I surrendered everything, even my religion. As my beliefs unraveled, I saw a new perspective. One of love for humanity.

Breaking my heart for what breaks His turned me into an advocate for others. And now I have so many causes to advocate for, I don’t know what to choose to focus on, however, all of them light me on fire. 

I am an advocate for health care. It breaks my heart that others are sick and can’t afford to get the care they need.

I am an advocate for the LGBTQ community. It breaks my heart that this community has faced such persecution. Their fight for equality, their exorbitant suicide and attempted suicide rates, addiction rates, depression rates, and the hate crimes against this group all break my heart. 

I am an advocate for the environment. It breaks my heart that we are not taking care of this beautiful earth. The destruction of nature at the hands of greed absolutely sickens me.

I am an advocate for women. It breaks my heart how women have been kept down beneath men for centuries. Domestic violence, rape, incest, sex-trafficking, and objectification of women all have roots in this patriarchal society we live in. 

I am an advocate for women who have had abortions or women who are choosing. It breaks my heart that women at the lowest point of their life are greeted with horrific judgements instead of open arms of acceptance, forgiveness, and grace. It breaks my heart that some women are forced to choose coat hanger abortions, putting them at risk for death or severe infection. It sickens me to the core that women are manipulated into having sex and then left to their own resources time and time again after pregnancy occurs. 

I am an advocate for refugees. Turning a blind eye to the suffering of refugees is showing the worst of the human condition. Looking at the photos of little kids living in daily fear, hunger, and violence splits my soul into a million little pieces.

I am an advocate for gun reform. The worshipping of guns in America breaks my heart. The shooting of kindergarteners at Sandy Hook was and is an incident that doesn’t let me sleep. How can we not work tirelessly to reduce gun violence? 

I am an advocate for cannabis. Meeting sick people and hearing their stories about how marijuana has alleviated their suffering has enlightened me to the healing benefits of this plant. It is heartbreaking that sick people live in fear of being arrested for using an herb that helps them.

I am an advocate for addicts and alcoholics. It breaks my heart that they are treated as criminals instead of patients.

I am an advocate for the poor. No matter what country they were born in, no matter how they fell into poverty, I hear their struggles, see their hunger, and recognize that they have taught me gratitude for what I have. Now it is my turn to teach them the grace of God through showing compassion and charity.

I am an advocate for human beings. No matter your religion, or lack of religion, race, gender, creed, economic status, political affiliation, or geographic location, you are my brothers and sisters. You are children of this creation. We are one. 

This is what I truly believe breaks God’s heart. It took a decade for me to be shown all of this. I had to be open, and ready to see. I had to be willing to feel. There is so much more in my journey to continue to work for all the things that break my heart and I am far from doing everything I can do. 

But I am on the path. Join me. Let’s change the world a little.

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Are We Guilty of Political Elitism?

Are We Guilty of Political Elitism?

Growing up in Fundamental Christianity gave me many beautiful roots to grow from. Seeds were planted within my heart and while some withered away, others flourished with new space to bloom. The web of sprouts that died that has been most significant to me is religious elitism, or the “us vs. them” mentality.

I used to view people as conversion projects. I can remember giving my friend a hard time on the bus in the fourth grade for doing her catechism homework, insisting that she was doing something wrong. I learned that my way, my church’s way, was the right way, and all others lacked in “following The Word.” I was raised with “Onward Christian Soldiers” as my anthem, and my job and duty to Christ was to witness to others not in my sect of Christianity.

I fought it. I didn’t want to do it. I felt overwhelming guilt if I had friends that weren’t saved and I didn’t try and convert them or invite them to church. However, even though I was taught to recruit for Christ, I didn’t understand it. I used to fight with my mother constantly, asking sincere questions about other churches. I always thought it was silly that there are so many different types of churches in my town, the world, that seemed to be enemies. I never understood why they didn’t join forces and make a real difference in the community and the world. Their differences were minor to me and that type of thinking never went away and eventually broadened to include all religions and non-religious persons.

When I realized I didn’t have all the answers and when I began to see flaws inside of my own religion was when I stopped viewing others as conversion projects. Instead,  I just saw people. The fog was slow to lift – it took decades, but through constant engagement with others unlike me, the world eventually opened up and I opened up to it.

Religion teaches us to cut ourselves off from the world. It teaches us that our church community is our body, Christ the head, and everyone else is wrong.

Jesus tells me to embrace the outsider. Love tells me to not insist on my own way. All of these theological differences just get in the way of being the family that we are and caring for one another. Religion divides us. Jesus unites us. Love unites us. I have loved a very diverse group of people in my life…a drag queen, a pagan, a minister, an atheist, lots of alcoholics, drug addicts, rich people, poor people, a Freemason, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, and yes, even

Trump-supporting republicans.

All of which have caused massive introspection and taught me valuable lessons. We are all teachers to each other.

In fundamental Christianity,  we are taught that there is one sin that is unforgivable. It is an eternal sin and is summed up with these two verses:

Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” Mark 3:28-29

Earlier in the passage,  Jesus was healing people on the Sabbath (which was a sin). The Pharisees and scribes now had something to charge him with, and were conspiring on how to destroy Jesus. Later they found him and accused him of being out of his mind, possessed by demons while casting out demons. Jesus responded:

How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” Mark 3:23-25

I believe the Holy Spirit is present in all of life. The Holy Spirit teaches us through all things, and all people.  If we cut ourselves off from the world, life, we are essentially blaspheming the one who is in all things. If we allow ourselves to be divided against ourselves, we cannot thrive or learn. We cannot allow elitism to quench the spirit from growing in grace and forgiveness.

We have to find a way to connect with others unlike us and not let our politics become the new religion of us vs. them. A lot of us have been on the defense for so long now, we feel we must attack or be attacked. We have felt like victims, and rightfully so. When you find yourself in the “them” category, you become so much more aware of the elitism present in fundamental Christianity. Suddenly, you find yourself on the outs. You don’t fit in. They may say you’re  backslidden, or that you have fallen away. All of these judgements hurt so badly that the only way to persevere is to speak louder in an effort to be understood.

The thing is, they may never understand. However, we can break the habit of being us. We don’t have to defend any longer. I refuse to be victimized by a religion that has proven to be unconcerned with anyone other than those in their “us” category. Everyone is in my category, and I haven’t been behaving that way.

With authority, we can fight for the least of these without attacking. We can educate instead of insult. We can expose hypocrisy without sounding like snarky intellectuals. I am not sure how exactly to walk this path, but the seed of humility was planted within me long ago, by the very religion I am attacking now. Religious elitism transformed into political elitism, neither of which I want taking space in my heart.

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