Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: fight, Ghandi, Jesus, Mandela, non-violence, peace, peacemaker, Peter Labarbera
I still cheer for hockey fights. Maybe not audibly, but definitely on the inside. And sometimes audibly, when my kids aren’t around. My convictions of non-violence don’t match the intense energy that comes from watching people pound each other. I lean in close and my attention is singular when the gloves drop.
I’ve long considered myself a ghandi fan-boy. but in truth, the only similarity I have to ghandi is the fact that I’m a skinny East Indian man respected my millions worldwide. Wait a second…never mind. We have no similarities. He mastered the peaceful protest. Whether it was walking head first into a waiting army with clubs, not raising a hand in the process. Or refusing to eat as a form of pressure against his oppressors, he had the courage of his convictions. Meanwhile, I have more in common with a hobbit, anxious for third breakfast by 10am.
Jesus says to turn the other cheek and pray for our enemies. I love this in theory, but in reality… Think about it.
Turn the other cheek. If someone hits you, turn the other cheek and let them strike you again. How would that go over in hockey? Probably great in some ways, because the other guy would get a penalty. But Don Cherry would sure be disappointed in your manhood.
I get it. I understand it’s about rising above and being stronger and beating violence at its own game. I get that Jesus showed what this is all about by dying on a cross. I get that. What I don’t get is how I’m supposed to follow that example. Because on some days if takes everything in me to not resort to violence and hatred, and that’s just when the internet is slow.
I attended a pro-love rally yesterday. It was about as hippy-awesome as you’d imagine. Tie dye tshirts, signs that said “free hugs”, bad renditions of John Lennon songs. “All you need is love” sung in the key of 50-60 enthusiastic hippies. In other words, bad. But it was pretty awesome. The rally was a response to vile and disgusting ideas geared towards the LGBT community by the guest speaker at a conference. His response was to counter protest with pictures of aborted fetuses and signs claiming persecution. Meanwhile, parents covered their children’s eyes and had difficult conversations before they were ready because shock value was the counter argument to pro-love and singing. Apparently, the goal is to give children nightmares.
Some people were angry and frustrated, but our group held their ground in a loving stance. Attendees, and even organizers, of the conference crossed the street to talk and understand why we were bothered by the message. They knew, but wanted to hear from us. Some of them even joined in our disgust at his message, as it had little to do with what the conference was even about. Hugs were given and common bonds were shared, just not with the person who upset us all in the first place.
And it was good and Kum-ba-yah and all that. But the truth is, I wanted to cross the street and bash some heads, straight up Georges Laraque style. At least one persons head.
Violence feels more effective because it offers immediate satisfaction. If this person does something we hate, knock out their teeth and have their jaw wired shut so we don’t have to hear them. Bomb that country over there so we can control the puppet government put in place. Shoot first, ask questions later. Violence is all that our society knows. An eye for an eye and a counter protest sign for a protest sign. A liberal news channel for a conservative one. Yes, because the only way to defeat a blithering bunch of idiots is with a blithering bunch of idiots, BUT with opposing viewpoints.
But no matter how disillusioned I become with the state of our world, I still go back to Jesus on the cross; to Ghandi starving for change; to Nelson Mandela forgiving his captors and oppressors. No matter how unlike these examples of goodness I am on the inside, I’m still drawn to their beauty. There is a counter-revolution to the way of violence perpetuated by our society. And it’s gorgeous. No matter what my temptation is, I pray that I’m always drawn to non-violence. Ironically, it’s the only way to feel long term peace. Violence offers immediate satisfaction and long term turmoil. Non-violence offers immediate moral high ground and long term confidence that you rose above.
To make peace in this messed up world is the only thing that makes sense. While my primal manliness gets jacked when fists start flying, I know there’s a better way that I’m called to.
Jesus says to pick up our cross and follow him. Am I crazy enough to do this? What if more people did? Jesus carried his own cross to his crucifixion. To the non-believer, it seems stupid to do so if he had a choice to fight back, and they would even say he had no choice, as he was clearly a prisoner. But to me, he did so willingly when he had every choice in the world to bring down the hell-fire.
But he didn’t. And if I’m paying attention, that speaks to me. Because my temptation is to do the opposite. To raise my fists, weak as they might be. To do the opposite. Fighting against oppression is a good thing, but if we use the same methods the oppressors use, are we really offering anything different?
Non-violence doesn’t offer immediate satisfaction. But it offers something better. A chance to create something beautiful.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: equality, evangelicals, lgbt, same sex marriage
Something I find interesting…
that Christian opponents of same sex marriage and LGBT equality feel under fire from wider society, often feeling their free speech is being stifled.
yet, Christians who support LGBT equality often feel under fire from the same Christians who feel under fire from society. If they speak their minds, they are often cast aside as quick as the evangelical is by LGBT proponents.
It seems as if we are caught in a self fulfilling prophecy, where Christians on both sides perpetuate the negative attack cycle.
Maybe it’s time to stop attacking each other and truly talk. Not at each other, but to each other. It seems to me there’s a disconnect where everyone feels attacked and nobody wins. How do we move forward in this, genuinely hearing each other?
I admit, most days I don’t want this conversation. But until it’s had, will the us vs. them mentality ever stop. Can it ever just be US? Us together, not against each other.
I genuinely don’t know. I have hope there’s a better way forward. Not always confident it’s possible.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: AFTAH, culture wars, gay, intolerance free weyburn, lgbt, Peter Labarbera, saskatchewan, weyburn
Peter LaBarbera is coming. The outspoken, divisive and many would argue , hate-filled (at the very least mean-spirited) leader of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality. Sounds very official, I know. Just remember, anyone can build a website. The internets gave me one. Doesn’t make me legit.
I don’t know what to do about this guy. I hate that he’s coming. To a small town close to where I live, basically in my backyard. He compares gay people to pedophiles. He calls people who oppose him “homo-Marxist”…whatever that means. He believes in reparative therapy, which I believe to be damaging and destructive at best, and that’s being generous. A group is organizing a protest during the event and even started a petition trying to stop him from speaking. Free speech is a tricky thing. We all have a right to it until someone says something we don’t like. But I don’t blame them. I’ll even join them. After all, aren’t protests just a form of exercising free speech?Labarbera claims they are trying to eliminate his free speech. We are exercising ours by telling him we disagree with what he stands for.
To top it all off, he bases his beliefs on the same God I worship, and that bothers me. Or maybe he doesn’t , as our views of what God is like are very different, but we’re at least using the same title. I have a hard time seeing God the way he does.
To those who don’t believe in God, you might call us both ignorant. You’d even level the accusation that we are to blame for this fiasco, and that’s true and fair. I would agree that I’m pretty ignorant. I don’t know much, but what I do know is that God is love. And if that’s true, AFTAH and the Sask Pro-Life organization that invited them here are not being loving to the LGBT community.
Jesus defines love in John 15:13 as “laying down ones life for ones friends.” In Matthew 22, Jesus tells us the greatest command that covers all others is to love God and love our neighbour. In other words, lay down your life for God and for your friends. Sacrifice. I think Jesus of all people understands this concept. But who are our friends? One could argue Jesus isn’t talking about the gay community. After all, the church hasn’t been very friendly to them. Jesus tells us to love our enemies in Matthew 5, so I’m guessing that the boundary isn’t too exclusive. If we are to love our enemies, doesn’t that make our enemies into our friends?
Jesus speaks clearly on who we are to love and how we are to love in the parable of the Good Samaritan, found in Luke 10. Our neighbour is the one we’d least expect, the one despised by the religious elite. Jews hated Samaritans and thought they had no place in their religion. Sound familiar?
Jesus even tells his stunned, Jewish audience at the end of the parable to go and live merciful lives, emulating the Samaritan, the person they so strongly think isn’t in line with their values and morals. Talk about a twist in the story.
Enough preaching. Get to the point.
So if the greatest command as a follower of Christ is to lay down our life for God and our friends, and our love is supposed to extend out to those who would even be our enemies (notice how just because the Samaritan is the enemy of the Jew does not make that person the enemy of God. Important point to remember in this discussion), those we would not want to associate with, then I fail to see the logic in AFTAH so called ‘biblical’ stance being anything but hate, or at the very least, ignorant disgust.
How are they loving gay people in their opposition? They might say it’s loving, that true love speaks the truth and brings about repentance. But Jesus doesn’t say “The greatest example of love is to tell everyone what you think is true and make sure they change their wrong actions and thinking.” Love sacrifices for those who we would consider enemies. How is calling gay people pedophiles loving? How is attacking those who would accept LGBT rights loving? Not to mention the fact it’s completely false and ignorant.
The right to free speech seems to be the go to argument here. People opposing gay marriage argue they have a right to say what they want. And that’s true.
(A side note here…not all Christians are bigots. I know many who think being gay is a sin, but they are not all bigots. I also know many Christians who support LGBT equality. They can’t all be lumped into the same category. Hence the difference between myself and Peter.)
You can have your right to free speech, but don’t use it as an excuse to be a jackass in the process. Because if you do, don’t be surprised when people get upset and try to get you to shut up. That’s why I oppose Peter LaBarbera. Not because I’m against free speech. Rather, it’s because I think he’s spreading terrible, destructive lies, and I want to say that not all Christians are like that. He can say what he wants, but I can also say what I want. The hard part is to do that with love for the other, for both of us.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Peter LaBarbera might need to do a better job of truly loving gay people, but how am I doing a better job of loving Peter LaBarbera? Because the God I believe in doesn’t discriminate. He loves all us punks equally.
I don’t care what you believe, just don’t be a jerk. That goes for me, too, and I don’t always follow my own rule. So hold me accountable. It’s pretty simple, really. I support LGBT equality in society and the church, and I will stand for that. That doesn’t mean I cut off communication with anyone who disagrees. And I hope it doesn’t mean you will cut me off.
So what should I do about Peter LaBarbera? I’ll go to a peaceful protest and add my voice to the many who disagree with him. I’ll do that respectfully, and I hope others will too. I know some hate this guy. I don’t hate him. I just feel sad for all the damage these culture wars have left in their wake, and I wish he wasn’t a part of that. I’ll go to a protest and I’ll write this blog, and I’ll keep speaking out where I see LGBT people being treated as less than human.
Welcome to Saskatchewan, Peter. I hope some good comes from this, if in no other way than by forcing people from opposite ends of the spectrum to talk and be heard. And I hope the protest doesn’t stifle your free speech, but I do hope it makes people realize our society doesn’t stand silently when hurtful ideology is being spread. I just truly hope it can be peaceful, and pray that we’ll all listen and love the other.
Remember…the enemy of us is not the enemy of God.
Ive always felt this way. From the day my mothers womb cursed this land with my disturbed soul and disfigured face. Sorry mom. I’ll leave your womb out of it next time. Before you start feeling sorry for me (or rolling your eyes at me), there is a good, logical reason for me feeling this way, and I’ve tested this hypothesis through rigorous testing.
Mostly, it comes down to the core truth that I’m a terrible, awful human being incapable of attaining ghandi like awesomeness. Thank you, science.
Really, I am. Completely debased and with several screws loose. My man, the Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about when he said, “What a wretched man am I!” I relate to that. If he met me, he’d have changed it to, “I guess I’m alright after meeting that chump.”
Most days, I look out for myself. I could do way more to help those in need, but then I’d have to get off the couch. If you know me, you know I HATE anything that involves standing for prolonged periods. I might have an idea to do something good or useful…but it’s so much easier to just watch ‘Breaking Bad’ for the third go around because it’s really that good. With a few episodes of ‘Community’ thrown in so it doesn’t get too heavy, though. After all, I’m not a monster. PS-can you believe Mike is on this season of Community? OMG (oh my garbanzo beans).
I don’t feel sorry for me. No one else should either. The truth is, I’m rotten. I work to be a godlier, better, smarter, respectful-er, kinder, less smelly, productive member of society. And even on my best days and most fruitful attempts, I still suck at life.
My wife’s too good for me. My kids are way better than anything I should have been able to create. I have a job that’s incredible that I feel completely unqualified for. Don’t tell my bosses. Chances are they already know.
The problem isn’t that this is true.
The problem is how it plays out.
When I realize my brokenness and play into it, I feel all sorts of awful and gross. And if it depends on myself to pull me out of the pit I’ve dug, we might as well call in the fat lady to serenade me because the game is over. Did I mention I’m fat? Maybe I could just sing and save the fat lady a trip.
I have a great life, much more than I deserve in every aspect. I have a good God that I serve half heartedly the majority of the time, full heartedly part of the time and no-heartedly on occasion. Figure out that sentence and you win the booby prize. A picture of my boobies.
Without Gods grace, all this junk would swallow me. I know lots don’t believe in this God I serve, or the grace I believe he gives me. They’d say he’s a crutch, or I’m wasting my time trying to measure up. But some days, this grace is all I have to cling to. And I’d agree, I am wasting my time trying to measure up. God told me that I don’t have to. If only I could believe that…
This would be so much neater if I had a nice bow to wrap around this turd. But I don’t. I just told myself I wanted to write more, and write honestly.
Terry Tempest Williams says, “We are healed by our stories.” So maybe that’s all I’m trying to do here. Get some healing. Put the struggle with feelings of inadequacy out there in hopes that some healing takes place and God’s grace becomes a bit more real. I never trust writers who seem to have it all out together. Figured I’d convince you I’m a chump before you get the wrong impression. For those that know me, yes, I am aware you already knew that.
I have the patience of a vulture circling a dead carcass. Just let me at it already. Unless vultures are actually patient, since they often wait for things to die. I don’t know anything about vultures. This could be the worst analogy ever, but either way, the point is, I have none. Not a point, not patience.
I’m not sure what’s worse, to be the impatient vulture or the peaceful dead carcass. You could say “at least the vulture is alive.” True, but some days I’d just rather be the dead carcass. At least then my lack of patience wouldn’t overwhelm me to the point of insanity.
Most recently, it was bathroom renovations trying my sanity. To make matters worse (probably better in truth) my father in law helping me has the patience of a saint. When we rip up the tub to find a leaking pipe, he calmly decides a course of action and takes it. When our crawl space is too small to get underneath the bathroom and reach the plumbing, he calmly finds a solution. Meanwhile, I’m crying in the corner cursing God for my woeful life. If he wasn’t there, I would have had everything torn down, then been so frustrated with my lack of ability to fix anything in 30 minutes, I’d probably just burn the house down and walk away. That’s my tragic logic and lack of patience at work.
That’s what I mean when I say i’d rather be the dead carcass. You’re lifeless. You’ll most definitely be eaten. But at least you’re life doesn’t constantly feel upside down. You know…on account of being dead and all.
Maybe there is a third option. To learn patience. I’m not sure where that fits in the metaphor. The bible says that for God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. That’s crazy talk. My impatient mind can’t comprehend that. It feels like a thousand years to wait at a red light let alone put up with my inane ramblings and justifications, the way God always does.
I’m probably testing your patience right now, making you read this post. Because what in the heck am I talking about? I wish I knew.
Mostly I am just tired of going through each day feeling anxious, as if life will be over if I don’t get where I’m going as fast as possible, or if I don’t finish a task 10 minutes earlier. I fight for free time, then waste it staring at my iPhone, then feel terrible for not reading my bible or playing with my kids or doing something useful on behalf of humanity.
I wish I could enjoy the moment I’m in so I’m not hurrying through to the next one, always looking for something better and more fulfilling. My vulture like lack of patience is stealing my joy.
Mostly, I’m trying to say that bathroom renos are brutal.
Filed under: Uncategorized
This is definitely worth checking out. Guy is unreal.
Is it really necessary? Another guy with a blog? Because there aren’t enough white, Christians whose voices are heard in North American society…I need to stand up for the little guy. If I don’t, who will? Oh yeah….everyone.
So the question is, why bother?
I’ve been dying to write the past few years, but the words never seem to come the way I want them to, or at least as easy as they used to. so I just quit. Blogging, stories, writing in my n’Sync diary…I just stopped. I got tired of fighting a blank page. But the whole time I stopped, I felt as if there were things I couldn’t express any other way. I’ve become a pent up ball of energy. Thoughts, ideas, jokes, theology, books. It was all inside me. I just grew so tired. I’m still tired, but writing is therapy for me, so I’ve decided i need it. even though myself as my own therapist is a terrible idea. Or as anyone’s, for that matter.
As an 8 year old, I wrote a 52 page book about a spaceman named Kenneth. He was the janitor on a spaceship and when he went outside to clean the windows, the jerks took off without him. He fell to earth in his spacesuit that turned into a spaceship and visited all my cousins. It was pretty legit for an 8 year old. At the end, I think he was about to die, and all my cousins were so sad, then he turned into a real boy when their tears fell on his face. Pretty sure I stole that part from Pinocchio.
That creativity has left me. Now I’m an old grump filled with arrogant opinions and distrust, with a hint of Jesus when I’m not too self-absorbed. I’m so wrapped up in internet arguments that the joy of writing has been stolen, ironically by myself, and it all feels so pointless on most days.
I’m not 8 years old, but I still act like one most days. My faith is weak, but I love Jesus. I have an amazing family, wife and kids, and am luckier than I deserve. Most people would kill for what I have. But I’m also whiny and take all the good for granted on a regular basis. Call it the ‘consumer condition’, or maybe that’s just an excuse. This is who I am.
I decided to try something. To just write every day and be as honest as I can. There will always be a little self-deception in my writing, because I’m just delusional enough to think others actually will care what I have to say. So I’m just going to write, for myself if no one else. Writing feels like about the only way I can let things out.
We can go for coffee, but I’ll be an awkward mess and probably cough on your dessert. I can preach, but I’ll just read notes off a page in a monotone voice. Plus, my preaching might be a little too preachy these days.
So here I go. Another caucasian, 30ish year old Christian with an outlet for all my frustrations and passions. Thank you, internet. Hear me roar. Katy Perry is my inspiration. Katy Perry fans will find my blog and be so disappointed.
Don’t expect well reasoned arguments all the time. I can’t promise that. I can promise Vanilla Ice references, and jokes about how it’s really MY milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard. Take that, Kelis.
I just need to write for my own sanity.