Tag Archives: Jesus

Imagine…

20 Nov

 

Two weeks ago, I attended a Jennifer Knapp concert at Southern Oregon University.  Ms. Knapp is a singer/songwriter who as a young woman made a name for herself in the Christian music scene, and my church (along with a few other churches and the Queer Resource Center) helped bring her to Ashland.  And while her music is riveting, it was not the only reason for her visit.  You see, Jennifer Knapp was adored as a Christian “rock star” until she came out as gay.  Then things changed.   The “Christians” that had loved her music before, now turned their backs on her.  She was no longer considered one of them.

Ms. Knapp shared her spiritual journey with the audience.  She explained how she tried to leave Christianity behind, but felt that the teachings aligned with her core beliefs… and came to the conclusion that even though she was “gay”, she was also a Christian.

After the concert, Jennifer took questions/comments from the audience.  The one that moved me to tears went as follows.  A woman in her forties shared that she had recently come out to her family, and that since that time her son has had nothing to do with her.  She asked what she could do to and Jennifer said, “Love him.  Whenever you see him, love him.  You can’t change him… but you can love him.”

Jennifer sounds like a Christian to me, by golly.   But wait, she’s gay?  So the fact that she is loving, accepting, and forgiving doesn’t count then, right?  Right.

A few days ago I saw on Facebook that it was the one year anniversary of this post, I am Christian, unless you’re gay.  It’s a great article, and if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so.  The author, Dan Pearce tells us about his friend “Jacob” who is gay… and he goes on to say that his article is not about homosexuality, instead – It’s about love. It’s about kindness. It’s about friendship.  

Jacob had asked Dan to share with his audience (Dan writes the blog, single dad laughing) how it feels to be gay in a conservative Christian community.   Here is a quote from that article, “You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”  

After reading the article, my heart ached for Jacob and the fact that he is virtually being shunned by the community in which he lives for being who he is - the person God made him to be.  My head raced with questions: Who are we to tell another person how to live their life?  What gives us the right to judge them?  What part of that kind of this behavior is “being Christian?”

From all the stories that I have heard about Jesus, I just can’t imagine him turning his back on anyone.  One story that many are familiar with (and one of my favorites) is the about the woman who is to be stoned to death for being an adulterer (according to ancient law).  Jesus does not question the law, but instead says “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

It seems that we are still acting like those ancient people – wanting to find fault with others (and throw stones) because they are not like us – or they’re not acting like we think they should act.   And when we are focused on others, we remain blissfully blind to our own shortcomings.   But try to imagine what the world might be like if we tried to be more like the man from whom we have the word “Christian”?   I think it’d be pretty amazing… don’t you?

Yesterday I brought a Chocolate Cream Pie to the Queer Resource Center at SOU to thank the people who helped to bring Jennifer Knapp to our area… and to recognize them for all they do to make the university a welcoming place to all students.

You may say that I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one.   I hope someday you’ll join us,  And the world will live as one.   John Lennon

 

Day 173: A Remarkable Woman

26 Sep

Today is purportedly the birthday of Johnny Appleseed. And for that reason I felt it was important to make today’s pie with apples. To the apples that I harvested from the tree in my yard I added craisins and walnuts and a crumb crust topping. Here is what it looked like:

As I was preparing this pie I let my mind wander and think about who was to receive it. The person who came to mind was a lady I haven’t seen in a while but who has been on my mind nonetheless. It feels like I have known this woman for a long time but I realized that I didn’t really know a lot about her. My instincts told me that she was a tender soul and that she cared a lot about people.

Over the last few years I had noticed that this woman was helping a family I knew that had experienced some difficulties. She offered them her time and her love to help them through a very challenging period. What an amazing gift.

This spring this remarkable woman lost her son. Loss is hard – and there are no easy answers. Losing a child is something we never want to experience – and I think most parents would choose to give up their own lives to save their child. But life does not work that way. We are not in control.

I shared with her the words I’d heard from a pastor many years ago after a young girl had died: He said that when Jesus learned that his friend had died, Jesus wept. To me there is comfort in knowing that even Jesus could be moved to tears at the loss of a friend.

We can’t rewrite events, even though we might want to. We may feel sadness for our friend’s loss all the while knowing that we are powerless to “fix” things. But we can still be present; we can offer our love and support.

Today I brought my apple pie to this lovely lady and her husband. As we sat and visited for more than an hour, we talked about a great many things. At one point she shared that while you never really get over losing someone, you may one day find that you accept the mystery and the majesty of life. This lady is truly a remarkable woman and I am honored to know her.

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