faith

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opening the Gay Marriage Can of Worms


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Gay-Marriage

As a Christian, as a follower of Jesus, as a human being, could I… would I vote for Gay Marriage…

Can of Worms – Once we open it, more than what we expect will come out.

In the past whenever the subject has come to the forefront I’ve kept quite on it, didn’t think it was my place to say anything, that I could add anything to the conversation…

or maybe realising if I did it would change things… not being willing to live with the repercussions.

 

I understand this subject & surrounding issues are close to many peoples hearts, so before your knee jerks I’d encourage you to read the Disclaimer, leave a comment, send an email pillscoffeeheresy@hotmail.com

… or say a prayer.

 

Why now? I guess of late I’ve been asked a lot, I’ve found myself in several conversations, I’ve found myself.

I guess of late I’m happy to wear the fallout.

By no means comprehensive, here are some thoughts on Gay Marriage, pros, cons, thoughts on cons, thoughts on thoughts… thoughts on the worms that crawl out of the Can.

 

My Cons list

I wouldn’t vote/support Gay Marriage because… If I did it would/may change various peoples relationships with me, may change the level of involvement I’m able to have  with various groups/organisations that I really enjoy working with…

may lead to my being labeled & boxed in, any contributions on any other subject ignored because of thoughts on this one…

may cause myself or people I care about to endure unnecessary harassment… may cause the trolls to come out from under the bridge.

 I’m selfish.

Really, when I think about it that’s the only con I have… selfishness. None of the other cons stack up for me… and selfishness, I don’t want that to be a part of me.

 

Thoughts on Cons

Gay Marriage will make a mockery of marriage – lets say it does, wouldn’t that just lead to a case of the pot calling the kettle, “black”. We have a few 1000-yrs head start on making a mockery of marriage, a divorce rate indistinguishable from those who don’t attend church, scandal after scandal that seem as dependable as the changing seasons.

I’m protecting the institution of marriage! – no you’re not, most likely you don’t like change (if the sanctity of marriage is a legitimate concern read the section below “marriage & marriage”).

gay_marriage

Seriously, read some sermons around the time of the civil rights movement, “if God had wanted the abomination of inter-racial marriage he wouldn’t have created the separate races”.

The Bible clearly states homosexuality is wrong – to be honest it’s not that clear to me… and that’s besides the point, let’s say you believe homosexuality to be wrong, choosing to oppose Gay Marriage won’t mean there are less homosexuals, just more who are angry with you. You can’t “law” people into the kingdom, you just create barriers & resentment.

In whatever context someone is in it should have salt & light, and love & hope breathed into it.

 

Thoughts on thoughts

It’s culture shaping Church & the Church should be shaping culture – look at slavery, look at civil rights, at women’s rights, women’s suffrage, child labor… there have been Christian leaders at the forefront of those movements and we claim them with pride. But we do so without realising that they were the minority voice within the church, that the majority of Christians were indifferent, apathetic or straight oppositional to those changes, that the church as a whole has never been an early adopter. That the reason it is so shaped by culture is that the majority is indistinguishable from culture. That the only time we seem to engage with culture is when we feel our position of comfort slip away – left longing for 1950’s white-middle class-America.

 

Thoughts

Humanity – On couple of occasions my life has been touched by suicide & back in the day this would have led to being buried upside down, discarded or in an unmarked grave. I have a friend whose mother is buried in a grave separate from the churches because she had a child out of marriage. We have a dark shameful history of treating people as less than human, as lives not worth remembering, or celebrating.

We do the same with marriage.

You’re allowed to & you’re not. You’re love is to be celebrated & yours shunned.

Less than human.

 

Marriage & Marriage

Have you ever watched two people have a conversation about what they believe is the same thing, but each is talking about something different? Simultaneous comedy & tragedy.

Marriage is the same.

There is the cultural understanding of marriage  – two people committing to each other, to love for life.

There is a biblical understanding of marriage –  of God being involved, of symbolism/embodiment/reflection of trinitarian relationship, of Jesus/church, of  promise/hope/Resurrection, echoes of Eden, of covenant…

these two ideas of marriage aren’t the same, you don’t unwittingly stumble into covenant…

A marriage between two friends male/female who don’t believe in God bears no implication of marriage in the biblical sense…

the same for a marriage between two males who don’t believe in God.

It doesn’t help matters that most Christians couldn’t tell you the difference, and it’s interesting we don’t protest our straight-atheist friends getting married, we celebrate with them.

The Church gave marriage over to culture a long time ago, there is no renaming or trying to reclaim it, but of understanding. Understanding that to a faith community marriage has deeper implications than our cultural understanding. Realising that cultural marriage isn’t an attack on that of faith or vice versa. That both are beautiful, have significance to their communities & are to be celebrated.

 

Judgement – If when it’s all said & done,  and I stand before God & I’ve gotten this wrong, I know I will have erred on the side of Love, and that is something I can live with.

 

 

Ultimately I can’t think of anything more beautiful than two people committing to each other, to love, to journey through life with…

that is cause for celebration, be they straight, gay, religious, coloured, rich or poor…

whether it’s a ceremony of commitment to each other or of covenant with God…

Love is to be celebrated.

holding-hands

blogosphere, Uncategorized

In God We Trust?


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ingodwetrust

If there is one word that summarizes my journey of late it’s Trust, so the following post from Peter Enns “Why I don’t believe in God anymore” is very timely for me. Believe in God? – sure. Trust? – that’s a little harder at times… sometimes a lot harder.

 

I don’t believe in God anymore. I used to, though.

This is a choice I’ve made. “Belief” in God connotes–at least as I see it–a set of ideas about God that may, if time allows, eventually make their way to other parts of my being.

The older I get, making sure all my “beliefs” of God are lined up as they should be loses more  and more of its luster. I see the Bible focusing a lot more on something far more demanding: trust.

Try it. Which is harder to say? I believe in God or I trust God?

I see a huge difference between “I believe in a God who cares for me” and “I trust God at this particular moment.” The first is a bit safer, an article of faith. The latter is unnerving, risky–because I have let go.

You’ve all heard of the “trust fall.” There’s a reason they don’t call it a “belief fall.” Belief  can reside in our heads. Trust is doing it, risking it. Trust is humility, putting ourselves in the hand of another. Trust requires something of us that belief doesn’t.

When God promises Abraham that he will have more offspring than the stars in the sky, translations of the next verse conventionally say that Abraham “believed” God. (Genesis 15:6)

“Believe” isn’t the right word there. “Trust” is. The Hebrew word is the same one we get “amen” from. “Amen” is not a social cue that grace is finished and it’s time to eat. It is the final word in the prayer: we’re done talking now, Lord, and we now move to trust.

God promised an old man a lot of kids. Abraham trusted God to come through. That is way harder than believing. Believing has wiggle room. Trusting doesn’t.

The same thing holds for the gospel. “Believing” in God–or even having “faith” in him–doesn’t cut it. At least the way these words are used today.

Beliefs can be collated into a “belief system”–an intellectual construction of what sorts of things are right to think and not think about God. Followers of Jesus, however, are called to do something much harder.

Jesus tells a famous story about why those who follow him need not worry about anything. Don’t fret about how much you have, what you wear, or what you will eat. Don’t worry. Trust. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Jesus illustrates the point in what at first blush seems rather off topic–at best marginally helpful. He tells us to consider the grass of the field and the birds of the sky. Look at them, Jesus says. They’re doing just fine and they don’t worry for a second.

Of course they don’t worry, Jesus, because they are–if I’m not mistaken–grass and birds. Grass doesn’t have a brain and birds are skittish little things that fly into windows. These things aren’t really relevant, Jesus, because, you see, by definition, Jesus, these things are incapable of worry.

And when you put it that way, you can see the profound point–and challenge–of what Jesus is saying: worry should be as impossible for us as it is for grass and birds. His followers–if they get it–should be as incapable of worry as insentient grass and bird-brained birds.

“Believing in God” doesn’t get you to that place Jesus is describing here. Belief leaves room for worry. Trust explodes it.

What a way to live.

The older I get, the less interested I am in believing and the more I am in trusting. That takes a lot of practice. In my experience, God seems more than willing to provide plenty of opportunities.

 

Peter Enns “Why I don’t believe in God anymore”

 

poetic, Uncategorized

a Franciscan blessing


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May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

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heart laid bare


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chalk_outline_by_arucardpl-d5rdazs

i fell for you hard, dove straight off the balcony, chalk outline on the ground of where my heart used to be…

i need to write, don’t  know where i’m going with this, normally i have an idea or i’ve put some thought into it, don’t know if i’ll even edit or publish it…

i’m just going to write.

 

they say it’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, my mind sees the truth in that… my heart would tell you to go  **** yourself – yeah, it’s a little raw right now.

falling for someone  leaves you feeling like you’ve woken from a daze, feeling alive for the first time instead of drifting through lifes haze. if love is living i haven’t been living lately, even though I’d claim love motivates me.
when i opened up my heart & gave someone unrestricted access it made me realise how cautious & guarded i am, keeping people at arm’s length or allowing them to only see certain parts of me…what i choose, what i think you can handle, maintaining the status quo because it works for me…

and when you’re with someone where you feel completely free to be who you are it makes you realise how trapped you are with others, unconsciously buried under the weight of expectation, culture, diplomacy, heritage, family, friends, the burden of leadership or influence…who you think i should be.

amongst the many things i’ve taken from lifes recent ups & downs, one is that despite the risk of pain i need to let more people in, that unless you’re free any sense of freedom is just illusion…

that love isn’t arms length but an embrace… that i cant really love without letting people in.

 

so seeing as my heart is semi-splattered on the pavement we might as well leave it there… welcome to my heart laid bare.

broken_heart_3_1680x1050

 

there’s two things i’m passionate about…

christians being christian,

and the least (the poor, marginalized, oppressed, brokenhearted).

following Jesus should be simple, Love God, Love people…

i aspire to love furiously, be recklessly generous, to challenge the bullshit (let’s call it what it is)…

disillusioned, disheartened, sometimes it gets the best of me, i fail time & time again,  sometimes i fuck up monumentally. that confident calm collected me you see, it’s smoke & mirrors, nothing to do with me. sure i know who i am, i know who i am in God… but i’m still flawed, still battle-scarred… still battling.

I struggle to find my place, i can’t buy into to the materialistic American dream or the kiwi one of chasing & trading experience. i view life as being bigger than me, that what i have is to bless others, so the God thing fits… except i don’t really  fit in a church, in which if i’m honest its dreams and aspirations don’t differ much from everyone else’s… except eternity…

and while we’re on that lets deal with it. Heaven & Hell, that’s a choice?!…

about as much freedom of choice as me pointing a gun at your head, “love me or i’ll pull the trigger”. is it really love if its coerced or it’s because of what i can do for you. when church songs are sung “we love you(God) for who you are”, the words make liars out of most of us because it’s about what we can get or avoid…

but that’s the repackaged gospel we’ve been sold, robbed of the depth of our faith the pulpit often used as a rallying cry against current events, but if we’re honest its less about smacking & gay marriage and more about maintaining the status quo… state & religion. the cry of protest you hear is more a death rattle, the last gasps as church & state are separated, winding back the clock to pre-Constantine… which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just taken 2000yrs to get there, this kingdom thing was never meant to be established through politics & power plays…

but how we live.

as much as we claim the rights to Love, if i hear another fear driven altar call – “if you walk out of here & get hit by a bus where will you go?” – i think i’ll throw myself under it.

maybe we should spend less time arguing biblical inerrancy & more on solving poverty, less time defending an entire literal reading & more on taking this literally, “love thy neighbor”.

Love God, Love people.

i’m not perfect, never claimed to be, I don’t live up to the ideals i aspire to, nor am i the solution… christianity doesn’t have all the answers cause i’ve still got questions, it wont solve your problems because i have a bunch of them.  christianity isn’t the rock stage-bright lights-popstar preacher, tugging at your heartstrings with one hand while the others in your pocket. and christianity isn’t that heterosexual male decrying the abomination of same-sex marriage to shore up his own fears & insecurities… because it’s no longer “pc” to rally against blacks & women.

God isn’t a genie in a bottle, there are no 3 wishes… even if we pray like its so. Jesus isn’t Tony Robbins – come to self-help-christ & live a life of wealth & success,  and christianity ain’t a crutch for me… well at least 97% of the time.

This faith thing isn’t blind or dumb, if anything in its simplicity it complicates things… or at least i complicate things as it challenges me.

following Jesus isn’t easy, it’s not just a sunday thing no matter how much i want it to be, constantly wanting to fit it into my compartmentalised life yet it demands all of me.

And this “Love” thing isn’t what we’ve sold it out to be, dumbed & numbed  down to “nice”. nice-jesus asks of us to be nice, friendly hellos & plastic smiles, teaching moral obligations instead of following, enslaving instead of setting free. Jesus’ love was revolutionary, look deeper into the culture & settings of all too familiar stories & see how scandalous his interactions with others were. look at our culture, settings & how we do “love” – we’re scandalous for the wrong reasons.

 

 

i guess it’s just as well nothings beyond redemption, the church, the world…

me…

we could all do with a little more it.

so here’s to pain & growth, living & learning,  the mountain highs & valley lows, the journey, to living free, letting people in, to following & stumbling on the way, to challenging the status quo, to dreaming, to hope…

and to trying to be a little bit less of a hypocrite each day.

Love God. Love people.

poetic, Uncategorized

the label


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nike label

 

There was a red hat I liked to wear.

It wasn’t cool. It didn’t have the label.

Scissors to a Nike T later, soon fixed that,

stitched the label on…

the hat was the same but perceptions had changed.

 

Nike.

Legit.

 

There is a label called “christian”, we slap it on things…

something must have the Label to stand before the throne or to be welcomed into a christian home.

christian approval

A movie depicting post-apocalyptic violence is not welcome… but if it has the Label or he’s saving the last bible, then “onward christian soldier, slay the infidel!”

They both wear the Label & everyone’s happy for them even though she’s spending less time in church and more on top of him, they’ve hit 2nd base quickly headed for home, runaway train of destruction far from the throne, everyone stands on the platform smiles & waves…

they both wear the Label, “praise god” they say.

 

And the Label gets put on 2nd rate shit, you didn’t make it mainstream?

Make it christian legit.

 

Swap in “jesus” for “baby” and we’ll sing your song Sunday. Call your business christian even if your ethics don’t follow him, etch a verse or cross on your trinkets and junk , sit back & watch sales jump.

How high? The label doesn’t make the books christian, but may lead to sales of 65 million, even if biblical theology gets Left Behind…

and then there is her…

she wants to save the world, the poor, the broken-hearted. She’s good for him, he reads more, prays more, laughs more, loves more, new zest for dreams God-given, more than good for him…

if he’s honest she’s saved him. More christian than most the girls he meets who wear the Label…

yet she doesn’t wear it herself.

So no one smiles for them, some condemning in their silence, others angrily confront him in “love”, in love they may be but love isn’t what you’ve shown me.

Putting the label love on anger & self-righteousness doesn’t change how christless it is.

Putting the label christian on something doesn’t change a thing.

When the right idea or action without the label is wrong & the wrong idea or action with the label is right, maybe its time we dismissed this superficial seal of approval & took the time to look at the heart.

Putting a Nike tag on a red hat doesn’t make it Nike. Covering my heart in labels can’t cover what it really is…

only Christ can.

 

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