Assuming a lot of my friends read this blog, I know I might lose a friend or two over this entry. I'm probably going to offend several friends and some family too. And quite honestly, it makes me really sad that we can't have different views and beliefs and still get along just as well...agree to disagree, but love each other regardless. I'm not at all going to pretend I'm ok with that. If I knew someone stopped talking to me because of my beliefs on this, I would be heartbroken. But that doesn't mean I want to keep my feelings to myself. Time to get on with what I want to get off my chest.
First I read this: http://rachelheldevans.com/win-culture-war-lose-generation-amendment-one-north-carolina
Then I read this: http://rachelheldevans.com/huck-finn-hell
Most recently I read this: http://momastery.com/blog/2012/05/28/i-think-jesusd-be-gay-orno-she-didnt/
And here's what I've decided on this issue and religion as a whole.
I don't like what religion does to people. I'm all for faith, belief, and love....but what I define as "religion" is what I think tears this world apart. I've given this a lot more thought than usual after reading the above blog posts. Sure, all of these concern homosexuality, but that's just one issue and my thoughts and feelings are much wider than that.
To clarify what my personal definitions of religion vs. faith - when I think of "religion", I think of laws, rules, and sadly with them come judgements. When I think of "faith", I think of belief in a Divine being and a greater good (for me, this is the Christian God and Jesus). I think of acceptance despite differences. I think of love. I think of encouraging one another to be better people, citizens, and keepers of the earth. I don't think of putting another man down because their views are different. Have you seen the "Coexist" bumper sticker. I want one. That's where I'm coming from.
I don't like how so many "religious" people are so lacking in the "faith" department. I'm no expert on the Bible by any means, but I've always felt that the Bible preaches love and acceptance above all else. The Bible does not ask us to judge another man's sin. I always had the impression that somewhere in there it has told us we have no business judging others. That's God's job, not something we lowly human should be concerned with. We are just supposed to love each other and get along to the best of our ability, support each other in an effort to be better people. I always felt like that's what Jesus was doing in all the parables. He didn't care what sins the person committed. He met them where they were, loved them, helped them, healed them, and THAT was what won their heart over. He didn't mock them or abandon them because of their sins, no matter how awful they were. He just loved 'em. And his pure and simple acts of love won them over. Pretty awesome stuff if you ask me.
This isn't just about homosexuality. I've never read up in the Bible on that topic because frankly I don't give a damn if the Bible is perfectly clear on whether it's a sin or not. We all sin. I had sex before I was married (sorry Dad if you're reading this!). I've been envious of my neighbor's stuff. I've shown my parents disrespect. I even lied to them on numerous occasions. I've drank in excess on a few occasions...and a handful of times before I was 21 (literally, only like two or three times, but still it was wrong). I cused in front of my kids today, and yesterday, and the day before than, and.... AND SO MUCH MORE. And I don't think that just because I'm not a homosexual, I have a better place in Heaven than someone who does (assuming God does find it to be a sin). I'm pretty sure I remember hearing/reading somewhere in the Bible that all sins are equal in God's eyes. So on that scale, I'm full of sin. And so are you.
So why do religious people feel like they have to pull out the "IT'S A SIN!!!" card on certain topics. Everybody sins. It really doesn't matter what is considered a sin because we all commit them. Go ahead, just assume you are sinful and get on with it. It makes accepting all the other imperfect people in the world (i.e. everyone) much easier. Get off your high horse and just love people for who they are, where they are.
And you know what? If you do feel differently than me, that's ok. You don't have to agree with me. I don't understand where you're coming from. I think it's wrong. But I'll still love you, because I've got the love of Jesus in my heart. I'd love to have a conversation with you about why you feel the way you feel. Let's talk, in love, about our differences. Maybe we'll get somewhere with that.
So, where I'm going with all this is...I don't know....just venting.
This has a lot to do with why we haven't found a church I really like or feel at home with. I'm struggling to find a way to raise my children in a home filled with love, faith, and belief in a God that is bigger than us, to take them to church every Sunday, but to do so in an environment that preaches love and acceptance above all else. I know there's a church like that out there somewhere. There has to be. I can't be the only God loving person that feels this way. We just have to find it.