Sunday, September 25, 2016

Currently reading...

I've been reading a lot of books lately. There are some books I read for escape. Those are usually Georgia Beers romances. They are perfect. Whenever I need a full trip somewhere else I read "Too Close to Touch" and I'm back in time with Kylie and Gretchen and everything is perfect. Wehenver I need a good cry I pick up anything written by Toni Morrison. I also read her when I want feel more connected to the people around me. There is something about her writing tha tmakes me feel more human, an oxymoron that that is. When I want to be free I read Jack and imagine what it must have been like to have been on the road with him, or sitting in the cabin with him at Big Sur.  When lifeneeds to change and I want to grow closer to Christ I read books by Piper and MacArthur. Each pages is convicting, each sentense worth highlighting.

But, when I just want to think about good things but not exactly super deeply, I read books blike the one pictured above. And it's pretty good. I'd rather be reading something good for my heart than nothing good at all, or something like the tabloids and such.

Office decor

When I was working with Betty in the after school program, she would often mention my eye for specific things. I didn't realize it til she pointed it out that I do like pretty things. Or...I like to make things beautiful. And she was right. I do. I grew up with a mother with a keen eye for interior design. I always lived in a beautiful place. Miami, North Carolina, San Francisco, beautiful. Even where I spent my summers in Pennsylvania as a kid, things felt beautiful. 

And I suppose that's how I feel about myself too, and God's mercy and his grace. He makes all things beautiful.

These flowers lasted three weeks strong on top of my desk. Aren't they beautiful?

Dog-sitting adventures

I recently had the privilege of dog-sitting this handsome pup. He was awesome and smart. Makes me want a dog of my own, soon!

Beach Day

My friend came down for a few days before his flight back to New Zealand. It was so nice to have him home with me. I used to live/work in a hostel for abut six months at a time. That means 38 roommates. That means I lived in a room the size of a closet with three other people who's stuff was on my bed as much as mine was on theres. That means there was a time when 5-6 people (not including the guests) knew my schedule, my moods, my habits, what soda I drank all the time, my favorite beer, who I had a crush on and when I did my laundry. They even knew when I lied - when I would say I wasn't going to change out the dryer or do the dishes, they knew I was lying. It was perfect. I miss that perfect so much sometimes.

I now live in an apartment, which is 99% of the time, all to myself. It's adorable and charming and super cozy - a total gift. But there are times when I miss the friendship, that comes with living in a hostel and sharing my life with total strangers from different parts of the universe.

We went shopping. We rollerskated up Venice Beach. We ate icecream that melted right off our hand. We saw a comedy show with Ali and Max  <3 We had the freshest sushi with two of the most georgeous humans in the valley - Chelsea and Soonie. We talked about his romantic misadventures and my employment nightmares turned dreams. We talked about faith and we went to an LGBT affirming church and saw a couple whom I adore be batpized. It was so nice getting to show someone I loved my new world. It fits. It's cozy. It's lovely. Even if at this point in time, it's a little lonely.

Grateful for adventures with friends that remind me of how deeply blessed I am.

Cuban Coffee cupcake we purchased through something that looked like an ATM machine.

Isn't he perfect?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Where have all the men gone? Part 2

I'm feeling very female today. Hormonal, irritable - just completely crazy. Yes, there are positive hormones that flow through my estrogen filled body but today, that's not happening.

And so I pray and ask God to help me through and then I realize that writing might help. It does help. A lot. Maybe that's why God gave us things we can't control, to teach us how to manage  or release the grip and letting things roam. To remind us that we are not, in fact, in control of things and that we should learn to be humble.

I attend a church that weekly criticizes (with a tremendous amount of tact and grace) every other church outside of it's web of influence. It's wrong. In fact,  I think it's dangerous. They are proably right in their assessment of other communities...I think. But it's dangerous. Do I really see Jesus standing up on a throne criticizing one church after another because "they don't get theology right?" Sorry. I don't. I think that's ridiculous. And harmful and quite frankly, dangerous to the body as a whole. 

I've been thinking a lot on the post I did a couple of months ago on "Where have all the men gone?" and I wanted to echo what I said earlier because it seems like things are getting worse and worse.

Joshua Harris was part of a megachurch that went under public fire when it became public that a youth pastor was sexually abusing three boys and the church did nothing to stop it. They didn't call the police. They didn't report it. Harris inflates his apology with a confession that he too, was sexually abused as a child. This leads to the complete devastation of his church. He leaves. Becomes a hipster theologian in a country not his own. Trying so hard to become a man wholly unrecognizable to who he was as a pastor - he is in many ways a super disciple of Casey Neistat. Which isn't inherently bad. There isn't anything specifically wrong with a midlife crisis, with buckling under the pressure, with saying "you are wrong" and I'm going to separate myself from you so that I can find myself. Right?

I love Casey Neistat. He's awesome. I understand Harris' attraction to such a cool dude but...I can't put my finger on it. Something seems out of place.

As bad as Pastor Mark Driscoll was he hasn't given up. He has started up again with a new church. He's trying to build his life again and he's giving it EVERYTHING he's got. It's so endearing and impressive and wonderful. CJ Mahaney is doing the same thing. He is preaching. He is BACK as a senior pastor and it's very comforting to hear him speak.

But then I think, do I want Josh Harris to stay the same for my own personal comfort? Isn't that selfish? What about him and pastors in general? What about their comfort and their happiness and their personal fulfillment in life?

I recently left a church that I was attending quite faithfully, for about one year. It was the church that carried me through the craziness with my job, the challenges of moving here. It was the first church where I taught an adult Bible study and children's Sunday School. It was really hard to leave. It was the first time I understood what it meant to have a whole, to feel like there was a legit whole in my life. But I don't feel like I was supposed to be there. I wrestled with the pastor about it, asking touch questions, bringing some concerns to light. There was an uneasiness about being there that I felt from the beginning. I tried not to listen to it because, that's what I do. I ignore hard things.

But finally, God made it painfully clear that it was time for my exit and I took the leap of faith and followed His's direction and I am so happy I did.

It's hard. Not complicated. That word has begun to irritate me as an acceptable excuse for being ridiculous. It's just hard. Doing what God wants us to do, what is best for our own personal journey is hard. And I have compassion on Josh in the same way I have compassion on myself. When you know you have to leave, you leave. There is no way around it.

I recently found out that the Pastor,  under who's ministry I spent most of my youth, under who's ministry Kyle met Jesus, left the church. He no longer pastor's youth. Or adults. Or anyone. He just stopped coming. It's like he disappeared from off the face of the planet. I couldn't find his face in any of the photos on his wife and children's Facebook pages. None of my friends had pictures of him.  It's been several years since I've been back to IBB (like 5) and I dearly loved it when I was there. I feel pretty connected to a lot of people there and their journeys and am so inspired by one woman in particular who's trails with her daughter are so overwhelming.

But to hear that he left was hard. To learn that he divorced his wife was devastating. I was scrolling through my news feed Monday night and suddenly, out of no where his face came up. He's on Facebook now. Found. I was so excited I immediately friended him thinking this was great. But I quickly discovered a woman and a child and a family, not his own. Or maybe they are his own - now. But they are not the ones he was with when I knew him. He divorced the wife of his youth and has new children.

I can't imagine what it must have been like for his kids to have experienced the divorced of such an amazing man from their wonderful mother - what his wife must have felt when she realized here whole world, the unthinkable was about to happen. I can't even fathom the countless amount of children who are no longer hearing God's Word in an applicable kind of way that speaks RIGHT to their hearts because he is no longer preaching. It's just hard. Too hard and I know that I never want to be that kind of way.

So I see what is going on with men making mistakes, with men running away. Men encountering serious personal trials in a very public space and I know that God has mercy and God is clear and God calls us to love and to be faithful. I ask now, and always for the grace to be the woman He has called me to be and to fulfill the calling, the gift He has asked me to receive.

And to have compassion all all who drift, praying God would lead them back

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Where's the line?

I've been doing something dangerous lately.

When I say dangerous it's simply relative. As a lesbian woman who deeply desires to follow Jesus I've been attending a non-affirming, non-accepting, just flat out NON-LGBT church(s). I used to attend a predominantly "gay church" where I wouldn't even bat an eye when it came to being gay and feeling accepted. Now, I have to think twice about what I'm going to wear and what I'm going to say and how I lean in - I can't come off too masculine lest the know. Lest the hear it in my voice. Lest they find me out.

Part of me, doesn't really care if they find out that I'm gay. Or so...that's what I say to myself. The other part of me wants to scream and yell and defend what I think is quite frankly, one of the best parts about who I am, and to stop them from saying things that could really hurt someone not as strong as me.

This whole situation  is dangerous because I can already feel myself questioning everything. And not in a good way that brings about life and more questions and a deeper understanding like the way I question creation and the inerrancy of scripture and the doctrine of God's providence. Thinking about those things and really digging through them brings life! And faith. It always strengthens my faith. But questioning my sexuality makes me feel down. Very down. It makes me feel damned - not like I'm going to hell but like I should hate myself.


Why would I put myself through this, you say? Because I want to learn. Because I want to grown. When these closed minded folks are not shooting down everything they don't understand, they are feeding me spiritual steak and potatoes with their expository preaching and glorious systematic theology. And I believe that God is calling the gay community not to simply segregate ourselves into our little corners but to do the hard work of wrestling with people in their error and helping them to see the light (and darkness) in their thinking.

Because I would want the same done for me.

And the "gay church" isn't that strong. They aren't teaching the deep spiritual truths of purity and the sanctity of scripture and dignity of human life the way, ironically, the other folks are. Mostly because we (the gay community) are still licking our wounds and patching up scabs of where we've been hurt by the Church.

So each week I sit in a folded aluminum chair grateful to God for the grace to hear the words of the blessed preacher and take incredible notes of truths knowing they are actual seeds in the soil of my heart. And I sit there and listen and know that I have no reason to be afraid. More than any other commandment in the Bible God says "Do not fear." And so I sit there knowing He is blessing my time and my efforts and planting His word deep into my heart and He has a reason for making me a lesbian who cannot, repeat cannot turn away from Him. Meditating on this has made me more relaxed - reaching for my polos and combing my hair (MY HAIR) the way Ashley Roque truthfully does her hair, in all her butch majesty :)

Because what I'm doing isn't really that dangerous. What is more dangerous is not following Him when He calls me.

If they kick me out - that will be the line. And even then, I'll be safe in my Father's arms.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dear White People

My only issue with this film is that in the end, she (the lead character) had nothing else to say. It finished with a "never mind." What is that? How does that happen? How can the first film in a long time to come around, that is centered on giving voice to African Americans strictly to white folks, end with apathy? Is that how you would define my generation? With apathy?