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I Hate All Your Show

Otherwise titled “Jesus thinks you suck.” Nicely, I mean. In his Jesus-y way. Let me elaborate.

One of my favorite Christian songs is “Instead Of A Show” by Jon Foreman. The lyrics are lifted directly from Amos 5.

I hate all your show and pretense
The hypocrisy of your praise 
The hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show 

Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stop up your ears when you’re singing ’em
I hate all your show

Instead, let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous  living, living
Instead, let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show

Your eyes are closed when you’re praying
You sing right along with the band
You shine up your shoes for services
There’s blood on your hands

You turned your back on the homeless,
And the ones who don’t fit in your plan
Quit playing religion games, 
There’s blood on your hands
Instead, let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous  living, living
Instead, let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show
I hate all your show 

I hate your show, America. I am sick of it. I am sick of you claiming to be a Christian, but you’re denying hungry children food.  You’re cutting funding for a program that feeds hungry veterans (as well as elderly). You’re overturning the ACA, which will KILL my friends. 

So, you know how the entire Bible is Jesus being all “PEOPLE NO!” and people are all “PEOPLE YES!” And Jesus is like “Oh my me, seriously, people, DON’T!” and people are like WATCH ME? Yeah, that’s still the world we live in. Jesus is all “AMERICA NO!” and Trump America is all “AMERICA YES!”

I am sick of fighting for my rights.
I am sick of crying because my friends are hungry, because food stamps is a joke in America. When I was poor and struggling? I got twenty some bucks a month. That was it. I’m still poor and I’m still struggling, but I make do because I have friends who can help me. Not everyone has that luxury. I am one of the “lucky” ones.

I am sick of people trying to take away my health care. “I don’t mean the people like you, who really need it”. Oh? Then which one of my friends DO you mean? I recently fought with someone on the children’s hospital page because they decided that since I’m capable of posting on Facebook, I’m capable of working. I WISH that were true. If I could get paid for being an advocate, if I could get paid for writing accessibility policies, trust me, I would. But a job does NOT exist for everyone. I would need things that just aren’t feasible – ample sick time (for everyone – I have a very weak immune system, so I can’t work around people who are sick. They need to be able to take off, too. I need to take off for appointments. And days when I’m sick), excellent insurance, numerous in-house things, etc.

Here’s the thing. Our system is broken. It needs to be fixed. But taking away food and health care isn’t the way to go without it. Jeopardizing lives isn’t the way to do it. It’s not what Jesus wants. It’s not what He would do.

He would love.

He would heal.

He would help.

He would do the Jesus-y thing.

He hates your show, too, America. And he sees right through it.

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Well done, Sister Suffragette

Cast off the shackles of yesterday
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sing in grateful chorus

Well done, Sister Suffragette

No matter how you slice it, it’s a historical seven days. November 2nd, 2016 the Cubs ended a 108 year streak of no title (Go Cubs go, go Cubs go, hey Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are going to win today!) And on November 8th, we’ll either elect our first female president or our first…. whatever Donald Trump is.

I voted early today. And I had to make a choice. Who do I vote for?

 

I am a Christian. My faith is important to me. I have LGBT friends who I dearly love – in fact, some of my closest friends are LGBT+. How can I vote for someone whose vice president  advocates for horrifying “therapy” for them? How can I vote for a president who wants to deport refugees?

I hear people say they are voting for Trump because he is pro life. First, read this.  And if you are still convinced The Cheeto is pro life, read this.

Who did I vote for?

I voted for Hillary Clinton.

I don’t think she’s perfect. I don’t agree with all her policies. I’m not happy with how the whole email scandal played out. I am  NOT condoning her actions by voting for her.

But this election, LITERAL lives are on the line. LGBT lives. Muslim lives. Any life who doesn’t fit Trump’s every changing whim. Women put their lives on the line so that they have their right to vote. How can I throw that back in their face by putting even MORE lives on the line?

Yes, I could have done a protest vote. Yes, I could have voted third party. But I’m that terrified of a Trump presidency I just can’t. I can’t with a president who has mocked disabilities. I can’t with a president who has such horrific views.

This is one of the most terrifying blog posts I’ve ever written. I’m scared. I’m scared my friends will hate me. I’m scared friends will desert me. I’m scared that I will be mocked over social media. I’m scared my faith will once again be challenged.

But right now, #ImWithHer. Right now, I am hoping that my daughter’s daughter’s will sing in grateful chorus, being thankful that  Donald wasn’t elective. Right now, I am throwing away being meek and mild and doing what in my heart is right.

And that is why I am a Christian who voted for HRC.

No more the meek and mild subservient we
We’re fighting for our rights militantly
Never you fear

So cast off the shackles of yesterday
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sing in grateful chorus
Well done
Well done
Well done, Sister Suffragette

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Where is the love?

There is something I see lacking when people talk about the transgender bathroom issue. There’s something that just isn’t there. There’s something that Christians seem to forget about. And that’s love. 

Where is our love, America?

Why are we not loving our brothers and sisters?

Where is our love? Are you acting in love when you use slurs to refer to transgender people? Are you acting in love when you try to deny them the simple right to pee? 

Why don’t you try being companionate? In the Bible, Jesus hung out with the people the world deemed unacceptable. In the Bible, he would have hung out with transgender people. Let’s not be naive, they existed then. 

Why can’t we show some love? Instead of spewing hate, why can’t we say “hey, I’m here to listen to you?”

The Bible at the very core is a doctrine of love. But Christians mess it up and turn it into fuel for their hatred. They take what was once filled with  love, and turn it into something despicable. 

Let love win. Let love show up. Use the gentle grace of Christ. For we love because he first loved us. We reach out to our neighbors and companions and friends in love.

The thought of my loved one being afraid to use the bathroom breaks my heart. I’ll go with you. Whatever minority or majority you are. You deserve the freedom to pee. Christ didn’t die so that we could persecute your bladder. Christ wasn’t crucified so that we can spew hatred toward your urine. He loves and accepts us all. He died to show us what love is. He died  to forgive the sins of the world, I can’t imagine how hard and painful and even scary that was. And no matter how hard and painful and scary it is for you, you can use the same bathroom as a trans person. I’ll let you in on a little secret: you already have. 

Stop with the it’s to keep predators out bullshit. If a predator wants to go in, a predator will go in. All this law does is make the lives of an already persecuted minority harder. You are just as safe as you always were using the bathroom at Target. 

Stop claiming it in the name of childhood sexual abuse survivors. We do not exist as fuel for your hatred. We do not exist for you to use us as your poster child for why this law needs to exist. 

Love, my friends. Use love and compassion. Stop with the vile hate filled words. Stop with the slurs. The insults. The assumptions. Instead show Christ in your interactions. 

I am a Christian. And I support the right of transgender folx to use the bathroom they feel most confident in. Because it’s what I believe Christ would do. 

Also this is not really related but I think of it every time the issue comes up. So there. 

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To go back to where I was would just be wrong

I’ve come a long way from where I used to be. I have changed a lot from the person I once was. And I never want to be who I was again. So many people I know lament the past, and it’s something that’s hard for me to understand. Perhaps because I’ve always been chronically ill. Perhaps because I’m an abuse survivor. Perhaps because I no longer self injure and my eating disorder is in recovery?

I don’t want to go back to where I was. Wearing long sleeves when I didn’t want to to hide the scars. Though now because I’m always cold I still wear long sleeves often, but that’s beside the point. Bargaining with myself in order to eat. It’s not something I want to go back to. I’m living on my own. I’m more confident. More radiant. More independent than I ever thought I’d be. And even though some day, maybe even some day soon, I may have to live into assisted living, I still don’t want to go back to the past.

I mean, sure, I get homesick sometimes. I’m my only family. I have to fend for myself. But I don’t want to go back to Ohio to live. Minnesota is my home now. I can’t even go back to a time I was healthy, because even though I’m sicker now than I ever was as a child, I’ve never truly known healthy.

But I know that I can’t live life in the past. I know that I can’t live life with what ifs. I know that I have to keep going, keep going, keep going. And I know that it will be worth it all.

 

Oh, I’m pressing on
All my distress is going, going, gone
Oh, I’m pressing on, pressing on
And I won’t sit back and take this anymore
‘Cause I’m done that, I’ve got foot out the door
And to go back to where I was would just be wrong,
I’m pressing on

Pressing On – Relient K

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I focus on the pain, the only thing that’s real

Image description: a cute little bee wearing a green hat, with the text "Your Illness does not make you a burden."  from the EMM, not Emma facebook page

Image description: a cute little bee wearing a green hat, with the text “Your Illness does not make you a burden.”

The one thing I wish I had know about chronic illness is how utterly hopeless it gets. I have never been a healthy person. I was born with a collapsed lung, so from day one, I was destined to a life of pain and disability. No one’s life comes with a manual or a handbook, but the one thing I wish I had known before watching things gradually getting worse was how hopeless things got. The one thing I wish I knew as I grew into, not grew out of, my disabilities is how incredibly bleak things get. There’s nothing in the world that can prepare you for this life. There’s nothing in the world that can get you ready for how dark things are. No one told me how horrible the depression was that went with chronic illness. No one told me how incredibly HARD it would be.

No one told me there would be days that I would want to die – not because I wanted to commit suicide, not because I had depression, but because it was the only end to the pain I could see. No one told me that there would be days where all my time would be spent crying, making phone calls, and sending emails – trying so desperately to get insurance to cover what I so horribly need. No one told me.

No one told me that I’d struggle with my faith. No one told me that I would see no hope. No light. No love. That I would feel so empty, so hopeless. There’s no words for the overwhelming emptiness and despair when you live in so much pain. When you throw every med at it, and you’re still not better. When a hope is dangled in front of you, like a carrot in front of a horse, but insurance cruelly yanks it away from you.

Image description: A puppy, with the text "You don't have to apologize for your illness. It's not your fault and you haven't done anything wrong."

Image description: A puppy, with the text “You don’t have to apologize for your illness. It’s not your fault and you haven’t done anything wrong.”

No one tells you that you feel at fault. That you feel you did something wrong to deserve this life. That you are a failure for dropping out of college due to medical reasons. No one tells you that some days, you wonder if you had made certain choices or done things differently, you won’t be this way.

No one tells you at first, it seems nice to sleep so much. But what people don’t realize is that it’s one extreme or the other. You sleep all the time, or you don’t sleep at all. They don’t realize that some days, you pee or shower. Literally. They don’t realize that sometimes, you get up the energy to walk to the bathroom, but then have to take a nap on the bathroom floor before you can shower. They don’t tell you that somedays, you walk back to your bedroom but you’re literally too tried to crawl back to bed, so you take a nap on the floor.

They don’t tell you that at first, it seems nice to have all the free time in the world. But you really don’t. Because some days, you’re too sick to move. Too sick to play a video game, too sick to watch a movie, too sick to even pick up your phone. Too sick to do the dishes, so you just throw them away rather then do them because you cannot cope or function.

They don’t tell you how you some days have to decide what food will taste the best coming back up. When you’re so hungry you’re crying, but so sick you can’t eat. There’s nothing that can prepare you for that. There’s nothing that can make you realize this is now your life. They don’t tell you some times you LITERALLY have to choose between one disease and the other to treat, because they don’t play nice together and the meds interact and could literally kill you before the disease does.

Above it all, no one tells you how lonely it is. How isolating. How it feels that no one understands. How it feels to be in so much pain that it hurts to even cry. To think. To be trapped inside your head, your body, your house. And that there is no cure.

But above it all, no one tells you that no cure does not mean there is no hope. No one tells you that because of this pain and suffering, you appreciate things that you never thought you would. Like actually putting on pants. Like actually sitting up. Like being able to sit outside barefoot, and feel the grass between your toes. They don’t tell you that you learn to live and adapt in ways you never thought possible. And that is a beautiful thing.

Note: The pictures came from the EMM, not Emma facebook page. Please click the photos to see her work! 🙂

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give in to love, or live in fear

Image is of me holding up a sign with words written in many colours. The words say "LOVE IS THE MOVEMENT. MY GOD IS LOVE."

Image is of me holding up a sign with words written in many colours. The words say “LOVE IS THE MOVEMENT. MY GOD IS LOVE.”

So, once upon a time (that is, back in high school), I was anti homosexuality. I hate saying that. I feel disgusting saying that. I feel like it’s a part of my life I should hide. That whole “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” thing? I thought it was the most clever thing EVER. I thought it was amazing! I thought I was speaking in love when I called people out. I thought I was, you know, being a good little Christian girl and looking out for their souls. I was mistaken. I was wrong. I was cruel. I don’t want to think about the poems I wrote (yes, I wrote anti gay poems. I cringe majorly).

But the thing is, people can change. It doesn’t make it right. It makes it wrong. It doesn’t mean I didn’t hurt people with my words and feelings. I did. I hurt people who are now my friends. I hurt people before I knew them. I was a hateful person, even though I thought I was speaking in love. Even though I thought I was being kind and compassionate. I wasn’t. I was far from it.

What did it take for me to change? I read stories. My heart started breaking. I realized I was using love as a guise, I realized I was using love as a reason to hate. It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? That I was using love to fuel hatred? I thought I was being so kind and caring and compassionate. I wasn’t. I was wrong.

I studied the original Greek and Hebrew texts. I prayed. I wept. I talked with friends. I talked with people deeper in the faith than me that I trusted. And I came to realize that using my love to fuel hate was wrong. I came to realize that there was something greater I could do with my so called love – I could rally to make a difference.

Instead of trying to change people for what I thought they were doing wrong, I could pour my energy into making a difference in their lives. I could be a kind, compassionate friend. A listening ear. Someone who wept with them when they were mistreated. Someone who stood up for them when they needed an ally. Someone who was ready and willing to be a voice for them.

It isn’t easy to admit that you’re wrong, you know. It isn’t easy to admit that you were once filled with hate. Am I ashamed of it? Yes, yes I am. But I know now, with all my heart, I am no longer that person. I can love. I can teach. I can learn. Anyone can. People can change and people can mature.

I’m sorry I was a bigoted asshat. I am that way no longer.

Love is love.

Love knows no gender.

Love is for everyone.

And I fully believe, with all my heart, that God feels the same way.

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Your heart will be heard through your unspoken word through generations to come

I woke from a dream last night; I dreamt that you were by my side. Reminding me I still had life in me. I remember you like yesterday, yesterday. I still can’t believe you’re gone. I remember you like yesterday, and until I’m with you, I’ll carry on. Every lament is a love song, yesterday, yesterday, I still can’t believe you’re gone, every lament is a love song, yesterday, yesterday, so long my friend, so long. – Switchfoot, Yesterdays.

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since the guy who taught me there was a God outside the fundamentalist view of God existed. The guy who’s first profound question to me was “What is your favorite type of cheese?”. The guy who once peed in a cup for me. The guy who saved my life. One of the few who has physically seen me cry, and openly wept with me. Who motivated me to go into the ministry.

I forever regret the fight we had summer of 2010. If only I’d known then what I know now, but I can’t change the past, I guess. But I wish he could have seen the person I became. The girl who decided to become a hospital chaplain. Who had two back surgeries. Who struggled. Struggled. Struggled. But yet, still had her faith. The shaken faith stayed. And it’s thanks to him.

Jesus has overcome, and the grave is overwhelmed
Victory is won, he is risen from the dead

And I will rise, when he calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise, on Eagle’s wings
Before my God, fall on my knees
-Chris Tomlin, I Will Rise

How fitting now that the song we often had on repeat was I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin. It was even at his memorial service.

I admit the childish, immature side of me is jealous. Jealous that he is finally free of pain, at a younger age than me. Jealous that he gets to meet his saviour, his redeemer, his jesus while I am still here, longing and waiting.

It somehow gets easier, right?

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

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Give in to love, or live in fear

There’s been so much hate circling the Internet lately. Toward the Duggars, toward Caitlyn Jenner, toward people of colour, toward disabled people. Everywhere you turn there’s a new horrifying story on the Web. Why can’t we simply learn to love?

God loves the Duggars. Yes, even Josh Duggar. Yes, what he did to his sisters was awful. Yes, God forgave Josh Duggar – if Josh truly repented before him. But just because God forgave him doesn’t make it okay. Just because God forgave him doesn’t mean that his victims have to act like nothing ever happened. It’s okay to still guard yourself around someone who hurt you, even if God and even if (and that’s a big if) you forgave them. It’s okay to forgive someone, but still never want to see them again.

God loves Caitlyn Jenner. He created her, yes, I said her, perfectly. He loved her when she was Bruce and he loves her now as Caitlyn. She was still created perfect and precious in His sight. God is saddened when people spew hate at anyone. Spewing hate does nothing, my friends.

God loves people of colour. He gave up His son and His son’s life for them. He weeps with them as the police hate them, attack them, for no reason than the colour of their skin. Why are we defending the police officer? If the same police officer had attacked a white boy for the same reason, we would be up in arms. Why does their skin tone automatically change everything?

God loves people with disabilities. We have the sam rights and freedoms as everyone else. We deserve to fly a plane and not risk being escorted off. We deserve to walk down the street and not be turned into someone’s inspiration. We deserve the same life as everyone else.

God loves us all. He doesn’t pick and choose.

So why the hell do we?

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My Jesus, the children, He holds in His eyes

The ones you loved, they let you down,
And I want you to know that I’m sorry
The choices that they made were wrong, you were caught in the middle
And I’m sorry

So when the anger and the pain get the best of you
I know it feels like you’re all alone, but I am feeling it too

‘Cause you’re my little girl, you’re the one that I created
No one in this world  could ever be like you
When you’re crying in the night, all you need to do is call me
And I’ll be there, ’cause you’re my little girl

When you’re looking in the mirror,
I hope you’re liking what you see
Because no matter what you’re feeling,
You’re perfect to me

Cause I’ve seen you as a child, blameless in my sight
Just spend some time with me, and I’ll make everything all right 

‘Cause you’re my little girl, you’re the one that I created
No one in this world  could ever be like you
When you’re crying in the night, all you need to do is call me
And I’ll be there, ’cause you’re my little girl

I know you don’t deserve what you have been through
I know it doesn’t seem fair,
I know there are times when you think you’re alone,
But you’ve got to know that I will be there

Cause you’re my little girl, you’re the one that I created
No one in this world could ever be like you
When you’re crying in the night, all you need to do is call me
And I’ll be there for you, ’cause you’re my little girl

– Go Fish, You’re My Little Girl

With all the news of the Duggars lately, it’s been an abuse survivor’s nightmare. Constant reminders of faith gone wrong. Constant reminders of protectors turned perpetrator. It’s difficult.

But there is a God who still loves the broken. The hurt. The weary. There’s a God is still patient, and a God who is still love. There’s a God who is still there to heal hurts.

There’s still hope. Hope never ran dry. There’s still love, even for the ones who feel unlovable. It’s still there.

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A Letter to the Duggar Daughters

If you haven’t heard of the scandal with the Duggars, you may live under a rock. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.There’s a wonderful thing called Google which will inform you of all you need to know. Anyway. 🙂

Dear Duggar Daughters,

What your brother did to you was deplorable. I’m sorry you had to suffer like that and join the ranks that no one wants to join. I’m sorry that this is being rehashed left and right – when it should have been said and done all those years ago.

Know that it wasn’t your fault. You were children. Even if it happened now, it still wouldn’t be your fault. Nothing you wore made it happen. Nothing you said made it happen. Nothing you did made it happen. It was your brother’s choice to commit that crime. Yes, crime. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a crime.

Know that it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t acceptable. While it happens in countless families, it’s not normal. It shouldn’t have happened. It wasn’t just a boy playing doctor, it wasn’t just a young boy who was curious. It was your brother and he committed a serious crime. It should not have been brushed off like it was.

I understand if you say you forgave him to save face. It’s okay if you actually haven’t. It’s okay to be bitter and angry with him. What he did was terrible. Older brothers are supposed to protect their younger sisters, they’re not supposed to abuse them. I hope that you’re able to find peace. I hope that in the midst of the storm of it being brought back up, you are able to find hope again. But it doesn’t mean you have to forgive him. I fully understand, oh how I understand, that fundamental Christianity taught you that you have to forgive him and act like nothing happened. But that’s not true. It’s okay if you haven’t. It’s okay if mentally, you want to drop him feet first into a corn grinder.

Above all, I hope you know you aren’t damaged goods. I hope you know that each and every one of you deserves love and hope and a man who treats you right. Everyone deserves that, but most of all people who have seen hell and back deserve it. I hope you know that despite all this, there’s a God who loves you and who weeps with you. I hope you understand that there is healing and hope again. And I hope you know that I pray for you. I pray you find hope. I pray you find peace. I pray that you find a way to create your life again – be it forgiveness or not, be it having a relationship with your brother or not. Whatever you choose, you’ve got to choose what’s right for you.

I’m so sorry your abuse and intimate life details are being displayed in the limelight. You did nothing to deserve that – it was the choice of your family to paint out your lives on TLC. I am so sorry that all these years later, it’s coming back to haunt you. All abuse survivors want that, but when we don’t find closure, we find life haunting us. I hope that one day, you get proper counseling and are able to heal.

I’m closing with the lyrics to one of my favorite songs.

Innocence – Seventh Day Slumber
Something I’m not supposed to talk about 
The way you violated me 
Something that I could’ve lived without 
The way you put your hands all over me 
I wonder do you lie awake and think at night? 
How you tore my innocence in two 
I wonder do you cry yourself to sleep at night? 
‘Cause I can tell you it’s what you made me do 

[Chorus:]
And I can’t get back my innocence 
I can’t get back my innocence 
how could you steal my innocence? 
how could you steal my innocence? 

Sometimes I think about what I would do 
If I ever saw your face again 
So many untold stories only you can tell 
Guess I’ll just let God contend with you 

[Chorus:]
And I can’t get back my innocence 
I can’t get back my innocence 
how could you steal my innocence? 
How could you steal my innocence? 
I can’t get back my innocence 
I can’t get back my innocence 
How could you steal my innocence? 
How could you steal my innocence? 

God gave me back my innocence 
God gave me back my innocence 
God gave my life back to me 
God gave me back my innocence