Sunday, October 19, 2014

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Something tells me not everyone is going to like this post. But something also tells me not to care, because truth needs to be spoken (well, written) and I can't just sit around waiting for someone else to write it. A lot of blogs and articles have hit on different places in my heart, dancing around describing what equality means to me, wandering nearby how I believe God feels about His creatures. But nothing has quite nailed it yet, so it's time for me to speak up.

I don't care who you are. God doesn't love you more than He loves anybody else.

No, I don't think you heard me. He doesn't care that you're white. He doesn't care that you're straight. He doesn't care that you're male. He doesn't care that you're college-educated. He doesn't care that you vote Republican.

No, I don't think you heard me. He doesn't care that you're black. He doesn't care that you're a lesbian. He doesn't care that you're female. He doesn't care that you dropped out of school in eighth grade. He doesn't care that you don't vote.

No, I don't think you heard me. He doesn't care that you are a Buddhist. He doesn't care that you have green hair. He doesn't care that you have more skin covered in tattoos than bare. He doesn't care that you're addicted to gambling. He doesn't care that you are living with that girl you're not married to.

No, I don't think you heard me. He doesn't care that you're Asian. He doesn't care that you own a Mercedes. He doesn't care that you don't want children. He doesn't care that you had your brother sent to jail for something he didn't do just because you were angry with him.

Here's what He cares about:

YOU.

Not your skin color. Not your religion. Not your education. Not your money. Not your political leanings. Not your sexual orientation. Not your views on global warming.

God doesn't love you more than He loves anybody else. But on the flip side, God doesn't love anybody else more than He loves you.

This world, man. I get so desperately angry I just want to cry. I spent the week in Massachusetts with my mother. I toured Salem, where women were persecuted and hanged for witchcraft by people who thought they were better. I toured Plimoth Plantation where we were shown how the Pilgrims came into the Wampanoag's land and treated them like objects, taking some back as slaves, asking if they could 'have' some of them as gifts, as if a human being could be a present to another human being, because they thought they were better. I toured Provincetown, where the 30th Annual Women's Week filled the streets with same-sex couples in a place where they felt safe, where a door to a church read 'Celebrating Ten Years of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts' and I was moved to tears because that's something SPECIAL, something RARE... it's not the norm. The norm is persecution. The norm is hatred or intolerance or misunderstanding at the very least. The norm is, "Well, we'll think about possibly voting on offering you the rights that everyone LIKE US has already," because they think they are better. Then I sat at a marching band competition where the people behind us were making fun of Asian people and Asian culture because they think they are better. And then I came home to watch an episode of Parenthood with my family where a young half-African American boy hears the "N" word for the first time, and his black mother and white father sit together to explain it to him and my heart just breaks.

My heart breaks because I think to myself, "HOW? How can people ever even come up with the notion, the concept in their heart or their mind, that they are somehow superior to any other human being for any reason? ANY REASON AT ALL!?"

But we're surrounded by it. And, so often, it's in the name of 'Christianity', and that just burns me all the more. Christians should know nothing but love. They should exhibit nothing but love. They should be the first ones to stand up for the downtrodden, the first ones to care for the brokenhearted, the first ones to stand up and say, "This persecution is not right." Whether it's slavery, whether it's withholding marriage/benefit rights from someone because you think a passage or two in an ancient book dictates how we should manage everyone's lives today, I've just got to encourage you to FINISH THE BOOK. Read the REST of it. Because, if all you can see is a few random Levitical laws out of context, without knowing the audience it was speaking to, without knowing the bigger picture, without learning about what Jesus really meant for all of humanity, then you can't very well call yourself a Christian. You can call yourself a person who has picked and chosen some verses to back up their own bigoted beliefs, if you like. You can call yourself a sometime scholar, a fair-weather fingerpointer... but you can't call yourself a Christian and give people who really, truly live and die by the love of Christ a bad name.

I mean, you can... and a lot of people ARE... but, well... you shouldn't. It's deceitful. And there's quite a bit against that in them there books, too.

You want something to focus on? Focus on this:

The Greatest Commandment -- Mark 12:28-34

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

That's it, people. That's from the mouth of the Big Guy Himself. That trumps anything else you might have snaking its ugly self around in your heart or your mind. We're supposed to love God, and then we're supposed to love other people. It's so simple, right? It can't be so simple.

But oh, yeah. It is. It really is. Because He created the white people AND all of the other skin colors, too. He created the straight people AND He created every single person on the LGBTQ spectrum, too. He created people who became pastors, and He created people who became accountants, and He created people who became strippers. Whether you were born a certain color or gender or sexual orientation, whether you were born into a wealthy or poor family, whether you chose to live for Him or not, He loves you exactly the same as He loves all His other children: with a completely unconditional, constantly pursuing, blatantly unabashed, I-would-die-for-you-and-DID kind of love.

Stop looking down on others. Stop looking down on yourself. Stop thinking God is so small. Stop hating. Stop bullying. Stop everything you're doing unless it's loving someone else.

Because that's the only thing you can do in this life to get it right.

Stephanie Jean


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