It is well with my soul
If you don’t want to read this, at least listen to the song. Kelly is about to be much more honest than she usually is while blogging.
Since Friday, I have felt so heavy-hearted. There is no other word for it. Part of it is for people close to me who are lost or hurting or both. And part of it started when my faith was attacked by someone, under the guise of “love.” It struck me a lot more deeply than it should have.
I live in a place where culturally, I fit in less every day. It’s not just that I vote Republican in a blue state, and indeed, in a very, very blue county. It’s that, as the Bible promised, my beliefs make me an alien in this world.
Perhaps you think you know what my beliefs are. The problem, though, is that I have never spelled them out on my blog, which is the place I tend to be the most verbal. And this morning, I got up to run, but hurried back home early, because it’s time for me to make them clear.
I believe there is one God, eternal life, two places in which it can be spent, and only one way to Heaven.
I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died in place of all of us because whether or not we have good intentions, we are all sinners. I believe that in the flesh, He lived again on this earth and that He also lives in the hearts of all who call on His name and believe in Him.
I believe any thing that we put above Him – whether it’s another powerful figure, another deity, our own selves, our jobs, money, our kids, whatever… that is the worship of a false god. I believe that the truth I embrace is absolute truth. The doctrine of “whatever you believe is ok, just believe in something” is as dangerous as it is ignorant. Why believe something if you don’t believe in it all the way, if you don’t believe it to be the utmost truth? I do. And perhaps in the past I have given reason for others to think I negotiate my truth or that it is flexible. Not so. If it is in the Bible, I believe it. And when interpretation is difficult, I pray and ask God to guide me. Because Christianity is not about the church I go to or the title of my denomination. Christianity is about a RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST. It defies logic and cannot be explained. And though there are historical facts upon facts to back it up, they are not the most important piece. When you walk with Jesus, you know this truth as deeply and certainly as you know anything else. That is being a Christian, and that defies doubts.
Now… onto the more social/political parts:
I believe abortion is murder. I believe every woman does have a choice in most cases… the choice whether or not to engage in activity that might lead to pregnancy. When that choice has been taken from her, then I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m not going to say a woman who has been raped or who might die giving birth or carrying a child should have the child anyway. I’m not in a place to say that. I will say that I don’t believe it’s black and white. I will also say that any woman who has ever been pregnant yet still believes in “choice” confounds me to no end. There will never be anything as amazing in my life as feeling and seeing my precious daughters inside my body. And the notion that because they were inside me that their bodies were not sacred is a LIE. Even now, outside the womb, everything I have is theirs first. It is my job to protect them with all my being because they cannot protect themselves. That’s not an opinion: it’s motherhood, and if you don’t believe that, don’t have sex. Don’t risk it.
I believe that homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says it. And I don’t care if it’s “politically incorrect” for me to say what I am about to say: one of the dearest people in my life is gay. I don’t condemn him. I don’t judge him. And I don’t want him to be alone or be lonely. I love him and want him to be happy. So you see, my belief does not make me a bigot or an intolerant jerk. It breaks my heart. It is not something I can easily reconcile; indeed, it’s not something I have reconciled at all yet. Additionally, I don’t believe, like so many “popular” Evangelicals seem to, that homosexualality is any worse a sin than other others… lying, gossiping, cheating on taxes. It’s all the same in God’s eyes. And God gives grace for all of it, new every day.
PAUSE: I believe in forgiveness. Several years of my life were lived in sin that is every bit as offensive to the far-religious-right as anything else. Most of you know this story. I was condemned by my church. I was disowned by so-called family. I lost friends. It caused the most difficult times of my life. And yet… there was grace for me. I pass that grace on. I will not judge as I was judged.
I believe bigotry is at a dangerous level in our country. I don’t have to put labels on it. All sorts of groups harbor hatred and resentment and <i>intolerance</i> against other groups. And though I have never been beaten for my race, my values, my gender, my sexual orientation, I have been mocked. Yes, I have been judged. So have most people I know. It’s not right. And in the wake of the presidential election, a historic one in which a half-black man has been elected, I fear it’s about to get worse. His election <i>is</i> historical. I am proud we have come to a place in which we would elect someone who is not “an old white guy.” I was also proud of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. I was also proud of Mike Huckabee (he might be old and white, but he did not compromise his beliefs to fill people’s ears with candy). I’m hopeful that as my children grow, they will know a country where people truly are assessed on the “content of their character.” But, I fear, based on reactions around me, there are people who voted in this election based on very shallow things. (Yes, conservatives do it too). I just hope that we, our country, did the right thing.
But whether or not we did, I know in my heart today that God is in control. He doesn’t need our permission. He made the world. We make our choices, but it’s in His hands. It’s another paradox I can’t grasp, but one I am grateful for when things go in a way that confuses, disappoints, or scares me.
If you’re my friend, if you’re reading this, you know the heart behind it. You know it is written with both conviction and love. I do not want comments here, because these are my thoughts. But if you want to discuss something here with me, send me a message. I would be happy to talk. And if you don’t want to be my friend any more because of it, that is fine too.
If you voted for Obama, I’m happy you are happy. And I will be more graceful to you than some people were to me during the last two elections. We need to respect who is in the office. It’s a difficult job and times are tumultuous. I will never stoop to say some of the things about Pres-elect Obama that people have said about Pres Bush, or Sen McCain, or Gov Pain or their families. I will pray for him. I do believe he has good intentions. May we all serve and be served well.