It’s true. I love gay people. God made me do it.

Okay. I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this.

*deep breath*

Okay. Yes. I’m gonna do it.

I’m gonna talk about the big G word.

Remember when it used to mean “happy”? Or was attached to the name of a flower, such as the nosegay?

My, the times have changed. It’s all been causing me to think. And honestly, it’s driving me crazy, so I need to talk about it. Just for a minute. If that’s cool with you.

I was raised to believe that homosexuals were a special kind of dirty evil. That they carried diseases. (More than heterosexuals that have crazy monkey sex [gasp!] do? Yes, of course.) To be avoided but prayed for with utmost reverence, and thank God you weren’t like “them.” You were “safe.”

I’m here to tell you that I have rarely ever felt truly safe in my life. And I’m a woman who married a man. AND we don’t steal or cheat or murder or lie or park in the spots specifically for people with babies when we have no babies.

Avoiding people who are not like me has never brought me safety. Only a sense of entitlement and confusion that I don’t deserve.

So now, I am Facebook friends with at least 6 not-straight folk. I even speak to them occasionally. And I’m okay with that. I am a strong Christian not afraid to live in the world, to take risks, to be like Jesus, look at me go! I am soooo proud of myself.

Isn’t there…more? Shouldn’t there be more?

For the United States, they recently got “more.” Equal rights have been given to every couple who wants to get married, no matter what gender.
Now, as a Christian, I should be the furthest thing from okay with that, right? Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve. (Cause Steve’s MINE, bitches!) Old Testament Law. New Testament passages. The Word of God, which I claim as my blue print for life, condemns homosexuality at least 4 times, if not more. ( Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Revelations 22:15 for example.)

That is valid and important to me; I can’t ignore it.

What I also can’t ignore is the fact that many people are taking these verses out of context. For example, this article. Buzzfeed, you know I love you, but don’t do me like this! Allow me just this once to reference a large passage of Scripture that explains what I’m trying to say.

“Well then, why was the law given? It was to show people how guilty they are. But this system of law was to last only until the coming of the child to whom God’s promise was made.…is there conflict between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could have given us new life, we could have been made right with God by obeying it. Until faith in Christ was shown to us as the way of becoming right with God, we were guarded by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until we could put our faith in the coming saviour...Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian…you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus…there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female…you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:19, 21, 23,24,25,26 & 28.)

And.

“Well then, what shall we say about these things? Just this: the Gentiles have been made right with God by faith, even though they were not seeking him. But the Jews who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law and being good instead of depending on faith. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the scriptures when he said, ‘I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that causes people to stumble, and a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.’ …For Christ has accomplished the whole purpose of the law. All who believe in him are made right with God.” (Romans 9:30-33, 10:4)

AND.

“One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:35-39)  **emphases are all mine**

Now….I am by no means a scholar in the Hebrew and Greek translations of ancient texts, but what I THINK I just read is that the Old Testament law was put in place to show us that it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to not eat bacon and not get tattoos and not cut our hair and not wear jeans with holes in them. Those things are not evil. They were just used as an example to say that even if they WERE evil, we couldn’t stay away from them. And if we can’t even follow laws of just mere outward actions, how can we control what goes on in our hearts? We can’t. Any attempts to be “good” or at least a half-decent human being can only be accomplished through giving ourselves over to THE MOST important commandment: Love. Of God, of others and yes, ourselves. (Not in a selfish way, mind you. Just in a “I don’t hate myself” kind of way.) All of the other commandments can be summed up into LOVE. If you love your neighbour, you’re not going to steal from them. You’re not going to sleep with his wife or her husband. You’re not going to lie to them or murder them. If you love God with all your heart, soul and mind, you will want to live your life in a way that brings him honour and respect and a good reputation. If you claim his name over your actions, you better make sure that they are done in a way that doesn’t conflict with the second commandment of loving others.

In other words, the Crusades were an #epicfail.

Westboro Baptist Church = #epicfail.

Pat Robertson, pastor and founder of The 700 Club = #epicfail.

These parents = #epicfail

And the conclusion of my life so far? Epic fail.

You see, I have this problem where I like people to be happy with me and I would like not to get struck with lightning by God. My love for my Father and my people has been entirely fear-based. Now, being almost 26…I’m tired of this shit. And being tired has led me on the journey to where I am now. The political and social events of the United States and Russia and more have really challenged me to shift my paradigm. And now, after months of struggle and research and guilt and confusion, I am finally ready to confess.

I want to love people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, religions, skin colours, orientations and lifestyles. I think the abuse that the homosexual community has had to live with is heartbreaking and I want to hug all of them and whisper, “We’re not all like this.” I think that God sees all of the hatred and weeps. He still loves us a ridiculous amount regardless, but man, if I had to choose between facing him and discovering I was wrong to love homosexuals or facing him and discovering I was wrong to hate homosexuals, I would choose the former, hands down. Whether or not homosexuality is truly a sin is NOT our call to make, and I’m so glad that those decisions are not left up to me.

As for marriage equality, I support it. Just like I would support the African slaves being emancipated from their owners in the 1800s, or all women being emancipated from abusive husbands and arranged marriages and head coverings…well…someday. From a purely political standpoint, if your constitution says that all men are created equal, then that should mean EVERYONE. At the very least, all couples in a committed relationship should be allowed the same benefits as a married heterosexual does. If someone I was in a committed relationship with was in the hospital and I wasn’t allowed to see them just because there wasn’t a legal document saying that I was married and/or family to them, I would lose my shit. Plain and simple.  It’s not fair. It’s not equal. And I’m so glad steps have been taken to remedy that.

Taking this stand is tough and terrifying. But with each word that I’m writing out, each thought that I have, I have this feeling swelling up in my chest, like…excitement. Conviction. Apology. Love.  Anticipation. What also thrills me? I have said most of this to the one person I never thought I could: my mom. After all, she helped contribute to my “us versus them” thoughts about gay people. But she surprised me by agreeing with mostly everything I said. Why? Because for the last two years, she has essentially lived in a wilderness with no one around her except for draft dodgers, ex-cons, hippies, lesbians and confirmed been-out-in-the-woods-too-long weirdos. Because she’s been made to look at them like they are people. Because she’s an adulterous single-mom who made a lot of mistakes and got deported, but they treat her like a person as well. It’s brutal and beautiful…brutiful.

Before I post this and let the chips fall where they may, I have two people I want to talk about – C & B. I don’t know them too well, but I have had the privilege of seeing a glimpse of what they are about.

I met C at a kid’s camp quite a few summers ago. He was a youth pastor/worship leader. All of the kids flocked to him because he was so fun and caring, and for me, whenever he played his piano and sang, the world stopped. I have rarely heard anything so beautiful in my life, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this man loved God with all his heart and was genuinely worshiping him, and using his gift to lead others into worship as well. He also shared with me personally that he felt I needed to put God first in my life, and everything else would fall into place – at a time when all of my struggles were seriously overtaking me. He had no idea that this was what I needed to hear.

I met B on a college campus in 2009. Our youth group went there for a weekend to see what it would be like to go there when we graduated. On Sunday morning, I was sitting at a breakfast table by myself, and B, a total stranger, came up to me and sat down. We started talking, and I felt totally at ease with her. We shared life stories; I was going through my immigration struggles and trying to maintain a relationship with my mom, and B’s mom had passed away from cancer recently. How did our conversation end? With B offering to pray. For ME. Another time when what I needed was given to me at the most unexpected moment.

Are they believers in Jesus? Yes.

Are they straight? Not in the least.

Does that change the way I feel towards them or mar my experience with them? See my last answer.

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a letter to me

Dearest C ~

Hey, baby girl. How you doing? I sense something different about you.  You’re…lighter. The smile comes a little easier, the heart believes the truth a little more.

You’re so free. Not completely, but remember 10 years ago, when you were so weak you could barely dance at all? I think you know at least 3 hard-core moves now. This is good.

I know, I know. You don’t like to remember the 10-years-ago days, the barely-danceable days, those relentless wilderness days. But you know what? You are so brave. To the point that you not only thought about the past, but you actually drove the road that takes you back to the memories. You willingly got into a vehicle, and this time you didn’t dread every minute that passed by, taking you further away from what you wanted. Instead, you anticipated it, because deep down you knew it didn’t matter anymore. This place held no fear for you now. So you faced it, and you won.

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Driving away from the wreck of the day, and I’m thinkin’ ’bout callin’ on Jesus
Cause love doesn’t hurt, so I know I’m not fallin’ in love, I’m just fallin’ to pieces.

Do you remember?

Do you remember being so afraid that you could barely appreciate the raw beauty of the world around you? Do you remember not being able to tell anyone why you were there, yet you so desperately wished that someone would hear you screaming it out from the inside?

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Do you remember becoming a teenager and this was all you knew? And you believed that this was ALL you would ever know? You ran all over these grasses and bushes, singing and dancing to your own little beat. You were prepared for your life to be over, before it really began. You dreamt about your first kiss, feeling a tiny hand grasp your pinkie in trust, living a true blessed existence in a world of purpose. But they were only dreams to you, because you had already accepted that life as we knew it was ending soon. The new millennium was going to usher in economic collapse, war, famine, disease, death. All the worst things you could think of, this was your future. After all, God had told your family it was coming, so it must be true, right? He was always right and true, and he had had enough of this dirty world. Judgment was coming. And all you could do was hide, here in this wilderness, and wait. Hope, pray, that you would counted worthy to escape, or at least be killed quickly.

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Do you remember how you would play in these places, the friends you brought to life with your mind? The stories you would make up, not knowing yet that you were meant to create them?

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Where you would swim in your underwear because literally no one else was around except your mom. The long float, winding through the fields, all the way down to Willow Lake. No life jacket, just you and the water and the mosquitos.

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Do you remember trying to go to sleep on the couch that faced this view, on December 31st, 1999? You clutched your blanket in fear as the clock ticked closer to midnight, waiting for the cosmic boom that would announce the end of the world. Do you remember waking up the next morning, facing this, wondering if all the people you knew in town were now dead?

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
My weakness I feel I must finally show.

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Do you remember how time went on and nothing changed? And even though you were afraid of what the next day might hold, you were still determined to possess something you could call your own. One window sill. That’s all you needed. It still lives, it’s still yours. Good job, baby girl.

Do you remember when the day finally came and you were 15 and you were told that yes, it was time to leave. To go to the town. To have a chance at living, at growing, maybe even falling in love. After 4 years of wilderness, animals farmed and definitely un-farmed. Snow taller than your waist. Trekking every which way for survival whether by quad or snowmobile or foot. Storing up food that was never eaten except by kleptomaniac squirrels. Watching your mother break down and cry after the windmill for electricity died, and again when the pipes froze so you had to melt buckets of snow-water, and again when your favourite dog got into the anti-freeze and seizured her way into a yellow-tongued death. Four years of wanting to cry and ask, “Why are we doing this? Why is this happening to us?” but never doing it, because in the big picture, none of this mattered. All you could do was let go of anything that felt like emotional attachment; it was too painful. Too risky. And yet, even after all that practice at letting go, you still couldn’t quite shake this place after you left. It had become a part of you, burrowed into your bones, and even though you were free, you still weren’t. Fear still had a stranglehold, the wilderness still possessed your dreams. And you didn’t realize it because, for a little while, you had another battle to fight. The war you’d been waiting for never came, but as it turns out, the government of your country cares about those who disappear into the woods, without any legal papers or intentions. So you gathered up your intentions, paid and struggled and told and re-told the story for those papers. 3 years, and now they’re sitting in your file cabinet. You now possess more than a window sill bookshelf, that’s for sure, darlin’.

One week ago, you went back. You captured these memories on a phone that you used to think only rich people could afford. Ten years since this was your home, and 3 years in a row celebrating Canada Day with a genuine rush of patriotism in your heart. A double-anniversary, metaphors deep. You returned, and guess who you brought with you?

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That’s right. A freakin’ husband. (And lovely friend Heather who was sweet enough to snap this!)

Hello world, how you been?
Good to see you, my old friend

Sometimes I feel as cold as steel
And broken like I’m never gonna heal
I see a light, a little grace, a little faith unfurl
Hello world.

You are so loved by this man, and by so many others. Some know your story, lots of others don’t, but when they meet you, they can tell you’re different somehow. They can’t quite put their finger on it, but they know you’re special. You’re strong. You’re unbelievably goofy, but you’re not helpless.

Look at you. What a journey! You have remembered so much, let go of so much, learning to hold on even more. But you’re not done yet. You grew up thinking you would never reach your 20s, and now, HECK YOU MIGHT EVEN MAKE IT TO 26. And you’re still singing.

Sing it for the boys…sing it for the girls
Every time you lose it, sing it for the world
Sing it from the heart, sing it ’til you’re nuts
Sing it out for the ones that’ll hate your guts
Sing it for the deaf, sing it for the blind
Sing about everyone that you left behind
Sing it for the world, sing it for the world

So be free, little butterfly. This cocoon has disintegrated, and it’s your time to shine with all the colours that have, at times, been painfully swirled into your patterns. Go, go, fly! See where it takes you. But always remember where you came from, not because it inhibits you, but because it brought you to where you are now. Your Father smiles because now you know that He isn’t your enemy, just waiting to bring His wrath upon your life; He is your friend, He was there all along. People may fail, you may fail but He and His love never does. Your life is pure proof.

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I know they say you can’t go home again,
I just had to come back one last time…
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here, it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around, I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory,
From the house that built me.

So when the bad days come, mornings where you wake up from a dream that felt so real, just remember this day. Remember these pictures. They are the truth and you are the story-teller.
Get out there and keep telling it.
Love,
 ~ C
PS: The portions of music listed are what played on my iPhone on the trip up to the property. NOTHING is an accident! Oh, except for the last one by Miranda Lambert. I thought of that one all on my own. 😉