Thoughts from a Narrow-Minded Christian

IMG_2367I’ve come to a point in my life where I have been so bombarded with so many people’s opinions that I hesitate to share my own unless I’m asked. But this is one of those times I will share my unsolicited opinion and it comes as a result of a perception that has prevailed, if not in our society, then certainly in our media.

If you are a member of the gay/lesbian community and consider me a friend, I hope you will read this to the end. According to many posts, videos, and blogs I have seen lately, my Christian faith makes me an adversary to your rights. However, I don’t feel that is a fair assessment of Christians as a whole.

Are there those who profess Christ as their savior who have been rude, narrow-minded, and downright mean? Yes. Are there those who have used their faith to justify their bigotry? Absolutely. The history of the Christian church is full of instances where people have used their influence to squelch the rights and even end the lives of those they deemed unworthy and unfit. So in the spirit of author Donald Miller’s confession booth (Blue Like Jazz), I confess, the church has sinned.

But a closer look at the author of our faith, paints a very different picture. Jesus accepted and befriended all kinds of people. Jesus ate with the leaders in the community like Nicodemus and with the least among society like tax collectors and prostitutes. His message was love. He said, “I have not come to condemn the world, but to save the world…”John 3:17. In fact his sternest words were for the church leaders who used their influence to oppress others.

So on this Easter weekend, as Christians express their gratitude for a God who would sacrifice so much for us, can we all take our eyes off of his imperfect followers and consider the man Jesus himself and his perfect, revolutionary, passionate love for all.

The Forgiveness Factor

I was confronted recently with the fact that I have a problem with forgiveness. This realization surprised me. I thought I was a forgiving person. I don’t hold grudges. I don’t let people get under my skin easily. I’m pretty easy-going.

But I was reading a book by Joyce Meyer when the issue of a recent hurt came to mind. In the book, Joyce talked about God’s expectation for us in forgiving others. Not only are we supposed to completely forgive, but we are to love our enemies and pray for those who do us wrong. (Luke 6:27-28)

I realized that the reason I didn’t see my unforgiveness was because for me it wasn’t the original betrayal that I held on to, but it was the fact that the person didn’t act the way I thought he should act in the aftermath of the incident. He wasn’t acting sufficiently humbled and repentant. So, I justified the anger I felt.

As I read the book, I admitted that I did not want to forgive the person. I wanted him to get a clue and go away. But I’ve walked with God long enough to know that my anger, resentment and anxiety affected me, not my offender. To use another Joyce Meyer piece of wisdom, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” If I held on to the hurt, it would affect my well-being and my relationship with God.

More importantly there exists the reality that God has forgiven me of every hurt I’ve inflicted on others, every lie I’ve told, every wrong move. Therefore, I have to forgive the ones who hurt me.

So I prayed and asked God to help me, believing that He was the only one who could. I didn’t know how to let go or how I should act around this person. But where our abilities to change ourselves end, God’s power and wisdom work in abundance to change our hearts. Step by step, God began to loosen the chains. The anger I felt is gone and the anxiety is dissipating. God is showing me how to forgive.

 

Almost There

TiVo is a wonderful thing when you are ditching cable. I bought a box this week, hooked my antenna up to it and BAM! I’m up and running. I’ve recorded a few shows and it’s working great. I still have a small issue with reception, but I think I can live with it. Every time the picture gets pixilated I remind myself of the money I’m saving.

I haven’t totally shut off the uVerse yet. I want to live with the antenna for a few days before I box up the DVR and send it back to AT&T. But once I do, I’m down to uVerse for my internet alone. If I account for the basic service, HD and DVR. I’m saving about $30 a month. TiVo is a subscription which is the same as the DVR on uVerse. I still have Netflix and the option of getting Hulu or Roku. I’m still pondering that because I think what I have is all I really need. I’m missing some programming but I can live without them.

I’m flabbergasted at how many options there are out there. It’s time-consuming to save money. But I think I’ve found the best deal for me.

Not So Fast

I can’t deal with the rabbit ears!!! Too much time is wasted on fiddling around with those things to make the channels come in clearly. I’m gonna have to go back to Best Buy and find another option. Maybe there’s a way to boost the signal.

Then, in order to have a DVR, I need a Tivo, which Best Buy was out of last week. It still requires a subscription fee. So, for right now, I’m back to the basic uVerse.

I don’t have time for all of this! It’s all part of their plan. AT&T gets me with the convenience! Grrrrrh!

It’s a Racket

Remember when TV was free?

Those days are quickly coming to a close. I downgraded my uVerse to the very basic. No DVR. No HD. I’m tired of the cost of 200 channels when I only watch about 1/10 of that. I’m committing to downgrading for a year, saving some money and try to take back some of the time I’m losing to channel surfing. I know I can watch the shows I normally record over the internet or on my iPhone with the TV Apps. I decided I would try this for a little while before going all the way and dumping the whole service for a digital antenna.

I tried to watch a show this week (this was Castle on ABC, not a cable channel) and I got a pop-up window telling me to choose my TV service and log in. What????? I can’t stream a show with the internet service I am already buying? I have to subscribe to a cable service too? What a racket!!!! The television agencies and the cable companies have this all wrapped up. If I want to watch a show on a network, somehow they are going to figure out how to charge me for it.

I guess in reality I am paying for the convenience of watching a show any time I want. If I want to use uVerse’s DVR it’ll cost me $15 a month.

But I’ve gotten used to the convenience. Maybe I can get used to having a few extra bucks in my pocket each month and a little extra time on my hands.

The House That Built Me

Last week I was doing an iTunes search and stumbled across the song “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert. I was moved as I listened to the words of a woman trying to rediscover who she is by visiting her childhood home.

I thought about the house I grew up in and as much as I loved that house, it’s not the place I would go to reconnect. My place is a 400-acre cattle ranch in Johnson County. My grandparents lived there. My dad grew up there. It’s the place where we had Fourth of July picnics, Easter egg hunts and Sunday lunches. I think of the old mattress on the living room floor in front of the television where I would fall asleep at night while Mamaw and Papaw watched Johnny Carson. I remember helping Mamaw make a pizza from a Chef Boyardee boxed pizza mix. I remember Papaw never ate a piece of pizza. In my mind I can open the drawer in the kitchen where the packages of M&M’s were stored. I can hear the sounds of cicadas in the summer time and smell the spring bluebonnets.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I found Miranda Lambert’s song the same week my aunt Clydene died and was buried; the same week I saw family and friends at her funeral whom I hadn’t seen in years. I cried the next day for the loss of one of the matriarchs of my family and I cried for the joy of celebrating a life of love and service. But as I helped bury my aunt, I realized that a little bit of myself was buried with her. A part of me is gone too, a part I forgot was there.

Connection to our past takes effort. Some people don’t keep the connection because the past is too painful. I don’t have that excuse. Some people live too much in the past and can’t accept the way things are today. As for me, I’ve just gotten too busy with the present. Revisiting our past does not mean we are not moving forward. But God reminded me that we often have to remember where we come from in order to know which direction to take today.

 

I Need a Hero

Lately I feel like I’ve been in a battle. Ever been there? You’ve tried every angle and still you are getting nowhere? It’s like that.

As a single woman, I have no one to fight this battle for me. It’s just me. And I wonder if that is why I’m getting nowhere. Is the fact that I’m a woman communicate to men that I don’t need to be taken seriously? Or is it my quiet, easy-going personality that communicates to others that I won’t get upset if they take advantage of me. I wonder.

Maybe it’s the whole women’s liberation movement that has blurred the lines of roles in society, and as a consequence in the church as well.

Or it could be that people just don’t get it. We don’t see how our actions affect other people’s sense of security and well-being. There are few from where I stand who are willing to take up the cause of the single woman, widow or orphan. There is no one to act in righteous indignation when one of these is treated thoughtlessly.

Where are the heros? I know there are good men who are heros to the women in their lives. I applaud you and honor you.

But who will come along and fight for me? Who will stand up for me when I am lied to and led into a situation where I am most vulnerable? Who will stand up to the one who dishonors me? Just like men want to be the protectors, women, whether they will admit it or not, want to be protected. I know God is here. He will fight for me. I cling to scripture that proclaims Him as a strong tower, a mighty fortress. But, in the words of a sweet story I heard from the pulpit once, sometimes you need someone with skin on.

Maybe that is just the lesson I have to learn in my singleness. I have to lean on God when there is no one else beside me. Ladies, if you have a hero in your life, be grateful. Thank them for the role they play every day to be a hero to you. Whether it’s fixing the car that rattles or going into battle for you. That is their God-given role. Don’t take it lightly.

Back in the 80’s, Bonnie Tyler sang, “Where have all the good men gone….?” They are out there. I know it. And if you are one, reading this, keep fighting.

Then, just for fun, watch this.