Remember those bracelets?

Personally, I find it difficult to activate that mantra when I am dealing with people who think it’s optional that people different from them, or those they don’t dare to understand, should be allowed to live their lives the same as the “rest of us” (OMG, that’s such a HUGE othering phrase!). I mean, what WOULD Jesus do with the folks that think it is their right to abuse, oppress, or ridicule someone else? Shouldn’t they be punished in some way? But then, I don’t believe in a God that punishes. So I find myself repeatedly examining what IS mine to do about people who stick to their guns (figuratively and literally) when it comes to their prejudices knowing that the backbone of prejudice is generally a lack of knowledge or experience.

Maybe there’s nothing for me to do… maybe there’s nothing that can be done. Maybe doing nothing and pretending this doesn’t happen is the thing to do. Right? It doesn’t affect me, so I’m just going to be positive, not talk about the hard things, and it will eventually, magically fix itself. I mean, I definitely don’t want to rock the boat or make the bigots and crazy Uncle __________ uncomfortable!

Buuuuut… WWJD?

Sidebar: In the parable of the Good Samaritan as a story-lesson told by Jesus as told by Luke who was taught by Paul in answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor,” this Good Samaritan stopped and helped a stripped and beaten Jewish guy even though back in the day these two groups hated each other. No one stopped to help him — not even another Jew! They didn’t want to get involved. But this Samaritan could have passed him by because he was “different” and they didn’t agree theologically, politically or socially speaking. And yet, he showed mercy. The Samaritan didn’t stop and ask him about his sexual orientation, or if he had a criminal past, didn’t care if he had piercings, didn’t know if he had a home or not, knew nothing of the presence of any addictions, didn’t ask if he was identified as a female at birth, had no clue if he had a side gig dressing in women’s clothing and partying like it’s 1999… he only moved on “love (the greatest commandment or law of all) thy neighbor.” WWJD? That.

It’s not hard to guess how Jesus would have treated trans folks, brown, black, or white folks (In case you missed the geography and ancestry lessons, Jesus wasn’t white.), gay and queer folks, drag queens, people without homes, immigrants (especially the brown ones, because lordy y’all are so welcoming to immigrants from European and other Caucasian-hegemonized countries — but I digress….), prisoners, addicts, etc. I don’t think he would have found them to be of such little value at all. I also don’t believe he would have felt his existence threatened in any way by any of them, nor do I believe that he would have felt that his own existence was somehow subtracted from or made less-than by their existence, AND I don’t believe he would have felt he was in any way superior to any of them. (Taking a breath….) YES, all that can exist in the same space at the same time… much like people. <side-eye>

In fact, I believe Jesus was not only a healer, a Rabbi (hopefully if you’re a follower, this is not news to you), and prophet, but a social worker and an activist as well. And dare I say it? A socialist. <gasp> But somehow so many of us hide behind fair-skinned, blue-eyed, light brown-haired Jesus when we want to protect our prejudiced, bigoted behaviors. I wonder what Jesus would have said about that. Some of us even go to churches and other places of worship that encourage that behavior which is not like what Jesus taught at all.

In my best Jesus voice (because I do have one in my head): Oh, never mind. I’m saving that for another post. You’ll have to wait a minute.

From the very beginning of Jesus, and even the beginning of the thought of Jesus, we have resisted changing our thoughts and mindset while claiming to be a follower, a student, a worshipper. We have continually tried so hard to make Jesus wrong without saying that he was wrong out loud. We have manipulated scriptures since even before Jesus; we seek out places of worship and groups that identify and align with our behaviors that are based outside of love, and then turn around and call ourselves “saved,” as if that elevates us somehow. Declaring it doesn’t make it so, but daily behavior and thinking does — or doesn’t. Choices, right?

I mostly think we just need to be saved from ourselves. It’s not like we don’t have the instructions. We have them, but we’re satisfied letting someone else tell us what they say. And I still don’t know what is mine to do about people who can’t figure out how hypocritical they are as Christians who think they can justify limiting someone else’s existence. WWJD? I’m honestly not sure, but I’ll keep asking.

Screenshot of a Twitter post reads: I say this as a theologian: Th3eology is important. But God cares way more about how we treat & love our neighbours (especially our oppressed neighbours) than the accuracy of our theological beliefs about God and Scripture.  Prediction: A lot of the folks who weigh in opposing this are going to weigh in unkindly. They're also going to tell me to learn from slaveholders like American puritans - thereby proving the original premise of my tweet.
The post that got the thinkie thing going this morning.
Graphic reads: I will respect your opinion as long as youor opinion doesn't disrespect anyone else's existence. Caption reads: I don't know to whom credit for this belongs. But I totally agree.
I don’t know to whom credit for this belongs, but I totally agree.

Caitlyn vs. War Heroes, Christians, and the Importance of Stones

How quick we are to judge someone else’s idea of a hero.  How quickly are we to make comparisons of their hero to another hero we approve of.  Unfortunately, this is comparing apples to oranges, and only proves that we have no room to grow in our personal ideology.  It only shows our unwillingness to stand in another’s shoes and have the possibility of some enlightenment and understanding. 
I am weary of everyone comparing Caitlyn Jenner to war heroes (apples and oranges), quoting Bible scriptures about her, and poking fun at her journey.  Just because you cannot imagine it, does not make it untrue.  Just because it is not true for you, does not mean that it is false.  Who are you that you think it is okay to dictate who someone else’s hero should be?  Who are you to ridicule someone else’s idea of who their hero is or should be?  In my opinion, this is a form of bullying.  Yes I said it, bullying!
In case you are still confused or simply unwilling to figure this out on your own:
transitive verb
:  to treat abusively
:  to affect by means of force or coercion
intransitive verb
:  to use browbeating language or behavior 
a :  a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b :  an illustrious warrior
c :  a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
d :  one who shows great courage
a :  the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work
b :  the central figure in an event, period, or movement
plural usually he·ros :  submarine 2
:  an object of extreme admiration and devotion
For those of you who just cannot get past your scriptures and feel the need to laud them over others, here are a few (NIV) to consider before you say another word about Ms. Jenner’s journey.  Consider if you rise above any of this criteria:

  • Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.  John 8:7 NIV
    • Raise your hand if this is you.
  • But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  Matthew 5:39
    • Have you ever lashed out at anyone you were angry with – ‘ever done a vengeful deed?
  • For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.”  If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.  James 2:11
    • Have you ever cheated on someone?  Have you ever killed someone?  (No?  Did you go to war?)
  • When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.  Proverbs 23:1, 2
    • Do you overeat or drink too much?
  • Hosea Chapter 4 (You must look this one up on your own and read the whole chapter.  You will get an interesting view of yourself.)
    • This will surely give you an idea of just how much with or without sin you actually are.
  • Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  Romans 13:7
    • How often have you been 100% honest on your taxes?
  • Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  1John 3:4
    • Wow.  It says “everyone,” not some of you.
  • He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.  Matthew 25:45
    • How do you treat animals, people with different beliefs, children, people with disabilities, people you are not fond of, people who live a lifestyle you can’t/won’t understand?  Have you ridiculed anyone lately?
  • Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7
    • This is easy.  If what you are saying or doing does not resemble love, then you are simply doing it wrong.

As defined above, there are different kinds of heroes.  Men who fought in wars do not hold the definition of hero alone.  Caitlyn is a hero to some, and it is not any higher science that she is not seen in the same way some see a war hero.  I highly doubt that anyone is suggesting that.  You cannot compare Caitlyn to a war hero, just as you cannot compare a war hero to a brave woman who has fought her hardest to overcome a deadly illness.  Moreover, because she is not a hero to you, does not mean she is not a hero to someone else.  Likewise, one who is a hero to you may not be to someone else.  (Mind blown?)  Just because you cannot understand something (or refuse to), does not mean it is not real or true for someone else.  Perhaps it is a signal that it is time to stretch your brain, your mind, and more importantly, your heart!

On a side but similar note, how many of you that are screaming foul about Caitlyn, are yet standing firm with the Duggar family?  Here is your serving of hypocrisy and pretense for the day.
Here is what being willing to learn something new and admitting it looks like:  
The man in this article shared a post, his thoughts, and comparisons, about Jenner being considered a hero.  He just picked a fairly random photo he pulled from the web and posted it.  However, he then took it upon himself to be responsible for the picture he chose to share to illustrate his point.  He read a shocking story behind the photo and (Here is the part to pay attention to.)  instead of ignoring it, he took full personal responsibility and posted an update with the story about the picture.  Notice how many shared this man’s post initially,  then pay attention to how many shared his update.  I call the latter shameful.  It took courage on his part to change his tune once he learned something new.  How many of us are willing to do this even in the face of showing we were wrong?  How many of us would ignore it be able to hang onto an ideal?  That is called a lie, and you can refer to the scriptures above if you would like.
I get that Caitlyn Jenner is up front right now because of whom she is, her celebrity status. To that I say simply, “So what!”  This is not my plea for her to be your newest hero, or to even agree that she is one.  What is true is that Bruce Jenner was my hero and idol in junior high school.  I was even quoted in our school newspaper about that when I was interviewed for “Athlete of the Month,” or something like that.  I still think what he accomplished was amazing.  As an adult I see it a little differently and would see him as someone I admire for his past athletic talents and hard work.

Do I personally think Caitlyn is a hero?  I honestly cannot relate, and that is part of my point today.  The closest I can come to relating is memories of a version of me long ago that was uncomfortable in her own skin until I became more authentic in my life.  I am now more comfortable and a much happier person.  I can see clearly why she is a hero to many, regardless of what my personal beliefs or feelings are on the subject.  I am not in their shoes, so I will not endeavor to attempt at proving them wrong or ridiculing anyone for it.  If she makes someone in a similar life-situation feel better about themselves, gives them courage and hope, helps someone feel empowered, then who am I to throw stones?  My own beliefs are not threatened because someone else has different ones, and I do not make it mean that my beliefs are suddenly null and void or unimportant because of it.

So… about those stones you were throwing?  Instead, how about you kick rocks on your judgements and stop bullying.  Besides, realize that stone might be returned one day!