The news media is always rife with stories about foreign countries exporting hate and animosity to the United States, but we hear very little regarding those who promote peace and religious harmony, such as Albania. The Pope's visit focused on the harmonious co-existence between Muslims and Christians in the country.
So, why did I feel the need to do a transgender faith tour? I ran out of fingers and toes (and hairs on my head) as I tried to keep a count of the number of times I have heard LGBT and Christian represented as an either/or proposition. You can be Christian or you can be LGBT, the story goes, but you can not be both.
What intrigues me most is the nomenclature we use to describe this abuse. It is "intimate partner violence" or "domestic violence" or "victimization among peers." The terms themselves are ironic and oxymoronic.
As a follower of Christ and preacher of the gospel, I've been processing all of this for many years now. Consequently, I realize that hurt people tend to hurt people, and abused people tend to become abusers.
"Left Behind" may be the most boring post-apocalyptic movie ever made. Only the irritatingly preachy messages delivered by wooden characters threaten to detract from the glacial speed with which the plot develops.
While the idea of believers being "caught up in the air" is mentioned, it is metaphorically describing the Second Coming. Paul is not claiming, nor even implying that Christians will disappear before all hell breaks loose on earth. In fact, the very idea of the rapture is antithetical to the narrative of scripture.
Crazy is not a bad word. Crazy people are not bad. So I'm reclaiming crazy in public discourse as a way to de-stigmatize mental illness. I stand on the shoulders of many others who repurpose words to empower people whose power has been taken away.
Prior to the development of movable typeface and the printing press, few people of average means owned a Bible. Fast forward a few hundred years, and we see the Internet having much the same effect. Aside from the ease and immediacy of access to information, it also offers an unprecedented variety of perspectives.
I had the opportunity in April of this year to join a group traveling to the Dominican Republic to minister to their "ultra-poor." My expectation was that we would be able to provide some needed food and supplies. What I never expected was to cross the path of a woman who towered above we visiting Americans in passion, heart and character.
All the prayers of the Bible can be condensed into a single prayer. And the prayer is a simple one. Just six lines. I call it The Pocket Prayer.
Religion aside, I firmly believe that those who argue that homosexuality is a choice do so in order to justify senseless beatings of gays and lesbians, and continued discrimination and mistreatment against them. I also believe without a doubt that it is a choice to be a nasty human being.
Current year's Eid al-Adha calls for a conversation among Muslims and all global citizens. We intend to prompt the global conscientiousness regarding the need to help the needy as well as confront those committing crimes against their fellow man and our shared earth.
Believe Me is a movie difficult to categorize. On one hand it appears to be a faith based film while on the other it seems to be a satire of the Christian community. Straddling both genres makes it ineffective in both.
Dare to go there with me, if you will. What if we imagine God's vineyard as described in Matthew 21 to be this beautiful world we inhabit? What will happen if we reject it -- if we continue to treat it with disrespect, fail to listen to its natural woes, dismiss the warning signs it gives us?
No doubt, it is our natural instincts as parents to protect our kids from any harm. To watch them suffer is harder on us -- many times -- than on them.
I won't love them despite their sexuality, and I won't love them because of it. I will love them; simply because they're sweet, and funny, and caring, and smart, and kind, and stubborn, and flawed, and original, and beautiful... and mine.