Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly

My Facebook news feed has been driving me bonkers the last couple days.  I keep seeing all these articles that are making me shake my head in utter disbelief.

First, I saw the article about the little girl who was suspended for shaving her head in solidarity with a friend who lost her hair due to chemo.

THEN, I saw an article about a little girl who was kicked out of her "Christian" school for "being too much of a tomboy."  The article said that the school told her that she was confusing people, and that she would grow up to be immoral because of her short hair and tomboy ways.

THEN, there's been the hullabaloo about the World Vision debacle.  First, they decided to hire gay and lesbian people in committed relationships.  Next, there was a HUGE outcry from people who said that WV folks must not read the Bible.  Then, a friend posted a "Thank you" on WV's FB page for them being inclusive, and the comments his post got were sickening.  People were attacking him because he doesn't believe like they do.  People revoked their sponsorships of children, and jumped ship.  But then, WV caved and reversed their new policy.

So, that brings us to "Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God."  It's part of Micah 6:8.  It's a pretty well-known verse (even overused, really).  But here's the thing...It's BIBLICAL.  It's true.  And doing these things, I think, is pretty much the polar opposite of suspending/kicking little girls out of school for the HAIRSTYLE CHOICES.  I think walking with God also has a lot to do with people fighting poverty and starvation.  If GLBTQ people want to work against poverty and hunger, LET THEM.

A couple of months ago, I looked up "Justice" on the Oremus Bible Browser.  There are over 100 instances of the word "justice" in the Old and New Testaments.  And guess what?  Most of them have to do with doing justice for the poor, widowed, orphan, alien, and outcast. 

The people who have the ability to do justice are generally the people with power.  But, instead of doing justice, there are so many people out there who are trying to shove their particular brand of Christianity down the throats of the rest of us. 

I'm a Christian woman.  But I also have really short hair, I preach pretty much every Sunday.  I was a tomboy growing up.  My husband and I make decisions together.  And I believe in the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people.  These folks have been marginalized and told that God does not love them for too long.   

So, Micah 6:8 (and MANY other verses throughout Scripture) tell us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. 

Notice this doesn't say that the LORD requires you to be absolutely right about everything, or to stop feeding starving people, or whatever.  This idea of "needing to be right," I think, is counter-cultural to the Gospel.  The Pharisees and Sadducees of the day thought they were right, and then Jesus came and totally flipped their ideas of who God was for, totally upside down.

I know that Scripture is a complicated, nuanced thing.  I really do believe it is God-inspired.  But I also believe the Holy Spirit inspires within US the ability to follow Jesus.  And I wish more people would get the message to stop being so caught up in who and what they think is wrong, and get MORE caught up in serving and loving their neighbors.  ALL of their neighbors.  Not just the ones they agree with.

And now I feel like a huge hypocrite because I'm so angry at the right.

Monday, March 24, 2014


"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5
So lately, I've been thinking a lot about hope.  Hope seems almost like this "out there" thing for a lot of us.  What does it actually MEAN to have hope?  Can the hope of which Paul was speaking spread to all our lives or "just" our faith life?

Honestly, hope is something I wrestle with.  I TRY to be hopeful, and for some things, I AM very hopeful.  I AM hopeful that God walks with us in all our situations.  I AM hopeful that I am a forgiven child of God.

But sometimes, life throws things at people, where hope DOES seem to disappoint.  You get ramped up and hopeful about something and then BAM!  It falls through.

So, what do we do when hope disappoints us?

I don't really know the answer to that question.  What I DO know is that God's love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, regardless of where we fall on the hope spectrum.  And I pray for endurance for when hope falls away.

So, does HOPE ever disappoint you?
What do you do when it does?