Thursday, August 23, 2012

Where My Heart Is (Before Where I've Been)

I've been compiling photos and thoughts for what I thought would be my first post in awhile. (The "Where I've Been" post.) But then a weary and tender-hearted friend posted on Facebook a link to this blog and a certain post so spoke to me that I wanted to share it. Now. Feel free to read the whole post, but I feel eager to have her sound thoughts read, so I'll type out the last half of her post here. It is her response to the Chick-Fil-A debacle and the following firestorm only now dying down. (Please God.)

Jen Hatmaker is the blogger and she expresses better than I ever have what My Theology looks like. Or what I want for it to look like. Actually BEING like Jesus is hard for all of us, isn't it? She opens with background of her childhood in Kansas, where the tornados raged overhead while the family retreated to their basement refuge. You'll see that theme show up in the following:

"...lest you unfairly brand me as a mouthpiece for the right, I hate the culture wars on both sides of the party line. Christians, do you really think posting pithy statements on Facebook about 'standing firm in our values' and 'resisting the liberal media' is helping? The lines we draw in the sand do absolutely nothing except assure everyone else: YOU'RE OUT. When we turn to politics and power to legislate our brand of morality, we take the opposite approach of Jesus whose power was activated in the margins with the oucasts...humbly...peripherally.

I'm sick of the Jesus forwards and judgment. Sick of majoring in gay marriage. Enough, everyone. With every hate Tweet and finger jab and Bible bludgeon, you are telling my gay friends they are indeed unwelcome, unloved, unvalued and uninvited. If your agenda is to battle homosexuality, how's that going? How many gay folks read your Prop 8 yard sign, knocked on your door, and said, 'Thank you for voicing your opinion to the neighbors in this manner. Would you kindly invite me in and teach me how to be straight? And do you have a Bible study I can join?'

When we resort to the same tactics being leveled at Truett Cathy, we sink to the least common denominator and - this is important - we make everything worse. How are these culture wars working out for us? Well, the church is losing around 50K folks a week, and the next generation downright refuses to come. The gay community is ostracized entirely (oh, they've gotten the message alright), and Christianity has turned into white noise.

Digging our heels in even harder is the problem, not the answer.

Love is, if you believe anything Jesus ever said or did.

Everyone is screaming and swearing at each other, pointing fingers and posting cliches on Pinterest. The storm is out of control. What happened to civil discourse? What happened to basic human respect? What happened to good men and women pulling up a seat at the table together and navigating differences with dignity and regard? What happened to listening? What happened to humility?

I'm done. I'm going to the basement, and I invite you to join me. Here is what we hate down in the basement:

We hate injustice.

We hate our own sin and pride and arrogance, and we grieve at how it has wounded, sliced, slashed, and humiliated.

We hate that 25,000 people will die today of hunger and we're arguing gay marriage again.

We hate how the Gospel has been turned into a bludgeoning tool.

We hate pointless arguments that widen the gap and devalue real human people.

We hate abuse and violence and crowded orphanages and trafficked sixth-graders.

And it's not all hate, lest you imagine the Basement Dwellers are a sorry lot indeed. We love some things down in the basement, too:

We love people. Because Jesus does. All of them.

We love grace, because it rescued all of us sinners.

We love healing and redemption, and we get to be a part of that every day, if we are brave enough to say yes.

We love that Jesus uses broken people, because that is our zip code and He chooses us anyway. Mercy is our only sane option.

We love the Body of Christ, when she isn't being a bully or a tyrant or trying to take over the Oval Office and the Red Carpet. I swear, she can be beautiful.

We love Jesus, who was always in hot water with the religious folks for eating with sinners and offering scandalous grace not just to the leper but to the tax collector.

We love love, and we believe in its power.

If you are weary of the storm, come on downstairs. We're going to get on with the business of loving people and battling real injustices and caring for the poor and loving Jesus. We're going to go ahead and offer mercy to one another, even if it is viewed as 'soft' or 'cowardly' or 'dangerous.' (But once I conquer all my own demons definitively, I'll be happy to turn a critical eye on everyone else's. Good?) We're going to trust that Jesus is actually at work in this world like He said, and when He promised that 'His kindness leads us to repentance,' we're just going to believe Him.

Sure, the storm will rage on up there. But you can find refuge just down the stairs. We have a whole thing going on underground. Gay friends and family, you are welcome down here. Marginalized women, come on down. Isolated and confused by organized religion, afraid your questions aren't welcomed? Join us. Activists and bleeding hearts, you are our heartbeat. Plain, old, ordinary sinners saved by grace, you belong here. Misfits, ragamuffins, and rebels, bring the party. Reformed legalists, you are my people. Pastors contending for God's glory an dpeople, help lead us. Dissenters, dreamers, visionaries, we need you.

Come on down to the basement. "


  1. Thanks for sharing DB. I need more posts like this in life.

  2. Weary and tender-hearted. You pegged me correctly! So glad you appreciated this post as much as I did.

  3. This is the most intelligent thing that's been written about this debate.

  4. Wow.

    But doesn't "offering mercy" imply unequal merit? Maybe just skip mercy. Skip righteousness.

  5. hey DB, where are you? I found you on Pinterest via Jen Nofziger!!! DIdn't know you were on Pinterest - started following you.

  6. @Shirley - If you happen to see this reply so much later than your own.... I understand your thinking in how it pertains to the big picture - One person standing head and shoulders above another in morality and deigning to offer forgiveness and mercy. That's hard to get on board with. But I don't believe that's how this thinking was meant. I think we all take turns being unkind or unthinking and ticking off the people around us. So I think that's helpful in terms of mercy and forgiveness. Sometimes it's my turn to be a turd to you and it's your turn to forgive mee. And other times you will be a jerk and it's my duty to extend grace to you.

  7. @Margo - I am still here, imagining that I will get to the blog tomorrow, surely. And then tomorrow rolls around and I didn't get to it again. I haven't quit the blog by any means, but I have lots of attitudes about it swirling around in my head. Let's see if I can make some order of them....

    1. The blog is musings about my life, not a replacement for my life. There's nothing in my day that I want to give up in order to add to my blog.

    2. I used to do a lot of writing after everyone went to bed and lately I find I'm too tired.

    3. Does anyone really care? This question in my head runs the gamut from narcissism to sensible acceptance. Every now and then I get bummed that even my friends didn't comment on a piece of writing that I did. But then I realize that if I let myself off the hook for writing because the blog isn't my Real Life, then the blog doesn't reflect my real friendships either. I know my friends care about me For Realz and who knows THEIR list of reasons for not getting around to commenting. :)

    I'll bet you've had some similar thoughts through the months and years of writing your grand blog, too. Lemme know sometime.


I write my posts imagining that I am already in the middle of a conversation with you. I hope you will comment and be a part of the conversation.