In the absence of my own, here some good words from another.
A month ago, just before sunset, I was out walking along a quiet rural road near my home when my phone rang.
“Are you sitting down?” My mother asked in a voice that clearly wasn’t normal. I wasn’t, but there wasn’t anywhere convenient to sit nearby, so I asked what was wrong anyway.
“Trent was killed in a car accident tonight.”
Trent is—I typed is out of habit, but now realize I must say was—my 18-year-old nephew. He was on his way home from studying with friends, and would have graduated from high school in just three weeks.
The day he died was also, as it happened, his mother’s birthday. Two days after Mother’s Day.
There is a before and after to grief: one minute, your life, and the lives of your family members are humming along in the ordinary way; the next moment, you enter a new and very…
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My therapist told me that the more transparency I can have in my life, the happier I will be. I believe it. However, in my world, with my specific circumstances, it’s just not the best choice, either for me or for my family. I would experience more loss of close family than I care to deal with, and my wife and children would have to suffer multiple times more than they already do.
So, I continue to trust God for some kind of flourishing life within this cocoon…the shell that hides my straight acting, confident, hopeful, Christian, insecure, fearful, gay self.
It’s a place of safety. A place where I can hide, where all my stuff can be kept safely out of view of those who would never understand and who would wish me harm.
I work really hard at maintaining the shell’s strength and ensuring its integrity. But the tiniest fault line in this shell risks the oozing out of what I’ve kept so closely hidden for so long. I just can’t let that happen.
Except for the rare peek inside that I’ve allowed a few people to have, the cocoon remains intact.
I’m still here, alive and well…and doing a little better every day.
Thanks to the cocoon.
I believe we are blessed to live in a time when we are more openly and gracefully speaking of our sisters and brothers who are transgendered, but I also realize that many of our precious neighbors and family members still face stresses, threats and dangers that the majority of us do not recognize or understand.
It’s November, and November 20th is an awareness day to remember our fellow transgendered human beings who have died: Transgendered Day of Remembrance.
If you wonder why we have a special day like this, please take a moment to peruse articles that educate us on the threats and stresses facing our trans friends and family: murder, suicide,teen homelessness and violent crime.
The conversation about transgendered men and women has gone mainstream and we all know the names of celebrities and public figures who have made their transition in various levels of…
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I get it.
I am a sinner. I have failed. I have miserably failed. I have broken promises. I have demolished covenant. I have undervalued love. I have stretched patience. I have assumed upon grace. I have presumed upon mercy.
You think I’m a mess. You tell me that frequently. So, you try to fix me, to redefine me, to rebirth me, to re-conceive me, to re-imagine me.
You preach about me. You lecture about me. You write about me.
You protest against me. You wish to isolate me. You want to banish me. You dream of imprisoning me.
You compare me to the worst of humanity’s evilness.
I get it. You don’t think much of me.
At least, that’s the message I’m receiving.
I know you say you are doing all that “in love.” I know that you say “loving the sinner, but hating the sin.”
You wanna know something?
I’m not buying it.
Because all your damned bluster sounds more like “hating the sinner” than anything else.
And…I’m not really getting that you “love the sinner” anywhere in all that. You say that you love me, but I’m not getting that at all. I, in fact, do not know that you love me.
I’m wondering, instead of telling me something that I don’t know, would you…could you…show me what I don’t know?
If you believe so strongly that Jesus is with you always and that His love is more powerful than any other force known to man, and you want me to experience His love, then why don’t you just show me?
Why are you so afraid of me and those like me? Why must you insist on speaking only about us, and not engaging us eye-to-eye?
Why must I always be kept at arms length, doubted and feared?
Why must my sexual habits be more important to you for defining my relationship with God than the testosterone-driven – and straight – male?
Why are the rules so exclusively and unequally harsh for me?
I suspect that the reason is that you simply don’t know me. You haven’t spent time with me. You haven’t asked me questions. You haven’t listened to my testimony of faith. You haven’t put your arm around me. You haven’t looked me in the eye.
You haven’t experienced my heart.
But, if you want me to really know that you love me, then that’s what you are going to have to do.
Garrett Thomas is from the Heartland and went to college in the Deep South. He is Southern Baptist and enjoys discussing friendship, family, and ethics from a conservative evangelical perspective. Follow his blog: The Night Is Nearly Over / The Day Is Almost Here. Follow him on Twitter @AlexiusIV.
Note to Readers: This came from quite a dark time in my life. But even in the dark, God works, and He is good, so good. May we never assume that everyone is always doing okay. Let’s ask one another and get in each other’s lives. The church needs to be a place of vulnerability and of honesty, where people are directed toward the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because, no one should ever die by their own hand.
“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even…
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