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“Love is love.”
That’s a phrase I have seen used in support of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. It’s an ambiguous phrase because there is such a thing as abuse. Is it love when a middle age man makes sexual advances on a minor? Is it love when a teacher is caught sexually manipulating her student? Is it love when a spouse is trapped in a physically abusive marriage?
Okay, I think you get my point. You cannot put out a simple three-word phrase and expect people to jump on board because it is somehow socially acceptable or politically correct.
I understand the intentional meaning. Same-sex attraction is now socially acceptable. Love is love.
But love is a lot more complicated that merely defining it as itself. I don’t know how I could properly love my husband without the love of Christ in my life. Why? It’s because love is difficult. Putting two very different people together, even with physical attraction, takes a lot of work. After twenty years of marriage, I am just beginning to understand what love really is and there is no way to simplify it.
Here is where I am going skip to my point. So hang on…
Buzzfeed came out with a hit piece against Chip and Joanna Gaines, the hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper show. The writer called them out for attending a church that believes in the biblical view of marriage between and man and woman. They didn’t interview them, and we don’t even know what the Gaineses views are on same-sex marriage. All we know is that they attend a church that probably doesn’t espouse to the phrase “love is love.”
I’d like to wax eloquent about biased and dishonest journalism, but that will have to be for another post.
Do you want to know why I think so many people have tuned into the Fixer Upper show and why so many admire Chip and Joanna Gaines? I don’t believe that it’s just to get home renovation tips. It’s because they portray a real and authentic marriage. I read The Magnolia Story. I laughed at how God put two very different people together and made a union between a man and a woman. Their show, their life story has no agenda. They are simply two people with a family who have made a successful business for themselves. It is a love story, but we see the complexities and challenges about what makes their marriage work. It’s simply a refreshing view without an agenda pushed onto us.
There are plenty of HGTV shows that feature same-sex couples. This controversy is not about same-sex marriage on television. The courts defined same-sex “marriage” last year. I think it’s really about the cultural agenda to oversimplify love. When you simplify love, you cheapen it and take away the hero factor of the institution of biblical marriage. It’s about the stories of how couples defied the odds and challenges of loving their spouse and staying together for the longevity. I can’t help but use the Fixer Upper analogy here. Love (marriage) is about fixing all the things that are broken and wrong with us and perfecting them and coming out stronger for it. Except as Christians, we realize the perfecting in marriage comes through Christ.
The future will tell whether Chip and Joanna and the producers bend toward the LGBT bullies. All I know is that Chip and Joanna Gaines are self-proclaimed Christians, but their show has somehow attracted a diverse audience, even those who support the “love is love” mantra. Why? Because the foundation of marriage and the family still makes for a great American story. It’s those traditional family values that define many of us in our daily lives. It’s about our struggles, our sacrifices, the give and take in marriage, raising a family, and it’s about the complexity of what defines true LOVE.
No matter what biased media puts out there to sway popular opinion, the biblical institution of marriage will always be a winner’s circle story. We are in Chip and Joanna’s corner because their story represents most of our stories- minus their hugely successful renovating business.
Maybe you thought the Fixer Upper series was just about making shiplap a cool home feature. Well, maybe it is. But thanks to Buzzfeed and agenda-driven journalism, we can be a little more introspective and tune into a show that perhaps for some of us is genuinely symbolic of the definition of love.
Four years ago, God set me on a path to be a writer. A struggling, imperfect one who has learned so much and is still in the learning process. I have written for political sites, Christian news sources, and pro-life groups. If you read my past articles, it won’t take long for you to realize where I lean politically or socially. Within these past years, there is one thing that God has taught me about having a voice. It is to STOP being reactive and start being prayerful about the message I write.
What a difficult lesson to learn in a social media frenzy world. In a media driven society where “gotcha” titles compete for attention and followers. Everything seems to be in an instant and reactionary response mode.
The results of the recent 2016 Presidential Election have been a test of this lesson God is teaching me. I am to STOP and LISTEN before I REACT. We live in a diverse country where free speech is cherished and valued. Where differing opinions and beliefs make America such a unique place to live. A melting pot of cultures, religions, and races. Where my view differs from another’s perspective based on life experiences and upbringing. I think another word for it is simply-humanity.
Right now, in this moment in time as a follower of Christ, I have a testimony to live out. It’s not about who won or lost the election. It’s not about my view points, fears, or convictions. It’s about who I am in Christ and how I portray that to my world around me. Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ does not rise and fall with who sits in the White House. That’s all I need to know to stop me in my tracks before I respond in this heated post-election environment.
May God continue to mold me as a better writer but one who reacts less and responds more to the importance of being a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ- politically, socially, and to those around me who are listening.
I don’t know Jen Hatmaker. I don’t follow her on social media and I have only read a few of her posts or articles that other friends have shared. I know she has a beautiful family with adoptive and biological children. She also has a large audience and shares her Christian perspective on family and life in general in an often humorous and candid way.
I wasn’t surprised by her statements in a recent interview that have become controversial, prompting Lifeway Stores to pull her books off their shelves.
I am not going to respond to her views on homosexuality, politics, or even the Black Lives Matter Movement. There are plenty of other people who have written with more grace than I could and have articulated why many Christians disagree with her statements.
If Jen and I were to sit down and chat on these issues, I think we would both find ourselves at an impasse on where our views differ according to scripture. But Jen’s views are no different than many of my own personal friends, yet we manage to find friendship despite our differing Christian perspective on social issues.
What troubles me most about her interview and why I have not been a supporter of her platform, is something that God has had to teach and humble me about in using my voice as a follower of Christ. In the past, I could manage enough grace and mercy for those struggling with sin or who don’t identify themselves as followers of Christ. Scripture clearly commands me to love and have mercy for those who don’t know Christ. But grace and mercy for Christians- for the church- that’s was a little more difficult for me.
I could give you a list of grievances about Christians, the church, hypocrisy…. I am a daughter of a minister. Do I need to say more?
If I was to write a book, I could give the reader story after story how people who call themselves “Christians” have hurt other people, have been unforgiving, and the stories would pour out of my bitter heart of where the church has gone wrong in loving their neighbor. But God has tugged on my bitterness and revealed to me that although my grievances against the church and the Christian community are accurate assessments, they are also a form of my own self-righteousness which divides and does not unite or heal people towards the Christian community.
Jen Hatmaker responds, “I’ve seen too much pain and rejection at the intersection of the gay community and the church.” Yes, Jen, I get it. I have too!! But the church is made up of imperfect people trying desperately to follow a perfect God. Please show grace to the church (believers of Christ) as well as the homosexual community. We are all trying to navigate this world together but calling out Christians for their grievances against the gay community will only further direct the LGBT community away from Christ and the church.
I have come to realize that the Christian community and its impact on social issues is much larger than the four walls of one’s church building. I have written about abortion and questioning the church, as a whole, on where it stands in the pro-life movement. I still feel the body of Christ can do more in standing against the injustice of abortion but I strongly disagree with Jen’s statement on abortion in the Christian community. She responds, “There’s something incredibly disingenuous about a Christian community that screams about abortion, but then refuses to support the very programs that are going to stabilize vulnerable, economically fragile families that decide to keep their kids. Some Christians want the baby born, but then don’t want to help the mama raise that baby.”
I don’t understand how Jen Hatmaker- a Christian adoptive mother herself- does not pay tribute to the many, many Christian families who have opened their lives and homes to children and have been examples of the hands and feet of Christ. Does she not know of the numerous Christian organizations who raise funds each year to support pregnancy centers in their community to help the vulnerable and economically fragile? I know so many Christian brothers and sisters who have been the exact opposite of disingenuous when it comes to abortion. I ask Jen, as well as others, to look broader out into the Christian community and the numerous families supporting and raising adoptive children and the quiet but strong impact they are making against abortion.
There will always be injustice, pain, and rejection in the body of Christ. We are human. We are sinners but Christ calls us to draw closer to Him and his scriptures regardless of the hurt and bitterness. God is continually reminding me that I will never be a testimony of His righteousness to any community if I constantly call out the church for its grievances. It’s a lesson He seems to constantly teach me over and over again because I am an imperfect person worshiping God in an imperfect community of believers. By complaining, I am not honoring Him and I am not honoring the community of people I call my brothers and sisters in Christ. The foot of the cross is meant to draw and unite the sinner and the saint and none of us are worthy.
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30
Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings was previously interviewed by NBC about her professional beach volleyball career and her fourth chance to win the gold medal in Rio. Media outlets are highlighting her comments because she’s pro-family and pro-babies. Walsh said in the interview, “I feel like I was born to have babies and play volleyball.”
She even went so far as to say, “I’d love to win a fourth gold medal and I’d love to have a fourth baby.”
Okay, if you can’t detect in my writing here, I am being a bit snarky. Let me explain why.
I am a huge advocate of life in the womb, out of the womb, and for celebrating motherhood. I understand Kerri’s comments because I too, feel like I was born to have babies. God gave me three of them and they changed my life.
Kerri commented: “Before I had more kids, I was like, this feels trivial. I’d been playing for so long, and I was like I need balance. All my eggs are in this one basket and it’s very self-centered and self-focused. They gave me that perspective and balance I thought I was missing. It took my game and my desire and my passion for life to the next level. I am hugely indebted to my children.”
A-ha! That revelation after we have children that the world no longer revolves around us because we are too busy raising these precious babies. It’s one of the greatest joys of being a parent when we realize that giving up of ourselves actually makes us happier human beings.
Now Kerri’s comments aren’t controversial. Yes, they do contradict some of modern-day feminism with putting careers before children and the whole “choice” mantra. There was some push back on Twitter from her comments. But who cares? She’s celebrating life. Three of them to be exact and maybe a fourth in her future.
Media outlets are now taking her words and labeling them with titles like, Liberals Go Nuts When Kerri Walsh Jennings Says… or USA Volleyball Star Makes Comment about “Having Babies” That’s Pretty Ballsy in This Day and Age. They are catchy titles meant to grab the reader but they are dishonest to Kerri’s comments who was simply sharing her life story.
As a writer, I have been guilty of this grab and attack technique. Someone celebrates our passion and we put labels on them to prove a point. I once called myself an anti-feminist because I disagreed so much with the feminist movement. I have written articles against feminism and I was even invited onto a radio program because I was a self-proclaimed “anti-feminist.” Then I realized something. Labels, catchy phrases, and shocking titles are not needed to define who I am. My life and the way I live it speaks for itself. I don’t want to be known for what I am against. I want to be known for what I celebrate.
That’s the thing that needs to change in our society and among us as women who celebrate the miracle of life, children, and motherhood. Just do your thing! Be a mother, celebrate your blessings, and even express how your children have added to your profession or career. Don’t define or label yourself how you’re different from women who don’t share your same perspective in life. Yes, you might get some push back from feminists who believe differently but don’t sweat it. Just be you and you will shine. You don’t have to win a gold medal to figure that one out.
I love Kerri’s comments but there was something that she said that wasn’t highlighted. She remarked, “My priorities are faith, family, and my career.” Now that’s balance and for those of us who share those same priorities let’s share the joy in that kind of living. That’s the woman God has called me to be and I am going to promote it- no labels needed.
More than a year and a half later, I still say broaden your viewpoint a little more pass the narrow lens of the news and social media. There is unity among us!
There’s an art exhibit at my local art museum that features photographs from the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in all black and white. They are beautiful, emotionally captured moments in a time in our history.
Black men with crisp white shirts and tailored suits standing arm in arm in silent protest in front of a line of armed policemen. Two water fountains: one marked “white” and the other “colored.” Firemen hosing down a crowd of protesters. A beautifully dressed black woman and a little girl standing in front of a sign that reads “Colored Entrance.” A panorama of people at the Lincoln Memorial listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech at the March on Washington.
These photographs speak of a time in our nation that many remember and others, like myself, have learned from. They are captivating but what these photographs don’t do is show you the bigger picture…
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