Patriotic Dissent

Just for a moment I want to speak as an American and not necessarily as a Christian, although I believe the values I’ve learned from Christ helps guide my views as a citizen of a country.

But as an American, I hate seeing so many attacking others just for just having a different opinion.

We as a country have seemed to have forgotten that patriotic dissent is the foundation of democracy. We can make a protest about certain issues and still remain proud to be American. We can respect the office of the President and still think the man is horrible.

So let me say that again… We can respect the office of the President and still completely disagree with Obama. We can respect the office of the President and still completely disagree with trump.

We can love our country and hate awful things some have said and done in it.

We can kneel during the anthem and still honor the flag. We can protest during the anthem and still hold on hope that as “the bombs bursting in air, that our flag is still there!”

Men and women died for us to have the right to stand up and voice what they believe in. Men and women died for the right for Neo-Nazis and KKK to gather. Men and women died for the right for Black Lives Matter to meet and vent their anger.

Yes, what many say are despicable and should not be endorsed. But, if you don’t believe in the right to free speech for your worst enemies, you don’t believe in it at all.

The country I grew up in and love is built on our right to speak our mind and it doesn’t make anyone a bad American to show discontent. That is what in fact makes us great.

Do you really want to make America great again? Don’t demonize those who hold different political views from you. Don’t demonize those who protest differently than you do.

People in other countries die for voicing a different opinion or criticizing those in power, but in America we can do those things.

Colin Kaepernick is a patriot.
Bruce Maxwell is a patriot.
Alejandro Villanueva is a patriot.
Every player in the NFL who protested or stood in solidarity yesterday are patriots.

Respect them, respect their views. You don’t have to agree with them but don’t for one second say they are un-American for voicing their opinion and disagreeing with the President.

Patriotic dissent is the key to creating a great country.

If we don’t allow and respect patriotic dissent, we are no different than the dictators we fight against and help overthrow.

So maybe instead of attacking people for having differing opinions or criticisms, let’s work together to create solutions to a make a more perfect union.

/end rant

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The Nashville Statement

A couple days ago, a controversial document was released called the Nashville Statement.

I found out about it after it started trending on Twitter and a few people I follow were tweeting about it. There was a lot of hate being thrown around, so I felt like I need to search for it and read it myself.

For those of you who don’t know, the Nashville Statement is supposed to be a “unifying” document created by and signed by Protestant church leaders on sexuality and marriage. In it they write 14 articles, each article states something they affirm and something they deny (both related to each other.

After reading this document I have a few thought I’d like to share:

1) I think the basics of what they said in the Nashville Statement isn’t any different than what has been affirmed or preached by most Protestant pastors (especially Baptists). I’m pretty sure, no new doctrine has really revealed in the release of this.

2) However, I feel the language they used in the statement was not only strong but I can understand, how from a certain perspective, it can seem very ignorant or even bigoted. Reading it is like reading legalese, which is how most denominational doctrines or individual church bylaws are written. But I totally understand how a non-church-goer and even the average church-goer see this and only see condemning language in this.

and 3) Let’s be honest, the timing of this is awful. On top of there being a major natural disaster the home state of many of those who signed, but it also being right on the heels of Osteen getting shamed into opening his church for refugees in Houston
I am fully aware that many in here AND many that signed that document are not fans of Osteen, but from so many people all they see is a Christian pastor unwilling to open his mega church for those in need, then many other Christian pastors condemning gays and transgendered.

I don’t care if this day was planned ahead of time, you can delay the release of this until after Houston is no longer waist deep in water, if only to not give people the reason to call them heartless, hypocrites, or say they only care about telling people what they can’t do.

In the end, what is written in this document is extremely controversial and while the core I believe most of what they affirm and deny, I feel like by putting it on paper like this make it seem like grace has any place when it comes to sexual sins.

If you feel like this document is condemning towards you, as a Christian- I’m sorry we have made you feel this way. You are still loved, and while you still a sinner, guess what, so am I! And your sin is no worse than mine. God still loves you and his grace is bigger than any sin we can commit.

Extremes

Technology gives a voice to the extremes. Have you been on Social Media lately? It can be scary.

Alt Right. Far Left. Anti-Hilary. Never Trump. Socialism is evil. Capitalism is evil.

Body positivity. Body shaming. Lad culture. Slut shaming. Carnivores murder animals. Vegans are whimps.

That show you like sucks. You favorite bands suck. You suck.

I’ll say again – Technology gives a voice to the extremes. Technology has created echo chambers for those extreme voices making them louder. So instead of creating a filter, people have been taught to speak your mind no matter how it affects others or how hurtful it might be.

But, Life isn’t a Reality Show. In order to grow, become a better person, we need to stop living in the extremes and converse with people who aren’t like you. Maybe even disagree with you.

Instead of hating on the person who has a different opinion than you, why not instead find out why they think that? Instead of thinking the opposition is the enemy, learn their story, find out about them as people.

You’d be surprised that even though we may try to act extreme, we have more in common with each other than not.

Trusting in Him

I have found myself relying on Him heavily since the beginning of the New Year. And even more so in the last few weeks. I don’t want to go into details, but I lately I found myself in a situation that is completely out of my control.

There is nothing else I can do at this moment it requires a giant leap of faith in people I know and more importantly in God. More than I have in a while I have found myself trusting in his… fill in the blank.

Trusting in His Word.
Trusting in His direction.
Trusting in His timing.
Trusting in His provision.
Trusting in HIM!

But why is it so hard? Why is it so scary to do this?

Even as a Christian. A self-proclaimed disciple and follower of Christ. Even I find it hard to let go and just trust Him.

Unreliable Narrators

crossedfingers“We are all unreliable narrators. Not just in the way we tell our stories to others, but how we tell them to ourselves.” – Deb Caletti

What is an unreliable narrator? In short, it is a narrator whose credibility has been seriously compromised, someone who allows their bias to slant the tale.

This is a literary device sometimes used by authors to bring a different perspective to a story. It is not often used because we the reader end up with a narrow view of what is going on in the story. Most times it’s because a character’s emotions have clouded their perspective, or maybe they lie and exaggerate because they want to look better, or maybe it’s just something as innocent as having gaps in their memory.

Some people don’t like unreliable narrators because they don’t like stories that can be untrusted.

But here’s the thing, like as stated in the quote above, we live our entire life with an unreliable narrator, ourselves. Our point of view and perspective is often skewed, especially by our emotions. Our emotions will try to tell us a different story that what is the truth.

Don’t hear me wrong, your emotions are real. Often times very real, and it’s not bad that you have emotions. But they are often times unreliable to make decisions by.

For example, have you ever sent an email angry only to read it later with regret? Or in your anger have you said something to hurt someone you care about? Maybe you’ve cut yourself of from any support because in your sadness you felt like no one cared about you.

Don’t make permanent mistakes because you are temporarily upset.

When you let emotions cloud run your life, your view will always be limited.

Can’t Plan For Everything

There are some things in our lives that are completely out of our control. It doesn’t matter how much we plan or prepare, there is nothing we can do about it. Sometimes, life happens and in the end control is an illusion.

Chuck Swindoll once said “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” At the core, he is right. We can either complain or worry about things that we can never do anything about, or we can just put on our big boy/girl pants on and deal with it. It is our attitudes and decisions in those moments define who we are, not what happens or what we are able control.

The very reason I write…

…is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”

– Zadie Smith

Despite being an extrovert, I can be a very introspective person. I love reflecting on my life and the people in my life. I keep a journal that I write in (at least weekly) for a couple of years now.

I also found out recently that writing these reflections down has actually been shown to have health benefits. It has proven to be very therapeutic in my life as I’ve been able to process some difficult emotions and also give me a chance to explore some of my thoughts that usually roam free in my mind.

But more than that, when I write, it gives me a chance to take a look back on my life and see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve been blessed in my life. It’s easy to just focus on the difficult parts of life, but when I look back on what I’ve written, I see that God has provided for me and taken care of me so much, and it would be easy to miss that if I never wrote anything down at all.

So as Zadie Smith says, “The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”