This might be a bad idea

I posted a four tweet version of this, deleted them. Then reposted the following:

I rarely feel the need to make a public statement regarding my faith or beliefs. The gospels teach us love, not to hate or judge.

I deleted that tweet also in favor of attempting to explain my thoughts and feelings regarding The Nashville Statement. I am not the best Christian and while I have long struggled with institutionalize Christianity, I have never doubted the existence of God or the divinity of Christ. I know this post will put me at odds with how many people I love live their faith and that breaks my heart.

The Nashville Statement seems to encourage hate and hypocrisy. The focus on gender roles and sexual identity in a time when toxic hate is running rampant in our country and our world seems like strange timing.

Every Christian (or person who claims Christianity as their faith) should be reading The Bible for themselves, should be learning about Biblical and Church history, should be meditating on what Jesus was really trying to teach through The Gospels. Just because certain ideas have been associated with The Bible for 1,500 years and taught as “the one true interpretation” of this passage or that passage, doesn’t mean they are truth. Humanity is full of flaws as are all human institutions. Between what I learned growing up, through reading some theologians, through completing Education for Ministry, and through reading The Bible: Jesus was a man of action who sought to make a difference in the everyday lives of those on the fringes of society. He gave us the two greatest (as in most important) commandments—love God, love others—as the lens through which we are to understand and apply the other Ten Commandments.

Yes, he went after people corrupting Temple worship. However, those people were allowed to commercialize their faith by the temple priests, the leaders of their faith. Selling appropriate sacrifices and whatever else kept many of the poorest from easy access to the Temple and the required rituals of their belief system.

Time and again Jesus spoke out against hypocrisy and hypocrites. Time and again he used friendship as a way of making statements. He constantly taught in coded language through his parables.

Where in Matthew, Mark, Luke & Acts, or John does Jesus emphasize gender roles or sexual identity? I’ll be rereading them this month looking for just that. The Gospels are the heart of my faith because they were written by his closest followers or their closest followers. What these books have in common is truly impressive considering the different generations they were written in, the audiences they were written for (illiterate to well-educated), the sources we no longer have access to.


Always with the apologies

I spend more time feeling guilty for things I should have done than I do enjoying the things I want to do: that’s not totally true, but some days it feels true.

The truth is that I’m overweight and a little too brash and a little too likely to hermit up.

I gained weight when I started teaching and twenty years later it is hard to figure out how to get healthy. I don’t mind weighing a little (a lot) more than average, but I hate feeling so out of shape. So, I’m working on exercising more (I’m up to sixteen brutal minutes on the rowing machine); I’m working on eating more fruits and veg. I love walking. I like rowing. I’m not a runner or a biker or someone who likes to walk when its too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet. I like food; eating for enjoyment seems to be vastly underrated in our current world.

I grew up with The Fear. Basically, I spend a little bit of time wishing I’d known how to talk to my parents about how I was feeling when I was 15 or 16 (not that they would have known what to do to help me in the late 1980’s). I wish I’d found someone to talk to in my twenties or early thirties. I feel no shame in admitting that I take anti-depressants or that I take anti-anxiety pills when I need to. It’s no different than when I take pills for my migraines. I’m glad for people growing up today that there is less stigma around needing pills to help balance whatever is out of whack in our bodies and brains. Less isn’t the same as none though.

In college I learned to be louder, to fake being a people person in order to be normal. It wasn’t much different than faking crushes in high school (and college) in order to be like everyone around me.

The first time someone referred to me as asexual I was totally offended, because I didn’t understand most aspects of sexuality or that not really doing “the sex thing” was alright whether my reasons were religious or personal inclination. Well into my late-thirties I had people telling me that I would feel different when I met the right person, or I just needed to get laid, or…This is why I spend time explaining these things to my students when they come up subtly in books or poems. It’s amazing how much classic authors (even all those dead white dudes) got right when they wrote about depression, PTSD, or alternative sexuality. However we describe them, they are still part of the human experience.

I am insanely lucky to have had wonderful friends who invite me along on trips, over for holidays, over for dinner. I’m lucky that I get to listen to and laugh with these people. I’m lucky to have seen their kids grow up. I’m grateful that I still have these friends despite the ebb and flow of time spent together due to life’s vagaries. I’m also pretty lucky to have parents that are still alive, a brother I still talk to, and all the extended family.

And I’m lucky to have a job that’s worth the bad days.

This is my year to swear less in favor of being more subversive, exercise on the daily, and stop apologizing for the little things.

I’ll still apologize for being thoughtless or malicious, but I’m going to try to stop apologizing for being myself.