“I choose the sky”

We’ve all had or heard of that one Facebook friend who sees their Facebook friendship as so invaluable that they can bend your will. I mean the ones who write things like
“If you don’t support *insert cause here* then unfriend me”.
I’m often left sitting there with a blank expression on my face followed by an ‘okay’ and an unfriending.
Right, let me be honest. That’s only happened once. The unfriending part.

A guy I studied with, who is one of those guys who’s so cool he reminds me of the ‘cool kid’ in American college movies, is the latest to post something like that. It was a short address on how freedom of speech cannot justify speaking against same sex marriage  (SSM), refugees, supporting blackface etc.

Now the latter two I get it, and this coming from a white Australian I admire him for understanding why these are issues that can strip a person’s humanity. It was the SSM bit that got me and I sighed.

The one other person I remember deleting for using the line mentioned above had the same issue with people who don’t support SSM. I wasn’t friends with her so removing her didn’t faze me but with this guy it’s different. We were friends in the loose sense of the term at one point. So when I read his post, the cynic in me sighed and started getting ready to unfriend him but the rest of me stopped.

Why? Because I still want to be friends with him. That doesn’t mean I’m going to compromise my faith though. No relationship on this earth is worth me adapting or accommodating my faith to make someone else like me more.

Then I thought about this issue of freedom of expression and let’s be honest, it’s not real freedom. There’s an understanding throughout humanity that unadulterated freedom would create pandemonium. Exhibit A: the internet.

The only true freedom I could think of is our freedom of choice. Regardless of what laws or moral codes exist we always have the freedom to choose whether or not to do something. Each day is us making choices, some for our livelihood (will I sleep now? will I eat now? etc) and other choices are those that affect people (will I kill someone? will I park across three parking bays? etc). From that stems our understanding of right and wrong together with what we’re taught.

Which makes things interesting when someone makes up this definition of right and wrong according to their own experiences and perceptions. Thus what’s right for you may not necessarily be right for me.

My ‘right and wrong’ come from God and my views will change when His do. Which leaves me looking at my friend wondering if he understands why I don’t agree with him on the issue of SSM.
There needs to be a point of understanding rather than the argument that I ‘don’t want everyone to love and be loved’. Of course I do! Have you met Jesus? He is literally the embodiment of love and I strive to be that every day. But how are you defining love? It’s not just a feeling. It’s a sacrifice. It’s the Cross. In a marriage, it’s a reflection of Christ and the Church aka His Bride. If that’s not the definition you believe in then we may not believe in the same love.

It’s a hard battle but when it comes down to it, in the face of unpopularity vs losing my place in heaven to go with the popular view, in the words of Emily Wilson “I choose the sky.”

Only You

(if possible, please listen to this as you read. Thank You)

“Have you come to a decision about your church situation?”

I was asked this question by a dear new friend of mine. As most of you will know I’ve been struggling with people criticising Christians and, narrowing that down, Catholics.

I went silent on my blog while I was back home with my family. It was fulfilling, enriching and reminded me of everything I love about the church I was born into. I have tried the others and I’ve enjoyed myself dearly. Everywhere I went I saw and met people who had dedicated their lives to Jesus. Some made me feel so at home, as though I were someone they’d all grown up with. Others never really made me feel like I’d ever fit in and when I bump into them now they act as though they’ve never met me. Maybe they feel like I abandoned them, or I’m a traitor or just another one who will be thrown in the fires of hell.

I’m back in a place where I’m being judged and occasionally I feel attacked. Even though I’m not brave enough to go door knocking or evangelising in the streets I’ve grown enough to even seriously mention Jesus in a group of people whose spiritual affiliation is completely unknown to me. I felt terrified that I’d be ridiculed to put my relation to Jesus out there and the great thing is nothing happened to me. I didn’t feel attacked and I relaxed a bit more on my heart and the tiny cross inside I grip to so tightly.

I know that as a Christian part of who I am is meant to be someone who goes out and calls people to God and I’d love to do that but, with Jesus as the roots to my tree, I need to grow and branch out a bit more. I don’t want to hide my faith under a blanket or only whisper my prayers in public. I want to be loud and proud about what I believe in. Now, this has nothing to do with my church back home. Everyone back home is so focused and ready to praise God at the slightest suggestion, and they do it in a way you can really feel.

The thing I love is how all the people I’ve encountered over the past year, with flitting through group after group, just adore God and everything about him.

So the next time my friend asks me that question I’m going to give her this answer;

My time at home reminded me of everything I love about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as well as my family, friends and myself, and yes, especially everything I love about the Catholic church, and all the Christians in it and those in other churches too. It will be a sad day when I put what church someone belongs to before Jesus and my relationship with him. He will always come first and I’ll leave judgements like that to Him. When I was growing up, up until I left for university and even when I go home, my friends and I were able to praise and worship and pray together. We are Catholic and Methodist and Pentecostal and Anglican and who knows what else. We all love God and we love Jesus and we put him first. As long as that’s the foundation to their faith, then we’re all in this together.

Dear Father,

Thank you for loving us. Thank you for love and your light and for family and friends. Please be our guide in all our struggles and may we remember to put you ahead of everything because only you can save us. Only you can heal us. Only you can fix us. You and only you.

Amen

By Our Love…?

“It’s no longer a question of ‘if but a question of when”

This was spoken by a popular YouTube channel which deals with news and current events. The speaker was describing how the world has changed its attitude towards homosexuality and how, inevitably, marriage equality will be allowed in all 50 of the US states.

Am I intolerant and hateful if I agree with equal rights but not equal marriage?

I’m not one who supports the Westboro Baptist Church or murderous anti-gay cries but I am a Chrisitian and I know where I stand on this all important issue.

I have a few disadvantages in the way I was born; I’m a woman, I’m black, I’m from Africa and I’m stubborn, amongst other things. While someone on the outside looking in may wonder how any of that matters in this ‘free world’ of ours, unfortunately it does. I am at a disadvantage in certain ways. While I understand how my role and personality fits into my identity culturally, in the rest of the world I am less likely to find a job as easily as others may.

Even my personality can be abrasive at times, unless you give me a chance and get to know me. It is because of the steps I’ve taken to reach full satisfaction in who I am that I feel everyone deserves love. Everyone regardless of who they are or where they come from deserves love. Where then do homosexuals and homosexuality and especially gay marriage fit in?

I was raised in a country where homosexuality is illegal so when I came out into the Western world and I found myself surrounded, I genuinely felt like I was under attack. Since then I have calmed and I’ve resumed my ‘Love the World’ mentality.

We see marriage and consummation of love for the first time in the book of Genesis with Adam and Eve. A man and a woman from whom the world emerged. Many people will say the bible contradicts itself when it comes to so many laws and beliefs. Two things Christians know for certain 1) homosexuality is wrong (love the sinner hate the sin) and 2) we will be known by our love for everyone. Where then does our love for our homosexual family go?

There is a war waging in this world, and a war in my own heart because I want to love everyone and give them human rights but marriage is a spiritual right, a heavenly blessing from which love culminates and life emerges. No every marriage doesn’t end in children or even a stable family but that’s how it’s meant to be.

A man and a woman are like a lock and a key; differently made but together we fit to open a door to heaven. It can’t work with two locks or two keys.

This won’t be the last time I address this topic, it’s a difficult one which haunts and challenges me daily, but I guess for now I concentrate on love.

Love one another as our Lord Jesus Christ has loved us. However, even when Jesus was being struck and torn, and betrayed and beaten and bled, He never lost his course. He never forgot what he came for. He never lost who he was.

In this world it’s so easy to give up and go with the flow of the world. In my dorm room of 10 people there’s possibly only 3 of us who are still virgins. I don’t know about the other 2 but for me it’s because I am keeping my body for my husband or for the Lord if I never wed. It’s hard sometimes and I want to give it all away and get drunk and be wild but that’s not who I am. That’s not how I was made or who I was made for. We each have a cross to bear so don’t be weary and place it down,  carry it with pride and when it stings and cuts at your sides, or when the masses spit at you and mock you, don’t forget, you’re not alone.

We all fight this battle together,and it will be a battle where we pray for our oppressors and those who persecute us, and  we will fight for the glory of God and love will be our sword.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God. 

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 17:14-15
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.