Sunday, March 29, 2015

Religious Freedom

I was not planning on writing this.  I certainly was not planning on publishing it.  So, take it as straight text with no pictures or graphics.  Peace and love to you. 

The media both news and social have been full of stories that are ready to stir up emotions no matter which side of the story is taken.  From the Phil Robertson speaking engagement speaking of the Atheist family being assaulted and murdered to the Religious Freedom Act in Indiana and other states.  The lines have been drawn in the sand and sides are being taken to the point that there seems to be no right or wrong because there is no discussion only arguments.

Each side feels the reasons for believing that way are valid and because of that they are right.  Yet, they don't want to have an honest discussion because their ears and hearts seem to be closed to anything other than what they believe.  Perhaps, one such as myself, hopes that people are still out there that are willing to listen and find a way to come to a middle ground on the issue of how all people should be treated.

I have my ideas and want to share them, but at the same time am willing to have an open discussion where things could be changed.  

If true Christianity at its root is about a man (Jesus) coming from Heaven, dying on a cross so that all mankind could be saved, I am wondering where this is being shown in the stories that have divided the lines?  All that seems to be portrayed is a group of people celebrating the ability to outcast another group of people that don't look, think, or act like them.  A loving attitude for these outcasts (according to their views) is all but lost in the talking points.  The question keeps coming to mind; if these outcast are created in the image of God, and God loves them just for that point alone shouldn't the Christians showing that same kind of love as well?  However, from all appearances in my news feeds the love is lost and the Christians are hung up on the sin of homosexuality and should they be permitted to have goods and services provided to them if the owner of a business is a Christian and doesn't agree with it.

This argument does not sit well with me.

I agree that there is a passage where it states that God hates homosexuality, but is that the only sin God hates?  Doesn't he hate divorce?  Doesn't he hate murder?  Then St. James wrote that God sees all sin as the same, so doesn't that me he hates all sin? If what I see is true then where is the outrage on providing services to the person who has had a divorce?  Where is the outrage on providing services to the one who is having a child out of wedlock?  Where is the outrage on providing services to the one who does not honor father and mother?

I want to understand why homosexuality is the one sin that people want to single out and not provide service.  Is it because it is pushing its way to the surface and not a social normalcy yet?  But think of other things that took time to become acceptable even when they should have been legal from the start--slavery, women voting, interracial marriages, and others, people did not want accept them as part of the everyday life so laws were in place to make it be a reality.  In all honesty our founding fathers wrote that all men were created equal and had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and my belief there should not be any group (no matter how you want group people) that should be kept out of that idea. 

The idea of religious freedom and the right to believe freely has become a major part of these stories as well, but that is still available.  Congress has not set forth any laws requiring the citizens to be members of a set denomination nor have they made it law that you must attend any type of worship, so we are free.  Just because there are people out there believing differently than you and want to be able to live their life freely without fear of being turned away simply for their beliefs seems to be a valid wish.  As much talk as there has been of treating people equally, how can we let government and society once again try to let people and businesses get to discriminate in who they are going to provide their products and services?

On the flip side though, if a religious group has never permitted certain things in their businesses or places of worship based on their beliefs they should not be forced to do so now.  With all the options of where and how to worship it is not fair to those who have found their spiritual home be torn into pieces because some one wants to believe something else.  But churches and places of worship are different than private businesses being ran by individuals, and therefore should be treated differently.  These places of businesses, in my opinion should not have the right to find out about beliefs or the manner of sin to choose who they are going to serve.  If the money is there for a photographer, baker, construction worker, apartment, etc. anyone should be permitted to obtain it as long as it is paid.  

We live where freedom abounds, but freedom is not freedom to all if we limit groups to what they are permitted to do.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014


It seems as though I have forgotten how to smile.  To show any signs of enjoying life in expressions upon my face have disappeared.  When this happened it is truly hard to say, but over the past week or so friends have pointed it out to me.  To blame it on depression, stress or anything else could be an easy way out, but it seems to be deeper than just these things.


My life has been like my car when the transmission wen tout.  There was the appearance that all was fine, but in reality it was not.  The body of the car looked okay--starting to show some wear from aging, but nothing too horrible.  Upon starting it, the engine turned over right away and sounded as it should, yet, it would not go.  Placing the gear shift into any position and it acted the same as being in neutral.

No Movement.

This has been my life for so long that I do not remember anything different. I looked fine and would get up and go through the motions of life, but try to engage in things and I became immobile.  Experiencing life--new adventures or friendships could not happen with my personal transmission broken.  The daily pressures of horrible finances, feelings of worthlessness and shame, and no close relationships aided in this problem of being stuck.

In all honesty, these things have been known to me for quite some time, but I kept pushing the truth away.  Dealing with these kinds of things would require me to face them and then make some kind of changes, and being stuck made me comfortable in my spot no matter how miserable I was.   Yet, even in being stuck I had random moments of showing true enjoyment and pleasure and it was caught in a photograph just recently. This picture was posted on social media and a good friend in another state told me it was good to see me smile. She went on to tell me that too many of my pictures had been so serious and the such that it was a good change.  Talk about an eye opener!  I guess I was not hiding things as well as I had hoped.  It felt as though I had the wind knocked right out of me and was a completely wake up cal that things needed to change.  

So over the past week I have been thinking and trying to come up with a new way to live....

  1. Try something new and often as possible.
  2. To truly experience people and things.
  3. To go beyond my comfort zone.
  4. Push past the expectations others have of me.
  5. To see and follow dreams.
  6. To accept failures as a part of the journey.
  7. To accept pain as just a moment in life-not a game stopper.
  8. To truly laugh and smile.
  9. To be authentic--whatever that might mean.
I don't know how I am going to do this, but I know if I continue being stuck it will give way to a reason to drink again, if nothing more than just boredom.

As a way of reminding me, there was another picture posted of me enjoying a simple thing in life and another told me it was good to see me smile, because they have been worried about me.