Tag Archives: jesus

Open Letter to Tomi Lahren

Dear Tomi,

Sweet, innocent, closed-minded Tomi, you are so sorely mistaken and misinformed about this Women’s Rights Movement. Your anger and hatred are so loud that I can barely hear the judgmental, ignorant words coming out of your mouth.

I imagine you and I are alike in many ways. We were both raised by a mom and dad in an average, predominantly white town. We both attended a high school about the same size, and we both attended college for journalism. We both got into the television industry almost immediately out of school, except that you were handed your own TV show at the inexperienced age of 21, where I worked as a production assistant for a year, part-time at minimum wage, until I was forced to find a different, better-paying job. Here is where our stories begin to differ.

You have never known adversity. You have been riding a cushy six-figure salary since you were of legal drinking age. You didn’t “earn” your job at One American News Network, you didn’t start from the bottom and work your way up a career ladder that some spend their entire lives aiming for. A man looked at you and realized the opportunity for a fantastic ROI. You’re beautiful, sassy, and entertaining, and in news, that means money and ratings. It doesn’t make you right, or smart, or even good at your job. It simply means you are entertainment.

With that being said, OF COURSE you don’t understand this Women’s Rights Movement. Why would you? Every time I see you, your brow is furrowed and your mouth is open. LISTEN. Even if for just a moment, remove yourself from your shiny, blonde, polished Fox News-esque pedestal, take a step back and really look at the world around you. I’m not talking about your friends, and family, and coworkers, I mean the people you don’t even see on your way to work every day. The homeless woman, the cab driver, the single mom with three kids using food stamps, the woman who’s been silenced by a broken and abusive relationship. Don’t you see these humans? Or are you too blinded by your privileged past and present to completely miss what is your imminent future?

The difference between me and you is that I don’t stand for myself and my own selfish desires. I stand for others who weren’t dealt the same cards as you and I. I am not the victim, but I stand with women who have been the victim. Of discrimination, of assault, of abuse, of oppression. I believe wholeheartedly in equality, from gender, to race, to religion, to sexuality. I believe that we are all humans, and that we are all brothers and sisters as children of God. At the end of the day, we are all equal in God’s eyes. We are commanded to love one another, and by attacking other women, your fellow sisters, you are defying the very premise of Christianity.

You have a voice where other women don’t. You are literally handed a microphone and camera and the opportunity to make a difference on a daily basis. Use your voice for the betterment of society. Use your voice to empower other women and inspire them with your own strength and work ethic. Don’t shoot them down because they aren’t like you, lift them up higher than they ever thought possible because they aren’t like you.

No one is asking for “free stuff,” this is so much more than that. And if you did any actual research besides scribbling down a rant and reading it from a teleprompter, something in those facts (not alternative facts, just regular facts) may change your perspective a little. The moment you open your arms and start loving others the way Jesus loves you, your entire world will shift. I urge you to try it sometime. 

I believe in you, Tomi.

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See: Tattoos and Gay Marriage

It’s hard for me to write this post because the very premise of it feels conflicting in my mind, but the only thing that truly angers me is when I try with all my might to understand something and simply cannot.

I consider myself a Christian, and for that reason I strongly believe in being accepting and loving of others, no matter what, because that is what Jesus did and does for all of us. And if we are to live our lives to the best of our ability in line with what Jesus taught, then the cliche of “What Would Jesus Do?” should be ever-present in our minds.

I attend a weekly small group through my church. One night, among other things, we talked about what it means in Phillippians 3 where Paul says “beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision…” And to my surprise, one girl explained that to her, this means that some people may sound like they are trying to be good people, but can still be going against what the Bible says. And her example was gay marriage. That people can defend gay marriage thinking they are doing it for the greater good, that they should be accepting of it, when the truth is that biblically it is wrong.

I’m going to be completely honest here, I was close to getting up and walking to my car. But, I tell myself every day when I encounter different beliefs than my own to LISTEN. So I listened, and I stayed. No one else spoke up, no one argued, and no one agreed. And the fire in my heart burned so bright for the gay community. All I could think was this must be their enemy. Christians sitting in a circle and saying that even though good people are telling them to accept and love everyone including gay people, the Bible says it is wrong (Leviticus 20:13). And although in that very same book (Leviticus 19:28) the Bible says not to mark yourself with tattoos, the girl and her husband sat next to me with tattoos on each of their arms.

My point here is that we all interpret every situation, every interaction, every sentence differently, so I understand that my interpretation of the Bible is different from the next person’s. What I CAN NOT bring myself to understand is how any Christian can argue that whether they agree with homosexuality or not, that a person arguing for gay marriage can be labeled as an “evil worker.” I vie for gay marriage and LGBTQ rights for these fundamental reasons – not in any particular order:

1) It is of no relevance to me.
2) Everyone is entitled to their own version of happiness.
3) Everyone’s beliefs are unique and their own.
4) God commands me to love my neighbor as myself.

My view of Christianity is similar. While I don’t sit and literally dissect every verse in the Bible (see: tattoos and gay marriage), my beliefs rest on several very similar building blocks of my own personal interpretation or version, if you will, of Christianity:

1) Love your neighbor as yourself. (This could really be the only one.)
2) Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding, as God has a plan and a calling for every child he creates.
3) Because Jesus died for my sins, I have been granted eternal life by believing in and dedicating my life to God.

Obviously there is much, much more to Christianity than these three points, but this is what I base majority of my thoughts and actions around. And because I definitely do not believe any of these points to be arguable from a Christian standpoint, I will never be able to fully wrap my brain or heart around alienating a person or a group of people in spite of their beliefs or individual identity.

This weighed so heavily on my heart tonight that I could not push it out of my mind. If I do one thing with this life I hope that it is to convince you to go love others the way Jesus loves you.

 

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Trapped and Broken

This day has never hit me quite as hard as today. The older you get the better things come into focus that were hard to understand as a child, and somehow they become even more difficult to grasp. Everyone has their 9/11 story so it doesn’t matter what mine is, but today has been building up in my heart for a long time. I’m not sure what ignited the emotion in me today, between the anniversary of a tragedy, one of the most humbling sermons I’ve ever listened to, or the perfectly harmonized music and renewing energy in my church this morning. I have so many words and scriptures and inspirations running through my head I don’t even know where to start with this post, so I’m just going to dive in and see what happens.

Of course at church today the 9/11 tragedy was the theme, as well as the Charleston Sofa Superstore fire, two of the most devastating events in U.S. history as far as the number of lost firefighters. A story was told about a woman named Janelle, who worked on the 64th floor of the WTC, and made it all the way down to the 13th floor before the building collapsed on top of her. Trapped in the rubble for over 24 hours, she found herself on top of the dead body of a firefighter. That firefighter’s reflective vest caught the eye of another first responder, who reached down to pull him out and found Janelle grabbing his hand. Even in death, that service member saved her life. Just like the Charleston 9, who gave their lives to save others’.

The message today was that there are two types of people: the rescue squad, and those who are trapped and broken. Those in the rescue squad dedicate their lives to saving those who are trapped, broken, lost. Through God’s word and Jesus’ sacrifice, they pull others out of the rubble, one by one, and give them something to live for. The rescue squad runs towards the disaster, when everyone else is running away. It’s a crazy concept to think that there are disciples out there, who we consider strangers, who would lay down their lives for us. Many first responders are not only serving their community but, first and foremost, serving God.

“No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry, to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny”

 

Something inside me has been brewing for some time now, and I’m learning that my journey with Jesus is more like a roller coaster. I feel close to Him for a while and then slowly veer away, focusing on other, less important things in my life. And then I get this feeling of anxiety, fueled by incompleteness, that becomes so overwhelming that when I finally find my way back to Him, I bubble over into this embarrassing heap of raw, dependent woman, and in the midst of it all I find myself again.

Yes, embarrassing. Because I’m not a big cryer, I’m really good at ignoring my emotions and tucking them away somewhere and dealing with them later in the privacy of my own home or room or car or wherever I can be completely alone. But, like any woman, eventually we have a breakdown from all that we keep locked up inside. And if you’re a Dane Cook fan, you understand how his joke about a “good cry” is actually so true. It starts with a catch of your breath or a single lip quiver, or for me that feeling in the back of your throat that feels like you might choke to death if you don’t entertain it. And I keep pushing it farther and farther down until it doesn’t fit there anymore, and then one random Sunday in the middle of my favorite worship song it fights its way out. For me, my mouth starts doing this awful twitch that I absolutely CAN NOT control. It’s only happened a handful of times in my life, always in public, where I want so badly to choke that cry down until I get home but I just can’t. And I know that if I allow my mouth to stop twitching, the next step is a full-blown sob. Wedged between a row of people I’ve never seen before #iliterallycantevenrightnow. For the record, still didn’t let it out today, so those of you in my immediate friend and work circles, hurricane Allie could develop at ANY second. This is your warning.

Today I sat in front of God and my church feeling like I was back, exactly where I am supposed to be. I worked my way up to the top of that roller coaster again, every climb is harder and higher, but that peak is always the answer for me. All I keep thinking about today is my own personal rescue squad, and how I never realized that’s what they were until now. Andrea Morris and Kristen Suraci for reaching out and welcoming me into their church family. My mom for giving me the best Christian-based and sound advice in every aspect of my life. Adam Caudle for shining His light on me all the way from Atlanta. My support system in Charleston and elsewhere. Thank you for pulling me out of the rubble, dusting me off and showing me Grace and Love and Jesus, no matter how many times I find the bottom of that roller coaster, my rescue squad is there to lift me back up.

 

A simple “thank you” will never be enough to those who lay down their lives every day for strangers. You are the truest disciples and allow God’s word to continue on in the lives of people you have saved or sacrificed for.

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