Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Response, Reflection, & A Prayer To My Children...

In light of the vicious uproar concerning two stories that seem to be the only topic of discussion lately, I feel compelled to send a positive message to the world...

I am about to enter into an arena that I have never ventured into before - celebrity "news". At first, I may make your blood boil or even cause your eyes to roll...but please hear me out, everything I say has a purpose.

You may not agree with me at every detail, I understand that, and that is perfectly fine with me as we all have our own opinions. None of what I am about to say is meant to be derogatory in anyway, mostly reflection in response to the half dozen articles I have read (many claiming to view each situation from a "Christian" standpoint...which turn out to be anything but) and closing with wish to my children.

The Duggars

Photo credit : ABC
I am not one to follow reality t.v. shows nor do I spend much time immersing myself in any sort of celebrity "news". That being said, I cannot speak out about the lives of this large, Christian, homeschooling family. I could probably only tell you about their homemade detergent and baby wipe recipes.

Since I am involved in a quite a few homeschooling communities, local and online...the Duggar family has been a "hot topic" in the past few days. Those within the community who cling to the Christian faith claim that they have been " severely let down" in light of Josh Duggar's molestation confession and the fact that the mother and father had failed to contact the police when finding out about those acts.

The Duggar family, once seen as a champions for overcoming their struggles with the media's attacks on their parenting styles and lifestyle...they were after all, a Christian family that homeschooled - a family that reigned in the celebrity arena as the family that FINALLY could be looked up and modeled after! At least that is the impression that I got.

A member of one the homeschooling groups that I belong to, admitted some concerns about attending a homeschool convention that the Duggar family was speaking at. She felt that if she attended any of their talks, that she would be condoning or even supporting their actions and failure to act. This opened up a large discussion on whether the Duggar family was worthy enough to teach parenting and homeschooling workshops. It surprised me that such a group, comprised of mostly those of the Christian faith, were so quick to condemn this family because of their sinful past and believed that they should not be a part of the conference.

Wait a minute...haven't we all done things that are considered wrong or sinful? What right do we have to judge others and decide their fate? From a Christian view, such action is not only frowned upon, but it is quite clear that NO ONE should be doing so.

All of us who do not know the Duggar's personally are relying on second hand information from the media...which never should be taken seriously. I am not saying that the son was not guilty of such acts as a young teen, but one should not instantly believe every "detail" without questioning it's validity first...although, who are we to be judge & jury? We aren't.

Of course, if this woman feels uncomfortable being in the Duggar's presence, then she has every right not to attend. To say that the Duggar's should be cut out of ever participating in an event like that or say that Josh should have his kids taken away from him because of something that he did as a young not exactly a "Christ-like" solution. In fact, us Christians may recall Paul mentioning in one of his letters to Timothy (1 Timothy 16) that he was "the worst sinner of all", yet God showed him mercy. Paul is known for preaching the gospel outside of Jerusalem (and 13 books of the New Testament are attributed to his name) - proving that God's salvation wasn't limited to the Jews. Did Paul's past discredit everything that he taught? Absolutely not...just as the faults of the Duggars make them any less knowledgeable in the areas of homeschooling. Surely, they can also offer tips and suggestions on parenting, given their history of raising 19 children (excuse me if that number is incorrect). None of us are perfect, but that does not stop us from sharing valuable contributions to the world, as little or as huge as they may be.

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner

Photo credit :
Ahhh...the story that shows your "true-colors" of whether or not you are a hypocrite / evil human being. One cannot discuss this topic without losing a slew of Facebook friends...this holds true for those who are cheering Jenner on or displaying their disgust.

Again, I can tell you nothing about this man who now lives as a woman except that he was once an Olympic athlete and now is a television personality. As I had previously mentioned, I stay away from celebrity news as much as possible. What I do know - most, if not all articles, posts, comments, or "discussions" surrounding his transformation have come across as attacking and are filled with language so dirty, if I had spoken such words as a child, I would have had my mouth washed out with soap dozens of times over and over.

Upon hearing Jenner's transformation, my first thought it this...regardless of your beliefs on transgender-ism, how is the overflowing media attention worthy of being defined as "heroism"? Do not confuse what I just said as hatred towards isn't. My point is simply this - is it healthy message to send to our children or our world that such drastic changes need to be made in order to gain acceptance, love, and self-worth? Imagine for a minute, that a homely-looking actress decides to change her image, complete with botox, breast enlargements, and extensive plastic surgery...would we crown her a hero as well?

Yes, you may say that "no, that is not the same thing. You are comparing a man who believes that he was destined to be a female because that is who he thinks he really is to a woman who went under the knife for the sake of having a sexy image". While that may be slightly true depending on how you look at it...the fact still remains - both did not feel that their natural bodies were good enough. That is just my point of view, but it should not be misconstrued as hate.

Just days before the buzz of the Vanity Fair cover, I was introduced to an AMAZING book (listened to in audio form) by Gregory A. Boyd entitled "Myth Of A Christian Nation". One of the points he made repeatedly was that Jesus spent mingled with the undesirable people and NOT once pointed out their sin and waved it about them. He showed them love and grace. What angers me about many of those who claim to be Christ followers, are not approaching the issue of Jenner's sex change (even if they believe that we are make without "mistakes") with love and grace. It is not our duty to judge one another or point out one's sin and compare it to our own - we are all familiar with Matthew 7: 3-5 right?

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

During my life, I have known a handful of lesbians, gays, and I think any less of them? No. Is my life affected negatively at all by them? No. I do know that they all struggle with pain, hatred, fear, and oppression...just like many of us here on this Earth, but for very different reasons. The way I see it, each person is an individual and free to live their own life, and is worthy of respect, love, and compassion regardless of how the world sees them. I do not feel that this qualifies me as the hypocrite that others have claimed me to be, unless it is found unsavory to not approve of ones actions or beliefs BUT love them as a friend or family member, then consider me guilty.

Final Thoughts

I think what concerns me most about all of the time spent on tearing each other apart surrounding the problems of the Duggars, Jenner's transformation, and all other celebrity stories deemed "newsworthy", is that we place these people on pedestals while distracting ourselves from the true problems that are happening in this world.

What if all of our time spent ranting and name calling on some post that will either be deleted or forgotten in the near future was spent on sowing seeds of love and speaking only positive and encouraging things? What if all who claim they are Christians took a step back and thought about what actions are truly Christ-like, rather than tying His name to something that is truly not of His nature? If we did these things, the world would definitely be a much better place.

Now that all of that I have said my peace, I hope to never to involve myself in topics such as these on this blog again. In closing, I present a challenge for not only me, but for my children, and to all of those who have continued to read this post.

Whether you identify yourself as a Christian or not, the following principles can apply to anyone. I challenge you to do the following :

Love others as Jesus would - UNCONDITIONALLY. By loving even the undesirable, it does not mean that you condone their actions, past, present, or future...just love them.

 Actively forgive and extend grace to those who the world does not deem worthy. All people are worthy of second, third, fourth, etc. chances and should never be measured by their faults.

 Remind yourself that it is NOT your duty to judge others, we all have areas in our lives that others would see as undesirable. Instead of looking down on others, lift them up.

Know that you are wonderfully and beautifully made, and your life should never confined to what those around you believe should be your destiny.

Never hold the values or ideals of others above your own, nor should you ever feel shamed into believing them.

Stand tall. Those who have strong beliefs, are subject to much criticism and ridicule. Do what you know is right, and pick yourself up each time that you fall. Also stand for those who are too weak to stand for themselves.

My greatest wish for my children is that that they live and breathe these principles daily. By doing so, I hope that they continue to show the world the power of love and compassion, of which have no boundaries. 

On a final note, I leave you with this...

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