The Elephant I Can No Longer Ignore 

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Today I want to write on a topic that I am embarrassed to say I have never addressed in this space before. I think that there are a lot of Christians – Evangelical or otherwise, who don’t know what to do about the LGBTQ+ conversation, which has become the elephant in the church. So many times I have heard people whom I respect tremendously side step the issue by saying things like, “I’m just not called to that issue” or “My ministry is just really focused on XYZ right now” or “I don’t want to close ministry doors by speaking on something I don’t know much about.”

We reduce our brothers and sisters to an “issue” or a “lifestyle choice”. I’m not talking about your alt-right, Westboro Baptist Church types either. I’m talking about people that are near and dear to my heart who love Jesus and fight for equality in the church but who are strangely silent on this particular demographic. Even in our politics or current events we can somewhat acknowledge in a rather roundabout way “Oh what a shame.” when we here of another report of LGBTQ+ violence. Some are even bold enough to admit (usually behind closed doors) that it doesn’t seem right that same sex couples don’t have the same legal advantages that straight, married people do, although we aren’t quite sure if it’s okay to be okay with same sex marriage, and are definitely not bold enough to say something about it. It usually ends with a fleeting moment of sympathy and then back to our regularly scheduled programming.

It’s as if we have taken the places of the Pharisees, trying desperately to reason among ourselves, what are we going to do about all these LGBTQ+ people? They have turned our theology upside down and are really causing a ruckus! And instead of setting a place at the table to have a conversation or even humbly admit,

“I don’t know where you are at or what you are going through, but I want to.”

we either don’t acknowledge them or quickly turn to blanket statements that offer little more than a facade of superficial Christian love. And you know what?

I’m guilty too.

2016 was a year that revealed some dark places in my heart. It has always been my nature to seek harmony with my fellow man and see equality and justice in the church and in the world. However, how many times have I sought a cause where I wasn’t the one who could stand to benefit? The 2016 election cycle made me see that it wasn’t until I was a single, pregnant mom that I could truly empathize with women who find themselves at the door of Planned Parenthood. It wasn’t until I was a single parent working and in school full time with an infant, struggling to put food on the table that I could empathize with those “welfare moms” seeking government assistance. It wasn’t until I found out my child was autistic that I truly cared about advocating for the disabled. It wasn’t until I married a DACA recipient that I truly cared about immigration issues and reform.

There is power in simply giving a damn. The sad thing is that most of the time, the only person we care to give a damn about is ourselves. 

So how did I get here? Me! The one who cares deeply about social justice and equality, but who is practically privileged in every way? Why should this white, straight, cisgendered millennial, ever give a second thought to LGBTQ+ issues, let alone acknowledge that these are Christian issues too?

To quote retired Bishop Gene Robinson,

I’m one of those sappy religious folks who actually believes in the Holy Spirit.

It’s true.
I believe with all that I am that the Holy Spirit orchestrated what happened next.
And it all started with this shirt.
Sort of.

I got a new shirt!

A post shared by Matthias Roberts (@matthiasroberts) on

To this day, I don’t even remember how I came across this picture, but I am sure glad that I did. Honestly, I probably never would have clicked on his website if it wasn’t for the fact that his name is Matthias, the same as my sweet 5 year old. At first glance I wasn’t really sure what I thought about “LGBT Christianity”, but there was this magnetism – this joy in his writing that let my guard down and piqued my interest.


For some time before this, I was in a season of studying the bible to see what it had to say about Egalitarian theology, specifically regarding what it had to say about gender equality in the church. If you are a Christian woman in the church with a fire in your belly and a mission in your heart, you are likely to be met with resistance in the form of what are commonly referred to as the “difficult passages” that Complementarians use to justify silencing women in the church. Knowing the heart of Jesus, yet wanting to be true to His word, I took to looking at the historical-cultural context of said passages and held fast to my Christian Feminist leanings.

As passionate as I am about Feminism, I can’t help but notice the double standard when Christian Feminists feel slighted when Complementarians condescendingly state “the bible clearly says” in regards to the difficult passages that are used against women from preaching, teaching, leading in the home and in the church, but who will use that same sentiment towards the “clobber passages” that are used as weapons against the LGBTQ+ community. But hey, I let it lie. Most of the Christian community was silent on this issue, why not me? 


And that’s when this delightful thorn in my side came along and wrecked everything. It took less than 140 characters to offend me out of laziness and into conviction, prayer, and study. I couldn’t sweep it under the rug now. I was that “straight, well meaning Christian” who was sympathetic enough to feel sorrow at the plight of LGBTQ+ people but wasn’t quite sure where I stood or what the practical steps were to even begin to think about entering this world, let alone what I could do to help – if I even should.

But really, see the entire thread ^.

Now let’s shift gears for a moment for a flashback sequence to 2009. At this point I had just started my second year of bible college and was of the mind that I was going to end up in Vermont in some sort of ministry capacity. And what was Vermont known for in 2009? The Marriage Equality Act, a bill that allowed Vermont to recognize same sex marriage for the first time. I immediately started trying to figure out how to reach these troubled souls with the gospel. As a part of my “research” I rented the documentary For The Bible Tells Me So which features (now) retired Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop to be consecrated by the Episcopal Church.  I was literally sitting there trying to come up with a strategy for how one goes about proselytizing to “those people”. I was so blinded by my narrow, unstudied view on what the bible says about homosexuality that although I was moved, grieved even, by the tragedy and divide in this film, I was nonetheless convinced that they were wrong and I was right.

Ride’s over. Back to 2017.

So I began to seek out LGBTQ+ voices and just listen with an open heart and mind for probably the first time in my life. I didn’t engage too much, in fear that my apathy would show. I had heard about the Gay Christian Network when I read Searching For Sunday by Rachel Held Evans last year, but never really looked into it. It’s practically an accident that I ended up stumbling across the link to access the livestream for the GCN conference on the first night of the conference. I wasn’t sure if this was for me, but I was ready to listen and learn.

I was nervous thinking about how complicated my theology was about to get if it turned out that Jesus was okay with all of this, but I couldn’t deny that God was there. And I couldn’t push Him away or ignore the elephant in the church this time. Love kept drawing me in. 

In July, my family walked away from the Evangelical Church for a trial separation after seeing that the justice and equality of Jesus didn’t seem compatible within the rigid framework of the Evangelical machine. It’s been a sabbatical of sorts, finding Jesus in unexpected places and truly examining why we believe what we believe (Thanks Scot McKnight). So you can imagine my jaw hitting the floor when it turned out that Gene Robinson was a keynote speaker – whose story I first heard 8 years prior, when I was trying to systematically forge a plan of action to reach “the homosexuals”. It turned out “those people” ended up reaching me. After almost 6 months, I finally “had church”. And it turned out that the ones that I marginalized for so long were my people.

After that conference was over, I felt a fire inside of my bones like I had not felt since I began my journey studying Egalitarianism as it relates to women in the church. I finally felt alive, like for the first time I was giving a damn about something that was not serving my own interests. I felt completely consumed by love as if the weight of apathy was melting right off of me. The regrets I have of slighting the LGBTQ+ people in my life in the past are many. Humility has come back for me in 2017. I choose to move forward with the resolve that I don’t want to one day say with regret, “It wasn’t until my son or daughter came out that I started giving a damn about LGBTQ+ people and issues.” I choose today. I choose now. You can set people free with the sound of your voice (or the signs from your hands). In the words of Ling Lam,

“Every time you speak up you are chipping away at the conspiracy of silence.”

Apathy, be damned.
It’s time to let love in.

♥ MM


For further reading, see:

http://www.thekevingarcia.com/resources/
http://matthiasroberts.com/resource-list/
https://www.gaychristian.net/
https://gcnconf.com/
http://www.reformationproject.org/resources
http://www.faithfullylgbt.com/

The Cost of Living Free

self reflection (4) by Idhren, on Flickr
self reflection (4)” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Idhren

I like to step into every new year with a specific focus in mind. This year my theme was “Live Free”. Truth be told, I would have to say that from 2014 – 2015 I have spent much of my “public life” walking on eggshells and being hyper-vigilant about things I say or do as not to offend. Maybe this is the INFJ in me, because I really do care so deeply about the feelings of others, almost to a fault.

However, I felt like I reached the point where I wasn’t being true to myself and would constantly censor myself when I would feel that my questions or musings started going ever so slightly against the grain. Every time I would silence myself when I would see injustices peeking in (specifically revolving around gender equality in the church) I would die a little more inside.

No more.

2016 was going to be the year that I was going to be bold, not for the sake of making waves or causing disunity, but because I could no longer be silent. There was a primal rage deep within me that had been stirring for some time now. A holy fury at the indifference that slowly began to become evident all around me, like a fog that wouldn’t lift. Suddenly I began to identify with Guy Montag’s exasperation to apathy.

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
-Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I started to realize that there was something rotten in the state of Evangelical Land and resistance was not welcome. And it was not welcomed with a smile, a membership card, and a volunteer sign up sheet. Where is the conversation in all of this? I wanted so badly to sit down and “reason together”. This time I couldn’t let something so central to not only my faith, but my humanity be reduced to some uncomfortable crumbs to be swept under the complementarian  rug.

My year of living free has not been this cathartic release of suddenly being able to show the world who I really am. Living free is choosing to stand up for what is right when it would have been so much easier to let it be and look the other way.

To live free is to love, but not join arms with those who staunchly oppose full equality in the church and the world. Walking away from a community that I loved, but could no longer link arms with was hard, but looking in the mirror was harder still.

One of the most difficult things I faced this year were all the ways that I have hindered others from living free. It’s a cold, hard stare in the mirror to realize that the bondage you are running away from was once your own finger pointing at someone else. There are so many times that I wanted to dig my head in the sand as I began to recount the faces of so many friendships lost because of my own close-minded, all or nothing approach to what I thought was speaking “truth in love” in the name of Jesus.

The disaster of this election season was the microscope that revealed that the person I used to be reflected a hollow, counterfeit Jesus who cared about the outcasts of this world in word, but not in deed. I found myself wondering how I could go so many years being apathetic about issues that are so close to God’s heart. In a way I feel this election cycle has been a litmus test of sorts for the Evangelical Church, in which many feel their days of living free are numbered.

Living free wrecks everything. It will cost you pride, bondage, being right, and it might even cost you your religion. I suspect that living free doesn’t look the same for everyone. For me, living free meant that the Evangelical Church and I had to have a trial separation because I just couldn’t find Jesus anymore. When you can finally see that it is for freedom that you have been set free, you never want to be the source of that bondage for anyone ever again. When you taste that freedom for yourself you don’t know how to live any other way.

♥ MM

 

 

My Year of Eating Crow

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It’s funny how a year has its way of sneaking up on you. About a year ago I announced that I had made the decision to quit my job to become a stay at home parent. I was a ball of nerves this time last year about what our future would look like without me working. Now, a year later I just have to laugh at some of my idiotic notions.

I have to be honest. One of the reasons I was apprehensive about becoming a SAHM was because I used to silently resent my friends who stayed home with their children. Especially now, after coming out as egalitarian a part of me just felt like this was going to be the beginning of an avalanche of condemnation from my complementarian friends.

*Spoiler* alert: It wasn’t.

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Oh yeah.

You see, before I remarried, I used to do it all. Not only was I a single parent, but I also had a full time job and was a full time college student (including an internship). I worked my tail off to ensure that my little one and I were well taken care of. When I would hear the woes of the “day in the life” of my SAHM friends, my typical inward response would be an eye roll followed by “it must be nice”.  Obviously, I now see what a load of bull that is.

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The image we have created of mothers who stay at home lounging carefree in luxury is simply not the reality for most families with one income. Sacrifices are made. You realize very quickly that you can, in fact live your life with less. No way did I think that me staying at home would be an option. At the time I was making about 60% of our income and feeling pretty great about pushing back against the wage gap and defying stereotypical gender roles. However, I knew that in the season we were in as a family, this was the best choice for everyone. My Jesus Feminist self was not being oppressed just because I decided to take on a role that is more traditional.

We have to erase this mentality of superiority in how we choose to parent. It embarrasses me that I ever had that bitter mindset towards my other mommy friends. We don’t need to be pitted against each other.  *Stay at home moms, work at home moms, and working moms, hear me. We have to come together and be for each other.  My friend Jory Micah wrote a beautiful article about how as Christian Feminists we need to include all mothers into the fold. Being a SAHM doesn’t make one less egalitarian than a woman who is a CEO of a company. Just like I had to throw out my cookie cutter mentality in regards to my SAHM friends, we need to stop viewing our feminism as coming from one predictable, angry mold. Egalitarian means that we get to keep our autonomy intact along with our equality.

This year has been a wild ride. I have seen breakthroughs with my child. I have experienced lows like you wouldn’t believe. I have lost friendships. I have gained community. My marriage is in a better place than it has ever been. I have a new fire in my bones to be an ally for the marginalized, and for the first time in a long time I no longer feel the need to justify why that’s ok. I found my voice that I have kept quiet for so long.  I have walked through some dark places, but I have come out with my feet firmly planted on the ground.

I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.

♥ MM

*Disclaimer: I do realize that there are also dads who stay home/work at home while their wives go to work, but I am just using the language and example of SAHM as it best relates to my situation. 

3 Picture Books That Promote Autism Acceptance

I read a lot of children’s books. A LOT. In fact, so far this year 84 out of the 95 books I have read  are children’s books. 80 of those 84 are picture books. However, it never occurred to me until recently to start searching for books about autism inclusion/acceptance (at least not children’s books). It turns out there are quite a few out there!

I will admit that I am more critical of anything written on the subject of Autism/Neurodiversity because as a neurotypical, even though my child is autistic,  I don’t see the full picture. Therefore,  I try my best to align myself with the ideals of actual autistics. Their voices are the most important for our world to embrace full inclusion and acceptance. I wanted to write a little bit about my top 3 favorites  that I have read this year.

1. Different Like Me by Jennifer Elder

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This book is geared towards ages 8-10 because there is a lot of text on the page. It is narrated by an autistic boy named Quinn. In the book you will learn about some famous people who he can identify with because they are “Different Like [Him]”. It’s not possible to know if every person that he talks about in this book had a black and white diagnosis on the spectrum due to time period that some of these people lived, but the significance of the book is how Quinn is able to see a part of himself in the lives of these inspiring people. Some of the “autism heroes” in this book include, but are not limited to: Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Anderson, Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Temple Grandin, and others.

2. I Love Being My Own Autistic Self by Landon Bryce

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I love, love, loved this book! I wish I could place this book in the hands of anyone who interacts with autistic adults or children on a regular basis and have difficulties understanding their challenges. The presentation of this book is geared more towards children, but I think that there are many adults that need to read these truths. What I love about this book is the honesty that there are differences in the autism spectrum both good and bad, and that’s a part of what makes us all human.

There is a common misconception that people who are pro neurodiversity and who push back against the grain of cure culture think that autistic people are superior to neurotypicals and allistics. This is simply not true. Above all the emphasis on inclusion of autistics especially when it comes to neurotypicals trying to further their understanding of autism is such a great component to this book.

3. Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT is OK! by Clay & Gail Morton

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I got this book as a gift for my son’s 5th birthday. It is usually difficult for me to find books that capture his attention, but this one did. So many times in books or in the media when it comes to minorities or the disabled, all energy and focus is geared toward the neurotypical (NT) person. I saw this a lot in some of the picture books that emphasize the relationship between siblings where one is NT and one is autistic.

This book makes you want to throw the word “normal” out the window because NT’s can seem just as unusual to someone on the spectrum even though it’s usually presented the other way around. When I first heard about this book, I thought it was a spoof of some sort. However, having read it, this book will seem a little humorous to NT’s but it actually is informative to kiddo’s on the spectrum. Not every person on the spectrum is going to fit exactly into the mold of the characteristics described in this book (for example my son is autistic but he loves to play with other kids). Overall I think that this is a great picture book to show autistic children that we are all different and that’s ok. We just need to accept each other.

♥ MM

*Disclaimer* While I loved Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap, I do not recommend following the book’s fb page because I did find some of the content ableist in nature and offensive.

What are your favorite picture books about acceptance and inclusion? Comment below!

 

Daughters of Eve, You Get To Be Free!

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I usually share this graphic at Christmastime (which you can buy here) however, I found it appropriate today as we reflect on the present reality of our Risen Lord. Here we see Eve being comforted by Mary (preggo with Jesus). This is such a powerful image. I especially love the fact that Mary is crushing the serpent with her feet.

Here stands Eve.

Naked.

Feeling the sting of shame,
the costly burden of the fall.
Where sin is the chain and patriarchy is the ball.

Enter Mary.

Consolation.

Whose womb did contain,
the answer to sin, the cure for pain.
Baby boy, born to die.
Setting us free was His Holy design.

Today there are plenty of “daughters of Eve” downtrodden even in the wake of the resurrection. Jesus lived a life of radical humility. He challenged the status quo and went against the cultural grain. His life was spent on the least of these, the ones that the world loves to hate. Lifting the lowly from the mire and the muck is what He is famous for. His death broke the curse of sin and death which includes the curse of patriarchy over women.

It is so fitting that the first commissioning of the Risen Lord was to the women at the tomb to “Go and Tell”. How sad is it that our modern church culture would stifle those who he called. Even in 2016 there is work to be done that Jesus already paved a way for and obstacles to overcome that were already won by the victory of the Cross.

This Resurrection Sunday, let’s agree with Jesus that we ALL get to live free.

♥ MM

The One About Coming Out as Egalitarian

When I think about “coming out” as an Egalitarian I think about Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

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“It came without ribbons.

It came without tags.

It came without packages, boxes or bags.”

There were no bells. There were no whistles. I did not shout to the rooftops the praises of my righteously indignant people.  Much to my chagrin a booming light did not descend from heaven in Morgan Freeman-esque fashion to affirm my newfound revelation. Just a sober “Yes.” A deep breath of apprehensive relief, nervous hope — knowing I could never go back to being complacent about full gender equality. I would never be the same.

A year ago my world completely turned upside down and none was the wiser. I saw everyone around me going about their lives as if nothing happened. If you have ever read a spectacular work of fiction that has changed the core of your being then you get where I am coming from.

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Even though everything inside of me was newly liberated and screaming a love song, I felt at a loss toward the world around me. Even though embracing egalitarianism was not as great a leap for me growing up in the Assemblies of God as it was for some of my ex-complementarian friends, I had a moment of clarity, like seeing with brand new eyes.

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Unbeknownst to me at the time, my egalitarian journey actually started a long time ago. For me it was on a summer morning in 2002. I was having a candid conversation with a friend at the Summer discipleship program at my church. Even at 13 I knew something was not quite right with how us teenage girls were indoctrinated to view “our place” as women.

How is it that during the fancy-free Summer that two bubbly girls can talk optimistically about our futures in ministry just short of approaching the elephant in the room? I never realized the thinking aloud musings of a 13 year old girl would come to a halt at the mention of the taboo title of “pastor”.

Like the scratching of a needle on vinyl, the raising of my friend’s eyebrow followed up by “Don’t you mean pastor’s wife?” was the moment the scales fell from my eyes and I was heartbroken, seeing for the first time that gender would even be an issue among Christians (of all people).

That was the first time I really gave a second thought to gender being of any importance in the church. Sure, there were small sign posts along the way that brought to my attention that this issue was not the side issue that many make it out to be, but it wasn’t until I was engaged to my husband, Angel that I really started seeking out the scriptures on this matter.

Growing up AG I never questioned a woman’s authority in the church because I was surrounded by women in leadership positions. I did, however, begin to realize that I had subconsciously went along with some complementarian ideas on gender roles inside the home that I now see were the launching pads of abusive situations that I had found myself in years earlier. Furthermore, the self-concept that I had through the lens of these complementarian ideas led me to believe very false things about myself as a woman. I used to think I was broken because I didn’t fit that dainty, docile mold.

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I can’t imagine the brokenness my life would be in if I didn’t challenge these false beliefs on gender. Falling into egalitarianism was like drifting into a whirlwind romance that caught me completely by surprise. Probably because being centered as an egalitarian Christian is to fall into the arms of Jesus, agreeing with Him that you are who He says you are.

I only wish I was brave enough to make my case public when I was in the glow of my “aha” moment with Jesus. My personal theme for 2016 is to Live Free. My hope is that anyone reading this that feels the weight of bondage from the chains of complementarianism and gender stereotypes would break free and cling to who Jesus says you are.

♥ MM

Some great places to start are:

Christians for Biblical Equality

The Junia Project

I found this this link especially helpful.

Marg’s Blog

www.jorymicah.com

I Was a Cookie Cutter Conservative or, The Trouble with Looking Outside of Your Christian Bubble

On this Super Tuesday tensions were high as 13 more states rushed to the polls to make their vote heard for the 2016 race to the white house. Today I have been reflecting on my past political self living inside of the Christian bubble in hopes that my Christian brothers and sisters do not make some of the same mistakes or judgements I have made — all in the name of Jesus, of course.

Hello.
My name is Amanda and I am a recovering conservative.

Let me explain what I mean. If you now or have ever considered yourself a part of the Evangelical Christian community or tradition there are probably very specific images that come to mind when you hear the words “conservative”, “right-wing”, “republican”. And they probably make you feel warm and happy inside.

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Now close your eyes and think about the words “progressive”, “left-wing”, “democrat”. As someone deeply immersed into evangelicalism in the bible belt, a very different picture probably comes to mind, complete with flames and pitchforks.

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It’s true.

I suppose that you could say that it goes both ways on either side, but I just want to tell my story. Growing up in the church even at a very young age, when it comes to politics there are really only two issues that will be consistent pulpit fodder: abortion and the “sanctity” of marriage. At each stage of my evangelical experience the “pro-life” cause resonated deeply with me and reverberated from the core of my being. I was devoted. From holding Rock for Life signs on the side of the highway at 9 years old to being deeply invested in my local Bound 4 Life chapter at 19, all the way through college I was known as “that pro-life girl.”

Almost to a fault. As early as middle school I had friendships sour over political discourse. I was so black and white on issues that I wouldn’t ever entertain a grey area because everything I ever heard from the pulpit was life or death. No need to investigate further. You may as well be on trial for any stance that wasn’t red. Even when I went off to bible college we were told to “vote our conscience” and to “choose life” since it was a conflict of interest to come right out with an endorsement of a party. Teetering on the edge of blue was taboo and I soon found myself go so far as to even question the salvation of friends who were more moderate. It would seem that there was no eternal hope for my friends who were self-proclaimed bleeding heart liberals. When an organization you respect is cheered for mottos like “You can’t be a Democrat AND a Christian”, it’s easy to become a pious ass.

It’s easy to run wild with these two issues when you don’t look outside your comfortable Christian bubble. Before I go on, I do want to be clear on something. Although I no longer consider myself conservative, I hold fast to the idea of personhood and I don’t take that lightly. I believe that ending a viable pregnancy that poses no risk to the mother’s life is unethical. However, pregnancy is unpredictable and we should not be quick to cast judgments when the decision is not (and should not) be ours to make. This is where the distinction needs to be made between pro-choice and pro-abortion because you can be anti-abortion and still be pro-choice. This is where my liberal friends may disagree with me.

In defense of the conservative pro-life movement, I will say this– in my 15 years being involved with multiple anti-abortion organizations and events that I have been a part of, including “sieging” outside of abortion clinics and participating in solidarity events, don’t believe the hype. The media wants to portray these individuals as hateful zealots towards these women. I know it exists out there, but every single person that I know personally who invests their life into this cause would lay their lives down for these women. “It’s not a protest, it’s a prayer meeting.” is the motto of the organization Bound 4 Life, and I think that the distinction between prayer and legislation is where the political right gets it so very wrong. The legislation on abortion is irrelevant when conservatives do nothing to change the outcome of these women, and in fact hinder them from getting the support that they need.

From a Christian perspective, it is absurd to think that legislation will change the actions of the people. Think about it. The same people that say that making guns illegal won’t stop people from using them are campaigning to make abortion illegal in efforts to stop abortions from taking place. And no matter where you stand on same sex marriage, the legislation we try to put into place to protect our herero-normative view of the nuclear family will not change the sexual orientations of LGBT folks. Even God gives us the choice to choose Him. Christians should know more than anyone that a set of laws does not produce change any more now than it did for the children of Israel in the wilderness. Once I started peering outside of my tidy Christian bubble, I started realizing that the way that I perceived “choice” was not only biased, but  significantly flawed.

It was easy for me to be a cookie cutter conservative in my privileged bubble where I didn’t really have to think about issues other then those pertaining to religious focus groups. But then life had to ruin everything. When I became a single parent, suddenly I breached Christian protocol. I had to look outside of my safety net. I became a single parent while I was pregnant, folks. Now, I never entertained the though of abortion, however I began to empathize with the hopelessness that women who found themselves in my shoes must feel. I learned that not all single parents are bottom dwellers of society, leeching off of taxpayers. I was one of them, and I was a full time mom, full time college student, and had a full time job, and it still wasn’t enough. The shame I felt was a result of the same stigma I used to place on people that received government assistance.

Then I had to go fall in love. The trouble with that is that I fell hard for a charming (is there any other kind?) Mexican who happened to be undocumented, so I could no longer ignore my indifference on the despicable, hateful stance on immigration that the right has to offer (not to mention the xenophobia we relish on our fellow humans in the middle east). Falling in love with a man that treated me as an equal and not as a subservient counterpart made me realize how abusive Complementarianism (a pretty word for Patriarchy ) is in the Church and how God’s design was always for equality. Now I was in really deep! How could I ever reconcile this with the inexcusable apathy for equal pay in the workplace that is ignored over and over again by the right?

Just before my son’s Third birthday, he was diagnosed with Autism and I instantly became an ally for the Autistic community. I was soon dismayed to find that the legislation on the right caters to a cure culture that seeks to find a way to “solve the puzzle” instead of trying to accommodate the autistics that are already here and are wondering when they will be valued instead of seen as challenge for science to find the answer to.

What. A. Pickle.

I didn’t rush to declare a new political affiliation after these events ran their course. All I knew was that I could not go along with the agenda of the conservative right with a clear conscience any longer. If that makes me a trouble maker in the eyes of the evangelical community, so be it.

This is not a plea to my conservative friends to change their political allegiance, however I would ask that you try understand that everything is not always as black and white as it seems. I have burned many bridges in the past by being so ruthlessly rigid. It would do us all a bit of good to stop looking so far inward that we forget why we are here in the first place. Whether we like it or not, we need each other. We are better together, warts and all.

♥ MM