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An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

Great read.

Trinity's Portico

Dear Frank

Can I call you Frank? This is just pastor to pastor. Feel free to call me Peter. Anyway, I have to say I was flattered when I learned that your Decision America Tour took a detour off the beaten path to call upon us “small community churches.” We are nothing if not small. We seat 30-40 on a good Sunday. And we are a century old fixture of our small community. Most often we are overlooked and overshadowed by mega-churches and politically influential religious voices like your own. We don’t hold a candle to an auditorium filled with the music of a one hundred voice choir led by professional musicians. We probably will never be recognized in any nationally syndicated media. After all, we don’t do anything really “newsworthy.” We just preach the good news of Jesus Christ; love one another the best we can (which sometimes isn’t…

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The Sky is Not Falling

Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. While many people applauded this decision (including me), there sure were a lot of haters. You would’ve thought SCOTUS decreed everyone must now marry a donkey and worship the devil by some of the reactions. Christians are being persecuted! This is an attack on religion/family values/straight people!

People, calm down. Carry on. The sky is not falling.

I grew up in the church. Papa was a preacher (an ordained Episcopal priest). Baptized and confirmed, spent most every Sunday in church, served as an acolyte, and was president of my youth group. So, I have a pretty firm knowledge base. And you know what? Never, ever, did I hear Jesus preaching intolerance.  Never, ever, did I hear him preaching to exclude certain people.

Here’s what I did hear: 

“‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Love thy neighbor as thyself. NOT, love your neighbor, but only if he or she looks like you, believes the same things as you, and says the same things as you.  If you go to a church that preaches exclusion based on a person’s gender, color, sexual orientation, or for any other reason, then that’s not a church. That’s a social club where people hang out with other people who think like them.

If you quote Leviticus as a reason why gays should not marry, I’d better not see you eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics, or have messy (“unkempt”) hair. (For more things banned by Leviticus, click HERE) Plus, I have news for you. Jesus did not write the bible. Nor did God, or even the Holy Spirit. Men did – sometimes centuries after the fact. Some women did too, but those passages were deleted along the way. Look it up.

Here’s who the SCOTUS ruling affects:  Gay people who want to get married. Period. Full stop. End of story.

Not gay? Don’t marry someone who is the same sex as you. It’s that simple. Don’t like gays? Why not? No really, I’m asking. What is so offensive? Does it make you uncomfortable? That’s ok. Lots of things make me uncomfortable. For instance, driving past the homeless man begging at the corner near my office. Or the close-talker at work. It doesn’t make me hate any of them. Being made uncomfortable doesn’t give you the right to deny people a basic human and civil right.

Marriage was not invented by Christians. It wasn’t even invented for religious reasons at all. It began as a way to transfer property, and to create alliances and relationships with more powerful families. Neither love, nor God, had much to do with it.

Let’s be reasonable. A whole lot of “traditional” marriages end in divorce – where’s the uproar over that? If two people get married – any two – how does it affect you? It doesn’t. What affects you is who YOU marry. This applies to many things. Don’t like abortion? Don’t get one. Don’t think a charity deserves money from you? Don’t donate. See how simple it is?

Love multiplies, it doesn’t divide. Two gay people loving and marrying each other does not take anything away from two straight people marrying each other. Two gay people adopting a child does not take anything away from two straight people having a child. What it does do is give a child a home, and isn’t that what we really want? A child to be raised by someone who loves him or her? Children deserve to be loved, and if that family is made up of people of different colors or genders, what does it matter?

Judge Anthony Kennedy wrote the following closing paragraph to the Supreme Court’s decision, and I think it is beautiful:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

Wave at the Bus

Haven’t we all embarrassed our kids at some point, whether purposely or accidentally?  Purposely is always more fun though, isn’t it?  Check out this dad’s dedication to the art:

http://waveatthebus.blogspot.com/

Waving at the bus on the last day of school.

Fantastic!