Straight Christian Ally: Talking Points and Such

I just published a pretty intense post about the current gay rights debate going on right now – in the USA, amongst Christians, in the media – it’s everywhere right now.
Lately I’ve found myself tugged into countless online and verbal debates on the topic.  In case you missed my previous post, or don’t know me all that well, I’m a Straight Christian Ally.  Meaning, I love Jesus and try my best to follow His teachings, the Bible, etc., and I also support gay rights, including marriage equality.

thanks to tectonic movement for all of the images in this post!

I’m not alone in this either!
There’s a huge movement out there.  Sometimes known as “allies”  or “I’m sorry” – we’re growing every single day.  One of the bloggers I most respect, Tamara Out Loud, is an awesome mouthpiece for such shared ideals.  She recently attended a Pride Parade, and wrote about her experiences here.
LesBeHonest‘s Staight Ally Page: a variety of videos and quotes, great resource for allies here!
A random blog I found, that’s just one of thousands, that eloquently expresses the “I’m Sorry” aspect to this movement – this is Jeff Jackson’s Tumblr.
Towelroad, a blog with “gay tendancies,” posts some powerful images of apologizing Christians at a Pride parade!
The Atlantic on Gay Marriage and State’s Rights, it’s a bit of an arduous read, fyi.
The link party could go on and on – I just wanted to give y’all some starting points and spring boards.
In the post earlier, I quoted my Fb status from yesterday.  Well – here are some other gems that I’ve spewed onto the Book of Face in the past 24 hours about the issues at hand – quote me, copy me, emulate me, do what you want – I trust my words and intentions will be used in good faith, and if you have any doubts about it, just ask me.  I’m nice like that!

An  AWESOME and OPEN MINDED Fb exchange with a valued pal:
Leigh Palmer: No i know, but it’s not like there is a Chick-fil-A in Chelsea, they are mostly in suburban areas with lots of families, in the south. I could be wrong. ( I have no real research backing this statement up). Any thoughts Rose? I just mean, it seems to be that their customer base is more likely a young “Christian” family rather than someone who a more open mind.
Rose: You’d be surprised. For a few reasons:

Today, with the Internet as powerful as it is, geography isn’t a definer for political thought. The most rural SAHM can be on the up and up of social movements as fast as they’re happening.

Gay Rights and other progressive causes have infiltrated the suburbs. Claire Williams lives in one of the “gayest” zip codes in the country.

CFA is in urban and northern areas; The NYU campus being a major point of contention. Students at NYU voted to keep CFA on campus and it’s caused a huge stir given the locale and progressive tendency of college students.

The chasm of gay rights is causing huge division in the church. Everyday the “I’m Sorry” movement gains followers. More and more “conservative Christians” are waking up to the idea that hate is not a family value, and as such, change is happening. Hence why stalwarts are digging in their heels. They’re terrified.

Just look at Target. They were ousted for their support of homophobic politicians… and they’ve since recanted, donated money to progressive causes and issued apologies. The gay-supporting ban of Target wasn’t well-known or huge, but it was enough, because it evoked real change.

Rose (again): Don’t ever doubt your ability to be one voice that does matter – because to a big company like CFA – they’ve made their empire one sandwich at a time, and we can dissemble it the same way.
Leigh:  ♥ you Rose Duggan — thanks for reminding me of all of those things. 🙂
Rose: you got it girl!! love you too leigh, your honesty is awesome! i love that you aren’t afraid to ask questions!!
More random Fb gems from various threads: 
I love Jesus, and I’m not eating at Chic-fil-A. If you claim to love Jesus, get the hate out your mouth.

I’m just tired of “Christians” using a soap box to speak out from a place of bigotry.

Not all Christians hate. Some of us try to love everyone, just like Jesus asked us to. And I do NOT mean anyone personally in this thread – I mean the Pres and C-Suite of CFA. They’re comfortable projecting further the image that Christians judge and condone one another.

Love they neighbor. Judge not lest ye be judged.

I think the community works of CFA are amazing, really, I know so many people who’ve benefitted from fundraisers and money in their local communities. I also respect that they encourage family dynamics by being closed on Sundays – I truly love that about the company.

And I think their food is SO GOOD. I grew up on CFA. I crave that lemonade and those breakfast biscuits.

But.

At the end of the day this is 2012 and I am not okay with a corporation levying its public influence with such hatred.

 On the issue of boycotts being hateful and judgmental:
A boycott is a peaceful, legal, and proper way to engage in social criticism by voting with your consumer power. A boycott is NOT an act of violence or hatred.

This country is founded on a plethora of rights, including that of being able to express your ideals, freely, in a variety of ways. Being a capitalist society – the almighty dollar tends to be the vehicle that carries a belief the fastest.

I firmly respect anyone’s right to believe whatever they like – be that homophobic hatred or true Christianity. Or anything. That’s America, baby.

I just don’t have to use my money to fuel a machine that churns out vile, evil, hatred. A machine that donated millions of dollars to homophobic groups even in 2009. CFA is a massive consumer power – it’s ability to fundraise, lobby, and support the entities of its choice cannot be overlooked.

If you – this is the general “you,” meaning anyone – feels firmly that gay rights should not exist in this country and that homosexuality is evil, grab your picket sign and go to work. No one is stopping you from expressing an ideal or opinion. In fact, much like the SCOTUS upheld WBC’s right to hate away – I do the same for anyone. Just know that there are plenty of people, myself included, who don’t believe that same sex relationships are displeasing to God. And in fact – we go so far as to encourage them out of love, support, and kindness for our fellow man. Ya know… kinda like how Jesus asked to do so.

I truly understand and appreciate the local impact of CFA. I have so many friend who’ve personally testified to the greatness this one company can do for the location in which the restaurant is established.

But there’s something bigger at play here.

The President of a major company being so openly hateful – it’s just not okay. As good as their food is, as hard as the employees work, as much as they nurture and support the local communities they’re in – the damage of the power-wielding C-Suite is just too much.

If a boycott could effectively slice to their bottom line, I guarantee they’ll come back around hat in hand, singing a different tune.

Just look at Target. Same thing and they’ve come around, and now they’re trying to make up for their ways.

Andres posted a link to the NY Daily News along with this text:
“Over $2 million dollars donated to anti-gay organizations! They claim not to be a christian organization, and very supportive of the family, but only their definition of family. Well I can promise you that me and my non-biblically defined family will never be eating here again. Hate is not a family value.”
My reply:
THANK YOU! I’m up to my elbows in online debate right now… I’m SO FIRED UP.

This is NOTHING NEW. I’ve boycotted CFA since ’09 when I discovered that my money spent of delicious sandwiches was fueling the fire of hatred.

If you love Jesus, you have no business HATING others. That ain’t Christian at all.

….
On the issue of the south, particularly my home town, being tough to change:
I’m from Ormond Beach. And while I understand the stigma of the South being “set in its ways” – change can and does happen.

Florida was still a blue state in the ’08 election cycle.

With the Internet as it is today, physical geography is becoming less and less of a barrier to political thought and social movements.

Some of the “gayest” zipcodes in America are in southern states – like the northside of Jacksonville, Fl or Asheville, NC. Every single day the “I’m Sorry” movement gains followers.

And finally… it’s been done before. I know that Target is a farther-reaching company. But the boycott of Target did not get the viral attention this issue is getting, and yet that pressure was enough to elicit change. Target was caught supporting anti-gay political candidates in MN (the state of its corporate offices) and after public backlash the megastore issued apologies, pulled funding to such entities, and instead gave money to progressive causes.

More Resources?  You got it!
Chic-fil-A protest link party, here you can jump off to lots of info.
A crazy brightly colored page chock full of awesome talking points for the support of Gay Marriage.
Nation For Change – all you need to know about Marriage Equality!  (awesome awesome resource right here).
CanyonWalkerConnections – a ton of info and links for Straight Allies.
I could keep going, but really – I think this is tons and tons to get you started, right?
AS ALWAYS – Thanks for reading!  If at any time you have questions, concerns, issues, or more – reach on out and contact me.  This is a dialogue, a discussion, and it goes two ways! 
xoxo, hhr
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Jesus Doesn’t Want You To “Eat Mor Chikin”

Toddlers and Tiaras.  Oil and Water.  Ammonia and Bleach.  JESUS and HATE.

Some things just don’t go together, y’all.  They just don’t.   Add one more combo to the list:  Chic-fil-A and my money.

from gawker

I normally like my blog to be a place of fun, happiness, passion in proper doses… but today it’s taking all the restraint I own not to go thermonuclear red hot Sicilian on everyone.  Let’s get fired up! 

(This blog will probably go down smoother if you crank the Gaga and let her pulse pumping melodies take you to that happy place of tolerance and dance moves)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Chic-fil-A is a homophobic company.  A company based on Christian ideals, but one that is ultimately homophobic and comfortable announcing such vile hatred to the country at large.  The mostly-Southern chain famous for slinging delicious fried chicken sammies and breakfast biscuits has been embroiled in a homophobic slurry for years.  This is not new news.  I’ve been on a permanent “boycott” of the establishment for a while now; in 2009 they gave nearly $2million to anti-gay groups and funded politicians of the same credo.  Based on a recent statement made to the public by CFA’s head honcho – new flames of fury are being stoked, fresh eyes are opening to the hatred, and more people are newly becoming aware of what is going down.

CFA isn’t all bad.  Duh, I know this.

Their food is beyond dope.  It’s some tasty chicken, y’all (let’s just be real).  And I am super aware of the local good they bring to the communities in which they’ve established restaurants.  CFA has a pretty open door policy about helping local groups of all kinds fundraise using their goods and facilities.  I know so many people who’ve personally said “our school band wouldn’t exist without CFA,”  or “the scholarships they offer employees put me through school.”  I know that they do good works.  And fundamentally, I’m cool with a company that has a religious background and works to keep those ideals intact.  CFA has never been open on Sundays, and I respect that choice.  Heck, I even admire it.

Here’s what President Cathy had to say about CFA’s religious affiliation, from the NY Daily News:

Despite a corporate statement declaring that the purpose of Chick-Fil-A is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us,” Cathy told the Baptist Press that it isn’t a Christian business.  Christianity “is about a personal relationship,” he said. “Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are. But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/chick-fil-a-cops-anti-gay-guilty-charged-company-president-article-1.1116841#ixzz214cv2oRi

But telling the whole world that gay ain’t okay is the line in the sand.  Don’t believe me?  Ask the Internets:

CNN Blog: CFA and Gay Marriage = Media Storm

Daily Mail UK:  Anti-Gay Stance Sparks Protest

Huff Post: Chicken with a Side of Bigotry 

Facebook has been a flurry of debate since the newest set of statements coming from CFA’s top dog went viral yesterday.  Also making news this week – the Boy Scouts of America went ahead and chimed in to the national debate of gay rights by letting us all know that they’ll be upholding their ban of gay kids.  It’s enough to make a gal sick.  But crumpling in defeat in the face of hate ain’t my style.  When the going gets tough, the tough get blogging.

Last night I made a pretty passionate Fb Status:

Attn America: The Boy Scouts and Chic-fil-A want you to make SURE that you know how evil homosexuality is, and thus, in the year 2012 they’re randomly issuing statements to go ahead and inform of us their bigoted positions.

Methinks this is another stunt from the Romney propaganda machine. I mean, he got the NAACP to boo him on purpose to help increase votes in racist areas.

The debate that sparked was pretty intense.  You can check out my profile to see it all for yourself!  I’ll also be posting a part two after this with some of my favorite talking points – in case you find yourself asking questions and/or ensnared in vitriolic discussion.

Last night and already today, I’ve been jumping into debates here and there – I’ve also gotten some PMs asking me to explain my beliefs.  How is it that I can be openly Christian, a Bible-believer – and still support gay rights?  The answer, dear reader, is easily and readily.

I am a Christian Who Supports Gay Rights. 

I believe in a Jesus that exclusively taught love.

I believe that the Biblical use of words that “support” anti-gay rhetoric are misinterpreted.  For more clarification and get my POV – check this link out.

Hypocrisy is not okay:  Leviticus is not a substantial reason to be anti-gay.  If you’re still wearing poly-cotton blend, eating shellfish, touching a woman when she’s on her monthly, if you don’t stone to death adulteres… you’re not upholding ALL of Leviticus.  The Bible ain’t a grocery store, you don’t get to pick and choose.  Furthermore, Leviticus is from the OT.  If you’re NT kinda Christian (which, technically, you must be – right?) using one odd phrase from the Old Testament to fuel your hate is (more than) a stretch.

Furthermore… the very same parts of the Gospel that speak against “homosexuality” also speak against a host of other human sins, some that I think are important and others that I don’t. If you want to go the Levitican route, it seems so silly to uphold just that one teensy clause when so many Christians are allowed to wear cloth made of mixed fibers (poly-cotton blend is against the Bible, you know). You can eat shellfish, touch a woman within eight days of her period and refrain from stoning to death known adulteres, all without condemnation from Christians… but but… if you “lay with a man” you’re evil?

It’s all or none. And I can’t stand the hypocrisy of picking and choosing.

In other sections of the Bible that speak to homosexuality, it speaks to sexual depravity – and again, I evoke the translation error.  Jesus speaks SO MANY times at lengths about things that are important to Him. Where in the Bible does Jesus actually address being gay?  NO WHERE.

Love each other. Be patient. Take care of one another. These are the things that Jesus took the time to teach us about….  He never ranted and raved about the evils of being gay the way today’s big time super conservative preachers do.  I think its a misuse of power and persuasion to throw the church and God behind an ideal that’s clearly political and of our own culture.

There’s always the idea of hating the sin, but loving the sinner. While I think that’s pretty lame and not embracing gay people and their rights in a full context – it’s better than being all around hateful. I suppose by that same mentality people can hate adultery, but still love adulterers.

But beyond all of this – I truly know and believe in my heart that people are born gay. Sure as I was born heterosexual, I believe that others are born gay. And thus, I must accept and know and trust that God created these people this way.  And it’s neither our place or God’s desire for us to be the ones who judge them. Not at all.  Love is love. People are people.   If two people love each other and want to love each other, and that’s what makes them happy – then I am so all about it, 100% flying (rainbow) colors in support of it.

Jesus taught us to love. 

This is something I’ve just known in my heart of hearts, and something I’ve had reinforced for me via prayer many times.

that’s me! (photo cred)

So there you have it folks.  In case you didn’t know – now you do.  I am a Christian and I fully support gay rights.  I’m a straight ally, and I have been for a very long time.  Even back in my UNF Student Gov’t days, I was an ally (before I even knew how that term applied to this issue!).  I used to always be the Senator to introduce/sponsor bills from the PRIDE club – they even gave me an award my junior year for being such a fervent supporter.

If you’re a reader with a difference of opinion – please know that I respect and appreciate all sides of an issue, as well as your right to your own beliefs and ideals.  I’m a true American in that spirit and proudly embrace the freedoms of choice that we all have.   Hopefully, this post serves as insight into my belief structure and not as a form of antagonism.  If you have ANY questions or want to hash this out more – just reach out to me.  I’ll try my best to get back to you in a timely manner.

I will publish that second post of links and quotes in a hot minute too.

Edit: Here’s the second post, it’s up now! 

AS ALWAYS – Thanks for reading y’all!  This is a biggie and an important one, and even if all you did was read this and then decide this blog isn’t for you – I at least appreciate your time. 

xoxo, hhr 

being grateful for grace

So, I’ve been a bit of a derelict.  In adjusting to my new job, getting through the holidays, adding a lot of working out into my schedule, and any other excuses I can think of – some things have slipped a bit.

I haven’t been crafting as much lately.  I’m behind on my TV shows (tragic, I know).

And sadly, some aspects of my Spiritual Life have slipped. 

Around the time of making New Year’s Resolutions Goals, I decided to make my prayer life, and time spent with God, more of a priority.  It seems kinda lame to slap “pray” on a to-do list; shouldn’t prayer be constant, readily on my mind, and a must-do kinda item (not something that can just get dropped to make time for other activities)?

But I’m not perfect, and so I am literally making it a goal, I am slapping it on my to-do list (well, maybe I’m gingerly placing it there).  I want to work more on my relationship with God, making time for Devotion is a priority for me. 

yesterday's sunrise, as seen from my front yard - a beautiful brand new day, an awesome symbol for starting fresh

Duggs and I go to Church. we’re great about saying Grace before meals, and we have our bed time prayer.    But I used to wake up and pray, do some yoga and thank God for the millions of blessing I experience daily, play worship music while cleaning, driving or working out, Bible study or focus on a devotional just about everyday, and so on.  I used to make time to focus on thanksgiving, on praying for others, on just being with God all the time.

I miss the priority that my walk with Christ used to be. 

So, I’m making the effort to get it back. 

My Dad’s friend Amy gifted me this amazing book: “Praying God’s Word” by Beth Moore.  Every time I crack it open, Beth Moore seems to speak straight to me and she facilitates the devotion I need, when I need it.  The book is divided into different obstacles we need to overcome – like overcoming sadness, or overcoming deception.  Whatever need the occasion calls for, I’m able to just flip to the chapter and find all these applicable verses.

I’ve been feeling guilty for my lack of prayer life.

I turned to the chapter on Overcoming Feelings Of Guilt, and the most perfect verse was just right there waiting for me:

Father, I thank You that You’ve had mercy on me according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion You blot out my transgressions.  You can wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin … You can create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirirt within me. (Ps. 51:1, 2, 10)

Amen.

The most perfect Word from God comes at the most perfect time; that’s how He works.  His grace is perfect, and it’s for all of us.  Just when I’ve sinned and I feel bad about it, and I’m sorry… here comes His most perfectly fitting forgiveness.  His grace washes me clean, gives me that clean slate, and helps me to honestly start fresh.

He blots out my transgressions.  He washes away my iniquity. 

It’s okay that I’ve slipped, because He is there to catch me. 

I’m so happy to have found this word and I know it’s a prayer I’ll be re-visting more than once.  It’s simple, beautiful, and just leaves me feeling clean and refreshed.  A power washing for the soul.

I feel totally picked up, dusted off and set back off in the right direction.

Thank you Lord, for your Grace.  For giving me second chances, not allowing me to wallow in shame, self-pity, or marinating in guilt when I’ve messed up.  You offer me a chance at earnest sorrow and whole forgiveness.  Thank you God.

Back on the To-Do List: Do this more often.

as always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

operation christmas child part 2: seven new awesomely crafted care packs

I asked and y’all answered!

OCC Part 2 – Seven More Boxes Made With Love, Thanks To You!

My Church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay, participated in this year’s Operation Christmas Child project, a drive to send shoes boxes stuffed with toys, gifts, candy and what-not to underprivileged kids world-wide.  The church’s goal was 3,000 boxes.  Matthew and I made two on our own.  When we turned them in, our church was well under it’s goal.  I solicited an offer – if anyone funded the cost of a box, I would do all the legwork to create, shop and fill a box.

I wrote this blog about OCC a couple weeks ago.

Seven more boxes were funded, packed with love and turned in – thanks to y’all!  My friends and family came together to help us with this amazing project. And ultimately… our church reached it’s goal!  3,002 total boxes are being sent to kids in need.

AMEN!

How awesome is that?!?!?

Thank you: Miss Alice (my wonderful mother-in-law), Viper and Anna (my Dad and step-mom), Claire and the Williams Family, Kayla and the Hayes Family, Staci and the Ostrowski Family, and my lovely friend Ariana!  With all of your love and funding we were able to make SEVEN boxes to go out and send some love to seven more children.  How amazing is that?

I’m so appreciative.  I love this project and just believe in it so much!

So, because I’m too lazy to sort through all these pics… here’s a big mishmash of the assembly and turn in process, including what the inside of each box looks like.  Check ’em out:

Just to mention, every box got a hand-written note from me… I finished them so late on Saturday night though, I was too tired to snap any pics.  I used some nice stationary I had, and I just kept the letters simple and sweet.  For those of you who OK’ed it, I included your name, photos and address!   I basically just said that God loves them (the kids) and that we’re thinking of them.  And for each of you, I gave a couple generic/simple sentences about what you like to do… “We like going to the beach” or “I live in New York!”  etc.

THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE!