The following was originally written one year ago today. Thus, for those more familiar with my family, some timeline details may feel out of place. But for various reasons and after much prayer, I felt it needed to wait until now. Other than some updated stats, I left the writings primarily intact in order to reveal my honest thoughts at the time. They still reflect my views today.
As I write this I stare across the room at our rainbow-colored Christmas tree, still adorning our home until the beginning of the new year.
It is actually somewhat subtle with the lights on, but if you look closely, there amidst the branches are seven different colors of ornaments displayed in order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet), mirroring the beauty of that natural wonder we see in the sky when sunlight reflects through droplets of rain.
As millions of families across the world recently filled their living rooms with their own artistic masterpieces of evergreens covered in ornaments, lights and tinsel, I cannot claim credit for this particular rendition. The artists in this case are two of my four children (who have actually now grown to be young adults).
As the rainbow in the past several years has come to symbolize certain things, it’s possible that some may find its juxtaposition against a symbol for a Christian celebration to be quite offensive (especially those in the conservative Evangelical tradition of which I am a part).
I find it quite beautiful.
Before I explain my kids’ aesthetic choice or my reception, I want to share with you two true stories – both seemingly unrelated to the topic at hand but important to the discussion. Continue reading
I’m writing this just a little after 4 in the morning. I confess this was not within my plan. All of my other posts have been meticulously planned out in my head for months, each with a certain timing, a certain purpose – all part of a much greater plan. But not this one. I had never planned, or even hoped, to write it at all, and certainly not on a different day of the week. I don’t even know that I even have anything specific to teach or that there’s a point – just some random, and perhaps desperate, 4 am thoughts.
But I promised I would be honest and real…and so here I am. You see just after 7am my youngest son, Chase, will be getting up, or perhaps he may not. For the past week it has been quite a struggle and it’s starting to become routine. We wake him up to get ready for school, and sometimes he gets going and sometimes he does not – almost always I end up spending anywhere from 30 minutes to hours, encouraging him that he can make it through at least this day. Welcome to depression. Continue reading
(Part 2 of 3 of God, the Church, and LGBT)
Music blared several decibels from her bedroom to grab my attention. Upon arriving at my 15 year old daughter’s room I saw the collection of homemade construction paper posters plastered all over the outside of her door.
With words in crayon and colored pencil scribbled over pictures of rainbows and picket signs, the message was meant to be clear.
“Equal Rights!” they exclaimed.
“Bi-sexual and proud!”
But the most offensive:
“My dad hates gays!” and “My dad hates me because I’m bi.”
(Part 1 of 3 of God, the Church, and LGBT)
In my last post titled “God Really Likes You, But You Suck: The Confusing Message of Grace” I shared about the subject of God’s favor. If you have not read it already I strongly encourage you to do so before reading on. It will make a lot more sense related to the theology behind what I am about to say and potentially answer a lot of your questions.
In summary of it: we have confused our understanding of grace, which is often defined as God’s “unmerited favor” toward us. It is not that one must do something wrong first, thus unmeriting themselves, before undeserved favor is offered; instead, it is favor freely given that never had to be merited in the first place. Continue reading
or….Thanks, God, For the Really Sucky Years
(Welcome to my blog part 1 of 2)
I’m not gonna lie to you….half of what I’m going to tell you throughout this blog site is a lie. What??? Steve, you’re starting out this blog called “Honestly Thinking” by telling me you can’t really be trusted (not to mention the contradictory sentence and bad grammar)?? Yes…and no…and not exactly. I promise to always be honest with you, but that means telling you up front that a big percentage of what I say to you I don’t fully believe myself. In other words, I constantly tell lies to myself. I’m a hypocrite. What I say I believe and what I actually end up doing are often two different things. That’s because what I truly believe in my head doesn’t always transfer to what I truly believe in my heart and vice versa; thus, I continually end up living a contradictory life. Continue reading