Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why, as a Christian woman, I can no longer be silent about Donald Trump

DISCLAIMER: I am not saying you have to agree with me nor am I questioning your relationship with Christ if you do not. This is just food for thought from one lady.

I will begin by saying that if you are not a Christian, this post really isn’t to you and these opinions will be unpopular for different reasons. But I already know that this is an incredibly unpopular decision among evangelical Christians: to speak out against the Republican nominee. But, I can honestly say I am ashamed of what this election has done to our witnesses, churches, and our communities. Unfortunately, I know that many of you have already tuned me out. You have written me off as a left-leaning liberal. You think I am looking to start a fight, or I do not care about my country, the constitution, or my freedoms. But, it is because I care deeply about my country, constitution, and freedoms that I can no longer be silent. The one thing that “trumps” these deep convictions of mine are my desire to be the light in a dark world--my desire to show people who are hurting, who are in pain, who are forgotten, who are shamed, who are dirty, who are broken that they are loved deeply by a God who sees them and cares for them.  
            I had decided to remain silent about this election. To silently cast my vote on November 8 but, unfortunately, I no longer feel like that is an option. I have had people tell me that by voting third party, or write in, that I am throwing away my vote and I should be ashamed. I have had people tell me I am not a real Christian because of it. But after prayer and deep thought for months about the candidates I can say that my conviction is that neither is a good choice for our country.
(However, I will not address Hillary in this article because unfortunately I have not come under attack from fellow Christians due to my not being her biggest fan).

And here is why:

Trump’s stance on minorities:          
  • ·      “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
  • ·      “Laziness is a trait in blacks.”

He told America that almost an entire group of people were rapists and drug dealers AND that the color of one’s skin indicates work ethic. Just to throw this in there: there is literally no biological, criminal, or accurate evidence to support that, but who cares what I think?
  • ·      Hebrews 13: 2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers because some in this way have entertained angels unawares.”
  • Zechariah 7:9-10 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
  • ·      Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no greater commandment than these.”

  • ·      Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
  • ·      Romans 10: 12-13 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
  • ·      Acts 10: 34-35 “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

Me: I am not advocating for open boarders. Nor am I saying that we should not have a vetting process for immigration or that we should do away with our criminal justice system. All of these systems are mandatory to maintain law and order in a very distraught country--but that is an entirely different blog post. I will say this: as the daughter of a pastor and former law enforcement officer I am proud of our flag and would never disrespect that. But, what I encourage people to consider is that Trump does not just say “we need stricter immigration standards” or “people who shoot people should go to jail.” Trump plays on people’s fears of difference. He is causing those of us who should be color, ethnic, nationality, and gender blind to hate and fear people-isolating them from our lives, our churches, and our ministries. I cannot support that. As Christians, we should see one kind of people: a carefully crafted individual, made in the image of God, and loved beyond comprehension or reason SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE HUMAN. That is what a Christian is called to be.

Trumps view of women:
  • ·      “If Hillary cannot satisfy her husband what makes you think she can satisfy America?”
  • ·      “I can grab women by the p****”

Seriously? As men who claim to want to protect their wives and women in general, and women who claim they care for their bodies "as a temple", you are okay with this?
  • ·      Proverbs 31: 30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the lord is to be praised.”
  • ·      Ephesians 5:22-23 “…husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church…”

Me: Do you really think you are loving other women, yourself, or the next generation of children by saying that something this foul and explicit is just “locker room talk.” Do we really want a lewd, crude, immoral man before the next generation of men and women telling them that violence against women is okay? Or, that all we have to offer the world as a female is our looks? I certainly don’t.

Trump’s view on poverty (this is also in his tax plan that really only benefits the top 1%):
  • ·      "My entire life, I've watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were. And I said to myself, if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn't the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They're morons."

  • ·      Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
  • ·      1 John 3:17 “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?”
  • ·      Luke 6: 20-21 “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”
  • ·      Luke 3:11 “and he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
  • ·      Proverbs 14: 21 “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.”

Me: I am not advocating for the welfare state, nor am I saying the government should provide everything, that the working class should be taxed heavily, or that we should let people be lazy. But, what I am saying is this, how can you tell someone you love him or her and then believe that everyone on welfare is a criminal? How can you see a broken world and tell them it is obviously their own fault? That was not God’s mindset; why is it yours, and why are you claiming it is biblical? Do I think the church should be providing for these needs? Yes, but unfortunately we have failed our world. WE have gotten lost in greed and competition and big buildings and twinkling lights. We have lost site of what we are called to do; to go unto ALL the world with the gospel. And MR. TRUMP DOES NOT REPRESENT THE GOSPEL.

In conclusion: I am probably doing a write-in. Unfortunately, I think this presidential election is already a lost cause on multiple levels. I am focusing my efforts on voting in state and local elections now because those are the people we need to make change happen in this mess of a world. I am praying daily for my country. I am praying daily for myself to see the brokenness that exist and the pain that these debates are causing so many. So, yes, I am a bleeding heart. A heart that wants nothing more than to let everyone I meet know that they are important, valued, and cherished. That they are not a mistake, and that someone cares.
So, if you vote for Trump because you think that is honestly the best option--I am ok with that. But, do not slam those around you for thinking differently, because then all you have become is a vessel for hate… and honestly, if I were Satan, I think would think that's the best trick of all.

I also encourage you to read Dr. Daniel Akin, President of Southeast Baptist Seminary, article about this issue here:

Monday, January 4, 2016

My Top 13 "Not Resolutions"

"A new year, a new you" is literally everywhere I look the last few days. Gyms offering half off memberships, banks offering new interest rates, clothing stores having huge sales. I really am struggling with this because as much as I would have liked to have woken up 3 days ago skinnier, smarter, more well rounded, with an adorable outfit and more money in my bank account it simply didn't happen. I didn't even bother to make resolutions this year. It might sound pessimistic but I NEVER KEEP THEM!!! And, I figured, why set myself up for failure at the START of 2016. Instead I did what I do best, I got on pinterest and found some awesome this year I am doing life mottos to live by instead of resolutions for big change. I am going to change my mindset on the little stuff and watch the big stuff happen. So my mottos for the new year....

"You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the entire world and there is still going to be someone who doesn't like peaches."
This one became a really big deal to me this past year. I tried to be impressive, I tried to be on top of everything, overly sweet and extremely helpful and no matter what I did I found that I am simply not everyones cup of tea...and in 2016 THAT IS OK!!!! It is ok that not everyone is going to love me or want to be my best friend. That is simply not how life works. My goal for this year is to be true to myself, to be real, to be me and the people who are SUPPOSED to be in my life will be there when this year comes to a close. 

"Stay close to things that make you happy to be alive" 
This past year I had an amazing opportunity to meet a ton of new and exciting people from every walk of life: from congressmen to homeless people in downtown and they each had an interesting story to tell. Unfortunately, in being so intoxicated by the passion and life that they get to lead I lost sight of the things I love and started doing more of what they love or what they do that makes them so successful. While I do think it is a great idea to learn from people who have gone before us who have been successful and live lives full of passion and intrigue we also can't try to morph ourselves into them. I found that I was much happier when I made time to run, to paint, to read, to talk a long night walk around campus, etc...even if no one around me enjoyed it or thought they had time. When I took the time to feed my soul every aspect of my life began to look a lot brighter. 

"Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life."
This is a trap that so many people fall into...routine is safe. Routine enables you to live comfortably without ever having to worry about losing it all or the risk involved...routine will destroy you. This year I will take different paths to class, I will try new feeds and different types of coffee, I will swim in the ocean and drive to the beach just to see a sunrise, I will meet new people and read new books that I NEVER would have picked up otherwise...I will break routine and be the enemy of comfort and revel in the little miracles that are waiting to be uncovered when you step off the beaten path.

"Somedays you have to create your own sunshine"
I have seasonal depression so this is a big deal for me...but not just literal sunshine (even though sometimes I do need some serious heat lamp time) but in my mood. Some days are boring and some days are just bad. But, my outlook is in my hands and no one else's. I chose to dance in the puddles instead of complaining about the rain.

"Whatever you are be a good one"
This applies to every aspect of my life this year. Be a good aunt, be a good girlfriend, be a good friend, be a good student, be a good me. I don't have to have some fancy job title or 7 digit bank account to want to excel at every role I hold...and how much different and magical would life be if I gave everything I am my all?

"Find joy in the ordinary"
Even though this year is all about BREAKING routine and trying new things...about doing things that terrify me I am not stupid enough to believe that every single day will be new and different and fabulous and THAT IS OK! I will find joy in the simple smell of my morning coffee as I wait for my first class. I will find joy in the simple "good morning" text I get from my boyfriend, I will find joy in the old brick streets as I walk to class, and the familiarity of the classroom. I will find joy in the way the sunrises and sets and the way my best friend tells me every single thing she learned in class. I will find joy in the simple, everyday occurrences that make this life so beautiful.

"Say yes to new adventures"
This is a big one...this past year I went to California to visit one of the most beautiful women I know, and while there she made me swim in the ocean...and I almost had a panic attack because, well, JAWS. BUT I DID IT!! And I felt so proud of myself right after and I really wanted to do it again...but we went to disney world instead...either way I conquered a fear and felt like a rockstar. I ate a Mexican/Chinese infusion taco on campus, I officially joined the oldest debate society in the country, I MOVED TO DC BY MYSELF WITHOUT KNOWING ANYONE! And so much more. This year started off right when I went to the beach to start the year and did things that were very out of the ordinary for me (put-put anyone?) but my goal for this year is to carry that trend on so that when I scrapbook these adventures I can say "yeah I did that and it was awesome." (or maybe THAT WAS SO STUPID BUT I SURVIVED AND I HAVE A PICTURE TO PROVE IT SO HA! either way...)

"Be curious not judgmental"
This is a big deal at the phase of life I am at. There are so many people around me, from so many backgrounds, so many religions, and so many views and it is really easy for me to hear about something and immediately be like "thats weird, wrong, etc." but this year I want to ask questions and hear the answer and LEARN and love what I learn. I don't have to embrace every idea that comes my way but I do have to be a decent human being about it! Besides, learning new things doesn't mean I am giving in, it could actually strengthen the beliefs and convictions I have.

"When all else fails, take a nap"
Sometimes no matter how much I plan or push or try things just are not going to happen. AND THAT IS OK...I AM GOING TO FAIL IN 2015!!! And that is ok too. Just a reminder that sometimes you do your best and it doesn't pan out but you can always just take a nap and try again in later. (Disclaimer: I also just really like naps)

"What you are complaining about someone else is praying for"
My boyfriend and I went to the beach to start off new year. Well considering it is January in the south it was about 40 degrees at the beach and I am a baby when it comes to being cold. We run into starbucks to get a drink before heading down to the beach to watch the waves crash...when we get our coffee we turn and make a mad dash to the truck and I looked at him and said "This coffee isn't even full this is ridiculous what do I have to do buy a vinti to get as much coffee as used to come in a grande?!" He agrees and then throws in something about how long the line was then took a sip of his coffee "this coffee isn't even hot just barely warm!" We both were having a nice pity party until it hit us and we both said "we sound like them!" Them is a couple that we both know very well and no matter what the situation is there is SOMETHING wrong with it and it is exhausting and gross and exhausting....and exhausting...immediately he said "WE ARE AT THE BEACH!" and I said "and we can afford starbucks coffee in the first place" we both laughed and guess what? Our half empty, luke warm coffees did NOT ruin our day. Actually we had a great time sitting out on the beach and never thought about it again. Life is all about perspective...and this year I plan on having some.

"Would you rather be uncomfortable for 30-60 minutes a day or uncomfortable your entire life?"
I need to work out...even if I don't want to and even if I am never a size 2. I want to be HEALTHY and HAPPY. I want to look in the mirror and be like "I got you girl" instead of "I am so sorry you look and feel like this" and honestly that is all up to me.

"Collect moments, not things"
It is amazing how much we spend on stuff that goes into a closet and never comes out again. OR how much we spend trying to keep up with the latest apple product (iPhone78sss anyone?). And honestly, those things mean so little. I don't think I have ever held a long, interesting conversation with anyone as they told me about all the STUFF they had. I have, however, sat absolutely entranced as people told me of places they had traveled, things they had done, people they had met, and experiences they've accumulated...and that makes for a beautiful life.

"Every day is a chance to change your life"
This is the last one for a reason...I will fail. I will not uphold these some days and I will be frustrated but the fact of the matter is that one day is a small set back. ONE WEEK IS A SMALL SETBACK and it is never to late to say I am changing this now. I don't need to wait for 12:00am January 1, 2017 to try again...I can try again any day I choose.

To make living itself an art, that is the goal.