Saturday, January 21, 2012

God Speaks via my Television

I wake up this morning and decide it's just too cold to get out of bed. So, I scootch (according to the Urban Dictionary, it's a real word) further under the covers, and then turn on the television. I'm thinking I might catch a bit of news before the Saturday morning cartoons take over the airwaves.

My Vizio monitor snaps to attention, and THIS is what I see on the TV screen:

Really? Wow, it's awfully early, and I'm not fully awake, but okay! Let's go. I mean, God needs ME!

Now I'm tuned in to the fact that a bad recording of an old hymn is playing in the background. The screen shot changes. I see this:

God needs me to "Broadcast Nonstop Prayers Into Every Home...Every Where". Every home? Every where? Shouldn't "Every Where" be one word?

Okay, now I'm up. God needs me!

Friday, January 20, 2012

It Gets Better?

It's not often that a teen boy's suicide makes national and international news, but that's exactly what has happened in the case of 19-year-old gay teen, Eric James Borges. EricJames - as his friends knew him - died January 11, 2012 in California.

EricJames was a source of strength and encouragement to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community. He spoke out on his "It Gets Better" video, where he shared his own story of being bullied from an early age, and eventually being disowned by his fundamentalist Christian family.

He says his mother prayed for him and tried to exorcise the evil spirit of homosexuality from him. He was kicked out of the family home just a few months before he killed himself.

I have no intention of entering into a debate about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality. This isn't about that. This is about the tragic death of a young man, who apparently felt hopeless, lost, disenfranchised, marginalized, and bullied to the point of desperation.

One of our favorite Christian bumper-sticker-isms is "Hate the sin, Love the sinner." Did EricJames know he was loved? Were the Christians in his life able to separate "the sin" from "the sinner"? I can't answer those questions, as I wasn't there. All I know for sure is that a young man is dead - and it should not have ended this way.

Today I'm praying for EricJames' family. I can only imagine the broad range of emotions they must be going through - brokenness, sadness, loss, guilt, anger, fear, and the dreaded "what if's".

Please get off the bully pew. Is there an EricJames in your life? I ask that you love him (or her) and please, please love his parents. Get off the pew!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


"Marcus" died a few months ago. He leaves behind his wife, "Cindy", and their two grown children.

Marcus killed himself.

The family released very little information about their loved one's death. The paper said he'd suffered from cancer (he did), and the church announced that his death was "unexpected" (it was). But no one told the truth - Marcus committed suicide.

There are still so many stigmas in the church. We claim to be all-forgiving, all-accepting, and all-understanding, but there are still taboos - things we don't admit or share. 

Some moms can't publicly acknowledge that her child is living a homosexual lifestyle. I know a dad who teaches a Bible study, but hasn't talked to his only son for many years. He's too ashamed to even ask for prayer. He misses his son terribly, but can't talk to anyone about his anguish. What would people think of him?

My heart breaks for people with deep gaping wounds, and who feel they have nowhere to share their grief. Some are simply too embarrassed to admit the "blight" on the family name.

Suicide is just such a blight.

Well meaning people have told Marcus's wife that she should be comforted by the fact that he's in a "better place". Others rejoice because his death was the end to his earthly suffering. Meanwhile, Cindy is feeling guilty and asks herself what she missed, and if there was something she could have said or done to keep Marcus from ending his life.

She feels she has nowhere to turn.

Get off the pew. Open your hearts and open your arms. Be someone who gives others a safe place to land - a place wherein they can tell the truth with no fear of judgment, condemnation, or behind-the-back whispers.

Get off the pew!