Done, Part 2

10338262_10152919842641179_8700559709711379137_nWow. Just….I am overwhelmed. I never imagined, not for one moment, that my last post would receive the kind of attention it has. I am truly, truly blown away. I was simply trying to express what’s in my heart – with some fear & trepidation about the response. That it is speaking to so many people is just humbling.

Before I say anything, I want to say how very, very moved I am by some of the emails I’ve received. People who are crying and so happy that a Christian “gets it” that they are sharing their stories with me. I am MOVED. I am touched by your stories, your pain, your desperate desire to have someone love & support you. Please know that there are those of us that do get it. We get it and we want you to know that you ARE loved. You ARE accepted by people who are Christians. We will support you, stand up for you, and make you feel welcomed and loved.

I wanted to post a part 2 in response to some of the comments I’ve received. By leaps and bounds, the positive outweighs the negative. However, I do think I need to talk about some of the negative I’ve read.

First of all, to those that continue to quote Deuteronomy 22:5 to me (“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.”): Jesus Christ came to Earth, worked for 33 years, was crucified, died and rose again AS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW. That means that all of these law requirements were fulfilled by Christ’s sacrifice. If you disagree, may I suggest reading the entirety of Deuteronomy and Leviticus. If what you believe is true, you better be sure you and yours are fulfilling ALL the requirements and punishments listed therein.

Because Jesus did what He did, we no longer are required to adhere to these laws. Do you have a menstrual hut set up on your property to ensure any females in your family are far enough removed from the house during that time to keep the men from becoming unclean? When is the last time you presented an animal offering without blemish for slaughter as sacrifice as indicated in Leviticus 1 & 2? The last time one of your children was rebellious & defiant, did you bring him or her to the elders at the city gate to be stoned to death as in Deuteronomy 21:18-21? If someone finds out their new wife isn’t a virgin, shall they bring her to her inlaw’s house so the men of the town can stone her to death? Deuteronomy 22:20-21. I could go on and on and on. Due to Jesus’ sacrifice, we are free from these laws. If you look in the New Testament, Jesus never said one word about these issues. NOT ONE WORD. Do you think that was something he just forgot? He made sure to tell us that we have a duty to care for widows and orphans. He certainly told us, specifically, things we should do:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  Matthew 25-31-45

And the only difference between the sheep & the goats, according to the Scripture, is what they did and didn’t do. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Caring for the sick & alone. Opening our doors to those who need it. And I would extend that to caring for the homeless. Feeding the children. Providing for the poor and needy. There is nothing in any of Jesus’ words that indicate any position on the issues I’ve discussed at all. The ONLY mention in the New Testament is by Paul. I’m not discounting Paul entirely, but Paul was not Jesus. Paul was a man. Who many believe had his own issues. Paul also stated that women should be silent in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) and that men shouldn’t have long hair & women must cover theirs (1 Corinthians 11:7-16) and that people should, ideally, remain unmarried so they can devote themselves to God and that there should be no divorce and CERTAINLY no remarriage. (1 Corinthians 7:1-14). There could (has been and continues to) be an entire discussion about Paul and about the choosing of what should be included in the Bible by those who did so centuries ago.

The point is, that regarding these issues, I DON’T KNOW. I don’t pretend to know. When my time comes, believe me, I will ask. But until then, if I must err, I will err on the side of being a loving, welcoming, open-hearted person WHO IS NO BETTER AND NO WORSE than anyone else. Like I said before, if I die and I’m not let into heaven because I didn’t let every person who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, struggling with gender identity, or WHATEVER know that they are wrong and are going to hell unless they stop it, I’m okay with that. If these things are not part of God’s design (which, since they’ve been around since FOREVER, I find hard to believe), I will admit I was wrong and take the consequences. If He doesn’t want me in His Kingdom because I have loved and accepted those around me, then I don’t want to be there. Oh, and do NOT think I’m saying that lightly. I have struggled with this issue for years now. I have studied the Scripture, prayed about it, talked about it and when I came to my decision, it was not on a whim. It took you 5 minutes to read what I wrote and judge it. It took me almost a decade to process these issues.

Okay. Phew. Secondly, let me address those who chastised me for comparing my son with Down Syndrome to others who are “different”. I’m not an idiot. I know there is no scientific or biological similarity between the two. (Can’t believe I have to explain that) But he is different. Caitlyn Jenner is different. All the people I know who are lesbian, gay, transgender, etc. are different. Why is the “different” my son is, and was from the very beginning, any more acceptable than these other differences that also were there from the very beginning? How on earth can I demand that the world treat my son as equal and not demand the same from myself?

Henry didn’t choose to have Down Syndrome. (And, contrary to the statement of one commenter, I would no more have given him a pill to “cure” his DS than I would have aborted him if I’d discovered it in utero. How dare you suggest otherwise and accuse me of lying if I said no.) Caitlyn Jenner did not choose to be born with male genitalia, but identify as a woman. No one I know chose to abandon “the norm” and find love in their same gender. Let me ask you this: if you are straight, can you CHOOSE to be gay? Think about it. Could you decide one day to be different than what you are? NEITHER CAN THEY. Nothing any of these people do with their lives affects you in any way, shape, or form. No one is asking you to do anything differently – other than maybe treat other humans with the same respect you want. They are grown adults forming lives with other grown adults. They are grown adults deciding not to live a lie anymore. They are grown adults who are finally accepting who they are and simply asking for the space to do that. HOW DOES THAT IMPACT YOU?

Also, to the commenter who insisted that I shouldn’t “speak for God” when I commented on God’s love of differences: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I don’t need to speak for Him on this issue. He has SHOUTED, SCREAMED, DANCED, AND BLOWN A TRUMPET about it Himself. Have you ever looked outside? Have you ever met a person? NOTHING in this world is the same as anything else. How do explain hundreds and thousands of different species within every different genus? How do you explain that every sunset is different? How do you explain that not even 2 trees of the same kind are identical? How are there BILLIONS of people on the planet and none of them are the same? There aren’t just “cows”. There are over EIGHT HUNDRED breeds of cattle recognized worldwide. There aren’t just “trees”. There are over TWENTY-THREE THOUSAND types of trees in the world.  Now either you believe God created all these things or you don’t. If you do, and you can still claim that God doesn’t LOVE differences, variety, and diversity, then you are blind. I don’t have to claim to speak for God. I think He’s done a pretty darn good job doing that Himself.

Okay. That’s it for now. I want to send a HUGE thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read the rambled thoughts of a dumpy, middle-aged housewife and think enough of those thoughts to pass them on. I’ve never experienced “going viral”, but I’m overwhelmed. You have all blessed me beyond measure and I thank you for your time.

One last thought. Love somebody today. Somebody who you might not normally show love to – at the grocery store, on the train, in your carpool, at work. Freak them out with a kind word or a compliment or just asking them how they are. Everybody is going through a struggle and none of us know what each others’ is. We can only create more love if we show more love. And, I love all of you.