Silence Does Not Equal Love

My friend Rosie D. responded to my recent post, How I Can Support Traditional Marriage and Not be a Hater, with this comment:

Great blog post. But one question enters into my mind. How many times did your mom have ‘the talk’ with you? Did she remind you over and over again that you were living in sin? Or did she let you know how she felt, then went on loving you, silent about her objections? I don’t know the answers to these questions. What I see is most of those who don’t believe in marriage equality have to let others know over and over again how wrong they are, instead of accepting the other person. That is truly loving them in my mind. Accepting that they have different beliefs than you do, and loving them anyway. And who knows, as your mom found with you, they may just see the light!

Of course, being the long-winded person that I am, I couldn’t write my response succinctly enough to fit in a comment box, so I decided to turn it into another blog post.

Thus, while I do not want this blog to fall into a single-issue black hole, here is my response:

First, Rosie, thank you for your comment. It is very thoughtful and well-worded, and I see the very good intentions behind it.

In answer to your question, my mom just talked with me the one time. But, while I might have started avoiding her if she brought it up too frequently, I would not have faulted her for further discussing her reasons at a later date, or sharing informative materials with me… though I might not have read them! While I don’t think we need to constantly berate our friends and relatives with the truths of our faith, neither should we remain silent.

Indeed, in a world where we struggle constantly against a culture that seeks to normalize the LGBT lifestyle and generate acceptance for it, it becomes increasingly important that we Christians speak out.  Most television shows these days have at least one gay couple. The mainstream media covers and celebrates gay pride parades and NFL football players kissing their boyfriends and proposing to them at St. Peters IMG_9601.JPGBasilica. Rainbows, once a Jewish and Christian symbol, have been high-jacked by the LGBT cause, superimposed over profile pics and used to illuminate the White House. Even the equal sign is no longer free from socio-political attachments! Few mainstream cultural outlets are covering stories like pastors being brutally beaten during gay pride festivals, churches in the UK being sued for refusing to perform gay weddings, or near naked little boys dancing provocatively at gay pride events (I refuse to share the link to that particular video, as it is seared on my mind and I would not wish that upon anyone. Google it if you must).

Thus, we traditionalists post our opinions, and supporting articles, facts, and videos such as the one below in hopes that we can, in some small way, have our own influence on a culture that’s been taken over by the liberal, feel-good, anything goes left.

A good friend once told me that, if Jesus were alive today, she thinks you’d be as likely to find him in a gay bar as in a church. After all, as he himself said, “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick.” (Matt 9:12) I think that’s very true. But I don’t think you’d have found Jesus there, turning water into wine for a “wedding” celebration. Instead, I think you’d find him befriending the patrons, leading them by gentle example closer to his Father. I think he might have a parable or two to share. I think he would teach and he would pray and he would love, with the intent of nurturing them into a place where their greatest desire was to know, love, and serve God.

Okay, you’re not going to find me in a gay bar. But, I would love to have coffee with one of my gay friends or cousins today. They know my values, so they know where I stand. I’m not going to bring it up. But, if they wanted to have a conversation about that, I would prayerfully enter in.

For now, I’ll just borrow Lisa Mladinich’s words in response to her nephew when he asked what she wanted for gay people:

“I want them to be drawn by their hearts to a profound love for God, so that they are willing to do anything or sacrifice anything to be close to him and in right relationship with him. If that happens, they will be truly happy.” (source: #GayMarriage, Love, and Lessons from Canada, on www.patheos.com)

 

Pope Benedict XVI’s message for Lent in 2012 speaks volumes on this subject:

In his message, the Pope then calls on people not to “remain silent in the face of evil,” even though there is a mentality that dominates society today, that reduces life to mere earthly dimensions and therefore “accepts any moral choice in the name of individual freedom.”

Indeed, he warns, for those who believe, “admonishing sinners” is part of the work of “spiritual mercy” and Christians must not, “for human respect or for convenience,”  adapt to “common thought” and stop “warning their brothers against the ways of thinking and acting that contradict the truth and do not follow the path of good.” (source: Vatican Insider, bold in original)

Silence does not equal love. Love equals love. We give that love through our example, through our generosity, through our prayers, and through sharing truths we know.

How I Can Support Traditional Marriage and Not be a Hater

Anyone who follows this blog in any way, shape, or form would probably correctly assume that I am opposed to gay marriage.

More precisely, I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Why? Because marriage is an institution created by God to serve a very specific role within his creation – to procreate, and then to provide a stable, loving environment for those little beings who were procreated.

As our pastor pointed out recently, it’s pretty obvious how’s it’s supposed to work. Just look at the anatomy. A man and a woman fit together in a way that no two women or two men can. Man and woman were made for one another.noahs-ark1

When God told Noah to load the ark two by two, would the whole plan have worked if he loaded two male elephants and two female horses? I think not.

Okay. We’ve established where I stand on the subject. And now many of you have made a few judgements about me.

I’m a hater. A bigot. A close-minded, ignorant, bullying jerk.

I can handle that.

And I’ll still love you.

Go ahead. Unfriend me on Facebook. Erase my contact info from your phone if you feel you must.

After you read the rest of what I’ve got to say.

Because here’s the news flash: it is possible to disagree with someone’s actions and still love them.

Case in point:

Most of you know that I wasn’t always the Bible-loving Catholic woman that I strive to be today. In fact, in my earlier years, I “lived in sin” with my boyfriend. Of course, at the time, I joked about that whole living in sin thing. Sin wasn’t something I really took seriously. Cohabitation seemed practical and convenient, not to mention that it was what everyone else was doing, and I was in love and we planned to get married.

But I digress. What I’d actually like to examine here is my parent’s response to my lifestyle choice.

Guess what?

My parents did not approve.

I knew this without them saying a word. But, because she loved me, my mom had a very, very difficult conversation with me. One in which she had to use that three letter “s” word no mom born before the sixties wants to have to use with her daughter.

I’ll give you a hint. It ends with an “x” and has an “e” in the middle.

This had to be an incredibly difficult topic for my mom to broach. But she did it anyways. Why? Because she loved me. And, in her love for me, she did not want to stand back and let me enter into a sinful situation without doing everything she could to prevent me from making a mistake. A mistake that she knew would drive me further from God.

Did you catch that one sentence?

Because she loved me…

Imagine that.

In today’s world, people seem to think that, if we love someone, and they do something we believe to be sinful, we should keep our mouths shut.

No. Scratch that. Keeping our mouths shut is not enough.

We must actually change our value system and accept that the actions of the other are perfectly fine.

Otherwise, we’re haters, bigots, and close-minded jerks.

Thank God I got married to that live-in boyfriend. Otherwise, I’d have to feel offended by my parents, who would not have changed their views and thus, by today’s standards, must surely hate me.  I’d have to call them haters and  bigots and close-minded throwbacks.

But wait. They never did hate me. They stuck to their value structure and shared it with me.

Out of love.

Imagine that.

Let the trash talk begin. Feel free to comment below.

(Be warned that all comments are moderated. While I will attempt to respond to all respectful comments, I reserve the right to edit any inappropriate content. I also reserve the right to take a really long time to respond because it’s hard to focus with five kids running around the house. But I’ll do my best.)

Family Update

I’ve said this repeatedly over the past year, but I really do think that I am finally in a place where I can start blogging regularly again. To kick things off, I thought I’d do a “quick and easy” update on the kids… which ended up taking four days and several hours to write. Here’s hoping that I can shake the writing rust off and pump these things out a little more quickly in the future!

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Dude is loving life on this side of town, since it means frequent access to his beloved cousins and best friends. He had a good year at school, though he’s not a big studier and thus tends to perform worse then I know him to be capable of on his report card. Nothing terrible – I just know that he could be a straight A student if he applied himself and he isn’t because he doesn’t.

He’s playing All Star baseball for the first time and doing very well. His specialty is base stealing. He’s gutsy and fast, and his games are a lot of fun to watch… though the other kids might disagree.

Next week, he’ll attend his first overnight camp. Historically, he’s been our “fearful” kid, who continued to come sleep in our bedroom for way too many years, so his wanting to do this camp is monumental. I’m excited for him but a bit nervous as well. He’ll be with all of his football buddies, though, so I’m confident that he’ll power through and stick it out.

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Soon to be a fourth-grader, Bonita is our socialite. She has settled into the new school incredibly well and has made tons of friends. In fact, there have been times when she’s had four playdate invitations in one day!

She is also our star student. Take a kid who’s extremely smart to begin with, and add in a near-hero-worship of her teachers and a strong desire to please, and you’ve got a girl who consistently brings home report cards worth taping on the fridge. Dude likes to make fun of her because she got straight A’s all year, except one B in… gym.

Theater’s more her thing, but she did play kickball in the spring and looks forward to playing again in the fall. Quite frankly, she surprised me with her athleticism. If only there were scholarships available for kickball!

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Bear will be entering second grade in the fall and I’d have to say he’s our kid that has yet to find his “niche.” He’s not into sports, or at least not the sports the rest of the family enjoys. He says he wants to do soccer, so we’ll try that out in the fall. And this summer he is going to attend a golf camp… if I ever get him registered. He continues to love trains and marble tracks, so maybe he has a future in engineering.

Bear has always been a great kid. He might occasionally make a mistake, but he’s generally the first to own up to it, earning a great deal of trust from Ray and I. Unfortunately, he has really put this trust to the test in the first half of summer. He must be going through a phase, but he’s made one choice after another that have left him grounded for three of these last six weeks. I’m sure we’ll laugh about it someday, but for the moment, I am finding it nothing but disheartening and exhausting. Underneath the bad choices, though, he’s still sweet, wonderful Bear, and we love him no matter what. (And we’ve had a few good days in a row where I haven’t had to do so much as put him in time out! Maybe we’re on the upswing!!)

Mary June 2015

Having just turned five, Boo’s so tiny, she still looks like she’s three. She can actually be a pretty decent eater, but that really only happens when we’re eating pizza, steak, or McDonald’s. Hence, her diminutive size.

She’s incredibly loving. When she’s tired, she comes to me and says, “Mommy, I want to cuddle witchoo.” She often pipes in randomly with, “Because I love evewybody in da whole world!” sometimes adding, “Even God, and Jesus, and da Bess-ed Muddah!”

She definitely loves to be around children her own age, and constantly begs for playdates. When the answer is “no,” she says, “But I haven’t had a pway date in a year!” even though she just had one that morning.

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Little Man turned four months old yesterday. He is all smiles and happiness, and generally the most amazing baby imaginable. Though nothing has broken through yet, he is teething up a storm and putting out enough slobber to water the house plants. We think he’ll be rolling over soon, but his general contentment may slow him down a bit since the only time he starts to roll over is when he’s upset – and he just isn’t upset very often!

The older kids are a tremendous help, making the transition to five remarkably easy – though there still isn’t enough time in the day. With so much love coming from so many people, this little guy’s got a good life.

But, then, don’t we all?