Saturday, March 30, 2013

let love in.

i’ve done a lot of thinking about love this week. each year during holy week i try to take a few extra moments and think about what this week symbolizes for me as a jesus follower. if you frequent this blog or follow me on social media then you know i’ve tried to put some extra love into the world this week. why? because for me that is the ultimate gesture of holy week. there is NO greater love than when a person lays down his/her life for a friend. 

holy week is love.

it is tradition in my faith to explore the words of jesus as he was being murdered. as i listened to my friends talk about these last moments in worship i started thinking about what these words mean to me on a deep and very personal level. but beyond that i started considering my friends who do not follow jesus. what does this mean for them? how is it relevant to their lives? do the words matter at all?

what i find is that jesus is sending a message to each person that will ever exist. he is expressing hope for anyone willing to listen. sure, we have our differences but the words he gives hold value for each of us.

first, people are stupid sometimes but holding on to resentment, anger and hate only hurt you! they’re KILLING jesus and he cries out for THEIR forgiveness. i think he realizes that they don’t fully comprehend what they are doing. and let’s be honest, when people hurt you and me sometimes they don’t realize they’re doing it. Even if a few do realize-they’ll probably never know the depth of pain they cause. but here’s the thing…forgive and move on. harboring resentment, anger and hatred only effects YOUR freedom. if you see others living a lifestyle you despise and you disagree with choices they make. being angry will only hurt you. let it go. let love in.

second, who cares what you did? there’s love for you! jesus followers believe him to be a man that didn’t sin. yet, here he is being murdered between two thieves sentenced to death. one guy looks over at jesus and simply acknowledges who jesus is. what does jesus do? he extends the same grace to him that he gives to his most faithful followers. WHO CARES WHAT YOU DID?! we all make mistakes but grace still applies. let love in.

numero tres, you don’t have to be alone! jesus sees his mother and his dearest friend grieving. so at the very heart of his agony he made sure they weren’t left alone. “mom, treat him like your son! friend, treat her like your own mother!” you don’t have to be alone. you are made for friendship, companionship and community. let love in.

4th,  every body hurts and feels abandoned sometimes. we all feel alone sometimes. abandonment is an issue that so many of us experience. friends leave. partners leave. family members leave. this is not the end. life is a journey and we’re always moving forward. feeling alone is not a reflection of who you are, it’s a reflection of what you need. feeling alone doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, it means something isn’t right in your situation. let love in.

fifth, i’m still human. and aren’t we all? i believe there are times in life that we have to endure the hardest, most agonizing moments knowing that those moments are making us better humans, better friends, better family members…JUST BETTER. and sometimes in those moments we’re aware this is happening but guess what – you’re still human and it’s still okay to admit that you have needs. someone will be there. just ask. let love in.

six, i’m done. it’s okay to give up sometimes. perhaps that’s exactly what you need to do, maybe it’s time. i’m not talking about death. no, hear me…sometimes you’ve done all you can do in a situation. sometimes you try and try then try some more and you’re exhausted. it’s ok. walk away but when you do, don’t forget - let love in.

lastly, i’m trusting someone higher to finish this and i know THE GOOD PART IS ON THE WAY! jesus basically says, “father, i’m trusting you with my very being”
life is hard, we trudge through. we hit the bottom. we hurt. we lose people and we gain more people. pain can make us lose faith – faith in love, friendship, humanity and just simply goodwill. but even after we’ve been through hell we still have to find someone to trust. let love in.

i think this is the point where these words become cyclical. you have to forgive, realize you’re worth it, find community, know it’s okay to be human and give up some of the toxic relationships in life BUT trust that someone has your best in mind. if you get hurt again: forgive, realize you’re wo - - you get the picture.

i know jesus’ words have so many different lessons and meanings. but this week, this is what they speak to my heart.

maybe i hear the forgiveness and humanity in christ’s words because this week i have heard so much condemnation and hate.

during a week that celebrates the ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF LOVE, a week that the this great act of love is in the spot light, we allowed division to overshadow truth. did we miss an opportunity to show love in the shadow of the cross? did we neglect the expression of acceptance that jesus extends to each and every human soul no matter what? did we failed to let love in? jesus doesn’t make exceptions, he loves.

he loves each person that painted facebook red and fought for equality this week.
he loves each person that opposes marriage equality.
he loves you if you are attracted to someone of the same sex.
he loves you if you are attacted to the opposite sex.

i don’t deny you the right to express your belief system no matter what it demands. however, i am a jesus follower and i believe that his message is love. i believe the words that he spoke during his execution were meant for you. for me. for everyone.


if you’re reading please know that you are loved. these words were for you, no matter what you believe, who you love, where you are. this is for you.

let love in.

*this post sparked by this phrase: “the end of fear is where we begin. the moment we decided to let love in.” ~ goo goo dolls*

Monday, March 25, 2013


On Good Friday of 2012 I heard a question that still sparks my thoughts to this day.

Do you celebrate the violence of the cross or do you celebrate the power of the resurrection?

I have thought about this numerous times throughout the year and I believe that during Holy Week this question must be revisited.  The cross without the resurrection is simply another act of Roman capital punishment. Good Friday without Easter Sunday is merely the death of a prophet. But this question of the celebration of violence vs. power has become deeper and more personal to me.

Do I celebrate the violence? Do I focus on the condemnation that was hailed at Jesus during his sentencing? Am I living a life that shouts hatred and injustice to the world around me? Am I the voice that says you must be punished for the mistakes of this world? Do I hurl unfounded accusations at my neighbor? Have I become a person that will stand idly by and watch the innocent beaten and abused? Will I accept the obvious evils and murderous attitudes because I am willing to simply ride the wave of public opinion?

The violent cross is not the end of the story. Resurrection power came.

Do I celebrate the power?  Do I focus on the spaces that are filled with the light of grace? Am I living in a way that shouts forgiveness to the world around me? Am I the voice that speaks mercy to the corrupt? Do I hurl a message of love at my neighbor? Have I become the person that will actively fight for those who can no longer fight for themselves? Will I be an advocate for the injustice of this world in the face of public opinion?

I remember the pain and violence of the cross. But this week, I will celebrate the power of grace, mercy and resurrection.

What will you celebrate?

Monday, March 18, 2013


i've been on quite the hiatus from this blog and maybe soon i can share some of that but let's forget about my lack of consistency for today and talk about something way more important.


i honestly don't know where to start...

maybe i should start with our culture and how sexually driven it is. if i were to start there i would talk about entertainment and how kids (especially girls) are objectified and sexualized at such a young age. i would mention how i see pics on facebook of 5-6-7 year old girls posing like models. i would talk about how comments only feed this monster that says body type, clothes, looks, make-up & pretty hair give you worth. maybe i could mention the way girls and young women are led to believe that being bigger than a size 4 is fat and undesirable. i could talk about how the evils of airbrush and photo shop have given women of all ages a completely warped view of beauty.

but maybe i should start with our complete and utter obsession with sports and how this rivals and equates to the first subject. in the same way girls are led to believe they find worth in outer beauty, pants size or skin tone: boys are pressured to find worth in athletic ability. and when a child is found with great talent that is exploited in many cases. i could mention how we have created a culture that says sports stars can do no wrong. at that point i would talk about how it started on a professional level and has trickled down. there could be a place here to throw in the fact that the big red football players of steubenville were protected by a coach and community simply because they played football. i would've also thrown in at that point...this did not excuse the behaviors BUT IT SURE DIDN'T HELP. i could've talked about how i work with kids and how kids will do a lot of things if they know there are no consequences. and then that would be a prime time to talk about some of the reasons kids are led to believe star athletes are exempt from rules and laws. oh i don't know, maybe, i could've mentioned there the way we've allowed professionals to commit crimes of assault/domestic violence but slapped their hands, given them a "no-no" & put them back on the court/field in time for the game.

but maybe those aren't the best ways to start.

alright, let's try the "she was intoxicated" route. i don't think i would've had a lot to say about that one except maybe i would've turned the coin there and asked for just a little imagination... there's a group of boys at a summer party and let's imagine one of them is passed out drunk. now imagine this...a few of the other boys think it would be funny to maybe beat the crap out of him, maybe pee on him, maybe they take all his clothes off and take some pics of him.  even more boys find this HILARIOUS so they take a video and really insult the passed out kid and play it up on twitter. of course there are lots of texts going around about it too because, let's face it...this is funny! a little bit later our john doe sobers up and realizes he has a broken nose and maybe a couple broken ribs. well, john, sorry about your luck. you couldn't tell them to stop so they had EVERY RIGHT to do all those things. it would be a bad idea to talk about this, john, because you'd probably lose friends and don't forget...those guys are really REALLY good at basketball and might have a career in the NBA someday. let's not put a damper on that with a juvenile assault charge, okay john, it was all in good fun. you don't want to be the reason we don't go to state this year do you? i didn't think so...just suck it up.

but even after all that...i still don't know where to start.

i'm not sure my infuriated ranting would do any good anyway. but this, i AM sure of:

i know guys who were great high school athletes, some of them are professionals and they are OUTSTANDING men. you can use your talent to be great. it is YOUR talent, YOUR influence...make good choices with it.

and lastly, and probably most importantly:
i care very deeply for some women who are survivors of sexual assault. as i think of steubenville's jane doe, i pray she meets some friends like mine. they are beautiful women who have fought these battles both externally and internally. they never should've had to fight but they are ALIVE AND THRIVING! they are professionals, they are mothers, they are wives, they are exceptional friends & they inspire me every day. 

can i change our obsessive, subjective, permissive culture?

maybe not in a day but it's why i work with kids.

i am certain i can change it for one of them.

and so can you.