My Millennial Daughter’s Refreshing View of Trump Presidency

A Millennial’s View: The Unexpected Pastor’s Daughter on the Election

11760138_10207280306031984_6362984565707607752_n-1My 19-year old daughter posted on Facebook last evening a reflection that struck me with its clarity of thought, honesty, and charity . . . more charitable, if I’m honest, than I feel like being right now (although I’m working on it). But sometimes children set the example for their parents. I asked her if I could share her post on my blog, and she said “Yes.” So here it is, unedited by her proud dad . . . 

*deep breath* Okay. Hi friends. I haven’t really posted any of my own thoughts on the election besides videos and posts that I’ve shared, so here goes…

I’m going to start off by saying that to anyone reading this who voted for Trump…it’s okay. I still love and respect you, and an election is not going to change that. I am not going to sit here and call you a racist, or a sexist, or homophobic, or Islamophobic. I’m not going to classify you as a deplorable. And I’m also not going to threaten to unfriend you. I refuse to do any of these things because for one, these actions, to me, would be giving in to the very hatred and divisiveness that I was so against and afraid of happening with this election in the first place; and two, because I simply know that this isn’t true about so many of you. A lot of you happen to be some of my closest friends, who I know very well to be some of the most caring, loving, and accepting people I know. I refuse to let any of that go because of our political choice. Sure, I disagree with you, but first and foremost, I will not stop loving and respecting you as a person.

And here’s the thing, guys. (Yes, I’m talking to everyone now.) Donald J. Trump has been elected to be the 45th president of the United States. Donald J. Trump IS, as much as it pains me to say it, going to be our 45th president of the United States. And I know, I hate it. The man who, as a kid, I just thought of as “the big, mean man who fires people on TV,” is now going to rule our country. And you know what else? I’m absolutely terrified. So many people in our country right now are terrified, and with very good reason. The LGBTQIA community is terrified that their basic human rights are at stake. Our vice president-elect believes in shock therapy, for gods sake. I have several friends who are terrified of being separated from their families, due to our president-elect’s stance on immigration. I have black friends who are terrified of leaving their homes because of the fear and hatred that this election has instilled in people. Muslim women are afraid to wear their hijab in public. Parents are terrified of what it is they’re supposed to tell their children. They’re terrified of sending them to school, where bullying and racism has spiked. Me, I’m terrified of what happens when Obamacare is done away with completely. I’m terrified, what with my “pre-existing condition,” of the prospect of not being able to receive health insurance, and knowing full well that I won’t be able to afford the $30,000 treatments that I need to receive every six weeks, not even including any of my other medications. Our country is absolutely terrified.

But again, like it or not, Donald J. Trump is going to be president. Unless by some miracle the electoral college votes otherwise, it’s going to happen. And I think that, for right now, what our country truly needs is unity. I’ve seen so much hatred and fighting being spread in these past fifteen months due to this election. I’ve watched close friends become enemies, and people from both parties say some really nasty, hurtful things. But the election is over now. The votes have been cast, and the winner has been decided. Like it or not, we need to begin the path to acceptance. I think Hilary Clinton said it well in her concession speech on Wednesday:

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it … I count my blessings every single day that I am an American. And I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”

I’m holding on to the belief that the majority of people who voted for Trump are not the hateful, racist, bigoted people that have been described in the media. In fact, I think a lot of the people who voted for him would be just as scared as we are right now if Hilary was elected. (Mind you, I am not making any kind of statement on whether that fear would be justified or not.) I think that our country is snowballing so quickly into hatred on both sides, and I think that we all owe it to ourselves to take a deep breath. Nothing is going to be fixed if we stay divided. Donald Trump is not going to succeed if we don’t show him any ounce of respect or support. I believe it is time right now to come together and begin loving our neighbors, no matter what side we were on in the election. As President Obama said after meeting with our new president-elect, “I believe that it is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face.” And to Trump he went on to say, “Most of all, I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed — because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”

I am not saying that we need to stop speaking up and fighting for what is right. I am not saying that it’s time to give up. I am saying that it is time to accept what cannot be undone, and to work with what we have, and that is each other. The fight is not over, but the hatred needs to end. We need to love our neighbors, and work together to achieve a better America.

I respect Donald Trump and his supporters, and I pray that he makes good decisions, and that he really will, as he claims he will do, work for the American people. (And by the American people, I mean everyone, no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or otherwise.)

And if anyone needs someone to talk to, or someone who will just listen, I am here for you. I’m scared too, and I love you, and I support you. ❤️





Tamir: A Confession

Weep for Tamir Rice.

Weep for Tamir Rice‘s parents.

Weep for Tamir Rice‘s family.

Weep for Tamir Rice‘s friends.  

Weep for Tamir Rice‘s community.

Weep for the officer who killed Tamir Rice.

Weep for Tamir Rice‘s America.

#BlackLivesMatter #SayHisName #NoJusticeNoPeace

Tamir: A Confession

TamirI am complicit in your death, Tamir, and in the life-negating injustice which followed.

I have never feared for my children’s safety in the presence of police officers.

But police officers gunned you down as you played with a pellet gun in a park.

I have never doubted that, if injured, my children would receive immediate aid from those whose vocation it is to protect them.

Yet you languished and anguished four minutes as your lifeblood drained before anyone came to your aid.

I have been taught in classrooms and by experience that my children would receive justice should they be victims of injustice.

Your family has been denied justice. A grand jury, guided by a prosecutor who acted more like a defense attorney for those who killed you,  has decided not to even bring your case to trial.

There will never be a public airing of what occurred, only the behind-closed-doors chicanery of the past months. The public has only heard the selective release of information favorable to the prosecutor’s apparent desired outcome.

And yet we fail to understand why people of color do not trust the “justice” system.

That prosecutor was supposed to be the people’s representative – your advocate – but the combination of the color of your skin and your class and your gender rendered you invisible and of no account.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” yet your family has waited 11 months for this unconscionable injustice.

I would not have waited patiently; to wait so long for justice for one of my children would have been completely contrary to my expectations.

I would have cried out, gone to the press, called public officials, demanded speedy justice for my child.

I would have been perceived as a grieved and aggrieved parent, righteously angry.

But when your parents cried out, the prosecutor implied they were only looking for a payout. His accusation echoed the repugnant views of my slaveholder forebears, who ripped children from their parents for profit, justifying the separation by denying sub-human slaves could have real parental affection for their offspring.

In the same way we have dehumanized you, the latest in a line of males of color lying in their own blood, denied the justice for which that blood cries out. Those who died before you were described in animalistic terms, their rage beyond the bounds of white reason.

Although the authorities have no problem apprehending white mass murderers alive, lethal force was required to bring you down, a 12-year old with a pellet gun.  You were described as “big for your age” so of course you must be gunned down; a large black male is most certainly a danger to orderly white society.

Tamir, we are scared. We are scared because we see our white domination of the system slipping away. We are terrified to hear that in the foreseeable future we white folks will not be the majority in “our” country. Our power and our place are threatened, and even though statistics tell us we are safer from violence than we ever have been, the fact that we will  soon be outnumbered by  the “other” causes us to tremble.

We will use our power structures to keep those “others” in their place as long as we can, desperately clinging to a white world that is no more.

We will continue our destructive, quixotic quest to “take our country back” from those “others” we perceive as threats.

Although I vehemently disagree with this course, I am convicted by the very fact of my ethnicity and my gender and my socio-economic status. I have benefited from this system. I am assured there is justice for me and for my children.

As long as justice is denied to you, Tamir, I am convicted and I am complicit. As my Savior commands, I put myself in your place and in the place of your parents. And I rage. And I lament.

But neither my compassion nor my confession will restore you or your family to wholeness.

Although this system bestows upon me place and power, I am ultimately powerless. For that system to which I am bound has failed you, and your family, and ultimately, all of us.

Source: Tamir: A Confession

Thanks, Tanks, and Transformation: An Open Letter to Kim Davis by Fr. Marcus Halley +

Enlightenment… does not come through raising walls around our hearts, but by tearing them down and exposing them to the God who comes to us over and over, day after day, in unexpected ways.

Source: Thanks, Tanks, and Transformation: An Open Letter to Kim Davis

Stop Talkin’ ’bout My Sister!

Stop Talkin’ ’bout My Sister! by Unexpected Pastor

It’s time for me to be the  big brother I never really was when we were growing up.  I was too involved in my own life.  But it’s time for me to stand up for my sister.

Not that my sister needs me to defend or speak up for her.  She’s my “little sister” only because she is 2 years younger than me.  She is in better shape materially and physically than I am.  I am a very proud older brother.

But I’ve been silent while people have said all sorts of mean and hurtful things about my sister. Most of those mean and hurtful things have been said by Christians.

They say “hate the sin and love the sinner.”  But then they go and say ignorant things like those listed below.  All of them are untrue, and none of them are loving.  And when they are said, they slander real people like my sister.

So stop talking about my sister.  Stop saying stuff like . . .

Gay folks choose to be “that way”

I’ve never talked about this with my sister.  I figure it would either be insulting or incomprehensible to ask her,” So, when did you decide to be gay?”

I mean, if you asked me “When did you decide to be straight,”  I would have no answer for you.  It’s a setup.  I never “decided” to be straight, it’s how I am.

I cannot imagine deciding to be attracted to men instead of women.

I would imagine the same is true for my sister. So stop insinuating that she could have.

Stop calling her a liar – “You’re not really gay, you just decided to pretend you are.”

Insisting my sister chose to be gay only flaunts your ignorance.  So stop!

Gay folks are evil

We are all sinners – we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 ).  We can disagree about whether homosexual behavior is sinful or not, but if you want to believe it is, why be so fixated on it when there are so many other great sins to dwell upon?

Gossip hurts many more people than homosexuality ever has.  Let’s not allow gossips to get married, or to adopt children, or be schoolteachers.

Actually, that’s not a bad idea . . .

Look, my sister is a sinner (like me and you) not because she is gay, but because she is human.

Stop pretending homosexuality is some kind of super sin and that gay folks are super sinners.  You’re talking about my sister.

Gay folks are “that way” because of bad parenting

Now you’re talking about my mom and dad.  When you make statements like that, do you ever consider that you’re talking about real people, not rhetorical points?

Our mom was an awesome mom (you can sing that to the tune of “Awesome God” if you like), especially when we were little.  There was no “role reversal” in our home – she cooked, cleaned, and did all the stereotypical mom things while staying home until we were in elementary school.  She never left the house without her makeup. My dad brought home the bacon and was in charge (or at least thought he was; you know how that goes).  Both mom and dad made their kids their number one priority.

My parents certainly weren’t perfect, but they weren’t the screwed up failures you accuse them of being when you say my sister’s gay because of my mom and dad – and that is what you’re saying when you make blanket statements about the parents of gay folks.

So just stop.  Stop talking about my parents.

Gay couples don’t last

 I guess gay folks can’t commit like us heterosexuals, huh.  Us heterosexuals with our 50% divorce rate and our multiple marriages.  Yay us!  We’re so smug in our superiority.

My sister has been with my sister-in-law for 21 years.  That’s four years longer than I’ve been married.  I’m very competitive and that’s tough for me to admit.

So here you’re not just talking about my sister.  You’re talking about, as my kids refer to them when they don’t call them their aunts, my sisters.

Stop it. You don’t know what (or who) you’re talking about.  Or who you’re hurting when you say these things.

 Gay folks are pedophiles

 Now I’m pissed.  You’re talking about my sister – and my sister-in-law – who I would trust with my kids before I would anyone else in the world.  And I have.

Statistically, there are way more straight pedophiles than gay predators.  That sentence really doesn’t make sense, because pedophilia is a whole different class of sexual attraction – whether it involves attraction to minors of the same sex or different sex, it is neither “gay” nor “straight.”

Acting on such an attraction is wrong because it is exploitation of power imbalance – a child cannot consent, so it is always involuntary.

Homosexuality is not a gateway drug to sexual perversion.  Pedophilia, even though it seems to be brought up over and over in these sorts of conversation, has nothing to do with homosexuality.

It has nothing to do with my sister, so shut up about it.

Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s go to a related topic . . . 

Gay folks shouldn’t be parents because they harm kids

My sister would be an awesome parent.  I’m willing to back that up with the most precious gifts I’ve ever received – my children.  According to my wife and my wills if something happens to both of us (i.e. we die at the same time) my sister and sister-in-law will be the parents of my children.  They love them like nobody else does.  We all need somebody in our lives who loves us unconditionally, and for our children those people are their aunts.

It’s just a shame they live in a state where they could never (unless the law is changed) legally become their parents.  “The ideal is for a child to have a mother and a father.”  Yeah, we could have them raised by some of their abusive or addicted relatives . . . hey, it’s a mom and a dad, so it must be okay.  This is not an “ideal” world, nor is that an ideal solution.

We need to stop letting our prejudice get in the way of love.

Studies have shown that children being raised by same-sex parents are no more likely to get into legal trouble or to use mind altering substances. Being gay is not something you catch or that you learn.

I don’t have any fear that my daughter would “turn” if something happened to my wife and I.  I don’t think she is but if she’s gay she’s gay.

I feel the same way I did when someone asked me what I would think if she dated an African-American (although the questioner did not say “African-American”) or married “one.”  I said as long as he loved her and treated her with respect and agape, it would be great.  I’d feel the same way about a woman.

Gay folks can’t be Christians

So according to you my sister’s going to hell.  That’s about the worst thing you can say about my sister.

Even if homosexual behavior is a sin, where in the Bible does it say that it is unforgivable?  Where does it say that the blood of Jesus doesn’t cover it?

I know, I know.  Your argument is that if it is not repented it’s not forgiven.  Is that true of all sins, or just homosexuality?  If it’s true for all sins, heaven’s going to be pretty empty because the second most popular activity in most churches (behind potlucks) is gossip.  All those unrepentant gossips, are they going to hell?  And folks who are greedy or selfish and don’t even realize it because they’ve rationalized their avarice, they’re on the down elevator as well?

I’m all for repentance.  But repentance doesn’t mean being perfect in either behavior or understanding, it means doing our best, guided by the holy spirit, to turn toward God.  Some things we’re going to get right . . . and others we’re going to continually mess up.  Thank God we’re saved by grace through faith!

My sister goes to church a lot more faithfully than other straight Christians I know – in fact more faithfully than most folks in my church.  She never, as far as I know, professed to be an atheist (like her brother – me).

So really, who’s saved and who’s not isn’t up to you or me.  It’s up to God.

Stop talking about my sister like you’re God.

I have prayed, studied, and otherwise struggled with the issues around Christianity and homosexuality.  I still do.  We can, and should, continue to talk about these issues.  But we must never forget that we are talking about real people – like my sister.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit and directed by Jesus’ command to love others as we love ourselves, we can have that conversation without employing unfounded – and unloving – defamations like those listed above.

I’ve intentionally stayed away from statistics or links to references in this post because I wanted it to be personal, from my heart. For a more scholarly look at these kinds of misconceptions, read 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

One last thought for those who make these sorts of statements . . . Maybe if you got to know some gay folks – like my sister – you’d stop saying such hurtful things.  Jesus hung out with folks all the “religious” people looked down on . . . and mostly criticized the religious people for their narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy.  Perhaps the key to overcoming this stuff is to be more like Jesus. Just a thought.

In the Beginning, God (and then some stuff happened)

Hope you enjoyed this post from my husband’s blog!

The Unexpected Pastor

fred flintsone on a dinosaurI wish Christians would stop fixating on evolution and spend more time talking about Jesus Christ.  Look, if you want to believe that the earth is only 5000 years old, that everything was created in 6 literal days (with a 7th day for resting), that people and dinosaurs hung out together until the big lizards missed the Ark, fine.  Maybe you’re right.

But stop making it seem like creationism is the rock upon which the Christianity stands.

It’s not. Jesus is the Rock.

And it seems that the first chapters of Genesis are much more concerned with  “Who” rather than “how.”  Maybe we should be, too.

Dawkins vs. Wright, an Unfair Fight

What’s prompted this mini-rant is a video a Facebook friend posted a couple days ago.  Here’s a link to the video; by all means watch it if you’re the kind of person who watches NASCAR to see…

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You’re the Inspiration

Unexpected PastorI dreamed of making a difference. I hoped to make this world a better place because of my contribution to society.  I wanted to be smart, strong and self-sufficient. I hoped to be loved, honored and adored. But most of all I wanted to be safe and make this world a safer place.

I thought I could do all that by earning my doctorate in psychology, conducting research and publishing my work of empirical facts.

I am comfortable writing research papers, training manuals, and creating informational brochures and videos.  I love conducting workshops, seminars and other training sessions about child welfare, retirement, management, leadership development, marriage…really any subject I can research that allows me to walk around a room full of people, tell stories and share information.

I’m not a creative writer. Prior to this blog, I may have written one strange poem. Prior to therapy, I never dreamed of writing, publishing or even sharing the intimate details of my life.  My secrets were safely locked away somewhere by God.

I didn’t think I had or wanted access to them; and I definitely didn’t plan to share my shame with the world. I was afraid my past would rob me of my professional credibility just as my past always crept up to shatter every hope, dream or relationship I ventured.

So who inspired me to blog? My husband, The Unexpected Pastor. He is the gifted blogger.  He loves starting new blogs, writing posts, publishing his work.  He’s written lots of stories, poems, a few books and is always dreaming of more.

I love reading his work because it is good – funny, thought-provoking, perfect grammar with words that take me into someone else’s world for a moment – leaving my mess behind. Blogging was definitely his idea and his craft.

I expressed my creative energy on canvas.  I love to paint!

I shared my spiritual gifts with a women’s bible study in our home when our children were little and led many studies for youth, adults and couples at church but after my last group ended, I couldn’t find a consistent time to form another.

I appreciated the break for a while but as days moved into months, I started feeling anxious and called to do something. I attended lots of studies but began to feel like a leech. I needed a ministry.

But my schedule just wouldn’t open up to start anything!  I couldn’t have a group this Monday at 7, next Saturday at 9 and lets pick back up in a few weeks…

My husband immediately knew I needed to start a blog.  Finally, I stopped looking at him like a deranged lunatic and published my very first post on April 10, 2012.

Sisters of Christ was born.

I assumed I was proving him wrong and I’d be done blogging as soon as I ran out of ideas but I got hooked.  I met an incredible family of bloggers around the world that continue to nurture and sustain my faith, encouraging me to break the chains of the past and enjoy today!

God’s love letter (the Bible) and our Daily Post have lots of topic to blog about.

I can write and publish at my convenience. And followers read at theirs – cool!

Sisters of Christ also provides a great wall to hang my paintings to view anytime by anyone from anywhere – the lighting is always perfect. Awesome!

I don’t know if my blog is making the world a better place but I know it is making me a better person.

And my hubby – he is my favorite fan!  The other day he greeted me with, “I am so proud of you!  I love your blog!”  He made my day!

I do love it when he’s right!  Amen!