10 Years of Sanctification

This April will be a special one. It will mark 10 years that I have been following Christ.

I truly can’t believe this anniversary has come so soon. That fateful day feels like just yesterday.

Many of my anniversary posts are just a recounting of my testimony, and while those are great, this time, I’d like to do something a little different.

Because while God opened my eyes to His glory and Lordship on April 25, 2010, I am not the same person I was in 2010, 2011, 2012, and so forth.

God gave me some kind of spirit of discernment early on in my walk (I never like prosperity gospel preachers and, back then, I really couldn’t explain why, but something [the Holy Spirit] told me to be weary of their teaching), but that same gift and zeal for sound doctrine was abused for a few years as I bullied brothers and sisters in the faith for not holding to the doctrines ol’ important me thought were most important.

I thought I was strong and able to “handle difficulty”, but I didn’t realize just how powerless I was until I was thrown into a barrage crazy trials some years ago. And yet, during some of the darkest times of my life (as a believer), I realized I wasn’t nearly as hopeless as I had been during an earlier trial in my life (one that happened before I was truly saved).

And those trials humbled me. I began to realize some of those Christians I disagreed with understood the love of God better than my own “clique” did. I began to realize it is okay to disagree on certain things. We are a family. Family will never agree on everything, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all brothers and sisters.

10 years is quite a vantage point.

From here, I can look back at things I asked of God and say “I am so thankful You didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted You to”.

It’s encouraging. And humbling.

My pastor recently said “I am not where I want to be, but thank God I am not who I used to be” and I couldn’t agree.

10 years ago, I thought I’d be this well learned theologian. I thought I’d written a book, be some kind of teacher, etc.

But 10 years ago, I was also too zealous for John Calvin and wasn’t zealous enough for Jesus Christ.

Am I still reformed? You bet.

Do I still think TULIP is the most accurate interpretation of scripture? Yup.

Am I still Cessationist? Well…I don’t really know. I’m beginning to lean Continuist, but I don’t really understand how the gifts work for the modern day church.

And that’s okay to say I don’t have all of the answers.

I do have one answer though: the Word of God is living and active, inerrant, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and is the foundation for all of our lives.

As long as it doesn’t contradict something clearly laid out in scripture, we can have some friendly debates on things, but let’s remember that our unity is more important to God than getting to say we won an argument.

“Nobody has ever been argued into the Kingdom, but many people have been loved there.” – Chad Moore

Grace & Peace Saints,

Christina

Fulfill Your Ministry

One of my favorite Matt Chandler clips is the one where he talks about Mark Driscoll.

Chances are, most people nowadays don’t know who Mark Driscoll was. If you do, that’s awesome. But if you don’t, he used to be the pastor of Mars Hill Church. He was also the founder of the Acts 29 Network (which Matt Chandler now leads, ironically.)

Any who, if you do know Driscoll, you also know he had a pretty aggressive way of preaching (which I won’t get into now because it’s besides the point).

Well, in this clip, Matt Chandler is coaching pastors and, in essence, he tells pastors that, though Mark Driscoll is very good at what He does and God uses it, we are not all called to be Driscoll.

We can not emulate him and expect the same results because God didn’t call us to be Driscoll.

God calls us to be ourselves. 

We aren’t called to fulfill Driscoll’s ministry. We’re call to fulfill OUR ministry.

God has shaped you specifically for a specific purpose. Though it may be tempting to look at “success stories” and want to emulate them, the truth of the matter is that what worked for Matt Chandler, Beth Moore, John Piper, etc, may not work for you.

You’re not called to fulfill their ministry.

You’re called to fulfill YOUR ministry.

Your ministry may be at home, with macaroni and cheese covered fingers. And yes, do I know it gets tiring changing diapers and trying to constantly entertain children, but it may be where God is calling you for this season. 

Your ministry may be at that job you don’t like, surrounded by those people who always gossip about their sins around the water cooler. Sure, you can’t wait to get out, but maybe, you’re called to be the light in a dark place. You’re called to point one of God’s future saints to the light. 

Your ministry may be in a not-so-great marriage. We’re not meant to divorce one another at the first offense. Maybe God called you to a marriage that starts a little hard, but as time passes, you grow from the trials and your love becomes an example of God’s power and healing.

(And don’t read what I am NOT saying. I’m saying that, for some, the trials serve to strengthen a marriage. I am not saying not to divorce an abusive spouse. Just throwing that disclaimer out there).

Simply put, we are all called to different ministries.

Fulfill YOUR ministry.

All Things Work Together

This isn’t the first time God showed me that He kept me from something for a reason.

A couple of years back, I realized something I thought to be perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. It was almost as if I could hear Him saying, “See? That’s why I didn’t let you go down that path“.

And a couple of days ago, I got that same revelation from a different circumstance: What can sometimes seem to be a punishment from God is actually protection.

I know this isn’t a new revelation for some (or even for me). I’ve often referenced in the past that God’s protection is much like a parent protecting a child. A parent will say “no” to a child who wants to run in the street to protect them from getting hit by a car. Even if that child wants nothing more in that moment than to play in the street, the more loving thing to do, as a parent, is to protect them from danger.

But a few days ago, that truth hit me a bit harder.

Through a conversation with a friend, I realized that, during a tough time in my life, God isolated me, not to punish me, but to prevent me, in every way, shape, and form, from doing something I would later regret. At the time, I was too emotionally vulnerable to realize that heading down certain paths would lead me away from God. So, being a loving Father, He isolated me.

It wasn’t punishment. It was protection.

Also a few days ago, the church we were attending decided to go in a different direction. I could write an entire blog post on this topic alone (I won’t, so don’t worry), but suffice it to say while some Christians would be perfectly fine with a decision they recently made, I am not one of those Christians (and we can love each other, yet respectfully disagree).

I tried to join this church multiple times (In other words, get involved, serve, lead groups, etc), but something always came up. The night service we went to as a family would be suspended for summer, my husband’s work schedule changed (making him unable to attend morning services or small groups), etc. I kept wondering why God was seemingly putting up road blocks at every chance to prevent me from getting involved with this church.

Once again, something I thought to be perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. And again, I could hear Him saying, “That’s why I didn’t let you go down that path“.

Back to square one we go.

But this time, I’m not so dismayed.

Even though my church made this decision, it is still a great church led by amazing people who love God and love the city of Phoenix. I still learned and grew as a follower of Christ there.

I don’t know where God is leading us, but I do know one this: All things work together for the good of those who love God.

All things are working together still.

 

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Phases

I’ve always loved flying in planes  For me, the best part is getting to see landing and takeoff from the window seat. These last two plane rides were no different; well, except for one thing.

I could tell very clearly that I was entering a new phase in life. 

While I was sad to see Miami, my hometown, get smaller and smaller as we ascended into the sky, seeing Phoenix right before we landed made me proud. Here was my new home and, for the first time, I was really happy to call it that; “HOME”.

It made me think about the many phases I’ve been through in life, both before and after knowing Christ. We all go through phases, sometimes for the better, and sometimes not so much.

For instance, when I was first saved, I found myself at a church that would scoff at the doctrines I hold close to now. But for the phase I was in on April 25, 2010, the day everything changed for me, that church was more than okay. It, too, has gone through its own phases. It has a different lead pastor, associates with a different group of people, and seems very different from the one I attended back in 2010.

When you have children, you can see some of these phases more clearly. My youngest daughter is a little over a year old, but I can clearly see how much she has grown when I look at newborn photos of her. The same can be said of my eldest daughter. This past week in Miami, many family members who hadn’t seen my almost 4-year-old for a while said the same thing upon seeing her; “wow, she has grown!”. Each phase has its blessings, but each phase also has its own unique set of challenges.

Politically, we can go through phases as well. In 2008, when I first started college, I was a proud “College/Young Republican”. I read conservative sites, watched conservative news, and thought Democrats were stupid and naive (we’re talking Pre-Jesus here, so please give “B.C. Christina” some grace). Now? I don’t consider myself a Democrat, but I am certainly no Republican. Both parties have issues, especially along their retrospective extremes. I think there is some good in both, but also some bad. I consider myself a Christian Independent who leans left on some things, but leans right on others.

Marriages go through phases. Relationships start with two people not knowing each other very well and, through time and work, getting to know each other better. Then you get married and you really get to know people! You grow as a person when you realize God can (and does) use your marriage to make your own flaws obvious. And while I’m not there yet, I know that marriages can (and do) blossom into lifelong partnerships that have withstood the test of 25, 50, even 75 years!

Friendships go through phases. In 2011, I had a core group of friends that I believed I would stay friends with for several years to come. Now? I’ve lost touch with many of those same people. Moving throughout the years, to two cities no less, has made it harder to not only keep old friendships active, but create new ones. I just now am beginning to feel more “settled” in Phoenix, but trying to create friendships that last as a stay at home mom of two kids, with one family car, who lives 20 minutes away from church is proving to be a bit difficult (to say the least).

We even go through phases in our walks with Christ. When I was first saved, I knew little about theology and doctrines, but like a young infant, I was hungry to get to know my Lord and Savior. I read every book I could get my hands on (which is a good and bad thing). I was always in the Word, any chance I could get (a blessing of being single with no children? Time). Then there was a phase when I knew of sound doctrine, but I belittled every person who didn’t agree with everything I believed (because Christina always knew better than everyone else). Not exactly the most “Christ-like” way to approach theology, but thankfully, the cage-stage is over. Now? I still believe in those same five points (jokingly referred to as “7 points”), but I don’t belittle those who don’t. I can feed the homeless alongside someone who believes in “free-will” and know we are both glorifying and serving God. I’d love to have a conversation with them about election and how the Bible supports it, but I’m not going to condemn a brother or sister in the faith because of it. And “election” shouldn’t dominate all my conversations with others; Jesus should be at the forefront, not simply doctrine.

Life goes through phases. Sometimes, we do need a friend to point our flaws in our thinking and lovingly guide us back to Christ (and Gospel-centered teaching). Sometimes, we’re that friend to someone else. Sometimes we’re right. Sometimes, not so much. Sometimes, we can feel loved just sitting with someone else over coffee for a few minutes and talking about trivial things like music or movies. Other times, we can be in a crowded room for hours and still feel completely alone.

The body of Christ will never all be in the same phase together…and that is a good thing. How can we learn from one another if we all have the same strengths and weaknesses? If I am prideful, it will take a humble Christian to point that out. If I am angry, it will take a level-headed Christian to help me with that. If I am selfish, only a selfless person could guide me. If I am prone to gossip, the one who isn’t will be the one to keep me accountable. If I want to learn about doctrines, I go to the one who has already known for quite some time. And if someone else wants to learn, and I know, I can teach them. If I am straying away from the Bible, it will take someone who hasn’t to bring me back. And if I see a brother or sister straying from sound teaching (on those “close-handed issues” that the Bible is very clear on, it is my staying firm but loving with them that may, indeed, bring them back. And if we begin to disagree on an open-handed one? It’s not my place to become angry and see them as suddenly unsaved, but to love them despite our differences and come together for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.

We all go through phases and, while I am sad to see some come and go, I am excited to see what God has in store for me and my family, in our new home, here in Phoenix, AZ.

Grace & Peace.

My Favorite Study Bible: The ESV MacArthur Study Bible

(The following post contains affliate links). 

When I was first saved, I didn’t know many other brothers and sisters in the faith. Because of this, I ended up walking into the nearest Christian book store and buying whatever I could find (which led to me reading some “questionable” things, to say the least).

Because of this, one thing I never want to stop doing on my blog is recommending theologically solid resources that will help you grow in your faith. So, without further ado, I present to you my favorite Bible study reference tool:

The ESV MacArthur Study Bible.

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I can not recommend this study Bible enough. It is my number one go-to resource for questions I have about scripture. While I will admit that I don’t agree 100% with John MacArthur (or any teacher, for that matter), he is an incredibly gifted Bible teacher. Every time I set out to read a chapter a day of scripture, I include a quick reading through that chapter’s commentary.

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Using an extremely detailed, verse-by-verse approach, John MacArthur breaks down just about each and every verse, giving full context and history details within the commentary. For those who don’t know, he is a pastor that is famous in the Reformed community for his expository preaching.

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You can also find maps and charts throughout the Study Bible. The one above charts out the miracles of Jesus and where you can find them specifically mentioned in the Gospels.

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You can also find maps in the back of the Bible visually depicting a variety of resources. Pictured below is a map of the twelve tribes of Israel.

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As I mentioned earlier, it is my go-to resource when I want to dig deeper into a specific passage or chapter. If I have a question and want to know the full context of something said, I usually pull out this Bible. I would recommend it for everyone and anyone looking to dig a little deeper into scripture (which should be all of us).

Not fond of the ESV? John MacArthur has a version of this Bible in NKJV and in NASB, if you’d prefer those translations.

As time goes by, I’ll be recommending more of my favorite resources for those interested!

Grace & Peace!

The Instagram Gospel

Like that Bible verse. Retweet that Christian quote. Share that story about global missions. The perfect formula to “look like you believe in Jesus”.

But looking like you believe in Jesus doesn’t save your soul; actually believing in Jesus does.

I’ve often written about the dangers of social media, but I haven’t put much emphasis on the Church and social media. I love social media, and I think it could be a great modern tool to reach people, but it can also lead people to put on masks in order to get the most likes, retweets, and shares. The truth is, social media often portrays a life that doesn’t exist. 

There are just some of the unattainable ideals I often see portrayed on social media by the church:

  • Everyone has time to read the Bible for hours, despite having spouses, children, and responsibilities. And they always hear the voice of God every single time. Every single time I open the Bible, angels come down and worship God with me. That must be what reading God’s word is like.
  • Nobody ever sins. Ever. Not even once. They’re not even tempted. If you’re tempted, something must be wrong with you. That must be what following Christ is like.
  • Everyone has a perfect spouse. Nobody ever argues with their spouse. They get spoiled by their spouse every single day. That’s what marriage must be like.
  • Kids never act out. They’re always perfect. They never fight with each other. That’s what having kids must be like.
  • Friends are ALWAYS there for you, always ready to hang out somewhere, and the relationships are always perfect. That must be what community is like.
  • The church doesn’t judge. At all. If you do happen to be the only person on the planet that is tempted (or worse, that sinned), then you will lose no friends (ever), everyone will look at you the same, and people will pour in to pray for you and love on you during dark times.

I’ve seen more over the years, but that covers the basics. The truth is, none of these things are real. That’s not to say these things don’t happen from time to time. Surely, they do happen, but not as often as social media may make it seem. Sure, there are days when I have a good hour to read the Bible or a book, but there are also days when I don’t have time for a cup of coffee, let alone time to read. I have days when my kids are great, but I also have days when they drain me of all my energy. I’ve had some great friends who stood by me through thick and thin, but I’ve also had friends who left me the SECOND they found out I sinned (and the truth is, years later, I still haven’t fully healed from having such close “Christian” friends treat me like a stranger).

Ed Stetzer has a great phrase pinned to the top of his profile that says “Beware of practicing your righteousness before Twitter.” Personally, I feel like many people use their social media to portray this Christianity that simply doesn’t exist. Following Jesus isn’t a piece of cake.

Following Jesus is hard. Relationships are messy. Marriage is difficult. Kids go crazy sometimes. Friends aren’t always true friends.

Don’t practice your righteousness before Instagram for the likes. Don’t practice your holiness before Twitter for the retweets.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:21-23

God isn’t going to be looking through your Twitter feed or your Instagram story on the day of judgment. He’ll be looking at your life. Saying you believe in Jesus won’t be enough.

You must actually follow Christ. 

Untouchable

 

WE ARE UNTOUCHABLE. 

As Christians, there isn’t a thing anyone can do to mess up the plan of God. Because of that, we are UNTOUCHABLE until God calls us home. We have no reason to fear accidents, bombs, terrorists, diseases, attacks, and ultimately death. If God has a purpose to accomplish through us, and that work is not yet done, we are untouchable.

God WILL accomplish His purpose through us, no matter what happens. There is nothing we can do to mess that up. There is nothing anyone else can do to us to mess that up either. Nothing in Hell or on Earth has the ability to one-up the Lord, the Creator of everything that has ever existed.

Matt Chandler once put it this way in a sermon: “Nobody dies early…I am untouchable until it’s time“.

Because we are untouchable:

  1. We know that this life is temporary and that our true citizenship is in Heaven. Our lives are not about amassing wealth or creating as safe a living space as possible. Our hope is not in how much a dollar is worth or how powerful we are. Untouchable Christians know that their purpose on Earth goes beyond themselves. Our purpose is to bring glory to God, which sometimes means entering spaces completely devoid of Him in order to shine His light into the darkness.
  2. We don’t have to fear death. As Matt Chandler said, nobody dies early. This doesn’t mean you should test God by jumping off of a cliff to see if He saves you (though, there are many powerful testimonies of people who genuinely wanted to end their lives and God didn’t allow it). This means that death is not something we need to fear. As Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). If we live, then we live for Christ. If we were to die, it would be gain to be with our Creator. Untouchable Christians believe this and know, because they are living sacrifices for Christ, death only comes once God allows it to be so.
  3. We can look at “less than desirable” circumstances and see them as instruments of mercy and grace. For some, death isn’t what strikes fear in their heart; it’s being alive. We live in a depraved world, surrounded by the consequences of sin. Everyone is broken in one way or another. Some are more broken than others. Some have gone through traumatic events in their lives, events that replay over and over in their minds. For those who have considered taking their own life, I am not minimizing what you have been through. I’ve been there where you may find yourself today. I understand fully what it feels like to dread waking up tomorrow. What I am saying is this: God can use the darkest moments in your life and turn them into your greatest ministry. Untouchable Christians know that God allows things into our lives for reasons we may never know, but ultimately, we can be confident that He will not only be our comfort for those dark moments, but He will use those things to help us minister to others in similar situations.

Hear me out here: Your Lord, Jesus Christ, calms the winds and the waves. He heals the sick. He gives sight to the blind. He drives out demons by speaking to them.  He brings the dead to life, both physically and spiritually.

He spoke every single atom into existence. He wired your brain to be able to interpret letters into language. He gives your lungs permission to breathe their next breath. He controls the thermostat on Earth, making it the PERFECT temperature (one degree off and we would perish). He is the ring leader that controls the “circle of life” around you. The plants turn light into food because He made it so. They create the oxygen that is vital to you because tells them to.

Listen to me: 
YOU ARE UNTOUCHABLE UNTIL HE CALLS YOU HOME. 

Grace & Peace

I Want A King

“No, God. I don’t want what you have for me. I know better. I want what I want for myself instead.”

I want a king. 

For those who don’t know, I am currently going through the Good Morning Girls “1 Samuel” series (though, I am very behind, I am still going!). I’ve never read 1 Samuel before (yes, there are books of the Bible I haven’t yet read), so it’s interesting to see “new” parts of God’s word.

One thing I’ve consistently noticed is Israel’s rejection of God and His plan for them. Despite everything that God has done for them up to this point, they chose to focus on the negative and demand things from God. They are ungrateful, blasphemous, and selfish.

I don’t want to be Israel. Ever.

But the truth is, we are often like them. Maybe we don’t ask for a physical king like they did (even though they had the Lord as their King), but we ask for other things with the wrong intentions. We ask for more money, not to bless others more, but because we think it will make us “happier” to be richer. We ask for girlfriends and boyfriends, not to lead into marriage and paint a picture of Jesus and the church for the world, but merely to have someone there to meet our needs.

In essence, we say to God “No, I don’t like your plan. Mine is better. I don’t want what you have in store for me.

I want a king.

I want THIS relationship, THIS house in THIS city, THIS salary, THIS career, etc. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not wrong to pray for the things we want. Proverbs 15:8 says that “God delights in the prayers of the upright”. However, this should warn us to also pray for our hearts, that we would not value those things over God and over His will for our lives.

Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to have a “king”. It may be a season where those things, good in and of themselves, wouldn’t bring glory to God. Maybe we would end up worshipping them. Maybe God needs to keep them away temporarily to bring attention to a sinful part of our lives. There are many reasons why God allows certain things in our lives (and by extension, keeps some things away). Our ways are not his ways. We usually won’t understand right there and then what He is doing.

But He is doing something. Know this.

He may not give you the “king” you pray for. He may, in fact, give you something much greater; Himself. 

Grace & Peace.

Through The Glass: ABORTION

(Every so often, The Glass House Gospel will publish posts prefaced with “Through The Glass”. These posts are intended to take hot button issues, break them down so that we may understand where the opposing sides are coming from, then offer a biblical, gospel-centered approach and, if possible, a compromise to please both sides [when neither side is going directly against the Word of God]).

THE ISSUE: Abortion.

SIDE NO. 1: Pro-Life: To be pro-life, according to Merriam-Webster, is to be “opposed to abortion”. A pro-lifer believes that life starts at conception. If they adhere to a religion, they usually also believe that the god of their religion (or, for us Christians, God Himself) has put life into the womb. Because of that, it would be a violation of both the will of God and the Word of God to end a life prematurely. When it comes to the law, a pro-lifer usually favors a ban on abortion and a de-funding of planned parenthood. By extension, some also favor “abstinence only” teaching in schools, along with limiting access to contraception (as some Christians believe it violates the will of God to use any form of contraception). In general, pro-lifers say that “giving the baby up for adoption” or “keeping the baby” are good alternatives.

SIDE NO.2: Pro-Choice: To be pro-choice, according to Merriam-Webster, is to “favor the legalization of abortion”. While it can vary from person to person, generally speaking, a pro-lifer believes that during the first trimester (and some of the second), a fetus is just a “clump of cells” which belongs to the mother. Because of this, it is a women’s right to choose an abortion, if she feels that is the right option for her. Some would stray to the right, saying it must be done before a heartbeat can be detected, while others would stray more to the left and say that an abortion can be performed “any times before the baby is born”. For the most part, pro-choicers agree that an abortion should be performed at a time before the baby is viable outside of the womb. They believe that Planned Parenthood is vital to society and fight to keep them active and alive. They also tend to believe that the best sexual education is comprehensive, complete with teaching students how to use contraception and have safe intercourse.

IS A BIBLICAL COMPROMISE POSSIBLE?: Yes and no. When it comes to abortion, there is little to no room to argue for it. Simply put, we now know that the heart beat begins sometime around the 5th week of pregnancy. Coming from experience of having two pregnancies, that’s usually around the time women suspect they are pregnant. So, when women find out, their baby’s heartbeat has already begun. By six weeks, facial features have already begun to form. It is hard to argue that this “clump of cells” is not a person, which would mean that abortion would be murder (no matter how you spin it).

However, I do believe a compromise can be reached elsewhere, one that would actually lower the number of abortions performed.

THE GLASS HOUSE GOSPEL: So, while I would agree that abortion is a sin and there is little wiggle room there, I would argue that many Christians aren’t “pro-life”; they’re just “anti-abortion”.

What I mean is this: many Christians are quick to stand outside a Planned Parenthood with signs, but they fight against things that would actually help a mother raise a child. Things life raising the minimum wage (which helps both mother and father earn more to support a family), better quality daycare and guaranteed access to it (which would allow lower-income families to continue working to provide for their family with peace of mind that their children are well taken care of), guaranteed access to contraception (which would prevent unwanted pregnancies), and more. But Christians (who tend to also be Republican) vote down these measures. How can you expect a woman to feel confident in raising a child if she can barely afford to eat?

“Well, adoption is always an option”. The problem with that line of thinking is our small view on the matter. If abortion were illegal, one or two more babies in the “system” wouldn’t be a big deal, but the truth is, MANY children would enter an already flooded system. Christians are quick to denounce abortions, but aren’t as quick to adopt the children that come from making abortion illegal.

Simply put, Christians should support measures to ban abortion (because it is murder and the person whose life is being ended has no say in the matter), however, this support should be in conjunction with supporting measures to guarantee access to contraception, raise minimum wage, create quality daycare (that is guaranteed), create free public colleges (also guaranteed), create quality schooling accessible to all income levels (guaranteed), etc. The issue isn’t the access. The issue is making sure women who feel like they can’t raise a child don’t have another reason to abort.

Don’t just be anti-abortion. Be pro-life.

Grace & Peace.

Please Stop Saying “All Lives Matter”

“We don’t do this to any other group that is asking for attention to be paid to their cause. Does anyone say, when the NFL does Breast Cancer awareness, ‘Oh, so you’re saying prostate cancer doesn’t matter? What about all cancer awareness?’. Do we do that? When someone says save the rainforests, does someone get all up in their face [and say] ‘Oh, so you’re saying the rainforests are more important than other forests? Why don’t you save all forests?’ No. We don’t do that. Because it would be absurd. Because it misses the point.”
Nick Wright

Christian, this is a phrase that needs to be put to death in our community TODAY.

I understand your thought process. “God cares about everyone”, you say. God loves all races and ethnicities. While this may true, allow me to build on Nick Wright’s quote for a moment.

Would you walk up to a children’s cancer unit and tell a child “I know you have cancer, but all cancer patients matter”? You wouldn’t. That is insensitive.

Would you go to the site of a school shooting and say “I know you lost your 5-year-old daughter today, but all kids lives matter”? You wouldn’t. That is rude and inconsiderate.

Would you see someone with an “I love my church” sticker on their car and yell at them “ALL CHURCHES MATTER“? You wouldn’t. That is unintelligent

Even though you may very well have good intentions in saying “all lives matter”, the truth is you come off sounding insensitive, rude, inconsiderate, and simply unintelligent.

And worst of all, when you are angered by signs that read “Black Lives Matter”, you are going against the very heart of Jesus: a heart that breaks for those ignored and abused by society. Those in the Black Lives Matter movement aren’t saying that “black lives matter more” or that “only black lives matter”. Instead, they are simply saying “black lives matter”.

In a time of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we need to declare that BLACK LIVES MATTER. In a time where kids like Treyvon Martin are killed senselessly and people like George Zimmerman are let go with no consequences…we need to, as Christians, as members of the Body of Christ, (a body with people from every nation, from all tribes, composed of all peoples and tongues), declare together that BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself “But I don’t agree with the riots associated with Black Lives Matter”. The truth is, I don’t agree with riots either (though, I do acknowledge that riots are the language of the unheard). But consider this: have you heard of Westboro Baptist? Those terrible people who stand at the funerals of U.S. soldiers with protest signs? I don’t agree with them (on anything). I know they’re not really Christian. You know they’re not really Christian.

Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Extremists like Westboro Baptist Church don’t invalidate the truth of the Gospel. Extremists that claim BLM (Black Lives Matter) who want to kill cops don’t invalidate the simple truth that Black Lives Matter.

So then, what should our stance be as Jesus followers?

  1. First, be empathetic: We are saying Black Lives Matter because statistics show that they don’t. From the percentage of African-Americans killed by cops versus Caucasian Americans killed by cops to the percentage of African-Americans imprisoned for minor crimes versus the same percentage for Caucasians, it’s hard to argue the system isn’t biased. Statistics even show juries are more likely to issue harsher sentences based on darker skin colors (1).  Also, please stop responding and saying “All Lives Matter”. For goodness sake, it is the least empathetic thing you could possibly say to someone (for the reasons explained above). Remove that phrase from your vocabulary.
  2. Then, pray and have conversations: Pray for those marching, those protesting, and for minority communities in general (especially African-Americans). Have conversations with someone who supports Black Lives Matter. The truth is I’m not dark-skinned. I’m a Cuban, yes, but I’m of a lighter complexion and I grew up in Miami where I was in the majority anyway, so I don’t have the first hand experience of prejudice that some of my brothers and sisters have had…and the truth is I don’t need to. All I need to know is it is happening. People are being targeted unfairly based on their skin color alone. Because I am a Christian, I should care that people are being mistreated. I don’t have to agree 100% with their values to join the movement and continue conversations with those around me. Also, having conversations with people of different races allows you to glimpse into their experience, with broadens your understand of how the world works for those who look differently than you do.
  3. Finally, stand up and protest: One of the ways you show support is through action. Again, you do not need to agree with their “values” in their entirety. I believe in women’s rights, but I don’t agree with “feminist values” in their entirety because it includes being pro-choice. I can still protest and work towards equal rights for women. The same goes for Black Lives Matter. I don’t agree with all the values on their website, but I can still protest for equal rights for Black Lives. Show solidarity with your brothers and sisters in the faith and stand alongside them as they declare “we matter” to the world. Prove to them that they matter by fighting alongside them.

At the end of the day, the Word of God matters more than anything I have to say, so allow me to close out this long post by pointing everyone to the Word.

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” – Romans 10:12 (In Christ, we are all the same, no matter our skin color).

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:17-18 (You can’t say you love God if you’re okay with people being mistreated).

Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” – Jeremiah 22:3 

Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:9 (I love the “open your mouth” command from God. Use your voice and speak up for those who can’t).

Grace & Peace.

 


(1) Eberhardt, Jennifer L., et al. “Looking Deathworthy Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes.” Psychological Science 17.5 (2006): 383-386.