Chicken & the Sanctity of Marriage?

I’m tired of hearing and seeing the debate between Christians and the gay community over our chicken sandwiches. Anyone else?

So why one more post about the Chick-fil-A hoopla?

I think there’s something conservative Christians (myself included) need to hear.

I often worry Christians are more vocal, thus the message heard most often, are conversations revolving around the sanctity of marriage, homosexual rights, abortion, conservative politics and/or religion in politics, when there is a much greater and more eternal message.

Why are Christians more apt to engage in public culture wars, than speak about the work God has done in their own lives? Which is of greater value and importance?

But, truly, how does buying a chicken sandwich reinforce the sanctity of marriage?

How does the transaction of dollars and chicken (or waffle fries) prove an example of a husband loving his wife with the same vigor and commitment that Christ loves the church?

Wouldn’t it be more powerful for husbands and wives to love their spouse fully—to be respectful, kind, self-sacrificing, joyful, and committed—instead of taking to Chick-fil-A to show their support of traditional marriage?

Often it seems the sanctity of marriage argument is a convenient soapbox for Christians instead of an actual belief. It’s hard to look at statistics that say the rate of divorce, adultery, and pornography in the Church is comparable to secular society and accept the “marriage is a sacred institution of God” argument.

Marriage is sacred. But actions speak louder than words.

If you’re neglecting your wife, berating her in public and private,

If you’re completely comfortable yelling at your husband, no matter the audience,

If you’re lusting after other men (or women), whether married or not,

If you’re reluctant to actively support and encourage friends who are struggling in their own marriage,

If you take your anger to bed,

If you’re committed only as long as you’re happy,

If you think to be a husband is to demand servitude,

If you’re unwilling to work through the hard parts of communication and reconciliation,

—then do you truly believe marriage is sacred and holy?

Now I’ve heard this, “But homosexuality is gross and unnatural.”

But aren’t your sins gross and unnatural?

And what is it that leads us to repentance? Is it shame? Public humiliation? Defamation and name-calling? Mockery? Boycotts? Ostracization?

Or is it the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance?

What speaks more of the Kingdom of God?

A chicken sandwich or a life reflecting Grace?

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When All the Voices are Screaming

There are so many things, voices really, running through my head telling me all the ways I’m failing and what a mess I am.

I know I’m a mess, but I’m beginning to see more clearly, that the mess is what is messing me up. It’s the problem.

And the mess is every voice I’ve let into this head of mine, every lie I’ve seen and heard and internalized. This mess leaves me hanging. Lonely, cold, barely moving amid the cobwebs and chains.

Every step, it seems, is dictated by one of these dusty lies. I am still living in fear.

So much fear.

The lies reverberate in a scoop of ice cream, a second helping, the praise of something delicious, “You need to lose weight.” “Why are you eating that?”

The memories rush back, “You better watch what you eat so you don’t get fat.” You’re eating too fast. That’s disgusting. Switch hands. Stand up. I learned early to be bigger didn’t mean to be unhealthy, but to be less, to be a disappoint, to be gross, and worthy of ridicule.

Pretty girls were skinny girls.

They didn’t wear glasses or have hair so thick kids called them ‘Haystack.’ Yet time and time again I’ve made food my refuge and comfort, riding the line with a too high BMI.

The lies taught me early to hide. Hiding brought safety. Anonymity.

And this safety pointed out all I wasn’t.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

I remember the hopeful, excited young writer and I remember the day I settled for safe. It was after my 4th grade Christmas party. I had put my heart into a little Christmas story about a girl who meets Santa Claus. It was a gift for my teacher.

After she read it, Ms. Zee Wilson bent down and handed me back the book I binded in green construction paper and tied with red yarn. With eyes of belief she said, “You keep it. You’re going to want this some day.”

My little writer heart took her words to say, “You have talent. You’re going to be a writer.” I told someone what Ms. Wilson said, they quickly replied, “That just means she didn’t like it. She didn’t want it.”

With that affirmation I silenced my hopes of ‘writer’ and closed my words to my eyes alone. Through my schooling I received regular affirmation of my gift, but not enough to undo those first words or to open my mouth in bravery. I hid.

Even now I still hide.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

Over and over I have heard from media, people, books of the preachy variety, play groups, and places in between I am not enough.

And I have let every one of those keep me hidden and hurting. There have been moments I wanted to scream to silence the voices, but their united cacophony was stronger than my solo.

I turn 29 next month and I’m beginning to realize I don’t really know how to live. The truth combats with the voices, but more often than not I grow weary and give in.

I’m tired of growing weary. I’m tired of letting a million other voices who don’t really matter dictate my life.

I’m tired of feeling ugly because a size 12 with think, unnaturally long, curly hair doesn’t get a photo spread in a magazine. I’m tired of fearing rejection and not taking chances in my writing, because someone 20 years ago (20 years!) lied to me. I’m tired of trying to parent and force my children into a mold that fits into what society deems comfortable for the moment. I’m tired of riding behind the line of unoffensive in the Church, because someone may be offended by my beliefs.

I’m tired of not being enough to everyone who doesn’t matter.

Every time I hear those lies attempt a jailbreak, I will say

“Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on.”

Every time someone echoes a lie, I will remember,

“Freedom’s name is mighty sweet, and one day soon we are gonna meet.”

Because I want a life rich and true.

I want an existence more than succumbing.

I want to live in joy and peace unending, not this world’s fickle affection.

I want life.

I want life.

I want freedom.

“When you see a man walk free it makes you dream of jubliee…Keep your eyes on the prize and hold on.”

Sara Groves, Eyes on the Prize

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Breaking the Cycle of Fear & Later

I write in simple rhythms of blue and gray. Quiet and uninhabiting, bordering on apologetic.   I slide into the back row, taking notes, hoping to go unnoticed. I leave my heart under my sleeve as I listen to wordsmiths spinning their wheel.

I am jealous of them and in the same breath think, ‘I could do that. I’m good enough.’ But I flounder in this back row. I chastise myself for the wasted moments, thoughts, weeks…for all the could’ves that should have been. I tell myself, “Later. There’ll be time later.”

But what if there isn’t?

What if I keep using the same excuses? What if I can’t find the balance between writing and living words? What if I continue to let Fear wrap itself around my waist, cinched tight as a budding antebellum belle? I keep waiting for an “Aha!,” a moment to break the cycle.

But what if the breaking comes in the stepping out?

We’re in this life transition. Moving from Kentucky to South Carolina (I feel my Southern roots drawing deeper), our family is not yet burdened by a set schedule. We haven’t quite formed a routine. So my husband, in his generousity, is giving me (more like telling me) a week to devote to writing. I’m to go somewhere and just write. Write, edit, research.

After all those times I’ve muttered, “I just wish I could write 9 to 5,” I’ll have my chance. I’m scared. What if I mess it up? What if I can’t stay focused? What if the words don’t come? What if I waste a week?

I keep thinking I need to come up with a plan, but I don’t know where to start.

Where would you?

How do you break the cycle of fear and self-pressure and 20 years of stalled dreaming? 

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