Life Stinks. We Have a Pew For You.

Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

First of all….sometimes when I write a post….I don’t even know where it’s heading. I don’t even know how the Ten Commandments became part of that last post. It’s not like I woke up and decided: hey, I should write a post on guns and religion! It’s like it comes from a part of my brain that doesn’t even really know what it’s writing….like I set out to make an apple pie but I end up with beef stew somehow.  So by the end of this post we could be talking about donuts, the NRA, and Beyoncé….I’m just warning you.

Anyway, the comments started rolling in on the last post and I’ll be honest….I immediately started to second-guess my stance.  But then someone made a comment about my use of the word “cowboy”….and that it offended them and then I immediately came back to the realization that I’ll never make everyone happy….so I just have to go with my gut. And so:

I personally think that daily prayer and the display of a set of commandments, on which our great country was founded on, could not possibly cause more harm than good….and that a 900% increase in violent crimes and similar increases in STDs, drug use and depression are way too closely correlated with the removal of the use of the bible in schools. And so right now that’s what I think…..and it doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind one day.  And actually, if you vehemently disagree with me, and think I am the most rotten person to walk the earth because of my stance, I am always of a teachable mindset…I would love to hear other ideas….because I feel like the direction we are going right now in the country isn’t so great.

I think it’s awesome that so many people of other faiths are here.  And I was surprised at the number of athiests who read my blog.  And I am always appreciative of the comments from people who disagree with me because it does take courage for you to put yourself out there….of course some of you have more courage than others apparently based on how much you are willing to put out there….but I’d much rather someone be hot or cold on an issue instead of lukewarm…..at least I know where you stand. However, the one thing that is a deal breaker for me is if you are insanely judgmental.  Don’t worry, I won’t hate you (I don’t hate anyone) but I just don’t think it’s healthy for us to converse at length. I will also mention that if you use phrases in your commentary like: there is no sense whatsoever in these claims, your ideas are horrible and backward, or how horrifying……well….these phrases will probably not help me see your point of view.

I can only please one person per day via lilblueboo.com

So that gets me onto another topic…because I think it’s a huge part of the issue…and something I think is getting more and more prevalent: unkind rhetoric, intellectual elitism, political correctness, personal attacks, finger pointing, lack of accountability etc.

I’m guilty of it…believe me.  I was involved in some stuff a few months ago that I got way too fired up about and I actually went and apologized to two different people on two separate occasions…mainly just for being snippy and sarcastic.  I’m human. It happens.  But I have no problem admitting when I’ve been a total brat.  And trust me….it feels great to apologize….even if you weren’t 100% at fault…it clears the air and lets you move forward productively.

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. -Dale Carnegie

Yes….I’m trying to have character and self control. My dad gave me a book back when I went to college and it’s one I’ve read over and over: How to Win Friends and Influence People. At first I was a little worried….do I not have friendsWhy would he give this book to me? But I think a more appropriate title for it could be: How to Treat People. But seriously….read it.  It was published in 1934 and I’m sure if you ask around someone will have a copy of it. I always see them popping up in thrift stores. This little book has more little nuggets of life wisdom than you’ll be able to absorb:

How to Win Friends and Influence People via lilblueboo.com

Ok so, I’m really putting myself out there now….and so many people have warned me against sharing on this….but I think it’s completely relevant because it’s such a hot topic. Basically, I’ve been struggling with the fact that my church at the present has a certain stance on gay marriage. You see….I personally think (this is my personal opinion, no one else’s) that God doesn’t make mistakes.  And the Bible was written by man….and so at the time it was written I think there may have been sins listed outside of the Ten Commandments that we don’t fully understand or need to understand.  I eat shrimp! I wear polyester/cotton blend! Some of my closest friends are gay….and they are compassionate, amazing people….and they have wonderful well-rounded, respectful children. I don’t believe for one second that God would deny them the chance of being married.  And just fyi….when I joined my church I didn’t fully know their stance on gay marriage.  For the first time in the history of my life I did my research after the fact…because one of the first sermons I heard by my pastor was one of tolerance and love toward gay people. So of course I’m all giddy inside “yay this church loves gay people….when’s the first gay wedding?!” But when I found out their stance on gay marriage….I was angry and I stormed around the house for a day and ranted and raved about it.  And I expressed this to my gay friend “I will withdraw my membership!  I can’t be a part of this. Down with the church! (yeah I can be a little melodramatic)…and my gay friend is the one that brought me down to earth and said:

“While I truly appreciate the way you feel, and your willingness to stand up for what you think is right….you don’t have to agree with everything they stand for….and it doesn’t mean you have to leave. The best scenario would be for them to have an outspoken, but respectful, member with a different perspective….and you bring that perspective.”

And he was totally right.  I don’t have to agree with everything my church believes in….I have the right to my own beliefs…..and it doesn’t mean I have to go and picket every Sunday outside the sanctuary or threaten to leave. And I like my church. What good would that do….to storm off….ranting and raving into the distance….I’d only get smaller….and smaller…..and smaller….and then one day someone would say  “remember that gal that ranted and raved and then stormed off?  What was her name again? Yeah I don’t remember it either. I don’t even remember what she was ranting and raving about.”  And instead I’ve had conversations with my pastors….oh believe me….I’ve pulled out every verse on homosexuality in the Bible….and I compared those scriptures across 14.8760 different translations…..then I read to the END OF THE INTERNET…..and I created a matrix that I thought would solve the issue for all of humanity….and I’ve questioned and I’ve listened….and well, for now we’ve agreed to disagree….and guess what….we still like and respect each other. Amazing concept.

You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph. And – A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.
-Dale Carnegie

*****

Sometimes….putting yourself in the other person’s place can change your whole perspective:

As a non-religious child, I felt very ashamed and excluded when I started at a new school where there was prayer. I was marked out as different because I couldn’t recite the Lord’s Prayer like the majority of other children and it was embarrassing. However, that doesn’t mean I wanted to be a part of that religion or that I felt I had been cheated out of a relationship with a god. It just didn’t seem fair to have to be a part of something that wasn’t shared by all. We all sang the national anthem because we were part of the same country, but the religion thing wasn’t the same. I think that for Christian people, they have the ability to seek out schools where god is a priority, and those of other or no faiths should be able to find a neutral zone at the very least. -Erica

Wow.  I can totally relate to that because even when I’ve attended churches of different denominations I’ve been totally lost and felt out of place thinking: how did they all memorize this stuff….is there some sort of secret manual I’m not aware of? And I could picture Erica in that classroom feeling embarrassed and it made me so sad and I couldn’t think of any solution but to dilute the Lord’s prayer into a generic prayer. But it also took me back to my own childhood when I didn’t have the coolest clothes or I couldn’t play sports well….and how it didn’t seem fair to me at the time……and well many schools have implemented uniforms and everyone gets sports participation awards.  Believe me….I saw right through those 4th place, 3rd heat swimming awards….and thank goodness I was able to figure out that swimming wasn’t my thing early on because I found out that I was good at other stuff instead.

*****

Life Stinks We Have a Pew For You via lilblueboo.com from Christian Funny PicturesPhoto source: Christian Funny Pictures

*****

So….I’ve always been told: don’t talk about politics or religion (oops) but I don’t think I can really be authentic without sharing those parts of my life.  When it comes to religion it’s not that I am trying to convert anyone or convince you to come my way….I am just giving you what might be a different perspective.

As for why Christianity is right for me and my daughter? Well, first of all I think that learning the stories in the Bible give us something to emulate….an example to follow, detailed virtues and great wisdom in difficult situations.  Last Sunday one of the pastors at my church quoted C.S. Lewis and made the comparison that the Bible is like a window….we don’t look at it, we look through it. We use the Bible to shape our lives….looking through the stories and finding the purpose of God in our lives.  I agree….I believe it’s much easier to ask “what would Jesus do” instead of “what would so-and-so-the-human do“.  But the most important thing for me is that I want my daughter to know that one day….when I’m not there to protect her….she can turn to God in any difficult situation….if she’s bullied, or her faith is tested, or she’s in the midst of violence, or lost.  She can be reassured that she’s not alone. And long after I’m gone….she will be okay….and there’s the faith that we will see each other again. I have experienced numerous thin places that have reassured me that the Bible isn’t just a myth: like when Boo saw my father on the porch shortly after he died, or when my grandfather saw an angel at his bedside before he died, or when my grandfather’s disconnected phone line called my sister’s phone and left a message, or the grandmother clock in Tahoe, or the immaculate timing of my almost bleeding to death the second I was opened up for surgery, Even my surgeon said: we aren’t supposed to really say this in medicine, but we witnessed a miracle.

Thin Places via lilblueboo.comSometimes a thin place can be as mundane as a church parking lot….

 

Here’s the thing….I AM A CHRISTIAN.

This doesn’t mean that if you are not a Christian I don’t love and accept you or think your way of life is wrong. When I meet someone who has a different faith: I am intrigued, and genuinely interested in what their beliefs are. This is my hope for Boo and her approach to other religions. This is what I think: Religious tolerance is NOT creating a vacuum of religion….hiding it all….religious tolerance is being open and respectful and loving. Anyone with faith or spirituality more often than not believes in a very similar set of core values.  I do know that the majority of religions believe in the existence of some higher power and that positive comparisons can be drawn between them all.

It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.  –Alfred Adler

Why would I prefer that the Ten Commandments be displayed? Well, first of all it’s part of history. Many of our country’s laws are based on the Ten Commandments.  I also don’t have an issue with virtues of other religions being displayed in public places. I’d be fine with the posting of the pillars of Islam. I’d know that there were 2 that probably didn’t apply to me…but I could be reminded of the other three: belief, prayer worship and giving.  And post the principles and disciplines of Hinduism too….at least I’d know what they were without having to Wikipedia them….and I’d love for Boo to be reminded of love and religious harmony when she sees them. And who couldn’t use a reminder about discipline? Truth, non-violence, no adultery, no stealing, no corruption, cleanliness, contentment, scripture reading, perseverance and regular prayers.  Guess what….I did practice Buddhism for a few years. I even have a collection of Buddha statues….and some people would interpret that as a sin….graven images. But I don’t treat them as idols…so big whup. I think there is some amazing knowledge to be found in the Dhammapada….and excerpts can be found throughout my diaries and journals.  I don’t know much about atheism….do athiests pray? Do athiests have a book of principles to follow? And so now I’m showing my ignorance….but I AM willing to learn. I’d love to know.  And I know I’m leaving some religions out and it’s just because if I make this post any longer you’ll probably stop reading. Oh and satanism….well….I’m scared of Satan….but it’s nothing personal against the Satanist. But I do like the color black! Very slimming.

Getting down to the nitty gritty issue, what I am concerned about overall is the removal of all religious virtues from public places. Sadly, not all children learn compassion, love and ethical behavior at home.  And if we hide our prayer and beliefs into silent introspection….how will any of those children get what they need spiritually….how will they know that they are loved by some God out there….any God? How will these children know that spilling a drink does not deserve a beating?  How will these children know that they are forgiven for any naughty thing they may have done?  How will they know that there is some hope in their future despite a horrible home life? How will they know what are bad influences? How will they learn that abstinence is okay and not square?  How will they learn values if there are no visible standards?  Children learn from observing….if we are all silently spiritual….how will they see? And the best example of why I think we need a constant reminder of ethical behavior was summed up by a little boy in our church one morning when asked about obeying:

Well….I don’t know much about obeying.

True that. I’ve yet to meet an obedience professional.

And so I’ve shared all of this mostly because I want other people to have the opportunity to feel what I feel…..to try and explain why my life is so full of joy and faith and hope.  Anything written here is not to try and convince you that my faith is superior to yours or that you have to do things my way….the purpose is to share those virtues we might have in common.  And I just want to be honest and let you know what I stand for. And some of you will read a single sentence and be disgusted and vow: I will never visit Lil Blue Boo again! (Unlike) Take that Ash! Sometimes paths part. But maybe you are hanging by a thread today, and you’ll find one additional thread here for some strength….an encouraging word, the reminder that you are loved, something to laugh at. Or maybe you feel the same way I do and you aren’t a Christian but it’s nice to compare notes.  Or maybe you are my long lost twin and you are experiencing some déjà vu because you’ve thought the exact same thing (isn’t the Internet great that we can find each other that way?)  Or maybe you think I’m a complete idiot and I’ve made you feel so much better about yourself……and I can live with that too.

And sorry….no donuts….no NRA….no Beyoncé. Maybe another day. But I will leave you with this awesome photo of my brother, me and my sister in our swim team suits. Third heat baby. No participation awards. And how cute is my sister’s “bullet”….that’s  a bowl cut and mullet combination.

Superheroes?

P.S. Make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter.…it’s where I give my weekly rundown. Your info is safe with me…..never shared with anyone else…..promise. I don’t spam. Promise.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. 1
    Alicia says:

    Love Dale Carnegie! How to Stop Worrying is GREAT…also timeless.

  2. 2
    Natalie says:

    I always enjoy reading your blog, and I do appreciate the fact that you intertwine faith into your daily life/struggles/etc. I feel that more and more, we the people are becoming more divided and more divisive with those who don’t agree with us wholeheartedly… Like any little point can become an obstacle that makes people at odds with one another rather than working together to come to a resolution, or just agree to disagree! I appreciate your post, and I agree that our nation is not headed in the right direction as it is… If we are going to be productive, we must work together rather than against one another even if we don’t all agree. Did everyone after the civil war agree? No, but they worked together to unify our country once more… I don’t know, just my two-cents.

  3. 3
    Karen says:

    I could not agree more with you!! Every part of it. Also, I think that Dale Carnegie books should be required reading in all high schools.

  4. 4
    Joy T. says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Unfortunately some people just aren’t capable of differences. My husband and I recently lost an aquaintance to such intolerance. Oh well, maybe she’ll broaden her perspective someday. I find your reflections on children raised in stressful situations without faith interesting b/c in a LOT of ways, that’s ME! My family is not Christian, they have no faith, no religion, and my dad and sister will go as far to say that God doesn’t exist. My mom has recently ‘admitted’ to believing in the existence of Jesus, but she never prays, she never attends church, and she purposefully avoids things that involve faith (my husband was playing a piano piece by Josh Grobin and my mom loved the melody until she heard the lyrics of the song that went along with it, then she gave us the CD b/c it was ‘no good’). I have a lot to say about what it was like being raised without faith and where that took me in my life and the trials I faced, the feeling of being alone, and the knowledge that God loved me – and WHERE did I get THAT? I have no idea!!!!! I can only guess that it came from my schools. I went to public school. Maybe it was in reciting the pledge of allegiance, maybe it was the teachers, it certainly WASN’T my parents or family members. Probably, it was God. Through the power of my baptism or maybe just the fact of my birth; I had a secret relationship with God. It helped me survive several rapes, several attempted suicides and the realization that I’m gay (bisexual, to be more accurate). It also made it possible for me to be willing to listen to and learn about people who are christian. And ultimately I married a Catholic man, and learned more and more about him and me and Him. I came to know who Jesus was, I became Catholic as the church called me into her fold. I have a LOT to say about faith and schools and gay marriage and tolerance and love and being open. Without it, I’d be dead, or at least alone. And like you, I don’t agree with EVERY single thing that my church teaches, and I don’t even agree with my husband!!! I personally feel that gays should be allowed to marry int he church, but I feel that not every church should be required to allow a gay union into their faith. I respect my faith as a Catholic and would not want to force them to accept a gay marriage in the church. There are many christian faiths that openly allow and celebrate gay unions. As a gay person, I’m totally OK with that. As a Catholic, I’m totally OK with that. As a human being and mother of 3 beautiful children… I’m worried about the future of our country and the level of hatred being espoused so freely. I see that my post is leading to nowhere, but I wanted to say Thank you, again, for sharing your inner-most thoughts. So far, I think I found an internet twin in you, except when it comes to breastfeeding :P As you can probably guess, yep – big advocate, and I still love you all the same.

    • 5
      lisa says:

      much love to you dear lady. i wasnt raised with any religion and now as an adult i struggle in the deep sand of the bible to find what i truly believe. my children go to church so they may never feel as i do. they will never doubt He is real and will always be by their sides.
      i agree there should be more open churches and no one should be forced to it. ♥

      • 6
        Joy T. says:

        Thanks Lisa! Our children are being raised Catholic and I pray they never have to experience the darkness I went through as a young adult. I know God has plans for me and suffering provides a sense of purpose and will through His grace. I am well and very blessed. I have a genetic kidney disease and have dedicated my time to volunteering for a non-profit that supports research, hope, and action for my family’s affliction. If you get curious, feel free to check out http://www.alportsyndrome.org

  5. 7
    bindu says:

    Ashley, i have found “a thread of strength” from your perspectives, more than once. Today’s post brings to mind many matters and situations and my responses/reactions. It brings to mind a dress designer Ms. J. – pathetic is how I felt associating with her. I just did not want to give her another chance. So, I wrote to her why I felt disappointed in her dealings … Of course posted it on her FB wall and of course she had it deleted … it meant letting of a good deal of money that could have been better spent but more importantly it meant letting go of the association and the monthly packages of disappointments. I gave up and let go. I wondered tonight if I should have stayed on, persevered and tried to have a dialogue … i hear myself saying – some people are just not worth it.

    In doing what you do and in wording your thoughts as they “flow” you template window frames which i have had the chance to trace and cut out for myself.

    Thanks :)

  6. 8
    Trisha Ashley says:

    Nailed it again..love your blog!!! Such a good read tonight! Jesus would be proud that you stood strong on your stance of your religion and your humanity towards all! Love you!

  7. 9
    Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry that you feel that way about gay marriage and still consider yourself a Christian.

    God has never made mistakes, and never will, you are right there. However, the heart of man is wickedly deceitful and homosexuality is outrightly considered a sin. Also, if you believe the bible to be the authority of man and don’t consider it inerrant, then you should probably not fight for it to be in schools as much as you do. And again, not call yourself a Christian.

    I pray for you and pray that you be led by scripture, which is God-breathed, towards His Word and Will.

    • 10
      Jill says:

      I beg to differ… If Ashley has accepted God’s forgiveness in her life, she has every right to call herself a Christian, a born-again child of God.

      God does not accept or reject a person based on the way they think about a subject. Salvation is a free gift He offers to all who believe in the forgiveness He offers everyone through Jesus Christ. This forgiveness is all inclusive: straight, gay, skinny, fat, timid, out-spoken, misguided, blinded by sin, self-righteous, children, adults, prostitutes, athletes, and everyone else on this planet can receive His forgiveness by believing in Him.

      I do agree with you on the fact that God specifically addresses the issue of homosexuality. However, just because Ashley thinks differently on the subject, it does not call her salvation into question. The Holy Spirit is able to guide all people to knowledge of the truth.

    • 11

      Dear Anonymous, I never said that the Bible was not the authority of God. Respectfully, please don’t put words in my mouth. But the Bible has been written down by man and translated by scholars…..there are even varying differences and interpretations between those. The Bible didn’t just show up at the bookstore nicely printed and bound. Sadly there are still about a hundred languages the Bible still has yet to be translated into. And even though my church and I don’t necessarily agree on everything they’ve never questioned if I was a Christian or not….thank God I’m only accountable to God and not humans!

    • 12
      Mikki Weaver says:

      @Anonymous- I find it heartbreaking that you wear your Christianity like a self righteous super hero seeking out wrong doers in the faith and revoking their right to have the benefits of salvation. Deciding someone shouldn’t call themselves a Christian is SO remarkably hurtful. Jesus Christ drew himself near to all people even the most sinful. In my opinion you will struggle to serve as a witness to others of Gods love as long as you are intent on declaring people unworthy to receive it due to a lifestyle you disagree with.

      • 13
        christie says:

        Anonymous,
        With all due respect, I find it odd that you easily tell Ashley that she shouldn’t call herself a Christian while being so straightforward judgmental of her faith life. Your judging her heart is not a Christian trait. We all make mistakes, we all sin at times but it is not our job to judge the righteousness or salvation of others. That is up to God. Sorry, but it’s unloving attitudes such as this that give Christians a bad rap!

    • 14

      And this is why I cringe when I hear the words “I am a Christian.”

      KK, a Christian who is forever afraid people will think I too am of the hate and condemn in the name of Jesus variety.

    • 15

      maybe rather than worrying about what Ashley does or doesn’t believe to be *YOUR* truth, you should find that distance between your knees and the floor to be a little shorter (as in hit the knees to the floor) and pray for YOUR eyes to be opened to YOUR sin…. the sin of judgement….

      As far as her salvation, it is to each man (woman) to work out their OWN salvation. Not for you… or anyone ELSE to determine it for them.

      I personally cringe when folks like you say they’ll pray for me… I would rather you DID NOT. Thanks anyway.

  8. 16
    Jill says:

    God is always the same. He doesn’t make mistakes or change His mind. And the Bible is as relevant today as it was the day it was written through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    God says marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Remember, narrow is the gate that leads to life. That means it may not be the popular or culturally acceptable way. God loves people who are gay the same as he loves those who are straight. He also says their actions are sin. Sin just like stealing. Sin like having a jealous heart or being self-righteous. There is not a sliding scale on how “sinful” a sin is. They are all sin in God’s sight.

    Thank God He provided an atoning sacrifice for all of us. We all fall short of perfection. He is the one who makes up the difference and allows us the opportunity to have fellowship with Him. It’s amazing to think that He already knew how much we would fail before the world was created, and yet He chose to create us and love us anyway, to send His Son to pay the penalty for our sin. His love and forgiveness is not even based on anyone’s confession of guilt or understanding of how we have messed up. We are all forgiven, even before we ask. All God asks of us is to have faith. To believe that Christ loved us enough to forgive us, no strings attached. And the result of that belief is eternal life in Christ. Praise God!

    • 17

      “We are all forgiven, even before we ask. All God asks of us is to have faith. To believe that Christ loved us enough to forgive us, no strings attached.” Love that!

    • 18
      Rebecca says:

      Jill, I just want to thank you so much for your thoughtful and eloquent post. Those are my exact thoughts, but you have written them in a beautiful way that I wouldn’t have been able to do myself.

    • 19
      Elizabeth says:

      It’s an interesting and common perspective among the fundamentalists but most of the liberal Christian traditions reject this interpretation of the bible. The bible was written by men, some books over hundreds of years after Christ died. The writings that were included in the bible were chosen by men. This is why I feel many Christians are not wrong to believe that parts of the bible are not, in fact, as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. I used to believe as you did because that is what I was taught, but after many years of thoughtful research on the topic of homosexuality and the history of bible I believe much differently. Those of us in the pro gay marriage camp are not merely trying to be popular or culturally acceptable. We are seeking greater understanding of the meaning of an ancient text that not all denominations understand as infallible. You believe God makes no mistakes. Science is proving that homosexuality is not a choice. Therefore, understanding God’s will on homosexual marriage is not necessarily as easy as lifting a few passages from the old testament, in my opinion. Are there are many theologians and biblical scholars who agree.

  9. 20
    Georgie says:

    Another great post! Even when we don’t agree I have to admit you always put up such a flippin’ great argument that I am always left really thinking about what I believe and if I am right. Good job!!
    And hurrah that we agree on gay marriage, its all about love and acceptance in our house. And I have to admit that I was relieved you feel the same, I wrote a stupidly long post about all of this but deleted it all as it was a tad rambley!!
    Thankyou for your honesty X

  10. 21
    Ashley M. says:

    Ashley, I swear I just want to come to CA and give you a big ol’ fat hug. I’m Catholic born and raised, and I feel the EXACT same way you do. Well minus the memorization thing, ’cause well, I’m definitely one of those (PS there is a secret manual, that’s really not that secret ;-) ). I believe in my faith and my religion, but I’m not afraid to have my own beliefs tested and questioned by others as long as it is in a very respectful way. And I’m the same way. I try my darnedest to not judge others by their beliefs but instead learn about them. Education is not going to sway me in any way, and neither is testing. In fact, it’ll probably make my faith stronger. God tells us not to judge and to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we do that when we shun and dismiss others? Rock on girl, you and your beautiful family inspire me!!

  11. 22
    Annabelle says:

    I am in tears. This post was put in my way for a reason.

    Last night I was the first time I really felt isolated for my beliefs, culture and background. I was ganged up on by people (of the predominate religion in my state), supposed friends. I was made to feel like I am not welcome and I am just tolerated because I do not believe like they do and have the same collective history they do. That is how I always felt inside, but I thought ‘no, it’s just because I am the minority, and am not around the familiar’ and pushed it aside. This made me think all night about how I may have pushed my beliefs or culture on others. How I might have made others feel like I felt last night. I have been judgey and sarcastic, for sure, but intolerant?

    You are so correct in saying the bible was written by man, and man is fallible and, as we all know, swayed by prejudices (intentional or not). The God I believe in does not make mistakes either, neither does He condone HATE in any form.

    This is the most rambling comment, but my ADD mind moved 500x faster than my mind can form words! Thank you, you made my heart feel better this morning, when I needed it most.

  12. 23
    christie says:

    Ashley,
    You have made it clear in this post the TRUE meaning of “tolerance”. It doesn’t mean that if I disagree with your opinion of, say, gay marriage that I am intolerant or hateful of gay people. It means I have a different view, different opinion…etc. Thank you for being so open and honest and loving! I love and respect gay people. There are some in my own family. I personally do not believe in gay marriage–but that does NOT make me intolerant and I certainly don’t hate anyone. One of my biggest fears for our country is how we use the word “tolerance”. Anyone who doesn’t accept everything is labeled as such. That is just wrong.
    I believe we need to keep two things in mind as we speak of political/religious things: Our country was founded on religious freedom and Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
    I am glad you go out on a limb to talk about these things! I mean, I love donuts too…but we can have a deeper relationship than just donuts, right? ;) Love ya!
    Christie

  13. 24
    christie says:

    P.S. sorry—-we should keep in mind that the Bible was written by man’s hand,sure….but *inspired* by the Holy Spirit! It is the Word of God. <3

  14. 25

    So refreshing. This could not have come at a better time for me. Thank you for taking the time and spending the energy to write this Ashley! xoxo Much love to you from Oklahoma.

  15. 26
    Laurie says:

    “You see….I personally think (this is my personal opinion, no one else’s) that God doesn’t make mistakes. And the Bible was written by man….and so at the time it was written I think there may have been sins listed outside of the Ten Commandments that we don’t fully understand or need to understand. I eat shrimp! I wear polyester/cotton blend! Some of my closest friends are gay….and they are compassionate, amazing people….and they have wonderful well-rounded, respectful children. I don’t believe for one second that God would deny them the chance of being married.”

    God doesn’t make mistakes; man does. The bible is either the inspired, inerrant Word of God or it is not. It cannot be both. ‘”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” I don’t pretend to understand the ways of the Lord, but I choose to trust that He knows what He’s doing whether I agree with Him or not. A.W. Tozer said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” When we project our feelings and thoughts onto God, we create God in our own image. This is very thin ice on which to tread, IMHO.

    The Word also says that “our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” We can be the nicest and most externally morally behaved people in the world. That doesn’t mean much before a perfect and Holy God.

    And, yes, there were a lot of “rules” in the OT which the most religious leaders created and strictly enforced. The most religious leaders also didn’t recognize Jesus Christ as God’s Son. These man-made and overbearing “rules” were rejected by Jesus Christ — “rules” which were mistakes made by men and not by God.

    With all due respect — my .02 cents.

  16. 27
    Marie says:

    I love this post and I love your heart and I love your honesty. Signed, a Christian who believes that God is love; who believes in tolerance; who believes that nobody is perfect and everyone is perfect all at the same time. Judging others – whether they are Christian or not – is not our business. A lot (too many) Christians missed that memo.

  17. 28
    Tamara says:

    Ashley,
    I still don’t see how you can attend a church who has a stance that you don’t believe in? It’s not a minor little thing you disagree with. I think it’s huge. It’s hate. To believe that not everyone deserves respect and acceptance…and marriage, is not a “different point of view”, it’s hate.

    Are you not perpetuating intolerance and hate? You keep you mouth closed and let others, “in the name of God” or the Bible continue to mistreat human beings. Gay people were not a mistake, should not be “forgiven”.

    Respectfully, Tamara

    • 29
      christie says:

      Wow. Tamara, I feel this statement of yours is itself a sweeping statement of hate. You mean to say that anyone who doesn’t believe in gay ‘marriage’ is hateful? Hates gay people? Really?? I would love to hear that you were speaking in hyperbole because I find this statement hard to believe. Especially if you yourself say you are a Christian or at the very least if you say you respect others and their feelings/beliefs/opinions.
      I am a Catholic woman who loves her faith and lives it daily as best as I can. I can tell you I DO.NOT.HATE.ANYONE. I do not perpetuate hate, nor does my Church. I loved this posting of Ashley’s because I thought she stated so well that we don’t have to all have the same view points and even when we disagree about huge things it doesn’t mean we can’t accept each others differences. Your sweeping statement of hatred towards gays is way off base—at least from my understanding of what you are saying.
      Don’t believe in polygamy=hater. Abortion=hater. Euthenasia=hater. Extra terrestrial life=hater. Where does it stop? Instead of assuming all people who do not believe in gay marriage = people who spread intolerance and hate, spread love! Spread positive thoughts! Don’t assume we all hate gay people based on believing marriage is between one man and one woman.
      In the peace of Christ.

      • 30
        christie says:

        I do not believe in abortion. ever. Do I hate abortionists? Nope. I pray for them. Do I hate women that had abortions? nope. I run a healing ministry where women can accept Christ’s forgiveness. This is NOT a pat on my back—I wouldn’t want you to think by my including ‘abortion’ above that I in any way condone it–I don’t. That is one stance I will never back off of and I didn’t want there to be any misunderstanding about it. Peace.

    • 31

      Tamara, Don’t you think the people I disagree with deserve respect and acceptance too? And I never said I was keeping my mouth shut….I am honest and upfront about my opinion on gay marriage to everyone. Instead of being judgmental about a community you know nothing about I think a better tactic would be to seek to understand them. Instead of criticizing, perhaps a better tactic would be to try and figure out why they feel the way they do and why they’ve made a particular choice. I can assure you it’s not an easy decision for a Christian. One of my favorite LHOTP quotes is “it’s the people who are different who move the mountains.” I see an opportunity to share my view and listen to an opposing view as well. How would any mountains be moved without those people of differing perspectives being present? And present in a way that doesn’t turn everyone off immediately. I could run away and find people that think exactly like I do….but what good would that do? We would just pat ourselves on the back all day and point out those that don’t agree with us. Have you convinced people filled with “hate” yet to come over to your side? I would sincerely ask you how that tactic is working for you so far. Hatred is never ended by hatred…..hatred is ended by love. Even Lincoln said that to win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend…..and only out of that could there ever be reasonable dialogue. I actually take offense that you would assume my church was filled with hate. You can criticize me all you want…but don’t attack people you know nothing about. Hate is a very easy word to throw around and I don’t take that lightly. It’s these extremes that are hurtful and stir up resentment. I would invite you to come and meet any member of my church and then draw your conclusions.

      • 32
        christie says:

        beautifully put. And in the end, when we still disagree, we still won’t need to hate each other or assume the other to be intolerant.
        God bless us all.

    • 33
      Joy T. says:

      Tamara, you may not have read my post above…. I just wanted to say that I am Catholic and gay and married to a man who doesn’t believe in gay marriage. (Obviously, I am a woman or that would be a problem for him :P ). The Catholic church does not condone gay marriage, but that doesn’t make my faith less valid or unreasonable for me to attend. I have never been criticized for my sexuality in my church, and yes, they did know about it when I joined RCIA (I became Catholic as an adult). Obviously, I love my husband very much and we disagree on gay marriage. What you need to consider is that people are allowed to have matters of opinion, or philosophy or direct experience that shape them in different ways and make each one of us totally unique. These differences don’t mean we hate others, it just means we don’t see everything in the same way. And I respectfully disagree the notion that gay marriage is so huge that someone should pin their whole existence in society on whether or not someone or some place agrees with you on that topic. Are you going to research the owner of every restaurant before you eat? Or are you going to enjoy a nice meal and not worry about it? There is a balance to expressing your beliefs and living a truthful life that needs to happen for everyone. And more importantly we have to remember that *ideally* one goes to church to commune with God and the beautiful souls he created who are in that same room, awaiting that same glorious grace by the Holy Spirit to make it through another week and to praise God for all the blessings in your life. We’re not there to espouse our political and social positions. We’re there to learn from God’s example and go forth to spread God’s will. We all listen to the scriptures and they impact us uniquely. God loves us all, just as we are, imperfect from the start, destined to make mistakes. I can honestly say wholeheartedly that I have NOT been criticized or ridiculed or judged by my Christian community (at least not that I’m aware of). I’m sure there are a LOT of people who don’t even know I am gay; that’s just a matter of life and how silly it is. But when the opportunity presents itself, I am always true to my self and my faith. Believe it or not, it’s actually very hard to be ‘out’ lest I wear a scarlet letter on my chest :P One last thought as I know I went through some difficult years the first time out ‘outed’ myself…. if you feel deserving of hate, you will see those around you as haters. Find a way to love yourself, heal your soul, love others, and all you will be left with is love.

  18. 34
    Amie says:

    Hi Ashley,

    You are right. Me must not hate or be venomous when speaking with others!

    Last week, I was catching up on sermons that we missed while on vacation, and I watched/listened to this one (while making an apple pie in the kitchen). It does have a different perspective than yours, but that perspective is lovingly and respectfully stated. It had some points I hadn’t thought of before. In case you’d be interested in watching or listening: It is called “The beginning of marriage” and this one is part 5 of that series. The follow up message is also good called, “Loving People on a Level Playing Field”. http://www.nwhills.com/messages

    Love ya!

  19. 35
    TX woman says:

    This is a great post, and in reading the comments, I see a couple of salient points are being missed. Marriage is a legal institution. The *legal* definition of who can enter a marriage has nothing to do with religion. It’s a contract, a business agreement, in the eyes of the law. Yes, a lot of people also see it as a covenant that includes their god and that’s just fine. A religious ceremony is different from a legal agreement. Legally recognizing marriage between two people of the same gender doesn’t change anyone’s bible at all.

    • 36
      Ginger Rodriguez says:

      I thought the same thing! To Caesar what is Caesar’s…
      If Church and State are to be separated, then let it be so.

    • 37

      THANK YOU!

      marriage, what we do today, is not a Religious event at ALL. it is a contract… no different than two businesses… where by two PEOPLE enter into said contract to agree to care for and provide for one another.

      THAT IS ALL IT IS.

      If YOUR marriage takes a religious tone, that certainly is you right, but I see no difference in not allowing homosexuals to marry, than to not allow two Muslims, two Hinduist, two Taoist… two of ANY OTHER RELIGION to marry….

      what makes Homosexuality NOT okay with Christians (of which I consider myself one) and other religions? Where did they draw the line?

      Most Christians will spout off that ALL of them are going to Hell… other religions, homosexuals, etc… so where did they draw the line that other religions can take part in marriage but not homosexuals…. Oh yes. Because it’s NOT a religious thing. It’s a contract. A legally binding contract.

      Marriage, as was detailed in the Bible, was NOT anything CLOSE to what we do today in our big expensive white pouf dresses with cake and circuses…

    • 38
      christie says:

      What you have stated is your personal opinion. I totally disagree. My opinion, MY marriage, had (has) everything to do with God. My marriage was not about a legal state contract. It was a vow made in a church, before God, promising to have Him as the third person in our marriage. Sure, the state sees my marriage as a legal contract that would be their business if I wanted a divorce….but my church also sees it as a vow/contract with God and there would be steps to take with the church in the case of a divorce as well. My marriage is a Sacrament….NOT a piece of paper.
      Respectfully.

      • 39
        hennahands says:

        I wasn’t married in a religious setting. I am in a heterosexual marriage; legal in all the countries in the world. Do you think my marriage is less valid because it wasn’t a vow made to church/god?

  20. 40
    katididit says:

    I have been following your blog for at least 5 years, I remember first reading about your Little Golf Girl line (or something like that). I have purchased LBB clothing items from you (one I bought as a dress for my then 3 year old, she is now 6 and a half and wears it as a shirt!), I’ve bought several of your patterns, and followed your story and your life. I don’t think I have ever commented before. But this post has really got me thinking. I’ve been SO confused about gay marriage and Christianity. I’m a Christian and I think my views line up with yours pretty well. I believe in tolerance, acceptance, love. I don’t believe it’s our job to judge – God will take care of that! So with that point of view, I feel that my job as a Christian is to love people as unconditionally as I can, no matter their sexual orientation. However, I don’t believe that it’s ok to pick and choose what you want to agree with in the Bible. It’s God’s word. The end. And while there are things that seem outdated or written for a different time, it’s the Bible. The end. So I have chosen to love everyone, regardless of sexual (or religious) preference, but I don’t know that I can be supportive in the legal and political worlds of something that goes directly against the Bible (same with abortion). I’d LOVE to see your matrix that you created for your pastors. I honestly think it could help people like me who are just so darn confused by it all! Thank you for your honesty and willingness to talk about the stuff that most people would rather ignore. Maybe your next post can talk about child abuse and how our society almost completely ignores it! :-)

  21. 41
    Deborah says:

    Ashley, you are a lovely human being and I adore you. One point I would like to make is that this is YOUR blog. If someone does not like it, or reading your beliefs upsets them, they do not have to visit. This blog will one day be your legacy to your daughter, for her to know who you are and what you believe and what you stand for.

    I am so tired of political correctness. Here in Arizona, due to rapid flooding from the monsoons, we have a “stupid motorist law”. I wish there was a similar law for over-politically correctness. Like common sense.

    I recently watched a near death experience of Anita Moorjani on You Tube. With my husband being terminally ill, and recently having my Mom cross over into eternity, this video gave me a lot that my own Catholic faith has not. She talked about the “filters” that we see and feel through here in time and space, and how once we pass into eternity, the filters are lifted and we see clearly through love. She said that our loved ones are OK. Of course, I know this, but the way she says it, through her NDE just resounded in my soul. She said they are all around us. I know this to be true, for since my Mother’s passing, I have felt closer to her than my entire life with her. I know her filters are gone; she sees me through eyes of perfect love. And in the end, only the love remains. Human frailties are forgiven and gone. Her description of the filters reminded of biblical references of The Curtain.

    Sending you all of my love on the wings of a desert sparrow,
    Deb

  22. 42
    Sayonadat says:

    I want to say thank you a millions times over for sharing your views and being so open. I won’t go into my religious and political views, but as a liberal and a Jew, it’s safe to say that most people would think that we would be on opposite end of the spectrum. The reality is, though, that we have way (WAY!) more in common than in opposition. And I think the reason is that we’re both curious, lifetime learners who are open to being influenced and we care about doing what’s first and foremost. So thank you again, Ashley, for being a constant source of inspiration and beauty in this crazy world of ours!

  23. 43
    Tawnya says:

    I love your blog and your open and candid posts. And I’m glad you have thick skin because some of these comments are outright mean. I support you and wish you good health!

  24. 44
    Ginger Rodriguez says:

    Thank you, Ashley. I grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school…and have decided that although I respect that belief and those who believe it, it is not what I choose to believe.
    My mom once said, ‘If you don’t go to church, who will teach your child to have a good character?’ Ummmmm…me! I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the ‘rules’, that we forget the truly human element. Thank you for your words. You ‘get it’…May it we all ‘get it’ some day.

    • 45

      LOL! Yes! You!

      I’m a Christian and I *gasp* married an Athiest.

      Why?

      Because he more fully lived the definition of LOVE presented in the NT than any single person I have ever met. IN MY LIFE.

      He walks out that definition every day of his life. I am grateful to have been given him by God to teach me to walk that level of love also…

      And to think.. until me, my husband had never read the bible at all or ever stepped foot in a church and new just fine how to treat other people and live a life of character….

  25. 46
    Marie says:

    Thanks so much for this post, Ashley.

    I had a friend who was Buddhist. Most of his family members were Christian.
    My friend was kind, loving, compassionate and a giver. He was hit and killed by a drunk driver on his way to get donuts for his office. At his funeral, his parents and family members talked about how unconditionally loving my friend was, how he helped them on so many occasions etc. But then they went on to say that he would only go to heaven if he accepted Jesus; if not, he would remain outside the gates… They went on to try to push their religion on those of us there to honor and mourn the loss of our friend. What struck me the most was that their version of Jesus or God was less unconditionally loving than my human friend who passed away. My friend gave love, acceptance and help unconditionally. I simply do not believe that God or whatever you want to call the higher power is less compassionate, loving and accepting than a human can be. To me God is love and that love is extended to all unconditionally. As a mom, I don’t always love my child’s behavior, but that never takes away the deep, unconditional love I have for her.

    Personally I believe people who happen to be in love with someone of the same gender should be allowed to express their love and commitment to each other via marriage. I have many gay friends and I see them the same way I see any of my other friends, and I am friends with them for the same reason that I am friends with my other friends–they are kind, loving, intelligent people. I simply do not believe God can’t see their light the way I do.

  26. 47
    Kim says:

    Hi Ashley. I’ve really enjoyed reading these two posts and pondering your points. I thought I might give another agnostic/atheist perspective on many of your ideas. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I am atheist… but I am agnostic while spiritual on some undefined level. I attended an Episcopal church for much of my childhood, but a belief in God was never emphasized nor imposed in our home. Morals, on the other hand–yes, though not in a religious context.

    I don’t think the virtues you talk about, those presented in the Ten Commandments, should be labeled or thought of as purely “religious virtues.” Many of the virtues that you mention can be held, believed in, and fought for by the non-religious and in secular settings. “Compassion, love, and ethical behavior” are not virtues exclusive to those who prescribe to a religious faith, and can be taught objectively through many religious and secular lenses.

    I taught for two years in a secular first grade classroom, in a country that is prominently Muslim, to a very diverse student body. I 100% agree that instilling virtues in children in the classroom is vital, and listening and asking pertinent questions about their thoughts and feelings on moral issues is equally important. I think in the U.S., religion in public schools has become such a hot topic (in certain areas at least), that many teachers shy away from morality altogether lest they get their knuckles wacked by administration. THAT I think is a shame.

    But I also think its a mistake to assume that children who are not being exposed to religion at home are not receiving a moral education or being held to “visible standards.” There are many children who are learning virtues in non-religious homes, just as there are many “religious” families where children aren’t actually being nurtured morally. I agree those children with difficult home lives should find refuge, support, and guidance at school, but this doesn’t need to be through “religious” virtues.

    I absolutely admire your openness about your own faith and tolerance of others. But I guess I see a distinction between children being taught morals/virtues in school, and children being exposed to the existence of God in the classroom (especially a public classroom). Morality/ethical behavior and spirituality are not one in the same.

    Well, I’ve rambled long enough :) Let me also say that I am regularly inspired by your posts, especially those that intertwine faith. I can relate to them because we hold many of the same beliefs, mine simply don’t stem from religious faith. I will definitely be back time and time again for your inspiration, honesty, and perspective.

    xx Kim

    • 48
      Elizabeth says:

      I agree with you 100% Kim. What a thoughtful and intelligent ‘ramble’.

  27. 49
    Susie Mc says:

    God wants us to love. Not judge.

  28. 50
    Susie Mc says:

    And I love your blog:)

  29. 51
    Alexandria Munday says:

    I couldn’t possibly love you anymore than I do right now. You seem to find the best and most respectful ways to state your opinion without being pushy or offensive. I find so much inspiration from you, and am in awe of the way you respond to those that don’t agree with you with such tact and class.
    From another Christian who supports gay marriage, thank you. Keep on keepin’ on. :)

  30. 52
    Amy says:

    I am agnostic and have been reading your blog every day since 2009. I love what you have to say and the TOLERANCE that you portray. Politics and religion aside, we are all people here on this earth doing our best to be good people. Thank you for your words and for what you stand for.

  31. 53
    Carrie and the Bear says:

    If you find a way to roll the NRA, Beyoncé and donuts all into one post I WILL BE THRILLED! And probably in hysterics! Your posts are always thought provoking and while we won’t always see eye to eye, I appreciate your honesty!! KEEP UP THE GREAT POSTING!!!!

  32. 54
    Nicki says:

    I am a Christian too Ashley. Thank you for your courage! Thank you for not being afraid to share your faith and what you believe.

  33. 55
    Tamara says:

    Maybe ‘hate” is too strong a word when I used it before. People, I don’t care what religion or walk of life or cultural background, who want to exclude people are not people I want to hang around with. Since I belong to no religion and am an atheist I have no hard decisions to make and no convincing others to see my side. It’s not hard for me to be a Christian and not accept certain aspects of my church. Maybe I am, indeed intolerant. I will not use my energy to understand why others are not accepting of other humans. I don’t want someone trying to convince me to believe in God and I will not attempt to get them to not believe. If the bible tells us that a man and a woman are the only ones who can marry or that gays are an abomination, as some have interpreted it, I will not be a part of that religion and if God says it’s so, then I will NOT believe. I am glad I don’t have to ignore parts of a religion or the bible and accept certain parts.
    Ashley, I believe you are a wonderful person and I am glad you are accepting of people.

    • 56
      Ashley says:

      Thanks Tamara. It is a strong word….and I always cringe at it because I’ve taught Boo it’s just not a nice word to use in any context really. I can completely appreciate your position. And I think you’ll find that not all Christians interpret things the same way….there are people just like me in my church….but the church as a whole has to take a stance one way or the other. The episcopal church next door has taken the opposite stance. There are even different interpretations within my denomination. And you’ll find that all over. But I find it very encouraging when people are willing to sit down and talk about it with civility….I learn a ton in those conversations. Thanks for clarifying a little.

  34. 57
    Kate says:

    May I ask why you feel the need to continue this conversation or why you started it in the first place? I’ve been following you since 2009 and have purchased clothing and patterns for my daughter. You are very talented and I love your work, but when I see these types of posts from you it really is quite unprofessional and offensive to some of your paying customers. Guns, religion and now equality rights?? Why??? My only thought is maybe you’re just trying to get more Internet traffic and page views…more Adsense money, I guess. You’ve lost a customer and FB fan. I’m sure I won’t be missed considering you have quite a large following, but maybe you should ask yourself…are there more customers like me doing the same, but just not commenting?

    • 58
      Ashley says:

      Perhaps Kate. I have people leave all the time. Readers come and go….I just have to be true to myself and part of my passion is writing. If I don’t write….I’m not happy. And this is a personal blog…even though it links to my clothing shop. It all blends together into a mixture of everything I love…kind of a like a journal. On a positive note you are free to leave and I am free to write….and we are blessed for that! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • 60
      Susie Mc says:

      I happen to read Ashely’s blog because I also love her talent. Mostly though, I love her personality. I especially love her openness and transparency. I’m not really interested in spending my time reading someones blog who is fake and just says what the mass appeal wants to hear. I come here because it inspires me. Isn’t writing supposed to be about expressing yourself? I am happy that a woman expresses herself authentically and truly puts herself out there. I love that LilBlueBoo
      isn’t just another fluffy hoo haa ‘my life is perfect buy my product’ marketing shitck blog that are aplenty out there. I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding them.
      I love the character and substance….here.

  35. 62
    Edna says:

    Ashley,
    Say what you have to say, do what you think is right, especially speak about how life should be respected. Not just any individually person, but particular about human nature.
    I totally agree with you,

  36. 63
    Elizabeth says:

    These comments are fascinating to read through! I was raised by a religious family (my father is a Methodist minister no less) but I have left the faith because I realized I simply do not believe religious dogma about the divine, and never have. I am more at peace and happier now that I’ve ever been. Isn’t it odd how dramatically different all of our journeys are? I do not want to make the decision for my children about faith, and will raise them in the Unitarian church. They will have a strong moral foundation and we are teaching them the core values that all religions share. Someday they may seek more and may come to the Christian faith, but I know they will be responsible members of society regardless. Morality is not exclusive to believers of a particular faith, and the diversity of our country and it’s people is what makes us a great nation.

    • 64
      Kim says:

      My mom brings my much younger brother to the Unitarian church in our town… I love it! And I attended a Unitarian service in (public) high school as part of a class on World Religions, and loved the service, atmosphere, and values at the time as well. Perhaps when its time to raise my future children in a church, I will go for Unitarian as well. Totally agree with all your points!

  37. 65
    Debbie says:

    Love your post today. I’ve always found it’s better to concentrate on the many similarities between people, rather than the differences. E veryone loves their kids, wants them to have a good education, wants work, food and a roof over their head. We’re all more alike than different. It may take a few deep breaths, but being respectful of everyone and listening to them is possible. I’m a Christian, but respect and get along well with believers of all faiths. or no faith. Hate should have no place in our lives or in our country and hopefullly eventually in the world. Always an optimist. Enjoying your blog. Keep writing.

  38. 66
    Wendrz says:

    Let it out girl! Sometimes we just need to vent ;) Keep on venting. It’s nice to hear somebody speak their mind openly and honestly.

  39. 67
    Cheryl says:

    Oh Ashley, How timely is this post. I am struggling w/ the exact same issue at my church. I left my liberal, uber open-minded church almost a year ago when I felt like they were unable/ unwilling to support my children in the way I wished. So we ended up at a more conservative church that nurtures, loves, and supports my children like I had hoped. However, i don’t stand on the same side as them on many issues. This post has helped me to reconcile being there and reminded me that I can still share my views. Shoot, i wish I could come to your church and we could start a little pro-gay-marriage group :) (in the kindest way possible, obviously)
    Thank you for always being true to yourself and helping your readers remain true to OURselves, as well. You have a gift and you are using it well.
    xo

  40. 68

    I’m with you, Ash. There are things that were written as *rules* that were based on culture. Especially and most notable the OT.

    If we followed them all, we women would be living in tent cities one week a month. No thanks.

    Because while the Bible is inspired and inerrant, it also isn’t necessarily LITERAL.

    And in the end, in the NT, Jesus himself said… I give you ONE COMMANDMENT… because he had already gone and smashed up the *church* as being overbearing and out of line…. So he gave us ONE COMMANDMENT…

    To love our neighbor as we loved ourselves…. to walk in LOVE… tolerance, perseverance, acceptance…. the very things he showed us….

    But it’s easier to walk in the OT than it is to walk in the NT,…. because we haven’t learned to love ourselves… we hate and condemn ourselves for our perceived shortcomings… without regard to how God really sees us…

    And so that hate and condemnation is all we have to offer our neighbor….

    If we could just learn to see ourselves as God sees us… through the veil of the Blood of Jesus that covers us, whether we have come to acceptance of that gift or not…. then we would be able to live so much easier among each other…

  41. 69
    Michele Ward says:

    I, too,am a Christ follower. I believe that the Bible is the inherent word of God…because He says it is and there’s too many prophecies about Jesus that have come true to ignore. God says “I change not.” So when He says homosexuality is wrong, it’s not because He hates certain people; it’s because He loves everyone and wants what is best for us. All people are LOST people without Christ. He’s the only one who can give you true Peace! So our job is to love people so they can see God in us and want to get to know Him. And when we come to the end of our lives, the only thing that matters is what we do with Jesus Christ and did we introduce anyone else to Him by the way we lived and loved? He is the ONLY way to heaven….opinions won’t matter when facing eternity, only truth. All other religions are a dim illusion trying to get people’s focus off of truth. My only purpose in life is to: Love God. & Love People. I don’t want religion. I want Jesus.

  42. 70
    Faye says:

    Ashley – I just want to say that I really respect the openmindedness with which you seem to approach these topics. Whether I agree with your beliefs or not, I will happily continue to read a blog/be part of a conversation where I feel I can get insight into certain beliefs and also have the chance of having my beliefs heard, all without judgment. Thank you for trying to create that kind of respectful, learning space here.

  43. 71
    Laura says:

    I think that these issues: guns and children, gay marriage, the role of the bible in education; are really important to discuss BECAUSE they are so contentious. And like most of your readers, Ashley, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness, openness, respectfulness and honesty. What I find most striking is your willingness to agree to disagree without judgment, defensiveness, or hatefulness. THAT is what I find lacking in public discourse. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all listen to another person’s perspective, try to understand it, disagree, and not denigrate that person? I am uncomfortable with the term “PC” because I see it used as a way to denigrate someone’s perspective. If I object to someone making a joke about rape, and that person calls me PC, my perspective and feelings are being called irrelevant.

    I also strongly agree that our children’s education must include morality. I see our current test-obession as deeply undermining to ethics and morals. We are telling children that the most important thing is to test well, rather than to be kind, fair, honest, thoughful people. I think that an emphasis on testing encourages children to cheat and to follow directions without thinking.

    However, as a non-Christian (and therefore a minority in our country) I am very uncomfortable with the Ten Commandments being posted at the school. I am also an educator and I live in an area that is very diverse accross all demographics. I would prefer for the bible to be presented as a part of a larger moral curriculum that includes texts from different faiths and cultures. I don’t want ANY child to be told that the faith of their family is denegrated by school. I think moral curriculum should be ongoing and integrated. Charity, volunteering, conflict resolution, respect for others and yourself, personal responsibility, community responsibility, honesty, etc. should all be part of school if we consider the purpose of education to be to produce ethical citizens, not good test-takers.

  44. 72
    Desiree Collings says:

    I LOVED THIS… Thank you for your honesty and transparency. Keep on blogging!!

  45. 73
    Michelle says:

    Bravo! It is s so good to see you not being afraid to stand up for your faith. I am right there with you, all the way, and supporting your bravery. It is scary what these kids are learning these days, but not only that, it’s scary to see the hate and evil in this world. I know it gives me peace of mind to have someone who gives me comfort and I hope that my girls will learn to put their trust and faith in God as well. Thank you for sharing and God Bless!

  46. 74
    Linda says:

    You make this world a better place.

  47. 75
    Tracey says:

    Ashley,

    You are a huge inspiration to so many. I love that your blog is “like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get!” It is always interesting and enlightening, whatever the topic. How refreshing that you have strong beliefs of your own and are open to learning about other perspectives…a rare thing nowadays.

    Not to be bossy, but KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!!

  48. 76
    hennahands says:

    I have been reading your blog for a while and learning art from your very capable hands. However, I will politely disagree to the religious prayer issue. I think it is fine to bring religion into the school by introducing kids to many religions. I think it is great to celebrate holidays from every religion out there but I don’t think forcing kids to pray at school to one god is the answer. I say forcing because whether you intend to or not, it will be a peer pressure situation and while most others are reciting ‘Our father in heaven’ my kid will murmur along just to fit in.

    To have full disclosure; I am a card carrying atheist. I don’t teach my children that there is a god (or many). I taught them about at least 4 major religions out there. They have been to churches and temples and haven’t asked to go back. They have strong moral values and are highly celebrated for being well behaved and thoughtful. We love rituals in our household; so we celebrate every.single.holiday.

    But I can’t tell them that there is this super human deity out there that loves them and cares for them. Especially when bad things happen to them. How can I explain that to them when I don’t believe in it? I do tell them that they have a family who loves them and will be there for them when they need it. I teach them self reliance and I teach them responsibility for the environment.

    As for the guns; well, there is a strong correlation between gun ownership and religion. Not sure what that says.

  49. 77
    Lauren says:

    Ashley,

    I’ve been a fan/reader of yours since forever. (I’m pretty sure you had the basic blogger back when I first found you!) And I’ve commented a grand total of about 5 times, even though I read every post. But I just had to leave some “love” on this post.

    This post took me several sittings just to read, so I can only imagine how much time it took to pour your heart out and go back through and edit. (And I totally get what you mean about starting a post not knowing where it’s heading. I often find myself writing a very different entry than the one I thought I was starting.)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I love this. I love YOU. (Is that weird?? Hope not.) I’m encouraged and challenged by your courage and way with words and the ways you love people. I love your heart and thought-provoking posts and the crafty ones too. It takes a lot of time and energy to put yourself out there in both capacities, and I really and truly enjoy them all. Thank you for taking the time.

  50. 78
    Tone says:

    I love the way you write – I am also a christian and agree with a lot of what you’re saying, you are so honest and true and you love life!

    but most of all I want to say that this is YOUR blog, and I think people should be able to write whatever they want on their blogs, except writing bad things about other named people!

    Keep writing what’s on YOUR heart, after all, that’s what we’re coming back to every time you post, your beautiful heart!

  51. 79
    Bri says:

    Well, I am pretty sure this goes without saying but I DO WANT TO BE YOUR LONG LOST TWIN! As always your words have met me and my heart where they are, feeling the same sadness and frustrations you spoke of. You have once again shared yourself and your soul while offering fact and wisdom. I applaud your use of this amazing platform and am thankful to have the opportunity to read and reread the truths you speak from the heart. I LOVE this post and the authentic REAL you are, these words ARE!

    Blessings always my friend~

  52. 80
    Dani says:

    Wow!! This has been a hot topic (gay marriage) in my house recently! Both my husband and I are Christians and we adamantly support gay marriage. We too believe that the bible has been misinterpreted by man. God does not judge, and is the creator of all, and we know this includes EVERYBODY. It is so refreshing to hear somebody else who feels this way. In no way do I want to bash Christianity or anybody else, but I feel like many Christians have truly lost sight of what Christianity is all about= LOVE + GRACE. For that matter the vast majority of the public has lost sight.
    We choose to send our daughter to Christian school for not only education but the positive, inspiring guidance they give her. But we send our son to public school for a reading specialist. It saddened me that I had to instruct him not to bring God into his conversations or his children’s bible to read. Truth was that I was afraid of all the anti-christian backlash there is now days. I didn’t want my son at 6 years old to have to confront it……yet. Like most kids, he went ahead and asked his teacher anyway and she welcomed him. Such a huge relief.
    In the end we need to love each other regardless of our sexual preference, race, or religion. Religious tolerance is a must. I believe we all have the right to voice our opinions and beliefs. What we don’t have the right to do is to devalue or judge somebody else’s. Judge less, love more.
    End of Rant. :-)
    Thanks for the post.

  53. 81
    Emily Page says:

    Hey Ash,

    Great post. I’m not religious, though I do believe that there is some kind of higher power. I love that you your religion gives you such strength and that you wear it proudly, without being preachy or imposing. I haven’t read all of the comments, so someone may have already said this, but just in case: My only difficulty with having the Ten Commandments displayed in school or public buildings, is that it assumes that the only way to learn about living a moral and ethical life is through religion. Doesn’t the Golden Rule kind of encompass all of the major “rules” set forth by the various religions (minus things like what’s found in Leviticus)? Can’t we teach our kids how to live generously and be good people absent religion? I have no problem with you teaching Boo at home about God and Jesus, but that’s not appropriate for schools where kids of all faiths assemble. We CAN teach kids what it means to be a generally good person in school though, without dictating to which religion they should adhere. I have many devout friends who I love dearly, and the only thing I have a hard time with is their assumption that you can’t learn to be a good person without religion. They aren’t mutually exclusive things. Just something to think about. That being said, again, I love your post and I love that you are genuinely THINKING about not only what you believe but why you believe it. And I love that you are teaching Boo to be a thoughtful person, too. Hearts and smoochies to you both.

  54. 82
    debbie says:

    I am really late with my comment about your post. I agree with many things you said but there are some things that of course I don’t agree with. You stated that the Bible was written by man. Man wrote the words but the Bible tells us that they were guided by God. II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that all scripture is God breathed. Additional verses that teach us that scripture is from God include II Peter 1:20-21, Galatians 1:11-12 and I Thessalonians 2:16. The Bible also teaches us that the Bible is complete. See Galatians 1:8-9, Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelations 22:18-19. The Bible shows us God’s will. I Thessalonians 4:1-8 is just one example. What is taught in the Bible will be used at judgement. See John 12:47-48. I’m not trying to sound preachy. However, it is important that people understand that the Bible is inspired from God and that is it not just words that a group of men wrote.

  55. 83
    Amber Hunter says:

    I practice Asatru which is most definitely not the same as Christianity and yet the things you are trying to instill in Boo are the same as what I am trying to instill in my 2 girls. I tell them all the time that it doesn’t matter what religious path a person chooses to follow just so long as it makes their heart happy. My Husband is an Athiest, he does not pray but he believes in doing the right thing even if it’s hard, helping those more vulnerable than you even if you don’t have much to give and being honorable in all things is so very important, I am very fortunate to be sharing my life with him. He asked me once, when our oldest was very small, how he was supposed to tell her that he thought Mummy was wrong about believing in Gods because he truly doesn’t believe. I asked him why i had to be wrong why not explain to her instead that Daddy and Mummy believe different things but whats important is that we both think it’s important to be good people and to help others and to work hard and to be good parents and to love our family, friends and community. The relief on his face was a good moment. Never let anyone tell you your beliefs are wrong unless they can first explain in detail why theirs aren’t :)

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