Friday, March 11, 2016

My Witty Daughter

My younger daughter amused me greatly today with a phone call...


"Yeah, kid."

"Did you name your bike yet," she asked, referring to the Harley Ultra Classic I bought last fall?

"No, why?"

"I think you should name it Caitlyn."


"Well, I think your bike is female, but it's still got balls."

A Personal Message to SCM


I'm sorry you're hurting.  What he did to you was unacceptable, and there is no excuse.  You deserve better.  When it comes to relationships, I can't think of anything worse than infidelity.  The physical betrayal is bad enough... wondering why you aren't enough... thinking that you could or should have done something different or better.  The emotional betrayal is worse.  You loved and trusted, and he broke that trust.  You have every right to be furious.  Unfortunately for him, you're particularly spiteful when you are scorned.

For what it's worth, I think you're a good woman, and I'd like to remind you, in case nobody else has, that his actions are about him, not you.  This isn't your shortcoming or failure, it's his issue.  Try to keep this in mind.  I also want to mention that you have the power to forgive.  I know that you just cringed inside when you read those words. If you had a mouth full of coffee, you probably spit it all over your computer monitor, but hear me out.  I'm not going to say exactly what you expect me to say.

Yes, it's true that you can look past his deception and attempt to work things out.  I also know that doing so wouldn't be easy.  You and I have had more than one conversation during our long friendship where you've caught him telling you grave lies.  I know this is one more in a series of breaches of trust.  My point in saying that you have the power to forgive is to make sure that you know that walking away isn't your only option.

To be clear, I suspect that you've already thought about this and have made a conscious decision that you've had enough, and decided that ending things is the least objectionable option available.  Running with this assumption, please know that I support you.  Please know that I'm here...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tax Exemption for Churches?

I've been reading a lot of posts on Facebook that advocate removing tax exemption from churches, ostensibly because Christianity teaches that homosexuality is a sin.  After seriously pondering the idea for a while, I've decided that I respectfully disagree.

I'm going to start by reminding you all that I am a Christian.  I frequently make missteps in my walk with God, but I try to consistently follow Christ's teachings.  I also acknowledge that The Bible unequivocally calls homosexuality a sin, but quite frankly, this is a tenet of my religion with which I struggle.  I understand that homosexuality is a sin according to doctrine, but when I observe the behavior of the few gays I know, I don't see them as morally inferior.  In fact, my experience is that most LGBTs exhibit compassion and kindness far above what I witness in society at large.  I also stipulate that some in the Christian community do not agree with my acceptance of gays.  In the end, however, I believe that Christianity's spotty record on homosexuality doesn't warrant revoking their tax exempt status.

I personally donate to my church.  How much isn't really relevant, but I will say that I give generously.  I have seen my church use this money to directly impact my community, and know that my funds make a difference globally.  Each week, people come to my church in distress.  I'm not talking about parishioners, I'm referring to ordinary folks who are truly desperate and don't know where else to turn.  We have provided food.  We have donated clothing.  We have given shelter in the form of paying for hotel rooms.  We have sponsored a village in Africa, where we have paid to build a well and provided funds to start a pineapple farm.  We have built multiple homes in Guatemala.  We help the truly destitute.  Last week we provided a car to a random family whose car engine blew on the way home from a funeral.  We help young women who decide to keep their unexpected children.

My church is not without its moral failings.  There are those in my own congregation who unequivocally condemn homosexuality.  Others condemn abortion, and would undoubtedly treat the would-be mother as a murder.  I suspect that my entire church community commits at least one of the seven deadly sins from time to time.  My pastors have repeatedly said that they will resign if ever they are forced to officiate a gay marriage.  At the same time, these same pastors do not outright reject a person simply based on sexual orientation.  The congregation at large does not turn away a soul simply because of an abortion.

My overarching point is that we are not perfect, but we do a lot of good in our community, and in our world.  We act on Christ's teachings of love and compassion.  If my church were to lose its tax exempt status, we would be far less equipped to do this good, because a large portion of the money we channel to helping our community, our nation, and our world, would instead be sent to the government.  I would like to think that most churches -- nay, most religious organizations -- in our country are founded and act on similar principles.  With this in mind, I ask that those who want to revoke tax exemption for churches to reconsider their stance.