Everything’s NOT Awesome

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated — Maya Angelou

I don’t know how — or what — to process.
So I turn back to something familiar and comforting: words.
Also, homemade strawberry shortcake baked by a parishioner (thanks Nana). I think it was meant for both Nathanael and I, but he can’t miss what he don’t know.

To help the day move faster (my wife went to St. Louis to witness everything first hand), the boy and I went to watch The Lego Movie 2

When the movie was over, I saw that my phone had blown up with messages and notifications that the traditional plan had passed.

I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.
As ‘home’ as writing words may feel to me — I’m at a loss of words.

I didn’t realize how relevant Lego Movie 2 would be.
At one point (possible spoiler alert??), the main character says (and I paraphrase), it doesn’t take any courage to close your heart. The real courage is opening your heart.
Which was why — when practiced — open hearts, open minds, open doors was a courageous thing to do.

It’s funny (and I say funny because I can’t find a better word).
When one speaks about a God who is angry; condemning; vengeful; exclusive; and lives in the realm of fire and brimstone — people generally (or seemingly) don’t blink.
But when one speaks about a God who is inclusive; who knows no bounds; who transcends boundaries; who breaks down walls — they’re labeled as false teachers.

I also would be remiss not to acknowledge that I’m writing this (and processing this) from a place of privilege. And I’m deeply sorry for not leveraging my privilege to help more; to advocate more.

If it’s this confusing and hurtful like this for me — I cannot imagine the pain that my LGTBQIA+ colleagues and friends are experiencing.
And I honestly can’t say that there was/is pain on “both sides”. Anxiety; confusion; hurt feelings — yes. But only one side feels (and has felt) the pain; brunt; breadth; weight of exclusion.

To all LGBTQIA+ persons, you are loved.
And in the words of Nadia Bolz-Weber:

It’s not over yet. There’s now even more work to be done.
I leave you with lyrics from the theme song of Lego Movie 2:

Everything's not awesome
But that doesn't mean that it's hopeless and bleak
Everything's not awesome
But in my heart, I believe (I believe)

We can make things better if we stick together (If we stick together)
Side by side, you and I, we will build it together (Yeah, we'll be together)
Build it together (Together forever)
All together now

May we continue to engage in the difficult work of building together the kin-dom of God.
All means All.
Or since we’re in Texas: Y’all means All.

4 thoughts on “Everything’s NOT Awesome

  1. Joe,
    I have struggled with the judgmental side of Christianity since long before LGBTQ became a part of my daily life. Thank you to you and all the members of the family of God who get it. “Love one another” is the simplest yet most misinterpreted teaching of Christendom.
    BIG hugs to y’all (especially N) from me, Al, and Jules ❤️

  2. I agree that open minds and hearts are what show courage. But you assume that traditionalists have their hearts and minds closed. To the contrary, I believe they do have their hearts and minds open. Having an open heart and mind is not a good thing if you are open to anything. Traditionalists have an open heart and mind to Scripture. LGBT advocates have closed their hearts and minds to Scripture.

  3. I like those lyrics!
    I was only able to tune in to parts of the conference. It was very informative for me. For example, I really hadn’t realized that our brothers and sisters in some countries could be facing persecution/death for supporting homosexuality. I heard one speaker comment that they would also lose the support of other Christian churches in an already hostile country.
    A friend noted one tweet she read reminded us all that our founding fathers went into these countries to spread God’s Word, and taught what the Bible meant, and it’s difficult to now come back and say something else is true. Perhaps we in the U.S. have just had more time to wrestle with the issues.
    God does love everyone! I trust Him to continue to guide our churches around the world.

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