Don’t Be Ignorant On Gay Marriage, Alabama

Alabama’s Gay Marriage Ban was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. There will be a blizzard of appeals, debate, and people on both sides of the issue embarrassing themselves. But that is not the point of this post.

I have an issue with people comparing the discrimination of homosexuals today to the discrimination of blacks in the 60’s. I’m not speaking on comparisons to interracial marriage, but to the nationwide hate that faced African Americans from this period.
Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage or even homosexuality as a whole, it is absolutely ignorant to compare the two.

True, I could see where homosexuals have been denied something because of their sexuality: a job, promotion, adoption, or any of the many things that never reach headlines. I see that. I can sympathize with that argument to a reasonable extent.

But that pales in comparison to the atrocities faced by the Civil Rights Movement.
To even suggest that homosexuals’ issues are equitable to that of African Americans facing discrimination in pre-Civil Rights Act America is absurd. Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, violence continued on for years.

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Especially those in Alabama, you should know better. Our state was the battleground for Civil Rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a famous letter from a Birmingham Jail. The Montgomery Bus Boycott started by Rosa Parks took place in our state’s capitol. Martin Luther King also led a massive march from Selma to Birmingham. We have memorials everywhere,19551201_Rosa_Parks_Mug_Shot reminding us of the past. We are bombarded with it in History class. Our classmates, coworkers, and churches have family that lived it. How could we have forgotten?

Honestly, the comparison angers me. I’m always shocked whenever I hear this argument. Homosexuals have experienced prejudice, no doubt.
Homosexuals have not faced systematic oppression and outright hate like African Americans did in the 60’s.

There are no gay water fountains.

Men Drinking from Segregated Water Fountains

There no restaurants that only serve straights.

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There are no signs placing gays below dogs.

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There are no police officers beating gays for having a different opinion.

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There are no German Shepherds attacking gays at peaceful protests.

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There are no fire hoses unleashing 290 pounds per square inch of water on gays.

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There are no crosses being burned the yards of gay houses.

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And most importantly, there are no lynchings of gays.

I won’t post pictures here, but all you have to do is Google “Black Lynchings” to see these travesties. In many of the earlier pictures (not necessarily 1960’s) you will see children gathered around watching this murder, because it was commonplace.
Blacks were drug behind trucks, torn between horses, lit on fire and hanged regularly. There were churches and schools being bombed. In fact, Birmingham had the nickname of “Bombingham”. The hate led to white civil rights workers being murdered as well.

Violence ran rampant in the Deep South especially, but discrimination and segregation was everywhere. Hundreds of years of tensions were reaching a boiling point. I pray our country never sees discrimination on such a scale ever again.

Iamaman.previewThis was one of the lowest points in the history of the United States. There was so much wrong being perpetrated on a daily basis. Jim Crow Laws and the Ku Klux Klan separated blacks and presented them as subhuman. Black life was far from sacred, it was often despised.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not think every person that is for gay marriage compares the two. I actually think it is a relative minority, but they are a loud minority. It only takes one person to made this ignorant statement. I also don’t want you to think I’m minimizing the battles homosexuals are facing. I am not. Homosexuals often face hate rather than understanding. I understand their resentment and feelings of discrimination. I honestly do. But.

It amazes me that people can think these two situations are comparable. They most definitely are not. Conversations on gay marriage should happen. Comparisons to the Civil Rights Era should not.

What are your thoughts? Have you heard anyone use this comparison before?

Finding God in Water: Thank God for snow!

Living in Alabama, I don’t get to enjoy snow as much as them there Yankees up yonder do. (Alabama enough for you?)

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But I recently went on a trip with my church to Stone Mountain, Georgia to go tubing down a massive snow covered mountain. Sounds fun right?

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IMG_5219It sure was! It was 54 degrees (perfect shorts weather) and I got to fly down a mountain of snow on a tube. All while looking at Stone Mountain, with its gorgeous engraving commemorating the Confederacy’s heroes: President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. It’s a truly awesome piece of history and art!

But back to the wonderful treat of snow!

Snow is a wonderful gift that gives joy to many people! Even those who receive it each year still find joy in building a snowman with their children or launching a snowball at a friend. I thank God for snow! But more than that, I thank God for water.

Water is a beautiful gift that is a requisite for life. That’s why we’re called to be like a tree planted by the water, bursting with life (Psalms 1:3 & Jeremiah 17:8). Water gives sustenance and is vital in many of our bodies’ internal processes.

“Yeah, we get it. Water is necessary for life, Josiah. You can’t go more than 3 days without it and all. I’ve heard it before.”

But what about water itself?

Big Whoop, It’s Water...
Water is pretty vanilla, right? It’s just water. It’s free at even the most expensive restaurants. We don’t think of water as much. Think of a watered down drink…Nasty right? There’s not much special about water. It’s pretty standard, because it’s so common.

To understand and truly appreciate the blessing of water we have to get a little sciency, but I assure you it’s not too heavy. Stick around and see how we can find God’s grace in water.

The Science of Water
Water is the standard used to give us many scientific units such as the gram, calorie, and Calorie. But water is quite peculiar…

Water is very interesting to chemists, it is unlike any other substance on Earth.

IMG_5185You see when another substance like gold changes from a liquid to a solid, it condenses. This makes the solid state of gold more dense than its liquid state.
So if you had a glass of liquified gold and dropped a solid gold nugget in it the nugget would sink because it’s more dense than the liquid.

glass-of-ice-waterBut water isn’t just another substance. When water changes state from a liquid to a solid (also known as freezing) it expands, becoming less dense than liquid. This is why ice floats in a glass of water.The snow that I slid down was made up of thousands of ice crystals, which is why it’s so light and fluffy!

That’s neat, but so what?
Not only does this give a cool drink when you sip your water, but it has a serious implications for life on Earth.  We associate ice with cold winters and dreary death, but ice actually saves aquatic life and allows Earth to flourish!

If ice was more dense than water, it would sink. This means a lake would freeze from the bottom up. That’s a big deal.
If the ice formed in lakes and other bodies of water sank to the bottom, ice would trap and kill the fish every winter.
It would be impossible for these fish to live past a winter, thus eradicating many species and upsetting the delicate balance of life.

But because it floats, we get a nice ice cap on top, preserving the habitat underwater and actually sustaining life underwater.

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(We can also travel and ice skate on this cap, which is a nice bonus!)

I was listening in my Chemistry class and this smacked me like a train. God’s creation is woven so beautifully together it solves problems I would’ve never imagined in and of itself. I’m reminded of a verse in Colossians:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (‭Colossians‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬ ESV)

We can see our Creator’s grace and providence in every drop of water, every cube of ice and yes, every flake of snow.

I am now finding God in water everywhere, in every state.

So next time you see snow fall, or crunch some ice, think of God and His infinite grace.

The Esqualine Gate (1/15/13)

WONDERFUL post on crucifixion and taking up our own cross. Check out Two Rivers if you haven’t before!

THE RIVER WALK

The Esqualine Gate

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10:38-39)

Read: Genesis 31:17-32:12, Matthew 10:24-11:6, Psalm 13:1-6, Proverbs 3:16-18

Relate: The Esqualine Gate was the gateway between the City of Rome and the Emperor’s gardens. Some of the most luxurious parts of the city, like Nero’s golden house and the bath houses of Titus and Trajan, were located near the gate. Just outside the gate sat the Gardens of Maecenas atop the Esqualine Hill. These were the property of the Emperor and only those he favored were allowed to visit them. But it wasn’t the bathhouses, the Golden house, or even the gardens that the Esqualine Gate was famous for. This gate was the place of the…

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A Thought on Christians at College

The following is from my Facebook post from my first week of college. I shared it here because it’s just as relevant as it was my first week at college. This is something I have to constantly remind myself of. I hope you enjoy:

I’ve lived at college for right at a week now and have already overheard horror stories of overbearing, condescending Christians. “They think they can damn everyone with a different lifestyle straight to hell.” (That’s an actual quote) 

Let that NOT be said of us, myself definitely included. I’m called to love God first, then my neighbor next. (Mark 12:30&31) How can I lead them to the love of Christ when I become the mascot for hate?

Jesus never stood at a synagogue and wagged his finger at those who weren’t there.

Jesus met people where they were.He met people over food & drink, over a healed loved one, over a loving conversation. He did so with a heart of love, as I am called to: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 ESV)

Jesus also approached these people differently to reach them. He spoke to Pharisees about the Mosaic Law and their corruption of it. But when talking in large crowds he used parables of common objects like salt, light, sheep, rebellious sons, seeds, beggars, virgins, and Samaritans because everyone understood those images.

Paul modeled this perfectly, he talks to Jews about the law because it reaches them. But when speaking to Gentiles the law is useless. He understands and relates to others to lead them to Christ:                                                                                                                                                               “To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23 ESV) 

Paul met people where they were, and I have to as well.

Jesus understood and related to people, that’s why his message was delivered with such sincerity and power. That’s why it was effective. I must learn a heart before I can help lead it closer to Christ.

So let me NEVER compromise or change the Gospel, but let me change how I deliver it. I should NEVER be brash, coarse, argumentative, pious, hateful, or condescending. I SHOULD be loving, understand, patient and Christ-like.

I challenge you to do the same.

So this is my blog/website/cactus…

It’s 8:31pm in Birmingham, Alabama and I just started a blog… or is it a website?

Both?

We’ll see I guess.

I’m excited to be honest with you, ambiguous reader. I know this seed can grow into a beanstalk that not even Jack or the Giant could surmount. It can be an exchange of ideas so beautiful it could be known throughout the planet, becoming a household name.

But for now, this is just a seed.

 

And this is just a cactus.

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I recently received this cactus and the fishbowl as a gift.IMG_5139 I’m excited for my cactus to grow in size and eventually bloom flowers in the late Spring. I don’t know exactly what the flowers will be, they’ll be a cocktail of orange, yellow, or pink, but I can’t know. Until they bloom at least.  I have to be careful not to over-saturate or ignore my succulent to ensure this. My brother and my Dad actually have a bet on how soon it will die. (+1 for family support!) But I’m confident I’ll be showing you this same cactus in May with gorgeous flowers that’d wow even the greenest of thumbs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love this cactus…but it’s been rough upfront. Repotting this thing with an oven mitt was a little less than ideal. There was a scream or two or three, and even while taking these pictures I pricked myself a few times. It’s difficult starting this plant for sure! But I know it’ll grow easier with time, and eventually I will see the fruits of my labors. It gets easier. I’ve found this fact to be true in most everything in life:

It takes the most energy to get started.

…and I’ve started! So the hard part is done!

Now I’ll be babying my cactus and this site… watering, checking, watching, sitting, waiting, wishing… And looking to see what they will become!