Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dear Franklin Graham: A plea...

I read your biography as a young Christian. I respected you and the struggle you went through to find yourself with your family pressures and background. You encouraged me, your organizations inspired me and then many years later you found Facebook.

I'm certain you'll probably never read this but here it goes anyway. When you are posting about Samaritans Purse, Operation Christmas Child, the poor, the needy, the neglected you bless people and you change the world. When you call your troops to pray for our nation without pointing fingers or immersing yourself in politics you bless people.

When you make a stand that further adds to dissension in the church, when you dig in your heals for one cause or another that segregates people, when you presume to know the hearts and minds of an entire group of people you hurt your cause, your reputation and a community who is already hurting. When you single out an entire community you openly say to them, all others sins aren't as important to me as you. All other sins don't deserve to be called out like yours. It shows a lack of humility and a false understanding of sin.

But I'm not here to argue whether or not a persons sexuality or gender is or isn't a sin. You can believe differently than me and still work along side me treating me as a sister in Christ; trusting that I have faith in Jesus, a moral code and a desire for justice and mercy in the world and for all to know Christ. The bottom line is those last 4 and how they play out in my life are things you shouldn't get to call me on. Because you don't know me, my heart, my family, my actions or how I live out my faith. This holds true for 99.9% of all of the people who read your post this morning.

You can't appreciate the struggle I went through and continue to go through as the parent of a gender non-conforming child. You don't understand the battle my husband I fought with our child for years. You don't have any value or compassion for the journey God has me on or the reasons why he chose me for this path. How do I know this? Because you use your mouthpiece to call out, not question. You use your voice to condemn in the name of Jesus instead of connect in the spirit of love. The world doesn't want you to see them as sinners, they want you to see them as people the way my Lord does. He sees them in all of their mess and with all of their struggles as Kings and Queens, as beloved, as heirs, as children. Thankfully he loves all of us as a father, one who never abandons his children no matter what their struggle but who is always waiting with open arms saying I love you, I died for you, come to me and I will give you rest.

Who are you to decide what that rest looks like? Who are you to decide what God has called someone to be? Who are you to take up arms against something that has no effect on you and your life and charge people walking an unknown path and tell them who they are to God? And quite frankly, how do you believe that none of the community you addressed this morning were aware of anything you've said? Do you think that anyone in the LGBT community doesn't know what the Bible says about them? If you believe that then you are incredibly naive.  

For the past couple months I've been reading through a Childrens Bible with my kids at night. It gives a small glimpse of the old testament from selected stories with the over all theme being, God gave laws, man broke laws, God is going to do a new thing. God gave the people what they wanted, people promised to follow laws, people broke laws, God said I'm going to do a new thing. God saved men, men alienated God, God STILL said, I'm going to do something new that will fix all of this. Throughout the whole old testament, "I'm sending a rescuer".

Then in the new testament, one of my favorite chapters is John 21. Can you imagine being a career fisherman and spending a long grueling night tossing net after net, each coming up empty? Then a savior comes along and says, "Hey, try the other side!" The haul just about sinks the ship.
You've been saying the same thing for years, the fish are beaten, bruised, committing suicide, turning away from you and your message because while you see hope they only see hopelessness. Jesus came and he said love your neighbor. He said love people as much as I love you. Treat them better than you treat yourself in word and in deed. He said love your enemies so much that you treat them better than your own family. He said if someone is coming after you with a gun, open your arms wide and let them shoot. He said, bring them to me, I've sent the holy spirit to prune, just love them to me.

I wish I saw more love on your page. Even your father understood that. Your father said that his job was to love people and show them Jesus and trust Jesus to take care of the rest.

I get that you're scared, but take heart you know who has won. Not a victory over biology, though our bodies will be made perfect. Not a victory over sexuality, though we will one day find all we need in Him. A victory over our minds, over our struggles with ourselves, our priorities, our hearts, each of us, intimately. Fight your own battle and fight for people who can't fight for themselves. The widow, the poor, the oppressed, the forgotten, the victimized...a lot of LGBT are those people. Their suicide rate is astronomical, their oppression is still staggering. Fight for their right to exist as people, as your brothers and sisters. Their sexuality or gender is none of your business, God will judge them. Your job is to love them. To act justly in a world where all are not equal. To love mercy in a world that seeks vengeance for everything. To walk humbly knowing that your sin is the same, your struggle is different and not everyone's faith journey has to look like yours.

You test my ability to do all of those last three but you are my brother and I love you. I love you because I have been loved without conditions every day of my life and long before. I love you because I have been saved by grace through faith, not works. I love you because someday I'll be seated next to you at a place prepared for a number of people far greater than either of us realize. I love you because it was commanded by a God that I don't understand fully, whose ways aren't mine to determine and whose grace I don't get to distribute. Bless people because you have been blessed. Love people because you have been loved.

1 comment:

  1. Rachel, thank you for all you said here. Thank you for standing up for my kid. Thank you for saying what I didn't have the energy (or ability) to say. Thank you for doing so in such a loving manner - in such a Christ-like manner. I think FG could learn a lot from you - and I hope he reads this someday. I hope he also reads the comments of his followers and has his eyes opened. So, just know I'm very thankful for your words, and for you. <3