It was one year ago today. One year ago today, the story that I thought I was living was interrupted with the most unwelcome plot twist. Things had seemed strained between us. She’d seemed preoccupied. She’d been spending a lot of time on her phone. I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to check our cell phone records; but when I did – after a Wednesday night Bible Study – it was clear that there was something going on. During the current statement cycle, she’d managed to log over twice as many minutes and over four times the amount of text messages as I had. The records didn’t show the content of the messages, but they did show the telephone numbers of the maker and recipient of each phone call. I recognized most of the numbers – mine, her parents’, even my brother’s – but there was one number that I didn’t recognize. And, it was on the list a lot. Late at night, after we’d (I guess that should read, “I’d”) gone to bed. Early in the morning. During her drive to and from work. On her lunch breaks. The same number, over and over. Continue reading →
I have a confession: I don’t really know what I believe. About God. About faith. About what happens after we die. I’ve been having what some might call a ‘crisis of faith’ for years, but I’ve been feeling the weight of these questions especially heavy for several weeks, and I wonder if opening up about them here might help me get closer to the answers. Or, perhaps it might help someone else who has questions feel a little less alone.
Recently, I’ve become more and more aware of the differences that exist among those of us who identify as Believers. Some of us are instantly recognizable by the length of our hair, or the types of clothes we wear. Some of us believe in the Holy Trinity while some assert that Oneness is a more appropriate conceptualization of God’s nature. We have different ideas about modesty, salvation, miracles, tongues, music, politics, morality, hair, yoga – you name it, there are people who have differing opinions about it. As these differences become more evident with the advent of social media, it seems as though there’s been an increasing focus on what distinguishes us from other believers. Rulebooks are being updated to include all the things that one must do to be a true Believer (as described by the authors of such works). I think that it might be helpful, though, to identify some things that you don’t have to do in order to be part of the Body of Christ. So, I’ve compiled this short list: Continue reading →
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fully understand gender identity. I know that it is a very complex, nuanced issue. I know that I have never struggled with gender dysphoria. I know that my experiences are not every person’s experiences. I know that life can be complicated and painful and difficult. I know that life’s problems and pain, for those whose experiences differ from mine, can be much worse. So much so that research suggests, as adults, transgender people attempt suicide at an astounding rate of 41% – even higher for those who come out to their communities as transgender, 50%. Continue reading →
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. – Robin Williams
Like so many of us, I was devastated to hear about the death of Robin Williams yesterday, August 11. As I struggle with my emotions, I feel an overwhelming compulsion to address church leaders.
Pastors, preachers, teachers, and leaders, I implore you: Please don’t reduce the loss of Robin Williams to a talking point about Hollywood ‘not having the answers’ or ‘not having anything to offer’ this weekend. Continue reading →
1. It’s OK to not know what you want to be when you grow up.
It’s crazy the way we expect young people at the age of 17 or 18 to know exactly what they want to do, or be, with their lives. Our experiences have a way of shaping our ideals, our worldviews, and our passions. It’s OK to not have it all figured out right now. Focus on experiencing and learning new things. Your passions will make room for themselves.
2. College isn’t for everyone.
I’m not saying that college is a bad idea. I’m not trying to discount the benefits of continued education. I’m not even suggesting that college isn’t the right choice for most students. Just keep an open mind about your education. College isn’t the only option. You might want to consider a tech school, internship, apprenticeship, or any number of other options. However, if you know that college is for you, be careful about putting it off. Once you get used to life sans college, it can be hard to get back! Continue reading →
Recently, I wrote a paper about adolescent suicide as an assignment for a counseling class. While researching this topic, I came across some startling statistics that I feel like I need to share. First, did you know that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States? In adolescents (15-24), suicide is the third leading cause of death! That means that, after accidents and murder, suicide kills more of our young people than any other factor. This blows my mind! Still crazier, this rate skyrockets for adolescents in the LGBT community, with suicide being the number one cause of death. In fact, LGBT youths are “two or three times more likely to commit suicide” than there straight peers, typically as a result of “the debilitating effects of growing up in a homophobic society”. Some research suggests that upwards of 50% of LGBT adolescents attempt suicide. I think it obviously points to a larger societal issue when nearly half of any one demographic attempts suicide. Continue reading →