Mumford Gets by…

What an incredibly epic cover…I think the Beatles would be honored.  Mumford and Sons performed “Help from my Friends” at 2013’s The Rolling Stones Festival in Glastonbury.  They did in fact get some help from some friends-the Arctic Monkeys, The Staves, First Aid Kit, The Vaccines, and Vampire Weekend. While it was totally supposed to be about The Rolling Stones, it looks like the Beatles were a pretty big hit as well.  Pretty epic cover, guys.  Just another reason to wish I could make a visit to the UK, but for now this video will do:

“Coming Out” as a Christian in Support of Equal LGBT (Equal) Rights

I’ve written and rewritten this blog over and over again for weeks in my head, debating whether or not I had the courage to post my thoughts on this subject.

I will admit I am worried about how many of my friends, acquaintances, and others will react to my views, but I would rather be judged for what I believe than praised for standing back in silence. Some may question may faith or the influences in my life. But I don’t think I can truly be myself without voicing my stance. So I am going to approach this issue from what I believe to believe to be both a legal and logistical standpoint and a religious one.

I cannot address this issue without bringing my personal identity to the forefront of the conversation. I am an educated young American woman who grew up safely in an active Jewish community and later converted to Christianity. In many countries all of the above are inconceivable. Girls like Malala Yousafzai risk their physical safety trying to get an education. In some countries, citizens are required to practice the state religion and if they choose not to, they must do it in secret, or risk being imprisoned or even being martyred.

We are blessed, I repeat BLESSED to live in a country where people of any race, religion, or gender, can practice freely, receive an education, vote, dress as we choose, speak as we choose, etc. Let’s recognize it is the First Amendment separation of church and state that allows us to safely walk down the streets and declare that we are Christians, or whatever you may choose to be, and not be arrested, or tortured or condemned to death. And believe it or not, it is that same first amendment that allows Christians to both evangelize (aka share their religion with others) and express the fact that they disagree with gay marriage in the first place.

I’m not saying churches should be required to perform marriages within their doors. That is the beauty of the separation of religion and government. If a specific church does not agree with performing a gay marriage ceremony, that is within its rights as a religious institution. But I don’t think the Christian religion should attempt to stop anyone in America from marrying whom he or she chooses. Because once we start taking away rights, where do we stop? How do we agree that complete rights are equal to incomplete rights simply based on who someone cares about?

I hope to have a family, and when I do, I don’t want my children to have to question whether anything about them would change my love for them. I’m not willing to wait and see if I have a gay child and change my views then. I want my child to ALWAYS know that they and anyone that is important to them will be loved, valued, and cared for. It is when children are not raised with that sentiment that we are often faced with suicides in the gay community. I want to always be an open door for someone.

Which brings me to bullying. While I don’t think allowing gay marriage will end the bullying of gay students, I do think it would result in a decline. A little less of Constitutional America standing over kids’ shoulders telling them that homosexuality is wrong might make a big difference in kid’s impression of the word or idea of “gay.” Shouldn’t this also be a consideration?

Now this is the more difficult part of the topic to broach. I’ve had Christian friends who were uncomfortable with the idea of being around someone has ever had thoughts about the same-sex. I simply want to address how this can be a difficulty in the Christian community in a few ways.

First of all, I would like to address sexual abuse, because it’s real guys. And I’m not even going to address the stereotype that homosexuals are more likely to sexually abuse children. What I am going to address is childhood same-sex sexual abuse. How is the issue approached when a child is abused or an adult is ready to open up about past abuse? As an outsider looking in, it may be easy to say you would always be sympathetic. But imagine the impression you would get as a child or a new Christian hearing that homosexuality is horrible. You would feel condemned, even though it was not your fault, and perhaps it might even call you to question your own sexuality and fault in the issue at hand. How long would it take for you to trust someone in your community to talk to about what happened?

Additionally, Christians may find themselves suddenly facing a gay adolescent or teen in their church community, bible studies, and even families. And in many churches these kids who identify as gay will find themselves faced with the following message that homosexuality is horrible and shameful, and one of those “ultimate” sins. Which can leave someone feeling like they don’t have many options. Unfortunately there are many gay people of all ages who will feel outcast from the church community they grew up in because of their identity. And some of them will feel their families will no longer love and support them. Keep in mind that many of these people will be at a young, emotionally fragile age where it may be harder to see the bigger picture. This is one reason why suicide may seem to become an only option, not even just in the church community.

And at the end of the day, I want to remind all of the Christians, wherever you stand on this issue, and in your faith, on a few very key lessons Jesus taught.

• There is no stepladder of sins. If you are a Christian, and consider homosexuality a “habitual sin” consider lying and gossiping both of which we as human beings participate in and struggle with daily. No one is better than anyone else.
• Jesus “broke bread” with the people that were viewed as the “lowest of lows” in that time period a.k.a. the prostitutes and the tax collectors. Oh, and He allowed them to wash His feet, too. Now I’m not trying to saying the gay community is the “lowest of lows,” what I’m trying to say is we are all equal. Equal in our humanity, equal in our good and equal in our bad. And Jesus taught us that it means we should love one another and care for one another in our thought, words, and actions.

I think we need to take a hard look at when we are going from fighting FOR an ideal (i.e. the sanctity of marriage) to fighting AGAINST a group of people. It’s time to take away the “we” versus “they” and the “us” versus “them” and add a little respect back into the issue.

Delta Rae’s “Chains on Love”

This song is a friend of Macklemore’s “Same Love.” While I worked for the Music Initiative, I had two interactions with Delta Rae. First of all, while filling my role as a writer, blogger, and photographer, I had the pleasure of seeing Delta Rae perform up-close as they performed last year at the Hang-Out Festival. Then they came over to our condo to perform for our special episodes of BalconyTV Charleston.  Besides the fact that they are talented, they are also really chill people.  Anyway their song was on replay in the condo and stuck in our heads for days.  They’ve grown in popularity since then, and it is certainly well deserved.

Enjoy this little sampling of Delta Rae:

So I got caught…

…dancing out of Applebee’s.  Yep, the hostess called out after us, “Thanks for coming…now bust a move!”  And I was not embarrassed.

If you knew me for the first twenty or twenty-two years of my life, you are probably stunned by this declaration.  Because I did not was known as the girl who stayed on the sidelines.  Seriously,  as I suddenly started poking my head out of my shell these past two years, it really wasn’t strange to hear “Wait, you talk?”  Freshman year of college, one of my friends actually successfully convinced a new acquaintance I was mute for an almost entire meal until I overheard.  (Nice try, Ericka.)

And all of this is just to say…I kind of like this new me.