It’s Pride Month, It’s Ramadan, and It is Still Hard to be an LGBT Muslim

Pride, Ramadan, and the American Muslim

Came across this article on Buzzfeed which adds some insights into the Islamic perspective on Pride and LGBT experiences.

Just before sunset one Friday this month, a few dozen guests walked downstairs and into a church basement where lanterns flickered on banquet tables piled with food from Afghanistan, Morocco, and Sudan.

The descent was fitting because this iftar — the meal when Muslims break their daily fast in Ramadan — was underground in every sense of the word.

Organized by and for LGBT Muslims and their allies in Minneapolis, the dinner required extraordinary planning to ensure the privacy and safety of people who often feel shunned in both Muslim and LGBT circles. The hosts were from Minnesota Caravan of Love, which began as an informal group of friends and now holds regular events to amplify LGBT Muslim voices in the Twin Cities. Still, the fact that nearly all of them spoke on condition of anonymity is a small illustration of the risks that come with their activism.

Just a year ago, the main organizer, a 32-year-old gay Afghan PhD student, gave his real name in news interviews and was filmed dancing down a Minneapolis street during the 2016 Pride parade. But a few months ago his family back in Afghanistan caught wind of his activism, forcing him to start writing and speaking publicly under an alias, Nur Jibran.

“At first I stopped, but then I thought, ‘There needs to be a voice, even if it’s under a borrowed name,’” he said.

The idea behind the iftar was to bridge two main fissures LGBT Muslims face as they try to join a national activist movement that’s been reinvigorated by the election of President Donald Trump. LGBT Muslims say their sexual identities make them anathema to most mainstream Muslim groups; the reception isn’t much better in LGBT crowds now that views about Islam have soured since the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. The strained relations are an obstacle to getting marginalized groups to form a united front to fight Trump administration policies they see as harmful to their interests.

“Right now, given the political climate, we have to unite.”

When organizers of the Minneapolis iftar hit up clubs and cafés to pass out flyers for the event, they met resistance from both Muslim and LGBT invitees. One volunteer tried to give a flyer to a Pakistani man who was a regular at his favorite café; he said the man rejected the event and warned that no one would come. Other volunteers said they’d been similarly rebuffed at gay bars.

A Mexican-American activist from Caravan of Love, who asked that his name not be included, said he realized what Muslims were up against when he was passing out iftar flyers at a club, telling LGBT patrons that “right now, given the political climate, we have to unite.” A non-Muslim guy snapped at him.

“He’s like, ‘They just want to kill us all. Why would you ever want to volunteer for Muslim people when they want you dead?’” the activist said.

Earlier this month, seven protesters were arrested at the Minnesota State Capitol during so-called anti-Sharia marches. Gay critics of Islam were among the top organizers of the nationwide marches, which largely fizzled due to poor attendance.

Pax Hart, an organizer of the marches, has said in interviews that he’s been called an Uncle Tom for breaking with others in the LGBT community and supporting Trump. He was quoted as saying his only friends are conservatives and libertarians because LGBT leftists are in denial that “everywhere on the planet that Islam has a significant presence, there’s bloodshed, savagery, oppression, and intimidation.”

Another gay organizer of the anti-Sharia marches, Atlanta-based Arch Kennedy, has been quoted as saying he’s recently begun working with ACT for America, which extremism trackers at the Southern Poverty Law Center call “far and away the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.”

A Tribe Called Quest perform "We the People" at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12.

Matt Sayles / AP

A Tribe Called Quest perform “We the People” at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12.

Others are growing more vocal in rejecting what they consider right-wing attempts to drive a wedge between LGBT and Muslim communities; their focus is raising awareness about how Trump associates disparage both groups. A Tribe Called Quest’s 2016 activist anthem, “We the People,” makes that point in a hook: “Muslims and gays / Boy, we hate your ways.”

A few Muslim leaders with national profiles have called for greater support of LGBT rights, but an internal Muslim debate rages on whether such overtures are religiously permissible.

“It will take brave souls, people who are from both communities, living courageously, to make change,” said Salma Hussein, 29, a Somali-American social worker who said she’s sometimes forced to be a “closeted ally” because of cultural and religious taboos when it comes to LGBT issues. “It takes a lot of courage, but people should see that there are Muslims who are also part of the LGBT community. So they can see the human side.”

The groups have seen results when activists are on the same page. In May, for example, Trump’s pick for Army secretary, a Republican state senator from Tennessee named Mark Green, withdrew from consideration amid criticism of his anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments. News reports said that Green opposes same-sex marriage and has described being transgender as a disease. Green also has urged public schools to fight “the indoctrination of Islam” and has made reference to a “Muslim horde.”

“Now is not the time for highlighting divisions. I’m trying to find the unifying points.”

This month, writer and filmmaker Dylan Marron launched a web series called “Extreme(ly Queer) Muslims” to show the links between anti-gay and anti-Muslim hostility. In the series, timed to the overlap of Ramadan and Pride this month, Marron chats with Muslim guests about the tensions and says he will no longer be “used as a pawn in the hatred of one community in the same way that I know other communities have been used as pawns in the hatred of my community.”

That idea was echoed by some non-Muslim LGBT guests at the iftar. They might not know much about Islam, they said, but they knew plenty about being discriminated against and finding few allies to speak up on their behalf.

“For so much of my life, who I am has been demonized by so many people, and there hasn’t been anyone willing to just stand up and say, ‘What’s wrong with being gay?’” said Erin Bryan, a guest at the dinner. “I want to be one of those people that can stand up.”

But organizers said the ugly political backdrop affected their ability to recruit people for the iftar. And Caravan of Love volunteers wondered how many of those who ate with them in private would be bold enough to join them in public the following week to walk alongside the first Muslim LGBT float in the local Pride parade Sunday.

The iftar was a sort of trial balloon. News of it spread through a private Facebook group and word of mouth, making it hard to get a head count. Each host was in charge of a table for eight. Some cooked all day, using family recipes for yogurt chicken or samosas; others ordered from restaurants or arrived with a huge bag of the city’s best tacos. Volunteers came early to transform the drab church basement into a cozy hall with Middle Eastern flourishes. Ivory tablecloths were set with jewel-colored cups reminiscent of the rainbow flag.

Hannah Allam for BuzzFeed News

The first clue that this was a rather unorthodox iftar was the program guests received upon arrival. At 9:03 p.m. there would be the call to prayer and the breaking of the fast with dates and milk. At 10:00 p.m.: “Pride dance party.” Many other features of the evening would’ve drawn disapproval — if not anger — from more conservative Muslims. For example, a woman gave the call to prayer and another woman led the prayer, roles usually reserved for men.

“Now is not the time for highlighting divisions. I’m trying to find the unifying points,” said a 37-year-old Egyptian-American artist and activist who asked to use only his first name, Ali. “If I’m going to sit here and preach allyship, I need to do the work, too.”

The hosts and their guests tucked into plates of couscous and chatted frankly about the strain in relations since the Orlando attack. The conversations were helped by icebreaker questions on slips of paper at each table. One was about the meaning of Ramadan, a time often spent between quiet spiritual reflection and raucous family gatherings.

“We have Christmas for a full month and we’re not missing out on anything — especially the family drama,” Jibran, the lead organizer of the iftar, cracked in opening remarks to his guests.

Jibran said he came up with the name “Caravan of Love” out of his heartbreak over learning that the Pulse nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, also was of Afghan descent. The caravan reference comes from Rumi, the 13th-century Muslim mystic whose poetry has fans around the world.

Jibran grew up in the midst of war from ages 8 to 14, working on the street to help support his family. He endured so much grief about his “femininity,” he said, that he spent long stretches in isolation, writing in genderless Persian so that it sounded like his love poems were meant for women.

Coming to the United States from Afghanistan as a college student, Jibran said, had given him an opportunity to express his full identity without fear or shame. He resents the forces that are trying to mute him once again, and said it’s time for both Muslim and LGBT groups to work harder to overcome barriers to partnership. He pointed to the dozen or so Muslim allies who attended the iftar in support of LGBT friends as evidence that times are changing, slowly.

“It was overwhelming,” Jibran said the next afternoon. “I’m still processing it. Of course, there were moments that I was fearful that anybody could walk in and start shooting, but at the same time, I just wanted to enjoy every single moment.”

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Romans 15:5-7

Romans 15:5-7 ESV

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

Reflection:

No matter how different we are in race, color, politics, gender, sexual orientation, theology, or belief systems– we all have a shared humanity. We are all on this Earth together and we all bleed the same shade of red blood. We all want what is best for our families and communities. We all want to live in peace. Yet sin is always crouching at the door– inviting us to be jealous of one another, or closed-minded with stubbornness or impatience or intolerance. Sin comes lurking about, ready to spread fear and suspicion and deceit. Sin works in so many ways to undermine the basic truth– we are all in this world together and we can live in harmony and peace.

Somewhere in our lives we have grown to believe that the grass is always greener in someone else’s yard or that success and happiness is measured by how much we have or how much we can get in money, cars, luxury items, relationships, and so on. We are somehow conditioned to measure success by how well we are able to compete with others for what we want. We have grown accustomed to greed and pride and the attainment of stuff. And when we do obtain our stuff and think we can rest on our laurels and just when we think we have it all… there is always someone rubbing it on our faces that they have more. And worse yet, perhaps while surrounded by our stuff, we face the heavy price tag for all our desires and wants and realize the price is much more than the “prize”.

It also doesn’t surprise me now in this day and age that we have become so consumed with “getting what is ours” that we naturally find ourselves perpetuating the great divide between the Haves and Have Nots. We seem so willing to step over others to get what we feel entitled to. We would have no problem depriving other people for the sake of our own comfort and satisfaction. This is not what Christ had in mind at all.

To achieve harmony, I think we need to first achieve humility. We need to humble ourselves and recognize that the most valuable thing we have and need is our sense of humanity. We need to recognize that money and wealth and ego and pride cannot replace our relationships with each other and they cannot guarantee our happiness or security or safety. Human beings are social creatures. We need each other. We thrive in communities. Problems are best solved in cooperative efforts when people are equally invested in the mutual well-being of all involved. Conflicts arise when someone invariably believes they are superior to others for some reason– their wealth, their political clout, the accumulation of stuff….

If we shared more, invested in community more, and lived with a spirit of cooperation, we would be better off. If we recognized that we answer to a Creator and this Earth is so far our only home, we might consider life more precious than stuff.

To add more insight to this, I recommend listening to Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” speech. When you realize just how precious and rare life is, you begin to appreciate it all the more and recognize just how petty and greedy and self-absorbed we have become as human beings. Something has to change. Our priorities and attitudes have to change. We need to remember who put us here and remember who we really are as creations of God in His image, in my opinion.

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Trusting in Your Gifts

God gave us the capacity to learn, ask questions, explore, discover, and discern. God gave us the means to show love, offer compassion and forgiveness, and to be generous and merciful. God gave us talents and skills too. Maybe we need to sit back a moment or two each day and think upon what it is we have and how blessed we are? Maybe we need to consider our blessings and then give thanks for those blessings.

But as we consider our blessings, skills, talents, and strengths… let us be mindful that God didn’t give us these wonderful things if He did not intend for us to use them! When we might be feeling helpless and alone or lost and without hope, we need to remind ourselves and each other than God provides us with solutions– sometimes right under our noses! Maybe God has already thought ahead and has given us what we need to get through our challenges? God gave us all brains, for example. Maybe we need to start trusting what we have and start thinking more critically about how we use what God has given us!

If we all pooled our blessings together and put together all our skills and talents and started thinking more collectively rather than as self-serving individuals, more could be accomplished for everyone’s well-being. Maybe we need to start thinking as a community and start acting as a community. Strength comes in numbers too. God may be seeking to work through us so that we may all work together to deal with the “Big Problems” such as pollution, climate change, violence, child abuse, depression, drug addiction, and hate crime for examples. Maybe we need to realize that problems are much easier to solve when we collaborate as a community.

We should not be afraid or hesitant about the gifts we have. Know that God wants us to have our skills and talents and knowledge. He gives us what we need to endure and survive. He teaches us the importance of empathy, compassion, and caring for others less fortunate than ourselves. And as Jesus gave of himself and provided for others, so to we should consider how we give and provide for others as well– and understand why giving is important.

 

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An Infinite God, Infinite Possibilities

It is often said in many different ways that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 pretty much sums it up with,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In Hebrews 3:10, the Holy Spirit says, ‘They will always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known my ways.”

It seems like arrogance on our parts to think with our finite minds and finite imaginations that we could understand God’s plans for us or each other and others. It seems odd that we think we can claim with certainty what it is God wants or what God says in any given moment. We think we can speak for God when it should be pretty clear that God can speak for Himself and already has spoken to us, plainly enough about His expectations and intentions. God can speak through us– but without the Holy Spirit guiding us, our efforts at trying to speak as God would speak would be laughable.

Here’s the point I am getting at. God has infinite ways in which to communicate with us. God has all the means and power to speak to any group of people or all of humanity as He wishes. The message He gives to one group is no more or less divinely inspired than the message He may give to another group. The messages may be different for different people, different cultures, different languages, and to people with different, specific needs– but however different the messages may be, God is the unifying source and the one doing the talking or delivering of messages.

It seems our self-centeredness or egos get in the way of understanding the message as well as the messenger. We naturally assume that the message we receive is the ONLY message and that our message is somehow superior to all other messages out there. We assume that OUR interpretation of that message is the ONLY interpretation that matters. This is how religious-inspired wars begin, people. By assuming that somehow our connection to God is exclusive and superior to anyone else’s. By assuming anything, we diminish God and drag Him down to finite mortal standards and definitions. We assume that there is only one way to define and understand God.

Why can’t an almighty God speak to us in a mosque just as clearly and plainly about love and compassion and forgiveness as He might in a synagogue or cathedral or chapel or church?  And why would we assume that God does not speak to Buddhists, Hindus, Native Americans, Aborigines, Wiccans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and everyone else with the same core values of love, compassion, patience, kindness, forgiveness, humility, justice, and fairness?

God can be infinite to our finite population and our finite imaginations. He can expand our minds and our hearts if we were only willing to allow God to do His work with us. If we were only more open to the possibilities and more aware and open of the expansiveness of God’s creations! If only we understood that everything around us has potential and more to it than just the superficial and surface. If we started to begin to see things with spiritual eyes as opposed to just our everyday finite eyes, maybe we would see some things as God might see them?

Just a thought.

 

 

Posted in Hebrews, Holy Spirit, Hope, Inspiration, Isaiah, Opinion, Peace, Spirituality | Leave a comment

Psalm 35:1-3, Psalm 43

Psalm 35:1-3 (NKJV)

“Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help. Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.'”

Thoughts:

The Psalms, as I read them, come to me as very poetic, lyrical prayers and pleadings to God. Often written by David to ask God for rescue from calamity or despair or as prayers of thanksgiving for rescue and justice served.

For many LGBT people, we can identify to a great extent to most of these Pslams in the context that so often we have been subjected to persecution, violence, hatred, discrimination, and countless injustices. We are even finding ourselves being victimized by zealous, ultra-conservative religious groups. We are often the victims of religious-fueled hatred and bigotry and are left wondering if God truly loves us or cares about our plight, if at all. We plead to God for mercy, yet there are some who would gladly have us beaten or even killed in the name of God and Jesus!

Many LGBT people have a healthy and justified fear or religious communities– especially in light of religious communities with known track records of inciting homophobia and transphobia and violence and hate crimes against the LGBT community. It is difficult at best for any LGBT persons to trust in God or engage in spirituality or faith discovery when it appears as though the religious community has chosen to reject and condemn the LGBT community for who they are and how they live and who they choose to love.

Open and Affirming churches and temples and mosques do exist and their communities are growing– even as it seems LGBT backlash is rising under a new wave of radical conservative sentiments under the likes of the Trump-Pence administration, for example. There is positive scholarship and progressive movements stepping up to question, challenge, and enlighten the religious community about what it is our Scriptures are actually saying, from their historical and linguistic roots, about issues related to sexuality and gender. There is a movement to educate congregations about what it truly means to love thy neighbor and to appreciate the diversity of God’s creation. There are efforts  being made to encourage science and faith in constructive dialogues for the promotion of human rights and equality.

There has to be a concerted and collaborative effort on all our parts to combat this sense of hopelessness affecting the LGBT community. The cause for equality and respect needs a boost of confidence and needs the support of enlightened faith-based communities and churches to get on-board for letting all LGBT persons know they are loved, accepted, and acknowledged, and welcome.

The Pslams, in this day and age, feel more and more like a reflection of the struggles the LGBT community are facing today. And I am sure the struggles of African American youth, Muslims around the world, and refugees and minorities and the disabled can find their struggles and hardships reflected in the Psalms as well– and everyone who feels burdened by these persecutions and violence and hatred or discrimination and injustice must be asking God, why them– and when will God hear their pleas and help them?

God may be asking in return, “When will I be trusted? When will you have faith in me and pray to me?”

And God may also be asking, “When have I ever left you?”

It may have taken David a hundred or more Pslams for him to feel connected to God or feel like God was on his side in his struggles. For the LGBT community, it may take two hundred or three hundred Psalms and prayers for us to feel a trust with God. And maybe we are not surprised that so many people are leaving organized religion and fleeing from their churches. Many do not see the church as the welcoming place it could be or should be. Many are no longer seeing the kind and loving God society needs to see– but rather they are seeing pastors and preachers profiting off of hate-filled rhetoric preached to a gullible and impressionable flock seeking a scapegoat for all their problems and failures and broken dreams.

People are seeing too much politicization in their religion. The line separating church and state are blurred or sometimes totally erased. People are beginning to see the constant push to impose only a very specific, conservative and rigid interpretation of religious doctrine as public policy. Religion has become less and less about God and the understanding of Holy Scriptures and more and more about controlling and defining social norms. The LGBT community finds itself in the middle of the conflict. The crosshairs are centered directly upon us.

Psalm 43:1-2 (NKJV)

“Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! For you are the God of my strength; why do You cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

It often feels like we are waiting to be restored, like Job had to endure his tests and trials and problems and prove his faithfulness before he could be restored and vindicated. It feels like our trust in God is tested. It feels like we have to prove that we are just as capable of having faith as anyone else. At times, I have considered that the LGBT community has become the new chosen people– who must take it upon themselves to teach others the meaning of love, compassion, kindness, acceptance, respect, and reverence for all God’s creations. I often feel like we have to be the messengers now and take on the mission of educating and raising awareness to the injustices and inequalities impacting the LGBT community and other marginalized populations.

I feel we have to be not just our own advocates but advocates for others and take on that label of advocate to prove the point that we can do God’s work as well as anyone else and we will not be silenced by religious ignorance or churches as hate groups. We will not be silent or complacent to hate crime or bigotry or false religion used as justification for violence.

It may feel like we have to prove ourselves to God as well… and I think in many ways, the whole of humanity, not just the LGBT community, needs to prove something to God. Don’t we want to prove that the sacrifice of Jesus and countless other martyrs were not in vain? That there is still something of value in humanity? That there is some redeeming quality in humanity? Today we may feel left out and cast off… but remember God put us here… we are all created in His image. God gave us hearts, minds, souls, skills, talents, and countless gifts. He knows what is in our hearts. These times may be a testing ground for us– but perhaps it is not really us that is being tested… but rather the haters being judged against our example of what love and compassion is?

 

Posted in Editorial, Equality, Faith, Hope, Inspiration, Love thy Neighbor, Mission Statement, Open and Affirming Churches, Opinion, Peace, Pride, Psalms, Spirituality | Leave a comment

Same Message, Different Voices

When I contemplate and consider the many different religions and faiths and spiritual expressions and denominations that exist, often I wonder if there isn’t at least one core fundamental thread of thought or one principle that exists that would transcend these differences. I wonder to myself, couldn’t there be one most basic, universal truth that would apply equally to all manner of faith and religion?

When I think on this and suppose there may be some universal fundamental principle or idea extending through all faiths and religions, I then naturally wonder why there are conflicts and wars among the different religions and sects and denominations of faith.

If, for example, every religion or faith has as one of its primary tenets to “love others as you would want to be loved”, then as long as you were a person of any faith or religion, there would be only adherents who practiced love of others as much as one loved one’s own self. If violence was considered an abomination in every religion or faith, then the incentive would be to refrain from violence if one expected to be pleasing to their Creator or highest power.

The message that needs to be shared among the many different religions and faiths and spiritual traditions and cultures should be of love and non-violence. Peace and harmony among all of God’s creations should be a primary focus.

Obviously a central tenet of any and all religions and faiths is to praise and worship and obey the Creator. Differences lie in how we give praise, who or what we praise and worship, and under what laws or guidelines we chose to live by in accordance with the divine.

You would think every religion or faith would value love of others, compassion, non-violence, charity, generosity, patience, mercy, and forgiveness. So why are there conflicts among the different faiths and religions?

Pride. Prejudice. Ego. Arrogance. Ignorance. The belief that somehow one faith has all the answers and the others maybe only some of the answers or no answers at all. The belief that the real valuable insights and scriptures can only be found in one religion and not any of the others; and the belief that there is only one true path to salvation or liberation of the soul from the burdens of sin or bad karmic attachment and so on. We all are in some ways guilty of self-centeredness or possessiveness. We sometimes believe our way is the only way or best way. We shun or reject the beliefs of others if they seem too foreign or contrary to our own thinking or too remote from our own cultural understandings.

Yet the truth is, the closer we examine the religions and faiths of the world, the more we find the commonalities and shared threads that link us together in common humanity. We may come to find that love and compassion and mercy and forgiveness are found everywhere in every scripture or holy text that exists. It is perhaps when we try and manage the divine messages from God that we muck things up. It is perhaps when we try and control the message or “fix” the message for some personal purpose or end that we do the most damage. When we inject our pride and ego as well as our own personal preferences and prejudices and politics into our core religious beliefs that we invite conflict.

When we lose sight of our shared and common humanity and our shared capacity to see each other as equally loved under God and all equally made in God’s image, that we really reject the unifying force that ties us all together and reject harmony in favor of possessiveness and pride. I believe that while there are many voices, the does exist a unifying message.

Posted in Inspiration, Love, Love thy Neighbor, Opinion, Peace, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On the Subject of Faith

What is faith? What does the word mean?

Faith in my view, is the quantity and quality of trust you have in a person, belief, idea, concept, principle, or anything at all that could have substantial value to you for which you would receive some tangible benefit. Your ability to trust and have faith in someone, for example, is dependent upon your ability to rely on the benefit or positive impact this person has upon the quality of your experiences with that person in your life.

You may be more inclined to have faith in your girlfriend or boyfriend for example than a random stranger based on how often your boyfriend or girlfriend has “been there” for you, providing some measurable benefit to the quality of your life. You are more likely to have faith in those persons, ideas, principles, and things that have shown consistency and reliable positive results– especially when the positive results or positive impacts have done something to counter a significant negative experience or has provided you with a kind of rescue or escape from harm or danger.

What about having faith and putting trust in someone you cannot readily see? What about putting trust in God? What about placing faith in Jesus?

While we may not see Jesus or God in the most traditional and obvious sense, we can certainly know God by His creations and by observing His handiwork in nature and throughout the infinite universe. We can be in awe of the wonders of life, nature, our environment, and the staggering incredible fact that so far as we know, of all the planets in the universe we can so far observe, our planet is the only one that is capable of sustaining and having life as we know it upon it. And by some design and pattern, we exist as unique beings. There is life– perhaps despite all the odds that would say there shouldn’t be. And maybe there should be life on other planets– and maybe there is and we have yet to discover it– but thus far, we are here and how we came to be should humble you. And in the awesomeness of the near impossibility of life existing, there may be a God as Great Designer, putting things in motion that enabled us to live where we do, in the manner in which we do, when perhaps science might point out just how incredibly rare and significant it really is for there to be human life in this universe.

And we can trust in the example Jesus, as a man, set for us in the Gospels. We can trust in the universal principles Jesus put into action. He can trust that love is essential to peace. We can trust that compassion and kindness and patience– all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are possible within us if we open ourselves to receive and share those gifts. We can trust that redemption from sin is possible. Atonement for sin is possible. We can trust that Jesus took it upon Himself to say humanity was worth saving and redeeming from their sin. Jesus promised a path to salvation came through faith and belief in Him. If you are willing to trust that Jesus can see value in humanity and value in you… if you can trust that forgiveness is possible and redemption is possible, then you can put your faith and trust in Jesus as a teacher who can guide you to find that redemption, make that peace, and be whole.

We know there is benefit to being kind and compassionate. We know there are benefits to being open-minded and patient. We know there are benefits both spiritually and emotionally when we give charity to those in need. We know the benefits of giving back and paying it forward. So by learning who Jesus was and those like Him who were His disciples and followers, is it so impossible to put your faith in people who live by kindness, patience, compassion, empathy, charity, and so on? You know the benefits of living Christ-like, if you are a Christian… can you not then put your faith in Jesus as role model?

Posted in Faith, Inspiration, Opinion, Self-Reflection | Leave a comment