My parents say this to me all the time. It makes sense to me about life things. Today, though, it makes sense to me about world things.
To me, this statement is, yes I’m going to trust God through everything, with the usual warring, praying, gnashing teeth, trying to figure it out, being human that goes with that. But I’m also going to take action. I’m going to DO something to move forward. While I was working on the initial discernment process for YAV, I still put in applications for teaching positions, I still interviewed for other things, I got offered other positions, but I felt like this is where God wanted me, so I stalled on accepting things until I knew 100% for sure that YAV either was, or wasn’t, going to be a thing. That’s the tying your camel part. It’s making sure that you cover every eventuality, while trusting that God is going to provide you the right path. I had this heart and gut feeling that it was YAV (and a small voice in my head, after my Tucson interview kept saying “Tucson would be cool. That’s a totally different place, you should go there.” and things) but I didn’t want August to role around and have been wrong and have nothing to go to. Because that’s me not taking action to follow God’s call, that’s me just sitting back and going “You do everything, God, and I’ll play video games and binge-watch shows, and it’ll be cool.” That’s not how it works.
God doesn’t just call us to prayer, meditation, and reflection. Oddly enough, I’ve probably heard His voice and call in my life more while DOING and LIVING with others, than when in quiet. I think for me that’s straight up because the little anxiety monsters that tell me that I’m wrong, thinking the wrong thing, discerning the wrong thing, being the wrong thing, tend to appear more in moments of quiet. I struggle with shutting my brain up more when I’m quiet and alone. When I’m doing something, whether that’s singing, laughing with friends, working, playing, or whatever, I get these thoughts that just float by and stick around. And then I go pursue whatever it is. I go DO it.
God calls us to ACTION. Concrete, definable, obvious action. Part of my current action is preparing for YAV, physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I’ve given myself the lazy summer for a couple weeks, while still mentally, emotionally, and spiritually preparing to leave. Now I get to do the physical, the deciding what I’m keeping and storing, the packing, etc. I’ve been reading, praying, spending time with the people I’m leaving, learning things to help me. I will keep doing those things. Regardless, all of these things are concrete, tangible, see-able actions
So now that I’ve explained my thoughts on that, I’d like to move to other things. Things that hit a little too close to home for comfort. I grew up in Florida. Tallahassee, Florida specifically, but throughout college, I had friends from Orlando who called Tallahassee “home.” Many of them went back to Orlando. I have always had many friends who were members of the LGBTQ community. Not because they chose to be, but because it is who they are, how they were born, not a part of them made by choice. I know people argue about this, but after yesterday’s attack, do you really question whether someone would choose to be gunned down because of who they love? Yes, we’re talking about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Yes, a nightclub seems like just another place, some people have stated the local isn’t the big deal, it’s the size of the body count and such. But I want you to reassess that view. So let’s unpack. For someone who is out, but faces persecution, going to a gay bar/nightclub is a chance to fully be their own person. For someone who isn’t out in public life, it’s a chance to express themselves. For someone who is out, it’s a chance to be safe from catcalls, jeers, threats, and any horrible words that someone else is throwing at them. It’s a place that is safe from being assaulted for loving someone. For expressing that love physically through simple things like holding hands or kissing your partner. This is their safe space. This is a place they can be and trust that no one will physically or verbally abuse them for loving.
Now, the reality, if a shooter is a known terror suspect, you think that they would have a hard or impossible time getting an assault riffle that allows them to gun down 100+, killing 50 and injuring 53, in a handful of minutes right? Unfortunately, as was proved last night, that would be incorrect. For people saying if one legal gun owner and law abiding citizen had been carrying they could have stopped him. First, let me state that until he started spraying bullets into a crowd, you just described the shooter. Legally obtained weapon. Second, a hand gun is not going to be a match for a military-style assault rifle. Flat out. It doesn’t require skill and aiming to kill and maim with that kind of weapon. Shooting someone with a handgun to prevent them from continuing a killing spree does. For people arguing he would have found another way, okay, but then let’s make him find another freaking way! Like, that’s a non-argument. I don’t say “well I’m just going to let students openly copy each others’ tests because if I don’t they’ll just find another way to cheat.” NO, I give negative consequences to those who cheat openly. I warn them that it’s not allowed. Or think of it this way, God doesn’t say “Well, my children are going to sin anyway, so I’m not going to create laws against it.” Like, hello, do you hear the flaw in that argument? It makes NO SENSE. If regulating bathrooms, adding loopholes to jump for abortions, and voter ID laws can “protect the American people” then why can’t gun laws?!
So I’m writing about it here. I’m praying and thinking of Orlando, but that is NOT ALL THAT I’M DOING. Remember, concrete, tangible, obvious evidence. God wants us to pray, but he also wants us to take action. He wants us to DO SOMETHING. Faith and works are linked. So today, I’m writing to my representative. When I move to Arizona, I will write to those representatives. As a former, long standing resident of Florida, I will also be writing to those representatives. I will be advocating for change in policy. I will be fighting to simultaneously protect the right to bear arms, while having REASONABLE, COMMON SENSE ideas like people who are known terror suspects not being able to buy guns, or hey, that no one really needs a military style assault rifle or enough ammo to kill/injure/maim 100 people in a handful of minutes. This is not taking away peoples guns, it’s recognizing that your right to bear arms is neither sacrosanct, nor more important than my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Period. After I write, I will be going to give blood. I can’t remember what my blood type is, honestly, but I remember it being one of the needed types, so I’m going. I’m probably going to also write about lifting the ban on gay males giving blood. It’s ridiculous that it’s still a law.
I said a lot of things up there, but I also charge you to do something. Give blood. Even if it won’t divert to Orlando, you know there is a crisis. Go do it. If you can’t, find a way to volunteer at a blood bank. And write to your representative. If you don’t know how, check out the link below to find out how. Tell them how you feel, and what you think needs to be done. They REPRESENT YOU! They are not you “leader” they are elected to represent you, not the gun lobby, not their own interests, the interests of the American people. Hold them accountable. And then, while you do that, before you do that, after you do that, PRAY. Pray for the families, pray for the city, pray for the shooter (because yes, we need to pray for the bad guys too, God instructs us to love our enemies and pray for them, as hard as it is.) Pray that God’s will is done, and that those who preach hate, those who spread discord and violence will beat sword into plowshare and love.
Lin Manuel-Miranda said it well last night. Love is love is love is love is love. James Corbin said yesterday that Hate will never win.
God has lots to say about love vs. hate, here are a few!
1 John 4:8 – He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Matthew 5:44 – But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Luke 6:27 – But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you
God is love. Love God, love your neighbor, love your enemy.
Trust God, and tie your camel.