Gay Marriage And Public Policy: Personal Reflection, Apology

When it comes to gay marriage as a public policy issue, I was once very outspoken on the topic. From the 2003 to 2008 I lobbied for marriage amendments in Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, California, and on other national media platforms (interviews.) I went to Washington DC more than a few times and lobbied for the Federal Marriage Amendment on Capitol Hill. I also visited the Bush White House a couple of times and sat 20 feet away from when President Bush made a statement in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Because those experiences are not something I enjoy reflecting on lately, I have avoided writing this post. However, I can’t get away from it. If I was passionately willing to lobby for banning gay marriage at one point, I feel I should speak up on the topic if my views have changed.

To be clear, my view of marriage in a spiritual context has not changed. I believe the wedding union of husband and wife bears the image of God uniquely. Individually they bear His image equally and beautifully. Together they bear His image in a way that neither can do alone. I believe marriage between a husband and wife is transcendent; that Christ refers to the church as His Bride is stunning. One of my favorite meditations is to consider Christ and His Church in the symbolism of marriage.

What I am also trying to learn is how I can state my beliefs without being a jerk about it. I don’t have to contextualize my personal belief by insulting gay couples who have married or gay people wanting to get married. The beliefs that guide and direct my life also compel me to seek to be a blessing and friend to gay couples; to see God’s presence in their lives as individuals and as a couple.

I have also come to believe that trying to make our secular government impose my spiritual beliefs in this matter is not helpful or appropriate. Let me explain …

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The Blessing of Aunt Ruby

This was published in June on Dr. Kathy’s
blog
. I wanted to bring it here too. Kathy wrote this as an introduction:

Summer can be a time for rich memory making. Randy’s memories can inspire you to think about what memories you are and aren’t creating for your children. Sometimes, we’re so concerned with doing things for our children, that we don’t do enough with them. And, have you told them about your grandparents and those even older? Pull up a chair, grab a piece of pie, and talk. Speaking of pie, if there was a “food smart” it appears Randy’s Aunt Ruby and Great Granny Sallie Mae had it. Warning – you may be hungry after reading this. I’m craving a juicy peach – in or out of a pie. – Kathy

When my Great Aunt Ruby passed away in 2006 it was heart-breaking news. She was a sweet soul here on Earth, an blessing to our family, and I miss her.

Aunt Ruby married my Great Uncle Boochie (Boochie is a name of endearment) who was the son of my Great Grandmother Sallie Mae. They lived with Sallie Mae. Uncle Boochie was a police officer and died relatively young from a heart attack. My Aunt Ruby definitely was a modern example of the Biblical figure of Ruth. In the Bible Ruth stayed with Naomi, her mother-in-law, out of loyalty and in the humility of service even after her husband passed. Unlike Ruth, Aunt Ruby was never to re-marry. She stayed and lived with my Great Grandmother until Great Granny passed away. It was only then that Aunt Ruby moved out on her own.

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The Blank Sheet

Catharsis: purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art: a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension: elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression (source; emphasis mine)

Kathy’s post brought back an amazing string of memories.  She wrote about helping families in need provide back to school supplies for their children. Instantly I was reminded of grade school and my writing tablets; the excitement I felt when I looked at a blank sheet of paper.

As a little kid, I loved loved loved getting new paper. I do remember crying when I first learned to write. I was incredibly afraid of the teacher, Mrs. Warren, would punish me severely if I didn’t get it just right. Of course she didn’t, and I can remember her telling me I would be alright, that I was doing a good job… and that I needed to stop crying because I had work to do. I am smiling over that last part as I type this. Mrs. Warren made time to encourage, but she was also about getting it done too. In short order, I grew to love the process of writing. Whenever I would receive a brand new stack of paper, and pens/pencils, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.

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Chased, Caught

This post was published on Dr. Kathy’s blog back in June. She wrote this as an introduction:

Today I’ve invited Randy Thomas to blog for me. He begins with a beautiful illustration from friends and contrasts their father-son relationship with his own. You may be able to relate to Randy’s sadness and grief. But, keep reading, because Randy writes about God becoming his new Father and that changes everything. Everything. He writes about the chase and I love how it ends. I wonder if you’re familiar with it. Read to find out. – Kathy

Four-year-old Isaac, with a flash of his bright eyes and curly blond hair, could pretty much convince you to do just about anything. That boy is a handful and all you can do is smile as you pull him off the next piece of furniture.

The staff were all gathered together for lunch one day when Isaac came by the office, along with his mother and sister, to visit his dad. After the meal was over, Isaac ran around the conference table taunting his father, “Catch me Daddy!” Every time he passed one of the guys that had gathered around for lunch, we would growl and try to hook him with our arms. He giggled that 4-year-old sunshine of a giggle, eluding our scary traps as he playfully derided us, “I passed you!”

“Lately, he likes to be chased and get caught,” his dad later explained to me.

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Children Caught In The Web: The Dark Side Of Online Activity (Discussion Starter)

The Internet can be a tremendously helpful tool. It can provide quality resources and entertainment. That said, we all know it has a dark side as well. This is dramatically emphasized in our children’s lives. On the positive side we have exciting resources like the relaunch of “Reading Rainbow.” However, today’s post is going to focus on two difficult stories exposing the dark influence some online/gaming activity can have on children.

In working with Kathy on her new book “Screens and Teens: Connecting With Our Kids In A Wireless World,” I have run across these examples of how truly dangerous online gaming and websites can be. There are unfortunately many examples, but I want to highlight these two and ask some questions at the end of this post I hope you will respond too.

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“LifeFlow” – The Journey Behind The Painting

Martha and Mary

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:38-42

Late February, maybe early March, I went to the art store. I had created a few paintings over the holidays and absolutely loved the refuge/communion that activity provided. While creating them I kept thinking, “This is a life-giving and affirming activity. This is a major part of who God created me to be.” However, as I stood looking at the blank canvasses in the art store, I was focusing on the smaller canvasses. It occurred to me to not “settle” for limiting my artistic vision.

So, I just went all hog-wild and chose a 3×4 foot canvas!

Buying this giant of a canvas literally made my stomach nervously rumble as I took it up to the counter to purchase.

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Embrace The Imperfect Student – A “No More Perfect Kids” Reflection (Cross-posted)

Here is the full text of my guest blog post on Dr. Kathy’s blog not too long ago. I am so honored to be guest blogging over there!

I am honored to be blogging here today! Lately, I have been reading No More Perfect Kids by Dr. Kathy Koch and Jill Savage. The story below tumbled out and onto the screen after reading the first chapter of their excellent book. I hope you will see the value of how a teacher can embrace an imperfect student, help affirm their innate gifts, and set them on a positive course. Mrs. Pierson has always been a personal hero of mine. I am sure you will see why.

Mrs. Pierson had this completely ’80’s longish bob hairdo thing going on. This was of course completely appropriate because the scene I am going to describe happened in 1984. She also dressed like a college professor (in my mind) even though she was my 9th grade civics teacher. I wouldn’t say she was overly gregarious, but she always seemed super-smart, confident, and calm. For many reasons, I loved her and that class. In all of my school years, civics was one of the very few classes I felt eager to attend. I never hesitated to raise my hand and answer the questions she would ask.

I loved the subject and I loved seeing her eyes light up in recognition of my eagerness.

Even when Tip, the kid in front of me, would blow spit bubbles randomly in the air, I was always focussed and enjoyed that class. Tip was cool too.

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Lessons From Lilly

A few years ago I was working at home one day hoping to get some overdue tasks done.  Back then, I needed to get away from the office I worked in to really focus … I was hoping to do that on this particular day.

However, God wanted me around the house for a different reason. Getting my projects done wasn’t on God’s agenda, and plans quickly changed.

As soon as I sat down to my computer, my neighbor came over.  He and his wife have a cute little girl named Lilly.  Lilly was about 18 months old at the time.  I moved in next door to them right before she was born.  She was also  born two months early with a condition I can’t pronounce or even try to spell.  I had never heard of it before.  The condition severely attacks her muscles and bones.

Unfortunately Lilly broke her leg that week.  She had a huge cast for such a little leg.  That morning, her father was amusing her and as he picked her up … her cast fell off!

How does a cast fall off? And yet, there was Lilly’s Dad with her in one arm and holding the cast with the other hand.

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