Wednesday, March 26, 2014

why i mourn the loss of the wicked

*Disclaimer: this post contains strong language in quotations.*

I cried in class today.

It wasn't an "OMG, I got a B on my paper" sort of cry; or a "I just bombed that speech" kind of cry. It wasn't even a "I have no idea what's being told to me and I'm completely overwhelmed" cry.

It was the cry that comes from a bleeding heart.

My U.S. government class is one of my all-time favorite classes. The material is fascinating, the class is engaging, and the professor is incredible. I've learned more about political science in this class than I have in my entire life. It's usually the highlight of my week.

But today, I took a knife to my heart.

The worst part is that I was blindsided. There I was, swimming in the glories of knowledge, absorbing everything about the judicial bramble I possibly could, processing at a rate I didn't even know was possible. Then a small-group discussion was announced. Okay, not my favorite. Mostly because there's always way too much to talk about and never enough time. But I can dig it.

To preface the discussion, my professor pulls up a slide with a picture of protestors. It didn't take me long to recognize the fluorescent and obscene signs they were holding: it was Westboro Baptist Church. Reflexively, I cringed. The title of the article read something about the protest at a military funeral, and I knew,

This was not going to be fun.

My professor then proceeds to warn us about the intensity of the audio clip he was about to play. It's an auditory article from NPR about the case Snyder v. Phelps. Snyder claimed that the Westboro picketers led by Phelps imparted "intentional infliction of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion, and civil conspiracy."

"I'm struggling with the fact that this guy died a couple days ago, and I want to feel really happy about it." I hadn't heard about Fred Phelps' death until that moment; the moment when my professor revealed the conflict that is inevitable in this situation.

As I sat there, staring at the transcript on my desk, my notebook balancing on it and my crossed legs, I attempted to listen. The back and forth between the justices and the banal opinions of the journalist suddenly became meaningless.

All I could see was tragedy.

The thought of that family, mourning the loss of their son, of whom they were proud for his service, having to see people who expressed that their son was hated by God. People who claimed that they were thankful for dead soldiers. It tore my heart.

And then I thought about those people holding the signs. The same people who have used countless military funerals to protest homosexuality, Islam, the Catholic Church, Jews, Obama, McCain, and other things most of us at least respect. These people who scream with their signs things like:
"God hates fags"
"Fags die, God laughs"
"Pray for more dead soldiers"
"God killed your sons"
"God hates your feelings/tears"
"Thank God for 9/11"
"God hates you"
And then the tears started.

Right there in the second row, my eyes fixed on the chair in front of me, my vision blurring just as it is while I write this.

My heartbreak was two-fold. First, I ached for the victims of this lashing. And then I ached for the ones lost enough to perpetrate it. And for reasons unbeknownst to my delicate heart,

I find that the depth of my grief is greater for those sign holders.

It seems contrary to what your instinct might pull you towards, and it is. Often, when we think of "the least of these," we are considering the ones who are marginalized, outcasted, ignored. We scoop up the trampled on and make our loving attempts at healing each other. We get angry and claim righteousness and point at the bullies, saying, "we would never do that!" And we rage about them to each other in the name of justice: "Can you believe what they did?! That is not the Jesus I worship."

Maybe we're right about the Westboro protestors. (Okay, it's likely we're right). But is that an image of grace?

Whether or not we want to think about it, the blood of Jesus covers their sins too. These rageful, hateful, spiteful people who ooze disdain and condemnation are loved just as much by the Creator of the universe as you and me. And that breaks my heart. Not because it's true, but because they don't know it is. These people have lost sight of, or have been lead away from, the raw truth of the Good News: there is life for everybody. Their idea of what God loves and what he hates is so twisted, that they are missing out on the big, beautiful, communal mess that is the Church.

They are missing out on the glory of the grace of Jesus.

I'd like to think that I can handle the opposition, because I know that Love wins in the end. I have the confidence of victory in Jesus to get me through. These picketers, these people whose fear and discomfort has driven them to rage and hate... they don't have that. They might think they do, but peace doesn't throw punches. Hope doesn't hurt. And love doesn't give lashings.

That's a lostness that I pray I never know.

So yes. Part of me wants to be grateful that someone who perpetuates such horrors to the children of the Most High King is no longer on earth to do that. But I just can't. Because I believe that Fred Phelps left this world without understanding who Jesus is, how the Spirit works, and who, in fact, God loves. *Hint: it's everyone.*

Including Fred.

May you find grace and peace and blessed assurance that the love of Jesus reaches to the ends of the earth, and his blood covers even the ugliest of sins.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Things Keep Getting Caught

In the internets.

What? Two internet catching posts in the same week?!

You're welcome.

For my fellow "baby"'s of the family.

For those of you who wish F.R.I.E.N.D.S. could have lasted just one more episode to see Monica and Chandler as parents.

For all you 20-somethings.

For when you want to spend twenty minutes laughing at actors being real people.

I've spent way too much time watching interviews tonight so I can feel like the moment I've been waiting a year and a half for didn't just fly by in an all-too-quick instant.

So... have you seen Catching Fire yet?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Catching Fire Premiere

You guys. I can't even... I don't... It...


And that's all I'm gonna say on that. At least for tonight.

Thankful for:

  • quiz scores
  • water bottles
  • cough drops
  • my sissie and new brother joining me at the movies
  • 8 o'clock premieres (i'm such a grandma)
  • excellent cinematographers
  • brilliant screenwriters
  • genius special effects... people...
  • being feverless
  • Finnick
WHAT?! I couldn't resist. I JUST.... I... AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

But more on that later. ;)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All the Single Ladies! (and gentlemen)

Just finished watching a message by Andy Stanley for singles. Things to do in your singlehood that will only get harder once you're married. It was definitely a challenge!

But you should all watch it. There's even an option to listen, for those of you who exercise and listen to podcasts.

Today I'm thankful for:

  • brand new glasses!
  • the completion of homework
  • salt and vinegar chips
  • blue pens
  • cinnamon oil
  • windshield wipers
  • paper towels
  • printers
  • quiet library corners
  • knock knock jokes
So, what'd you think?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Internets Catchings

I've decided on a new blog-y type thing to do. (see how professional I am?)

It's for those days when things are so muddled and crazy, that I just can put word to paper. Or, you know, keypad. I haven't come up with a cool, catchy name for it yet, so for now, we'll call it:

What I caught with the internets today!

Dumb? I know. If you have any better ideas, leave them in the comments below!!

So without further adieu, here you go!

  1. I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS!!!! Josh Hutcherson will be hosting SNL this weekend!!!

  2. I technically came upon this yesterday, but it's just so cute!!!

  3. Remember Blockbuster? These guys do.

  4. And I've never seen Taran break before, so this is extra funny!

Good news! I got a 98 on my in-class essay!! I'm hoping for a solid 100 next time.

Well, that's all I have for today.

Stay fresh, kids.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Six Months

Today marks six months of my being in Humco. I didn't even realize until late this evening.

Crazy, right?! I have learned so so much since being here. Namely that Jack's Urban Eats and I were closer than I had realized.

Hard to believe that it's been half a year. So thankful for all the good, and even the not-so-good. It's all grace.

On this anniversary, I'm thankful for:

  • generosity
  • a bed to sleep in
  • a car to drive
  • a place to work
  • classes to attend
  • food in the fridge
  • a full-sized shower
  • the constancy of my Savior
  • a piano to play

Nerd Alert

Sometimes, when I read a book series, I get so caught up in the woven tapestry of a whole world that is so different than my own, that it takes a few days before I can fully emerge. And I haven't decided if it's better or worse to read the books as fast as I can, or take my time.

All I know is that throughout the day, all I could think about was Finnick.

If you haven't yet read The Hunger Games, you should probably stop reading this post and go read those books. Seriously. It'll take you two days tops to finish all three, and you really don't want the spoilers that are about to come.