God Doesn’t Make Mistakes—But Humans Do

LeelahLGBTQ inclusion in Christian communities is a matter of life and death.

As you may have already heard, a transgender teen was hit by a truck between on December 28th and left a suicide note on Tumblr. Leelah’s note is a clear example of how fundamental Christians can be inadvertent accomplices in widespread LGBTQ suicide.

Leelah Alcorn was the child of Christian parents who didn’t accept her transgender identity, saying “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

True, God doesn’t make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean Leelah was wrong. God made Leelah transgender.

It seems Leelah was sent to “conversion” therapy after she came out to her parents. She wrote:

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

I agree Leelah needed to turn to God, but not in the way she thought the therapists meant. She needed God’s love, not God’s “help” to reverse her transgender identity.

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The Confessions

A confessional. Via Wikimedia Commons.

A confessional. Via Wikimedia Commons.

On a spring evening at dusk, sitting next to the fire pit with a glass of wine, my mother told me what it was like to go to confession before the Second Vatican Council.

First of all, that is what it was. There was no “Reconciliation.” There was no “Reconciliation Room.” You went to confession. You went in the confessional.

You went once a month, every month. Mom’s impression was that this was church law. But it wasn’t, not really.

The minimum rate of going to confession was pegged to the minimum rate of receiving Eucharist. In other words, once a year around Easter. But in those days, things that seemed to be law had as much force as things that actually were law.

You went on Saturdays. Mom dreaded it. She hid in her bedroom, hoping her mother would forget. It was fruitless. Sometime in the afternoon, the shout came up the stairs from the kitchen.

“Krysia!” (For the uninitiated, “Krysia” is Polish for “Chrissy.”)  Continue reading

Things I learned from my kids: It was my chromosomes that decided their genders, not my parenting

“Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to decide the spoil with the proud.” – Proverbs 16:19 (KJV)

As I drove my kids to their mother’s house today, Hannah, my three-year-old, observed that I no longer have a beard. After I explained to her that I had shaved off my characteristic goatee, she stated her intention to have a beard when she grows up.

“Women don’t have beards. Usually,” Daddy said, deftly adding that last word just in case my daughter runs into a Sikh in the near future. (Aren’t I so inclusive?)

“When I’m a man, I’m gonna have a beard.”

“You’re not going to be a man. You’re going to be a—”

I stopped myself. Hannah did not need to be corrected here. She had learned that boys grow up to be men and girls grow up to be women a long time ago. It was Daddy who required correction.

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Things I learned from my kids: They are more spiritual than I am

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” – Maria Montessori

I love taking my kids to church. I used to be anxious about disruptions, but I got over that a long time ago. As it turns out, I only get complaints from fellow parishioners when I don’t bring them. My children also remind me from time to time that they are more spiritual than I am.

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Simplicity (Things I learned from my kids)

“We live in a world that celebrates superficial beauty and rejects ugly, yet God sees beauty in all of us despite our ugliness. Jesus loves us just the way we are.” – Pastor Jamie Stilson, Vineyard Community Church of Cape Coral (Fla.)

Today was the first “summer” day for the kids.* We broke out the sprinkler and the heretofore unused inflatable wading pool for the purpose of joyful splashing and scampering. But after a few minutes of Daddy demonstrating how to properly jump through a sprinkler and Mommy placing Jacob (16 months old) in the wading pool, the experience ended up turning into Jacob toddling around the driveway, and Hannah (2 years) taking pleasure in using a sprinkler-free hose to water whom- or whatever she could find.

Once again, my kids have taught me a lesson in Christian living.

"Okay, we're ready to get out and play now."

“Okay, we’re ready to get out and play now.”

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Thanks, Dad

Through some of the most formative years of their children’s lives, parents are often the most consistent example of what it means to be human, to be a mature adult. And while we all know that parents can pass on negative impressions to their children, they also have the potential, and perhaps the responsibility, to expose their children to a healthy, fruitful way of living in our world.  In this sense, I think that every parent has the potential to be a child’s hero.

My dad has always been my biggest hero. Continue reading