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Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Mountain I'm Willing to Die On





Along with every other concerned mama, I’ve been watching America’s response to the bullying related suicides closely. People seem to be quite shocked by the cruelty that’s happening in America’s schools. I’m confused by their shock. I’m also concerned about what’s not being addressed in their proposed solutions.

The acceptable response seems to be that we need to better educate students and teachers about what bullying is and how to react appropriately to it. This plan is positive, certainly. But on its own, it seems a little like bailing frantically without looking for the hole in the boat through which the water is leaking.

Each time one of these stories is reported, the tag line is: “kids can be so cruel.” This is something we tend to say. Kids these days, they can be so cruel. But I think this is just a phrase we toss around to excuse ourselves from facing the truth. Because I don’t think kids are any crueler than adults. I just think kids aren’t quite as adept yet at disguising their cruelty.

Yesterday I heard a radio report that students who are most likely to be bullied are gay kids, overweight kids, and Muslim kids.

Hmmmmm.

I would venture to guess that at this point in American history, gay adults, overweight adults, and Muslim adults feel the most bullied as well.

Children are not cruel. Children are mirrors. They want to be “grown-up.” So they act how grown-ups act when we think they’re not looking. They do not act how we tell them to act at school assemblies. They act how we really act. They believe what we believe. They say what we say. And we have taught them that gay people are not okay. That overweight people are not okay. That Muslim people are not okay. That they are not equal. That they are to be feared. And people hurt the things they fear. We know that. What they are doing in the schools, what we are doing in the media - it’s all the same. The only difference is that children bully in the hallways and the cafeterias while we bully from behind pulpits and legislative benches and one liners on sit-coms.

And people are sensitive. People are heart-breakingly sensitive. If enough people tell someone over and over that he is not okay, he will believe it. And one way or another, he will die.

So how is any of this surprising? It’s quite predictable, actually. It’s trickle-down cruelty.

I don’t know much. But I know that each time I see something heartbreaking on the news, each time I encounter a problem outside, the answer to the problem is inside. The problem is AWAYS me and the solution is ALWAYS me. If I want my world to be less vicious, then I must become more gentle. If I want my children to embrace other children for who they are, to treat other children with the dignity and respect every child of God deserves, then I had better treat other adults the same way. And I better make sure that my children know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in God’s and their father’s and my eyes, they are okay. They are fine. They are loved as they are. Without a single unless. Because the kids who bully are those who are afraid that a secret part of themselves is not okay.


****


Dear Chase,

Whoever you are, whoever you become. You are loved. You are a miracle. You are our dream come true.

Chase, here is what would happen in our home if one day you tell your father and I that you are gay.

Our eyes would open wide.

And we would grab you and hold you tighter than you would be able to bear. And while we were holding you we would say a silent prayer that as little time as possible passed between the moment you knew you were gay and the moment you told us. And that you were never once afraid to tell us. And we would love you and ask you one million questions and then we would love you some more and finally, I would likely rush out to buy some rainbow t-shirts, honey, because you know mama likes to have an appropriate outfit for every occasion.

And I don’t mean, Chase, that we would be tolerant of you and your sexuality. If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than we are, Chase, then we really are aiming quite low. Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated. People, every person, Is Divine. And so there would be celebrating. Celebrating that you would be one step closer to matching your outsides with your insides, to being who you are. And there would be a teeny part of my heart that would leap at the realization that I would forever be the most important woman in your life. And then we would tell everyone. We would not concern ourselves too much with their reactions. There will always be party poopers, baby.

We just wanted you to know this, honey. We’ve worried that since we are Christians, and since we love The Bible so much, that there might come a day when you feel unclear about our feelings about this. Because there are a few parts in The Bible that discuss homosexuality as a sin. So let us be clear about how we feel, because we have spent years of research and prayer and discussion deciding.

Chase, we don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin. Your parents are Christians who carefully choose what we believe and follow in the Bible. Some will tell you that this approach to Christianity is scandalous and blasphemous. But the thing is, honey, that the only thing that’s scandalous about this approach is admitting it out loud. The truth is that every Christian is a Christian who picks and chooses what to follow in the Bible.

Several years ago I was in a Bible study at church, and there was some talk about homosexuality being sinful, and I spoke up. I quoted Mother Teresa and said “When we judge people we have no time to love them.” And I was immediately reprimanded for my blasphemy by a woman who reminded me of 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10. But I was very confused because this woman was speaking. In church. And she was also wearing a necklace. And I could see her hair, baby. She had no head covering. All of which are things that are sooooo totally against the Bible Rules. * And so I just assumed that she had decided not to follow the parts of the Bible that limited her particular freedoms, but to go ahead and hold fast to the parts that limited other people’s freedoms. I didn’t point this out at the time baby, because she wasn’t a bad person. People are doing the best they can, mostly. It’s best not to embarrass people.

What I’m trying to say is that each Christian uses different criteria to decide what parts of the Bible to prioritize and demonstrate in their lives. Our criteria is that if it doesn’t bring us closer to seeing humanity as one, as connected, if it turns our judgment outward instead of inward, if it doesn’t help us become better lovers of God and others, if it distracts us from remembering what we are really supposed to be doing down here, which is finding God in every human being, serving each other before ourselves, feeding hungry people, comforting the sick and sad, giving up everything we have for others, laying down our lives for our friends . . . then we just assume we don’t understand it yet, we put it on a shelf, and we move on. Because all I need to know is that I am reborn. And here’s what I believe it means to be reborn:

The first time you’re born, you identify the people in the room as your family. The second time you’re born, you identify the whole world as your family. Christianity is not about joining a particular club, it’s about waking up to the fact that we are all in the same club. Every last one of us. So avoid discussions about who’s in and who’s out at all costs. Everybody’s in, baby. That’s what makes it beautiful. And hard. If working out your faith is not beautiful and hard, find a new one to work out. And if spiritual teachers are encouraging you to fear anyone, watch them closely, honey. Raise your eyebrow and then your hand. Because the phrase repeated most often in that Bible they are quoting is Do Not Be Afraid. So when they tell you that gay people are a threat to marriage, honey, think hard.

I can only speak from my personal experience, but I’ve been married for eight years and barely any gay people have tried to break up my marriage. I say barely any because that Nate Berkus is a little shady. I am defenseless against his cuteness and eye for accessories and so he is always convincing me to buy beautiful trinkets with our grocery money. This drives your sweet father a bit nuts. So you might want to keep your eye on Berkus. But with the exception of him, I’m fairly certain that the only threats to my marriage are my pride and anger and plain old human wanderlust. Do not be afraid of people who seem different than you, baby. Different always turns out to be an illusion. Look hard.

Chase, God gave you the Bible, and He also gave you your heart and your mind and I believe He’d like you to use all three. It’s a good system of checks and balances He designed. Prioritizing can still be hard, though. Jesus predicted that. So he gave us this story. A man approached Jesus and said that he was very confused by all of God’s laws and directions and asked Jesus to break it down for him. He said, “What are the most important laws?” And Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love others as yourself.” ** When in doubt, Chase, measure all your decisions and beliefs against that. Make damn sure that you are offering others the same rights, courtesies, and respect that you expect for yourself. If you do that, you can’t go wrong.

Chase, you are okay. You are a child of God. As is everyone else. There is nothing that you can become or do that will make God love you any more or any less. Nothing that you already are or will become is a surprise to God. Tomorrow has already been approved.

And so baby, your father and I have only one specific expectation of you. And that is that you celebrate others the way we celebrate you. That you remember, every day, every minute, that there is no one on God’s Green Earth who deserves more or less respect than you do, My Love.


“He has shown you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” ***


Love, Mama


PS. We thought we should mention, honey, that if you’re straight, that’s okay too. I mean, it’d be a little anti-climactic now, honestly. But your father and I will deal.

PPS. All of the above holds true if you are overweight or Muslim too. No problem on either count.

PPPS. As daddy read this essay, I watched his gorgeous face intensify. He teared up a little. Then he slammed the letter down on the kitchen table and said emphatically and without a touch of irony, “DAMN STRAIGHT.”

Which, when you think about it honey, is really the funniest possible thing daddy could have said.


Love you Forever.




340 comments:

  1. Hi everybody.

    I'm expecting to get a little...feedback...on this essay.

    I just ask you to please speak kindly. Don't be a bully. Let's honor this place we've created together, and the people who feel safe here.

    Love,
    G

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  2. Favorite post ever. I am certain so many gay/overweight/other children wish they grew up in a home like yours.

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  3. I read this with tears flowing down my face because I feel these things in my heart but I haven't said them to my children....yet. You are brave. You are eloquent. You are right. It is hard to always remember these things and live them and example them. Thank you.

    Have you given this to Chase yet? I think he is the same age as my son...just curious if you are saving these for later.

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  4. Thank you so much ladies.

    Francie...I'm saving them for later. I think I'll just *know* when it's time.

    Love, G

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  5. PERFECTION! Love it, girl!

    How ironic is it that the day before the Rutgers student killed himself, the HRC was doing canvassing in my neighborhood and I become a member! Henry was with me at the door asking me who this man was and why he was here. I told him that he was here to ask for help in making sure that everyone was treated equally and that was important to me and this family. The next day, the Rutger's student was all over the news....
    This is something I've thought about a lot - whether either of my children will come to me someday to tell me they're gay. And I've always thought I would have the same response. I would hug them and tell them I've always loved them just the way they are and will continue to do so.
    Rock on, G!

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  6. It's so true that our children are want to be "grown-ups" and I know mine think the way I do and I heard it this morning for the first time with out me saying anything.

    I don't like the crossing guards at my children's school as they don't seem to cross people in conjunction with the traffic light. Therefore, the hold up all the drivers at red lights while they cross the kids/parents while on the green lights. I said before that the crossing guards are dumb. WELL, those words came back to bite me in the ass. This morning, with all the rain, we got to the crossing guard and my daughter said "this will take forever, they are dumb".

    This has been with me all day and I don't think your post couldn't of come at a better time/day.Our children believe what we believe and they do treat others the way we treat them. Thanks for the reminder. Now I have to have a conversation tonight about the crossing guards doing the best they can and not being dumb.

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  7. I LOVE this ... my family tree is more rainbow than green and I often find people are blown away that I don't try to hide those relationships from my children. As a Christian I truly believe that God loves my sister/mom/cousin just as much as he loves me. Thanks G for being able to express this much more eloquently than I ever could ...

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  8. If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than us, Chase, than we really are aiming quite low. Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated.


    Brilliant.

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  9. This is my favorite post. I'm going to put it on Facebook post-haste, even though it talks about God a lot. Beautiful. You're a good person, Glennon. A good good person.

    I agree that you should save it for Chase. Homosexuality might not even be on his radar yet. I remember being afraid that I might be a lesbian in the fifth grade (because someone called me one at school and made it sound like a VERY BAD THING) and I remember being so confused because I didn't feel sexual attraction to ANYONE at that point, but I definitely preferred the company of my girlfriends. So I thought I was a lesbian. Chase is a little young to question his sexuality!

    Love love love,
    Brooks

    PS - My dad thought my HRC sticker was a parking permit. Silly dad. I took the opportunity to explain the organization and their mission.

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  10. LOVE THIS! In my humble opinion, Christianity is about acceptance not judgment. This is a wonderful post! I am going to share it with some of my family who will appreciate it.
    Andie

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  11. Hmmm, tough to respond, but feeling moved to do so.

    I get what you are saying a little about choosing what type of Christian to be but I look at it a bit differently. I have a good grasp of what the Lord wants from me and how I am to live my life. Do I always do that? No. But, I don't try to find ways around what is plainly in the bible to suit my own view, as I believe that that is God's word, His unchangeable word.

    My sins of omission, sins of unbelief, sins of telling my mom it's okay when it's not, sins of not loving my God with all my heart and soul, sins of anger, sins of being on Facebook when my kids are running with scissors, sins of taking the Lord's name in vain, sins of eating ice cream for lunch, etc. are all one and the same in my Lord's eyes (yes, murder is the same as hating your brother). BUT, I am saved and free from my sins because He died for my sins since He love me more than I could love myself and I put all my faith in Him and I asked Him to save me from myself.

    I am trying to teach my children what I have learned through the Bible and I do not intend to shield them from the term sin or not tell them that they will too, one day sin, as we all do (and pretty much every day) which will likely disappoint mom or dad or God. One sin is no greater than another but as the Lord loved me, I too will love my children unconditionally. And I hope I will not judge them if the sin of the day is being gay or what have you.

    Now, if we all could just do that to the world, to all of God's children...

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  12. Ironic that I just wrote Taylor and Mason a letter today about this same topic and I plan on giving it to them later in life.

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  14. Jeannette,

    Thank you for being brave enough to share your take on this, and for doing it with love. We do not all have to agree with each other here. But it sure is wonderful that we are disagreeing with love and respect.

    Love, G

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  15. You too, Broo. You are a good person, too. I can't believe I'm making it to your facebook page. I can't help but feel I've arrived.

    Love you all.

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  16. My husband I have been on the painful end of when a parent can't accept their children's choices. It was the most hurtful, yet beautiful thing I ever went through, because it changed my life. "When at all possible, be at peace with all men." That is the scripture I go to over and over. Be at peace with ALL men, not just the ones you agree with. I had to come to peace with their judgement and anger. I had to be peaceful that they had just as much right to their views as I had to my own. It was an amazing lesson and one I hope effects my parenting daily. We hurt so much when we judge, we grow when we accept.

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  17. "Everybody's in, baby."
    Amen.
    Thank God everybody's in, because if they weren't, I wouldn't have made it through the first security line, much less in the heart of it - and it's hard, beautiful mystery.

    I can't help but think that knowing full acceptance and love and embrace by his parents will help Chase see a glimpse of the way he is loved by God.

    "And he made from one many every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined alloted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, for we all indeed his offspring." Acts 17: 26-28.

    Indeed. Everybody's in, baby.
    Thank you, Sister.
    This is good and brave.
    Sister

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  18. Wanted to comment on the bullying piece, too. There are bullies everywhere and all ages. My father and sister are both bullies and so I have a special dislike for anyone who bullies. It sort of shoots my blood pressure off like a rocket. There is also a woman in a group I belong to who is very definitely a bully. She is mean-spirited despite how funny she comes across and I have been at the receiving end of her bullying and it hurts. I spend a lot of my time taking deep breaths and realizing how much they must be hurting on the inside to be treating someone that way. I mean really really hurting because that is the only explanation I can find. I want to hold anger toward those people but am trying to raise my awareness and not lash out in a negative fashion. I just keep reminding myself to act like an adult which is hard when adults around me don't act that way. You bring up a very valuable point that our children's behavior mirrors what they see in us. As you all can imagine, my children are perfect;)

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  19. I feel like there needs to be a new word besides "awesome" in my comments...awesome just doesn't cover it. This post is in my Top List for sure (it's a growing list so sometimes it's Top 3, Top 5, Top 10...too many favs I guess). I love this post and how much it speaks to me personally, and how I feel like you snuck inside my heart AGAIN and wrote the words I want to say to my girls.

    I am amazed that you seem so concerned about backlash in the Comments Section. I know it might sound a little flower child-ish but I can't really imagine someone being angry or upset for you telling us you want to teach Chase to just love people and that you believe that is what God wants from us.

    On second thought, maybe that's one of our societal problems...we make fun and criticize the people who tell us to just try to get along and love each other. I realize that part of your trepidation might be based in your "redefinition" of Christianity - perhaps that makes people uncomfortable? But God calls us to love each other...it's the single most important commandment. Not to say I think the others aren't important but if we can't live by that one, what's the point in the others really?

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  20. Beautiful essay. I'm struggling with what to write, because I want your opinions to be Truth with a capital T. The issue I have is with the "picking and choosing" point. Yes, as Christians we all pick and choose what parts of the Bible we follow, but our choosing does not magically change our actions from sins to non-sins. For example, the Bible says pre-marital sex is a sin. I chose to not follow that part. But my choice does not change the classification of the action. It was still sin.
    The rest of it, I'm with you sister. Bullying? Not acceptable. Must. Stop. Now. My love of my son unchanging? Absolutely. Nothing and no one could make me love him less.

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  21. This is absolutely 100% my MOST FAVORITE post EVER!!! I haven't read any comments yet, I'll do that but right now I just want to cry and sing and dance at the same time.

    Love Love Love You!

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  22. Right, Lindsay, I hear you.

    But here's where it gets tricky for me . . . do you believe that God believes it's a sin for women to speak in church?

    Haven't we, as a church, magically decided that that rule is ridiculous? Haven't we magically changed that from a sin to a non- sin, even though it's right there in scripture?

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  23. You worded it better than me, Lindsay.

    That's the problem with "churches", Glennon. They do magically change things to suit themselves. A lot of what is "tradition" in churches is not even in the bible (lighting candles, crossing yourself, infant baptism, etc.). That's why Christianity has problems with what's outside needing to represent what's inside since we can all be pretty hypocritical.

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  24. You're very brave. My husband was a little ticked that I turned off the comments on my 10/13 post. I just didn't want to deal with the mean people.

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  25. I guess I don't see that as a problem with the church . . . I see it as part of the beauty of the church. The church is a living thing made up of living people who breathe and change and grow.

    But we can disagree and still love each other.
    We can do hard things.

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  26. Thanks, Mary. I'm not that brave.

    In fact, I was just sitting by the computer biting my nails and Craig said, "Are you okay?"

    And I said, "I don't know. I feel like some kind of Church Gazpacho is going to come arrest me."

    And Craig said..."Do you mean gestapo? I think gazpacho is - like some sort of dip."

    Whatever, I said. Same difference.

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  27. Fabulous post. And I totally agree about "tolerance" - implying that all you have to do is 'tolerate' someone different bugs me.

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  28. (psst ... there's one point where you mean 'vicious' instead of 'viscous')

    I was reading some stuff by Rob Bell - I think it was in Velvet Elvis - about the church working out what God wants / interpreting scripture, and saying that we are part of a long tradition of people interpreting the scriptures and working out how to live what is written in the Book. It was referring to the verse that talks about 'binding and loosing' which is a Jewish term for forbidding / permitting something by indisputable authority.

    So my current point of view - and this is probably going to change as I start to understand things more - is that the church /can/ change its understanding of what is and is not right, as for example we have done (by and large) in letting women speak in church (I guess there are probably still a few churches that don't let women speak).

    But this is something to be debated and teased out and reasoned and taken very seriously - I don't think we should 'pick and choose' lightly. I guess, at the moment, that I think it is okay for the Christian community to (via debate and reasoning and searching the scriptures - e.g. we could look at examples of Deborah as a female leader in Israel, and references to what may have been female leaders in the early church e.g. Phoebe, and consider the circumstances under which Paul forbade women from speaking in church) change what it believes, but I think it can be dangerous for a person to pick and choose what they believe.

    G, this isn't meant to imply that I think you haven't thought your views out. I respect your position, but like a couple of the others above, the idea of a pick and choose Christianity rings alarm bells for me personally.

    I'd also like to briefly stand up for tradition - I agree that tradition can end up being pointless and a burden etc. On the other hand, tradition can be tradition because this is something that for centuries has helped people to draw closer to God - and that's really worth keeping. I think it's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater (I grew up in a reasonably evangelical church that wasn't big on any traditions, and whilst at University I went to a high-ish Anglican chapel which was quite traditional, and I really got a lot out of it).

    (Jeanette - not meaning to pick on you, just your comment made me think of it, because I have heard people saying that tradition is all man-made and therefore pointless and therefore bad - but almost every church will have 'the way we tend to do things' so we have some sort of tradition whether we think about it or not)

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  29. Whoa that was an enormous comment. And I forgot to say one of the things I really wanted to say:

    "... “kids can be so cruel.” This is something we tend to say. Kids these days, they can be so cruel. But I think this is just a phrase we toss around to excuse ourselves from facing the truth. Because I don’t think kids are any crueler than adults. I just think kids aren’t quite as adept yet at disguising their cruelty. "

    Yes. yes. yes. People can be so cruel. But we have a responsibility not to be.

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  30. I hear you, Jingle Bella. You are a smart sassy thing, you.

    Nope, none of this was taken lightly by Craig or me. I actually spent a sleepless month over this issue. Truly. Craig would wake up at two am and find me at the computer reading the official stands of churches all over the world about homosexuality. He'd stumble in and say,

    "You're researching again, aren't you? Honey, do we even KNOW any gay people?"

    And I'd be on my sixth cup of coffee already and I'd glare at him and say:

    "NO. We DON'T. And that's another thing. How LAME can we be???"

    I take none of this lightly. That's my point.

    Now... I promised myself that I would leave this post as it is and refrain from commenting. Clearly I have failed. Starting over...now.

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  31. Glennon...you are the SHIT!!!..absolutely BRILLIANT...breathtakingly brilliant post!!...I am quite sure that is the MOST intellegent, honest thing I have EVER heard from a CHRISTIAN!.....DAMN STRAIGHT!!!

    ...tattootom

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  32. I agree with your post, inside and out! Just perfect. Thank you, Glennon!

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  33. couple of thoughts:
    my best friend and I developed a funny little phrase a few years back that, really, is the backbone of our very close friendship. It started as joke of sorts, and now I find myself saying it over and over, no longer joking: "Don't judge."

    We don't judge each other, EVER. we just accept each other as we are, and support and love each other. And I keep telling other friends this - I say, you can tell me anything, because no matter what, I don't judge.

    I hope I am sending the same message to my daughter. We don't judge people for who they are, we just love them and accept them no matter what. Thin, fat, gay, straight, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian.

    thanks G, love this post. And my "don't judge" friend - E - miss you girl. xo.

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  34. I think it is fair to recognize that our interpretation and understanding of the Teachings can change, and grow. God is Love...and I believe that He is still teaching us, everyday, all the time. About non-judgement, compassion, acceptance and love.

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  35. Loved the letter. And if Chase is straight, maybe you can use it for one of the girls. Or a grandchild. Or some other person-- though, "You are our dream come true" might be pretty intimidating for someone outside of the nuclear family.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay area, so this topic might be a bit more settled for me. My kids know quite a few gay people, coupled and single, including our priest and deacon.

    Anyhow, even though I was already pretty left on this issue, it all became even more clear on the day my first child was born. As I held that tiny boy, I was suddenly SURE than nothing in the world would ever be worth rejecting him. That even if he was a hardened criminal, I would love him (but not protect him from his consequences).

    The wonderful side effect of living in the super-liberal left coast is that when my kids and I were talking about marriage, they could think of opposite-sex and same-sex couples they knew. We talked about the promises of marriage and how those were important because they were a promise to love the way God wants us to love.

    It's not that I think that kids don't get bullied for being gay at home, but I can point out gay people my kids know and love and can help them have the strength to refuse to see "gay" as a slur. And to stand up when it is used that way.

    As for the "pick and choose" approach to the Bible, I tend to lean more on a sense that the writings of St. Paul and the book of Leviticus (or was it Deuteronomy?) are reflective of the time and community in which they were written. They are not always in alignment with Jesus' words of love and acceptance. Those are the ones that inform my opinion. It seems that Jesus spent a great deal of time with the outcast in his society. Maybe today, they would be those who are gay. Or overweight. Or Muslim.

    Thank you for speaking from your heart and being brave. And thank you for the loving Monkee conversation. Please know that I am sharing my perspective in that spirit.

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  36. G, this is the most incredible essay and letter I have ever read. You are overflowing with brilliance and love. I feel like I just took a huge breath of fresh ocean air. Love love love.

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  37. es, ma'am, va fox. I agree with you completely. Yes, that's it. They are, they are reflective of the time and community in which they were written.
    I just mean that in light of that, I choose to weigh Jesus' words heavier than any commentary or interpretation that follows. That's what I meant by choosing.


    Kay.. I'm really quieting down
    starting....NOW.


    Love love love you too, Jen.

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  38. Glennon- I am really curious about how it is going on the whole "no gossip" thing. Would you give an update some time, when the mood strikes? I am hoping that what you are going to say is that it has been really easy and that you put your mind to it, asked God for help and that lo and behold, no gossip has been around you. I realize this is totally off-topic...wait, maybe it isn't...No bullying, No gossip. It fits. :)

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  39. Francie, Girl.

    It's been awful. Not good at all. So far the only good that has come of the experiment is that it has emphasized what a total jerk I am. I'm not even TRYING anymore, Francie.

    My problem is not gossiping with other people. I cut that out awhile back. The problem is that for some reason I am always feeling the need to DEFEND myself about things and people to Craig and my mom and Sister. So I find myself describing how wrong other people are constantly to them. It's just rough. BOO to me.

    I'm starting over Francie. But not till like next week. I'm really tired this week. I'll let you know. Sorry I don't have more triumphant news for you.

    I'm really always better at the STARTING of the love projects than the FINISHING of the love projects.

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  40. This is my first time to read your blog -- and I'm hooked. You so exquisitely expressed my feeling about love, my children, the Bible. Thank you.

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  41. "I'm really always better at the STARTING of the love projects than the FINISHING of the love projects. "
    Aren't we all, Glennon? At least you are trying!!
    :)Andie

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  42. thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a member of a progressive church but was reared in a very evangelical punitive church. Jesus loves us all, no matter what. You give me hope for Christianity, and not just my own brand of it.

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  43. You had me at "Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated." I'm passing this post on... I hope you consider sending this one on for publication somewhere/lots of places. Thanks, Glennon.

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  44. I love this. I really do.

    I don't mean to stir the pot, but I do want to say one thing, because I do know gay people. Kind of a lot of them, which is probably unusual for a suburban straight Virginia mom.

    But I digress . . . I loved what Lindsay Anne said about choosing a sin doesn't make it less of a sin: "For example, the Bible says pre-marital sex is a sin. I chose to not follow that part. But my choice does not change the classification of the action. It was still sin." I agree completely.

    But, to carry this analogy over to the discussion about homosexuality requires the belief that homosexuality is a choice. In order to call a gay person a sitter based on his/her sexuality alone, one must believe that gay people make a decision to be gay and that they could just as easily live as a straight person. I do not believe this because most of the homosexuals I know I've known my whole life. And I can tell you this- I knew they were gay before I knew what gay was. They were born different and acted differently from an early age. They did not choose a certain lifestyle, they simply came into this world just as they are.

    I'm a religious person, so I have to believe that God made them that way, just the way he made me straight and a redhead, and a little on the tall side. I came into the world just as I am.

    So there you have it. That's my hang up with classifying a gay lifestyle as a sin. Why would God create these people if their very being is wrong? I just can't accept it, so I too, choose to overlook this part of the Bible with the hope that one day I'll understand why it's there at all.

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  45. Shoot. Gay people are called "sinners" not "sitters" . . . I mean, some of them might be sitters, but that's not what I meant.

    :)MK

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  46. G, loved this post. And I'm with you on Nate Berkus.

    Play soon?

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  47. vrwfox! Love ya sistah of the westcoast! Your comment encompassed everything that I would have commented. And since you did it for me, I can now go and eat dessert.

    To G. lady and everyone else,

    This is a HUGE topic in our house right now. Tolerance, homophobia and bullying. Because we are in the process to adopt an HIV positive child. G, as you know, we've already had our share of negative, ignorance, and incomprehension. I can hear a bunch of you saying, well why does she tell people? We've chosen to disclose because we do not want to foster shame and secrecy, because I suck at remembering who knows what about my life, and because I want this to help dispel ignorance, fear and hate.

    Also, loved that you correlated fear to hurting. We hurt people when we are afraid. I hurt myself by having major anxiety and panic when I am afraid.

    'Fear is the origin of all sin'

    Love,

    Tova

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  48. I just had a similar discussion w/ a friend TODAY! God has placed this idea of 'tolerance' on our hearts I suppose! I believe tolerance is not enough, let's respect & appreciate & give thanks to each other for our differences! I learned this lesson as a special ed teacher- ALL students deserve respect and a great education, I think sometimes we need to talk about HOW we are different so we can understand & love each other instead of ignoring what makes us uncomfortable. Wonderful post!

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  49. Oh Glennon, thank you for being who you are, and bravely, bravely asking us all to step into the fire with you...I love being a monkey

    I have one thought(that is SUCH a lie, this provoked so many thoughts)...

    I wish I could say that I have no problem with people who "use" their faith to hate or bully. But I think people who hate and bully use everything at their disposal (their money, their words, their actions, their kids), and those are not people I have ever been able to sustain a relationship with. I don't actually need to do much analysis as to why they bully. They make me feel unsafe..I just disconnect.

    And I guess that is my point. I want to teach my children how to know how to be in healthy relationships...with friends, with lovers, with relatives, with their spiritual life.

    Its trite, but so many people I work with in my psychotherapy practice are struggling against what is "true" about themselves versus what they want to be true. One of the gifts of being a therapist is that unlike many of the people in their life, I don't NEED them to be anything other than who they are. By not needing them to be anything I can see that they already are something, sometimes even before they can (and it humbles me beyond words)

    My secret hunch is that bullies need something, and bullying is the only way they think they can get it. I don't think it is that they need for people to not be gay, or need for the Bible to tell the literal truth, or for one population or culture for be a threat.

    I think bullies are a bit like kids having a temper tantrum. There are people who walk toward kids who are flailing in the toy aisle at target, and try and hug that child (God love them), and there are those that yell back (oh, honey I get it...its embarrassing and frustrating, but has it EVER worked to calm that child down?) I walk. Not too far, 'cause I still need to know my world is safe, but I walk away with, "I can see you seem to feel you need something, but I can't understand you when you are screaming, and trying to kick me." And sometimes for good measure I add, "And I didn't do anything to cause your little heavy metal moment, Lucy (aforesaid mentioned toddler).

    I have everything that I need (truly, honestly, I know that to be true), and I am happier than I ever expected to be. I worked hard to be happy, and I expect my kids to do the same.

    Glennon wrote a beautiful essay about weaving and her in-laws that I tell everyone about. We all have to weave our own masterpieces, and I want my kids to know that I believe fully in their ability to do that for themselves, to correct what they feel needs correcting, and to be most interested in the work being done on their own loom. They way I see it, we are all craftspeople, and beauty is open to interpretation. Being a bully, or being listening to a bully, is just white noise when you could be picking your colors.

    'Night team.

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  50. JB - not feeling picked on but in regards to my comment on tradition, it is based on friends who when I ask them why their church does some thing, they tell me "tradition".

    I guess I was taught that the bible should be the source for how a church is to function. Here's something I've heard from messages at church "if you found the perfect church, don't join" (i.e. it won't be once you are in it).

    The bible says there's nothing new under the sun. The words were relevant then, they're as relevant now. The bible is a complete book, to be read in it's entirety - Jesus is throughout the new and old testaments. Our understanding of it may change and grow but the meaning and interpretation of God's word should not.

    This discussion reminds me again of my Hermit Crab Book Club recommendation. The Shack. I think we would all benefit from William P. Young's "understanding" of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost.

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  51. LOOOOOOOOOVE IT! I really want to go find a gay muslim overweight guy and bring him some cupcakes :) Aren't you supposed to be sick? Instead you wrote the best. post. ever!

    Thanks!
    Abbey B.

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  52. Can I get an Amen? AMEN!!! Girl, you always make me so proud, routing for everyone. I'll never forget when I told you about God giving me patience as I waited for a new checkout girl to mistakenly scan my items (over and over again) at Carters while my two small boys screamed. Your response: "Well, God loves her as much as He loves you." Damn, I was surprised that God didn't love me the most because I'd exhibited so much patience. But, you were right. God loves us ALL!

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  53. MK, if there is a god, I'm glad he/she/it made you my sister.

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  54. Glennon, my mother did not have your take on the subject. I was very hurt especially when my entire family told me how wrong I was and how against the Bible my views were.
    I have first-hand experience that children can be brutal, I was fat and gay as a child and suicide crossed my mind more than once. The thing that got me through the day was the fact that one day soon, I'd be in a different place where these people couldn't destroy me with their words. There is no substitution for acceptance by your peers and family.
    I am in a much better place both physically and mentally now. I'm in great shape, active in my community, successful in my career, and healthy in my relationships. Had I ended it when things were at their worst, I'd have never seen how much better it could get.

    Thank you for sharing this letter and being open in heart and mind. The world needs more moms like you.

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  55. I have never posted a comment before (just been a really admiring reader) but this is my favorite post ever. What a beautiful love letter to your son. Amazing.

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  56. I love you to pieces, Brooks.

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  58. Obsessed with the Rainey Sister Shout Outs.

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  59. We all need to strive to make our lives filled with life and not hate. As my husband and I are struggling with teaching our three year old. You don't have to like all the people around you, but you can't spend all of your time talking and dwelling on what you don't like. Instead spend time focusing and refining what you love in life and the soon you find that what you like grows and blossoms and you are filled with happiness and joy. It is a lesson that we all parents, children, teens, adults, the elderly must study every day for it natural for only a few. Thanks for reminding us that we all need the lesson.

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  60. Fear leads to anger.
    Anger leads to hate.
    Hate leads to suffering.
    -Yoda

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  61. Hi Monkees,
    First time commenter here, and a boy monkee(G told me it was ok)- here goes! So i don't really know what i think about this post. It falls into one of these "i'm confused God" areas of life for me. On one hand yes of course love others as yourself. Others as in, everyone. On the other hand...

    Why? My wife is an interior designer - thus we have friendships with several homosexuals. One of the most confusing things that has been commonplace in these relationships has been a similar conversation of one of our gay friends expressing their desire for 'normalcy' Expressed in various ways - but the common thread is an feeling of unsettledness/ discontent with the lifestyle.

    The idea that MK G- put forth of homosexuality being a natural occurrence definitely resonates with me. It is without any doubt in my experience the case. That said, i have trouble with the conclusion presented. The idea that its natural and therefore cannot be sin seems to me at odds with the idea that we are born into a fallen world. To make this personal, i was certainly born with a number of qualities that i believe would be commonly agreed upon as sin; anger, pride, control.. all things that i've known from before i could really reason at all. Yet all things that i as an adult try(and most often fail, Rom7:15) to bring to the Cross on a daily basis. The wonderful thing is, despite my failures i cannot alter the love that God has for me.

    So what does it all come down to? I'm not sure. i do think that God gave us the Bible and the Holy Spirit not so that we could just be the same, but rather so that we could try to change for the better, to love more. i think that means a lot of different things for different people. What are WE supposed to do? Love our neighbors as ourselves. There is something critical there, if we don't love ourselves - how then will we love our neighbors?

    2 Tim. 3:16 makes me think that if there are parts that i find confusing i should still hold these parts of the bible as useful and true, and until i know what to do with these parts i'm going to do the things that are more clear to me. So in conclusion, i agree, kind of. Hi everyone.

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  62. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACC!


    WHAT UP ISAAAAAC?!!!!!

    Been waiting for ya, buddy. Welcome. And I hear you.


    Love G

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  63. Hi, Isaac.

    Touche - I was wondering if anyone would point out the fact that we're all born just as we are, but certainly not flawless. And there are those with sexual predelections that are harmful (pedophiles and rapists come to mind) and one might argue that they are who they are as well . . . and I'm sure we don't want them out there "practicing" their insticts that most of us commonly agree are sins. So you do have a very good point that my argument has holes.

    But still . . . I just find it impossible to believe that God condemns good, loving, perfectly human homosexuals any more than he does you or me, and so I choose to embrace them, and will expect my children to also. It sounds like you would likely do the same thing with your kids.

    I like you, Isaac. :) You seem very thoughtful and considerate.

    :)MK

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  64. G- about that other thing I brought up: Keep trying. Thank you for the update. You can do it. Sometimes I think holding the mirror up to ourselves is the hardest thing in the world and you do that regularly and make the rest of us become aware of our actions by virtue of you taking stock of yours. (Wow, that sentence is an eyesore, sorry)

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  65. One more thing, Francie.

    I love your name. Have I mentioned that yet?

    Love, G

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  66. "Tolerated, let us tolerate one another. For tolerance is of God, and everyone who tolerates is born of God, and knows God. The one who does not tolerate does not know God, for God is tolerance."

    Doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?

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  67. Momastery -

    Thank you for not being a blog about easy ways to make healthy dinners for your family (not that there's anything wrong with that), or what cute and adorable things your children do all day (I'm mean it's fine if that's what your blog is about), or about how awesome you can decorate or dress up (I've read plenty of blogs like that). Thank you for being a blog that stretches and challenges us to think and that doesn't always stay on safe and easy topics, but is always a safe and easy place to grow individually and collectively as a community.

    Love you forever.

    Lou


    p.s. Well Hello Isaac. I'm so glad you're here.

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  68. Louie-

    My favorite thing about your comment is that you addressed it to Momastery and not to me.

    We are a we, aren't we? It's been a lot of work for all of us and it's been totally worth it.

    Love you forever too.

    G

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  69. Thank you brave Glennon - so brave, so true. I've felt tortured these last weeks reading about these gay kids committing suicide, being bullied. I worked in Residence Life for a long time so the Rutgers situation is brutal for me. It's not supposed to be that hard. Has anyone watched any of the "It Gets Better" videos on YouTube?

    Thanks for spreading love and tolerance and for starting with your own little world first.

    p.s. - love the name Francie. Also Piper - Piper Polglase - that is my make-believe girl name :)

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  70. "lovin em like they are."

    That's been my motto for quite sometime for everyone- but most especially since the day my brother came out to me and my family. This post brought me happy,happy tears.I get asked the question of my thoughts and my faith--and my response is always real simple. It doesn't matter really-- I just want to love em as he is.

    I pray for grace each time to handle and be that supportive, loving sister. And I know I'm not perfect, but he has opened my eyes and heart to the world.

    And it this truly resonated....

    "And I don’t mean, Chase, that we would be tolerant of you and your sexuality. If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than we are, Chase, than we really are aiming quite low."

    I actually sent him the link and he said this
    "i really loved that. a lot. i love her tone.
    the letter she wrote was really great"

    -- he's lives passionately as a voice for the LGBT community- and I am proud of him. He has been posting news stories and updating through facebook exactly on this subject for weeks--- the bullying.

    So,thank you for putting that on paper-- things I could never quite get right. I hope I love us like we are a little better after reading your post. And well-- I am sure Brendan would love to meet him some Melton's--- well, I can only assume!

    -Casey

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  71. G-bird: Yes. YES.

    And about the gestapo or the gazpacho: Do Not Be Afraid.

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  72. I am inspired by the conversation taking place here. For me, it's less about the topic which is clearly important. It's more about the thought and respect that's been given to each and every word.

    I wonder if more people tried to "debate" via written word if we wouldn't see some more progress?

    Kudos to you all...
    --Christi

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  73. kudos to all indeed, christi. it's just joyful. hopeful.

    also - mmmmmmm kudos. remember those? need some chocolate. tgif all!

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  74. Casey,

    I heard from your brother today. It was such an honor. He sure seems to love you a whole lot. Way to be a Sister, Casey.

    Love,

    G

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  75. "JB - not feeling picked on but in regards to my comment on tradition, it is based on friends who when I ask them why their church does some thing, they tell me "tradition"."

    Ahh I can understand then! I guess my experience has been more I ask "Why do we do this?" and get an answer about which principles it's symbolic of (e.g. the bread and the wine for the Eucharist is in some churches brought up from the back of the church because it symbolises the people bringing their gifts into the church) - so it turns into something that reminds me of the Bible rather than something that's done only for the sake of tradition.

    "I guess I was taught that the bible should be the source for how a church is to function. Here's something I've heard from messages at church "if you found the perfect church, don't join" (i.e. it won't be once you are in it)."

    Absolutely!



    Just to be clear, in case this might have been vague: I am absolutely with everyone on the whole we should love and celebrate people thing. Homophobia is a horrible, terrible thing and definitely a sin ... any kind of hate crime is abhorrent. I'm starting to believe that in some sense people are here on earth to be loved - and loving people can be really hard, but it's worthwhile, and it's what we're here for. Me not being sure quite what I think of homosexuality in a Biblical / Christian context doesn't mean that I don't have gay friends or don't seek to love gay people. Everyone is to be loved. As G put so well above - 'Everyone's in, baby'.

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  76. What a lovely post! I agree with another commented who said you should get it published. We need more monkees speaking up to make this world sane again.

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  77. Just realized: I am far more worried that one of my kids might turn out to be a bully than that one of them might turn out to be gay. Guess I only see one of those as a sin.

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  78. This post was incredible. Thank you for sharing it.

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  79. g, initially my comment to you was going to be "i wish you were MY mom" and/or "can you move in/can i move in so i can receive further/daily guidance?" :)

    this post was sent to me from a friend and i wrote her a longer email back but wanted to comment to you as well. here's a copy/pasted paragraph. p.s. i've been up all night and can't sleep. so i read this at like 5am. awesome. :)

    thanks for sharing this post with me. i really loved it. i think i want to subscribe to her. i read the post and then every comment. (and then got sucked in to lots of previous posts). i love that (like a commenter said) she talks about real issues and challenges us to grow/change/be better. but looks to herself first. i want so badly for natalie to be a kind, loving, patient, genuine person. unlike me. but who is going to teach her? she is with me 24/7. IT IS MY JOB. gol dang hard too. i hate when she's rude to me. but i snap at her. hello? what's the difference? who taught her that? who is using love to correct that behavior so it no longer exists in our home? life? community? i wish i had slept tonight so that i could actually take on today fully rested and with the gusto i want to change myself and raise her up in the way i want her to be/go (which of course will probably be very different than what i envision but will love her regardless).

    g, it's been fun to read your passion and also the comments. you've created a really great community here with smart, thoughtful people. i like that you made yourself vulnerable in an effort to share how you feel and also take a stand for what you believe. i know why you can be afraid of comments. because even though people come here on their own and no one MAKES them read what you write, people can still be mean and say unkind things. i'm glad that overall, while you've had disagreeing comments, people have chosen to speak to you with love and respect. you deserve it.

    i don't know where you got monkee from, but i want to be one :)

    have a great day! hugs to you and your sweet fam!

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  82. This is the first time I have read your blog. It was linked through a friend of mine on Facebook,... and I sit here lost for words. Your post made me cry. I agree, wholeheartedly, with every single thing you said. Thank you for sharing this.

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  83. What a wonderfully articulated letter. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  84. Such eloquent words and so much appreciated. Thank you, Glennon. As my son would say, "you rock!"

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  85. me four.

    but perhaps the comfort of Jesus' message is... that sin* should not be feared. that He paid the price. that sin is the greatest unifier on the planet. that sin often breeds compassion. that we are closest to God at our weakest and we are farthest from God when we try to act like God or when we judge others.

    *sin being ANYTHING that is not perfectly perfect.

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  86. A friend linked to your blog through Facebook, and I will be linking to you on my blog. Thank you. You are a beautiful person and I can see Christ in your words.

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  87. lou, i love this:

    that sin is the greatest unifier on the planet. that sin often breeds compassion. that we are closest to God at our weakest and we are farthest from God when we try to act like God or when we judge others.

    very profound.

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  88. My friend Michelle posted a link to your blog on hers and I just want you to know that it is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a very very long time.

    I wish that everyone was lucky to have a mom like you (and mind you my mom is pretty great too.)

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  89. thank you, thank you, thank you.

    i am heartened and warm and fuzzy and cozy.

    we can do hard things.

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  90. Dear Glennon,
    I so appreciate your desire to love. 2 things: First, God saying something is an abomination and an apostle saying something that was culturally appropriate at the time are different. They just are. 2nd: Please understand that there is a STRONG statistical link between homosexuals (especially male) and pedophilia. As a matter of fact, research tells us that many homosexuals became homosexual after a traumatic sexual encounter with an adult of the same gender. Imagine if Chase was simply at camp and a male counselor cornered him alone somewhere. When Christians talk about protecting families, we aren't talking about worrying about our own marital union, we are concerned about placing children in the care of anyone that is statistically greatly more likely to sexually abuse them. We are also talking about being required in various ways, to allow our children to be accessed by them. There was just a case recently where a boy who decided he wanted to be a girl was given his own restroom at the school. THat wasn't good enough for him or his parents. They want him to be able to use the girl's restroom. How would you feel if a thirteen year old boy, who, obviously sexually aware enough to have made this decision, is in the stall next to your daughter?
    I appreciate we are all at different places on the journey with this, just understand you may not be completely informed and you may not have considered the ramifications. There are some hurting, gentle, bullied gays, for sure. But there are some flaming, vulgar in your face activists ones as well. The former is the poster child for the latter. I will agree that some people seem to be gay without any abusive cause... so here is a testimony I will leave you with: My friend worked at an AIDS center giving government money to clients with the disease. One of the workers there was a former homosexual. This is how he explained being homosexual. He said that just as we are all born into sin, the particular sin he was born with was homosexuality. And just as Christ delivers all of us from our transgressions with his free gift of grace for all who will receive it, he was delivered from homosexuality in the same way. His voice got deeper. He was a new man and his ministry was helping those in bondage find their way out, not telling them bondage is just the same as freedom. I hope you won't think this too harsh a post, just a slightly older lady with a few years on her with this issue. Feel free to cast the counsel aside should God tell you to...

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  91. Well, I confess I didn't read all of the posts above and I doubt we'll have a chance to meet in person, but hey, in some sense, you now know one gay person - and this post is truly wonderful.

    This type of alliance, acceptance and love inspired by the divine is just the sort of thing we need in this world to help the world be a little bit closer to heaven.

    Thank you!

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  92. Yes, Yes, Yes LP...

    On Earth as it is in Heaven.

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  93. Also... there are a couple of comments that I felt very sad while reading, but I believe, down to my tippy-toes, that the weight and effects of those poster's cruel or innacurate beliefs about gay people will ultimately be drowned out with love.

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  94. Already have been, LP.

    My tippy toes feel the same way yours do.

    So much love.

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  95. I found your blog through Life After Jerusalem...and I have to say, this is one of the best blog posts I've ever seen, and I agree completely. Beautifully written by someone who is so beautifully living her faith. Your children are very blessed to have you as a mom!

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  96. I'm with you, LP. Let's drown it out with love, together.

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  97. Thank you Momastery!! I hope you don't mind but I printed this out and put it in the my collegues mailboxes as well as gave it to my principal. As teachers, we deal with this everyday and we need to be role models as well. I have seen teachers and paras turn their heads when bullying situations have happened at school. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for willingness to tackle such a sensitive subject! I love this place!!!
    Kelly Ketcham

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  98. Beautifully said.

    Wonderfully true.

    Thank you for posting this.

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  99. Hi - I love this post and have shared it with my friends. Thank you for your courage and faith.

    Regarding whether homosexuality is a sin we have chosen not to follow -- I would take it a step farther because I don't believe the Bible says it IS a sin. The places that mention it in the Bible are the result of poor translation from the original texts. The following link can explain it best. http://www.gaychurch.org/gay_and_christian_yes/calling_the_rainbow_nation_home/7_gac_the_clobber_passages.htm

    Be sure to click through to the section about the Greek word "arsenokoitais," as it will open your eyes regarding the passages that have been used most frequently to condemn homosexuality as a sin.

    Also, Jesus NEVER spoke about homosexuality. And yet many churches have taken it up as a primary concern.

    So, in my opinion, it's not even a matter of it being something in the Bible we can choose to follow or not...it never should have been in the Bible translations we read in the first place!

    Again, thank you for sharing this post. I know it will make a difference in many lives.

    Jenny

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  100. What a beautiful post! You are a wonderful mama :) So many people focus so hard on the word of man (the Bible, Torah, Quran, etc), and totally miss out on the truth of the spirit. What you say about kids and cruelty is true too. Kids aren't born cruel ... they are taught to be cruel by their parents. Kids are mirrors. I've always believed that you can immediately tell what a person is like, if you observe the behavior of their children (and pets, for that matter!). Chase is a lucky kid, to have parents like you and your husband, let us hope that one day more kids will be so lucky too.

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  101. Thank you for posting this. I wish that my parents had responded in the same way when I came out to them. Instead, they and my sisters have cut me off. The only reason I have contact with them at all is because of my children (I came out later than most). They're very religious (Jehovah's Witnesses, actually) and even though I tried to tell my parents that I have felt this way my whole life, that it wasn't a choice, that it was driving me into a deep depression that was making me contemplate just ending it all, that I was finally happy with myself after deciding that I could no longer live my life as a hypocrite, my pleas fell on deaf ears.

    I love my parents and my sisters and I miss them dearly. I wish they would accept me. As I've told them and other friends before, being gay is probably the least interesting thing about me. It doesn't define me as a person. It is just a part of who I am. But my family has chosen to end contact with me, and that's on them. As for me, I chose to continue to live my life honestly, being the best mom I can be to my three wonderful children, and modeling for them as best I can an honest,responsible, moral approach to life.

    I lost my belief in God during this process, but this post made me feel for the first time in a long time, that perhaps being gay and being religious do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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  102. "I lost my belief in God during this process, but this post made me feel for the first time in a long time, that perhaps being gay and being religious do not have to be mutually exclusive. "
    That is wonderful:) Glennon, your words and the community you have created can do hard things:)
    Andie

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  103. Anonymous at 5:34 on 10/16, if you are going to make a claim as radical and horrifying as the ones you made about homosexuality and pedophilia being linked, and about homosexuality stemming from traumatic same sex encounters, then you need to do two things in order to be taken seriously:

    1) Don't hide behind anonymity
    2) Cite your sources

    Until then I'm drowning you out with love.

    *Brooks

    PS - I love LP, whoever he/she is.

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  104. PPS - That story about the "former homosexual" is just about the saddest story I've ever heard. That poor soul. :(

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  105. To anonymous at 5:18am on 10/17:
    Your story makes my heart hurt. To think that your family would choose to lose their relationship with you and not celebrate the fact that you are a loving mother living her life as honestly and authentically as possible is just terrible. But I'm thankful to know that you are living that honest life for yourself and your children.

    And, if you do seek a Christian faith community for yourself and your family, they are not impossible to find. The Metropolitan Community Church is a denomination of 250 congregations in 23 countries with a special ministry to the LGBT community. My own denomination- The Episcopal Church-- is a bit more hit or miss, but still mostly hit. Mainline protestant churches are grappling with issues of marriage and ordination for all, and are mostly coming down on the side of love and openness. This shouldn't be too shocking, with Jesus as a model.

    Monkees have probably been seeing the "It gets better" videos that are being done in response to the bullying/suicides. I just saw one by Bishop Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Bishop on New Hampshire. It is wonderful!

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  106. Jenny - just wanted to say thank you for that link - reading now :)

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  107. Wow. This is one amazing place. That's all I have to say. Meet hate with love and watch what happens!

    :)MK

    (PS- I love the part about "Do not fear" being a major theme of the Bible, and we talked about exactly that thing in our Sunday School teachers meeting this morning. Love one another, and do not fear ring really true, don't they?)

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  108. hi, i'd never read you before, but this popped up on my facebook wall, and *wow*. Just, *wow*.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  109. Isaac, you make a wonderful point. One of the greatest difficulties I experienced learning about Christianity was that my father (a physically, emotionally, verbally, and sexually abusive man) could make it into Heaven just as easily as I could. It was a stumbling block for me. Once I encountered Christ and accepted Him, this fact became a sincere comfort. Nothing, nothing, nothing I could do could change Christ's love for me. Oh how wonderful... "How precious did that Grace appear...the hour I first believed." The more time I spend with Christ and His word, the more moments of growth (to which Glennon often contributes/inspires) like this I have. One such moment of growth is this...

    When I was young I knew lots of boys (lots!) and they had somehow come across the notion that girl-on-girl action was hot. In not so subtle ways this idea was passed along to me, which I then acted on. It felt very natual and sexy and right. I kind of tucked it away and didn't think about it for a while, but it always lay dormant. When I met my future husband, it became part of our fantasy conversation. Suddenly it had resurfaced and made me wonder if maybe I wasn't gay or at least bisexual. Here I was married and concerned that I just might be gay. What a predicament. Not long after that I had an encounter with Christ and I asked Him what about these feelings. He said, "This is not for you, not for your life, not for your marriage." I understood, but what about these feelings? He responded, "Keep seeking me and I will make it right." So that's what I did. I seek Him daily and He has made it right. I have two beautiful daughters, an amazing husband and a love for God that grows every day.

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  110. G-Love your blog, been following it ever since I discovered it. Thanks for addressing the topic of bullying. 60% of the adolescents admitted to the local psych ward here are there due to bullying--just something I discovered through nursing and was horrified to find out. I was the subject of serious bullying and I *still* have nightmares from time to time, even now in my 30's. I love that you express your unconditional love to Chase, something every child would die to hear from their parents. My only question is: why the focus on homosexuality and not all the other areas where children suffer? I'm just curious b/c I could have used a letter like that as a child--big time--but acceptance r/t homosexuality would have missed the mark totally. Just curious why you chose that focus...

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  111. Oh Glennon...great post, great message! Thanks for taking the risk to be honest and share your thoughts and beliefs.

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  112. Beautifully written! I love you for loving your little boy as much as I love mine. I commented to a friend the other day the very same idea - if the ADULTS would stop being nasty, maybe the kids would too.
    keep up the amazing work.
    Sara

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  113. A genius is the one most like himself. – Thelonious Monk

    Hope we are all wise enough to celebrate and encourage the genius in ourselves and our children!

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  114. Great post! Thanks for this. Your son is lucky to have such loving parents.

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  115. I'm going to share this with my friends. You might also enjoy this article: http://www.greeleytribune.com/article/20101016/FAITH/101019783/1038&parentprofile=1001

    It's written by a "fellow traveler."

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  116. http://www.exodusinternational.org/content/blogcategory/20/149/

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  117. Wow--what a gift to find this blog! I'm a pastor in a place where this kind of thought is not in the vocal majority, so I find myself giving a great sigh of relief.

    I've tried to address the picking and choosing issue in my own life; I do think it's a pretty natural thing to do, but I also think we have to wrestle with the things we don't agree with. The rule I use generally, though, is: Does it support/engender love? Not romantic love, but the self-giving, community-building, life-giving, Jesus kind of love. Because wherever we find that, it's God's gift. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck--it's love--we know it when we see it.

    There are all sorts of mean, self-destructive people in the world, some who use their sexuality in the process or as a weapon, but only some of them are gay. And it's not their gayness that causes them to do what they do. I hear people compare being gay with other natural inclinations that become destructive if not controlled--pride, selfishness, etc. But those things inherently work against abundant life, and gayness per se does not. If a GLBT person is sinful or hurtful or any other negative thing, it's because of some other human being issue they're having, not because they're gay.

    Sorry this is so long--thanks again for helping us teach our children to love.

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  118. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  119. Digger linked your post on her blog - what a beautiful heartfelt, loving and Christ-centered response. Thank you for posting this essay. I hope to share this blog with others. Thank you! Thank you!

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  120. Glennon & Monkees, what a fantastic essay and discussion! I am so thankful that you chose to write on this topic. May all of these messages of love ripple far and wide!

    I was bullied for a time and it sucked. It was by somebody who was full of meanness and toxicity. This toxicity seemed to infect my small sixth grade class and others joined in against me -- kids with whom I'd never previously had any issue -- kids whose previous relationships with me had been mutually respectful and congenial. Maybe they were afraid of getting on her bad side, I don't know -- just like I can only speculate as to why and how I became her target and why she behaved the way she did. My sixth grade teacher employed bullying as a classroom control tactic so she didn't seem to recognize this girl's behavior as particularly harmful. Moreover, I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I had been targeted so I did not tell anybody at home about it for fear that I would make them sad for me which just felt too cringe-worthy.

    The whole experience left me reeling after we moved to a different state for high school and I started to attend a much better school filled with what to me looked like incredibly well-adjusted, talented, confident kids. I felt like a wounded rescue dog who'd just emerged from starvation and imprisonment in a dark cave -- squinting, aching, scared and deeply distrustful of others. I cringed and cowered a lot and felt constantly angry and defensive. I pushed away some of those well-adjusted, talented, confident kids who tried to be my friends because I didn't understand why they were showing me love and attention -- I just couldn't believe that it could last and so I made sure that it didn't -- I didn't stop until I actually got them to dislike me. I also shunned a variety of enriching opportunities that came my way because I didn't feel worthy of them -- I saw them as things I would've loved to have done "once upon a time." And so instead, I opted for things I didn't like too much and for which I didn't have any particular aptitude or passion. It was as if I was on a mission to prove that bully right again and again again. Eventually, somehow, I wound up with a great group friends of anyway, thank God -- girls with whom I could be silly, creative, and free -- girls with whom I could reclaim parts of my true self while repairing some of my broken spirit. I know that I was a difficult friend at times but they stuck with me through everything -- they were and are a testament to unconditional love. And eventually, my spirit did get repaired and I did get myself back plus a whole lot more and I see that part of my life now as a terribly painful trial. I have to say though, that even when the bullying was its worst, the idea of suicide or physically harming myself in any way never occurred to me. I read four different stories recently of students who killed themselves because of being bullied and it breaks my heart that in addition to not getting the help they so totally deserved they must not have realized that "this too shall pass." I don't have any articulate commentary or advice to offer at this point, other than to say it needs to stop -- everybody needs to do something -- at home, at school, in the media, kids of ALL ages need to get called out on their bullying. Bullying must be universally condemned and stigmatized. Bullying must be supplanted by love and universal human respect. All lives must be cherished as precious, and as you so wonderfully said, celebrated!

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  121. No matter what the occasion is when you present your son (children) with this letter, they are blessed.

    I wanted to just say that I've always hated the word "tolerant", and when people have used the word to describe me I've been mystified. I thought you tolerated flu shots, and if you didn't you got sick. But I'm too far from being able to use the word "celebrate", just because I'm usually too matter-of-fact about things. I'll try to change that. Thanks.

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  122. I came across this sermon yesterday and I think it's so beautiful. I just couldn't contain my tears towards the end.

    http://vimeo.com/13499346

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  123. I was bullied in high school. I found out at our 20th reunion that my tormentor became a stripper and is dying of AIDS. She also has a daughter. I am ashamed to admit that I rejoiced in that news. I will try to love her from now on, as a fellow child of God. Thank you Momastery! How freeing!

    Geek

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  124. Hi Geek,

    Good for you. So much love.

    G

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  125. Just stumbled upon your blog, and boy am I glad! This was so beautifully written. I may have to write a letter like this to my own kids, just in case. I'd steal your letter and swap in my own kids names if I could feel good about it, but I just don't think it would be as genuine.
    :-)

    Thank you for saying what so many think, but aren't brave enough to say!

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  126. You writing is a gift. Thank you for sharing.
    Namaste

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  127. G:

    Your knack for expressing the things hidden inside the hearts of many is a beautiful reflection of the God who created you. I have so much respect for a woman who is willing to "go there" and challenge us all to think, to reflect, to dig deep into our souls and search out the good, the bad and the ugly. It's all there inside of us, that has been made clear.

    I am married to a pastor, making me a pastor's wife, also making me risky/vulnerable in this discussion. Hmmm...

    My own love for the Bible, and the God who inspired it, comes from an honest-to-God belief that all of his words are meant for LIFE, and for it to be lived in the fullest. That statement carries much baggage, but by it I simply mean a freedom like King David says, "he makes me to lie down in green pastures... though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will have no fear." (Ps 23)

    No fear. None. Just like you said.

    When God's beauty is misunderstood/miscommunicated/misinterpreted we are all at a loss, for His love runs deep.

    My prayer is that the deep, deep love of God as given to us by the Holy Spirit and as shown to us in Christ Jesus, would be the rich source of true life it is intended to be in it's entirety. That confusion and frustration over certain perceived incongruities (and I do mean perceived -- I believe women can speak in church and not cover their heads and that is NOT picking and choosing from scripture, it's a much longer answer...)can be reconciled from a place of great trust and love and fear of the Lord.

    He is, after all, Lord of all creation. The earth, and everything in it, is indeed his.

    We would most definitely be better mothers, friends and people if we really agreed with this. Instead of seeing some of the things as mine and yours, his and hers. It's all his and our place in it never had anything to do with judgment. 'Cause it's not our stuff! It's God's stuff, he'll do the judging.

    With very much love for God and his creation,

    Danielle

    PS
    On the topic of the 'wrath' of God people are often angered over (something that often surfaces in the debate over sexuality in general)... the word for 'wrath' is more accurately translated as 'frustrated desire,' indicating the deep desire of God for his people to live in that deep love of his, and his frustration over the fact that it's not happening. God's love is as expansive as the ever-expanding universe! May He restore our souls! (Ps 25)

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  128. All I know is that if my partner and I had not met and fallen in love, if we had not chosen to make a commitment to spend our lives together, if we had not decided to start a family, then this world would be without two of the most amazing little people I know.

    p.s. it's always interesting watching a part of your life and it's validity be debated by others. thanks for starting the conversation!

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  129. thanks for hanging in there with us, gretchen.

    im happy for you and your amazing little people.

    xo
    g

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  130. Your letter to Chase made me cry (and not cry in sadness) but rather joy! Joy to read your words of love...unconditional love! I have a 15 year old sister whom we have "thought" was gay since she was very little, and I worry that I do not convey how happy I am for her...happy that she is being true to herself and who she has always been! I hope you don't mind, but I printed your letter to your son for her! I think it is perfection...because who I see when I look at her is strength, and love! Thank you so much for sharing this! kindly- L

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  131. What a beautiful post. So beautiful that it got forwarded to me by a friend. Thank you.

    If Chase ends up being gay and if you truly want the time to be brief between his discovery of that fact and his sharing of that fact with you, then you may want to start letting him know now that when he grows up he can love whoever he will. I assure you that you won't make him gay.

    I was always careful not to presume that my daughters would marry a man when when they grew up so that they would know that I was truly accepting of them-in all ways. They have let me know that they would be marrying a man, if they got married. At 15 and 18 they do see to be straight, but some of their friends are not. And they know, without a doubt, that I am an ally to them and to their friends.

    Blessings,

    Laila

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  132. Hi, I just happened to see this when a friend posted it on Facebook. As an overweight lesbian atheist I was quite touched by your letter. Many Christians (and religious people in general) make me a bit nervous, but your kind of Christianity I can accept-- that is, the kind that genuinely seems to care about people, and doesn't think having faith means abandoning reason.

    Most people on this blog seem to know better, but I just have to respond to Anonymous at 5:34 on 10/16, because practically everything she said is just WRONG.

    Anonymous, there is NO statistical link between homosexuality and pedophilia. This has been shown time and again, and it is only by selectively quoting studies so as to pervert their conclusions that you arrive at statements like this. Anti-gay activists keep repeating them, and frightened heterosexals keep believing them, but they aren't true. See http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,002.htm just for example, or better yet, go to the original academic sources.

    People are not "turned gay" by bad sexual experiences, bad parenting, or taking up figure skating, whatever the Family Research Council may be claiming this week. Oh yeah, and "ex-gays" are kidding themselves, but at least they aren't killing themselves so there remains some hope for them.

    Please find out the truth before you go repeating things like this again. As someone in your Bible once said, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." And it *wasn't* an apostle.

    -Nik

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  133. I love this post. As a straight former spouse of a gay man, I had every reason to rant and be angry. But I knew what he went through in his efforts to believe, and his later efforts at acceptance, and I could never muster any lasting anger, only love. I appreciate you putting into words the acceptance that is needed for all of us.

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  134. Woo hoo Nik and Carol! Kudos to both of you.
    :)MK

    (PS - You're right, most of us DO know better.)

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  135. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon:
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope
    where there is darkness, light
    where there is sadness, joy
    O Divine Master,
    grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood, as to understand;
    to be loved, as to love;
    for it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
    Amen.

    Thanks, Lisa. (And St. Francis)


    Love G

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  136. What a wonderful post (a friend posted a link on her FB)! It really resonated with me.

    One thought. My mother attended a church that slightly altered the "second law of Christianity". They believed that instead of loving our neighbor as ourselves we should focus on loving our neighbor as Our Father loves us. Their point was that there are a lot of people out there who don't love themselves.

    Blessings to those who believe in the power of love!

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  137. G,

    I have to believe you made a difference with this. A big difference.

    Brava,
    D

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  138. " I met the enemy and he is us."

    Pogo---By Walt Kelly

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  139. Even as an agnostic, I found this to be a beautiful essay.

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  140. That was an incredibly beautiful, powerful post, and I am so grateful to have been pointed here to read it. Thank you for sharing these wise, eloquent words with a world sorely in need of them.

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  141. Your son is a lucky boy to have you as a mom. This post is amazing and powerful and brought a tear to my eyes, both due to laughter and emotions. Thank you for writing this post and this letter.

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  142. Thank you for having the courage to share this Glennon. I couldn't agree more.

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  143. I first read this last week and have been sitting back as a quiet observer to the comments. I am not only moved by the power of the post itself but also by the Monkees. Glennon - what you've created here would be very hard to duplicate. I have never in my life seen a group of people this size treat each other with such love and respect. Love me some Monkees and love me some Glennon.

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  144. Happy Spirit day, Monkees! I hope you're all wearing purple. :)

    http://www.glaad.org/spiritday

    Love,
    Brooks

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  145. Beautiful. Thank you. Your kids are going to turn out pretty darn awesome. :)

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  146. I just finished reading this. I'm at work. It is lunch time. My 30 minutes of chill time in a hectic day. I can't think of a break better spent.

    Though I'm not "Christian", my belief system, as far as priorities are concerned, are pretty much the same. You've written something beautiful and I wish more people "got it".

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  147. Terrific perspective and thoughtful. I do take issue, however, with your focus on gay, overweight, and Muslim children being the main recipients of bullying. As the father of five adopted Asian children my kids received their share of bullying and name calling in school. And as your post suggests, the comments have not necessarily stopped now that they are adults. I would submit that bullying is directed at those that are different than the surrounding population and "different" may be only in the eyes of the bully who is trying to lower another to his/her own level of self worth.

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  148. I just want to continue to heap the praise on the post. I found this linked through Digger's blog, and I love it. I, too, am an educator, and have shared this link with some co-workers and friends. I am hoping to use the letter/post in a training I am conducting later this week on how to teach students who are different from us.

    Thank you for sharing your gift of writing and speaking the words in my heart. You have given guidance and comfort, which should be the goal of all of us.

    I do not know you, but I am grateful for this small connection. You have made my life better.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Becky

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  149. I don't know you but I sure wish I did. I could be your first gay friend. All I can say is thank you - for your acceptance, for your candor, and for the beautiful way that you accept responsibility and step up to the challenge of saving the world.
    Take care & be well-

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  150. This is lovely, and I will, like the many others above, share this on other sites.
    I'm going to start using "Everyone's in, baby."

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  151. Glennon, I've never met you, but I can tell you are indeed a fine person. I just wish more of the voices of people who claim to count themselves as faithful Christians (or any other religion) were as tolerant and true to the central tenets of their faiths as yours is. So much harm is done in the name of religion, but you just helped even the score a little. Chase is indeed a lucky boy.

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  152. Greeting all from your long lost Granny Monkee. I have been reading every post but when I tried to respond for some reason my computer would mess up or something would happen and my post wouldn't go through. Hmmm maybe that was God keeping my mouth shut for a time.

    I have wrestled with the issues of bullies and gay students for most of my teaching and parenting career. My daughter was bullied in middle school and my heart broke as I tried to help her deal with it, while I wanted to go strangle the little b_____ and her Mom--isn't that a Christian attitude for you. It all happened in a Christian School as well. Hmmmm

    Since I began teaching I have had students in my classes who I knew were gay whether they had come out or not. Sometimes, I don't even theik they had reached the realization yet. I have watched their interaction with other students and tried to act as a buffer to protect their tender hearts from hurt, while my heart hurt for them and for the students that didn't know how to accept someone so different from them. Especially, when they were still trying to figure out who they were themselves.

    I don't think they decided one day to be gay, I just think that they are. I don't think something awful happened to them to cause them to be gay, I think they just are. God fearfully and wonderfully knit us together in our mother's womb and we have the responsibility to love how he made us and how he made everyother person on the earth.

    There is a show on MTV called: If They Only Knew Me. I challenge each of you to watch it and come away understanding the issues that high school students face daily. I suggest you have a box of Kleenex ready because you will need it. I am hoping to have them come to my school.

    We have started the club I have talked about RISE (Raiders Initiating Selfless Endeavors).
    That's a mouthful but the kids came up with the name. They are running the club and I am their cheerleader. We are just taking baby steps but have about 50 kids that expressed an interest in particpating in club projects here and raising money to send abroad. The art club at school is making necklaces and selling them to raise money to send to Africa. RISE wants to sprend the word about IJM as well so I am excited to watch what the students will do to change their world.

    On another note---Megan is in Uganda as I am typing. Please keep she and Michael in your prayers.

    Love you all. I don't have all the answers figured out about the Bible, Christians and Gays but I do know that God calles us to love each other not be bullies or haters or any other negative act that can be thought of. It is a joy to walk with Him and try to love as He loves. I love all of you and as a human race we need to love and build each other up in the place that we are. That's what makes life the adventure that I love.

    Love all my monkees and little monkees as well.

    Grannie Monkey

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  153. What a lucky child Chase is!!!

    This is quite possibly the best blog post I have ever read! .....I laughed, I cried.

    Kudos!

    SusiLove

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  154. it is posts and comments that really make me celebrate humanity.

    i've read this post over and over and over and over again. and the comments too.

    i chose to do that uniquely human thing of really thinking and reflecting (okay obsessing) over it, in all its beauty. imagining that all of this that we have here can spill over into the worlds around us, where we are surrounded by monkees... if only they knew :)

    just finished reading an excellent book centered around two favorites: mother teresa and the concept of namaste, or namaskar/nomaskar/namaste, which if you don't know sanskrit or bengali means "i bow in front of the divinity who is in you... i recognize the god who is within you".

    and like many others have said here, god is love.

    if we more fully embraced and embodied love and celebrated it no matter what, we'd be less apt to destroy ourselves... each other.

    momastery is a damn good start!

    namaste y'all :)

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  156. Oh my gosh! My daughter just told me to read this blog and post. I have felt like I have been on an island in my thinking as a Christian about love and acceptance of others and not judging. You are absolutely right! How encouraging it is to see this. Thank you.

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  157. We are to love, but telling someone that their transgressions aren't transgressions is blocking their way to repentance and forgiveness. I hope everyone spends a considerable amount of time being damn sure they are right before setting up that "loving" roadblock... damn sure.

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  158. Chimmy...what book? Sounds like something I should read!

    And Anonymous at 10:14 on 10/20...no one can be damn sure they are right when talking about religion. That's the whole point of faith, right? You don't know you're right any more than I do or anyone else does. What's your "proof" that it's a transgression that trumps my "proof" that it's not?

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  159. I found my way here when a friend linked to you on facebook, and I am so happy to have found this thoughtful, loving post.

    I myself am in the midst of my own spiritual crisis, trying my hardest to love Christ and love others and love myself, and man oh man did I need to hear your message today.

    Thank you so much.

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  160. This is amazing. You and your husband are amazing. I've wondered where Christ is in some Christians...Glad to have found it today :)

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  161. I love you for posting this for all to see. I am sharing it with my friends on facebook.

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  162. First, I must admit I'm an atheist. But wow. That was an amazing, heart-warming, beautifully-written essay. Thank you.

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  163. Glennon, you are truly amazing! This is my favorite post of yours ever and I have a lot of favorites. You said what you said in such a beautiful way. I think you are so smart and so hilarious!

    I was reading the posts and noticed the poster named Francie. I have an 11 year old Francie and don't hear of other ones ever!

    I am a jmu sk and friend of Paula. That is how I came to find out about you. Thanks for doing what you do!

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  164. Wow. I just found your blog. I'm glad you're taking the time to do this with your morning coffee. You ARE a writer. I DO like you.
    I've only had time to read a couple of your posts but they've made me laugh out loud and cry. I've already shared this with a bunch of other moms. Thanks.

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  165. G -

    So many wonderful, well deserved comments! I kept my head low for a while, cause I didn't think I had much to add.

    I am a non-practicing half-Jew who wasn't baptized by my non-practicing Presbyterian mother and non-practicing Jew father. Somehow my brother and I managed to learn the same lessons you are (and will be) teaching Chase and Tish and Amma. My point is -- it's not about being a good Christian, or Jew or Muslim or Mormon or whatever. Or whether or not the Bible is the literal word of God prescribing what "good" and "bad" are. Honestly, I really don't care. (Sorry, I just don't.) It's about being a decent human being dedicated to sharing this Earth with (and making it better for) other human beings--the good, the bad, the non-believers, the "sinners".

    I guess if that could be my "religion", I might go back to the "church"...

    My boys face a world that is more mulitfaceted and daunting than the one we did, or that our parents did. I'm really scared for their journey. Middle and highschool almost did me in. Kids are cruel and mean and self-preserving. The pain was real. And I know how mean and cruel their parents can be to them, and to others.

    Thanks again for putting the emphasis where it should be -- on improving ourselves and our world, and not on trying to "prove" whether some people on this Earth just deserve our hurtful bullying more than others.

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  166. Thoughtful and wonderfully written!

    At our Unitarian Universalists congregation we have near mirror discussions and perspective :)
    If you don't already know about it, please learn about Standing on the Side of Love (http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/) a "public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression."

    I agree completely with your sentiment about the fear or pain a bully must be feeling to pick on and inflict harm on others. We have a local politician that is so mean to some people, we're just waiting to find out what it is that he is really afraid of within himself that would bubble up to such vile hatred toward others.

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  167. Thank you for your so insightful, so important, wise, wise words. It is wonderful to see this dialog from a Christian perspective. I am convinced that the only way we can create positive change is to accept and celebrate each other and our differences--to be able to engage with other stories and seek to understand what we believe, why we believe what we believe, and how we can connect and empower each other through our hearts and actions.

    Once again, thank you for writing this. I am so grateful.

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  168. Coming back to this post and comments again after sharing on FB and with other friends. A beautifully written gift to all of us. Love you, G!

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  169. Simply put ... this is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Thank you.

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  170. Dear Glennon, you have made at least one new gay friend today. God bless you and thank you so much for posting this!

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  171. I am a lesbian, and a mom to a 16 month old boy, with another little one on the way in a few months. My partner and I do everything we can to make sure our son feels loved every day, but we often wonder about what will happen when he truly enters the "real world" and we are no longer able to protect him. That you, and people like you, are out there reassures me in so many ways. May every parent read this and love their children as you love yours.

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  172. I've been struggling lately with the "Christians" I encounter on the Internet. I can't call myself one. I wasn't really raised with it as anything more than an afterthought, but I say a prayer every night and have always believed that someone or something bigger than us loved us and thought we were fantastic. Anyway, what I had been encountering lately just didn't match my idea or feeling of a compassionate higher power. But this, what you wrote and I just read, brought tears to my eyes, happy tears, tears saying I had found the thoughts and faith that MATCHED. So thank you for letting me know you are out there.

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  173. I don't know you but I love you.

    I am a lesbian Mama with a 2 1/2 year old son who has had some horrible struggles in his short time on this planet (severe heart disease). I think about the challenges he will face as a kid with a life threatening illness, as a kid with two Moms, as a kid raised Jewish...to know that he will continue on his journey with people like you on the planet raising his peers makes me happy to be alive.

    Jaime
    simonlev.blogspot.com

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  174. 1. I had yet to read a commentary on this issue that made my eyes tear up - until yours. Well, well done.

    2. That Nate Berkus IS shady. Little cutie-pie.

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  175. Glennon,

    I want these words to find their way into the life of every person on this planet. I believe it's impossible to read your post and not be changed for the better.

    Also, you know at least one gay person and her name is Rachel Regan! (now Rachel Richardson) And it looks like my wife Cathy is your new friend too. :)

    I'm so proud to know you and call you my sister.

    Love + HTH, mama
    Rach

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  176. Dear Chase:

    Your Mom is an awesome Mom. I know she's getting a lot of readers right now who wish she was their mom. I'm a college professor who teaches writing; someday, when I grow up, I want to be a writer like your mom.

    One thing about what she wrote to you, though? She does know gay people. She just doesn't know she knows them - yet. One in ten means one in ten of the people she knows. Pretty soon, since she's come out as an ally, they'll be showing up, letting her know.

    Enjoy your life, little one - many blessings on you and your family.

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  177. I love reading your blog, Glennon. I depend on my wife to tug my shirt sleeve and send me your way, and I am always blessed by it. I feel inspired to raise a few points in a spirit of love and seriousness, because the conversation really does matter. My fear in reading your letter to Chase is that you have been caught in the “all or nothing” trap. One side asserts that love necessitates that I fully affirm and embrace your sexuality. The other side asserts that love necessitates that I fully reject and fix your sexuality. In both cases, love has been hitched to judgment, and the judgment either way (is it a sin or isn’t it?) is driving the train. But we’re supposed to leave the judging to God, right? Jesus says plainly “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Or as Paul says “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.” What about this is so hard for Christians to get? Our real problem, I think, is that we really don’t know how to love without judging, and we ourselves are so insecure as to need judgments to feel secure about ourselves (“Am I ok? Am I loved? Just as I am?”). I want my boys to stand secure in my love for them, but more importantly I want them to discover God’s perfect love. Because, let’s be honest, when I’m getting pecked to death by my chickens, I often do not act very loving, and in those moments, my boys feel my disapproval. But with God, that disapproval or disappointment or frustration never exists. Just love.

    But I also want them to know that God cares about how they think and how they live and that He is able to speak into their lives about those things and that it is a good thing for them to want to listen to His judgments. Not because it has anything to do with whether He loves them more or less, but because there is a rich and wonderful life that only God can fully lead them into, and to get there you have to be willing to hear God say “no” even if it has to do with something as deeply personal as one’s sexual expression. Did Jesus show love to the woman who was dragged before him half naked by the religious bullies who hoped Jesus would have her stoned? Yes. (“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”) Did He have a judgment with what she should do with the rest of her life as it regarded the issue others wanted her stoned for? Also, yes. (“Go now and leave your life of sin”) So, judgments do matter, but they are a matter between a man and his perfect Lover. What matters between you and me, is love. “Love one another.” Without judgment. But as I said, that is a very hard thing for us to do, because of our basic insecurities. So, I hope and I pray that my children come to know how deep and how wide is God’s love for them, in order to get free from their natural born insecurities. And in that love, I hope they gain the freedom to let God speak into their lives about every thought and action, however big or small, and not be very concerned with what man has to say. Will I have my own opinions? Sure. Will I share those opinions with my child? Sure. But at the end of the day, I want my child to know that he stands before God alone, and not before or behind me, justifying his choices.

    So here’s the thing, what happens if Chase discovers that he is attracted to men but also comes to believe that God does not want him to have a sexual relationship with another man? And not because he has been brainwashed by the haters of the world, or bought into a bad interpretation of Scripture, but because of his own sincere inner conversation with God. Having seen you celebrate his sexual orientation, will he feel that he is betraying you by saying “Mom, I want to be celibate?” That being said, if there is an error to be made on this or the other issues of our cultural battlefield, I believe yours is the error to be made and the one I believe God will be more gracious to judge. Thank you again for provoking the conversation, in a spirit of love. I look forward to further conversations.

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  178. Thank you! I never comment but here I am- I hope I can do as well talking to my kids when they come to me with something big. SO appreciated.

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  179. You are an amazing mom and Christian. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. It is so heartwarming to hear.

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  180. Wonderful words, insight, faith and love. If only all of us as parents, friends and humans, could pass such a heartfelt message on to the important people in our lives so eloquently.

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  181. MONKEES ROCK...just sayin'.

    I've read this everyday since it was posted...and the comments to follow...and I still feel like crying and singing and dancing.

    and CELEBRATING.

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  182. Sending you much love and light----you are a gift. As the 40 something lesbian daughter of a missionary & preacher, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Know that right now you are speaking truth and love into the heart of a young person. This young man or woman is struggling, feels so very lonely, and is trying hard to reconcile the person they are---and so fearful that their life will forever be in the dark--shaming God and their family. You have provided hope, love, and much celebration of the perfect creation they are---and who they have yet to become.

    I celebrate you, your message---and will keep you, your husband, and Chase forever in my prayers. Thank you.

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  183. Wow!!! You're my new hero. We need to get you booked on Oprah and the Today show and whatever other venue will have you.

    I was raised Catholic, and no longer have any faith in a God, but the way you talk about your faith is the way that I was raised, and if all Christians were so insightful, I think we'd have a lot less stress right now.

    Your child is lucky to have been born into your family. Keep on spreading that love and wisdom!

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  184. dear momastery, i love this blog post so much i cried a little and then blew some snot from my nose laughing hard. the bit about nate berkus, and "damn straight." that really slew me.

    really, what a beautiful, beautiful post. i read it mostly as an adult gay man who appreciates a thoughtful letter addressing kind, smart religious beliefs mixed with current socio-political thinking.

    but i PARTIALLY, just a TEENSY TEENSY PARTIALLY, read it as a young boy who would have loved to have this letter penned just for him.

    momastery, i am going to read it again in a little while, as if it were penned just for him. i'll probably cry and blow some more snot, which really to me is high praise to any writer.

    then i will thank you again.

    and send blessings to you, your sweet family, and your talent as a writer.

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  185. G,
    I must admit, I was doing the ugly cry while I was reading this; I actually had to stop and re-gain composure because my sobbing made my eyes squinch up so I couldn't see.

    How different the world would be if every child (gay, straight, overweight, underweight, Muslim, Jewish, etc.) heard this at home.

    Wow.

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  186. Glennon: This is awesome. Thank you for showing the loving traits of a mom and the loving values of those that wish to claim their faith in religions without defiling others on the way to asserting that faith. I can only hope that others will 'do unto others as they would have done unto them', aka - play nice. :-)

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  187. This post spoke to me in so many ways. I have saved it so I can refer to it as needed. Thank you for bringing clarity to such complex issues. Not only do you have a good heart, but you are also able to articulate your thoughts. Thank you.

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  188. I read this post because a friend posted it on Facebook. I've now done the same as it is one of the most moving things I've ever read. It made me laugh, cry, and wish there were more people in the world like you.

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  189. Dear Glennon,

    I just wanted to chime in to let you know that I think you are a very gifted writer and I think you did a marvelous job here.

    My answer to those who think homosexuality is a sin is that if it is (which I have trouble accepting as God makes us all in his image) let it be their sin, not mine. The SECOND I hate or judge a person it becomes my sin. For there is no question, hatred is a sin.

    When my boys say, "So and So gets to stay up late or do this or that". I tell them "Lucky for you, you only have to worry about you and your rules".

    I have three boys ages 8, 6 and 10 months. What we tell them is that they will never do anything so bad or wrong that we will not love them. This applies to everything from getting a "yellow" in school behavior to doing drugs. We encourage them to talk to us with their questions even when it is a hard subject or they know we are going to be upset at first. I can now see how fast they are growing up and how quickly their problems are moving from the black and white answers to every shade of gray. So far this tactic is working. I pray that it always does. The gift of helping three little people grow to be adults is both amazing and daunting and I enjoy hearing from other parents. I am learning a lot.

    All the best to you and your readers!
    Gretchen
    edenfeed.com

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  190. this post showed up on my facebook newsfeed. i've never heard of your blog, i'm not christian, and i'm not a mom. but i am gay. and i live in maine, where last year my state voted to repeal a law that would give me the right to marry whomever i love. and this year we are facing a gubernatorial race that could end up putting in office a man who wants to repeal the amendment to our human rights act that makes it illegal to, among other things, fire me for loving the people i love. so i came to this post cautiously, because what i just described is done by people in the name of god, and so i am cautious in general about christians. and i want you to know that i got about three words into your letter to your son and started crying, because your love and celebration of who he might be someday are that clear, and i wish that you could say that to all the people in this state who are afraid, and that they would hear you as clearly as i did.
    i work a lot with youth. i see the bullying all the time, and i see incredibly brave lgbtq and straight youth standing up to it, even when that just looks like coming to school. so thank you for writing this. thank you for teaching your children this. thank you for putting this into the world. you are one more light in the darkness.

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  191. Coming from a family that loves and supports my gay sister I LOVED this essay. Thank you!

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  192. I don't have children
    I'm not married
    I'm not religious
    But if I ever have children
    I hope that this is the type of parent I will be.

    this was so inspiring and moving to read

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  193. I have to admit, I am not one to ever comment on things online, but I must tell you, Glennon, that this was by far the most moving piece I have read in light of all of the recent bullying / suicides. I had tears streaming down my face as I read what I have often thought and lacked the words to describe. So many times religion is used to "hate" and it gives relgion a bad name.

    I linked your blog to my facebook page with the comment "If all parents were like this, the world would be a much better place." And I have watched friend after friend, re-link your blog onto their pages hoping that sharing your words will help open the hearts and minds of other parents to follow in your example. Thank you for writing this and thank you for giving me hope again...

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