An Open Letter to my LGBT Family Members and Friends

Dear Ones,

There has been much talk about you this week. I can only imagine how you must feel being the center of heated debate on a regular basis. From what I have read on the interwebs, there have been a lot of blog posts and articles written with the reactions to the World Vision debacle, but I have not seen anything written directly to you. I’m writing you this letter, because I feel like you have not been addressed directly, and I have something to say that I think you need to hear.  

I want you to know that I feel so heavy for you. My heart is aching for you, because of this present reality in our country that you are being talked about and argued over as if you are not a part of the same humanity as the rest of the world. I want you to know that you are seen and loved. You are seen and loved by God. You are seen and loved by many followers of Christ. Just because the loud, angry, squeaky wheels get heard more and receive more attention does not mean that they are the majority.

I’m not a statistician, so I don’t know all the hard numbers. What I do know is my piece of the “Christian World.” My husband and I have been in vocational ministry since we were in college 20 years ago. We started our faith journeys and ministry careers in a very conservative, evangelical denomination. Over the past 2 decades we have sought to understand and live the Gospel of Christ to the best of our human abilities which has led us to a place outside of our original denomination. I cannot say that I love God and long to emulate Him in my daily life and thinking without loving and seeking justice for ALL people. I want you to know that from where I stand in Christian leadership I see a lot of other Christians who share in this same belief. I want to implore you to not judge all people who are labeled Christians by those who are the squeaky wheel.

I also want you to know that I see hope for equality in the future. As my husband and I and another couple were visiting last night, my 14 year old daughter overheard us and asked what had happened with World Vision. As we explained the basic situation to her, she became visibly upset. I could see rage for the injustice in her eyes. Later, after our friends left I asked her what she was thinking. She said, “Mom, I have friends who are gay, and I am so hurt for them. This is not right. Why are people so mean? Don’t they know that we are all human?” Then my 11 year old son chimed in and said, “Jesus said that the most important thing for us to do is ‘Love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.’ Right, Mom? That includes our friends that are gay. I have gay friends.” Dear Ones, that is the voice of the next generation. I don’t want you to have to wait until their generation is in leadership for you to have equality, but I know that because of them equality is inevitable.

These are the words of Jesus that are recorded in the Bible in Matthew chapter 11: “Jesus prayed this prayer: ‘O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! My Father has given me authority over everything. No one really knows the Son except the Father, and no one really knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.’ ”

I know you must be weary because of the heavy burden you bear. Please let Jesus take the burden from you and let Him carry it for you. If that seems too impossible or intangible, then seek out a Christ-follower who is humbly seeking to live and love as Jesus did and let him/her come alongside you to love and encourage you as you journey along in this life.

You are seen and loved,


Tales From The Commune vol. 1

Living communally has its definite ups and downs. I’m happy to report that if you pick the right people to live with it is a real blessing most of the time. More than anything, we have to be able to have a great sense of humor about most everything, or I think we would all go completely nuts (We are all already a little nuts anyway!). So, I’ve decided to regularly share some of our comic relief with you, my friends. I’m going to name the blog series, “Tales From The Commune.”

Today’s tale is entitled:  Oops! I’m stuck here.

Last Saturday, PG went out to get something from her car parked in front of our house. When she got outside, she discovered this:

Yep, folks. A completely flat tire.

This is when living communally comes in handy. I’ve let her borrow my minivan all week to get back and forth to work, but that means that the rest of us have had to work out transportation/carpooling. Fortunately, Mark and Jon have schedules that are similar (coffee with this guy, lunch meeting with that guy, board meeting there, rub shoulders with those people), so that means they’ve been able to ride together a lot. This leaves me with Mark’s truck to do my taxi duties with the kids.

Well, this morning everyone was up and out pretty early except for Kindsey and me. We were enjoying a bit of a lazy Friday morning after a busy week and hosting a dinner last night. At 10:24am suddenly it dawns on me that I never talked through car sharing with anyone last night or this morning. Immediately this is the text convo I have with Mark (who is up in the mountains with Jon for the day):

Me: Did you take Jon’s Jeep so that I can use the truck to pick up the kids from school?

Mark: Shoot! The keys to the truck are in my pocket!!!!! Darn it, my bad. What r our options? Whit gets home soon right?

Me: IDK. Can u get back in time to get them?

Silence… response.

I call Whitney and explain what’s up and ask her what time she gets off work today. She says she can leave the Colorado Athletic Club at 2:30pm, but it takes her awhile to get to her car, plus it’s snowing so she doesn’t know how long it will take her to get from downtown back out to west Denver. People, my kids get out of school at 2:45. It’s freezing cold and snowing outside, and they have to stand out in it and wait for their ride. Their school has no buses, and we live too far for them to walk. I decide to call the office to let them know that Whit will be picking the kids up from school, but that it may be after 3pm before she gets there. So, please for heaven’s sake can my babies wait inside in the office?
Don’t ask me why, but I tend to be a teensy bit scared of school secretaries. If you have ever worked in a school (which I have) or spent much time in a school, you know that the school secretaries have the majority of the power in a school. Yes. The principal is the boss, but to get to the principal you have to get through the support staff first. If you get on their bad side, you may as well transfer schools, because they can make you and your kids’ lives hell for years. This particular secretary that I spoke with this morning has worked at this school for over 20 years, and she intimidates me. The principal at the school this year is new. He’s there on an interim basis, a trial year. He wants to stay on as the principal permanently. I guarantee you that he’s scared of her. I know I am, so having to call and admit imperfection to her was not my happiest moment.

Rather than let all this upset me and ruin my day, I just had to laugh. Seriously.

To make matters worse. Now, the dishwasher isn’t working. Their are 8 people living here. Some days I run that thing 3 times! After our little dinner party last night, I stacked dishes in that sucker like it was a game of Tetris. I’m not kidding you when I say that I do not know anyone who can fit more dishes in a dishwasher than me. It’s an obsession.

Granted. The machine is old, but it has worked great for the 4 months we have lived here. Late last night after loading her down I switched her on just like I have multiple times a day for the past 4 months, but I got nothing. Nothing happened. I tried again, and again, and again. I begged. I opened and closed her. I pleaded. I sent Mark to check the fuse box. I shook her a little and gave her a little “love” kick. I may have even dropped an inappropriate word or two. Then I decided to just go to bed and pray to God that she would work this morning. Nope. She’s still not working. I think we’ve done her in. I refuse to unload all those dishes and wash them by hand. Paper plates and plastic ware are in our future. Sorry, Earth. I love you, but I am living with too many people to be hand washing dishes. This will conserve water, and I promise I’ll buy the plates that are biodegradable. Costco here I come as soon as someone comes home with a car and car keys I can use.

Getting unstuck

Do you ever just get stuck? I’ve been stuck in my own head lately. We’ve had so much going on in our lives. So much change. It’s exciting and scary and fun and crazy all at the same time, and sometime in the past month I think I just shut down. I tried to turn off my brain, because I had been stuck in my own head for awhile. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Trying to figure out how to live in a new city in a different part of the country doing a new work and living with extra people in my house somehow started to overwhelm me. I can’t imagine why!

I think turning off our brains and just living life in automatic is what a lot of Americans do. It’s easier to deal with life’s hectic pace and social expectations when we disconnect from ourselves and each other. I believe this is why we have so many people addicted to so many crazy things like online gaming, alcohol, drugs, Facebook, Twitter, gambling, pornography, and the list could go on and on. These things help us dissociate from the immediate world around us and escape into something else.

When I check out of living intentionally, I tend to watch too much trash tv, and I quit writing altogether. In order to write you have to think, and in order to think you have to feel. Feeling stinks somethings, and writing leaves me completely exposed. I’ve always been a writer (not really for anyone else. Just for me and sometimes for God.) I started journaling as early as I can remember. I just like to write stuff down. Mostly, I write to process how I feel, think and what I’m experiencing or learning. I write down things that I want to remember. I have an entire large moving box full of journals that represent my entire adult life and experiences to date. If my house ever caught fire, I would grab that box instead of my kids’ photo albums. I have digital copies of their pictures, for heaven’s sake, but there are no copies of those journals.

All this to confess that I needed a kick in the pants this month. I needed something to force me to think and feel and push through the post holiday blahs. Enter Jen Hatmaker’s new book, 7: an experimental mutiny against excess.

First, you need to know what 7 is all about. Jen took seven areas of excess (food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, stress) and focussed on each a month at a time. It is “an exercise in simplicity with one goal: to create space for God’s kingdom to break through.” Click here to view the video explaining 7.

I think that the structure of the book is what makes it resonate. It’s basically her journal documenting the journey she, her family and her friends took through this social experiment against excess. She shares the good, the bad, the ugly, the highs, and the lows. Some entries consist of confessions. Other entries share amazing spiritual and emotional revelations. Then, in true Jen Hatmaker form there are some entries that are just downright funny. It’s truly easier to digest writing like this,

“Jesus‘ kingdom continues in the same manner it was launched; through humility, subversion, love, sacrifice; through calling empty religion to reform and behaving like we believe the meek will inherit the earth. We cannot carry the gospel into the poor and lowly while emulating the practices of the rich and powerful. We’ve been invited into a story that begins with humility and ends with glory; never the other way around.

when it’s surrounded by comments like, “Were it not for the intervention of the Holy Spirit, my girlfriends and I would end up on Jerry Springer.”

The sections on clothes and possessions forced me to come face to face with my need to be accepted by others. Now. I have to say. I’m not a shopper or a spender. The majority of my clothes have probably been bought on sale at Target, because I was there to buy milk. Just because I don’t really enjoy the clothes shopping process doesn’t mean I don’t care about what I wear and how I look. 7 made me think about how my clothes make me feel, why I dress the way I do, and how much time I spend caring about my outsides instead of my insides. I love Jen’s reflection on her clothes as she was donating them to SafePlace.

“I thought about how my lovely clothes propped up the outside while my inside was struggling to find it’s way. I smile to think of a broken abused woman slipping these pretty things on and propping up the outside a bit during her healing process. I pray they remind her that she is beautiful, she is valuable, she is worth it.”

Reading 7 this month has reminded me how fortunate I am to be a part of a faith community and friend network that is seeking the way of Jesus. I am reminded that there is so much we can accomplish when we all join together to live simply, responsibly and intentionally. Will you join us?

Reflections on Uganda~Day 1

Before I go into details about our first day in Uganda, I have to introduce you to the people responsible for hosting us while we were there. I’ve written about Pastor Wilson Bugembe in previous blogs. Although he’s the one who invited us to come be a part of Worship Night, the duty of host/tour guide fell on the shoulders of Scott Lambie along with his wife, Sarah. They are friends of ours from Austin who have moved to Kampala for Scott to work for Music for Life and the African Children’s Choir. They were absolutely the most incredible hosts! Scott recruited Morris and Kenneth to be our drivers/tour guides. Morris and Kenneth are graduates of the African Children’s Choir program who have gone on to get there university degrees and are now back in Uganda as young entrepreneurs working hard to make a difference in their community. I cannot say enough good things about Morris and Kenneth! Last but not least is Emily Hopper. She’s another friend from Austin who took a leave of absence from her job as a Nurse Practitioner to live in Kampala with the Lambies and do mission work.

Day 1 began with breakfast at our guest house and Scott going over our week’s itinerary with us. Then we loaded up and were off to conquer a full day.

First stop: Katanga Slum.

Katanga Slum is located in the heart of Kampala. There are roughly 16,000 people living within its 1.5 kilometers. We parked in a nearby lot and began walking down a street and then onto a dirt path. As we were walking, we passed by 3 cows grazing on the very small patch of grass/weeds growing between the path and fence. When we reached the “entrance” to the slum, we were quickly met by a couple young men and some children who know Scott from the work he’s been doing there. He and Sarah minister to around 400 kids in Katanga slum every Sunday morning. The children spotted our cameras and immediately began posing for pictures. They loved having their pictures taken and then shown to them on the digital screens. The young girls would squeal and giggle at the sight of themselves on the screens. Most of the kids were barefoot among the trash and sewage. Their clothes were very dirty. Some of the young children only wore a shirt – not even underwear. They were so friendly. Many of them wanting to hold hands with us and walk with us. In their culture, when one takes your hand and walks with you it symbolizes that they are willing to walk through life with you as a brother or sister would, so we held hands and walked.

They were proud to show us there church which looks like our version of a double sized carport with a dirt floor – no chairs or pews. Near the church is a storage unit (like a POD) that one of the young men uses as a place to train some of the kids to make crafts that they can sell at the markets. At night some of the children sleep underneath the storage pod which is elevated a bit by cinder blocks. Apparently, there was a mission group or non-profit that brought 2 storage pods there for the kids, but someone in the government didn’t like that the other pod was being used for kids to sleep in so it was removed. This is why they don’t sleep inside the pod that is left. They showed us their crafts that were for sale, and some of us purchased carved animal statues. Some of our group played soccer with the kids while others of us walked further into the slum to purchase little bags of cooked rice mixed with a little meat to hand out to the kids. We played, laughed, took pictures, held little ones, and handed out food. I could have spent the entire day there, but we had other commitments to fulfill. Now, thinking back I held there hands while I was there, but they are still holding my heart. Those sweet, precious children who have absolutely nothing were so welcoming and kind.


Ok. So, I had these grand intentions to blog while in Uganda, but once we hit the ground there we started moving at lightening speed. It was a fantastic whirlwind of a trip, and my head probably will not stop spinning for a long time!

We arrived in Uganda on Tuesday, Nov. 23 around 9pm (their time). It’s strange to arrive in another country for the first time after the sun has already set. As we were driven from Entebbe to Kampala, we were all watching out the windows trying to decipher what was going on all around us. There were people everywhere along the sides of the roads; fires burning all over the place; cars driving bumper to bumper and boda bodas (motorcycles) weaving in, out, between and around everything. There seems to be no traffic laws in Uganda, and everyone is in a big hurry to get wherever they are going.

When we reached Kampala, we were taken directly to the guest house, Adonai House. Think African bed and breakfast. We all tried to settle in and get some sleep even though we were very excited to finally be in Africa.

Here’s an outline of our activities each day:

Wed. 11-24

  • Visited Katanga Slum – one of largest slums in Uganda
  • Lunch with Pastor Michael
  • Met General Tumwine – one of the most influential men in Uganda
  • Visited a Music For Life “after-school program”
  • Buganda Kingdom Palace Tour
  • Dinner at the Lambie’s home with some of the mobilizing pastors of Kampala

Thurs. 11-25

  • Pastor’s conference taught by Pastor Mac at Light The World Church
  • Visited Mpigi Village with our drivers Morris and Kenneth
  • Thanksgiving dinner at the Lambie’s home
  • Prayer & praise service in preparation for Worship Night at Light the World Church

Fri. 11-26

  • Guys – sound check at stadium
  • Girls- shopping with Emily at the Friday market and Fatuma’s shop
  • Dinner at the Adonai House
  • Worship Night – 6pm-6am – over 40,000 people in attendance

Sat. 11-27

  • Took a boat ride on Lake Victoria to Kalangala island, where there is a village
  • Ate fresh tilapia at a restaurant by the lake
  • Visited Fatuma at her shop Afrika Korner
  • Visited Pastor Wilson Bugembe’s home to meet all the children who live there

Sun. 11-28

Yes. That’s just the bare bones of the week. It was truly a whirlwind! I’ll write about each day in detail over the next week. Thank you for your interest and support!