Tag Archive: LGBT

This is a follow-on from yesterday’s most insightful passage about map-making from M. Scott Peck’s ‘The Road Less Traveled’ that i am busy reading and so make sure you have read that one first, but this is a little bit of a deeper look at the ramifications of it, specifically for my Jesus-following friends.

There is a much larger chance that you at some point or other have been subjected to the sung or chanted version of this little mantra:


“God, you’re bigger than my box

You’re bigger than my theology

You’re bigger than my understanding

You’re bigger than me.”

The point being, that due to the size and vastness and complexity and enormousness of God and the smallness of us mere mortals in comparison, that no matter how big your view of God is [Who He is, how He speaks, what He looks like, how He works or reveals Himself to us, if He does at all] it is with all likelihood not going to match up with the reality of who God actually is.

A really poor analogy would be akin to a four year old child taking a look at the inner workings of a personal computer and expecting them to understand it. They will have an experience with what they see and they will understand it to the extent that their minds and vocabulary allow it to. But the reality is that their definition and understanding will fall so far short of what the truth and reality is. It is not the child’s fault. They simply don’t have the capacity to understand at that point.

So it is with God. And us. We can have some measure of understanding and some extent of experience, but if we ever decide that we have arrived at a comprehensive and complete understanding of who God is and how He works, then we are very likely going to look foolish.

“God, you’re bigger than my box

You’re bigger than my theology

You’re bigger than my understanding

You’re bigger than me.”

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a box or theology or an understanding. Or a map. But it does definitely mean that we can’t hold the edges of those things too preciously. As with yesterday’s Peck passage, we need to be constantly shifting or revising our map as our knowledge and experience and conversations and learning dictate to us.

What is also super helpful is realising where we are taking our picture and understanding of God from. Most Christians would claim it is from the Bible. That was given to us to help us have a better understanding of God and His story and how and where we fit into it. I would agree with that in terms of intention, but i would also suggest that for so many people in the church, that is not their reality.

For example if your picture of God tells you that the preacher of a church [a man] has to shout and get worked up and have passion oozing out of every vein and pore for it to be an effective preach, then i don’t think you have been informed by the bible. I think you have been taught by the culture of the pentecostal church.

If your picture of God tells you that to worship Him you must raise your hands in the air and emotion must be present [you must feel the songs you are singing so they become more real] then you have not been informed by the Bible. You have likely been taught by the culture of the charismatic church.

If your understanding of God dictates that liturgy is the way to truly connect with your Creator and that the only person who is able to administer the communion bread dipped in wine [or wafer dipped in grape juice, because, you know] then it is likely that you have been influenced by the culture of the anglican or catholic church.

i am not saying for a second that any of those thoughts or ideas are necessarily in themselves wrong. What i am hoping is that each of us will look at the things we believe about God and church and christianity and really try and be more sure of what is directly taken from the Bible and what is definitely a message from God [One absolute we can hang our coat on is ‘Love God with all your heart, strength, soul and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself!] and what things [some of which might be good and helpful, some less so] were merely aspects of the culture of the church we felt connected to, that we have taken on as a God thing.

“God, you’re bigger than my box

You’re bigger than my theology

You’re bigger than my understanding

You’re bigger than me.”

It is helpful to have an idea of who God is and how He works. But it can be restrictive when we hold those as set boundaries that He is never able to break out of.

For example, before Moses, God had never spoken to anyone through a burning bush.

Before Balaam, God had never sent a message to a human by way of a donkey.

Before Jesus, God had never appeared to mankind as a baby or done many of the things Jesus did in quite the same way that He did them.

Does that mean God doesn’t speak through burning bushes, donkeys or babies? Not at all. It just meant He hadn’t yet. Until He had.


i believe the map-adjusting concept is for everyone. But i especially believe the church needs to embrace it.

What makes it particularly tricky is the need to embrace it with discernment. There are many long-held beliefs and practices in the church today that are being challenged [women in leadership, the LGBT conversation, stance on abortion, death penalty, euthanasia and more] and these need to be looked at. But they do not need to be changed simply because they are being challenged. They need to be looked at through the lens 0f scripture and in community God’s heart, view and stance needs to be determined.

This should be an easy one as followers of Jesus have the Holy Spirit living in them helping to inform, guide and nudge in the right direction. Although we have seen too often people on both sides of a complicated conversation [take the death penalty for example] who are clearly Spirit-filled and yet coming to different conclusions.

So this is not easy stuff. But it is so incredibly important. Too often i see people chiming in on Facebook discussions or article comment feeds and throwing out a statement like ‘The bible says so’ without giving any reasoning [beyond often an out-of-context quoted verse] or backing for their statement. And too often, if you look a little deeper you can easily see that it is ‘my church culture’ or ‘the family understanding i was brought up with’ that is actually saying so.

The easiest way to be sure if it is God or the Bible that is doing the informing in a particular situation is to take a look at the Love being demonstrated. If Love is lacking or not evident at all, then it is quite easy to know we are not dealing with a God thing here. Because with God, Love is always the key and the heart. It doesn’t mean that Love won’t sometimes be a tough one to swallow or be interpreted as unloving [God does not tolerate sin easily. He does always continue to Love sinful people though] because a spoken Truth that points out that you are not behaving in a Godly way will not necessarily feel like the way we expect Love to feel. But if Love is absent, then God is as well. And that is a lesson the church could do well to focus more strongly on.

Where we have failed to Love, we have failed to bring/show/demonstrate God.

And any space on our map that is devoid of Love, needs an instant change [and quite possibly a significant one] to get us moving in the right direction.

Can you say/sing this with me?

“God, you’re bigger than my box

You’re bigger than my theology

You’re bigger than my understanding

You’re bigger than me.”

[For the next part looking at how adjusting your map means refusing to settle, click here]

I’ve heard about this a lot lately. Perhaps you have too?

If you are someone who posts blogs or maybe reads some regular ones – you know, the kind that attempt to speak life and truth and goodness into the world and are not too scared to challenge or speak up against the systems and the people who perpetrate those systems – and comments on them, you will likely know what I am talking about.

Mean people. Commonly referred to as trolls. You know those big mean lumbering beasts that used to hide under bridges and terrorise anyone who would walk across THEIR BRIDGE.

Because that is often what it looks like, right? Whether it be vegetarianism or the crisis in Gaza, race vibes or the LGBT conversation… for the most part trolls have THEIR PARTICULAR BRIDGE, or issue, that they camp out on [or under] and from just reading some comments, it is as if all some people do with their lives is follow threads pertaining to THEIR BRIDGE and jump on and attack and accuse and misdirect… [and are downright nasty!]

I have heard it being named as the ‘Uck’ of the Mean Peoples – I am not sure where this term originated, but I have seen it on posters and cover pictures and even one time on a t-shirt.

What does ‘Uck’ mean? I can only hazard a guess, although having been trolled [for refusing to promote a particular worthy cause out of a number of worthy causes I get asked to promote and for refusing to share an opinion on a topic I didn’t feel I knew enough to share on, are two examples that come to mind – oh, and if you are reading this, please do go and support your local World of Birds because they do an amazing job of, um, managing a world that is, um, full of, birds?] and having read way-too-many-for-one-person’s-lifetime comments on other peoples’ blogs and articles I think that it might be one I will get pretty right.

UCK – this term seems to be a derivative of negatory exclamation or descriptive words, so ‘Ugh’ and ‘Yuck’ come to mind and maybe it is the product of an Ugh and a Yuck coming together in holy matrimony and having a little troll baby. It seems to be a hateful essence built into a secret [or not so secret!] agenda that typically takes a specific topic [as mentioned before, that individual’s BRIDGE] and claims ownership of one particular way of looking at it. And good luck to anyone who thinks or writes differently, because the ‘Uck’ will cause that person to immediately respond in attack mode, often going straight for the jugular of personal identity as the means of ‘winning the argument’ [in their own mind at least]

“You’re stupid”

“How can anyone think that?”

“You are a reprobate” [Yup, I got this one. I actually secretly like it because the word does have a nice ring to it]

“You’re a #$%& piece of @&?$ and I hope you @%&$ die” [I just love guessing games. I’ll go with ‘P’?]

A person’s sexuality, their parenting skills, their intelligence and even their continuing existence on the planet are all brought into question as a troll digs their claws in and often the original comment or written piece is left behind as concise, creative critique gives way to slanderous accusation or vile hypothesis.

This ‘Uck’ that mean peoples bring to various forums has caused a lot of personal pain to a number of people I know or have ‘met’ online. They write a brilliant, often edgy and challenging [but sometimes completely innocent and innocuous] piece and really handle a sensitive topic well and then so much of the good that has been done is unravelled for them by a bunch of nasty, unloving, comments.

97 comments praising a written piece and speaking of how it has brought transformation or a different voice to a complicated issue and 3 mean-spirited, Uck-flavoured, troll speaks and guess which ones stick in the writer’s mind?

While I do get that it is out there and have witnessed enough of it to be able to take online commentary with a pinch of salt, I cannot for the life of me figure out where it originates. A lot of it is simply people being so passionate about a particular topic that their comments get a little bit out of hand as they try and express their feeling. But there is a level of Uck-ness that just feels like pure hate or evil. And as I sit and read the comments and try and imagine myself inside that person’s head, I just cannot do it. I can not understand where such a depth of hate is birthed in a person.

Clearly the growth of Facebook and The Twitterer have made it easier for people to gain access to other people’s thoughts and words and sitting behind a computer screen, hidden behind the moniker ‘Troof437’ makes it feel really safe and easy to simply let the fingers type whatever you would never be able to say out loud in real life to anyone. The anonymity of so many of our internet platforms seems to be the feeding ground from which ‘Uck’ emerges.

Or have I got it all wrong? Is it just possible that ‘Uck’ is actually a severe medical condition requiring urgent assistance and intervention? Might there be medication that can be administered? Perhaps the starting point of eradicating the ‘Uck’ of all the Mean Peoples on the internet is simply making people aware of it?

If this is true, then I will need your help. This is not a battle I can win by myself. If you are on a social network, then I will need you to start talking about this. Start making campaigns and posters, a pass-it-on-video you can challenge your friends with and maybe even a clever cover or profile pic…

What do you say? Is this something you would like to see an end to?

Then join me.You cannot stay silent any longer. Let us once and for all rid the internet bridges of all their trolls and help them find treatment and a way to return to normal society with their heads and typing fingers held up high.

We should definitely create a trending hashtag to help us bring this to the fore. Whatever you write, wherever you share this, however you plan to get your voice behind this campaign, hashtag it with me.


i was hoping to be able to get something out on this before Fred Phelps died, which apparently i failed to do.

Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church where we use the term ‘church’ loosely as nothing of what i ever heard them connected to sounded anything like the idea of church that i have come to know and love. 

An obvious indicator is that the website address of this ‘church’ is the unfortunate and not true GodHatesFags.com and Westboro are well-known for picketing LGBT events as well as military funerals.

The most unfortunate thing about this so-called church is that they were known so well for their ‘Hate’ – i’m not sure we ever got an idea of what they stood for or what they were about, but we certainly knew what they were against.

When i heard the news earlier this week that Fred Phelps was on his death bed, it did not give me cause for celebration as it seems to have given to some others.

As i read a variety of book of face statuses, it became quickly obvious that a lot of people were conflicted with how to feel or what to think [and then usually reading some of the following comments under each status i would quickly come across at least one person who found it a lot easier to get there] but for me it was quite simple:

If we are celebrating the death of this man, then suddenly it starts to sound and feel like something he would have been a part of. i had the same kind of response to scenes of Americans dancing in the streets when Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were killed. Are we glad that the legacy of violence and hate and destruction is over? At least as far as that particular person is concerned. Absolutely. But to celebrate a death, especially one of such a tragic life, feels like we are starting to be on the wrong side of good.

Don’t get me wrong. Fred Phelps and the actions of the WBC made me so angry and sad on many occasions. They were an embarrassment to the church and fortunately in one sense so over the top that i don’t think too many people seriously associated who they were and what they did with the rest of us.

BUT… Our response has to be Love. Praying for his friends and family. Praying that in his final moments of life, he might discover the Love of Jesus that is so much more powerful than the hate he had been holding on to for so long. Praying for an opportunity for repentance and deliverance from evil. And now hoping and trusting that for those left behind, a revelation of God’s incredible Love and compassion for the whole world will be forthcoming.


Now i don’t have any right to judge Fred. He will stand in front of God and have to give account for his actions. And i don’t have any idea what the state of his heart and soul was as he ended his life here and prepared for the one ahead. But there is a point that i think needs to be made, for those of us who are left behind. i read someone’s comments about now he will be in heaven and will have to dance with some of the christian gay people he hated his whole life and how ironic and glorious that will be.

The first question i have from that is, ‘Will he be in heaven?’ [and this sounds like a judgemental post perhaps, but please just follow me where i am going here]

First passage that came to mind was from Matthew 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

In fact, just a few verses earlier we read:

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

What is fairly easy to see is that the work of WBC was definitely not ‘doing the will of my Father who is in heaven’ and that if we are going to be recognised by our fruit, that Fred Phelps and WBC are not obviously showing the fruits of the kingdom, with the fruits of the Spirit being highlighted in Galatians 5 as:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other.

Me talking about this now, has nothing to do with Fred Phelps any more. It has everything to do with me. And you. Because these are the same things that we are called to if we are followers of Jesus.


# It does not matter how much “stuff you do for God” if you stand in front of Him one day and His response is, “I never knew you!” 

# A tree is recognised by our fruit – if our lives are not displaying Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithhfulness and Self-Control, then we need to be asking if we are Spirit filled. And if we are not, then we are not followers of Jesus, simple as that.

# Fred Phelps had his chance and will one day stand before God and have to account for his life. Brett Fish Anderson [and you!] is still in the midst of his chance and every day gets to make fresh decisions on how this life thing will look like. That is the person i should be focusing on in terms of judging and holding up to the mirror of scripture.

In Matthew 22 we see Jesus asked about the most important thing:

35 One of them, an expert in the law,tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

And in John 13 we see Jesus sharing a new command for us all to follow:

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

And finally, there will be other Fred Phelpses and Westboro Baptist Churches – some will look really obvious, while some may be a lot more disguised and subtle in their approach. How we respond to them should perhaps be very much informed by reflecting on Jesus’ words of compassion and forgiveness spoken from the cross as He hung bloody and dying as well as this encouragement from the writer to the Romans, especially the last verse:

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Maybe now we will be able to come up with some more accurate signs:


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