WHY SHOULD LAUREN DAIGLE NEED TO DEFEND BEING ON ELLEN?

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Maybe it’s because I’m a Christian who happens to be an artist, or an artist who happens to be a Christian. Maybe it’s because Ellen Degeneres is one of only 2 comedians I’ve ever gone to see live many years ago (the other was Eddie Izzard). Maybe it’s because I’m just fed up with a certain ongoing badminton game of opinions that’s been going on for decades, if not centuries. But when I read about this recent “controversy,” I automatically grabbed my laptop and started WordPressing…

I’ve just discovered a kindred spirit and don’t know how I hadn’t heard of her till now… I came across an article about a Christian singer who’d been on Ellen. The heading was something about her receiving criticism. Silly me, I thought maybe someone who isn’t a Christian had criticized her singing a song about Christ on national tv. But then I was reminded of the judgmentalism that is still, very sadly, rampant in the people who claim to follow Christ. It was them criticizing Lauren for something I find so absurd that I had to write my first blog post in ages about it…

The “controversial” thing Lauren did was… wait for it…

Lauren was on the Ellen show. Yup. That’s it. And this was controversial why? Because Ellen is (gasp) gay. Really, people? That’s what you took away from the fact that Ellen had a Christian singer on her show singing a song about Jesus?

When I read about Lauren’s response to being questioned about her “radical” act, I instantly knew she was a kindred spirit. You can read that here. Her response was drenched in grace and wisdom.

As a Christian who is thankful to know many people who are not in the judgmental camp, I’m compelled to say to the Christians who think they are in a place to judge gay, or any other people: get over yourselves. You’re not doing Jesus any favours.

Certain types of scripture quoting are nothing short of pharaseeism/religion clothed as concern about people’s souls.

I know some who read this may be prone to judgment, so I’m extending some suggestions for how to overcome this and hope it will help…

  • Ask yourself how many gay or trans people you actually know personally.

 

  • Become friends with LGBTQ people and get to know them.

 

  • Listen to people’s stories without having an agenda. 

 

  • Read up on how many LGBTQ people have struggled with suicidal thoughts due to being raised in families and churches where they couldn’t discuss how they felt for fear of being ostracized by people who claimed to love them. Perhaps watch the movie Boy Erased.

 

  • Read the stories in the Bible about the people Jesus called to follow him. Take note: they weren’t the Pharisees; they thought they already had God all figured out and that it was their place to look down their noses at those “sinful,” “other” people.

 

  • Get over the notion of “other people.” God loves us all. Just because some people may not know it or believe it, doesn’t make them any less loved. Judging them doesn’t help them believe it.

 

  • Look in the mirror and focus on keeping your own heart pure (single-minded) rather than assessing the purity of others. Put simply, BEGIN WITHIN.

 

  • Instead of sitting behind the screen judging gay people, find something more productive to do with your time.

 

  • Connect to how deeply and profoundly you are loved by God, no matter what, so that you can freely love others without needing to judge them.

This is a topic I haven’t commented on much (apart from my post called A Deeper Compassion: Entering the Transgender Discussion) because of the drama that goes with talking about stuff like this and how people just loooove to argue online, from the safety of their computer screen.

But now…

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Some theories I have about people who have trouble simply loving ALL people and who prefer to keep themselves away from those “other” people:

  • Perhaps there are unfaced issues they have been unwilling to look at within themselves or someone they’re close to.

 

  • Perhaps they, themselves, struggle with something relating to gender or sexuality and have been afraid to admit it to themselves.

 

  • Perhaps they simply need to remind themselves that they’re in no position to judge.

 

  • Perhaps their self-righteousness is a veneer for shame over their own past or present issues.

 

  • Perhaps they don’t really believe they’re loved themselves just as they are.

Nor are these people to be condemned. We’re all here working through our own brokenness, wounds, and stuff. The answer is not judgment, but LOVE. That’s the core of everything Jesus taught: JUDGE LESS. LOVE MORE.

Back to Ellen and Lauren…

Ellen actually picked the song that Lauren sang called “Still Rolling Stones”. Uh-huh, a song about Christ. It’s her favourite one of Lauren’s. Ellen had more grace and kindness towards Lauren than many of the responses have had towards Ellen or Lauren.

One of my personal favourite things about Ellen — she’s a vegan animal lover who cares more for animals and creation than many Christians do. I sometimes hear about her acts of kindness and can’t help seeing what a kind person she is and how comfortable she makes people feel (like Louis Theroux does). Yet certain people have the audacity to focus on her sexuality rather than her heart?

My guess is that if Jesus had a talk show, he’d have Ellen on as an example of the kind of people he likes hanging out with.

I can anticipate the responses this post could possibly get, one of which could be that Ellen only does good things and has certain people on to increase viewers and for PR. I won’t even comment on that. Or any other negative, just-want-to-argue feedback.

Instead of rejoicing over Lauren being on Ellen, the negative Nellies had to go and start Bible thumping. Ah, well. Lauren will go right on doing what she does so brilliantly – bringing glory to God with her music in both secular and Christian settings, and Ellen will go on doing what she does – touching people’s lives with humour and kindness.

The question isn’t about whether it’s right or wrong to be gay. The question is whether you are going to love others or judge them — because you can’t do both simultaneously.

It’s one of the reasons I wrote this short film script.

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The logline is:  “A compassionate pastor challenges the religious snobs trying to condemn a transgender woman named Sammie. A present day retelling of the good Samaritan parable.”

Every day, we all get to decide whether we’ll choose love or choose judgment when we interact with others.

I know what I’m committed to choosing and I need God’s grace to do so.

To my Christian friends who started sweating as they read this, I love you. To my gay/bi/trans friends, I love you. You’re all precious and I love you all. Period.

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Love,

Monique

 

 

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MONIQUE’S SMOOTHIE BOWL RECIPE

Hi friends…

I’ve been on a health journey for many years and continue to be amazed how, from the time I learned about acid-alkaline balance 10 years ago, my health and life radically started to change in remarkable ways. I was vegetarian, then vegan, for many years, but the acid-alkaline balance is what really shifted everything for me.

I’ve been showing people photos of my smoothie bowls lately and inevitably, they tend to ask if I can send them a recipe. Since I don’t really use recipes when I make stuff, I have to really think about how much of each ingredient I use, but I’ve now put it together to share with you!

These bowls are, I’d say, about 95% alkaline. The only ingredient I use that isn’t raw is the rice or coconut milk.

I’ve linked the benefits of many of the ingredients for you to click on and learn more about.

But first, let me whet your appetite…

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Lately I’ve started using red beets in my smoothie bowls as well, not only because they’re incredibly healthy, but because they give a gorgeous deep magenta hue to the color.

So what goes in these bowls of yummy goodness?

To be blended:

1 banana

1 handful of frozen strawberries (other frozen fruit)

1/2 an avocado

1 big handful of raw kale or spinach

1 cut chunk of red beet

1/2 or 1/3 of a carrot

Rice or coconut milk – enough to cover all of these wonderful ingredients

1 scoop of Green Drink (I use Amazing Grass Green Superfood. It has loads of alkaline, immune and digestion-enhancing ingredients and I can’t recommend it highly enough!)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of raw cacao powder (unrefined raw chocolate)

1/2 teaspoon of Chia seeds

1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of Vitamin C powder

Optional:

1-2 acidophilus capsules (emptied into the mix). Acidophilus is a pro-biotic that does wonders for your immune system and digestive tract. I recommend the non-dairy kind.

1/4 teaspoon of MSM powder

Blend it all up until it’s nice and thick.

Scoop it into a bowl.

Top with:

Sliced bananas, blueberries, raspberries, or any other cut fruit you fancy.

Drizzle raw cacao nibs and coconut flakes on top, sprinkle on some cinnamon and wa-la! You’re ready to go!

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If made with these ingredients,  you should feel satiated and full for hours. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

One little word of advice: give yourself about 30 minutes for digestion afterwards before running out the door to start your day. There is a lot of fiber in a smoothie (if you know what I mean), so you may want to give yourself some time for a bathroom visit before you leave the house. 😉 

Smoothie bowls are an amazing way to start your day because they’re packed with life-giving nutrients and vitamins that will make you feel alive, energized, and ready to take on your day!

Enjoy!

And please be sure let me know how you liked it. Send me a note or photos of your own smoothie bowls. I’d love to see!

Blessings & vibrant health to you!

Monique

http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com/

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HOW TO HAVE MORE PEACE IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS

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If you clicked to read this, you may be expecting some big revelation, but how to have more peace is so obvious, you’ll wonder why you bothered to read this far…

When you wake up in the morning, DON’T LOOK AT, OR TURN ON, YOUR PHONE, and DON’T CHECK EMAIL OR SOCIAL MEDIA until you’ve had at least 10 minutes of quiet time to yourself.

If you want to have even more peace, don’t go on your phone or social media for 30 minutes, an hour, or even 2 hours. Sound crazy? Impossible? It’s not.

“But… but…” you might be saying, “Steven Spielberg might need to reach me,” or “My kids need me,” or “I need to check how my stocks are doing,” or “My church people need me.”

You know who needs you? You. You need you to be present in order to handle all those calls and emails and interactions when you get to them… later.

Listen. No, not to me. Just be still and listen. Once you get quiet enough, you’ll start to hear and see in a way you weren’t able to when you were allowing yourself to be bombarded with messages and information and demands.

In the quiet, you may hear a still, small voice. I believe it’s God. If you don’t, I’m not going to try to convince you.

Things that you couldn’t make sense of will start to become clear in the stillness. Answers you were trying to figure out will start to crystallize.

Or you will feel yourself breathe again. You will remember that you are a living, breathing human being, that there are people in your life that you love. You may start to feel grateful to be alive.

It might not be easy at first. Phones and the internet are, after all, an addiction. Your brain will try to tell you that you need to check. Just one message. And then another… and another. But don’t take the bait. It’s trying to steal your peace.

Unless you’re waiting on a life or death phone call, it can wait. It’s hard to think of anything that isn’t helped by being still and having space to just be.

For some this is prayer time. For some it is meditation. For some, it’s just sitting still and doing nothing but being. And for some, like me, it’s all three.

Personally, I need way more than 10 minutes of quiet time every day. I’m talking hours.

Whatever you need to do to take this time, take it. You may need to wrestle it back from people, or situations you’ve allowed to steal it. Find a way to carve it out and take it back.

If 10 minutes sounds insane in light of the things you’re dealing with, then start with 5. If 5 sounds like too much, start with 4, 3, 2, or 1. And if one minute sounds impossible, you may need to take a whole day off.

If stillness terrifies you, or not being connected via phone or internet makes you feel like you no longer exist, you may need to explore this more deeply to find out what the root of that fear is.

But if you want peace in the next 24 hours, then try it. Wake up and do the first part of your morning as if phones and the internet didn’t even exist.

You may notice the birds singing again for the first time since childhood. You may hear the wind rustle through the leaves in the chestnut trees. You may notice all sorts of things you had stopped noticing because your face was buried in your electronics like…

  • the color of a loved one’s eyes
  • the taste of your coffee, tea, or food
  • the way water feels running over your hands in the morning
  • the sunlight gleaming through the window
  • the way it feels when you brush or comb your hair
  • the breath in your lungs

If you keep it up, you may start to experience wonder again and you’ll ask yourself how you ever got so far away from it.

Remember that stillness is a gift you give yourself. Try it and let me know what it was like for you.

Wishing you peace,

Monique

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http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com

 

DOORS

God speaks through closed doors as much as through open doors.

If a door you have been trying to open is not opening, there comes a point where you need to get very still so you can hear and see where a door might already be open.

Sometimes, the door that’s already open is the one you were hoping for all along.

Maybe you gave up on it. Or there was a certain way you thought things had to happen, so you got a little comfortable in “waiting” for it. Maybe now is the time to take the first step… again… towards that door. You know the one.

Be still and listen. You may be pleasantly surprised at a much greater open door than the small closed one you were banging on.

And it very well may require a leap of faith.

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Dwell in possibility…

Monique

http://www.artoflifecoachmonique.com

 

 

What is Truth? (Frederick Buechner Excerpt)

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I was having a dialogue on Facebook recently with a friend who holds different beliefs from mine. We have a love and respect for one another that transcends any differences between us and we entered into a short exchange of thoughts about the Bible. She genuinely asked me how I can believe it with all its contradictions and questionable translations. I told her how I see it and we had a civil conversation about it that, I hope, left us both better people for having had it.

Not long after, I opened my email inbox which held my daily reading excerpt from Frederick Buechner. I’ve pasted it below and it’s pretty much what I was trying/hoping to say in that Facebook conversation. Hours before this, in another book, I came across another passage mentioning the particular silence written about below.

Since Buechner is a much greater master of words than I could ever hope to be, I wanted to share this because he puts into words what I can only struggle to say…

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“Somebody should write a book someday about the silences in Scripture. Maybe somebody already has. “For God alone my soul waits in silence,” the psalmist says (62:1), which is the silence of waiting. Or “Be not silent, O God of my praise,” which is the silence of the God we wait for (109:1). “And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal,” says the book of Revelation, “there was silence in heaven” (8: I)—the silence of creation itself coming to an end and of a new creation about to begin. But the silence that has always most haunted me is the silence of Jesus before Pilate. Pilate asks his famous question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38), and Jesus answers him with a silence that is overwhelming in its eloquence. In case there should be any question as to what that silence meant, on another occasion Jesus put it into words for his disciple Thomas. “I,” he said, “I am the truth” (14:6).

Jesus did not say that religion was the truth, or that his own teachings were the truth, or that what people taught about him was the truth, or that the Bible was the truth, or the church, or any system of ethics or theological doctrine. There are individual truths in all of them, we hope and believe, but individual truths were not what Pilate was after, or what you and I are after either, unless I miss my guess. Truths about this or that are a dime a dozen, including religious truths. THE truth is what Pilate is after: the truth about who we are and who God is if there is a God, the truth about life, the truth about death, the truth about truth itself. That is the truth we are all of us after.

It is a truth that can never be put into words because no words can contain it. It is a truth that can never be caught in any doctrine or creed including our own because it will never stay still long enough but is always moving and shifting like air. It is a truth that is always beckoning us in different ways and coming at us from different directions. And I think that is precisely why whenever Jesus tries to put that ultimate and inexpressible truth into words (instead of into silence as he did with Pilate), the form of words he uses is a form that itself moves and shifts and beckons us in different ways and comes at us from different directions. That is to say he tells stories.

Frederick Buechner 
from The Clown in the Belfry & Secrets in the Dark

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