WHY SHOULD LAUREN DAIGLE NEED TO DEFEND BEING ON ELLEN?

331810989286158ed4c04024f6e06e26

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…

51YpGgef8WL._SY550_

 

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.

GOOD SAMMIE.png

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.

download

Love,

Monique

 

 

My Story of Healing from Eating Disorders (Podcast)

This will be part 1 of my story because there has been healing in so many areas of my life that each would require a separate talk. So I’m sure there will be more parts that I share on this topic in the future. But for now, I wanted to post the story I shared at church here in Berlin recently and my hope, as always, is that something I said might give hope and encouragement to someone listening.

There were moments of technical difficulty during my sharing…and a bit of nervousness…and a bit of crying. Our stories can be messy, so it’s no surprise that the telling of them can be too.

Click here to hear it.

It tells a bit about how I went from this:

f3ca5ff57eb2d80bc30169b75828c266

To this:

552b84d42c2cce903492f8b9500f186e

I hope that if you, or someone you know, struggles with an eating disorder, or any kind of self-destructive behavior, that hearing my story will help you to not give up and to keep praying, keep hoping and keep knowing that God loves you no matter what’s going on and that healing and good things are possible.

Your life matters and you are needed here on this planet.

Blessings & peace,

Monique

p.s. If you need coaching and/or spiritual guidance, please click here to schedule an appointment for an introductory call with me.

 

 

7 REASONS LOUIS THEROUX REMINDS ME OF JESUS

louis-theroux

I started watching Louis Theroux documentaries several years ago when I lived in England. In case you don’t know who Louis is, he’s a journalist, documentary filmmaker and presenter from the BBC who travels the world interviewing unlikely people—people, in fact, who most of us would shy away from. He has interviewed white nationalists, black nationalists, neo Nazis, religious fanatics (including the folks from Westboro Baptist Church who hate pretty much everyone), swingers in Los Angeles, extreme wrestlers, gangsta rappers, survivalists in North America, the criminally insane (or those perhaps pretending to be so they can live in lush hospitals rather than in hardcore prisons) and many others.

What makes Louis unique is his ability to win the trust and friendship of diverse people whether he agrees with their views and lifestyles or not. He most often doesn’t seem to agree with them yet seems to have a morbid fascination with them and a way of pushing the limit in terms of his disarming inquisitiveness.

After watching Louis, I often go away thinking, “Man, he’s so much like Jesus!”

Here’s why I think that:

He meets people where they are. He doesn’t come in trying to change them, at least not overtly. He shows up, is courteous and exudes the best of manners. He doesn’t talk down to people, but he also doesn’t shy away from confronting people’s narcissism and duplicity. When he has a contention with someone, he mentions his disagreement so politely and hesitantly that it would be hard to imagine anyone getting upset with him. Although some do…

Those who end up disliking him (rare as it is) are those most entrenched in a worldview that brings with it self-righteousness and exclusivism. Much like Jesus dealing with the Pharisees of his day, the people who get the most irate with Louis are those who are so convinced that their thinking is right that they become volatile and sometimes even threatening when contradicted. They tend to fall under the category of religious or racial extremism. Those who have become most angry with him have been white separatists, some of the Westboro Baptist members, and neo Nazis.

His sense of horror over people’s behavior seems always couched in seeing people as human and not evil. Though it seems hard for him to hide his sense of revulsion at the lifestyles of some of the people he visits, he still treats them as human beings. Even when he asked probing questions of the young man who raped and tried to kill his own mother, he managed to ask him accountability questions while at the same time treating him with dignity and respect.

He hangs out with “sinners.” And not the garden variety type. Not people who feel bad for saying the F word, or who yelled at their kids today and feel guilty about it. Not the pastor who committed adultery. Or the nursery school teacher who commits credit card fraud. No, that stuff is small potatoes. Louis goes to the murderers, the prostitutes, the pimps, the porn industry and…judges them? No, he just hangs out, talks with them, tries to understand where they’re coming from. In other words, he extends friendship and grace.

He’s fun to be with. When you watch one of his films, you see that the people he interviews genuinely enjoy his company. They laugh with him at his silliness, at his awkward and often uncomfortable questions, at his willingness to participate to whatever degree he’s able to—either physically or psychologically. He enters their world and goes where few dare to tread and because of this, he often wins people’s trust.

His gentleness belies his courage. Although he is clearly nervous at some of the situations he gets into, he doesn’t let it stop him. He’s no coward. You couldn’t be a coward and confront neo Nazis who suddenly ask you if you have Jewish blood or show up to train with extreme wrestlers with a drill sergeant for a coach. (In the wrestling documentary, the coach pushed Louis so hard that he had to throw up.) The guy’s got moxie.

He’s got heart. “Extreme Love” is possibly his most moving documentary in which he befriends families of autistic children, gaining the trust and love of both the families and the kids. They include and welcome him because he included and welcomed them first. Sound familiar?

p02cgcjl

Louis could teach all of us a thing or two about how to treat people we differ from with more love and respect.

I hope you get a chance to watch one of his films. Like me, you may wonder if Louis Theroux is sometimes Jesus in disguise.

5e5eadcb37960ab09f9502f0cf312f66

 

Image credits: BBC & Banksy

FEAR VS. LOVE

          

2453f39fa28bba597d4593644caec791

Some people think that the opposite of love is hate. Some have said the opposite of love is apathy. While there may be some truth to both of those, the opposite of love is actually fear.

It’s interesting that when Jesus cast demons out of certain people or healed them of ongoing illnesses, he didn’t spend hours analyzing how they got into that condition. In Mark 5, he didn’t ask if the demon-possessed man had had an abusive childhood. They didn’t have psychiatric labels then (that we know of) like we have nowadays. Jesus simply met people where they were at and he moved them forward, often by healing, freeing, and delivering them from what was causing their suffering.

I once had a pastor who said, “God never does something just for you. What he does for you is also meant to bless and affect others.” Jesus didn’t just deliver this man for the man’s sake; an entire town had been affected by his “issues” and the entire town would later be affected by his healing. One of the most marvelous passages in the Gospels is Mark 5: “Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind.” This wasn’t after years of extensive therapy. This was after moments in the presence of Perfect Love.

Christ’s love is so powerful and his power so loving that all he needs to do is speak words of healing, or touch someone, or be touched, and oppression of body, mind or soul must cease and leave. This begs the question: what if we were able to love from such a place of being so grounded in God and his love that our mere presence, our mere words, our mere touch could bring healing to others? There’s nothing “mere” about any of these things.

There are people in our lives, around whom we may feel rejected, criticized, and like nothing we ever do is good enough for them. Around these, we may feel anxious, bound-up, irritated, and uneasy. We want to remove ourselves from their presence. On the other hand, there are people we are drawn toward because they exude love, acceptance, and a deep-seated joy that’s not dependent on circumstances. Their acceptance of us is not based on what we do, it’s based on who we are to them. In their presence, we feel freer, more able to be ourselves, at ease, and at home. No human can love us perfectly, but these people give us a glimpse of that perfect love that everyone longs for.

God is the only one who can love us perfectly for the simple, yet profound, reason that he is love. It is the very essence of his character and of his being. He cannot be, or do, otherwise. This is why Jesus was a magnet for the downtrodden, the discouraged, those heavy-laden with care (and he still is). These are the ones who are often most open to the slightest kindness, the gentlest touch, because when a person is wounded, the last thing they need is harshness. They need tenderness.

The man in Mark 5, prior to his deliverance, was much like the guy on the train who most people avoid—the one who is dirty, smells bad, and mumbles to himself or shouts obscenities. It is very likely fear that makes people look away—fear of being reminded of one’s own inner poverty when in the presence of outward poverty. But Jesus was afraid of no one because Jesus was the embodiment of perfect love and perfect love casts out all fear.

It is dazzling that in Mark 5:6-7 the man ran to Jesus and worshipped him before he was ever healed. The man wanted God. The demons were afraid of God. So the man was in a state of push/pull—drawn to Jesus, yet at the same time repelled by him. But once he was free, he begged to be allowed to stay with Jesus. Instead, Jesus sent the man back to his town (the very town that had alienated him) and told him to tell everyone what God had done for him, making him the first bearer of the Good News of God’s healing, freeing love in that vicinity. The man’s life was his testimony. The people had seen him before, and they saw him now, and there was no denying that the man was changed, transformed, and free due to encountering God’s perfect fear-evicting love in his Son, Jesus Christ.

 

a2c855bcbcadfb74c4566a8b2ac17902