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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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

 

ALREADY OPEN DOORS

Hi friends…

4 minutes on open doors…

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as you keep your eyes open for them.

Blessings,

Monique

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To have a courageous conversation, click this link to schedule an introductory call with me and we can explore where you are feeling stuck and help you locate those doors. No charge. Just please follow through if you book a call.

THE PRISON OF YOUR MIND

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Hi friends,

If you don’t know who Sean Stephenson is, you’re about to meet an endearing, gentle man who has more obstacles to overcome than most, but instead of complaining about it, he is taking his challenges and turning them into inspiration.

May you be inspired by his strength and wisdom in this short TED talk.

“Never believe a prediction that doesn’t empower you.” – Sean

Wishing you a great rest of the week!

Blessings and peace,

Monique

**If you’d like to talk with me, you can schedule an appointment by following this link for a 30-minute call by Skype or phone (no charge) or fill out the contact form below. I’d be happy to hear from you.

“FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT”– NOT THE BEST LIFE STRATEGY

Reaching by Darrell Raw

I’ve read, seen and heard this term “fake it till you make it” quite a bit the past few years. It’s supposed to mean that if you’re struggling with something, finding something hard, or just plain having a hard time and not doing well, you can pretend you’re doing better than you are and eventually you’ll really be doing better than you are. I think there is a tiny bit of truth to this if it’s meant in the same sense that C.S. Lewis wrote about when he said:

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.”

Perhaps he’s right that “pretending” your way into a virtue will eventually cause this virtue to become your true character over time, the way that a child putting on an adult’s shoes eventually “fits” into them. You can eventually “fit” into a virtue by practicing it. I prefer the term practicing over pretending as it sounds more like forward movement than putting on masks in order to hide ourselves.

Also, Tony Robbins often talks about how our physiology affects our psychology. In other words, if you’re feeling depressed and are sitting or standing slumped over, the first thing to do is pull your shoulders back and breathe. In other words your body informs your mind how to feel. There is also a lot of truth to this.

But overall, as a lifelong strategy, “Fake it till you make it” isn’t going to fly. At least not if what you are actually wanting is to be real and to be loved for who you are and not who you pretend to be.

It seems that what we all want is not only to be real, to be authentic, but to be real and authentic…and be loved. The part where it gets scary is when being authentic might cause rejection, disapproval or outright alienation. If you were raised with people who did a lot of hiding from themselves and their emotions, or if expressing your true feelings was met with abuse, rejection or invalidation, it’s easy to see why people find it easier to fake it.

Personally, it seems like more work to not be real than to be real. But I can see why people fall into this trap because maybe for the time being, it seems the better alternative. But as anyone wrestling through this can tell you, it’s not the better alternative. It ends up becoming a bigger and bigger hole to dig yourself out of.

My own frustration with being real is more related to the kind of responses I sometimes come up against which make me see why so many people find it easier to not bother with authenticity. Things like telling someone how I’m feeling when it’s not a happy-smiley day for me and then being either preached at, lectured or invalidated in some other way.

Henri Nouwen said it so marvelously:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

So what are some solutions to the dilemma of wanting to be real, but also wanting to avoid being hurt, and more importantly, to be heard and be loved for who we are? Perhaps there isn’t any big solution, but two things that come to mind are risk and discernment.

Risk is part of being human and is part of any human interaction. We need to risk being hurt in order to have authentic relationship, friendship and community.  The important thing though is to make sure to bring discernment along with us when taking risks in sharing with others. Discernment about when to tell, who to tell and how much to tell.

Discernment is much like gut instinct, but even finer tuned. It helps you locate the line between your own fear and the need to take a risk and step out, whether that’s stepping out in connecting with people or stepping out in a new direction in life. It’s a divine gift and like all gifts, it can be cultivated and strengthened so that it becomes easier to tune into. The more you do, the better choices you will make in who you share your concerns, burdens and heaviness with. As you probably know, sharing with the wrong people can be worse than not sharing at all.

So tune your ear and heart to God’s guidance and choose wisely. Then take the risk and share your heart honestly and openly. The right people will be okay with hearing your junk. And who knows, it may even free them up to share theirs. That doesn’t mean we need to wallow forever in a “junk sharing” pity party, but it does mean that there should be at least one or two people in your life with whom you feel like the Emily Dickinson quote below. God knows how thankful I am for those people in my life.

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As always, let me know if I can be of help. Wishing you all the grace and strength you need.

Intrigued? Let’s have a conversation. Click this link to schedule an introductory call with me and we can explore where you are feeling stuck and how to help you move forward. No charge. Just please follow through if you book a call. 

Monique