The God I Know: Religion And The Real World

As I sit alone in Good Enough Mother World Headquarters, I am overcome with emotion. What is the deal with me crying all the time, is it hormonal or what? Nonetheless, the tears are here so stick with me as I try to decipher why.

Yesterday, I wrote a story on this site based around another blog post a friend directed me to. You may have read it – it’s the piece with dozens of comments!

Basically the blogger, a pastor’s wife, who calls herself warriorwoman, wrote about how she and her husband would not allow their kids to date, but instead engaging in courtship.  I’ll be honest, reading her post literally made my head spin and the tough-as-nails Rene took action, using it as a jumping off point for my own piece – and a debate I wanted to have on the site about dating and abstinence in 2011.

I know it will come as no surprise to those who know me and follow this site, but I was direct, blunt, provocative and spiky. The pastor’s wife, on her own blog, thanked me for linking to her piece and then fired what would be the first of no fewer than three insults at me. When I asked her via her own site, to please explain to me how this courtship would work, especially as her kids went off to college, she was cordial, but did not miss an opportunity to insult again, letting me know how she and her children had a good laugh at my post and the comments made by my readers. At 9:25 last night, she was complimenting me on how beautiful my kids and I were. At 10:25 she did everything but call me the devil incarnate. It was as if someone else had inhabited the space in front of her keyboard. From that point on, she continued to insult me, calling me narrow-minded and questioning my ability as a journalist, which of course, I no longer am. It was whiplash inducing.

That brings us back to GEM World HQ and the tears. They are not the result of the pastor’s wife’s insults; no not even close. They are because there was a real opportunity here, to educate, to share, to find common ground and above all for people to learn more about God, yes, even on this spiky website.

This is the entry to my home. The wall is filled with about 70 crosses and there are probably another 70 or so around my house. But I don’t need them to remind me that I am a sinner and Christ died for me. This one is my favorite.

Now, as we have seen in the exchanges between the pastor’s wife and myself, religion, like politics, is the third rail of our society. People hold it dear and have been known to die for it. That’s why those things don’t make good dinner-party conversation or blog post commenting. But because I seek to learn as much as teach, I am bravely venturing into those churning waters. So pull up a chair as I tell you about the God I know.

THE GOD I KNOW TAUGHT ME TO TURN THE OTHER CHEEK: When I woke up this morning to check my site statistics, I saw the sort of traffic my post was driving to warriorwoman’s site. My first reaction was to take down the link that points to her blog; after all, she’s taken to calling me “this woman” and “someone”. But I stopped. Why? As I mentioned before and have left on the comments section here, I am interested in finding out the logistics of how a courtship with her family would work, particularly as her kids go off to college. I am still open to hearing that. But after her last two salvos directed at me, I doubt it will be from her. The other reason I did not take down the link is because, contrary to what she has labeled me as, I am very definitely not narrow-minded. Just as I welcome her opinion, I want to give my readers a chance to see what she is talking about, to hear the message from her own mouth. I will not deny them that privilege. I believe we learn and grow when we expose ourselves to opinions that differ from our own. We don’t have to agree with them, but respectful, challenging debate is a good thing. Too bad she’s not doing the same for her readers.

THE GOD I KNOW DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES: I believe in a tolerant, benevolent God, one who is omnipotent, omnipresent and does not make mistakes. It is the last part of that which leads me to believe that people do not choose to be gay and are good just the way they are – and that’s why I support gay marriage. I have a number of gay friends, two of whom I sang with in the church choir at Christ Community Church a thousand years ago. They are both now in happily, committed relationships, one of 16 years, the other more than 20. My friend Phil, knew he was gay since elementary school (how is that learned behavior?) but wasn’t able to be true to himself until he came at 21. His relationship, with his husband (who he legally married in California a few years back) and God is none of my business, just as my relationship with my partner is none of his.

THE GOD I KNOW TAUGHT ME HOW TO FORGIVE: I harbor no ill will toward warriorwoman. In fact, I noticed a funny thing; my sense of peace about her and the exchange seemed inversely proportionate to her ire. While I won’t forget that she insulted my intelligence or insinuated that I was no good at my former profession, I do have a soft spot in my heart for her. She let her emotion get the best of her, who among us hasn’t? But surely warriorwoman is aware of how, accurately or not, very religious people are portrayed in society and the media.

When she started slinging insults at me (I never, in my initial post targeted her, rather questioned the courtship method) then picked up her bat and ball and said game over, well, that’s exactly what people expected her to do. They expected her to retreat to that position where no one could reach, challenge or ask questions and that is too bad. If she had maintained her cool, she would have seen that I could be reasonable, logical, open to debate and new ideas. Heck, she might have even made me think about the way I will approach dating with my own kids. Warriorwoman had a chance to give more than just broad strokes; she could have really gotten into detail, to tell more about how the courtship went with her own husband, to share more of what she believes and to even teach someone outside her circle of believers, more about the God she follows.

THE GOD I KNOW IS LOVE: Love, Love, Love.  In one of her comments to me, warriorwoman took umbrage with me calling her out for insulting me. “Oh, and since I’m a pastor’s wife, I’m not supposed to set anyone straight? Why? Because Jesus wouldn’t? He certainly did.” Yes, warriorwoman, Jesus set a lot of people straight but He did it from a place of love. He did it because He was concerned for their spiritual life and because they were His Father’s children. He did not do it because He was trying to settle a score or make people feel small and insignificant with cutting remarks.  I’m not a pastor’s wife and have no doubt spent far fewer hours sitting in church pews than you have, but I know this to be true; the God I know loves me, despite my faults, which are far too numerous to list here, just as He loves you.

So this morning I was a little confused, I guess because I went to warriorwoman (after the initial post, which I again admit was spiky and provocative) seeking information and she shut me down. Instead of searching for some common ground, she dismissed me as someone not worthy of her time. Earlier, while the conversation was still cordial, I mentioned that I had seen her church online and it looked welcoming, like the kind of place I probably would have tried out had I still been living in my hometown of Sacramento, CA. After the turn of events though, she wrote, And don’t kid yourself, you wouldn’t have visited my church anyway.” I wondered how she could be so certain in making that claim, especially because she was wrong.

In the midst of all that confusion, Pastor Bill Stack of the Salem Full Gospel Church, in Salem, Missouri, wrote in, praising warriorwoman and her methods. I approved the comment because, as I have said before, I am open to hearing other people’s sides. Well, it didn’t take much (I am a trained reporter and the internet is a wonderful tool) to figure out that Pastor Stack was related to warriorwoman, a point I made in my response to him. In his follow up comments, he thanked me for allowing his views to be heard and said this of his sister, “It was wrong for her to have gotten defensive and rude when her ideas and character were challenged, in an audience as large and diverse as yours, but her ideas on children and family are sound…she has the living credentials to prove it.” But it’s what he did next that took my breath away and renewed my faith that people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds can have respectful disagreements.  “Your children are blessed to have you as their mother.”  Wow.

To Pastor Stack, thank you for the kind words and the kind place in your heart from which they came, for acknowledging that there is value to both warriorwoman’s approach and my own and for giving me a glimpse of the God I know.

So all you Good Enough Mother’s out there – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. How do you reconcile your religious beliefs with the real world and your day-to-day lives? Keep it respectful and I think we can all learn a great deal from one another… I hope so…

Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create GoodEnoughMother.com. When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.

93 Comments

  1. Kelly sapp

    February 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Rene,

    Wow, I’ve learned I must be a horrible communicator. Please forgive me for coming across in the horrible ways you’ve described me. I did not mean to offend you. I did mean to correct your misrepresentation of me and the concept.

    While we will disagree, you would fit right in at my church.

    My brother, a West Point graduate, has always managed to keep his cool much better than me. I am just like Anne of Green Gables when it comes to criticism. And I’m very Irish, if I feel someone is playing two sides of the coin with me, being nice privately, then provocative publicly, I will fight. And my Bible and yours tell us of a Jesus who fought and overturned moneychangers’ tables when a place called a house of prayer had become a marketplace. I believed when you initiated this, not me, that you honestly wanted dialogue. I have decided you only wanted to humiliate me, hoping to get more hits to your site and earn $. Sad. I thought you were sincerely seeking truth.

    In case you are, a book you can google is called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” by Joshua Harris. You’ll find much more about the concept of courtship there. It is not my brainchild, and it is not for everyone, but perhaps it will help someone.

    Yes, I blew my cool. That is not a reflection on my church or all Christians. It is a reflection on me. If you were committed to truth, every question you wish I had answered is already available on my blog, including my courtship with my husband. Did you not easily find it?

    I am sad that no matter how much truth is presented, Christians will continue to be accused of not being Christian because they show anger. If showing anger or correcting misinformation is wrong, then none of us will make it to heaven. Thankfully, God is the judge, and the Redeemer.

  2. Allison

    February 7, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    WOW – all I can say is .. it’s people like this “this lady/Pastor’s wife” is a prime example of what people mean when… “Christians can be some of the meanest people”.

    She has a very self-righteous attitude and is probably the one who looks down on others who SHE feels doesn’t follow so called “Christian rules”.

    She has a opinion that she believes is right and everybody else is wrong when it comes to her strong belief of HER Opinion.

    Rene… I think you tackled this just like every other thing here on this site with an “OPEN MIND” and very NON JUDGEMENTAL.

    She is the very kind of person who “run people off from church” versus to the church.

  3. @KenMos

    February 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I got usurped by my iPhone (translation: operator error).

    To finish: true conviction requires that one should take a stand but not sucker punch, then hide. Fact is, her handle says it all…for her and for many fanatics who’ve been trapped behind religion’s walls. WARRIORWOMAN….fighting rather than taking up Christianity’s hallmark: LOVE.

    JESUS DID GET PEOPLE STRAIGHT! They were generally churchfolk (I.E. Pharisees and sadducees). The others: he healed and loved.

  4. Jen (ImoBlog)

    February 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
    Mohandas Gandhi

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    As a Christian myself I cringed when I saw the response you received on YOUR blog. I feel that there is a certain amount of respect owed to you when someone is visiting your house.

    Can someone explain why people wearing the ‘I’m a Christian” badge have the right to condemn or condone the actions or beliefs of others? Can someone show me a biblical reference that supports this behavior?

  5. Robert

    February 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Jen,
    I agree with you 100%. I am sick and tired of (some) people using the Bible to shove their belief down our throats. I don’t tell them how to live their lives, and I don’t expect the same from them. Some religious people really scare me!

  6. Kelly sapp

    February 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Exactly my point, Jen. Thanks.

  7. David C Freeman

    February 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    @ Ms. Sapp
    I think you continue to miss the open invitation to share your belifs with a large audience. Of copurse Rene can read your blog to find out some answers. But we know in this impatient world, most people won’t take or even have the time to trudge through the whole thing to get answers that may lie there. This is a chance for you to write from the heart to amny people, not only Rene, who are ready to listen with more equanimity than you give them credit for. Each time you start to sound like “the past is the past”, you then renew the battle with a fresh barrage of derogation, insinuations and false assumptions.
    I’ve been attacked and made fun of for both my “corny beliefs”, my stutter, even my religion. I resist the urge to get testy and fight back on the same level because I realize later that it is usually ME who is feeling the barbs deeper than the other person who has passing interest in what I hold deep. By continuing to tit for tat at their level, who wins? And sure, I can send them to a book they’ll never read, but if my beliefs are that important to me, if I can write about the tit for tats, I can instead write about my bliefs, using the space for good instead of carrying on a silly argument that solves little.
    Rene never mentioned that anyone laughed at your beliefs,..bcause nobody did! Sure, they may disagree or find them strange, but thats the whole point isn’t it? To DEMystify.
    By carrying on this sort of behavior, and I understand the being wary, but Rene has clearly stated, multple times, “Please use my forum as if it were your own and freely express your ideas and answer any genuine questions” You replied by telling her how your family laighed at her posts and then go back to to the passive aggressive standby comments I see you do again and again.
    I’d love to see the quotes where anyone was consciously trying to “Humiliate you” Is disagreeing with you Humiliation? And strong beliefs can stand up to names anyway. Were I a courageous believer, I could take much more and still stand proud sharing my beliefs with the audience. Please put aside the vitriol, and understand there ARE people here ready to hear you out, Rene especially!, And assume the best of people for a change. Again, I get the reasons for your assumed caution. But don’t you see that is HINDERING any open dialogue and learning for all involved and not helping? I love to change lives with the lessons life has taught me. They work for me but not for everyone. But if they can help one other, I’ll continue to spout them. You should copncern yourself with the one you CAN get through to, not the few you cannot. And by acting that way, you will see, you will have a larger, open and maybe even captive audience. People often find different lifestyles very interesting. It’s all in the attitude with which it is presented.

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  9. David C Freeman

    February 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Jen..The same can be said from the opposite direction or Ms. Sapp would not have posted any sort of apology for her action, (even as she used them as a springboard for fresh, “preemptive strike” insults.)
    Rene’s post here calmly tells her sides and uses quotes as proof. I’d love to see the quotes where Rene “Insulted” rather than disagreed” with anything, at least before the first salvo of insult was launched by Ms. Sapp.

  10. Rich

    February 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Kelly – can I ask out of interest what you would do if your daughter was gay.

    I understand the idea of courtship as a prelude to marriage – but if your daughter was gay and therefore couldn’t legally marry – how would courtship fit into that.

    As a gay man I always wonder about this issue when I hear about purity rings and abstinence – since the end goal for gay people can’t be legal marriage in our current society.

  11. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Kelly: I believe there is learning in all things and all situations. This is one of those times. As I laid out in this most recent post, I wrote a blog that was based on my opinion and that is what my readers come to me for, to get my take on things. When I saw your initial blog, I gave my take on it, just like I do on so many other issues. Take a look around, they’re all here. It was based on my views and the way I am raising my children, just as your initial post was about your views based on your upbringing. Fair enough. Before I ever went to your site, my readers were commenting and I commented back. At that point, we had not communicated. Now, as I watched the site stats and how many people were going to your blog based on my link I wandered over. And Kelly, not to belabor the point but before we ever made contact, in your first response to the site, you insulted me. So you see, it wasn’t just that you thought I was being nice to you on your site and snarky on mine, you had already made up your mind as to the sort of person I was. The difference between your reaction and my post, was that I was talking about the ideas, you fired on the person, me. Now, I looked past that, along with several other digs, because while I was in your home, I was respecting your rules.

    One of the things I find most interesting about your comment here is, that though your tone has softened considerably, there is no apology here, not that I really expect one and you probably think I don’t deserve one. But I do see you walking right up to the line. You say “I” have described you horribly. Nope, no description or interpretation necessary, it’s all right there in black and white. Those were your words that came off your keyboard, aimed straight at me. There’s more but what’s the point really. And no, I have not been back to your site and won’t. I have no interest in seeing myself referred to as “someone” and “this woman”. I’ll get the answers elsewhere.

    To your point about Christians being accused of not being Christian-like because they show anger; all I know is I have seen my favorite pastor in Dallas lose his cool but he was never, ever mean. You were mean. Yes, you lost your temper, I get that, I have one myself. But unlike me, who was asking questions about an issue in a spiky way, your attack was personal and it was meant to draw blood. Correcting misinformation can be done without name-calling.

    I, too, know the Jesus who turned over tables when the Temple was being defiled and I knew that would be a part of your response (if you chose to respond at all). But that is not the only side of the Savior, not even close.
    As for your brother, all I can is God Bless that man. With his emails today, reaching out, apologetic, understanding, kind, he restored order to chaos and in those quiet moments, helped me to look at another side of this issue, and quite frankly, of you. Pretty incredible. Thanks for the church invite, I might take you up in it someday. In the meantime, Kelly, I wish you and your family the very best that this life, and OUR God has to offer.

  12. David C Freeman

    February 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    And even were it true, that due to hurt feelings or assuming the worst intentions of anyone’s comments on both sides, Rene NEVER closed the door, in fact offered more than once to open it wider. It seems that Ms. Sapp likes to come and “apologize for any misunderstanding”, create a new one, say her piece and go home.
    If people are making any assumptions, it is caused by just this sort of behavior. And I can tell she’s a caring, loving Mother. And if things work for her, thats awesome. I’m glad. In fact please do share them. But I’m sorry, the paradigm on which her behavior is predicated does not invote very much open discussion when everything is tinged with the lack of true love for our brothers and sisters of all faiths.

  13. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Jen, not sure what you mean? The response on goodeoughmother.com or on her blog? Thanks

  14. Jen (ImoBlog)

    February 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Rene- unless I read it wrong I thought she responded to you on your blog. Did I make a mistake?

    Regardless- I stand by statement that Christians should not use their badge as a license to condemn other people.

  15. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Yeah that’s correct. I had commented on her blog and she came back to me. She was initially nice and respectful before the hard left turn. Thanks Jen.

  16. Mia

    February 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Okay, I know Ms. Sapp responded and we want to respond to what she wrote, but the question from Rene was “How do you reconcile your religious beliefs with the real world and your day-to-day lives? ”

    I will say that it can be very challenging to reconcile our religious beliefs with the real world. Specifically for those who are Christians who try to live and reflect the “fruits of the spirit.” I’m not big on structured religion, but I love the Christ message and His Commandments which was 1st to love God and second to love your neighor as yourself. It is all about love and trying our best in everything we do to carry ourselve in a way that reflects love.

    Does that become difficult sometimes, absolutely, especially if you feel like you are being attacked. Remember perception is that person’s reality. I do think that those who really make an effort to “abide in Him” which I believe is His Word you have to change, it is impossible not to, which means actually we should do better and conduct ourselves in a way that it is clear who we belong to and who we walk with.

    As a Pastor’s wife Mrs. Sapp is actually held to a higher standard because of her position. Does that mean she won’t make mistakes? Absolutely not! I do however encourage Mrs. Sapp to remember that often in a diverse environment where everyone is not a believer we get one chance to prove what they think they know. That Christians are so judgemental blah blah blah or wow, that is great to see a real Christian. That is not to say that either pre-judgment is correct, but it is the reality we live in.

  17. Katy

    February 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Anyone can show anger. One who shows anger does not define his/her religious beliefs by their anger. It does not make someone less Christian to be angry.

    Respecting one another is the issue. Insults are disrespectful. They serve no purpose other than to be hurtful. Does that make someone less Christian? NO, it shows ignorance, intolerance, & self righteousness. You own that and that’s between you & God, Christian or not.

    An apology with further incredulous accusations is not an apology. It is that much more insulting and ignorant.

    There are many people who know Rene and many who know her better than I. In the time I spent with her, I found her to be a genuine, caring, & loving person. I see her as an incredible mother & wife who is interested in the people & world around her. She’s honest and steadfast in her beliefs. I see those morals and values shine through in her blogs.

  18. Mike McGinley

    February 7, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    This post obviously took a lot of thought. The God we all have a choice to build a relationship with would be proud to read something so thought-out and thought-provoking. In the age of the Internet, where so many people’s thoughts are available for public view, open and honest debate helps people understand others – and their values & opinions – better. That’s the beauty of a site like this!

  19. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Okay, you’re making me cry now, :) I’m just a mom doing the best I can, like you, warriorwoman and so many others who call this space home. Thank you

  20. michelle

    February 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I’m glad to come home to GEM at the end of the day. I have enough self-condemnation and regrets without someone heaping more on me. Thank you Rene for a safe place for moms.

  21. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Oh, thanks honey. Hugs back at ‘cha!

  22. Tawanzie

    February 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I appreciate your views and enjoy your blogs! Thanks for always keeping it real!

    Rene, YOU ROCK!

  23. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Oh thanks! Just doing my level best and somehow succeeding at being Good Enough :)

  24. Paige Flink

    February 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I reconcile my religious beliefs with my day to day world by not taking myself so seriously, and by taking God very seriously. And what God seriously wants is for us to love each other, unconditionally, without judgement, warts and all.

    When we begin go think our opinions are the most important ones that count, trouble is usually around the corner.

    Thank you for making me think about something that should always be in the front of my mind. Your strong, spiritual voice has come through today.

  25. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks Paige. I have said time and again, I wrote a pointed piece, asking pointed questions. I am saddened that she didn’t see the opportunity to educate and inform, not just about homeschooling and the concept of courtship but about faith, love and God. I wrote my piece today in case there was someone on the sidelines watching this yesterday. I wanted to talk about the benevolent and loving God I know. If anyone was dissuaded by yesterday’s back and forth, I pray today there is clarity.

  26. Dani

    February 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Great post – loved it!!

    “Pastor” and “Pastor’s Wife” are merely labels. Being a pastor’s wife doesn’t make one a Saint, or Holy, or even necessarily Saved. it’s what’s in the heart that matters; only God knows what’s in there and what’s not. There are Christians who truly believe, like me, who rarely go to church. And, on the flipside, there are church leaders who play the part, but don’t truly believe and will not be Raptured (as depicted in the Left Behind books). The God I know knows the difference, but keeps his arms open anyway – to any and all who seek Him.

  27. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Dani. I’m with you on that one. thanks!

  28. Dani

    February 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    The warriorwoman appeared to be apologizing above, but posted the following on her blog on the same day:

    “My blog got lots of hits, I was led into verbal battle, & I totally fell for the trick… Unfortunately, bigtime bloggers get their money by how many hits they get, so if they can lure you to trust them, debate them, get you fired up & then ridicule you for having emotions, question your Christianity, etc., they get more traffic.”

    I feel sorry for this woman.

  29. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Yeah, she wasn’t really apologizing to me, instead saying I “described her as such and such”. No, what I did was cut and paste what came off of her keyboard. No room for interpretation there. On her own blog, some readers told me she sort of goes halfway in apologizing for potentially leading readers astray, and then trashes me again as a “big time blogger” looking for hits on my website and comparing me to a dog. Wow, what’s going on there? I have wished this woman both publicly and privately all the good stuff our God has to offerer, and yet she’s still so very pissed that she can’t accept that. She’s not in the least bit interested in seeing my response to hers as she logged on early in the evening and hasn’t been back. Like you, I feel like there’s something so sad and tragic about all of this and, this is not condescending but with an open heart, I will be praying for her. Given her past behavior and treatment of me, I doubt she will return the favor.

  30. David C Freeman

    February 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Yes, its so obviously all about the money here. She puts you down for not taking the time to have read every post on her blog to get the answers to your questions, and has obviously not done much exploration of yours.
    It’s like she accused you of every action she took. And I don’t mean that in an accusatory manner. I mean it makes me sad that she was so full of caution and ready to assume the worst of every word, divergent opinion or post honestly questioning her beliefs. It’s like saying, “I know I’m going to have a sour experience if I leave my little circle”, and then going out to do everything you can to ensure you have a bad experience. Is closing the door to discussion EVER the answer in matters such as these?

  31. Rene Syler

    February 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I did have a little chuckle when she called me a “big-time blogger” . that’s right and you rum soaks better start treating me with more respect! I doubt she’ll be back but if she is, she’s certainly welcome.

  32. Tania

    February 8, 2011 at 12:41 am

    For me, trying to find the right words to comment on this topic has been really hard. Here goes it:

    As to the original discussion, I see both sides. I have a wonderful relationship with God. I love Him so much I am afraid to disappoint Him. I grew up in a Christian home. I never had a curfew and was never told I couldn’t date. My mom taught me about decisions and consequences dealing with EVERYTHING about life not just boys. She also trusted me. So on my own, I was afraid to date. My friends who did often ended up having sex and I didn’t want that. I loved my parent so much I didn’t want to disappoint her nor God. On my own I made the decision to stay chaste and not because I never had the opportunity. My vow of celibacy remains today!
    Like you Rene, I respect ‘WarriorMom’ (I think that’s her name) and the way she’s chosen to raise her kids. Being childless and a Christian, I read her blog. I may take 2 cents of it and leave 3 behind. It’s food for thought.
    Finally, it saddens me where this opportunity for open dialogue has gone.
    Each of us has a different relationship with God and we can’t persecute nor judge because we don’t all see Him the same way. One way isn’t more right, and we all make mistakes. He who is without sin cast the first stone. I see no rocks flying. Isn’t it wonderful though how He loves us regardless of ourselves.
    I leave you with this Rene: My pastor gives the analogy of a weight lifter. More weight must be added if he’s to grow any muscles. Think of Mrs. Warrior as a 20lb weight, and just keep bench pressing. Through your tears and subsequent posts I think I see bigger guns. ;)
    Thanks for what you do….even for the GoodEnoughChildren.

  33. Rene Syler

    February 8, 2011 at 1:01 am

    thanks Tania:
    Yeah, that is the part that was truly tragic in this, the opportunity for both of us to learn and grow. I wrote a provocative piece, asked questions and she shut it down, per her comments to this post, when she decided (she, not me) I was trying to humiliate her. Then warriorwoman, said I wouldn’t attend her church. Really? Wow. Tania, she was mean and hellbent on drawing blood which is why I bent over backward to be nice. That only seemed to make her more angry. But she won’t stop, witness the post on her site where she blames me, the big time blogger, for baiting her and then likens me to a dog. And yet, as ugly as that is, there’s a part of me that feels sorry for her. And that is what will have me on bended knee tonight, praying she has peace in her life. Given what she has shown of herself toward me, I doubt the pastor’s wife does the same for me.

  34. Rene Syler

    February 8, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Oh Mike, you are the best, thanks!

  35. Nikki Newman

    February 8, 2011 at 2:30 am

    I have been following this debate, have read all the posts and comments from today and yesterday on GEM and on warriorwoman’s blog and I have to say I feel totally overwhelmed by it and hence have not yet added comments. It’s hard to find words for it for starters as I feel strangely out of my depth because for some reason I don’t feel ‘qualified’ to comment. But perhaps that’s it, I find it overwhelming because it encapsulates everything I find utterly baffling and alienating about religion. I have my God and he is the one that Rene describes above, it’s all about coming from a place of love. That includes being able to express anger, of course it does. For me, there has to be a lightness of touch about these things in the end though, and warriorwoman seems to be coming from a place that is at pains to grip her truth or her idea/ls. A more open-hearted discussion as Rene and many in their comments here have said, is what could have transpired and would have been amazing. I think that it’s perfectly possible to reconcile religious beliefs with the wider-world and all its rich diversity but it takes quite an open-heart to do it and that’s something we all can work at, I think it’s part of our journey here and why discussions like this are important.

    I live in the Middle East and am faced daily with things that challenge my ideas or beliefs about basic civil liberties, before we even get close to thinking about the wider picture of religion, but I can only be open, learn what I can, and try to continue to nurture that open-heartedness which I want to be able to carry with me through life.

    I find it hard to see warriorwoman’s approach to her children’s futures as one that is truly open-hearted because we are talking about individuals, not composite parts of a single organism; yes we can work as a team, as a family, as a group, but we exist as people in our own right, and that’s the bottom line. This is not about abstinence but about the liberty of an individual. Call me simplistic, but that’s where it begins and ends for me.

  36. Bill Stack

    February 8, 2011 at 2:32 am

    God is not afraid of the real world, He created it. But…as the Creator, He gets to have His say, and His say will be the final one. While God is love, He also is truth. The same Jesus Who embraced the woman “caught in adultery” (where was the guy – she didn’t do it by herself), and said “neither do I condemn you…”, in the next breath, said “go and sin no more”. In fact, with many of the loving interactions Jesus had with sinners, including those he healed of a physical disease, he would repeat that phrase. So, Rene, while I appreciate your heart and the right to feel the way you do about gay marriage, I must draw the line where Jesus has already drawn it. While He loves the homosexual sinner the same as every other kind, He doesn’t give them a pass, to continue in their sinful lifestyle and be ok with Him. Unrepentant sinners still go to hell, and hell is not a very nice place to go. People were never meant to go there (it was designed for the devil and his demons). The Lord made the way for all of us to spend eternity with Him, by accepting His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Lord of our lives. Though not popular today, to talk about things like “sin”, “hell”, and the like, they are real to the Lord we all say that we serve. In fact, the Bible tells us that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning, and able to cleanse each of us from what ails us spiritually. He also is still able to heal us physically – we have had several folks healed of cancer recently, even a lady diagnosed with stage 4 (there is a testimony from one of them, in her own words, on our site – about 10 min). While God is still as loving and powerful as ever, sin is just as destructive as ever – regardless if man makes sin legal or not, popular or not, etc. But thankfully, Jesus said “I have come, that you might have life, and have it more abundantly”. I will gladly trade anything this world has to offer, for the abundant life that He provides : ). Once again, thank you for the opportunity to post to your site. God bless you and yours. – Bill

  37. Will Jones

    February 8, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Rene,

    No worries. I talked to God earlier and he said not to take warriorwoman too seriously; she get’s that way some times.
    He said you’re both doing great but there are things you could both work on (He said the details didn’t concern me and that He’ll get with you both about them later.)

    Oh yeah… He sends his love.

  38. Rich

    February 8, 2011 at 6:58 am

    “So, Rene, while I appreciate your heart and the right to feel the way you do about gay marriage, I must draw the line where Jesus has already drawn it. While He loves the homosexual sinner the same as every other kind, He doesn’t give them a pass, to continue in their sinful lifestyle and be ok with Him. Unrepentant sinners still go to hell, and hell is not a very nice place to go.”

    Oh Bill, yet another Christian who doesn’t really know his bible… please rent out the movie ‘For The Bible Tells Me So’ and it might cause you to rethink some of your views on gays and lesbians…

    If Jesus was around today do you know where he’d be – in the gay bars and walking the Pride parades. And do you know who he’d be rallying against – the Christian right in America who have corrupted everything he stood for and are more concerned with judging others than helping make the world a better place.

    Being gay isn’t a sin. End of story. A couple of lines – misinterpreted – in a book thousands of years old and compiled by man doesn’t negate a whole group of people.

  39. Sharelle

    February 8, 2011 at 8:15 am

    I am yet amazed with the way Christians tend to attack others when someone asks a question or has a difference in opinion. I am Christian and it’s actually embrassing. Why couldn’t she just answer the question and minus the insults! This warrior woman’s behavior is reason many RUN from the “church “. It is so important that we respect others. God did not leave us here as judges. God has complete control and he is full of love! Love people love! Jesus is love! If you represent the holy Trinity, you should really understand the LOVE.

  40. Rene Syler

    February 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Bill again I cannot thank you enough for what you did yesterday. Your level of compassion was evident and appreciated. I think this is one of those things that most people find completely confounding about religion. The Bible talks about all kinds of sin, including pride. I cannot imagine God looks to kindly on name-calling either. Yet there is no mention of your sister’s behavior in your response. Yes, you addressed her prior behavior earlier but if we are to “go and sin no more” why is she still calling me names and making statements about how I “baited” her into a verbal battle on her website? In her initial response to this post here, she asks me to “forgive her for coming across in the horrible ways you have described me.” Bill, I did not “describe” her, she painted that picture herself. Her vitriol came from her head, heart and keyboard and she was aiming to do me harm. And yet, she doesn’t stop. She calls me a “big-time blogger” who “baited her into a verbal battle” to generate hits for my website. That is an outright lie and even people who haven’t spent a day in church know lying is a sin. The truth is I’m a big tent thinker who likes to talk about concepts and ideas AND is open to hearing what other people say about them. That is why I allow comments, even those different from my own, to be posted. It’s a chance to learn and grow. Your sister is now moderating the comments on her site, which she had not been doing prior to our interaction. I am trying to wrap my head around how that makes me narrow-minded and her the big-thinker because it sounds like the just the opposite. Then she likens me to a dog. Now, it is not my place to judge and I have already given her a pass for her temper which she freely admits to having, but how do you think her continued behavior looks to people who might not be as generous as me?

    I wrote this position piece because there was a missed opportunity yesterday. Your sister had a chance to reach outside her circle and really be a witness. Instead, when she was challenged, she turned and walked away and is now in a place where she can hurl insults at people and not have to answer to them. She left her comment here yesterday and she has not been back since nor do I expect her to. What I do expect, based on the behavior we have seen thus far, is for her to continue to make snide remarks and to vilify me at every turn. I’m pretty tough, two decades in TV will do that to a person. To believe in something is one thing; to be able to stand and defend your position, to lay out a rational argument, even when it’s unpopular, shows depth of character. You, I see that in. Your sister, not so much. Bill, I thank you again for taking the time to respectfully come to my little piece of the world and state your case. I meant what I said yesterday; your calm and compassion have blunted a bit of the pain and heartache your sister’s wrath left in its wake. God bless and keep you.

  41. Nikki Newman

    February 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

    I tried to give you a ton of thumbs up at the end of your comment, Rich, but will have to make do with one. But it’s a big one. Eloquently and powerfully put.

  42. Rene Syler

    February 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Thanks Sharelle, I wholeheartedly agree. Sad and very true.

  43. Bill Stack

    February 9, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Rene, you have set a high bar for me with your words; thanks, I will do my best to live up to them. I’m not sure what is going on here. But I will make a deal with both of you – I will agree to be the “dog”, if you 2 will agree to stop being the “cats”. There has been a lot of talk about God’s love here. One thing that love does not do(according to the Bible), is that it does not keep a record of wrongs…you gals have not only kept records, but you keep rehearsing them-over, and over, and over. Perhaps I could do my best President Obama imitation, and we could all meet at a central location (like, my living room in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks), sit down together with our favorite brands of (root) beer, and work this thing out. In any event, I will be praying for you both, and hopefully somebody will be praying for me. God bless; love you both – really. Bill

  44. Rene Syler

    February 9, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Deal! Thanks Bill!

  45. Kim Wisdom

    February 9, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Well, being a Lesbian and a Southern Gospel entertainer, I have a wonderful God that loves me for who I am.
    This debate of who is Christian or not, who acts like one or not, is becoming a numb point for me. I know who I am and I will not judge who you are or what you believe. I will, however, take a good look at charachter and integrity. What I am seeing from both side of the coin is how we diplay ourselves. Rene, I have the upmost respect for you and how you deal with these types of issues. It is always good to have a healthy debate and a forum in which we can speak. Maybe someday down the line we can actually change the minds and hearts of those who believe in a God that is Hell, Fire and Brimstone. My God was always there for the outcast. In fac,t God prefered to be with the outcast and the oppressed. He did this for the reason that we should all look at . These people were a real and gracious people, full of love and compassion.
    I truly believe if we would look at our Character and integrity as we move forward we can hopefully be able to speak/debaet with gracious and loving hearts. Judgement has no place in the God that I love. christian or not Christian.
    thanks Rene…. and love you much!!!!

  46. M.E. Johnson

    February 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Oh you people, don’t you know that the best religious arguments are between 2 (or 3) drunks? They be knowing their Bible too. One of the best questions from one: “If you was raised bein’ taught right from wrong but never had ‘God’ to tell you, would you be a wild beast?”

  47. Rene Syler

    February 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks Kim. You make some great points. I figure everyone will have to make peace with their maker at some point. I know, when I get to heaven, I will have a lot of questions for God, like why, given our capacity as humans to love, are there so many intolerant, hateful people in the world? Maybe once I get through the pearly gates, I won’t care.. xxxooo back at ‘cha

  48. Bill Stack

    February 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Hi, Rene ! Got to looking through some past sermons on God’s grace, and it turns out that we just talked about it on Sunday January 16, live, (before we got acquainted). I will post the link below, in case anyone is interested…if you need to remove it, I understand. The reason I thought it might be relevant to your audience or this discussion, is that it deals with God’s glorious grace, and how it relates to ALL of us, whether we are a christian, homosexual activist, a muslim, or someone who just received a bad medical report. The truth is, God’s grace is powerful for us all !! Everyone included ! Now, perhaps that is not what anyone expects to hear from a preacher from rural Missouri, but it is the honest truth !! Address to the link is below; it is a 40-min listen, with music at the end, but even a few minutes will bless ya…once again, thanks for the opportunity to come back on! -Bill
    http://salemfullgospel.com/sermonmanager.php?sermonID=13626&

  49. Rene Syler

    February 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks Bill, will take a listen. Might spur more healthy debate..

  50. technoboy

    February 11, 2011 at 2:55 am

    I’m confused, Rene. Please help me. You say WW didn’t mediate until after all the hits to her site. Yet you mediate your comments, right? You also say you allow all of them, but in reading backwards, I’m not finding the…conversation between you two. Are some comments deleted, or did I miss something?D

    For the record, some people don’t blog or expect their blogs to be disseminated & criticized. That’s the first interaction I see. You posted her link and were angry about her views. I would think if you were really interested in knowing more about her views, you would have asked her politely, rather than blasting her views. Don’t you think that’s what she was responding to? I know if you had done to same about one of my blogs, I’d feel more defensive, and would believe less that you were actually interested in learning.

    Just my objective observation. Also, growing up in a pastor’s family, pastors are always in the bubble/spotlight, and always receiving criticism. They are judged before even being able to explain themselves. Perhaps she, like many other pastors/ wives, is just plain tired of criticism.

    Thanks for letting me comment. I look forward to your response.

  51. Rich

    February 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Christians – always playing the victim card…

  52. Rene Syler

    February 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Hey technoboy: Happy to help clarify. What I do is take a topic of the day and write an opinion-based piece on that. As I have said before and will reiterate here, I wrote the initial post in a pointed, blunt way, using broad strokes. I drew on my life and views to formulate my opinion, just as WW did hers. But she put her post/beliefs on the World Wide Web, which is public domain. If people don’t want their views criticized, it’s probably best they operate within a closed system or keep a journal. I linked to her blog because that was the source of the information, which is common practice.

    Re: moderating comments. When you are a first time poster, the platform I use holds the comment, until it can be verified that it is not spam. WW’s blog was not that way until this interaction. But moderate is one thing; editing to change the meaning is something completely different. Your comment here was approved, word for word. At least some of the people who have left comments on WW blog say they were heavily edited and the meaning distorted.

    Regarding her reaction: As I said in my response to her it’s one thing to lose your cool, entirely different to be mean. She was mean. Hurling insults and then asking for forgiveness, all the while still blaming me, to say nothing to the continued name-calling on her own site, where she likens me to a dog. She made me realize how special the people in my home church are. I cannot fathom my pastor disinviting anyone from his church.

    I know this bubble/spotlight of which you speak. I wish I had just one dollar for all the people who have been critical of my blog, my TV career, my book, and on and on. Did I want to lose my cool and call names? Of course, but guess who ends up looking bad? I cannot control what people say, only my reaction to it. So even if someone comes with a pointed criticism, what I typically do is explain and if they still don’t get it, well then we agree to disagree. It’s their opinion, nothing more.

    You mention that you have read backwards and not finding the conversation between WW and I. It happened in three places, on her blog, on my blog and on an email. I have not removed or edited the interaction between she and I.

    Thanks for your comments but I must take exception with you saying yours is an objective observation. I gather from your name, you are a man. Your comments come in from the same computer as warrior woman’s and the time at which they came in (late night/early morning) lead me to believe you are her husband. That’s totally cool too and as I said to Pastor Bill (when I figured out he, too, was related to her) that does not negate your feelings. Of the five people who have written in to defend WW, two have been related to her and one was WW herself; everyone else has been stunned by her reaction. I’m not sure why you didn’t identify yourself; don’t really care. But I don’t think this can be characterized as objective opinion and I do think it’s important for full disclosure.

    I hope that clears this up a bit for you. You are welcome back, as is WW, Pastor Bill, my gay and lesbian friends, and all manner of people who don’t necessarily agree but are open to exchange of ideas.

    My best to you, WW and your family, and yes, I mean it!

  53. Rene Syler

    February 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Rich: I don’t think it’s fair to paint all Christians with the same, broad brush. Non-believers don’t like that either. Personally, I think this has been a healthy, back and forth. At the very least, eye-opening.

  54. David Freeman

    February 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    There seems to be this blinding of the meaning of true back and forth conversation when religious issues (and sometimes sexual ones, both very deep and visceral parts of life), are discussed. And I find it admirable to want to jump in and protect loved ones. I sincerely try and keep an open mind and to discuss issues as openely as our language lets me. I AM one of the posters who sent a post and was censored by wariior woman. The only part she left was the portion where I stated I knew she has her family’s best interests at heart and that I hoped she did come back with an open mouth and mind, both, to further educate us all on her lifestyle and what she gleans from it. I have a sister who is an attorney, (as is my wife), these are women with very strong opinions. I will jump to her defense if she deserves it for sure. Or I will simply pat her on the back and say, “I know, I know, and I love you,” if I think she lost something fair and squarely. And if I protect her in public, yes, I make sure it’s known I’m her step-brother. One thing I won’t do is make excuses for her, or throw any blame on the other party.
    I do not understand why WW saw it from so early on as a win or lose situation. It is very possible to share beliefs without having to win the other side over. It is important for us all to listen to and understand the other people in our society so we all live together in peace. This does not mean living life on the same paradigms, nor does it need to be that way.
    Anyone who takes a few minutes to go through Rene’s blog knows she lets any post stand. Checking to ensure its not spam is pretty much the norm. But when you put yourself out in the public eye as an open forum, censoring is not the norm and shows a true one sidedness or fear to put your beliefs out there and let them stand on their opwn. These typs of blogs are essentially about opinion of the people writing them, which is fine and also quite accepted. People read them to gain insight or learn other or like opinions to apply, or not, to their own lives. I fail to see 1) how censoring my posts helped anybody reach any of these peaceful goals. If Warrior Mom wants to only post her say and not have it challenged, let her have an email newsletter to remain in her group as such. When out in public the rules shift dramatically and she needs to realize that.
    2) Rene has ended EVERY post with an open invitation for more discussion, and even if she comes off sounding a little insulted and has every right to mention this, she has not fought back in kind other than to say the truth, that she felt insulted and cited an example of why.
    And what happened to “two wrongs don’t make a right” rule. Even if someone Rene pointed out WM’s post were suddenly censored, when they weren’t before, does that statement change even if Rene DID censor her posts? (Which she would surely mention if she did, which she never has). I just found that a bit of a reach or “overprotection.”
    The bottom line is that if you want to play with “The big pants people”, you have to be strong enough to play by “Big pants rules”. What am I supposed to think, as someone who genuinely wanted to hear both sides of this issue played out with interest and class, that the person who claims to live her life on a solid bunch of beliefs feels so strongly about them that she “took her bat & ball and is going home.” Then if I comment I’m dissapointed by that behavior, now that makes ME a “bad guy” too because I remark on it? Sorry, I’m not buying this as adult behavior.

  55. samantha sophia

    April 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Being a Christian that is working toward growth, pardon my language when I say, we can be huge douche bags. At times more effective at driving others away from Christ with a more self as opposed to cross centered approach to sharing the gospel and dealing with others, whether that other considers themselves a Christian or not.

  56. Rene Syler

    April 21, 2011 at 8:49 am

    A-to-the -MEN! You know I have often wondered what Christ thinks when He sees the way folks carry on in in His name.. sigh

  57. irene swope

    April 22, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Dear Rene,
    I was touched with your message about your beliefs in God. I recognized your spirituality when you were such a positive, radiant ,enthusiastic freshman.
    I used to say that” Everything happens to us for a reason”but have redefined that to”Everything happens for us for a reason”
    Whatever experience we encounter develops us into the kind of human being we needed to become.In my life,I have encountered bigotry,rude and opinionated individuals, and unethical administrators who wanted their “Brownie points” at my expense because I always felt the student had precedent over a rule,etc.
    One of my greatest lessons was when darling ,handsome young sophomore offered to help me fold 3 trampolines that I was struggling to fold after class ,as the District stated no students could help fold the tramps due to accidents. I ,immediately asked him if he would like to be my TA for the semester. He was such a great TA with a wild 6th P.E. class of mostly freshmen boys.Also, He would come down at lunch period and read philosophy and poems to me also as I never ate at the faculty lunch room.Some of the coaches reprimanded me for having him as a TA as he wasn’t the TA image. He left D.C. in his Senior year and I didn’t know what happened to him..Three years later, in La Sierra Gym with all the high schools threatening to strike against District policy, he and another friend found me in the melee .He walked up to me and stated,Mrs. Swope, I want you to meet my friend.He turned to his friend and stated.”,I want you to meet the teacher, who kept me from commiting suicide in high school” Chills went to my very Being that Peter felt so isolated from the high school mainstream in the early ’70′s when being “gay” wasn’t acceptable.God is Love and Love is God,no discrimination of sex,color, creed.Another incident was that I invited a Buddhist professor,also a friend, from U. of California,Berkeley to conduct a yoga seminar in my yoga class at D.C. early’70′s and, needless to say, some staff members weren’t very receptive to him and he was brilliant.
    Rene, continue to follow your heart as God is always on your side! Continue to rise above the bigotry and narrow perception of God’s teachings!
    Namaste!
    Irene Swope, your P.E. teacher

  58. Rene Syler

    April 22, 2011 at 7:29 am

    @Mrs. Swope: Wow! That is amazing! I don’t think I ever knew that story. It’s funny how we touch people’s lives in ways we don’t always know at the time. I had a pretty decent high school experience but if you ask me to name the one teacher who made a difference in my life, who was caring and taught me so much more than just what was in the curriculum, well, I think you know who she is :). Love you Mrs. Swope, and thanks!!

  59. Nicole Calhoun

    July 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Hi, Rene. I live in Dallas, Texas…so, I’ve awakened a number of mornings watching you on the news – all the while admiring your hair, makeup, your mole (I have ALWAYS wanted one where yours is LOL) and clothes. :o) I think you are a strikingly beautiful woman, with a depth of knowledge that a lot of people can learn from, and I was quite happy to have found you again through the CurlyNikki Blog on your post about your natural hair journey! (Your hair looks SUPER amazing, by the way!) I’m newly natural (since Feb ’11). Loving it, and I’ve already acquired 3 inches of coily, gorgeous hair since my Big Chop on February 4th.

    Anyway, through the CurlyNikki site, I followed the link from your hair journey back here to Good Enough Mother. (love the avatars of you!) Anyway, this past Friday, I spent quite some time just perusing the site and reading several of your posts (all of which I enjoyed).

    Then, I happened upon this particular post, and it really “bothered” me after I read it. Please understand I FULLY agree with SO much of what you said in it. I heard and felt your heart in it, but over the weekend, I just felt led to come back and comment on this post, praying it is not received with any ill-will or offense. Like you said a “respectful, challenging debate is a good thing”. And, you’re also right when you say that religion and politics are “churning waters” as far as conversation is concerned…but, the door was opened for it, so I’ll walk right on through it.

    Rene, I’m 34 years old. I’ve been happily married to my high school sweetheart for 14 years (in October). We have one son, who is our greatest BLESSING in this world…and, I said all of that to say this, I realize I’m a young woman and may not have all the life experiences you have. And, I’m TOTALLY okay with that. If I live long enough, the Lord will keep adding to my well of knowledge. BUT for a young woman, I don’t think I do too badly in the area of “wisdom”, either. And, I say that with NO pride. I say that because I too am a Christian saved by nothing other than the Lord’s grace and mercy. I am SO grateful that Jesus died for my sins (and like you, I have far too many to even begin to list).

    My heart is thankful for what He did (and does) for me on a daily basis.

    What didn’t “sit well” with me about your post was your stance on homosexuality.

    Rene, (I hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first name :o) – I don’t want to call you Ms. Syler. There is something about calling people who feel like your friend or a sister Ms. that feels weird. I hope you take that as a compliment. I really feel like you are a friend, and since you’re a Christian, you’re definitely my sister…but I digress…) ANYWAY…

    I don’t want to make this post any longer than it truly has to be, but I do want to be thorough, so please forgive me in advance if I take too much of your time.

    Rene, God IS a God of love. He IS love. My heart totally agrees with you on that. Jesus did die to take away the sins of all who believe in Him. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

    But, the very same God and the very same Jesus and the very same book (the Bible) that those words come from ALSO says in Leviticus 18:22 that a man should not lie with another man as with a woman because it is detestable. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, it says, “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men will inherit the kingdom of God.” And there are several others, but the last one I want to note before I finish commenting is Romans 1:26-27, which states: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

    So, I want to say it’s not ME saying that homosexuality is a sin, detestable and unnatural. The Bible, and thus God, has said those things.

    So oftentimes as Christians, we pick and choose what WE want to believe and disregard the other things that don’t fit into our personal belief system. But, we have to take a stand and stop always leaning on “God is love.”…even though He is. God is love, but He is also a Judge…and not just a judge…but the RIGHTEOUS and HOLY and PERFECT Judge.

    I’m not saying homosexuality is a sin. God is. And as believer, I want to call the SAME things sin that He calls sin. That is the reason I believe homosexuality is a sin. If it wasn’t written out in plain English in the word of God that is wasn’t, I may not have a problem with it. But it is, so I do.

    You spoke of your friend who knew he was gay back in elementary school.

    We also have to remember that the devil…is a DEVIL! Not only is he the devil and a devil, he is a SPIRIT. And, because he is vile and evil and wicked, just because someone is YOUNG and INNOCENT and PURE as your friend was in elementary school doesn’t mean that dirty dog of a demon won’t entice a child with the same feelings that he does adults of homosexuality. In its simplest form, all homosexuality is is a spirit of perversion.

    And, it’s too much to go into in a blog commment, and I’d love to talk to anyone about it who has a question or wants clarification, but it’s the truth. And it’s not MY truth…it’s God’s truth. His truth IS the standard. And, if there was no ABSOLUTE standard, then anything could go. Someone really could say, “MY truth may not be your truth…” and that would be fine. But, it doesn’t matter WHOSE truth it is, if it doesn’t align with His truth. People aren’t born gay. They just aren’t. Feelings are so deceitful (obviously).

    Just because I feel like I can fly, if I jump off the Empire State Building, someone better be there to clean up the mess when I go SPLAT on the pavement below! What if I just felt like I was a fish and believed I should live in the ocean, it wouldn’t take me too long before I realized even if I truly believed that, my SKIN wouldn’t last in that environment long enough even if I wasn’t underwater…because God made me with flesh…not scales!

    The way you know if you’re a man or a woman is based on the “plumbing” the Lord gave you when He created you. If you’ve got man plumbing, rest assured, you’re a man…and vice versa for a woman.

    I’m NOT saying it’s not a struggle. I’m not saying it’s easy to get over those feelings. There have been SINS I’ve struggled with personally that have kicked my butt not once or twice, but SEVERAL times. It IS a fight! I will be the first to admit that.

    But, that is the time you have to take a stand on WHAT and WHO you’re going to believe.

    The problem is everyone just wants to see the “Lamb” and loving side of God. But, just like He has that side, the Bible ALSO says, He is not only a Lamb…but, He is a Lion!

    We think the Bible is a buffet line and we can pick and choose what parts we want to believe, “Oh, I’d love to have some of this faith! Mmm, that love sure was good last time…think I’ll get some more of that! Tithing? Ewww…I don’t want any of that. Sin separates me from God? Yuck! That’s just not palatable at all!”

    I know that may seem childish and even stupid, but it’s true. As humans, it’s what we do. The moment the word of God steps on our toes, we think there’s something wrong with it, when it is PERFECT. Either we believe it…or we don’t. There is NO middle-ground. And, there can’t be. NOT with that.

    I am not homophobic. I don’t hate homosexuals. My heart hurts for them because I would love for them to experience freedom from that particular sin in their lives.

    God doesn’t HATE homosexuals. God LOVES people…He HATES the sin. And because I want to be like God in my actions, I feel the same way. I love the person. I hate the sin. And when the opportunity presents itself, I try to minister to those people, and I do it in LOVE, and I’ve never, not once had anyone get angry or upset at me for sharing my faith and belief with them about homosexuality.

    The reason it “bothered” me to read the post was because I was like, “Wow! Rene had such an awesome opportunity (given the platform the Lord has granted you in your life) to really make an impact, and I think she missed it.” Love you…and I’m SO sorry to have to say it, but I HAVE to say it. I hope you understand that.

    God KNOWS I’m not trying to belittle you in the slightest. I truly DO have a huge amount of respect for you and the things you’ve accomplished. Like I said, when I was perusing your site, I was just falling in love all over again with your personality.

    The point is, we’ve become so desensitized to things that used to shock us that it’s becoming more and more “acceptable” to accept the unacceptable. Ouch…I know it hurts, but again, it’s true. Not Nicole’s truth…but, God’s truth.

    My conscience is clear. I know in Whom I’ve believed, and at the end of the day, Nicole doesn’t have to stand before the Judgment Seat of God and give an account on how anyone lived but NICOLE. (Thank God for that.)

    I’m not even asking you to take MY word for it. If you’re reading the same Bible I am…it’s all in there. Go find it and read it for yourself. Ask the Lord to show you His heart on the subject, and I know He will.

    That’s the other problem. People won’t take the time to study the word of God for themselves (in depth and detail), so they only have “surface-level” faith in things that make them feel good.

    I’m GLAD when I run across something in the word of God that I run smack dab into and stub my toe and crush my nose! It doesn’t feel good, but I’m ALWAYS better for it after I take it to heart and apply it to my life the way God intended.

    My prayer is that if someone who is struggling with homosexuality or homosexual feelings reads this, that they will seek God’s heart on it and NOT just go by what Rene said…or what Nicole said…or what anyone else says UNLESS, they are saying the same thing that God is saying about a situation.

    Rene, I love you, my beautiful, sweet, curly-headed sister! ;o) I will still visit your blog/site, and I will still comment on things that touch my heart the way this post did.

    I still think there are things I could learn from you, and I look forward to getting the opportunity.

    Like I said, I pray you don’t think this came from anywhere malicious. It didn’t. My heart is in the right place. Just sharing…that’s all. Pray you don’t mind and feel the spirit in which these words were written.

    My prayer is that the Lord would continue to bless you and give you a platform…an even GREATER platform than the one He’s granted, thus far.

    I believe with my WHOLE heart that when you wrote this post, your heart was in the right place. It’s just ALL over that post. It really is.

    But, I pray that next time, being a professed Christian, when it’s something like this, that you would ask the Lord to give you His perspective and write from it.

    Your heart is so wonderful. You LOVE your homosexual friend. Your heart loves gay people (as it should). Rene, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. I get it. I really do.

    But, as a believer, we have to put our stake in the sand and say, “Lord, I may feel this way, but are my feelings aligned with Yours in this situation?” And if they aren’t, we need to change…and that change, ESPECIALLY on a topic like this, is probably NOT going to be the “popular” response.

    People are STILL going to be mad at me for this even though it is coming from a place of love and good intent. I understand that. I’m human. It hurts. I want to be accepted too. BUT, I don’t want to be accepted SO much that I am willing to go against what the Lord says about homosexuality.
    So, if that makes me a downer or an “intolerant” person, so be it. I’m fine with it. I’m not here to make people happy, at the end of the day. I’m here to bring honor and glory to my Heavenly Father, Whom I love and adore SO much.

    In ALL my IMPERFECTION, He still loves me…how can I NOT do my level-best to obey the commands He’s set forth in His word for my life…for MY good?

    Rene, maybe you didn’t know it was stated the way it’s stated in the Bible. I don’t know how long you’ve been a Christian. I’m just GLAD you are! It IS a learning process. I’m not condemning you at all. It’s not my place to do so. As Christians, we’re supposed to walk alongside one another, in LOVE, and HELP! That’s all I’m doing, and I KNOW with ALL my heart that that’s all you were doing when you were trying to have a conversation with warriorwoman.

    However, it was on my heart, and I felt led to share what I have, and I pray at the end of the day it has given you some insight that you may not have had…don’t know. Would be curious to see, though! ;o)

    Thank you for this forum and this platform to even share what I’ve shared. I really appreciate it!

    God bless you, and I pray continued success to every endeavor you set your hands to (that pleases the Lord, of course!) ;o)!!!!

    Love you to absolute pieces! Take care, and I’ll be nosing around your site, still! You haven’t gotten rid of me, yet! LOL!

    Blessings to you and yours and all your readers, now and forever!

    Warmest of regards,
    Nicole Calhoun,
    Lover of the Lord Jesus Christ
    and our Daddy in Heaven, the Man Himself, GOD!

  60. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 11:31 am

    @Nicole: So Nicole, because I didn’t use the “awesome platform” to preach what you believe, I’m wrong? Listen, thanks for the nice words and your (extremely long) comment. But the thing is some of the most self-righteous, hateful folk area sitting’ in church on Sunday morning. I met the most lovely family last night. Yes, Nicole, a family. Two women who adopted three black children from a drug addicted birth mother. And guess what else? One of the women was going to seminary. That’s right. She is a gay Christian.When I left them yesterday, I felt really GOOD, exactly the opposite i feel after reading your letter. God is love and it was manifest in what I saw in those women last night. You can speak about how much you love, but the world judges based on what it sees. Thanks for weighing in.

  61. Roger

    July 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Hi Nicole,
    You seem to have a lot of time on your hands.
    Do you follow EVERYTHING the Bible says? Or only the parts that help you justify your hate towards some people? I am sick of people using their own interpretation of the Bible to find a reason to hate. Your same Bible killed millions of people through history, and all IN THE NAME OF GOD. I am a Brazilian man and my country was first colonized using the NAME OF GOD as an excuse to kill hundred of thousands of people who NEEDED TO BE TAUGHT THAT THERE WAS ONLY ONE GOD. At the same time they STOLE ALL THE GOLD they could and killed all the people that didn’t follow them. And ALL IN THE NAME OF GOD!! All the gold in the Vacatican come from stealing and killing. And ALL IN THE NAME OF GOD!!! THE world would be a better place without religious fanatics!

  62. Will Jones

    July 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Wow Nicole,

    Hey, I totally get where you’re coming from. People need to read the WHOLE bible and do exactly as it says, all of the time.

    Like last night, I was reading Deuteronomy 22: 13-21. Oh, you know, where they say that any woman who has sex before she’s married is evil and must be killed. Or Deuteronomy 22:22, where it says that anyone who’s ever committed adultery is also evil and must be put to death immediately. And since Jesus says that even if you’re divorced it’s still adultery (that’s in Mark, but you know that), that means we also have to kill all of our re-married friends too.

    And it doesn’t say to pray for them or to hate their sins… it plainly says they MUST BE KILLED. I mean, you know the bible far better than I do, so I’m sure you’ve already killed a lot of people. I mean, I know you don’t want to, but the bible is the bible, right? Better get a lot of bullets; you’ll be busy.

    And remember… It’s not me telling you to kill non-virgins, cheaters and divorced people: it’s God.

  63. Smarty P. Jones

    July 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Wow, since we’re picking and choosing things from the Bible, can we go through Congress chopping off the hands of the people who have stolen our future?

    And for those of us ladies who wear pants, should we just fling ourselves off a bridge for the abomination of wearing “men’s clothing?” Honestly, I find that notion frightening seeing as how when it was written, even wore dresses.

    What about the abomination of eating hooved animals and such? Or what about eating shrimp and catfish and such? I mean, if we’re gonna go, let’s go whole hog. I find it mighty convenient that folks want to condemn our homosexual brethren but never stop once to think about fornicators and adulterers.

    Folks walking around preaching what they THINK God is saying don’t have a clue. I take issue with people talking out of both sides of their mouth as it relates to God and the Bible. The Bible contradicts itself repeatedly because it was written by man. And as a journalist, I know, where there’s a writer, there’s an editor.

    So, while you’re over there pulling out scriptures to justify your bigotry, I’ll be over here trying to be more Christlike while loving my neighbor like I love myself. Folks kill me.

    The Lord wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

  64. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    @Will: You forgot to mention to pass on the shrimp cocktail and to make sure women separate themselves from the rest of society when menstruating.

  65. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    @Smarty: Once again, living up to your name :). Brilliant

  66. Will Jones

    July 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Rene,

    Asking me to kill an adulterer or two is one thing, but asking me to give up my shrimp? Now, that’s just crazy talk! ;-)

  67. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    @Will.. and don’t you DARE wrap it in bacon.. You will spontaneously combust!

  68. Will Jones

    July 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    @Rene… I’m pretty sure that, as long as they’re virgin shimp, and the pig never commited adultery…

  69. Joss

    July 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Hey Nicole. Your post was way too long to read in full but I work as a nurse in the NICU, and would like to comment on your “plumbing” “wisdom”, or lack there of. Did you know, that it is not completely uncommon for babies to be born with “ambiguous” genitalia. Do you know what that means? It means that the genitalia doesn’t look female or male, its androgynous. The doctors do genetics testing, they also measure the penis/vulva and if it meets a certain length then it points in the direction of male gender identification. But alas, if genetics come back inconclusive, and that DOES happen, it is the parents choice of what gender they choose to raise their child.

    Kind of throws your little plumbing philosophy for a loop hey?

  70. Joss

    July 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Hahahahahah! Oh Will and Rene…those arguments were top of mind for me too! Thank you for using such fantastic humour. I’m sure we are going to hell though for even smiling. After all taking pleasure in the world is a no-no too.

  71. Will Jones

    July 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Joss,

    Whoa! Now we’re in a whole new arena! So if a kid is born with both, and the doctors can’t even tell, so the parents GUESS, and they get it wrong… who’s all going to hell? The baby? The parents? The doctor?

    Let’s say the parents choose “boy”. The kid grows up. He is attracted to men. Was he suppose to be a woman who won’t won’t be condemned, or is he a gay man that will be? And what about the man he dates? Is that man gay since he thinks he’s having sex with a man, or stright because he’s actually having sex with a women?

    …and of course, the bigger question: If God made it impossible for him/ her to know which he/she should have been, can the person still be condemned for being wrong?

  72. Buster Spiller

    July 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Rene, you’re a bigger person than me because while I am open to people posting comments and expressing viewpoints that are different than mine (“you see the debates on my FB page!” – LOL), there is a thing called ‘civility’ that should be exercised by all people, Christian or not. My carnal side would have gotten the best of me and she probably would have been cussed out and promptly deleted. But again, you’re bigger than me and thank God for your witness!

    Regarding courtship dating, I understand it because my son followed it. His first date was his prom date (“honestly!”) and when he went to pick up his date, at the request of her father (a minister), I was asked to come along so that the families could sit down, talk about expectations, and make sure we were on the same page.

    I quickly accepted the invitation because I am an ex-assistant pastor and understood where they were coming from and I wanted him to know that even though Andrew was a young man, I had equally as high standards for him as he and his wife had for their daughter. Even though our kids weren’t going to get married, there was a certain standard that we wanted established for them if they decided to go on future dates with each other or with other people.

    As luck would have it, it was their daughter’s first date also and she was as nervous as Andrew. I was giving him instructions on how to treat a young lady on a date and they were providing the same to their daughter on how to conduct herself. The date turned out great, they both got in well before their respective curfews, and took really wonderful prom pics!

    I think the bigger lesson in this story about my son’s prom experience/1st dating experience is that I am gay/same gender loving. Despite my sexual orientation, as a parent I knew how I wanted him to respond in a dating situation and he took that lead from me.

    I am old-fashioned. My spouse is old-fashioned. My parents are old-fashioned. I never saw my parents express romantic affection towards each other except for once, when my father was going to a UAW national conference and they kissed each other on the mouth in front of us because he was in a rush. Other than that, nothing.

    My siblings are old-fashioned like that too. We remain in relationships/marriages for a long time but don’t believe that it is necessary to express romantic affection publicly. That’s just us but we don’t project our way on other people out of respect to them and how they do things.

    I really wish ‘church people’ would stop being so judgmental towards others and just express love, as you have emphatically stated. Jesus himself, while a Jew, was not a religious fanatic about His religion. And His crucifixion was orchestrated by the religious zealots within his religion. That history alone should be enough to demonstrate to modern day Christians that we should not do that. Jesus tells us to focus on the ‘log’ in our own eye before we try to instruct our brother/sister about the ‘speck’ in theirs. That speaks volumes.

  73. Nicole Calhoun

    July 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Hi, Rene (and everyone else). Thanks for replying to my post. It’s not what I believe (emphasis on I). It’s what the word of God says.

    I’m not here to argue the word of God with anyone. That’s foolishness. Like I said, on this issue, my conscience is clear. Again, at the end of the day, I only have to give an account for ME. I’m good with that.

    But, the thing to understand is just because I said what I said about homosexuality and YOU don’t agree with it, now all of a sudden everything I believe is wrong???

    That’s called being a hypocrite.

    I would have loved to just have an open conversation about it, but all the things you said warriorwoman did to you, was the same reaction I got with my particular comment.

    The issue is blatant rejection of God’s word. I’m not talking about people who just from being human struggle with certain things. I was speaking of people who faced with God’s word, turn their backs on it and continue to live in a way that doesn’t honor Him.

    I NEVER said homosexuals weren’t good people. I never said they aren’t kind, generous or loving. But whether anyone wants to hear it and believe it or not, there will be a lot of GOOD people who go to hell. And NO ONE wants to believe that because after all, “God is love…and a loving God wouldn’t do that.” Yeah…keep on thinking that!

    I already told you that I have sins – I’m human. No one is perfect and no one is going to live, perfectly. I only know One Person who has ever done that: Jesus.

    Hey, I get it. I’m the big bad wolf in all of this and no matter what I say, it’s going to be wrong. It’s cool. I get it. I’m a big girl. I know on some issues I’d have to stand alone, at times. I’m totally fine with that.

    I’m not a person who will argue to prove I’m right. And in this particular conversation, it’d be useless anyway.

    We live in a fallen world…and how far we’ve fallen. It’s heartbreaking.

    And as for all the snooty remarks about how well I know the Bible and the off-kilter things that were said about eating pork, women wearing men’s clothing and such, I do know all that’s in the Bible. And, God put it there for all the other reasons everything else He put in there: for our good…for one reason or the other.

    And Smarty, either the Bible is GOD’S word…or, it isn’t. Can’t pick and choose what we believe. It’s His inspired word, “God-breathed”, that man had the privilege of writing. I don’t know what Bible you’re reading, but mine doesn’t contradict itself…not once!

    And Joss, I actually work with Reproductive Endocrinologist, and I know exactly what ambiguous genitalia are. I didn’t mention it in the previous post (and, it crossed my mind), but most people aren’t familiar with it, so I didn’t. And to answer the question that was posed, if someone were born with that type of genitalia then the choice is theirs as to how they live, whether male or female. But, once that choice is made, to live otherwise is sin.

    Thanks for weighing in.

    My heart still wishes you guys the best…all of you.

    In the end, my prayer and desire is that the Lord be glorified.

    Regards,
    Nicole :o)

  74. Dawn Brady

    July 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Nicole,
    You’re not a big bad wolf, just a closed minded XXX…(sorry Rene, I know you expect better than name calling, but I was just correcting the name she called herself)

    And, I will gladly separate from human kind when I am menstruating!! I’ll take a cruise for one to anywhere!!!!

    I’ll go stand in the corner now….

  75. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    @dawn make sure you pass on shrimp and all other shellfish, don’t mingle w/ anyone on cruise cause they’ll have to wash whole ship. Don’t wear pants either, lol. Sign me up; sounds like a grand time! Bon Voyage :)

  76. Will Jones

    July 25, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    If the bible never contradicts itself, how can it say thou shalt not kill, and then give orders that certain people should be stoned to death. Can you stone someone to death without killing them?

  77. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    @Nicole: I grew up in a Christian home but I have to tell you, the way I see some “Christians” behave these days is a damn embarrassment.You need to back up off the “snotty” comments routine. No one is attacking you for what you believe, merely stating that not all adhere to YOUR belief system. Why is that so hard to accept? I think you have perfectly illustrated the point that turns so many people off about Christianity. You admit that the things we point out are in the Bible, don’t bother to say WHY you don’t still abide by them and then call US hypocrites?? Hang on a second and let me get my head around that. Here’s my advice, if you care. Less judgment, more love. Leave the heavy lifting to God. If we’re wrong, you can sit back and laugh as we are banished to fiery pits of hell. But the God I know won’t take kindly to the self-righteousness so many Christians display. If you are one of them, be prepared to have to answer for that. Oh and one more thing. Don’t expect me or anyone else to “use their platform” to further your beliefs. Build your own. My best to you.

  78. Joss

    July 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    @ Will Thats precisely my point!!!

  79. LaTosha

    July 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Let me first start by saying that YES, I know Nicole and she is my relative. That should save some investigation work.

    I just had to respond. I’m completely FLOORED at your response and the tone in which it was give Rene. Didn’t this article come about because you felt that you were insulted by WW and thus in tears because there was a missed opportunity for a real debate? Yet, in response to Nicole’s comment you were extremely insulting. I don’t even see how we are reading the same comment. Someone please point out to me the hate that she spewed! What she did was QUOTE the Word of God. If you must disagree, then you have to disagree with God.

    Is God love? Yes! Of course! But guess what? Love killed the entire world but eight people. You know why? Because their thoughts were evil continually. Even love has a standard.

    We are commanded to study the Word of God. Not simply read it. It is entirely possible to “read” the bible with no background information or take it out of context and come to the conclusion that it contradicts itself. The bible was written by over 40 different authors, from different walks of like, over a period of 2,000 years and does not contradict itself.

    The old testament law was given to show us that God has a standard and how strongly those standards should be viewed. This is discussed in the new testament book of Galatians. The law was our “school master”.

    When the bible talks about women dressing as men, it means literally that, not trying to look like a man when you dress. It really has nothing to do with pants. That’s a misunderstanding and why we should study. The same with “thou shalt not kill”. The proper translation would be “thou shalt not murder”. Sometimes study requires reaching back into the original translations. Murder and lawful execution are two different things. There were many things, including menstrual flow in the old testament that made one “unclean”.

    When Christ came, there was no more law but grace. So those things were done away with. None of us could ever live up to the law so Christ came the ultimate sacrifice and died for us ALL. We have ALL sinned and fallen short. Scripture says this. Nicole admitted to this as well. I don’t understand why people get so upset when we talk about homosexuality. I’m of the same school of thought as Nicole. I LOVE people, but I DON’T embrace their sins! Not just homosexuals, but liars, thieves, fornicators, you name it! I pray for people that their eyes be opened to the truth. I have friends and family that have sex outside of marriage. That’s a sin. Plain and simple. Do I love them less? NO! But do I want to hear about it? Absolutely not! Same thing here. I simply don’t agree with that lifestyle and neither does God. The bible states that plainly.

    When Jesus met the woman at the well and told her that he knew that she was committing adultery, it was a big deal that he was even speaking to her. Not only was she a woman, but she was a Samaritan woman. And the Jewish people had no dealings with Samaritans. Nor was it proper to speak to women in public. He went against popular culture and spoke to her. He spoke the truth to her in LOVE. Which is what we are commanded to do. But he didn’t just say, it’s cool, do your thing. I love you. NO! He said, “Go and sin no more!”. He told her to stop.

    True love desires that no one should walk around blinded to the truth of God’s word. It is said in scripture that we are a peculiar people. Meaning sure, people will think we are weird. Our views are crazy. We will stand out. It also says that friendship with the world is enmity with God. So it doesn’t surprise me that popular opinion completely disagrees with what Nicole and I are both stating. So I’m OK knowing that I will be talked about. It’s all good. As a matter of fact there is a blessing in it!

    Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

    Rene I think it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. Don’t allow anyone to cheat you from REALLY experiencing Christ. This is absolutely not about religion, but about having a relationship with Christ. Satan uses people to keep us from that. Not just people in the world, but people in the church as well. I can agree that many times “church people” are much more hurtful than people in the world. But we can’t let Satan deter us from knowing Christ.

    That being said, you have COMPLETELY mistaken Nicole. She is one of the most generous, kind, loving people I know. Nothing that she said to you was said out of malice. It was truly out of love. Just as I have. If only you REALLY knew her, and didn’t judge her by her comments, you would understand. (something she has been accused of here, judging)

    I’m earnestly praying for all of you. I love you with the love of Jesus! Be blessed!

  80. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    @laTosha: First and foremost, if I was intolerant, I would not have approved your comment. Now, please tell me you are not inferring that I don’t REALLY know Christ? How on earth would you know that? And you say I’m insulting Nicole? That is amazing. And bold. So I have completely mistaken a woman who told meI should have used my blog/platform to promote what she believes? What if I did not believe that? Does that not strike you as a tiny bit odd? Because it does me, just as your assumption about my faith does. Of course, you will see that as an insult; it is not. I will go on record as saying this; if you and Nicole are exhibiting Christ-like behavior, I’ll take the sinners. So one more time, how’s about we leave the judging to the guy most equipped to do it, God. My best to you and Nicole.

  81. LaTosha

    July 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Just for the record, Nicole did not ask me to post here, nor did she know I would post until I told her afterward. Though I do find it interesting that you don’t mind your friends, or backers or whatever posting in agreement to you. I think that’s sweet of them as well.

    And who is judging? I’m simply stating my beliefs. You can do what you will with that information. Like I said, of course not everyone believes as me. I’m in the minority! That’s a GREAT thing!

    And if you feel that I read WAY into your tone, could it be possible that you read WAY into hers? Just a thought! :-)

    My best to you as well Rene!

  82. Rene Syler

    July 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    @LaTosha: Tonight is your first time on the site, i know that because I had to approve your comment as a new comer. I invite you to look around on issues more than just this one and see how much people disagree with me. And since it’s my blog and my belief, I don’t think for a second Nicole didn’t at least talk to you or tacitly urge you to post here. And how exactly am I supposed to take someone coming to MY site and saying they’re disappointed in my for not using my platform to promote their beliefs? I also find if utterly fascinating that you chose to ignore my question about your inference of my faith. Whether you chose to accept it or not, it’s those things that turn people away from religion. However I pray they’re smart enough to know that is not Christ-like. Once agin and respectfully, THX

  83. Gayle Mahoney

    July 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I would just like to step back for a moment and make a comment about the “big picture” about using scripture to justify one’s own political point of view.

    For decades people used the Bible to justify their own beliefs in slavery, that the Holy Scriptures actually gave one group of human beings the right to enslave another group of human beings and take away their identities, their humanity, their rights to marry, their rights to vote and the many other human rights they were entitled to.

    This is exactly the same thing that is happening in OUR time, that some groups of people are using the Bible to justify their own position in denying other human beings their human and civil rights, their identities, their right to love whom they love. In my opinion, using the Bible to advance inequality, injustice and intolerance is the ultimate form of intolerance and lovelessness. In other words, it is downright UN-Christlike!

  84. LaTosha

    July 26, 2011 at 12:06 am

    First let me say that the post that currently follows my original post is NOT what I responded to the second time. I assume it was changed. I don’t believe I called you intolerant at all. And can you please tell me what I have said or done that is not Christ-like?

    I will absolutely take you up on your invite and look around your site. I’m sure it’s full of awesome information. And I do have complete respect for the fact that this is YOUR site. I DO appreciate you posting my comments.

    Nicole talked to me about her post here and your response simply because she was surprised. That’s it. Plain and simple. I am the one that felt compelled to post. The Word of God is something that I’m truly passionate about. Therefore I posted.

    I’m positive that Nicole was under the impression that all Christian’s share the same beliefs, or at least we should. And I do believe I remember you saying you professing that Jesus died for your sins, so I believe she viewed you as her sister in Christ. Like I said, I believe you were mistaken in how you received her message. If you profess Christ as your savior, then your beliefs should line up with his. And NO, I’m not questioning whether or not you really know Christ. I would have no idea and that’s not for me to know or judge. I tell EVERYONE I know, including my own teenagers to REALLY get to know Christ. That is a plea, not a condemnation. So please don’t take it that way. I strive myself, everyday, to get to know Christ better and better. This Christian race is a marathon. I never think I know it all. And I welcome correction and wise counsel from those more mature in the Word than I am. It might sting sometime, but if it lines up with God’s Word, then I can only accept it.

    I truly apologize if I have said or done anything that is unloving and out of the will of God. I seek only to speak the truth of God’s Word.

  85. Will Jones

    July 26, 2011 at 6:47 am

    “Murder and lawful execution are two different things…”

    I’m trying to find that in the bible and I don’t see where it says that.

    So what I’m understanding is, I can take specific words, and as long as I can find differences in their translations, I can read them how they make the most sense to me.

    I’m not trying to split hairs; I’m trying to figure out who gets to decide which parts of the bible should be read and acted upon exactly as they are written, and which parts should be “translated”.

    By what I read, women who have sex before they are married must be killed (lawfully executed), just as anyone who commits adultery should be (Deuteronomy 22).

    So either the churches should be pushing for the “legal execution” of those people, or they she be looking for a “re-translation” that will keep them from stomping on the people they choose to stomp on in the name of God.

    The God I believe in loves me. He knows I screwed up yesterday and He knows I’ll probably screw up tomorrow, but He also knows that I love Him back, and that I’ll try to do what He wants me to so that I can be closer to Him. But I just can’t believe He wants me to treat someone as if He is evil, not because that person is abusive, destructive, a liar, or a cheater, but simply because of who that person loves. At least, that’s how I translated what I read.

  86. Rene Syler

    July 26, 2011 at 7:48 am

    @LaTosha: Thank you. The fact is, it’s a big, huge, wide world and the tent is truly large enough for different individuals with different beliefs. Re: Nicole and her surprise in my response to her, well, imagine mine when she basically told me I should be doing more with the platform I built, since it didn’t conform to what she was taught is the word of God. Really? See Nicole wasn’t there when I was fired from my job, lost my breasts, lost my hair, lost a part of myself, contemplated ending it all, pulled myself together with the help of some great support and built Good Enough Mother into what it is today. For her to come in the last 15 minutes of the movie and start directing takes an unreal amount of chutzpah and arrogance. I know, she didn’t mean it but that’s how it came across.

    I’ll close once again with what I truly believe; the world would be a better place if we let the person who is holy and perfect, be the one to to the judging. The rest of us are just scatter-shootin’ in the dark. Okay. I’m exhausted and have said all I need to on this topic. I do welcome you and anyone else who has a sincere desire to learn from others and debate topics and beliefs that might be different from their own. As you can see, I print just about everything. Thank you once again and best to you.

  87. LaTosha

    July 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Hi Will! First lets make a clear distinction between the old and new testaments. In the old testament, the law ruled. When Christ came he said there is no more law but grace. He died as the ultimate sacrifice. Therefore, the law that called for such things has been done away with. So no, that’s no longer required of us.

    Reading the word of God requires revelation. The bible has been perverted by many. That is why we should really know it for ourselves. I don’t let anyone tell me what the bible says without checking it out for myself. Not even my own pastor who I love dearly and trust. My bible is open the entire time he is preaching or teaching. We have to trust that the bible is the inerrant word of God. And when we dig into it, we have to dig into it with prayer and asking for an understanding of what we have read. We are also commanded to meditate on it day and night. Understanding God’s word is a process.

    The God I believe in loves me as well! He would also like me to get to know His Word. Not for the simple fact of being able to debate it, but to truly understand His nature. The more I learn, the more I realize I need to spend more time with him and learn more! This is how I demonstrate my love for him. In getting to know him. What he would say, what he definitely would not say. It’s just like a love affair! I’m in love with the Lord. And I want to know him! Not just some things, but everything! I want to spend time with him. Not just a little, I want to dedicate my life to him! I’m passionate about my God!

    I don’t treat ANYONE as if they are evil. I realize that Satan and his devices are real. I know that he uses people to get his message to the world. Scripture cautions us not to be ignorant to Satan or his devices. We have to realize that he is at work in this world too. So even the most evil acts done in the world, trust me, I give credit to Satan. Not the person committing them. He is crafty.

    The bible commands us to pray for those who use us despitefully. To pray for our enemies. Hey, trust me when I say, that person is me. Because I understand, again as scripture has said, that it’s easy to love someone that loves you back. The challenge in being like Christ is to love those who hate you.

    When I said I’m praying for you all, and that I love you with the love of Christ, I meant it. Those are not just typed words. I want everyone to get to know Christ for themselves. That’s truly my hearts desire! But like Ms. Rene said, we may never agree on this. And I’m fine with that. :-)

  88. LaTosha

    July 26, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Thanks Rene! I’m exhausted as well! :-) I will just end by saying, I think many intentions, emotions, and thoughts can be lost in type. We each bring our own feelings to the table. I’m sure this would have been an entirely different “debate” live and in person. I can’t claim to know where you are coming from, because surely I don’t. I only know bits and pieces of your life. I do, however, know that your story is a tremendous one! The same can be said for me, Nicole, or anyone else out here. We all have a story. We are all passionate about different things for different reasons.

    That being said, I truly don’t believe I have judged anyone here. But I do know that it’s my responsibility as a believer to speak God’s word. I hope that’s what it has been received as, and not passing judgment. I will be the first to admit that I’m flawed. I sin! I’m nowhere near perfect! But God loves me anyway!!!! Isn’t that amazing! He loves us ALL in our imperfections! Scripture claims that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!!! That still amazes me!

    Be super blessed Rene!!! And I truly do love you with the love of Christ!

  89. Nicole Calhoun

    July 26, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Good morning, Everyone. This will be my last post as well…as it HAS been exhausting to speak on this topic.

    Rene…I will agree with Will and say that thoughts can be lost in type (which is why I was trying so hard to keep telling you I meant you NO ill-will). I didn’t then; I don’t now. I truly, truly don’t.

    I’m not rendering judgment on anyone…but, even if I did, I’d be within my “rights” to do so. And before that stings or doesn’t sit well with you, the reason I say that is because the Bible says WE (His children) will judge the world with Christ one day. (1 Corinthians 6) I invite you to read it yourself. I’m not trying to push what I think on anyone. I’m not.

    To ALL my CHRISTIAN gay, homosexual, lesbian brothers and sisters IN Christ, I DO NOT hate you. You are NOT going to be condemned to hell for your lifestyle…but, the operative word here is CHRISTIAN. The good news about salvation is once we believe in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, NOTHING we do can snatch us from His hands. Our salvation is secure.

    But, that isn’t a warrant for living any kind of way either.

    Please hear my heart in this. I was NOT judging those OUTSIDE of Christ, non-believers, heathens, or whatever else people refer to them as. That IS for God to judge. God has called me, as His child to speak up when I see wrong IN His church – the body of believers.

    Rene, the ONLY reason I said ANYTHING to you about it on your site (and, I too realize it is your site) is because you said you were a Christian…and the definition you gave matched with what the word of God said for being a Christian.

    I honestly thought I was speaking the truth to you in love…and I still believe I was…because I WAS. I wasn’t trying to belittle you or anyone else.

    I won’ rescind anything I said because I still fully believe what I spoke aligned with God’s truth, so it does look like we’ll all have to agree to disagree and move forward from there.

    I will still visit your site and chime in where I see fit, and isn’t that the reason why you created the site in the first place…to have a public formum where anyone could come (even me) and post comments on what was discussed? You even ask for comments on the page. I was merely following direction.

    Like I said, I don’t want anyone to take what I said at face value just because I said it. I dare you to go search it out and read it for yourself. And NOT just about homosexuality…but about ALL things that pertain to life and godliness.

    It just so happens that was what was being discussed in the post, this time.

    Homosexuality is NOT my one “hang-up”. For the gay woman in seminary who adopted the children, I wasn’t condemning HER to hell. You said she was a Christian. Her salvation is secure. After I went back and read my post, I see how maybe it could’ve been misunderstood that that was my thought/intention.

    BUT, just because she is in seminary and adopted those children does not give her a “free pass” to live contrary to the word of God. That was my point.

    And, it seems we won’t agree on THAT one thing: the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality. That is the ONLY reason we’re having this conversation because our “views” are different on that one subject.

    You believe it’s okay. I don’t. But, what matters most is WHOSE measuring stick we’re measuring that lifestyle against. We both believe we’re viewing it from God’s vantage point. I’m holding my ground on it. You’re holding yours.

    So my beautiful, sweet sister, with all the love in my heart, I want to say if I offended you, I apologize…sincerely. It was not my intent. I want nothing more than for us to have peace in our relationship with one another.

    This LAST comment I’m writing (on this topic), I just wanted to clarify to my homosexual brothers and sisters that I do not hate them, and if they are truly SAVED (on their way to heaven through the work of Christ on the cross), they are not going to hell – even in the midst of their homosexuality.

    The thing to know is God gives us free will. We can do anything we want…but, not everything is beneficial. When something (anything) MASTERS your life, other than the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s time to evaluate it. Period.

    But, I would’ve been remiss if I didn’t speak what the Lord laid on my heart. If I saw my son wielding a loaded handgun around or pointing it at his head, I’m not going to just sit there and think to myself, “Man, I should probably do something about it.” I’m going to run to my son’s rescue before he blows his brain out!

    THAT is the heart I have for my homosexual brothers and sisters. I love them in that same way. I see them not living according to the Lord’s standard (not MY standard, the Lord’s), and I was merely offering help.

    If I saw you drowning, Rene. I’d throw you a life preserver, if not jump in the water and try to save you myself. It’s the same heart I had when I posted my comment. It was NOT for evil. I thought it was for good. And it obviously didn’t come across that way; and for that, I’m sorry.

    My intent was not to embarrass, upset or anger you.

    And for the record, I didn’t ask LaTosha to comment. I did chat with her about what had taken place, but I didn’t ask her to remark. I don’t need anyone to defend me or what I said. God’s word is powerful enough to stand on its own “two feet”. But, I do thank her for sharing. And, I do thank you for posting the comments for all to see.

    Ms. Gayle, (I almost don’t want to say this, but I have to…PLEASE let’s not start another debate about it. I’m merely responding to your post, as well.) Let’s agree to disagree, but I have to say it.

    This is not a “political” issue…or even a “religious” one. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Slavery had to do with a person’s race. People can’t help what race they’re born. Homosexuality is a choice. It’s very different. And, I KNOW people say (and have even said here) that you’re born gay…and that’s where we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    I do agree that “religion” was used to justify the heinous crime of enslaving another race…but, that’s just it. RELIGION did. NOT the truth of God’s word…’cause had someone had the guts to disagree with the wrongness of slavery according to God’s word, it may have never happened.

    Anyway, I’m through.

    Rene, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak my heart about this situation.

    Life will go on for all of us.

    My prayer is that each of us will continue to seek a personal, deep relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, so that it will renew our minds and transform our lives to the glory of God.

    I love you all with the Lord’s love.

    God bless and keep you, now and forever.

    My Heavenly Daddy’s daughter,
    Nicole :o)

  90. Rene Syler

    July 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

    @Nicole: Thanks, again, for leaving your very detailed thoughts. My best to you

  91. BigBlackRod

    July 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Don’t nunna you muh **ckas know what God thinks; God’s thoughts would bust open your heads…PEACE.

  92. Rene Syler

    July 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    @BigBlackRod: um, Thank you, I think?

  93. Rene Syler

    August 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Zandra Conway sent this response to my email. I asked her for permission to reprint it here and she agreed.

    Ms. Rene, first of all I want to thank you for asking to comment on your article. I am honor with your request. You have a wonderful Spirit that is very welcoming. I learned a lot through this Religious journey. As a Spiritual Being, I behold the Christ Spirit in you. It was a honor to meet you through Facebook. Our mutual friend is Toni Isaac. She and I went to the same High School.
    Now back to the your Blog, you wrote it from your heart and soul. You have the will to keep going despite others who dismiss your insightful messages. I know you will keep endeavoring to voice what is on your mind. The ‘warriorwoman’ has internal wars. She finds it necessary to condemn you when yet she doesn’t really know you.
    As an open Lesbian, I respect your support of the Gay and Lesbians communities especially for Gay people of color. You convey the truth spoken by Jesus. The Christ teaches us that we “Love our Father/Mother God, Ourselves and love for Others.” We must be people of Inner Love and not ones who criticized people who we don’t even know. With the Spiritual Power that you have within in your soul, your written words are genuine. I will always be outspoken about Equal Rights for the Gay Community, Women, Children,THX People of Color, and Education.
    The ‘warriorwoman’ lives in her world. She feels that is alright to speak words that are hateful. She disrespected you by trying to degrade your talents. I’m not sure where she gets this type of energy because it doesn’t fit the “Christian” ways. Too bad, too sad, she really has to address her own issues instead of publicly insulting someone like you.
    My Sister, you are warmly blessed. We choose to look for the Light. We find our way back home when we see the glimmer of light in the distant. We are at peace with our choices to look for light. The stumbling blocks that were in the darkness become stepping-stones in the light!

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