Bullying & the Church

So Apple released their contribution to the “It Gets Better” project last Friday and it really connected with me. I felt the need to share it and, in particular, one quote from it that spoke to me and really transcended the boundaries of sexuality and gender identity. So watch the video. The quote is underneath it.

“The bullies seem like the powerful people and the successful people, and the secret of the real world is they’re at the peak of their power at 15 and 16. And there will come a time when the bullies are not successful and the people they bullied are. And you just have to out-survive them.”

I dealt with bullying quite a bit when I was in elementary school and junior high. Not because of my sexuality, but because I was a chubby kid with weird glasses and a speech impediment. Some of those wounds take years to heal. I still need to hear this message and I’m 25. I guarantee there is someone in your life, maybe even you, who needs to hear this. It’s one of the reasons I’m going into ministry. The church has been so woefully silent, even so much to be perpetrators, in establishing who’s in and who’s out in society.

I want to be a pastor who says everyone’s in. Everyone’s welcome.

And I want to actually mean it.


Rob Bell, Japan and Hell*

I hate to bring up the Rob Bell thing again. I know it’s tired. I know everyone’s said what they have to say on the topic (including me). But with the constant stream of terrible news coming out of Japan in the last 48 hours, it just seems appropriate to talk about Hell.

In case you’ve been completely under a rock, here’s what you’ve missed: On Friday, Japan experienced what scientists are now calling a 9.0 earthquake (4th largest since we started keeping track), which brought on estimated 30 foot waves, and now nuclear reactors failing left and right. The Japanese government estimates 10,000 dead. Most of the country is without running water and electricity. Hospitals can’t function. Parts of Tokyo are being evacuated because of the nuclear reactors leaking radiation. If you want to look at Hell… Japan is a good example.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t need to picture a far off pit of fire and torment to envision Hell. It’s here. It’s in our midst. We look around our world and see Hell in places like Japan. Or in Libya where a government is actively killing its own people. Or down the streets of any U.S. city where families are divided by divorce, where careers are lost and dreams deferred, where new generations of kids continue to grow up without fathers.

We don’t have to hate on Rob Bell for saying there’s no one in Hell. It’s all around us. However, the one message of hope that we’re yearning for with all of our being is that there’s something more. That there’s a force in the world that is more powerful than our brokenness. That the God, who is love in and of God’s self, will win.


* Can you tell I’m excited for the book? Good grief…

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