I met Rachel a couple years ago when she came through Belton to visit Russ. We hit it off instantly, probably because of her ability to banter back and forth with the best of them. Since then, we've bonded over Taco Cabana meals, late night chats, and tearful conversations in each other's cars. I'm thankful for her and her transparency, and really don't like the fact that she's in Arkansas instead of Austin. Love and Pain are sometimes so close to one another that Pain can reach out her dirty hand and fall into Love’s perfectly manicured one. And the other way around.

We, as humans and more specifically Americans, feel this need to put a label on everything. Love. Hate. Christian. Conservative. Liberal. Dirty. Moral. Gay. Straight. Wrong. Upstanding.

As Christians, we should be like a moving company focusing on the endgame: unloading the boxes, breaking them down, and turning all that stuff into a home. Many times Christians find themselves as the loaders instead, boxing up the stuff and classifying it as worthy or unworthy, and categorizing it according to a number of preset conditions.

I’d love to sit here and spout off some new-age Christian mumbo jumbo about liberal thinking and everyone loving each other and finish with holding hands singing Kumbaya by the fire, but that just isn’t how things work, is it?

We must unpack our Christianity. We must declassify our lives and our way of thinking.

Yesterday I was talking with an old friend I’ve known through Twitter for over a year. He’s this super liberal, Jesus-loving, outspoken dude who happens to be part of a Christian community on Twitter that I, of my own accord, am not really a part of anymore. I was attacked for using a derogatory term, while at the same time they were dropping F-bombs, and resorting to name-calling toward me and my significant other at the time. I thought that was hypocritical and left the conversation.

In my opinion, they were only accepting when it suited them, which is definitely easier, but not always the best route.

Anyway, my friend has had a tiff with some of the same folks. These are people that have known him over a year, but because of a few tweets of less than 140 characters, they have blocked him and written him off as a human being. I think it is the EXACT same experience many have with the church.

I know being a 16-17 year old at the First Baptist Church and being asked to leave the church on multiple occasions (usually for defending the gay, being opposed to prayer in school or wearing too tight of pants) and at one point in time having someone I trusted more than life itself (I still have the poem I wrote about her three daughters) pretty much write me off as a human being because of choices I made, all made me feel ‘blocked’ as well.

So, what does this have to do with pushing through the pain, you ask? Not much, now that I think about it. It’s more about not running from the pain. Everyone on this blog has opened up and talked about their personal struggles, and I have to with this, but I would love it eleventy billions times more, if, when you read this, you found someone in your life that is struggling and listened to them. You don’t have to agree or disagree. Just listen to them, don’t judge them and let them know you love them… and MEAN IT.

Not "I would love you if..." or "I will love you when..." but "I see where you are. I see it at its worst... and I LOVE YOU... even if nothing ever changes in your life. I love you at this moment for YOU."

If you can’t get passed something going on in their life, or something they are saying, realize that is something YOU can’t get passed. It isn’t a problem with the other person; it’s a problem with you.

We are the church. Today in your life, forget that it isn’t Sunday morning. Sing a song of praise and let someone know you care about their soul/ thoughts/ mind/ etc and not a their actions/ speech/ dress/ sins/ etc.

Instead of worrying so much about pushing through your pain, find someone who can’t push through their own and help them unpack it, make sense of it and make it a home.

Posted on November 23, 2010 .