Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lesbian Labels

We have lesbians that attend my church. I'm pretty sure that they consider it their church too. We have lesbians that are members of the worship team. There are lesbians that come to church and attend bible study. I'm pretty sure that I saw lesbians helping out in the church kitchen this morning.

What is it about lesbians in church that gets me thinking about my own issues? They help me see the labels I put on them and on others. I put labels on just about everyone except for myself.

How do I know that they are lesbians? They didn't give me a card that says, "Hello, I am a lesbian." They aren't wearing name tags that say,"Hi, I'm a lesbian." So I must be making assumptions or being judgmental based on what I think lesbians look like. They aren't holding hands or smooching on each other during services. They aren't working on cars in the parking lot. They aren't wearing Lilith Fair t-shirts. I guarantee that they don't have lesbian labels inside their shirts. I want to scream to myself, "Mike, they are people. Why aren't you looking at yourself instead of spending your time deciding whether or not you've got lesbians in your church!"

I've got problems with food, alcohol and depression. Those are just a few of the issues I deal with on a daily basis. Maybe I should pass out a card or wear a t-shirt to church. My card or t-shirt would say, "Hello. My name is Mike. I judge others based on appearance. I'm an alcoholic. I'd rather be drinking right now but I'm not. Don't ask me how things are going in my marriage. Ask my wife. She'll give you an honest answer. I tend to sugarcoat things. I probably won't give you an honest answer since I'm supposed to be "Mr. Super Christian Husband". Because I'm not drinking alcohol I'm battling even more with my food addiction. I take two anti-depressants a day. If I don't take my pills I can be a raging bastard or so down in the dumps that I've thought about ending my life."

I need some help though. I don't know what people who cheat on their spouses look like? What about men or women who are addicted to pornography or gambling? What do they look like? What does the man who abuses his wife and children wear to church on Sunday. The embezzler. The liar. The woman who chose to abort her baby. The man who left his family behind. The couple living together. What do they look like? How do they talk? What do they wear?

BREAKING NEWS: I've found a photo of a man who struggles daily with depression, alcoholism and food addictions. See photo below. It's me.

God, help me to put down my label maker. Instead, help me to look at others through the eyes of Jesus

Photo taken by my friend @Dana88


  1. I love your post, Mike. I go to church with a little over 100 people. In no way do I know what each one of them struggle with. Some have shared ... but only at a level at which they are comfortable.

    When I DO know what their struggle is, I do not have opportunity to criticize...but I do have opportunity to help and pray...and love.

    Supposing, however, that their struggle is not a struggle. It's just sin reigning in their lives. Now that's a different situation.

    So, I would be happy to be a part of a church where hookers, homos, drunks, fattys, and drug addicts (labels labels labels) come to find Jesus and redemption and hope. I would not be happy to be a part of a church where it was ok to just continue in your sin and expect not to ever hear about it.


  2. Okay, I'm NOT a fan of labels. However, I know myself. And I know that I'm a hider. I put on a mask and put up walls and hide behind them. I've been notorious for never letting people see what I'm going through, never asking for help, isolating myself, and going through things alone. One of the most freeing moments of my adult life was being part of a Cardboard Testimonies skit at my church and holding up a sign in front of myself that said, "SUICIDAL." So, I guess what I'm saying is that although I'm not a fan of labels, I am a fan of being real with people and loving each other for who they REALLY are, underneath the label.

  3. I'm bi-racial--my mom is Japanese and my dad is a big white guy. Although my mom is fairly fair skinned, all us kids tan easily and are pretty dark most of the year. People have labeled me differently depending on where I am. In New Mexico, people think I'm Native American, here in South Texas people speak Spanish to me pretty much on a daily basis. If I mention my brother live in Hawaii, people assume I'm from there as well. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me point blank, "What are you?" And while I would like to say my reply is something gracious like, "I'm a child of God, or I'm a sinner saved by grace", my typical response is, "What the hell kind of question is that? What do you think I am?" My point is (and I do have one), is this: Labels do not define who we are in God's eyes. Our identity is in Him.

  4. Thought-provoking and absolutely correct. I'm an alcholic myself and know how to identify that in others, but that's where my expertise ends. I don't even like labeling myself, to be honest. I just do the best I can and trust God for the rest.

  5. I'm a lesbian.
    It's okay, Mike. I go around wondering if people are gay too ... especially those that "LOOK" gay. I judge them harshly if I think they are hiding who they are. How lame am I for doing that? However, this is the first time I have ever thought about this: I never, ever have met someone and wondered if they were hetrosexual. Why is it that our society makes assumptions about gays but could care less if someone is straight? I'm guilty of it too. I wish I wasn't.

  6. Great photo of you, Mike. It looks just like the guy I love, with or without a label.

    Looking forward to the day we meet.

  7. At least you are honest and aware of the things you view as your faults. Acceptance is the first step to change.

  8. Mike, I agree with everyone here. This is incredibly powerful post. I'm a big believer in not judging, in being true to ourselves, and in not labeling people and this is THE most honest post I've ever read on the topic. Everyone should want to try to emulate you.

  9. I was just engaging in this label thing over the weekend related to a homeless issue in our town. Nobody wants to deal with it, right? Not in my backyard. This is just the opposite of what Christians are supposed to do.

    No matter what your personal beliefs, Jesus provides a pretty good example of how to live a life on earth. And his love for people as people is probably the aspect of his life that is most lacking in our world today.

    This is a lovely post and relevant to, well everybody I think! Thank you!

  10. Hey Mike, good thoughts. I am writing on this topic on my blog. I hope you will read and share with me your thoughts. i will have other thoughts to come. I got your link from my friend John Dobbs.