(My) New Perspective

March 21, 2003 –  over 16 years later, I still remember the night as if it were yesterday. I attended a local church

service with a special guest band, “Seventh Day Slumber”. From this night on, my life would never be the same. Even today, I can say that that night had a lot to do with who I am today. But from that night, I would walk down a road that a lot of young “Christians” would walk. The road of religion. Paved with judgement, hypocrisy, and legalism I think this road was a one I needed to take to become who I am at current state.

Honestly, looking back at my younger self, I’m almost ashamed of who I appeared to be to certain groups of people.

In fact, if you didn’t have the mindset I had, for the most part I didn’t want you around me. I probably did more damage than good as a youth pastor. I preached religion versus relationship with a loving God. “Act this way.” “Live like this.” “Remember that this will send you to hell.” Not saying it was completely my fault, but could you blame me? Especially when most churches preach the same ‘gospel.’

Yes, I know. I’ll have some Christian friends to read this and either they will be offended or they’ll actually understand my next couple of words…

The ‘gospel’ that you’ve read and are living aren’t lining up.

Here’s what I mean,  Jesus actually was among the people that he wanted to be around. Yet we say separate ourselves from the world. Jesus didn’t just “hang out” with sinners from time to time, regardless of what your righteous pastor says. News flash: he lived among them. Why? Because he wanted to be around them. Listen… Jesus understood 2 things:

  1. The religious rejected them because they were not like them.
  2. Love wins more people than hate.

Underlying issue: today not much has changed. Most people that sit on those pews claim to have welcoming arms,

but yet won’t actually do the one thing that Jesus did: accept people who are different than them. To take it a step further, most people in a church want the “life-changing, loving gospel of Jesus” for themselves, yet only know how to preach condemnation and judgement on those outside of the same four walls. Yet the bible I own says something different. The reality is, Jesus was for everyone. Not a chosen group of religious bigots who only say, “they want the world to know Jesus,” yet can’t stop looking down their noses at anyone that doesn’t attend a church, listen to a Christian radio station, or just so happens to drop a few “F” bombs from time to time. But let’s not get started on transgender, gay, anyone that’s had an abortion, or God forbid, been divorced. We know exactly how church folk feel about them. Well, judging buy your picket signs anyway.

Changing the world involves loving the person next to you… no matter… NO MATTER who they are.

Everyone – Always

Everyone-Always

I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.

— Bob Goff.

Tommy Hilfiger – Abercrombie & Fitch – Hollister

The “popular” kids brand of choice. Well in my high school days anyway. In a recent reconnection with some old friends from high school, I found out that I was deemed as a popular kid. What’s so funny about that is, I wasn’t popular. To be honest, I’m the same guy today as I was back then. I try to fit in with everyone. I was never the type of person to exclude anyone. I tried my best to be inclusive, simply because I knew the pains of not fitting in. Whether it was because my family didn’t have the money for me to join the high school band, or maybe because I didn’t have the name brand clothes, or because my mom cut my hair because we couldn’t afford for me to go to the local barber. It wasn’t until I had a job and could afford things on my own that I began to buy the things that made me look like everyone else. Well the popular kids that is. But even then, I still knew what it was like to not fit in. Simply because once I began to buy “those brands”, it seemed that I became distant from the friends I had that dressed like me before I had money. So where did I fit in? My solution… right in the middle. I decided at an early age that I would treat everyone with the same mindset: “you’re cool with me”.

What’s interesting today is, it’s not necessarily clothes that separate people from other people. It’s color, politics, sexual orientation, and religion. But you know what? They’re still people. Whether you vote Democrat or Republican. Whether you’re a member of the LGBT community or not. Whether you’re “Black, White, Cuban, or Asian” (Will Smith reference) YOU STILL MATTER.

I think for me, early on I realized that everyone mattered. And they do. Every single day, everyone matters. But our society has our mind fixed to believe that WE are right – THEY are wrong. It’s a fixed mindset that needs to be addressed… immediately. Let me pose the question: How does someone else’s belief offend you? Is it because they’re not like you? Just because they don’t practice the same thing as you, doesn’t mean they are less of a person than you. And if you have that mindset, shame on you. We wonder why people have anxiety. We wonder why there are school shootings. We wonder why “black people” have such a grudge against police officers. It’s because people forget, people are people. Yet our mindset of supremacy or doctrine says because they “aren’t like us”, they need to be separated from us. If you want to see a world destroy itself, let us continue with this mindset. To push the issue further, when someone seems more intellectual about their belief that’s different than ours, we then begin to cower down, claiming to be the victim. When it’s ourselves that has pushed those that are so different from us to the edge. Why this rant? Why make a big deal of this? Because I finally see a people that are hurting. Yet not screaming for pity, but injustice. Let us quit viewing “them” as the issue, and view “them” as people. Because they matter.

So, I say to you; Everyone-Always