Offensive

“That’s offensive!”
“I’m offended!”
“That sign is offending to us!”
“You can’t say that, it’s been deemed ‘offensive'”.

Quite frankly I’m offended at everyone being offended at things that rely aren’t even offensive!

Here’s one such example: a Roman Catholic church in Buffalo New York displayed a billboard message that, I’m sorry but I thought was pretty darn clever. However, what some people see as witty wordplay has others irate.

The sign at Saints Columba-Brigid Roman Catholic Church read “Jesus had 2 dads and he turned out just fine”. Ah ha, I get it: Jesus had God (the) father and Joseph as his (Earthly) father! Pretty clever, huh?! Well church leaders and the diocese are not amused.

I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and attended Catholic school through 7th grade, but my family and I left the Catholic Church several years ago. In my time as a recovering Catholic, I have come to read the Bible on a daily basis and am thrilled to be walking with Jesus with every step. I’m not denouncing the Catholic religion, I’m simply pointing out that I’m well familiar with it and its not for me or my family.

My new Christian Bible-based church has special sermons four times a year called “Fire Away Sunday” where our pastor takes questions from parishioners online, via text, and even from church members in service. One Sunday, a church member from the audience asked Pastor Dennis if we should be ‘for or against gays’, saying that her brother recently came out as a homosexual and admitting her inner conflict as his sister and a Christian.

His answer in a minute, but first, let me tell you a little story. A few years ago, when my husband and I were running our own private detective agency, a producer for the show Wife Swap contacted is to be part of an episode. The premise of our proposed episode was a wife who did it all; conservative co-business owner, highly organized, investigator, Christian mom, etc. Jenn Jacques swapped with either a lazy housewife, or a mother in a same-sex relationship.

Admittedly the idea of teaching another family the value of hard work, instilling my Midwestern values on their children, and potentially making their lives a little better after my departure was pretty enticing. Not to mention the opportunity to dispel the notion that all Christian conservatives hate homosexuals! Ultimately, my husband and I decided that it was not a good fit for our lives at the time, but it also made us acutely aware that our marriage and family were pretty darn good just as they were.

Then we caught an episode of Trading Spouses that week. Charlie and Julie Chase of Oregon and parents of two teenaged daughters, swapped spouses with a California couple named Pepper and Judy and their daughter and son with whom they spent the bulk of their free time.

They also happened to both be women.

The episode, as you can imagine, was drama-filled and cringeworthy reality tv, an avalanche of intolerance, and eventually, even a little understanding. After the episode ended, my husband shut off the television and said, in a very serious tone, “You really think those women are going to hell?”

I was extremely taken back and quickly said, “Oh my goodness, no! They were amazing parents and lovely people, it’s not for me to judge who they love, my only interest in them is as parents and how they love their children.”

The truth is, I’m friends with a few gay couples who I think would be unbelievable parents. Just look at my friends Jeffrey and Peter, they treat their two Bishion Frisées as if they were auditioning for ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’, their child would be spoiled rotten and loved to the moon and back! Not to mention one of my best friends is both an amazing mother but also, and most unimportantly, a lesbian.

So back to my Pastor’s answer to the question of whether or not we support gays. That Sunday, I was so thrilled to hear him say, “It’s not for us to judge, and I would instruct everybody here to do as the bible tells us. God directs us to hate sin, but love the sinner.” I absolutely agree. Grace upon grace, my fellow Christians.

My two cents: I believe that as Christians, we should hold people accountable, but we have no right to judge anyone. Grace is never offensive, so let’s all try to live with grace upon grace!

Oh, and about that church sign in Buffalo? Following the intense scandal, which spurred irate calls in to the diocese from across the globe, Bishop Richard Joseph Malone ordered the message be removed. It now reads, “Walmart isn’t the only saving place”.
Personally, I think this sign would have worked as well:
IMG_0013

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