The Basement Manifesto
by Jen Hatmaker on August 1st, 2012

For my money, Jesus’ use of parable and metaphor was his crowning glory as a teacher. (As long as I live, I will never, ever get over the story of The Prodigal Son. Never.) His parables were beautifully crafted, if not weirdly vague. Folks were constantly scratching their heads, unable to decode the story, finally resorting to high-class conclusions like, “He be crazy.”

For instance, Jesus once told this detailed, nuanced parable about a farmer sowing his seeds; some fell on rocky soil, others on shallow soil, some among the thorns, and a few on fertile soil. He gave all sorts of details, predicted the outcome, then sat back and said:

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

At this point, I envision the disciples turning to one another going:

“Pretty sure Jesus wants us to become farmers!”

“I don’t even know how to farm. I interpret tax code, for the love of Moses.”

“John, he’s talking about you, Mr. Shallow Soil. Stop talking about how you’re Jesus’ favorite all the time. We’re all sick of it, man.”

“I think you’re the thorn, Peter. Get a grip, dude. Take it down about ten zillion levels.”

“So are we the farmer? Or the birds? I’m confused.”

Jesus (clearly) sighed and said, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?” and He then explained every metaphorical detail. (And then Matthew was probably like, “So when do we take agricultural classes?” and Jesus facepalmed.)

Metaphors are like that. We interpret them through the grid of our own experiences, assumptions, and worldviews. We read between the lines words that aren’t there and attach meaning where it doesn’t belong. They are super easy to misunderstand.

So it is with The Basement. While most readers absolutely dug it, got it, and holla’d back at it (Gwen Stefani is Brandon’s celebrity crush), some of you wrung your hands, told me and my friends to “get our heads out of the sand” (did you collaborate on this phrase in a secret meeting?), and assumed the basement dwellers were checking out of life altogether.

I thought I made this clear, but let me use plain words instead of allegory: The basement is a metaphor for our posture, not our position. The storm I am permanently retreating from involves name-calling, Facebook bombing, cliché parroting, and overgeneralizing. I’m leaving the paradigm that lets me cherry pick the sins that make me most uncomfortable for condemnation while conveniently leaving my personal struggles out of the public sphere. I suspect I’d find it unpleasant if folks picketed my house waving signs that screamed: “PRIDE IS OF THE DEVIL! GOSSIPS ARE GOING TO HELL! SELFISH WIVES WILL GET WHAT’S COMING TO THEM!”

I’m leaving the storm where listening is usurped for lecturing, and where people are “them” and the issue at hand “an agenda.” Not only is that an unsafe place for civil discussion, but it virtually accomplishes nothing, because everyone is yelling and no one is listening. No winners there. The tactics render the conversation impotent, no matter how vital or essential or sincere the issue at hand.


Don’t imagine because I’m leaving the bloodbath, I’m also walking away from hard conversations altogether. We’re working stuff out in the basement. We’re neck deep down here. We’re putting civil discourse at the center and fighting for respect. We’re having tough conversations and battling injustices and staging round-table discussions and working through our differences.

But we are not going to murder each other doing it.

This isn’t some Christian commune. This is a way of representing the Gospel. It is about our hearts and words, reaching across party lines and believing that love is the most excellent way, even in the hard stuff. It’s about becoming a slave to everyone to win anyone to Christ – quite the opposite of “defending our rights” all the time. In the basement, people matter. All of them. And we’ve discovered that kindness and dignity do wonders for forging healthy dialogue, especially the difficult ones.


“Repost if you support ______ and are ready to take back this country from the liberal agenda!” or conversely, “My flying monkey can kick your guardian angel’s a**!”


Vote. Don’t be hateful and trite. Stop using catchphrases and reduced soundbytes. Belittling someone with a different viewpoint has worked never, nor is it the way of Jesus, Christ-followers. Your Facebook post isn’t actually going to deter the “liberal agenda,” whatever that is, nor will it change someone’s faith dear to them, nonbelievers. Real conversations between reasonable, considerate, living people belong in the basement. No need to shoot digital missives across an invisible bow.


“All of you are…” “Everyone who agrees with…” “No one ever…” “They always…” These gross generalizations are unfair, untrue, and put folks immediately on the defensive. Conversation over. Your argument is instantly invalidated.


Not every Christian who believes in “traditional marriage” is full of hate. Not every Christian who supports the civil rights of gay folks is a Bible-rejecting defector. Not every gay man wears glitter and drag in Pride Parades. We are not caricatures. We are people, and life is nuanced. Until we stop assigning stereotypes to each other and do the hard work of actually getting to know one another as friends, or at least human beings, we are going to sabotage every good, productive possibility in front of us. Gross generalities are lazy, and they don’t belong in the basement.

Storm (from my comment feed this week, but may I say that most replies on every side were basement worthy…I had to scrooooooll to find examples):
  • One position: “I once heard a preacher say that homosexuality was the final straw for a nation before it is destroyed. I am reminded of a song that tells us we need to get back to the basics of life and back to what the founding fathers of this nation intended in order to be blessed again. We didn't have this problem until probably the last 10 years. It was kept very quiet before.”
According to this comment, homosexuality is predicating national destruction (according to “a pastor”…put another nail in the coffin between the faith and gay communities) and is responsible for the repealing of blessings in America (????????). Claiming “we” didn’t have this “problem” is extremely isolating and condescending, and there is absolutely no chance of further dialogue here, ever. This “us” and “them” mentality laced with judgment and hyperbole is exactly the sort of thing fueling the storm.
  • Another position: “What a load of twaddle. By disavowing any responsibility here and stepping out of the dialogue while supporting this business, you only *pretend* to wash your hands. That goes for each one of you. If you support tolerance so much as Jesus actually did, why would you still support an intolerant bigot? No prayers from anyone for Dan Christy to change his ways, I see, although I expect a few of you to pray for me. No shortage of hypocrisy here, ever. How sad, and what a good reason, on its own, for 50K people a week to leave the church.”
While exempting his comment that assumed I would never engage here (as this was a common misunderstanding on both sides), the rest of it is still accusatory, condescending, and over-generalized. So many other folks who shared his position wrote with intelligence, reasonableness, and earnestness. This is caustic, and there is little room for anything constructive to come.

  • One position: “Hey Jen, can I ask an honest question? I appreciate the heart of what you said, and I think I understand where you're coming from even though we've never met face to face. I have points where I may disagree but am not entirely sure because it is so easy to read a post and miss tone of voice and intent. I'm just kinda processing this out loud for a sec, and I'm on limited "nap time" minutes, if you know what I mean, so I apologize if this gets discombobulated. There were parts of your post that caused me to pause because I wanted to make sure I really understood you.”
Then she proceeded to explain the places she was uncertain (which is part of the reason for this clarifying blog). This is terribly disarming, basement-level conversation. If we treated one another like this, giving the benefit of the doubt and not assuming the worst, I cannot imagine where we would be as a society. So engaging.
  • Another position: “There are a number of things in the Biblical moral code that people no longer consider "sin." Christians get tattoos. Women not only speak in church, but they are even ordained as pastors in many churches. Christians universally stand up against human slavery. Women can have short hair and men can have long hair, etc. But all of these were prohibited in the New Testament! If you take the very few passages about homosexuality in their historical contexts and original languages, they're far less "black and white" than we think. Pro-gay Christians have many valid arguments. A nuanced approach to the Bible will reveal that the issue isn't so cut and dry.”
This ↑ was in response to an opposing viewpoint. It was reasonable and intelligent, not charged with accusations and assumptions. I found it conciliatory, inviting the next round of conversation without putting the other person on the defensive or belittling her convictions. I’m taking notes.


“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”


“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Oh, Jesus. It is impossible for me not to love you.

The basement is no place for lecturing and soapboxes and picking up stones. Leave the polarizing phraseology and stereotypes on the first floor. If you just want to be heard but have no interest in listening, stay upstairs and weather the storm; I wish you well and pray that when the dust settles, everything isn’t laying in shambles.

You know what belongs in the basement? Hard issues, folks with different convictions, difficult theology, struggle. Bring your frustrations and concerns, your passions and positions. The basement doesn’t require unanimity. We’re on all sorts of frontlines down here. Real life is going on underground. This is no place to hide from legitimate concerns and injustices; rather, a safe place to engage them wholeheartedly. The basement is a way, not a place. No one’s head is in the sand down here. Trust me, precious little is actually getting accomplished up there in the storm. Conversations are dead in the water, battle lines are drawn and defended, enemies are declared. It’s a bloodbath, and everyone is losing.

Activist, citizen, disciple…come on down.

We have a mantra in the basement, and I leave you with it, immensely grateful for brothers and sisters and the grace of Jesus, who is working on transforming all us ragamuffins down here into His beautiful image:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.”

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Jenn - August 1st, 2012 at 2:40 PM
I'm pretty sure you live in my heart. How else could you express my thoughts so beautifully?
Karen - August 1st, 2012 at 8:42 PM
Nicole - August 3rd, 2012 at 9:40 AM
Better than that, Jesus lives in all of your hearts and your thoughts are His thoughts.
Laurie Wallin - August 17th, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Yep, that's what I was thinking on that comment. And love the support and encouragement here!
Karis - August 3rd, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Ginger - October 5th, 2012 at 8:25 AM
I needed this today. Thank you.
caligirl - March 27th, 2013 at 3:59 PM
Yup, pretty much!
Jenn - August 1st, 2012 at 2:42 PM
And also, thank you for saying these things. This is a "stance" that I haven't heard anyone express yet, even though I've thought about it myself many times. I just don't have the words like you do.
Kim - August 1st, 2012 at 4:43 PM
Ditto to the above comments. I don't feel like I have the words to express this but I feel it in my heart! Thank you so much!

Anne Silvers - August 2nd, 2012 at 12:25 PM
my feelings exactly. I cried while reading both posts. Thank you God for giving Jen Hatmaker the gift of being able to communicate and express in words, things that have been on my heart!!
Leslie - March 27th, 2013 at 11:00 AM
That is because it is God's Heart!
anna - August 1st, 2012 at 2:44 PM
oh, thank you for your beautifully written, intelligent, honest, and engaging posts. i love metaphor, i love stories, i'm grateful for both these posts. I thought i got it with the first post, I was one of the ones that was right there with you, but this clarifies it even more for me. I'm in the basement with you. I want to listen, to engage, to understand, to love!
Leslie - August 1st, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Well spoken again! So glad to have found your blog! Our small group has been reading "Present Future" by Reggie McNeal and so much of what you said rings true with his words. Thanks for sharing!
Name - August 1st, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Thank you so much for clarifying. I was one that couldn't fully understand what you were orginally saying. I may not always agree with everything (and that is ok) I do agree we must preface our thoughts and words with LOVE. I will be in the basement and if your's is anything like mine it is a safe place to be.
Anna - August 1st, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Although I loved the first "basement" post, I really appreciate this clarification. I'm so thankful you took the time to provide such clear and biblical examples! Much appreciated :)
Marci - August 1st, 2012 at 2:47 PM
THANK YOU! I'm still in the basement with you all. I love the metaphor and all that it means. I have to admit that conversations like those that happen in the basement take me out of my comfort zone at times, mostly because there are no easy answers. But I am so weary of the name calling, finger pointing, over simplifications/generalizations occurring on both sides. I welcome the loving, healthy discussion as we seek to understand one another in the basement. Thanks!
Michele - August 1st, 2012 at 2:47 PM
Oh, Jen. Love this and again, oh-so-agree. Praise the Lord for your heart and way to articulate what so many of us also believe/embrace. I'm still in the basement... will you please pass me a chik'n nugget? All the misunderstandings of the metaphor me me hungry!
Tammy Kingston - August 1st, 2012 at 2:47 PM
I love this almost as much as I loved your original post. Thank you for taking the time to write something so thought provoking and for extending the love of Jesus to everyone!
michelle - August 1st, 2012 at 2:49 PM
Brilliant response. It just adds to the original post beautifully.
Steven - August 1st, 2012 at 2:53 PM
Thanks, Jen, for the follow-up. The one element that I keep looking for about being in the basement is this: "What's the goal?" Is it simply to have more mature dialogue and conversation? That's a great goal, and certainly needed these days. But is that enough? I believe where some people get concerned about the basement (including me) is that it would simply become an "I'm OK, you're OK" gathering. That in the interest of being more civil (which would be good), we would put aside our calling as Christians to speak the Truth (which would be bad). Yes, we need to speak Truth in a more Christ-like way. But we also must remember that -- sometimes -- Jesus was all up in people's faces about their sins and transgressions. He didn't mince words. He delivered them out of a desire for people to know the Truth, but He surely didn't back down from saying them. I think some of your readers (like me) are fearful that the basement would swing the pendulum way to far the other way. Hope that makes sense! Again, thanks for sharing.
Jen Hatmaker - August 1st, 2012 at 3:18 PM
Hey Steven...great question and thanks for it. For me, the goal is being transformed into the image of Jesus, all of us. I trust his saving and transforming power, which is why I think there is a place for us all down there. I think we'll discover all sorts of truth in the basement, and just when I think "someone else" will "get it," I might accidentally discover that I was the one Jesus was drawing deeper into salvation. I trust in the grace and truth of the gospel, and I've found it in the basement a zillion times more than in the storm. I want that for us all.
Aaron - August 1st, 2012 at 3:26 PM
Well stated, Steven. A couple of thoughts, for whatever they are worth. (1) It sounds like you are considering 2 separate activities here. One is dialogue. The other is change. You would be correct if dialogue occurred without any change. Change is necessary. But my experience is that real, genuine, authentic, basement dialogue almost always and inevitably leads to change. It is not one or the other. The way to change is through dialogue. (2) I have to remind myself periodically that Jesus usually reserved his in-your-face and non-minced words for religious leaders of the day who should have known better. He was direct with sinners acting like sinners do - but rarely harsh and confrontational. I think.
E. Tyler Rowan - August 1st, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Point #2 - Wow! Absolutely true, but something I'd not put into words before.
Marianne - August 1st, 2012 at 5:01 PM
Just to dovetail what Aaron said, let me direct you to the passage in Matthew 15 where Jesus deals harshly with the Pharisees for blaspheming the commandments of God through their traditions. Their (and maybe our?) neatly-tied-up-with-a-bow version of Christianity is too easy, too self-focused, and too unwilling to delve into the messy stuff of dealing with others in a fallen world. Thanks, Jen. Great post.
Nikki - August 1st, 2012 at 5:16 PM
Well said to all three of you. However, I am still grasping for straws (answers). So would it be accurate to say that the proper Christian response (how Jesus responded) when there was an issue to be dealt with; is how we should respond? And that Jesus would respond out of pure love and compassion while also standing His ground? Yes, respectful dialogue is good and yes standing your ground when it comes to God's truth is good but I don't see how either one can make a real change without a fight. Jesus responded in the most righteous way possible because He is without sin and pure of heart. So my question would be how could the CEO of Chic-fil-a have responded more like Jesus? I think one of the precursors to change is learning something new (in addition to pure motives, love, listening and respectful dialogue). So what can Christians learn from this so that they can respond to such difficulties in a more Christ-like way? Out of love and respect for all human beings, how can Christians make a difference? I think "the storm" is spiritual warfare and I picture "the basement" as the body of Christ and I think it will go on and on until Jesus returns because He is the one and only answer. So what can we do? I say persevere sisters and brothers, trust God and depend on Him each and every step of the way.
Cathy - August 1st, 2012 at 7:53 PM
oh yes, absolutely!!! I agree totally!! Thank God I am not alone. I was just about to say the basement is Christ and the refuge He offers.
Kimberly - August 1st, 2012 at 9:07 PM
Thank you Nikki,

I’m reading all of this and feeling that “Christ like” discourse is alive and well in the basement. I’m thinking of my own sinful life. There is no need for confessions or over sharing here but I want to be very mindful of the luminous nature of Christ and how he transforms us. I left my Christian community over 25 years ago and set out on a journey to find meaning. I was one of those individuals who lived right on the buckle in the Bible belt. I attended a very large Baptist church and watched with a stunned eye...blown away by how people treated one another. I watched as individuals attended revivals, and church camps only to come home and attacked and condemned everyone. They could do this because they were backsliders and found Christ in the creek through baptism for the fourth time. This kind of Christianity just confused me. The anger that raged both from the pulpit and from the believers crusted and coated my heart with a film of disbelief.

I was a seeker. As a Christian, one doesn’t need to go very far to find him. Right? He’s in your heart. I always hated the way that sounded, like he was sitting on a stool with a microphone. Yet, that is exactly how he was presented to me by an angry and vigilant mob of “sin identifying” Christians. The rock slinging ones. I have returned to Christ, or should I say, I’ve found him in my heart. I am madly and insanely in love with him. I have found a community of basement dwellers who say, All Are Welcome. The difference here is that we (my family) were embraced with warmth and love.

Can you imagine what it was like to stand in front of Jesus as a sinner? I’m going to insert my own life here. I’m standing before Christ with a heart that is hardened. Remember me, I’m covered with a bitter and disgusting film. And I’m the one that thinks he he’s an angry caricature on a stool. I’m thinking that he’s some kind of warped-finger-pointing-devil-threatening-kind-of-Jesus. Can you imagine my surprise when I’m standing before him and he offers me his kind and generous heart and softens me with the most brilliant light, love, and compassion I’ve ever experienced? I now know, that he is the real Jesus. I am transformed. For anyone who has encountered the compassionate Christ softens. The guck and hatred is replaced with such generosity of spirit that one has no choice but to:

“Go now and leave their life of sin.”

My Dear Jen Hatmaker, if these are the Christians in your basement, I want in. I want to worship. We want more Christians wanting in… not out.
Rebecca - August 1st, 2012 at 9:07 PM
I agree, so well said.

Nikki, correct me here--did the CEO do anything particularly un-Christ-like? As far as I've heard/read, all he did was answer a loaded question with honesty. He did not rant or rave against homosexuality, he simply stated his personal opinion about gay marriage. Chick-fil-A has since followed up with a statement reminding consumers that their CEO's personal opinions have no bearings on their (anti)discrimination policies. Unfortunately, the work of those in the basement is much slower and difficult than those above ground; the media moves so quickly, whereas relationships, dialogue, trust and transformation take serious time. Perseverance and patience for sure!
Leah - September 5th, 2012 at 11:12 PM
He has donated massive amounts of money to anti-gay causes, specifically Exodus International. It's not what he said that's being objected to; it's what he did.
Lori - August 1st, 2012 at 9:29 PM
Nikki, that's a good question: How could the CEO of Chic-fil-a have responded more like Jesus? Jesus often responded to people with a confusing answer -- a question in return, a parable or an answer that needed translating. It was not usually direct. People were often trying to stump him so they could accuse him, and in his wisdom his responses didn't fall into their traps. That happens to Christians a lot today. Personally, I would encourage Christians -- and especially ones with influence -- to let their lives speak more powerfully than their words. If asked to clarify about our position on marriage and family values, I believe it would be more powerful and effective for Christians to respond by giving an affirmation about marriage. Or our spouse. And if pushed further, plainly state that it really doesn't benefit anyone for us to explicitly say what we think is right and wrong because the risk is division and ultimately we have a love for all people, even those who live different than us, even those in sin - for we are all in sin. It is good for our responses to those kinds of questions to affirm love and God, not a lifestyle or law. In Mr. Cathy's situation, he is in a long time committed marriage to his first wife. What a powerful testimony to marriage! His example never caused a raucous, but his words did....something to learn from...
Hayley - August 2nd, 2012 at 10:53 AM
It's two-fold. Cathy's response sparked controversy, but most have moved on from his position on marriage and are all up in arms with how he spends his profit from the food chain. He gives millions and millions of dollars to support groups that defend the traditional views of marriage that those seeking equality in marriage find affronting and oppressive. I agree with the "basement" because I feel like it's not safe to voice your opinion in any context because if we don't support gay marriage, we hate gay people and are oppressing them. If we do support gay marriage, we're heretics. I agree with Jenn that this issue has become polarized and that is sad. Without healthy discussion, it's hard to reconcile our faith and beliefs and loving people.
Maggie - August 1st, 2012 at 2:56 PM
Thank you, Jen, for following up - and for expressing what many of us have been trying to figure out how to say ourselves. :)
Monica W - August 1st, 2012 at 3:01 PM
This is how I feel about all this useless quarreling going on in the storm:

2 Timothy 2 14-17a

Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene.

and then continuing in verses 22-25

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.23 Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.24 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
Michelle C - August 2nd, 2012 at 7:28 AM
In lieu of the topic I thought it is both cool and important to point out, just in case some are unaware, when Paul writes in vs 22 "Flee the evil desires of youth," or as another version says, "Flee youthful lusts...", he is speaking not of sexual desires/lusts, but is instructing young Timothy (whom he is passing the baton to before he (Paul) is "poured out as a drink offering") to run from the temptation to become arrogant and prideful and to seek fame for himself instead of for the Lord.

Great conversations here, leading us to the basement!
Karen - August 2nd, 2012 at 4:13 PM
Hear a huge sigh of relief here. This is truth. This is why I need a break from the storm.
Ian Schumann - August 1st, 2012 at 3:02 PM

I love all this. Just love it.

What I think is particularly neat about your basement imagery is this ... in a basement, there is no space to walk away from your adversary, so you'd better learn how to play nice. In the basement, if an argument concludes with anger, you can only retreat to the opposite corner of the room, and sulk, or act as though you've forgotten the other person exists. You certainly can't eat lunch with them, at least.

Up out of the basement, on the plains, in the "storm" if we wish ... there is unlimited space. You can yell and belittle your opponent until you couldn't stand to look her in the eyes ever again, and then simply walk away, retreat to another neighborhood, another city, another state or country, and never confront her face again. That makes an argument easy. It makes insults cheap and convenient. It drastically reduces the *cost* of condescension and condemnation, because the consequences for those kinds of interaction are much lower.

Anyway. This just struck me as an interesting parallel.

I think the web has made *all* places much more like the plains than the basement. You can now belittle someone without ever looking them in the eyes, and you can do it out in public. The wonder of the internet.

I think the "basement" is the kind of closeness that we find in the midst of this thing called *COMMUNITY*, which many of us reach for, and which is becoming increasingly rare in this world. The beauty of community is everything that you described above, and everything about Jesus. The cost of this close community is that you have to look your opponent in the face, and figure out how to handle your grievance without dehumanizing him (because you're cooking breakfast with him tomorrow, or what have you).

Hope that came through alright. I'm also myself running a little bit low on "nap time" resources myself :-)

And thanks again.
Jen Hatmaker - August 1st, 2012 at 3:12 PM
Ian, such a wonderful addition to the metaphor. Love it! So appropriate and spot on. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT??? ;0)
Kiki - August 1st, 2012 at 3:04 PM
Lovely! I think many people avoid the basement for the same reason that they were freaked out by Jesus back in the days he was walking around with sandals on--it's UNCOMFORTABLE. It is so much easier to hold a sign or re-post a Facebook status than it is to really think about people in and around the issues.

I have been and continue to really struggle in this (and many other) issues. I worry about how to love in truth, how to stand firm while being soft. I also wish I could stay in my room and shut the door (which is the REAL metaphor for the head in the sand...also a metaphor). I want to be safe and easy. Jesus was never safe or easy. The only safety is in knowing that he has a place for us, and no one can snatch us from this hand. The peace he promises is the reconciling peace with God and that heart-peace that passes understanding, not freedom from challenges or issues or hard times.

Love having two parts to this blog post. Glad you're being unsafe publicly so it can inspire the rest of us.
Jen Hatmaker - August 1st, 2012 at 3:14 PM
I love this comment. So many folks assumed the basement was the easy way out, when in fact, it's tough down there! Requires so much more from us, in our own transformation and in our relationships with each other. It's real work.
Amy - August 1st, 2012 at 3:49 PM
Yes.... never about hiding from others. It's about having a face to face conversation with them. Locking arms and running to the cross because it's where we all need to be.
Angie Doughty - August 1st, 2012 at 3:05 PM
Oh! Imagine the joy if we all lived in the basement! How beautiful this world would be if we could join all the basements from all corners of the world!! Thank you for writing a totally honest, disarming post! I get it. You get it, let's pray everyone "gets it"! The Lord is praised and you will be blessed by this post!
Camille - August 1st, 2012 at 3:06 PM
Yes! Yes! Yes! I so enjoyed soaking in this after getting on facebook today and seeing all sorts of support this--no support this posts. :-) I love the metaphor, I love the beauty of it. I love that it is hard, awkward and not always easy to be in the basement. I am thankful for God growing a community that is so ready to have these discussions and be able to process them out loud without condemnation. We are blessed to be alive today...there are great days ahead!!
Unlikely Christian - August 1st, 2012 at 3:08 PM
Dang girl! What a fantastic piece. I just started an "Amen Corner" at my kitchen table while reading this. When Open Arms starts making capes, you need to get you one because you are nearing superhero status!

Social media is beating me down with all the Chick-Fil-A talk. I don't feel good about it at all. I just kind of feel sad about the whole circus it's become, so make room, I'm coming down to try to wait out this stupid storm.
Not worthy - August 1st, 2012 at 3:13 PM
Love everything about the "basement" blog posts. I'm totally in the basement with you and saddened by the bickering all over my newsfeed about this issue. None of it done in love.
Andrew White - August 1st, 2012 at 3:16 PM
"The tactics render the conversation impotent"

mb - August 1st, 2012 at 3:21 PM
I've thought about your original basement post a lot and wish I lived next door so we could chat through the big and the little stuff. What I've decided is that, for me, if I will be more concerned with the (spiritual) fruit I am producing and less about the chicken I'm consuming (which happenens to be none since I'm a vegetarian--hope "our kind" is allowed downstairs ;)) then I will likely be much more productive and worthwhile to the cause and movement of Jesus. I hope reasonable minds can converge and real discussions can be had. Your posts further that and I am grateful. I am the chief of sinners and sincerely hope I can muster a mere fraction of the grace that I received in order to shut my mouth and listen to someone else who also needs a little grace.
boomama - August 1st, 2012 at 3:24 PM
"Oh, Jesus. It is impossible for me not to love you."

Amen, sweet friend.

This is a beautiful, much-needed post.
Linda - August 1st, 2012 at 9:50 PM
Amen......grace......the underserved love.....who doesn't understand this.........Thank you for being a voice for so many of us.........It is all about love!! When necessary use words ......right??

Thank you!

Kerry Kenney - August 1st, 2012 at 3:25 PM
I caught you the first time, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it the second time. Thanks for writing. Never stop. Love you!!
Stephanie Dingle - August 1st, 2012 at 3:37 PM
I love this. Just love it.

Thank you for being so readable and relatable. And also thank you for wrecking my world a bit and making me completely uncomfortable with my very comfortable life. My husband isn't entirely as appreciative as I, but he's supportive.

While it might get me in a teeny tiny bit of trouble, I'd like to use these two posts in my English class this semester. You've addressed a good many issues here, while effectively explaining metaphor, generalizations, and other devices that are often difficult to "teach" all while addressing a "current event" and bringing in some Jesus. Few of my kids have any Jesus at all. Would you mind if I shared your posts with about 150 kids? : )
tiffani - August 2nd, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Is this at a religious school? If not, then it isn't your place to bring in some Jesus. Not to start yet another war here, but it's incredibly condescending to feel that your students who don't have Jesus are somehow lacking BECAUSE of their lack of Jesus. If you present his words as a philosopher, alongside other philosophers, then great, but there is a reason you will get in a teeny tiny bit of trouble, and it's called separation of church and state, and it's there for a reason!! As an atheist, I happily discuss religion and the teachings of religious leaders with my kids, but if a teacher at a public school were to do it AS TRUTH (which you Christians simply can't seem to HELP, bless your hearts) then I would be more than a little bit cheesed.
Mary B. - August 1st, 2012 at 3:40 PM
I could have believed this if not for the addition of the Chik-fil-A "nugget platter" in the basement. That's pretty much taking a position, and not one of truly challenging spiritual work. And no matter how trivial you find it, every single act of injustice against LGBT folks is painful. I'd like to recommend this blog, although I doubt you'll find to read it, let alone this comment.,

I know you're just trying to be a good person, as am I.
Bri - August 1st, 2012 at 5:35 PM
Mary - I am one of those Christians who believes in gay rights. However, the indulging in just chicken. I think the point is that we don't have to boycott/utilize every company that stand "for"/"against" some issue. The point of the basement isn't to avoid controversy or not to have a stance on tough's to approach those issues with love, respect, and an openness (on both sides) to change of heart. Not too long ago I didn't support gay rights, but respectful conversation and reading changed that for me and I don't think eating a chicken sandwich changes certainly doesn't change my position.
Mary B. - August 1st, 2012 at 11:31 PM
I wasn't talking about chicken, Bri. Or the "boycott" of a business which supports with its profits groups that persecute my friends. I was talking about the hypocrisy of mocking a boycott while proclaiming objectivity and a call for fairness and open-mindedness. Even if you believe that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice" (which, for the millionth time, it is NOT) who are professed "Christians" to judge and condemn any lifestyle, even that of sinners, if that lifestyle is not doing unto others anything they don't want done? Do you feel me?
tiffani - August 2nd, 2012 at 11:20 AM
I super feel you Mary B!! I commented similarly on the first post... great stuff up until the chicken nugget order. thanks for the link, I shared it on my FB, best thing I've read on the subject yet!!!

mary b. - August 2nd, 2012 at 1:45 PM
I am so glad you read it, Tiffani!
Mama Mimi - August 1st, 2012 at 3:41 PM
This is beautiful and thank you for the clarification.
Julie R - August 1st, 2012 at 3:43 PM
I'm really glad that you posted this follow up. I loved what you said the first time, but my husband wasn't entirely on board. When I shared the link to your post on fb, he responded, "

I've got gay friends, atheist friends, reactionary friends, and self-righteous bigot friends. I can't witness to any of them from the basement."

Thanks for clarifying that the point of going to the basement is so that we can stop flinging poo and start focusing on witnessing to and loving all people.
OdysseyMamaC - August 1st, 2012 at 3:45 PM
Thanks for another beautiful post and a clarification of the basement metaphor. As you said, metaphors are often interpreted by individual experience, and I think the initial connotations behind a basement lend themselves to the idea of separation and retreat from the issues rather than just the negative and hate-filled methodology that has dominated this discussion. I appreciate the effective examples of storm and basement SO much...especially on a day when so many are drawing lines all over their FB pages. My heart hurts today as I read my feed and wonder how many are being hurt by the actions of Christians so determined to make a stand against the "liberal agenda." :-( Thanks for your thoughtful words.
Waylon - August 1st, 2012 at 3:55 PM
I often feel surrounded (trapped?) by friends on either side who want me to agree with one of their easy answers. The basement sounds like a pretty cool place. I might rather raise my (7 adopted) children down there than in this madness.
Milissa - August 1st, 2012 at 3:56 PM
I have been struggling with this very subject for days...weeks...years. Recently I liked a picture on facebook and i received a private message from a member of the church i grew up in reaming me for supporting gay marriage. it broke my heart. i was so sure of how i felt about where i stood and then i felt all this meaness and hate thrown at me for what i believed in. im not gay, but i have family and close friends that are and i just hate all the mud slinging going on. i prayed for God to give me the words to bring the two worlds together so everyone knew where i stood and so both could feel like they understood where i was coming from. i found this quote i really liked and without much thought posted it with some not so thought through words of my own and i regret it and i know i could go back and erase it, but i still stand behind the quote. anyways i say all this to say God led me to your words, because that is exactly what my heart wanted to convey. Jesus is LOVE...bottom conquers all...and if there is like to come down to the basement and wrestle threw these life things with ya! thanks for being a light!
Erin MacPherson - August 1st, 2012 at 3:57 PM
This is beautiful, Jen. Thank you for taking a stand in our city...and our country... to show God's love to each and every soul... and to stop judgement and hatred in it's tracks. I was really touched by this paragraph:

I thought I made this clear, but let me use plain words instead of allegory: The basement is a metaphor for our posture, not our position. The storm I am permanently retreating from involves name-calling, Facebook bombing, cliché parroting, and overgeneralizing. I’m leaving the paradigm that lets me cherry pick the sins that make me most uncomfortable for condemnation while conveniently leaving my personal struggles out of the public sphere. I suspect I’d find it unpleasant if folks picketed my house waving signs that screamed: “PRIDE IS OF THE DEVIL! GOSSIPS ARE GOING TO HELL! SELFISH WIVES WILL GET WHAT’S COMING TO THEM!”

Because the truth is that I am prideful (often) and gossip (at times) and selfish (more than I want to be) and I would not only be mortified if someone was calling me out on it publicly and harshly, but would also want to turn and run from them. I never want to be that kind of person... the one who calls out someone else's struggles when I have so, so many of my own. Thanks for this reminder.

And I pray that unity and hope and love can be found in the midst of all this drama. That our city (and country) would stand up and choose to follow Christ's example and show compassion and love and hope. To everyone.

RachTurner - August 1st, 2012 at 4:01 PM
I can't thank you enough for this and your previous post. For putting into words what's been stirring in my heart. For helping me understand that I am not a weak Christian for not jumping on the bandwagon with the masses. Thank you for articulating your heart and being brave enough to share it with people who may disagree with you. I just can't see Jesus rallying the disciples to Eat More Chikin in order to make a point. And do we really want to make a point or would it be better to have an positive impact on someone's life? I'm going for impact.
Lisa - August 1st, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Thank you for both posts! I got the metaphor the first time, but found the reaction a fascinating reflection of the different streams of thought in US Christian-ese. As a non-American, it seems to me that for many in the US Christian culture (especially those who feel it is their duty to engage in "culture wars"), there is one Belief System that is an amalgamation of the Gospel, the Constitution, the American Dream/Manifest Destiny, and a generally militaristic mindset. Arguments such as "we need to fight for our God-given Christian rights" or "God told us to defend X definition of marriage" have been repeated so often (often by leaders in these communities) that they are accepted as Gospel/Biblical truth, which just seems bizarre to many of us outside observers, that don't see any mention of rights (beyond the privilege of being called God's children) mentioned by Jesus, nor instructions to fight for/defend much of anything (again, except for orphans
jen - August 1st, 2012 at 6:26 PM
Lisa, I think I love you :)

Chris - August 1st, 2012 at 4:52 PM
I'm so thankful to know that the basement is a real place. For a while now, I've been disgusted with the battle lines that have been drawn. I've told others I'm just on the sidelines. I live in the Bible Belt so that is a hard pill for my friends/family to swallow. I love Jesus. I love my family. I want to make a difference, not a political statement. Now I know where I belong...

in the basement.
debbie - August 1st, 2012 at 4:56 PM
Thank you so much..these conversations that go no where are exhausting. I got the metaphor and I so appreciate your boldness, clarity and just plain good Godly sense.
Lindsay - August 1st, 2012 at 5:09 PM
So glad you posted this, I actually had a discussion about what you meant about "The Basement." I think having read your books and blogs before, I had a decent understanding of your basement, and it was pretty much how you explained it here. I'm so thankful for you and what's going on in your basement!
Rachel - August 1st, 2012 at 5:14 PM
Amen amen amen!
Lindsay - August 1st, 2012 at 5:17 PM
Wow. Love this! I have been planning to take a break from Facebook because of all of the hate from both sides coming out. I may step back just to post this. Thank you for this post, as it expresses exactly how I feel.
Jenn Campbell - August 1st, 2012 at 5:29 PM
I appreciate the safety of the basement and gladly join you here! After reading both parts to this, it's refreshing to have someone who can articulate what I already think and feel. Thank you!

It's really all comes down to grace and love. Giving it and receiving it...especially the giving, for those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ.

My eyes welled with tears while reading the passage about casting stones. Jesus' response to the woman was simple, full of grace and beautiful love, not judgement. He made her feel loved and safe. Stories like this make me fall in love with Jesus all over again. How much more effective would we be in representing Christ while extending this same kind of grace. All Jesus asks of us is simple: To love like he does.

For most of us, love is difficult to do. It takes prayer. For me, a lot of it. It's human nature to want to be "right" or argue our side no matter who we step on along the way. But it doesn't have to be that way. There is something better we can offer the world and it's what we are meant for. It's our purpose to love, forgive, show grace. That is the character of Jesus and we have a responsibility to reflect that same character.

Embittering people who don't share our faith or have beliefs other than our own accomplishes nothing. It only breeds more bitterness and pushes them away from God's love...the same love he intends for us to wear everyday so that he can be seen in us, in spite of us. For the purpose of furthering his hope, not our hatred.

God's love is for everyone. Love breeds love. I choose love.
emily - August 1st, 2012 at 5:47 PM
I say that just to tell you these blog posts aren't overlooking the hurt being thrown around, or the noise coming out in the name of god, that's spreading division faster than anything else.. they are actually calling it out, and showing the grief many of us feel towards watching our faith be portrayed in this way.. i am rambling, but all of this is to say, i will still eat at chick-fil-a, and i even agree that the mayor of chicago really shouldn't be taking a stand against the business, just like mike huckabee shouldn't be declaring a national appreciation day.. it's not about the chicken, or even the fact that the philanthropy affiliated with chick-fil-a has supported christian organizations who stand for the unity of marriage within the church, or even outside the church.. i don't want to have the way i live my life judged by my sweet tea, or have to hide from certain people when i do happen to go there. i want us all to engage in conversations enough to where we understand others, and whether or not we agree with them, respect them to where they aren't offended or wounded by things that are misunderstood or overgeneralized.
emily - August 1st, 2012 at 5:52 PM
ok, could someone please tell me why i always mess my comments up? like, the first 2/3 of the post i made was cut, and the last 1/2 which makes really no sense is left.. this happens to me every time i try to post something. :( i think this why i should stick to reading, and not commenting. :)
Leah - September 5th, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Unfortunately, a lot of the things we do on a day to day basis -- eat, shop, etc -- have political implications and political effects. Buy your clothes at Wal-Mart? You're supporting a corporation that exploits its works, employs undocumented immigrants, puts small businesses out of work, and relies heavily on sweatshop labor to create many of its products. Make shrimp jumbalaya for dinner? Chances are, that seafood was caught by enslaved children in Southeast Asia. Use an electronic product? The materials were mined by slaves, and that phone or computer was assembled in a third-world factory in atrocious conditions.

The fact is that there are few, if any, politically neutral acts. That doesn't mean we have to make a statement with everything we say, do, and consume, but we MUST acknowledge that, hey, we operate within a system of human interconnectedness. There's no way to move without creating ripples. And that means that while your life doesn't necessarily need to be judged by your sweet tea, buying your sweet tea is not without profound implications far beyond your enjoyment of its icy deliciousness.
Darryl - December 21st, 2013 at 3:37 PM
The problem with this Leah is that there is nothing you can do that someone will not see as somehow contributing to oppression. (Eating sugar and candy bars could be seen as oppressive acts).

Even if you buy Freetrade products, it has now been argued that Freetrade workers are making less, living lower standards, etc. than their neighbors! Our acts of compassion often have unseen consequences.

We can't live our lives always afraid that if we eat at this restaurant or buy this product we're going to offend someone or be perceived as contributing to some sort of injustice. We need to touch lives whenever we can, stand up for justice when we see injustice, and love others.

As Paul would say to those who might be offended by meat offered to idols: "If someone offers you some meat to eat: don't ask where it came from!" (rough paraphrase)
Alaska Mom - August 1st, 2012 at 5:56 PM
I'm glad you posted this. Because I read this and it kind of made me upset when this writer said : "And as much as we might like to, we can’t turn around and head back to the basement."
David Small - August 1st, 2012 at 6:07 PM
I so love your spirit AND your encouraging civility, courtesy, and SELF-examination. I appreciated your statement that, "I suspect I’d find it unpleasant if folks picketed my house waving signs that screamed: “PRIDE IS OF THE DEVIL! GOSSIPS ARE GOING TO HELL! SELFISH WIVES WILL GET WHAT’S COMING TO THEM!”"

The distinction between things such as pride, gossiping, and selfishness... and even the adultery that the woman was caught in in the Biblical story cited above, and other "sins" that form the basis of some of the storms, homosexuality I suppose being the central one, is that there are few people or movements that are attempting to justify or normalize the things found in the first category. Before any acts of repentance can be made, the wrongness of the act or attitude must be recognized.

If, say, all of us over-eating, self-centered, undisciplined middle aged attorneys (my own self description) banned together to argue that our state was a natural, normal one that a certain percentage of us were created to be, rather than states of personal sinfulness that should be dealt with and repented of, that could create a social climate in which we are being gradually inoculated from the reach of the Holy Spirit's touch, hardening our hearts against at least a certain amount of healthy conviction we SHOULD be feeling when acting overly proud, selfish, or gluttonous.

So, anyway...

I think that that's the fear many have when ANY activity that can represent a barrier between God and man becomes to be an accepted, normalized one. Does that make sense?
Leah - September 5th, 2012 at 11:34 PM
To clarify your distinction re: the prideful, gossipers, and selfish people -- While you may find homosexuality as unnatural and indefensible as these sins (a position with which I don't agree, though that's a moot point), the real difference is that no-one is arguing that we should withhold the civil rights of proud gossiping egoists until they've adopted behavior we find more acceptable. The right of the proud man to marry his gossiping wife is not being challenged or voted upon. We're not even legislating these sins themselves: in no state is it illegal to be a big-headed jerk who talks about your friends behind their backs. In America, we don't deny full participation in society based on character flaws the Bible considers sinful (and thank goodness, says this particular busybody).
BC - March 27th, 2013 at 12:25 PM
David, I think you and I are of similar mind. I believe love is central but I don't want to become numb to conviction either. I believe each of us are born with propensities toward certain behaviors and thinking. For me, I have propensity towards a fiery temper. I believe that intensity and fierce temper is part of how I am made. However, that doesn't mean that temper is innately good. God does not permit me to lash out verbally or have fits of rage or hit other people simply because that is how I am inclined. Being wired a certain way does not equate to goodness nor is it an endorsement to act on that wiring. I realize there are those who might take offense at my example but I would propose that this is because my example behaviors are considered socially unacceptable while homosexuality is culturally promoted by the media and becoming increasingly socially acceptable. The Bible calls Christ followers to be countercultural. The social acceptability of a behavior or someone's innate wiring is not supposed to dictate how I think about an issue. I have gay and lesbian friends and I love them, just as I love my friends who are liars, adulterers, gossipers, cheats, sloths and gluttons. I gently speak up against those behaviors while still loving my friends and I expect them to call me out when I am behaving in a way that is contrary to what Christ asks me to do. That accountability, done in love, can and should happen in the basement.
Heather - August 1st, 2012 at 6:48 PM
Like so many here - I have been discouraged and disheartened by all of this, and I am SO thankful that you put into words what my heart has been a much more articulate way I would have. Thank You!
Bobby - August 1st, 2012 at 7:01 PM
Let me preface my remarks with this: I'm not a Christian though I grew up "in the church", as you folks would say, and I've got no plans to rejoin the team.

However, I admire the sense of reason and sanity that you seem to be espousing here. Had there been more Christians like the one you seem to be, around when I was in church, perhaps I wouldn't have run away from it so fast and I wouldn't currently view Christianity, as its practiced, with such disdain. I likely still wouldn't be a Christian, though.

Good luck in your endeavors. I think you're on the right track.
Conni - August 1st, 2012 at 7:07 PM
Just walking down to the basement now. I usually can't be in enclosed space for long because I tend to have some issues with claustrophobia and have a hard time breathing! However as I have come into THIS basement, I find it surprisingly refreshing and much easier to breathe than when I am UP THERE! Does that make sense? My head is more clear and I am able to actually find I can be here and I feel safe! I like this! I really do!
Brandi - August 1st, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Love every last bit of this. Thank you.
Anna - August 1st, 2012 at 7:33 PM
May I ask (some words soak into people and some words soak into other people; I'm just curious) what you don't get about The Prodigal Son?


My critique yesterday was just the opposite of what you're describing of the others' criticisms: that is, "x y z does *not* equal z y x", and, logically, it should.

So, in terms of writing, you spoke of an unresolved trauma from childhood (and maybe I'm 'stuck' because I like people to get their pain 'unstuck') of a terror experienced--an...act of God....---while safely hidden in the basement, to survive this....act of *God*.

My thought was that I *hope* that the current arguments going around on gay / lesbian issues are not:

1. on the level of terror that you experienced as a child,


2. act of God, but the troubles of humans.

And....metaphors should never be mixed. Really. It's bad writing to do that. That doesn't mean that people 'just don't get it', like they 'just didn't get it with Jesus'. That ends up prideful and you'll want to avoid that.

You'll want more people in your circle who can not just cheer you on but be a few dozen more people in the way you have described your husband ("once you put that picture out there, it's out there forever....").

From what I understand of your story, you did not experience any *long-term* terror or horror. And some of the people who you're "ministering" to have experienced the _long term_ terror and horror ....because of their sexual orientation. But you have not. And so you should not have that fear that someone who's been beaten has felt. It's not your story. The tornado IS your story, but again, to mix the metaphors is not only bad writing, but it can accidentally hurt people (emotionally) for what they have legitimately experienced.
Anna - August 6th, 2012 at 1:14 AM
i feel sad for the lack of reply. ...busy life, i know....
Margo - August 1st, 2012 at 7:38 PM
I love you Jen Hatmaker and your ability to put my thoughts into words. You are da bomb.
Kathryn Wiltse - August 1st, 2012 at 7:48 PM
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

― Mother Teresa

Lani - August 1st, 2012 at 8:00 PM
Thank you so much for these thoughts.
CJC - August 1st, 2012 at 8:04 PM
Here's the catch for me... His last statement:

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Not: "Oh, well, good then! Glad they got my point. Now, just keep on doing what you're doing... it's okay that you're totally sinning against my will."

Yes, we need to love first, and speak only out of love next, but we also need to trust God can bring about change through our love and actions. Sitting all huddled in the "basement" loving each other and not disagreeing about anything doesn't necessarily challenge those to repent and turn from their sin. Jesus was loving, but he didn't shy from saying what was right and what was wrong. Period.

My impression of your basement analogy is that it's a place to hide. And if we never stand for something - lovingly, hopefully - we never stand for anything specific.

Thanks for these posts to make me think. I have come to conclusion I disagree with you, but nevertheless, found a calm, respectful opinion that invited conversation.
amy - August 3rd, 2012 at 11:36 AM
I agree with you CJC.

Trace - March 27th, 2013 at 10:46 AM
I thought Jen made it really clear that "the basement" is not a place to hide, but rather a place to have respectful discussions without resorting to blanket generalizations and name-calling? And she made it clear in not one blog post, but now two!
Leah - September 5th, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Are you actively working to strip adulterers of the right to marry and adopt children? No? I didn't think so. The fact is that there's a huge leap of logic from objecting to same-sex relationships on a religious level to advocating for the legal persecution of same-same people (on the basis of your specific, personal religious code) in a country that has an explicitly defined separation of church and state. Obviously I object to religious harassment of the same-sex attracted on an individual level, but preaching the joys of straightness to your gay neighbors is a far cry from seeking to legislate against their relationships, families, employment, and, well, their lives. You are welcome to live your life according to your beliefs. You are even welcome to encourage others to do the same. However, it is unConstitutional, not to mention immoral and generally kind of awful, to FORCE other people into line with those beliefs. And that is exactly what you're doing when you vote against civil rights.

Full participation in a secular society cannot be denied (ethically, anyway) on the basis of a cherry-picked sin. Call me when you're using your vote to legally persecute adulterers, fornicators, and shellfish-eaters.
Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D - August 1st, 2012 at 8:06 PM
Jen -

There should be a "You can find me in The Basement" button :)

Perhaps this might end up a chapter in a book, eh?

Here are my feelings on stances which involve businesses.

When people wanted to boycott Disney because "they were pro-gay" I thought it was silly. Same with "don't watch ABC because it's Disney-owned." But, I do love CFA chicken. Full stop. I went, I bought chicken. I ate way too many waffle fries.

Honestly, I don't care if my 7-11 is owned by a white guy, a muslim guy, or a purple woman. If they have yummy coffee, I'm buying!

~ Dana -

On the couch, feet up. In the basement.

Crump - August 1st, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Oh, Jen...

Kristen - August 1st, 2012 at 8:32 PM
You, clearly, are my spirit animal. Oh, I tease. But seriously. You get it and you get me and maybe, just maybe, the Church's best days are ahead of us... if this is how we begin to live.
Kate - August 1st, 2012 at 8:39 PM
A question about the story of Jesus and the adulteress... Jesus leaves her with, "go and leave your life of sin." What if she didn't believe she was living a life of sin? Clearly the point of this story is that Jesus is the only one who can call a person out on sin, but then is the conclusion that we as Christians aren't supposed to try and lead people out of a life of sin? In my own personal experience, I spent more than 3 years trying to "save" my husband from a porn addiction by praying for him, throwing Scripture at him, arguing with him, trying to make him feel guilty, etc. Needless to say, this approach didn't work. Over the past year, it's started to sink in that these are human approaches, that they make sense because my own nature is sinful. It's started to sink in that Christ might literally mean "but the greatest of these is love," and that it is "out of His KINDNESS that we are compelled to repent." I wish I could say it was because of these Scriptures that I decided to give love a try, but really I think it was because the crushing depression and anxiety that came with the defeat of my approach was too overbearing.

So back to the point, I think the Bible is pretty clear that pornography is a sexual sin, but for years my husband has claimed he didn't think so because he wasn't actually engaging in a physical relationship with another person (I've called this an excuse against conviction, but I'm beginning to think that may be besides the point). I'm using this as an example, but I think it fits in here - there are many Christians on both sides of the homosexuality argument. I come from the camp that thinks the Bible IS pretty clear that this is not how marriage was designed by God, but I'll also agree that the Bible is clear on tattoos even as I contemplate what and where I want to get one without feeling any conviction of sin. So if the point of the story is that we are all sinners and only Jesus has the right to point out sin, then what is our role as Christians? Just to love love love and pray that God convicts people of sin?

I'm so glad the basement is a place for struggling and searching, because as this overly long comment shows - there's a LOT of that going on over here.
Tim - August 2nd, 2012 at 7:04 PM
I love the story you reference, because it gives such an amazing illustration, through the actions of Jesus, of how we are supposed to be. Jesus stands between her and her accusers, he stoops down--you can just imagine him being so close to her she hear him breathe, feel the warmth coming from his body. He dispatches the self-righteous accusers by making them confront their own sin. He earns the right, by putting himself in harm's way, by very visibly making her issues his issues, to make his final statement. I've often wondered, what if Jesus would have found her in the same position the next day. I think he would have gone right back to writing in the dirt, and giving her another chance, and other...Seventy times seven. If you get a chance, find Hugh Halter's talk about this story. It killed forever my tendency to be legalistic. And I pray that your husband will finally be freed from his addiction.
Leah - September 6th, 2012 at 12:05 AM
"I come from the camp that thinks the Bible IS pretty clear that this is not how marriage was designed by God, but I'll also agree that the Bible is clear on tattoos even as I contemplate what and where I want to get one without feeling any conviction of sin."

This is a pretty telling distinction you're drawing. You don't feel sinful for contemplating what the Bible clearly defines as a sin...while at the same time you feel A-okay pointing out the sins of others? Even though you note your hypocrisy, you still seem pretty sanguine about those stones you are casting.

Personally, I think it's 'pretty clear' that regardless of what the Bible might say, science and psychology are pretty clear that homosexuality is as normal and inborn as heterosexuality, and the Constitution and the various writings of the Founding Fathers are pretty clear that there is a separation of church and state in this country. We can agree to disagree on both of these points!

However, I'm curious. When you found out about your husband's porn addiction, did you call your senator? Did you petition the court to declare your marriage null and void? Did you encourage local businesses to deny your porn-watching husband service and employment, and enshrine protection of this discrimination in law? Did you begin a nationwide movement to create legislation that would prevent porn-watchers from being able to marry and adopt children?

Did you even launch a concerted effort to make watching porn illegal?

If your answer to any of these questions is 'no' (and I'm guessing your answer to ALL of them will be no, because you are not a crazy person), then you can't really compare your treatment of your husband's porn addiction to your treatment of same-sex marriage. As you can probably see from this example, there's a HUGE difference between encouraging individuals to turn from sin on an individual level and legally persecuting sinners (or people who you perceive to be sinners) on a federal level. If you think that any of the measures against porn-watchers that I listed above are inappropriate, then there's a fundamental flaw in your logic when it comes to your support for the denial of civil rights to gay people. If you believe that watching porn is the equivalent of being gay, then treat gay people exactly as you did your husband: with compassion, encouragement, and a notable lack of national legal persecution.
Valerie - August 1st, 2012 at 8:42 PM
Love this, thank you for representing people like me. It is like you take the stuff that is in my heart and then state it so brilliantly. You are a gift to this time.
Anna - August 1st, 2012 at 8:49 PM
I once wrote about some personal and intense troubles using this as an analogy first:

When my son Caleb was 11 months old, he used his high-chair as a walking ladder. One of the many times that I had to use the bathroom and my (then)-husband "watched" Caleb, my little guy climbed up on top of the washing machine with his socks on. The socks met the slippery washer-top and he flipped in-air, landing smack on the back of his head.

When Caleb---a very energetic toddler---had to then get an x-ray, he was supposed to *be still*

on a



metal table.

[I described this in detail and how difficult this would be for a toddler and how no adult could explain it in a translatable way to his young understandings]

I then used this [above] analogy for being in emotional, spiritual and mental anguish. God wasn't telling me, "oh this is something that needs to be done for your own good and if you just stay still....". But that's how I felt: on the



metal table

having to stay still. And just let God work.

That's an example of two emotionally congruent stories.

I'm not a better writer than you. What I'm pointing out is that some of the reason that people are upset is that the "parable" you're using is upsetting to people in terms of it not being emotionally congruent. That's all. There are people who are just 'in your camp'. There are people who have been hurt. I think to recognize how / if you're feeding the hurt accidentally just with words,
Penny - August 1st, 2012 at 9:06 PM
Wow! Such great readers and soulful brothers and sisters. Jen, I am just so overjoyed when I read your thoughts. Not to "dis" some of our traditional teachings, but I see extreme polarization looming on the horizon. How on earth can we witness when Christians and "the others" of the world end up in a boxing ring in opposite corners. Christ LOVED the lost into his fold. I am so done with the polarization thing!

Thank you for your boldness, and also for providing such a thought provoking venue for us to examine where we truly need to be headed to further God's purpose. You are a blessing!!!
Sandi Gordon - August 1st, 2012 at 9:11 PM
I love you Jen Hatmaker. I think the love of Jesus shines through you, and there is no higher praise from me. Thank you for thinking intelligently, speaking bravely, and most of all, loving. Bless you and your family.
Kim - August 1st, 2012 at 9:20 PM
I'm not sure whether you did this purposefully or not but as part of the manifesto you left off a few more of Jesus' beatitudes...

"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:10-12

Christians will be persecuted for standing up for righteousness, including standing firm in the Biblical belief that marriage is between a man and woman only, therefore excluding anyone who practices homosexuality from being married because in the eyes of God that could never be a true marriage. Yet, the sin of homosexuality is as forgiveable as lust, pride, greed, gluttony, etc. through the blood of Christ for those who repent. Christ came to preach repentance from sin and He did that through compassionate conversation with the lost but He still preached repentance. It was always His message. And for those who do not repent from sin, they will meet the Jesus that people hardly ever refer to - the Jesus of Revelation 19 who will judge in righteousness in the last days. If we're gonna know Jesus better, we gotta know what all of the Bible says about Him, not just the parts we like.

So while we're engaging unbelievers in conversations about Christ, the Bible or polarizing moral issues, we must stand firm in what the Bible says is true and know that as we do, we will be persecuted from all sides but we are blessed when we are falsely accused of "bigotry" or "narrow-mindedness" for His name's sake.
Leslie - August 2nd, 2012 at 2:38 AM
Wonderful. Thank you! These are the tough things that need to be said that will encourage believers.

Leah - September 6th, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Oh man, I would be so happy if Christians actually treated homosexuality the same way they do lust, pride, greed, and gluttony -- and I'm saying that as a homosexual. Why? Well, I have personally never seen a Christian individual or organization pushing for lust, pride, greed, or gluttony to be made illegal. In fact, I've seen Christians gleefully engaged in all four of these sins.

I know, I know: everyone's a sinner, but we have to turn from sin. Sure, I can dig it. But Christians aren't looking to turn the lustful, prideful, greedy, and gluttonous from sin by sanctioning federal persecution of those sins. Instead, lusting, proud, greedy, chicken-sandwich-guzzling individuals are encouraged to seek Jesus, read the Word, and let God guide them in defeating their demons. That I can get behind!

Look, I don't agree that homosexuality is a sin. I know that you do. That's fine! I find this belief repugnant in every way, but I will fight to the death for your right to have it. That's the great thing about living in a country founded on the principle of religion nondiscrimination -- even an atheist lesbian like me is invested in defending your right to think that I'm going to Hell. But in exchange, can you do me a favor? If you really think I'm just as sinful as the lustful, prideful, greedy, and gluttonous...can you treat me the same way you treat them? Approach me on a personal level, introduce me to your Christ, and encourage me to change my ways. Thanks to our Founding Fathers, I have the right to roll my eyes and walk away. I have the right to refuse your Christ and refuse your change. I have the right to my sin -- perhaps not morally, in your eyes, but legally.

But when you pursue legislation that makes my family and my relationships illegal, you're not treating my sin as equivalent to the others you cite. Christians are not trying to prevent gluttons from staying on their spouse's healthcare (despite the cost of those clogged arteries!) nor are you attempting to dissolve the marriages of the lustful (though doing so would logically follow from your objections to gay marriage). You've singled me and sinners like me out for special persecution. Sorry, but you can't tell me I'm equal to a glutton and then treat us unequally. If we're the same in your religion, and your religion is the way you justify my legal persecution, then by that logic you ought to be agitating for the equal treatment, under law, of the lustful, prideful, greedy, and gluttonous. That means no marriage, no children, no sex, no medical benefits, no anti-discrimination measures for anyone in any of these categories of sin.

I'm guessing that you're not arguing for that, though. And I'm guessing that this is because you fit one or more of these categories of sin yourself.

Food for thought.
Kelly - August 1st, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I have loved both your posts! I have read them all more than once, and then read all of the comments. Nothing wrong with that, right? I might also mention that I have spent time this week reading a number of other blog posts, from all sides, about the Chick fil a controversy. Nothing wrong with listening to what everyone else has to say, right?

At one point, I really felt convicted that I had "overdone" the reading, pondering, mulling, etc. about these issues, important though they are. I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that if I am concerned about all these complex issues I need to PRAY--pray for peace among warring factions in the culture wars, pray for guidance and wisdom about how to show respect and yet hold firm to the truth, pray for thoughtful and understanding discourse among activists on all sides, pray for marriages to be strengthened, pray for the ability and willingness to "love my neighbor as myself," and most of all, pray for ALL people to be drawn to Christ and ultimately transformed.

So, I am going to try to read less on the Internet and spend more time on my knees. Will you please help a sister out by ceasing to write such excellent blog posts? (JK--do not stop writing, ever, pretty please!)
Beth - August 1st, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Ah - relief. Now I can sleep. I have been so torn up over how this whole thing has gone down and you articulated my pain (for both sides). Yes, I want to stand strong in my position and support the biblical view of marriage... but what about "blessed are the meek". I'm seeing very little "meekness" (or love, for that matter) in this cultural war. Can I come live in your basement and seek Jesus with you on this one until the storm is over?? Pretty please?! "Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Lord"... and I'm pretty sure it's not the chicken sandwich...
Brian Erickson - August 1st, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Bloody brilliant. I'm so incredibly blessed to even be a part of anything you have anything to do with. Forgive my preposition-ending sentence, your words have moved my heart to compassion and my eyes to tears. God bless you.
Cindy - August 1st, 2012 at 10:54 PM
When I read what you have so generously and bravely shared I am reminded that our ego needs to see life from 2 sides someone to blame and someone to have the answers. or maybe Or on a grander scale every nation (empire) needs an enemy ( a terrorist) so the leaders can keep the people in line.

Jesus probably would have been dining with ( though not approving of the sin) the very people that are being demonized before our ears and eyes. The sound bites are so easy and deceiving and will never tell the story as it needs telling.

Until both sides come to sit down and wash each others feet. The peace of Christ will elude us; that will mean defeating ego by taking off the robes of our places in society and just wearing a towel.....
Name - August 1st, 2012 at 11:22 PM
This brought tears to my eyes. Love is the key, both sides always seem so angry I don't even want to engage in a conversation with anyone on so many topics. Thank you for starting real conversations filled with love.
Brian S - August 1st, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Perfect, welcome follow-up. I've said recently I wish Rich Mullins were still around to weigh in on this controversy, precisely because he'd have figured a way to say something that causes all of us to examine ourselves a little more deeply without ever compromising on Truth. He'd speak the language of the basement. Similar to your example of the woman caught in adultery. The answer is not to condone adultery, that's not what Jesus did. But what He accomplished was so much more impactful to our entire world through the centuries than simply restating the fact that adultery is wrong.
caroline - August 2nd, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Crappity, crap, crap. Me, not you. Hey you think if I genuinely apologized, we could still be friends? I commented on your 'basement' post. I actually suggested in your post and in my blog that Jesus would be serving, not hiding in the basement. And while I may not have used those exact words, I may as well have. God did give me a great idea, and i do feel like my own blog post was the heart He gave me to say...but I should not have suggested it to you as if you know nothing of serving. I am now through Winter 2007 and Early Spring 2007 of Interrupted. (Please take a moment and repeat the first three words of this comment out loud again for me.Sigh. That Holy Spirit and his good buddy Jen are all up in my grill. Truly - thank you.) Anyway...your heart rings so true. Wait, correction...Jesus' heart rings so true through you. Yes, that's better! I commend you for doing this bottom-dweller thing so faithfully. Oh how I would love to hang out if you are EVER in the Fort Worth area. Trust me, our humor and brash sense of 'shoot, fire, aim!' personality (In Jesus' Name, of course) would make for a fun lunch. Until then, I would just like to genuinely apologize for assuming my agenda, my convictions, my heart to serve, my fill-in-the-flippin-blank was anything but a drop in the bucket you've filled by serving your life like Jesus. So...let's still be friends, I hope. Please accept my apology, sincerely. I feel 110 thousand percent certain God has a lot to teach me through you!!! I really should be taking notes...Sola Deo Gloria, friend.
Jen Hatmaker - August 2nd, 2012 at 8:22 AM
Absolutely! 1000%! The metaphor lent itself to misunderstanding. That's on me. Glad you came back, and may I commend you for your awesome use of the phrase "crappity, crap, crap"! You're super welcome here. ;0)
Caroline - August 3rd, 2012 at 1:29 AM
Well, my new friend...add a few more crappity's to it now...ugh. ( in Jesus' Name) I've gotten up to summer 2007. This is messing me up fierce. I love u slash hate u but more like somewhere in between (maybe ill TP your house?) for writing this book. Would love prayers for my man. He is reading it next. While he is doing that, I'll be reading 7. If we survive without being committed...I'll write you again. :) and thank you for forgiving me 1000%... If you'd just said 100% I'd still felt awful. Unless that was a typo. If so, don't tell me. :) love love
caroline - August 3rd, 2012 at 3:34 PM
Sweet Jen - (and Elle if you are out there somewhere!)
If you have time...
"Pancakes, Eggs, and Crow"
love love
Caroline :)
jenna - August 2nd, 2012 at 12:07 AM
I find your writing and thought process incredible refreshing and honest. and always so eloquent.

Sometimes my concern for people, especially Christians (which I am) is that WE KNOW ALL OF THE ANSWERS. i.e. "the bible says______________ - and the way I read/interpret it is clearly correct". Black and white.

The audacity we have (myself included) to believe that I have it all figured out is quite dangerous. As a therapist, I have found that the people who have the most work to do are those that have all of the answers. Who are always right. Who have nothing left to learn.

What are we so threatened by? that our opinion or understanding may not be complete? That Jesus always has something to teach us. Were we not all created to be different and individuals for a reason.

Change does happen when we humble ourselves and listen and open ourselves up. And God knows we need the world to change and be a little bit more peaceful.

And change happens from within first. How can we expect others to change and be open when we are so unwilling to open ourselves up to listen, to possibly not being right?

I see the basement as a quiet and safe place to dialogue when the "storm" where we can be honest, open, humble and insecure and sometimes wrong and stretch and grow our minds and hearts. its hard to do that when winds of harsh words and judgement are blowing. We put on heavy armor to defend ourselves. I want to take that off. Be real. be insecure. be vulnerable. be known. listen and be heard. if only there could be more such safe havens.

Thanks for implicating that we do need this. We do. I do. And for being brave enough to say so and to admitting that you don't have it all down. No one does.
Traci - August 2nd, 2012 at 12:16 AM
On a separate note, my husband and I have been reading "The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henry Nouwen. Not sure if you've read it but so far it's been extremely impactful.
Mike - August 2nd, 2012 at 1:40 AM
Jen, I adore your writing and think you're hilarious and compassionate and warm and loving and so terribly intelligent and HUMBLE! But ... (now don't get defensive on me) ... you are HIGHLY unlikely to find any commenter or reader here, among your fans, who will "disagree" with your approach or strategy to the nasty discourse that is going on above you. I may be unusual in that I too am a fan, but I am an atheist and I am the brother of a wonderful gay man who is a true Christian. (He does not, however, attend any "church." He merely tries his best to emulate Christ in his life.) As an advocate for my brother, I often find myself wondering how so many good and kind people do NOT know that Jesus Christ Himself was a gay man. Yup. A bit effeminate, too.

Just something for you to think about while you're down there.

Seriously, I am struggling to find a way to tell you that I believe you are blaming the hostile diatribe and rhetoric of others for your own inability to simply state that it is NOT sinful to be homosexual, and therefore there is no argument or disagreement to be had. When you know, in your heart, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay, you have no problem calling out the fearful who still cannot accept the equality of all people. Not that we all agree on how to handle fear and prejudice, but that you do not seem to view discrimination against LGBT people AS fear or prejudice. How can I put it so that you will see that it is, indeed, fear and prejudice? Not necessarily evil, sometimes just nice people thinking it's "icky" to be homosexual. It's not. It's really, really not. I do think Jesus was gay.
tiffani - August 4th, 2012 at 2:21 AM
As a fellow atheist who had never heard that Jesus was gay (makes total sense) I just didn't want to let your brilliant comment go unnoticed and un-replied to... I am one of those "fans" of Miz Hatmaker's adoption-related posts, but I do love for those almighty Christian TRUTHS (that Christians can't even seem to agree on) to be challenged, and you have done so here beautifully, Mike... not the part about Jesus being gay, I think you're speculating on that one, but the rest of it. great stuff.

and if you haven't read this, Mary B posted it upstream and I really want EVERYONE to read it, so I'm posting it again....

seriously, best post on the subject yet, screams to my own personal TRUTH on this subject... and it also helped me feel better about getting so worked up over a "restaurant" I have never set foot in... because it IS a big deal, and it's NOT about first amendment rights, it's about bigotry, plain and simple. Even if people don't want to admit it.

Jen Hatmaker, did you read the link??? I'd love to hear how you feel about it's content... here it is again, because it's just that important...

and again.
Susanne M. - August 2nd, 2012 at 8:47 AM
Thank you for humbly offering a forum for those of us who realize that we are all see through a glass darkly and want to be in the light. I yearn and cry for the day that people will know we are His followers by our LOVE.
Chet DeRouen - August 2nd, 2012 at 10:04 AM
Jen. Beautiful, thought provoking and amazing. Would you allow me to share your log on my blog? ?
Leah - September 6th, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Off topic, but in response to the topic of your blog, Chet: You're gay're gay. You might as well ask why you have x color hair, or prefer x flavor of potato chips.
M.J. - August 2nd, 2012 at 10:33 AM
I'm glad you followed this up. I found the last post disappointing, so am really glad you clarified. I'm a non-church-attender at this point in time, and am pretty tired of being blasted on Facebook (repost if you love Jesus! If not, you don't love Jesus! Ummm, really?), so, while I don't always agree, I appreciate the direction you are heading.
AW - August 2nd, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I think one of the things I struggle with "in the basement" is that I truly DO believe that my sin of gossip, selfishness, gluttony, etc, WILL be judged just as harshly as homosexuality. BUT...many of my gay friends are NOT Christians and do not believe in scripture, so for me to hold them to my belief/moral system and point out their "sin" (which they don't believe is sin to begin with), makes me feel very Pharisaical. I don't know how to deal with this tension. I am not convinced that my job is to pull them out of a life is sin either. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my job to LOVE. If I do that, then perhaps the Holy Spirit has room to do His thing, which is to convict.

Is that a cop out to say that? Because I don't want to feel absolved from something if I'm not. I'm just not convinced it's my job to pull someone away from their sin UNLESS they ARE a believer and are straying into dangerous territory. Even typing that, I'm not sure...
Leah - September 6th, 2012 at 1:02 AM
I really appreciate your love for your friends, AW, and I feel your dilemma.

Let me turn this question around. Let's say you, a Christian, are living in a country where the population follows a religion called...Blahism (I know, I am very creative). The Blahs believe that being left-handed is a grave sin -- on the level of gossip, selfishness, and gluttony, for instance. Let's say you are yourself left-handed. And let's say your best friend (we'll call her Amy) is a devout Blah.

How would you feel if, after many years of harmonious friendship, Amy sits you down and tells you in no uncertain terms that you have to start using your right hand. It's the law of God, she says. If you don't stop being left-handed, you are a heretic, a sinner, an apostate. You will be judged by God, and you will go to Hell.

How would you react? Well, probably by insisting that, as a Christian, the religious law of Blahism does not apply to you. Amy will no doubt counter that since Blahism is the only true belief system, Blahist religious law applies to EVERYONE, regardless of whether they choose to accept it or not. You might not think left-handedness is a sin, but that doesn't matter. Amy believes Blahism is objective truth, regardless of whether or not you agree. Left-handedness is super definitely a sin, and you need to stop being left-handed. Immediately.

In fact, Amy tells you, she feels so strongly about this issue that she supports legislation that would make it ILLEGAL to write with your left hand. Left-handers will have to either become right-handed, or accept the consequences: they will not be allowed to marry or adopt children, and discrimination against them will be protected by law.

And then Amy tells you that she is only doing this because she loves you.

Now, this isn't a great analogy, because while you can, with a lot of work, change your dominant hand, the same is not true of sexual orientation. But I understand that a lot of Christians think homosexuality is EXACTLY like left-handedness: it affects a statistical minority of people, and it can, with a lot of work, change.

I'm not going to argue that point.

I'm going to ask you what you would say to your dear friend Amy in this hypothetical situation.

Would you immediately admit the truth of Blahism, eschew Christianity, and give up not only Jesus but writing with your left hand forever?

Somehow, I think your reaction would probably be to kick that nutcase out of your house.

The fact is that even if Amy is right and Blahism is true and you're going to the special hell reserved for lefties, Amy's demand that you abide by her religious code is still massively inappropriate. The fact is that nobody has the right to expect non-believers to adhere to the rules of their faith.

Not even Christians.

Not even if they're right.
Andrea - August 2nd, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Oh Jen Hatmaker. I love you! Thank you for using your gift of writing to share what is on the heart of so many Christians right now.
DRL - August 2nd, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I am overwhelmed at how many of my "convictions" are based on teachings of church members...growing up in church structured what I thought I believed about social alcohol and homosexuality. It wasn't the Bible or examining the character of Christ, it was what others told me Jesus thinks about issues. I am grateful I am not a confrontational person and never pushed my agenda on folks. I just quietly condemned and whispered a prayer for them to "get right" with the Lord. Jen's words have verbalized some of the "doubts" I've been having about what I believe....not salvation, but maybe some of the issues that society tries to paint as black
Jennifer - August 2nd, 2012 at 1:18 PM
I am new to this blog and to you, Jen Hatmaker. I just bought the book 7 and am very excited to begin reading it!

About the Basement, I love all that it represents. I have walked away from many conversations over this Chickfila incidence that got out of hand and were completely unproductive. I am a christian and I support gay people. I support all people. Will I stop eating Chickfila, no. Did I go to the support Chickfila day, no. I felt that all that did was open a door for more hatred in the world. I think that Mr. Cathy could have easily stated" As a Christian company we respect and welcome all people in our stores. When it comes to opinions of marriage we can all have our own opinions and still eat chicken in harmony". He had the opportunity to present Christians as accepting and loving. He had the opportunity to be Jesus to the world.

Now yes, it was his choice to say as he wants and use his freedom of speech. I only feel that in his position he could have chosen how he would represent Christianity a little more carefully.

I love that I felt free to express myself here and that I have no fear of someone biting my head off. Thank you for providing the basement.

And thank you all for your comments that allowed me the opportunity to really sit and digest others opinions.
Jennifer M. - August 2nd, 2012 at 1:33 PM
Homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries.

Christianity is illegal in 50 countries.

We have much in common, yet a chasm separates us.

If these 2 groups could see one another with the eyes of Jesus, what would happen?

Praying for those eyes.
Mike - August 2nd, 2012 at 2:04 PM
If supporting gay marriage is condoning sin, is supporting non-Christian marriage also condoning sin? I mean, isn't it a sin to worship other gods? Or to encourage the belief in other gods? So if you go to a Hindu wedding and wish the believers well, are you now condemned? And if you give your approval and encouragement for two tattoo artists to marry eachother, aren't you saying it's okay to sin and get tattoos? And all that is ridiculous anyway, as marriage is NOT A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION!!!!! It is a legal one. Fighting against people of other religions or belief systems is as UNChristian as anything I can think of. Some people may believe this is a Christian country and our laws must comply with some Christian version of law, but that is simply not true. We are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Pastafarians and Christians. And I thank gods we are.
Jerry Bryant - August 2nd, 2012 at 2:19 PM
Great stuff Ms Hatmaker...I'm on to your blog if you will sign me up.
Kristin - August 2nd, 2012 at 2:20 PM
Still in the basement. Always in the basement!! You have shared everything that I have been thinking. Thank you for sharing your heart and writing these so perfectly!!
Dan - August 2nd, 2012 at 2:23 PM
Jen, I just want you to know what a breath of fresh air finding your blog has been. To the basement I go!
Teri - August 2nd, 2012 at 3:34 PM
I love the way you use words:) Thank you for both "basement" posts--loved them.
Tim - August 2nd, 2012 at 8:21 PM

This is amazing stuff. Thanks for reminding us what Jesus' message really is:

make peace with one another. Life a good life.

God bless ya!
George Meyer - August 2nd, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I go to a basement almost every day. I have been a Christian on and off my entire life. When I'm "off" I am self-absorbed and unable or unwilling to reach out to people around me. When I'm "on" I have a heart of service and try to do what is that Jesus has told us to do. My basement has been a park in our town, no not the church, but a park. I sit there sipping coffee, tuned into u-tube and listening to Chan, and Cain, to refocus on the day, and focusing on the beauty that is the park.

I have a hard time relating to how gun control, republicans, liberals, independents, anti-alternate life style advocates, can base their arguments on scripture. I just thought we were supposed to love each other period. I thought that Christ wanted us to feed those without food, cloth those without clothes, house those without shelter.

I am that unemployed guy from Ohio; still, it’s now been a year. Yes that explains the "on" again Christian thing, but this time it’s so way different. I finally realized that the "I" is gone and the "you" and "they" win first place.

So George, where are you going with all this? I can only think that when God looks down at all the negative, it must only sadden him. Read the bible, watch out for false profits, and concentrate on what God has commissioned us to do. The rest does nothing but take our focus off of Him and onto other issues that do not glorify God. If the basement does not appeal to some folks, I would say, “There is always the park”.



Mari - August 3rd, 2012 at 9:57 AM
You seriously hit it out of the ball park again. I love how you can calmly, intelligently, and biblically respond. I on the other hand get flustered and my words come out like Porky Pig.  I am in the basement. But I'm having a really hard time being lumped together with Christians who are going out of their way to loudly oppose the lesbian and gay community and defend Chick fil A from the rooftops. I want to defend them too, but I am having trouble with the line between staying out of it (at the risk of sounding condemning) vs. defending what is true about Jesus.
TRL - August 3rd, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Great post Jen. You're a word-smith and I admire you. There are so many ways to be unproductive that are way more fun than this whole thing. I'm gonna go do that. :) We were reading your twitter feeds in NYC last night laughing at you and Brandon
Brian - August 3rd, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Jen - I wanted to e-mail this idea to you, so that it's not just a throwaway comment on a blog, but I don't find an address. Maybe others are supposed to see this. I know you moderate, so you can choose to publish this or not.

I have an idea that is possibly from the Holy Spirit. And someone with reach, perhaps you, perhaps someone you can network with, perhaps you can even make contact with Mike Huckabee, can possibly make it happen.

Right up front, I am against govt. endorsement of same sex marriage. I do see the mayors telling a business they are not welcome in a city as a bad omen for religious freedom and a step up from individual boycotts. I also agree with you that the way we have the conversation sucks in this country. I hate that none of us have perfect love for others on this topic, that even our good intentions can be polluted. It bothers me that what is meant for many of the Chick-fil-A customers on Aug. 1 was to show unity with Chick-fil-A moreso than trying to be against gay marriage, but it unfortunately is taken only as being anti-gay. I can also see WHY same-sex marriage proponents would naturally see Aug 1 as an attack against them.

So why don't we Christians do something to show our love for gays and lesbians? How about a gay
Jay - August 3rd, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Jen, I want to start off by saying I have been wondering for some time what kind of cult you were trying to start. It seemed like every conversation my wife and I had on the topic of the day would begin with my wife saying "Jen Hatmaker said..." (that is only part hyperbole)

That being said I have to tell you that your original "Basement" post started a two hour long discussion on the role of Christians in society. My wife had been following the Chick Fil-A story for several days and had kind of gotten frustrated with all of the finger pointing and how political everything had gotten. I on the other hand drive a truck and hadn't really followed the news much and had to be brought up to speed by her on what had been happening. I grew more and more curious about what was happening simply because she was growing more frustrated with every new Facebook post. Finally she said someone summed up what she had been trying to say, she was so relieved someone finally put into print what she had been thinking since the beginnning of the whole mess. So she emailed me your article certain I would be in as much agreement with you as she was. She was wrong (at least at first). I really feel like Christians are to be salt and light, and part of that is calling sin, sin. I feel that to do any less is to deny the reason our Lord went to the cross in the first place. In reading your article I felt that you were saying that we should abandon public discourse on what sin is, and by extension what the cure for sin is. However in our two hour long conversation my wife and I reminded each other that being salt and light (faithful, steadfast witnesses) is only part of what it means to be a Christian. And that even that part does'nt necessarily have to be done with our mouths, at least not exclusively. The other parts are serving, loving, and remembering that non-Christians should not be expected to live like Christians. I can only (and not very well at that) live like a Christian through the power of the Holy Spirit's influence on my life. I left that conversation with my wife still disagreeing with you however because I felt that hiding in the basement was not exercising our resposibility as witness to our culture.

Thats why I am so thankful for this post. I agree with you whole-heartedly. We must engage our culture! But we must do it the way our Lord did it. I can't imagine how many more people would come to know the saving love of Jesus if we tried to serve those we like to call out because of their sin of choice, all the time keeping quite about our own.

Thank you so much for bringing this conversation, and clarifying yourself, to your readers and their families. I am sure it will continue bear good fruit.
Stephanie - August 3rd, 2012 at 3:02 PM
Jen. Thank you. Although your name is very familiar, I haven't read your books or blog before that I recall, but I have to say that I am your new biggest fan. I echo the others who said they felt alone. It's so reassuring to both read your words and see the overflowing com boxes.

I'm sure you are getting some major pushback (obvious by some of the negative comments), but please keep speaking the truth in love! I know from experience that simply stating that the Jesus way of culture transformation is through love and the Gospel--not political maneuvering--will get you all but tarred and feathered in many Christian circles. But from me--just thank you. I'm in the basement too.
Andrea - August 3rd, 2012 at 3:17 PM
Hi Jen,

Thank you for your ministry. It has given me hope just as I was starting to worry my brand of Christianity was inferior to others' brands simply because it's so much more attuned to acceptance than well-starched, unquestioned rules. I hope your message spreads far and wide. It has certainly reassured me.
Ashley - August 3rd, 2012 at 3:37 PM
In the words of Nick Jr's Kai Lan (sorry, I am an awesome mommy that lets her older daughter watch entirely too much TV so that these phrases pop up in my head on an entirely too regular basis), you make my heart feel super happy! I love, love, love the way you write, and agree wholeheartedly will everything you've said in your last two posts. If this was a Facebook post, I would have hit the "Like" button a gazillion times! ♥
Tina - August 3rd, 2012 at 4:14 PM
I am so glad I found you. I have been reading you for a few days now. I live in Orange County, CA, the bastion of conservative everything. And I live in the Basement, too. Because I really don't understand where many are coming from. I love them, I am friends with them, but we think completely differently. Maybe we always will. Still, I try. Have you heard the song, "My Jesus" by Todd Agnew? That.

One more thing: when Jesus bent down and started writing in the sand, don't you wonder what he was writing? I do! These are the things I think about when I am supposed to be sleeping. God keep you well, I am glad you are writing.

Aly - August 3rd, 2012 at 5:04 PM
crying. "neither do I condemn you. go and leave your life of sin."

also, I want to be real-life friends with you. and the lovely gal who commented during her "nap time minutes". how gracious and wonderful was her set-up (for whatever question she asked)... I love tough conversations discussed in love. those kinds of discussions really can change people's opinions, my own included!

oh, and thank you for the clarification that the basement is a "way, not a place". I think many missed that special distinction in your last post. joining you in that commitment to respectful and gracious and loving discourse. ah the basement. (also, im thankful for Grace when I don't always choose that way. thankful for the opportunity to extend it to others who may not realize there's a better way to engage. if we're supposed to love others, doesn't that mean the ones choosing the way of the storm too?)
Meg Davis ~ InverseDream - August 4th, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Thank you for voicing clarity in the midst of rudeness. Here's to Loving Jesus, Loving People, Learning God's Will in His Word and Submitting our Lives, Language
Jeanna B - August 5th, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Jen, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for articulating all of the emotions that threatened to make me stay in bed with the covers over my head for the rest of the month. I am going to the basement instead. Keeping it strong, you are! :)
lrc - August 5th, 2012 at 2:04 PM
I'm not big on commenting on blogs since I read so many every day, but I have read every word of this and your last (basement) post and just want to thank you for having the guts to tackle this issue of prideful ignorance among us Christians. Thank you for carefully wording things the way you did. In light of the whole ChickFilA thing, it was mentioned this morning by our pastor that it would have been more loving to show up at CFA on Friday when the LGTBS was having a kiss-off day and buy someone a meal and sit down and talk with them, instead of storming CFA on Wed in a defiant "I'm giving THEM my money ANYWAY" attitude.
Robin Bryce - August 6th, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Jen, I sorted through various thoughts over the past week or two.

As a common Christ-follower, I've grieved over what you call "the storm" and finally posted a few uncomfortable thoughts on my blog, but it wasn't until I read your post that I felt at home in what I had concluded.

Thank you for being so candid and straightforward. Nicole Holland was right about our similarities.
r - August 6th, 2012 at 2:01 PM
I so wish I could "sit down" and ask you a few questions. I so love your post and your heart. I have chosen to remain silent on this whole issue except in personal conversations people have brought to my table. I see no benefit in public finger pointing or grouping people into categories. I'm quite convinced that God is more concerned with Christians missing the boat on meeting the needs of the broken then with developing further "politicial agendas". I think I totally get what you are saying, but I still feel a bit confused. Maybe I'm too black and white. Yet I hesitate to ask questions here, because I don't want to create further tensions for anyone.

I'm a pastor's wife in the heart of Portland OR. And while I'd rather not have to take a "position" it's an issue I face everyday. I would love to hear your wisdom on when and where we speak and how... And yet, I hesitate to ask because I am afraid of creating a wall in the exact conversation you are trying to create here.

Kacey Batterton - August 6th, 2012 at 4:58 PM
Funny to me that some compared your basement metaphor to "burying ones head in the sand." Actually, my first statement to my husband after reading that post was, "It's so refreshing to hear someone who wants to take cover and NOT bury her head in the sand." That is my heart's desire as well. Thank you for helping me visually and verbalize what I'm aspiring to do in this a very trying time for my heart.
Stephanie - August 7th, 2012 at 10:32 PM
I get the philosophy behind this idea but as Christians, we aren't to be "self-focused"... we are to be "others focused". "Preaching the gospel to ourselves" isn't helping the lost nor is it what we are called to do. God transforms us through obedience, through His Word, through serving Him.

My concern is that we are becoming so inward focused on US that the gospel is not going OUT, it is going IN and being silenced.

Hope you hear my heart on this~

Kay Napier - August 8th, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Yes, yes, yes! You have so eloquently put my thoughts into words. I think I will print out your column to hand to folks when they begin the raging! Prayers and God bless!!!
Immaccon - August 8th, 2012 at 6:42 PM
A generation ago, the church capitulated on the issue of divorce. Marriages come and go with a fluidity that has rendered the institution nearly meaningless. And it is no different amongst Christians as it is among anyone else. The divorce rate within the church mirrors that of society at large. We threw in the towel and conformed to society. 

Now, the battle is homosexuality. It is a lifestyle that has effectively been normalized and accepted by society; the only holdout has been the church. But, it is a battle that the church is losing the will to fight. Liberal denominations are already ordaining gay ministers and performing same-sex marriage. While, at the same time, the more conservative (read: scriptural) churches are being silenced by the cacophonous cries of “hate speech” and “homophobe”. The battle is pretty much done and, again, the church is becoming less of a seasoning to society, but rather being seasoned by it.

The next battle, which has been underway for some time, is abortion. It started with birth control to prevent “unwanted” births and the debate will work its way through the public square until it is nothing short of unhindered abortion as a means of birth control and to preserves one’s standard of living. The taking of a life will become nothing more than a lifestyle choice. The church is again the only barrier between the sanctity of God’s law and moral mob rule. Whether or not we throw the towel in on this one will have huge consequences.

The church capitulated on divorce and is the process of capitulating on the issue of homosexuality. How can we not believe that abortion won't be next? How long before the church comes to define sin by societal norms or simply by what is illegal? How long before the church is simply a mouthpiece for the government, echoing what lawmakers (based on public sentiment) define as "evil"? Sin is well on its way to becoming less about falling short of God’s standard and simply being defined by an American Idol-style contest of ideals. That’s a contest that we will all lose.
Immaccon - August 8th, 2012 at 6:44 PM
When I consider a Christian thinker, website, church, or whatever, one of the first questions that I seek to have answered is this: Where do they stand on the issue of homosexuality? Why? Is there something special, or especially bad, about homosexuality? No. But, I do think that, for our culture and our point in time, that homosexuality is something of a litmus test for how seriously one takes the Word of God. No issue is as hotly contest within the church as this and no issue has prompted so many self-described Christians to either ignore or essentially rewrite sections of the Bible in order to make scripture conform to their own political ideology. If you know where someone stands on the issue of homosexuality, you can almost certainly deduce whether or not they place God's word above their own opinion.

Now, it must be said that God does not place homosexuality above other sins as being worse but, for some reason, WE have placed it beyond the reach of divine morality. It is a sin that is justified, celebrated, taught in schools, promulgated through popular culture, established as a protected class. We have chosen to take this sin, separate it and place it above God's authority. Its bad enough that the secular world has done as much, but the fact that many in the church have done so as well, is flirting with disaster.

In Romans, Paul gives us one of the clearest condenmations of homosexuality, but what many miss is his further warning to those aren't gay but justify those who are:


"who, knowing the righteous judgement of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same BUT ALSO APPROVE OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE THEM.


To condone, to tolerate the sins of others, to justify it is just as sinful as actually doing it. Loving the sinner and hating the sin is not the same as loving the sinner and turning a blind eye to their sin. Tacit complicity in iniquity is no less damnable than being an active participant.
CJC - August 8th, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Amen. 100%.
Leah - September 6th, 2012 at 1:18 AM
"Now, it must be said that God does not place homosexuality above other sins as being worse but, for some reason, WE have placed it beyond the reach of divine morality. It is a sin that is justified, celebrated, taught in schools, promulgated through popular culture, established as a protected class."

So, out of would you define the American obsession with the poly-cotton blend? God is pretty clear on that issue. Are Forever21 frocks and Brooks Brothers slacks beyond the reach of divine morality? Do we not see advertisements for this abomination on TV? Do schools not require their graduating seniors to wear caps and gowns made of this accursed material? Who is going after Wal-Mart for their unbridled distribution of wearable sin?!

Okay, you're probably shouting that the comparison is ridiculous. Let's take something a little more serious. How about fornication.

Fornication is everywhere. Teenagers are fornicating on TV; adults are doin' it on the movie screens. Drug stores sell condoms without needing to see a marriage licence. Doctors hand out birth control to women sans wedding rings. Fornication is so much the norm, in fact, that premarital sex is assumed to be a given. People who remain virgins until their wedding night? Rare. And some of those people even divorce, remarry, and have sex with their new spouses -- a dicey endeavor, Biblically speaking.

As a homosexual, I would love it if homosexuality faced as little cultural stigma as fornication! Heck, we're not even arguing whether fornicators SHOULD be allowed to marry, like we are with homosexuals. I'd guess that the majority of Christians polled wouldn't even want to see fornication made illegal. I'd guess (in fact, I don't have to guess, because it's a fact) that the majority of Christians polled would be doing a little fornicating themselves.

It seems to me that by focusing on homosexuality as the defining religious battle of our generation, you're ignoring the big fornicating elephant in the room.

I wonder why?
Immaccon - August 8th, 2012 at 6:47 PM
Is there really room for Jesus in the basement? The same Jesus who said:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34–39 NASB)
Carolyne Thrasher - August 9th, 2012 at 4:51 PM
I've been in the basement for awhile now, as long as I have been on facebook, years now. I have such a diverse group of friends on facebook. I'd be insane by now if I didn't go to the basement. Thank you for expressing what many of who have REAL RELATIONSHIPS with people who have a different world view than ours are feeling and how to not lose sight of the goal - becoming more like Jesus.

P.S. I'm reading 7 and it scares me! LOL!
Mary Beth - August 11th, 2012 at 10:45 AM
I'm going to be honest and say I read your first post about the Basement quickly but left it feeling a bit conflicted. I got the message that you were condoning a sort of ignoring the issue and condemning those of us who chose to support CFA. I've read several other posts from Christians since than that I felt had the same tone and was really disturbed by them. What I felt was missing from them was the notion that everyone involved is a REAL PERSON. I was just about to sit down and write a post to that effect when I remembered that you had written this follow-up which I hadn't read yet. So I decided to pop over and read it before continuing. There is absolutely no need to continue. You said everything here that I wanted to say and did it beautifully. Thank you for coming back and clarifying your meaning. I can safely say I feel comfortable heading for the basement now.
Dana - August 12th, 2012 at 8:42 AM
Well put, Jen. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us and putting words to the feelings so many of us have.
Sharon - August 13th, 2012 at 7:14 AM
I have you on my sidebar but haven't visited in quite awhile.... SO glad I did today. This is awesome and soooooo refreshing!!!! Thanks for this and I will be joining you in the basement!!!
Allison - August 13th, 2012 at 9:50 PM
Thanks Jen!!! I am proud to be in the basement! You are amazing...thank you!
Sarah - August 26th, 2012 at 1:12 PM
Yes, Yes, Yes! I am a British girl who has just married an american and moved to America. I have watched the CFA storm and have been shaking my head wanted to scream, what is the real issue here? Jesus doesn't care, he doesn't. He has called us to love, that is all. God is love. I am inspired, encouraged and awed by your article, there are people in America who are thinking about the real issue and not wanting to cause a storm. Thank you.... you write beautifully and without even knowing me you understand my heart!
Lindsay - September 2nd, 2012 at 2:27 PM
Thank you for the beauty in this post - love the image of Jesus writing in the sand! Haven't we all felt the sting of judgement and wanted to belong? Oh how deep the love of Jesus!! Happy to join you in the basement!
Amanda Hill - September 4th, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Sometimes this world is so connected it blows my mind. How I just quit my job, and started a blog just a year ago, and all of a sudden I'm meeting and learning of people I never knew existed. Jennie Allen is a fellow mom at my kid's school. I'm going to a writer's conference with Deidra Riggs who writes for The High Calling/(in)courage. It's insane how much God reveals us when we start to really lay it bare and follow. Anyhow, I wrote a post on this Chick-fil-A business a while back you might enjoy.

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to find a faithful writer that also enjoys the funny. If you ever peruse my writing, you'll see that I so totally relate that after a few serious posts, the funny and ridiculous comes screaming out.

Sister in Christ - I'm so glad to meet you, even if it's just online.

Amanda over at
Kami - September 5th, 2012 at 2:16 PM
Jen, I Love you....the end!
Daisy Rain Martin - March 27th, 2013 at 10:35 AM
I have read precisely TWO pieces of your writing, and I am smitten. Were we twins separated at birth? And how come you say it so much better than I do? God love your heart...
Susan - March 27th, 2013 at 10:47 AM
As I agonized last night over the rhetoric and the profile pics on FB, I prayed for words to read that would speak to the need for respect and discussion.

This post is one I found this morning that spoke to that hearts cry. Thank you Jen.
Rhonda - March 27th, 2013 at 1:03 PM
Just thank you. That's all.
Tami Kagy - March 27th, 2013 at 3:42 PM
Amen and amen. I was just having this conversation today with my bible study. There will continue to be a great exodus from the Christian faith until we learn to be compassionate and loving toward our fellow man. God's truth prevails, but it can only be understood in an environment of trust, love and respect.
Rebecca - March 27th, 2013 at 3:43 PM
I can't help but get the feeling that this blog is all about you. I am a follower of Jesus, and I have a hard time finding common ground with you. I'm thankful for discernment and feel it has served me well here. My prayer is that you will be humbled and reminded that less of you and more of the One True God is what we need.
Marcia - June 12th, 2013 at 9:35 PM
Funny...your post reminds me of a conversation the other day with a Christian person who told me (and everyone who was privileged to overhear her rather loud voice) how she had such a gift of discernment and how God uses her to pray for so many people....amidst the unbelieving looks of the overhearers, it made me want to run far and wide from the way I am a Christian myself...
Robin - March 29th, 2013 at 10:17 PM
I WANT to be a stone thrower.

If I were strolling through the town of Stubenville and came across drunken teenagers and an un-consenting girl, let me throw stones. If I come across drunken teenagers and a consenting girl, let me throw stones. If I see my kids doing drugs, I am gonna throw a stone, and if anyone sees me or my hubby on the verge of destroying the sanctity of our marriage, SOMEBODY please, please throw a stone. Because sin destroys...not just the sinner but countless people in its wake and we should all want more for one another than that.

I never want to lose sight of the fact that the Israelites were stuck, paralyzed by fear and doubt, until David threw just one stone of God at Goliath. And that as Goliath fell, grace was bestowed on all those who might have perished in a traditional is costly. For the Godly AND the UnGodly but eternally for the latter.

However, I KNOW that I am actually Jonah. I stay away from Ninevah not because I fear but because in my mind the Ninevites don't deserve grace. I scowl at my enemy's repentance, rather than rejoicing at God's work being done.

But repentance should ALWAYS be honored and celebrated...even if it is my enemy that has repented.

And that is where it can be tricky. Yes, we must be respectful and loving. But we must also want the entire land--OURSELVES included--to come to repentance.

I don't have to worry about people picketing the price of gossip in my front yard. I talk about it at Bible Study weekly. I stand, as the leader, and fully admit that I don't even always understand WHAT gossip really is, and that I can cross the line without even knowing the damage I have done. I have learned enough not to say, "Hey...have you heard?" And I am not the kind to cloak gossip in a prayer request, but I surely have conversations that leave others character in shreds.

I need grace. Desperately.

But I wouldn't ever want a well meaning Christian to say my angry heart is "okay" any more than I would wish telling someone that same sex sex is "okay", or that out of marriage sex is "okay", or that (this pains me the most) extra marital sex is "okay" as long as everybody loves Jesus. Sin destroys.


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Leslie - September 10th, 2013 at 4:36 PM
I adore your writing style and genuinely feel like you make such thoughtful points. I mean, your humor is what caught my attention, but your ability to hit the nail on the head keeps me coming back. It's refreshing to read a blog that isn't afraid to tackle the tough issues and also doesn't isolate/stereotype/condemn/shame people. I have found myself taking notes on things I want to remember from your posts to apply to my life and this post was no different. So thank you so very much, your words are a gift and a reminder of why living the "basement way" is really the only way to live at all.
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Name - June 5th, 2014 at 10:47 AM
Type comment here...
Sara - January 12th, 2015 at 12:59 PM
Jen! Have you ever seen the "Jesus videos"??? They are flipping hilarious. I think you would love them. Check them out on YouTube. They were made by a church that was trying to show their congregation how they were making out Jesus to be in their religion based legalistic selfishness. They are absolutely great!
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