My Oklahoma State Response to Westboro Baptist Church

 
 

On Oct 24 a terrible tragedy happened to my "extended" family at Oklahoma State University. Everyone knows the story by now. Many have mourned. Many are still mourning. My very own best friend escaped the crash by the grace of God and is still wrestling with emotions and thoughts she can't explain. Sometimes it's hard to keep the faith. Where was God in all this? What was His purpose? Or how do accidents and tragedies fit in His purpose? Some of those questions are hard to answer, because it's part of a bigger picture we can't comprehend. We don't have the knowledge or perspective in order to understand. In the meantime, that's what community is for: to support, to speak truth when nothing makes sense, to love. That's what Oklahoma State has done so far, among many others, including our in-state "rivalry" Oklahoma University. (Way to go guys!) We thank everyone for the prayers and support.

I don't have all the answers, but I'd like to continue the overwhelming support for my OSU family by completely slaying the misguided theology and tactics of Westboro Baptist Church. Their insensitive tweets on Saturday were enough to make me want to write this, but then I heard they were going to picket the victims. They have the freedom to do what they will, but I think today it's time for a bible lesson straight from an OSU alum. Ready to study-up, Westboro? Here are the verses you SHOULD be referencing... 

  1. Romans 12:15 "Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn." (The entirety of Romans 12 is applicable actually.)
  2. Ephesians 4:31 "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice."
  3. Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
  4. James 4:11-12 "Do not speak evil against one another....But who are you to judge your neighbor?"
  5. James 1:26 "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless."
  6. Colossians 3:8 "But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
  7. Luke 6:31 "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."
  8. Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do." 
    • *I forgive you, Westboro*

Not that we need any more evidence, but one of my favorite things about Jesus is He often got most passionate when confronting religious leaders about their hypocrisy. He wasn't passionately confronting men or women about their sexual orientation or experiences. He wasn't passionately confronting addicts or thieves. But He did passionately confront those who did not practice what they made a living of preaching. So because you consider yourself religious leaders, being a "church," you may also want to reference Matthew 23 *Jesus gets passionate about hypocrites*, and John 8 *Jesus shows religious leaders they should not condemn others, no matter their circumstances*. 

At all times we should strive to exhibit Faith Hope and Love, and "the greatest of these is love." That's what the Oklahoma State family does. That's what true Christian family does. (1 Cor. 13) 

Because your church is so keen on being "honest" I'm here to tell you, with love and truth, that you have a very warped view of Christianity.

You will never, ever, change someone's heart by telling them they are hated. You will never, ever, show them who the real Jesus is by calling them derogatory names. You will never, ever, be effective in your communication if you harass others, especially when they are in mourning.

 

There are so many more verses and so many good people that are the example of what you should be spending your time on instead of picketing or using social media to hate others. But I can promise you one thing, if you choose to picket any victims of the Oklahoma State incident including the students themselves, my families will be there. We will gladly show you what true love looks like. That's Oklahoma State. That's real Christianity.

 - J Fleming

Founder Three to Abandon, Christ lover, Christ Follower, Proud and Thankful Oklahoma State Alumna

 
 

Syrian Refugees: I'm Sorry, We Have a "Not Right Now" Problem

 
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Refugees - I'm sorry.

I'm sitting here drinking my hot cup of tea, bundled up in a $40 sweater, typing on my more than $1K mac. I'm reading about your torture and I'm angry. But in the moment I'm comfortable.

While you suffer, I'm eating dinner. While you drown, I'm brushing my teeth. While you wander across land that's not yours, it's just a brand new day for me in the same old routine.

I like having this comfort too much. I like my life...

I'm sorry.

I'm angry that no one wants to take responsibility for your safety or basic human needs. But I've got to tell you that our response, or lack there of, is all because of this problem that we have - it's a not right now problem.

All of you other countries around the world - take these people in! But us, not right now. You guys please find God, He's the answer! But we can't show Him to you, not right now. You will get help in due time when it really matters! But not right now, because we're not even sure what "when it really matters" looks like.

I'm sorry.

I'm a Christian and I'm supposed to be carrying the torch on what freedom and fearlessness really looks like, but not right now. You see my Governor he says he's a Christian too, but he's too scared to let you in. He could be a huge contributor to forming some sort of strategy to bring refugees in and still protect our nation, even if it is a smaller select number, but not right now. He, we, could remember that Christ cares more about reaching out to the hurting more than he does being safe, but not right now. My governor may still be super busy worrying about our own morality right now, so no time to save people. Not right now.

Refugees - I'm sorry.

But it's time to be honest. Sorry isn't good enough. And our fake love isn't good enough. Distant "love" doesn't keep you fed or safe. Our "praying for you" promises might be little lies. It is - for lack of better words, and for the sake of being blunt - lazy, selfish, cowardly bull. It is thumb-twiddling, acting busy, seemingly apologetic, crap. I can see Jesus flipping another table right now.

We are the next pharisees. 

I'm so tired of Americans and Christians alike being a "not right now" people. What we're doing right now is hiding. Behind our screens, behind our style, behind our jobs, behind our lifestyle, behind our obligations and appointments. We placed this all on ourselves. You, refugees, have nothing to do with this fear, deep shame, and doubt that lives in us. We fan that flame daily and we think we love it.

Brothers and sisters, it's time to wake up and not fear death. Or even more shockingly, it's time to wake up and not fear much smaller things: sharing your home, sharing your money, sharing your food, sharing your clothes, sharing His word. Is the only thing you're actually doing right now is focusing on hoarding those small things you clearly cherish more than Jesus? For those who aren't Christian, do you cherish these frivolous things more than love and simple humanity? 

There is never an option for "not right now." There is no such thing. Time moves. God moves. People move. A people in need is moving toward you RIGHT NOW. They can't even plead their case with you because they don't have time to make their argument when they're drowning, starving, dying, weeping, suffering.

 

Americans, Christians - 

Don't read this and feel more shame or guilt - feel awakened and ready. Don't get suggestions on how to help and stay seated - rise up and choose to do one of them. Don't read this and push it off to "not right now" - share it and DO.

  1.  Click here to see practical ways to help.
  2.  Click here to have the opportunity to serve refugees and lose that fear, that insecurity and doubt.

I'm sorry, refugees, that it took us so long. But a few good people are ready right now. 

 

I hope you see this apology, refugees. I hope it spreads like wildfire.

- J

 

 

More Info on Three to Abandon  

Jenny Fleming

Are you wondering how this whole Three to Abandon thing came to be?

Well, you're in the right place!

Meet Jenny- the brilliant mind behind the founding of Three to Abandon.

Do you ever look back and realize your road to a big life milestone actually started long before you even knew what was happening? Like when you really think about all the components, all the moments, the things you believed to be irrelevant...  you realize all of it ended up being a part of something really grand? 

No? Maybe?

Well, that's a big-picture view of Jenny's story.

Since Jenny was a young girl, she had big dreams, a strong personality, and very different ideas that she just didn't know how to chase or embrace. 

So naturally, as she got older she channeled all of this personal dichotomy and uncertainty into a career in Marketing and Advertising. But of course, this perceived freedom would be short-lived.

After moving around a lot, having many different roles, she knew the corporate life was unfulfilling, albeit entertaining.

She started to wonder what her true calling was, and this thought would continuously come back around, whispering to her soul, as if someone were gently tapping her on the shoulder.

Eventually, she started working with a Christian non-profit in their creative department. Steadily her thirst for a deeper relationship with Christ grew. She was also starting to believe her talents finally held meaning! Finally, she was using what God gave her - her weird ideas, her strategic mindset, her creativity - for the greater good. How grand! 

But yet again, that job satisfaction only lasted for so long, and yet again she was asking God "is this really what you would have me do with my life? Is this what I'm meant for?"


She started to chip away at figuring out God's plan for her life, her purpose. Very intentionally.

But just like Rome wasn't built in a day, it took a while for her to discover the purpose God had for her, and she prayed for more than a year on that topic specifically. 

Finally, a year later, the first thing He told her to do in pursuit of the purpose for her life, after all of this mess and all this time, was simply "Do." 

That's it. And there she was. She was both excited yet unsure. His message was so...   vague.

After processing for a bit, her response was just as short as his message to her. "Ok,"

It was then she realized that she had not ever in her life actually been living in pursuit of her calling or her purpose because she hadn't actually been chasing it. She wasn't actually DOING anything bigger or more daring than just her day-to-day job in order to find it.

News flash: you do not find your purpose in the comfort of the norm.

It was all coming back around for her now, full circle. He gave Jenny a diverse - and at times contradicting - toolkit of talents and strengths, so that she might use it all to seek and find.

She didn't know where she was headed day-to-day, but she knew, every moment during that time period, that God had her going somewhere specific. There was no stopping it. And she had no doubt or fear about it. That's when Three to Abandon bloomed.

Little did she know, helping others find God's purpose would be part of her purpose today. It has all led to this.

This is a non-profit organization that has engaged hearts and souls from people all over the U.S. , Canada and beyond, that's helping them find out who they really are and who they're really meant to become.

What will happen next? We have absolutely no idea! What we do know, is that right now, people are finding hope and finding their purpose through this organization. We kid you not - Jenny's crazy journey to purpose has paved the way for you if you are willing to simply explore it. 

I hope this portion of Jenny's life story has inspired you to get up and chase what God has for your life and abandon anything that's held you back so far.

If you start that journey with us, great. If it's through some other avenue, great.

Either way, let's do it. You're going to look back and some point like Jenny, and it's all going to make sense.


Where is Jenny now? 

Currently residing in Texas, Jenny and her husband Zac, are expecting their first child in October 2018. From 2015-2018, Jenny had been the creator, dreamer and builder of Three to Abandon.

We are so thankful for Jenny's unique PURPOSE! Our community wouldn't exist if she had let insecurity, doubt or fear get the best of her. One of Jenny's main purposes is now focusing on being the best mom a kid could have (and if we are being honest, the Three to Abandon community is a little jealous of the new lil babe who gets her love and affection).

From the bottom of our hearts- THANK YOU! Thank you for creating, dreaming, living and breathing God's purpose for your life. 

- Guiding verse:  2 Timothy 1:7 -