Opening the Floodgates, But Maybe Not the Border

My husband is known by his friends (AND ENEMIES--looking at you, Skeletor!) for willingly and ably wading into hot-button, murky topics that are politically polarizing, and having focused, rational dialogue about them. ON SOCIAL MEDIA. 

174 comments. On ESTATE TAX REFORM. I just died of both boredom and rage all at once.

But God bless that Jesse Dukes, he hangs in there. He respectfully replies to all comments--notably even the butt-ass-crazy ones--with reason and an openness to legitimately have his own position changed.

This bizarre behavior is basically the digital equivalent of someone setting up High Tea on the beach of Normandy during the D-Day invasion, and then calmly inviting the combatants to sit and discuss their quarrels over cucumber sammies (no crust). "Bullets? Oh, are there bullets? Now, what were you saying about women should be required to burn their yoga pants on the altar?" He asks, while wiping a crumb from his mouth with an embroidered napkin.

I am guilty of being one of the soldiers who just wants to lob a logic grenade and then crawl to safety. I usually can hang for one or two replies, and then I lose my mind and just troll the comments with  my awkward.

 You know how I be.

HOWEVER. Today I really do want to hear from "the other side." Or at least the slice of them who follow Jesus (strangely it seems that the "most christian" people are the ones the most vocally against this). Because I can't get my brain there by myself:


If you are a Jesus follower AND you are against the U.S. offering refuge here to Middle Eastern citizens displaced by war, can you please help me through how you reconcile those?

I am uncertain how a candidate or citizen can hold Bible verses that don't seem to allow alternate interpretation in their heads and hearts while seeming to do and call for the opposite: 

Matthew 25:41-43: I was homeless and you gave me no bed.

Leviticus 19:34. Love him [a foreigner] like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners

My thinking is really simple, and I am not sure I will be budging from these premises, at least: 

1. Jesus is for the refugee. Jesus is for His own enemies.  Literally.

Um. I feel like I dont even need to add backup explanations here. If we aren't capice about this, then we are talking about two different guys and can't go much further.

2. If you claim Christ's grace, you yourself are a refugee who has been welcomed.

Every person who has accepted the Grace of Christ has been adopted as a child of God Himself, and  has eternal citizenship in heaven. And by definition that means each of us WAS ONCE A REFUGEE. Was ripped out of a perfect home as a consequence of the war between satan and God, and given our deserved fate of pain, suffering, hunger, disease as a result of our status as refugees untethered to our God and home. 

3. I didn't have to pass a test to be welcomed: He died to have me even while I spit in His face.

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Eph 2:12 // Rom 5:8)

Okay so there is my stance. BUT I know that it isn't just that simple, especially when national policy is involved.

Is it simply a matter of compartmentalizing your faith as separate from your politics? Saying, "I will obey those commands personally, but it might not be best for America to make policy in accordance with them." 

Because I can get there mentally, even if I disagree on this.

I think it would be a disaster to try to legislate 100% by Christian principles. That would be A: against the constitution (the only document America bound itself to by definition), and B: making a Sharia Nation--just of a different religion. This idea will never ever work until Jesus comes back (And the gov-ern-ment shall be upon his sho-o-o-o-ulders!).

But if that's the basis for how we vote and legislate, then why would we try to stand in the way of gay marriage or abortion rights on the basis of biblical principles? Isn't that just cherry picking? Claiming "God's Way for America!" when lines up with what we want, but proclaiming "Separation of Church and State," when it doesn't?" (And I think I may be guilty of this too!)

I guess this one seems more cut-and-dry: Jesus is saying "DO THIS," and yet some people want to make a law that would prevent--as a country--obedience to this even as individuals (because we can't give them a bed in my house if they aren't allowed in America. Because, ya know, my house and beds? They're in America).

I seriously want to know and am not looking to whammy anyone or debate back. I want to learn (because I am really good at black and white thinking) more of the perspectives on this. I know many ultra-kind political conservatives who have the most giving, loving, non-judgmental hearts, and I want to hear how that works out in their lives.

So here we go. 

To Christians against welcoming Arab Refugees to America:

1. How do you reconcile the closing of our border to these people with your faith and status as a citizen of heaven?

2. How do you think we could/should obey Jesus' commands individually while not legislating any kind of refugee acceptance?

For Everyone:

3. Where/how do you draw a line between your politics and your faith?  


Halloween 2015: Guardi-ukes of the Galaxy

Another October, another insane, homemade family costume for us.

I saw Guardians of the Galaxy months after it came out. I am not a huge fan of the recent Marvel movies (they take themselves too seriously), so despite my love for Chris Pratt in Parks and Rec, I wasn't too interested when this came out. 

But I kept hearing great things about it as more of a comedy/rock opera than your typical superhero fare. This plus a few articles on Chris' new abs sold me. I paid $6 to watch it on the plane out to Utah when Noa and I went in December during maternity leave. I paid $6 again to watch it on the return flight too. And then I paid to rent it from RedBox and make my family watch it when I got home and then I paid to buy it AND its soundtrack. It's hilarious and the music rules. watch it now.

It took maybe 45 minutes watching it before I realized that this could be our group costume--assuming Judah and Layla liked the movie, which they very much did (note: this is PG-13, but most of what makes it so goes over the head of a 4 & 6 year old. I think it might now be appropriate for a 8/9 year old who might catch the sexy innuendo jokes or cuss words, but mine are young enough to be clueless).
This year Jesse and I made the BRILLIANT decision to not stay dressed up ourselves when we left the house--drastically decreasing the discomfort and embarrassment factor. This was huge because we went real trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood this year instead of to a contained fall festival. I cannot have our neighbors having this as their first impression of us. 

Also, by the time I finish all the last minute DIY's, I am in full stress dragon mode, and don't really want kids coming up to me talking to me like I am whatever character I'm dressed up as that year. It was fabulous to be able to just wear jeans and have my penchant for dressing up as a tree in my back yard be my little secret.

Halloween 2k15. Boo-ya

Judah as Peter Quill/Starlord

My favorite part of Judah's was the addition of the orange headphones. Judah's favorite song of all time since watching this is "Come and Get Your Love," so he needed the headphones.

Flying, duh.

Not about it.


The coat (which appears as both a signature trench and a short version in the movie) is made from a ladies' velvet blazer from Goodwill with some leather scraps sewn on. Judah was not pleased at first when I pulled this out of the bag, but the sewing skills made it something he loved so much that he currently sleeps in bed with. Like a blankey. Spectacular weirdo.

The orb. You'll never possess it, Ronan!

Layla as Gamora. 

Layla plays a raven-haired, sword wielding badass chick for the second year in a row! Green facepaint, a green rashguard from Goodwill turned her into the green-hued beauty you see before you. I cut down a cargo shirt to make the vest and added some duct tape gemstones. Also, toned down the cleave.

Layla was ALL ABOUT getting into character and recreating scenes.

She was even okay recreating the almost-smoochy scence that turns into a butt-kicking and one of the funniest lines of the movie: PELVIC SORCERY! (sorry that image is cruddy)

Noa Lou as Rocket Raccoon. 

Noa was the perfect size to play rocket! I found a used baby raccoon costume on eBay for way cheap over the summer and just added a yellow shirt and duct tape. Noa was pretty steady on the "bewildered" side of things in terms of her reaction to this family production. So she didn't really channel the character like I would have hoped. I'm disappointed by her acting skills.

Speaking of skills, check out Jesse as Drax the Destroyer!
Silver facepaint and swimcap, plus some tattoo stickers and a homemade shirt with implants...of muscles sewn in.

aaaaaand as per usual, I get whatever costume and character is left over. This time is was Groot. I AM GROOT.

Groot was surprisingly easy and cheap to make. Twisted craft paper and cardboard over earth tone clothes. I should have added more roots. I'm thinking the whole Mommy-as-Groot thing, is what interefered with Noa's concentration that day.

Yeah. She was...perplexed. If not downright terrified. Even though I was extra friendly version of Groot.

Sometimes terrified.

Weird how Jesse's natural abs are riding up.

 FIIIIIGHT (this one Judah was all about recreating)

 They are the winners of the family acting prizes.

smiling to ensure her safety with the camera person in exchange for escape from the flora that ate mommy.

The thrill of this conquest lasted maybe an hour. Around bedtime that night I was already, "oh my gosh Jesse, what are we going to do next year?!? We'll never think of anything!" And then I put those thoughts away until the very last minute next year.

This is now our most consistent, well-documented family tradition. I don't even know what to think about that.

More of our Halloween nonsense:


Noa's Birth:The Sights


*all photos by BrennaB Photography