This is actually a tough post to write. Part of me has been dreading this moment, and yet I knew it would happen. It just happens to be the worst of weeks for it. Anyways…
Where to start? A while ago, a media mogul (or at least that’s what I’ll call her because she soon will be if she isn’t already) let me know that she wanted to do “a piece” on my friendship with Tanya Levin. If you don’t understand, you will after reading the article, this is not a spoiler.
This idea had come from a mutual friend who ran a website intended to highlight heresy in the church in Sydney. For some reason, this blogger decided that we were “The Two Tanyas”. As an aside, he also announced his decision to remove Hillsong from this heresy website. I guess he was deciding to do it anyways, but I reminded him of it. Anyways, the label stuck.
It’s difficult, because I’m not an employee of the church. I’m not the official voice of it. I’m not anybody, really. Just a chick who has written a few songs, and some academic papers. I will give you a spoiler of one thing I said:
“I don’t even pretend to be the official voice of the church, but I figure that we’re all the body of Christ, we all have a responsibility to represent Jesus as best as possible”.
Well, the thing is, my friendship with Tanya Levin really annoyed some of my Australian christian friends, who believe I’ve done the wrong thing by allowing her to comment on my facebook page, and to be visibly present in my life. Whereas some see her in the media, to have her that close makes it very personal. They don’t agree with what she says, and so it causes friction. Some have been really angry at me.
And then I talk with Tanya, and hear her describe her *experience* of some ordinary Christians. Hear about the various ways they censor her, write hate mail to her, avoid her on the street, mock her in public.
I’m not perfect. I don’t want to expose myself or my friends to things that hurt us. And then I read my Bible. And I wonder how to live this verse:
‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:43 – 48
I don’t really want more enemies, you know?
But if I do gain some, then please know that I will try my best to love you. I will think and pray about you. I will try to continue to be open to hearing your view, and to be just. Your feelings towards me don’t change the fact that I care. And if you want to talk about my offenses with me, I’m open to that. For those who don’t and who will cut me off without that privilege, I’m sorry, and it’s OK.
I have to thank the esteemed US writer Randall Frederick who was the most patient of writers. I knew that this was going on record, so I wanted to pick someone that I could trust, and could also trust to do justice to both of us, because love wouldn’t be about setting myself up for a win at the expense of another. And now I truly know I can, and that is such a big thing.
Vulnerability. It’s real. I don’t think I can say yet that it feels great. My hope is that this gives witness to Jesus in Sydney, the place that I love with all my heart and soul. And that is all.