The Choice in CHD

I follow a number of different social media pages dedicated to children with various heart defects. I offer prayers and words of encouragement when appropriate and my heart breaks when a Heart Warrior loses their battle with CHD.

Recently I came across a blog post from a heart mom who offered advice to another woman whose unborn child was diagnosed with HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome); it’s the same defect my nephew Toby has. The woman was contemplating termination and sought perspective from parents of other Heart Warriors. As I read the post further I was saddened to learn she chose termination over battling CHD and while I don’t agree with her decision I can certainly understand it. The life with HLHS is full of uncertainty and heartache, doctors and hospital stays, and constant fear the other proverbial shoe will drop.

The principle question asked when receiving a diagnosis like this is “why me” or “why us” but I think that question is vanity. I believe children like Toby and his heart buddies are going to be born regardless so a better question to ask is “why not me”. While some view children born with challenges as a burden, I’ve come to see them as a privilege, a special gift. Living with and caring for those with special needs is not easy, and while I would never choose a life with CHD for anyone, I would choose Toby every time, even knowing he has a broken heart.

I was there the day Toby was born, I heard his first cry. I was there after his first open heart surgery at five days old, I saw his heart beating through the yellow bandage; the only thing covering is open chest. I was there when he was packed up and finally sent home a month after he was born. I cared for him between his surgeries, fed him, administered his medications, went with my sister to his numerous appointments. I sat with him as he went through morphine withdrawals after his second open heart surgery. I did my best to comfort him as nurses poked him for IV access, suctioned his nose, and pulled out his chest tubes.

I also watched as he learned to scoot across the floor on his bum. I was there as he took his first steps. I get to see his eyes light up when he gets a new Lego set. I get to hear his giggles when he’s tossed around in the air by his uncle. I get to see the joy in him when he dumps a tub of Hot Wheels and begins to arrange them in a line. My heart swells when I hear him say words and use them correctly. While every kid may do these things, watching Toby do them, knowing what he’s had to overcome, is extraordinary.

Yes there is heartache and uncertainty but there is also overwhelming joy. There is life and there is hope living with a broken heart. From the beginning I never saw a broken kid, I only saw Toby. This boy has every reason to be angry yet he smiles. He can light up a room simply by walking into it. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where Toby didn’t. I am better for knowing him and I am grateful my sister chose Toby.

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CHD 101

February 7th -14th is a week dedicated to rising awareness for Congenital Heart Defects. Congenital means present at birth and heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. CHD affects about 1 in every 100 children and many of these kids don’t even know they have one. I didn’t know much about heart defects until my nephew was diagnosed with the single worst kind.

A routine ultrasound revealed an anomaly and a fetal echocardiogram showed my unborn nephew had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The left side of his heart stopped developing about 30 days after conception. The cause is unknown and the cure doesn’t yet exist. The treatment consists of 3 palliative open heart surgeries with no guarantee of success.

At least in the case of Toby, it was caught with plenty of time to prepare (as much as anyone can prepare for this kind of diagnosis). I’ve heard stories of babies dying unexpectedly in their mother’s arms only days after being born; stories of infants rushed to hospitals, mothers insisting something is wrong and doctors dismissing them only to find out, sometimes too late, there is something seriously wrong. You’ve no doubt heard of high school students dropping on a football field or soccer pitch in sudden cardiac arrest, often the result of an undiagnosed heart defect. With odds like 1 in 100, chances are you or someone you know has a heart defect.

For as much trouble and as prevalent as they are, CHD doesn’t get the kind of funding for research other medical issues like cancer receive. Nearly twice as many children die from heart defects as cancer yet cancer receives five times more funding for research. In fact, CHD is the leading cause of infant deaths in the United States. About 25% of children born with a CHD will need some kind of surgery or intervention to survive. With the uncertainty of programs like CHIP, defunding of Medicare and Medicaid, treatment for these children only becomes more difficult. Imagine hearing there’s something devastatingly wrong with your unborn child and also hearing it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to ultimately save them. I certainly don’t have that kind of money lying around but I’m also not about to put a price tag on a life that’s just begun.

Toby isn’t the only one in my family with a heart defect. His older brother also has a CHD. Though Jackson’s is far less severe and at present only requires monitoring, the uncertainty remains. There may come a day when he will require intervention to ensure his survival.

People give money, time, and resources to causes they know and care about. As an auntie to two little boys with broken hearts, CHD is something I care very much about and only through raising awareness can we hope to eventually find a cure for kids like Jackson and Toby.

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Ship, Shipmate, Self

One of the fundamental lessons I learned growing up was family first. We were the kind of family that ate dinner every night together. The TV was turned off and there were no other distractions allowed during family time. I come from a large family and there was always some soccer game or band practice happening so outside of dinner we were going in different directions. Still, the message growing up was family came first. The needs of the family unit were more important than the individual. Rent came before new shoes, groceries came before oboe reeds. As a working class family, that was the only way we could all thrive.

When I got to boot camp two weeks after graduating high school, the motto of ‘Ship, Shipmate, Self’ was quickly instilled. The ship always comes first. When in the heat of combat, keeping the ship in fighting order is the priority over anything else. Next is the person next to you. Their life supersedes your own which means do what it takes to save them. Only when those first two criteria are met could a sailor then tend to their own needs. Coming from a family first background, this motto didn’t require any real adjustment on my part. My crew was my family and their needs came before mine.

I didn’t leave that mentality behind when my time in the Navy ended. I like to think I’ve always lived by the ideal of Ship, Shipmate, Self. When it comes to family, church, and country I try to live by the Navy expression. To me this priority system is the only way to ensure success for everyone.

There is a shift in priorities in American culture today. It’s somewhere between ‘What’s in it for me’ and ‘Every man for himself’. This mindset guarantees success for some but usually at the expense of another. What does a society look like when individual success is valued over the collective success of a community? Something tells me we won’t have to wait very long to find out.

In the case of a Navy ship, it means certain disaster. If the Navy adopted an “Every Sailor for himself” motto, ships would turn tail and run at the first sign of combat. Sailors would leave their shipmates behind in a flooding compartment rather than risk going back for them. It’s hard to defend a country when your priority is your own life over that of others.

If I put my career and ambition over my family, I’d likely still be living in the Midwest. I would have missed watching my nephew Toby fight his battle with CHD and he would have missed out on my support of him. If I hadn’t welcomed my brother into my home last year and cared for him during his recovery from surgery, there is a good chance he wouldn’t be alive today. What has caring for my family cost me? A little money perhaps and my time. Yet what have I gained by putting my family before myself? The joy of watching Toby take his first steps, the pride in knowing my brother is happy and healthy for the first time in nearly a decade. What I gained by far outweighs any expense on my part.

Country, Community, Self

For six years of my life I put my country first when I served in the Navy. While my time in service wasn’t easy, the benefits of doing so again outweighed the personal cost. I take the time to vote in every election. I research the candidates and the issues and see both sides of an issue before making an informed decision. Outside of running for office or military service, voting is the best way to serve our country.

Where I struggle is with community. It’s easy to put my church community, my friends community, and my family community above self but what about the community in which I live? Yesterday I had a bag of fast food and a $20 dollar bill. I was stopped at a red light and there stood a homeless man desperate for anything. I hesitated. I didn’t need both and I knew if I gave him either I’d make his day. The light turned green and I drove off choosing self over community. It didn’t matter what he would have done with the money or the food. What mattered was how it would have made me feel to make the effort and help him out. Instead I did what so many of us do, I turned away and drove off.

I know this is an area of my life I need to work on and I hope I won’t be alone. Many of the social and economic problems facing our community and our country can be solved if more of us think of others before ourselves. I know it’s hard, I know most of us have busy lives making just enough to get by. We all think we’re stretched too thin and helping others just isn’t a priority when we need so much help ourselves. But isn’t that the whole point? We all need help, some more than others but wouldn’t an extra pair of hands make a world of difference even if it’s just an hour a week or a few minutes a day? I help you today, you help me tomorrow, and our combined load is lightened by our combined willingness to lend a hand.

The danger of course is always being the one to put others first in a community that doesn’t reciprocate. When that happens, the answer can’t be to stop putting others first. The answer could be to find another community but that doesn’t feel like a right answer either. If you have a good answer for that please let me know what it is!

I truly believe we can accomplish more as individuals, as a community, and as a country when we work together. Humans aren’t meant to go it alone. We need each other to not only survive, but to thrive as a civilization.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” -Spock

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I Don’t Want to Grow Up…

I was saddened to learn that Toys R Us would be closing 180 stores in the United States, including one I frequently visit. Like Borders and Circuit City, retail stores dedicated to one category are finding it harder and harder to compete with Walmart and Amazon.

It’s not just how toys are sold that’s causing trouble for the retailer; toys themselves aren’t what they used to be. One of my other favorite toy stores buys, sells, and trades in toys from the past; everything from Lego to Transformers to Cabbage Patch Kids. People my age have a great deal of nostalgia where our childhood toys are concerned. Somehow I can’t imagine kids of today being nostalgic for their toys when they grow up.

When I was young, there were very few “screens” in my house. There was only one family TV and coming from a large family, there was a lot of competition for it. While I did spend time watching Saturday morning cartoons and Disney Afternoon, most of my time was spent in my room playing with a myriad of toys. I didn’t have a lot of toys but I played the heck out of the ones I did have. My sister and I would sit for hours with our Cabbage Patch dolls and our Teddy Ruxpin, listening to stories and creating our own.

As I’ve watched my nieces and nephews grow up, I’ve seen how different the toy world has become. While Lego, Transformers, action figures and dolls are still around, they don’t get played with for the hours on end of my childhood. Once the novelty of a new toy has worn off, they’re tossed in a bin and eventually taken to Good Will. That novelty period seems to be growing shorter and shorter with the increase in screen time.

Toys R Us doesn’t just have to compete with the likes of Walmart and Amazon, they have to compete with the changing world of how kids spend their free time. Instead of building with actual blocks, its applications on a tablet monopolizing free time. Computer and video games have taken over the time previously spent on building with Lego and imaginative play with action figures. If I were to give my nephew a choice between a play house and a new game for his Nintendo, Mario wins every time. To be fair, he’ll play the heck out of his Mario game so in that regard it would be money well spent.

Toy manufacturers are also feeling the squeeze. When kids want screens and apps instead of blocks and dolls, why continue to push physical products? I realize things like film and video rental stores will never return as our society moves into the future. But I believe the toy industry is something worth hanging onto. Physical interactive and imaginative play as a child is fundamental to development. Among other things it teaches social and problem solving skills in a way a screen can’t.

I don’t see digital entertainment going away anytime soon and that’s fine. As an adult I can use screens and devices as they were intended, a tool. I can set the phone or tablet down and go outside for a walk. I can put aside technology and spend a weekend camping with friends and family. I can do this because I didn’t grow up with a screen in my hand so I know how to put it away.

The time in our lives we spend as children is precious and the ability to play and enjoy physical toys shouldn’t be taken for granted. Kids today should learn from experiences in the real physical world and interact with it. When they eventually grow up, as we all do, they can retreat into the digital world knowing it’s not the only thing out there.

“I don’t want to grow up cuz if I did, I couldn’t be a Toys R Us kid!”

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Forward March!

Last year I had the privilege of marching with thousands of women on a peaceful January day in Seattle. It was empowering to see so many women gathered together seeking rights, freedom and justice for all.

This year when the women marched I watched from home for reasons that are unimportant. As I watched the live stream I read some of the comments and it struck me how many of them were negative. I could see how men might not understand the plight of women but many if not the majority of negativity I was seeing was coming from other women. While this doesn’t surprise me, it does get me frustrated.

One comment stated all those people were wasting their time and if they really wanted to help they should be volunteering somewhere and not marching and leaving garbage behind. Another said women should be grateful for the rights they already have rather than asking for more. I shook my head and scrolled on.

I understood why they marched, for the same reasons I marched a year ago. The right for women to vote didn’t come from writing letters to politicians and asking nicely. Civil rights didn’t come about by holding rallies in churches where outsiders weren’t disturbed. Making signs and taking to the streets is the most peaceful and effective way to demonstrate the need for change. To make it known to the public that change needs to happen, the people must go out and make noise, be inconvenient until change happens. It is not only our right but our responsibility to demand a fair shot and for our elected representatives to truly represent what we the people want, women included. For me and the millions that marched over the last two years, that means not only wanting a voice but wanting our voices to be heard loud and clear. Women’s rights are human rights, equal pay for equal work, and my body my choice.

Yet there are those voices who don’t want things to change, voices fine with the status quo because change is hard and we are “close enough”. I have struggled with figuring out why these women feel as they do. Are they women in abusive relationships who submit to their partner? Were they raised in a deeply religious environment where the patriarchy was the basis of everything? Have they been taught that women are second to men and simply don’t believe they can have better? If you are a woman reading this and you don’t believe in things like equal rights and equal pay, please comment and tell me why!

Close enough isn’t good enough, not for me, not for my sisters and nieces; we deserve a fair shot at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. While I wasn’t at the march on Saturday this year in person, I was there in spirit. I will continue to write letters and engage with people who think and feel differently than I do so I may seek to understand, to find common ground upon which we all can build a better future.

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Yes We Can

In the 24th century there is no poverty on Earth, everyone has the healthcare they need and all the education they could ever want. The acquisition of wealth is no longer a driving force for mankind. Instead humans work to better themselves through knowledge and the exploration of human potential. At least that was Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.

Last week as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, a post from a friend I haven’t seen since elementary school popped out. This guy tends to rant when he posts and where politics are concerned, he picks on everyone so while I don’t usually agree with everything he says, I like to look for the common ground. This particular post started out with opinions I don’t believe are supported by facts saying the President doesn’t care what people say about him (I’d argue that’s about the only thing he cares about!). He goes on to say that liberals want free stuff and to be lazy, that America is a dying nation full of stupid people, and that we will never have things like universal healthcare, fair wages, and an affordable education.

Usually by this point, I’ve scrolled on as I generally don’t like reading all that negativity but for some reason, his words gave me pause. In my mind I went back to the 1700s, to colonial America. If Facebook were a thing back then I’d imagine his post would read something like, America will always be subject to British rule, we will never have taxation with representation, and freedom is a pipedream. If you were to ask a slave before the civil war about freedom, he’d tell you it will never happen. If you asked a woman during the revolution about going to college or starting her own business, she’d no doubt laugh at you. But slavery in this country was abolished and opportunities for women have expanded. Have we reached the finish line? Hell no but we’re a heck of a lot closer than when we started.

I believe we can have things like fair wages, affordable education and universal healthcare. I think those things in particular would make our country not only great but strong. A healthy, well educated people capable of earning a living without help doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. I realize it won’t happen overnight but to say it will never happen is grossly shortsighted in my opinion.

We the people get to decide what is important and where to place our priorities. We tell our elected officials what we want and if they can’t make it happen, we get to elect ones that can. It is folly to think we are incapable of moving forward. Just look at how far we’ve already come. I’m not convinced the future Gene Roddenberry imagines for the 24th century will ever become a reality, I think elements of human nature can’t be reconciled by then. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

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Sorry, not sorry

I have many personal heroes; unfortunately most of them live in the realms of books, movies, and television. It’s no secret I was a huge Star Trek fan growing up and Jean-Luc Picard taught me so much about integrity and standing up for the truth even when the consequences could be devastating.

I remember watching Star Trek: The Next Generation’s fifth season episode “The First Duty” and being disappointed at how long it took Wesley to admit he and his team lied about the circumstances surrounding a fellow cadet’s death. For those who aren’t familiar with this episode, Cadet Wesley Crusher and his academy flight squadron were engaging in a flight maneuver strictly banned by the institution. If they successfully pulled off this maneuver they would be lauded as heroes by their fellow trainees. Unfortunately for Wesley and his squadron, during practice something went wrong and his friend was killed as a result. His team tried to cover it up but as the saying goes, the truth will out. Picard invites Wesley to his ready room where he explains “the first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth!”

As I’ve grown and garnered more life experience, I can sympathize with young Cadet Crusher more than I did as a teenager. While I think the death of his friend should have been more than sufficient circumstances to compel him to tell the truth from the start, I can understand how remaining loyal to his squadron commander and his friends, lying to protect them as it were, could create a difficult choice. In the end Wesley does the right thing to honor his friend who died. He tells the truth and willingly faces the consequences. He owned his mistake.

While I can’t say this episode alone taught me this lesson, it certainly reinforced concepts I had learned growing up. There have been times I’ve made mistakes or taken a shortcut for the sake of expediency. Most of the time those situations worked out but on the occasion they didn’t, I didn’t lie. I owned my failures and faced the consequences. I’ve learned that when you own up to your mistakes, admit wrong doing and make the effort to correct them, the disappointment by others is balanced by a level of respect for making it right.

Lately I’ve seen an unfortunate trend in American culture when a wrong is committed. The offending individual is quick to place blame elsewhere, often at the feet of the person they just victimized! Our instinct is one of self-preservation and when someone is caught doing something wrong, whether embarrassed, entitled, or ignorant the offender generally refused to own up.

You say something you shouldn’t and it hurts someone. Do you deny you said it? Downplay and dismiss the context in which it was said? Tell the person you hurt they are too sensitive and to get over it? Or do you own it and apologize? Would it really be so bad to just admit you made a mistake and apologize for it?

What happens to a society when the people chosen to lead said society are incapable of owning their mistakes? When our leaders are unwilling and unable to say “I’m sorry,” can we really expect the rest of the country to do the right thing when they’ve done something wrong? Why is admitting you’ve made a mistake perceived as weakness? We all make mistakes; every single one of us is flawed and prone to error. A quick apology can defuse a situation but denying wrong doing only exacerbates the issue turning a minor offense into a major ordeal.

I am grateful for Picard and other fictional heroes who have taught me so well. I’ll stick with them instead of the lessons many current real life leaders would have me learn instead.

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The Nuclear Option

Anything relating to “nuclear” tends to strike fear in the hearts of most people. Most people don’t have a clear understanding of what “nuclear” means and human nature is to fear what isn’t understood. As someone who has worked at length in the nuclear power industry, I have a very healthy respect for the awesome power nuclear energy can provide. I also have an understanding of the devastation that power can cause when turned into a weapon. Yes, like most people, I fear nuclear war. My fear is not based on ignorance however; it’s based on knowledge available to anyone willing to seek it.

If there is one singular thing leaders of nations with a nuclear arsenal can never joke about, it’s the use of that arsenal. I am not exaggerating when I say these weapons can end civilization as we know it and there is nothing funny about that. In my opinion, any leader who makes light of using such weapons of mass destruction is wholly unfit to lead.

Let’s put some things into perspective. I think we can all agree the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II were pretty powerful and extremely devastating. The explosive yield of Little Boy, the bomb used on Hiroshima was about 15 thousand tons or 0.015 megatons. Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was a little bigger at about 21,000 tons or 0.021 megatons. Little Boy killed about 80,000 people instantly and more than 100,000 additional lives were lost in the aftermath. These two bombs decisively ended the war in Japan.

This was all back in 1945 and if there’s one thing Americans are really good at, it’s making things bigger! Today’s nuclear weapons yield an explosion anywhere from 1 kiloton to 1.2 megatons. These weapons are substantially larger and more powerful that those used on Japan and we have almost seven thousand of them!

When an atomic weapon detonates, its destructive capability isn’t limited to just the physical devastation resulting from the force of the blast. Nuclear weapons blast dust and particulates into the atmosphere and leave behind plumes of radioactive material. The radioactive plume can be carried on the wind and deposited hundreds or thousands of miles away. The dust can stay in the upper atmosphere and drive down temperatures on the Earth’s surface (not a realistic solution to the end of global warming in my opinion). If enough atomic bombs are detonated, it could devastate crops by blocking the sun and plunging the planet into a near ice age. There’s also that whole radiation sickness to contend with. When the dust finally settles, it won’t matter who started it, there won’t be a civilization left to pick up the pieces.

A nuclear war isn’t just a war between two sides. A nuclear war is global and no single nation however great has the right to decide the fate of the world.

“Except for fools and madmen, everyone knows that nuclear war would be an unprecedented human catastrophe.” – Carl Sagan

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Happy Birthday to…me?

Today marks the anniversary of yet another trip around the sun for this lowly human. That’s right, it’s my birthday! I’m not a fan of birthdays anymore and were it not for the fact my birthday falls right after New Year’s Day, I would likely forget it most years. It’s not that I hate birthdays in general or that I don’t like celebrating my own, I just never considered surviving a trip around the sun as especially remarkable after the age of about ten.

However, this year I feel a change in attitude about the day of my birth. I am reminded today and every day really at how fast time seems to move as I age. There are things I want to do in life, things I want to see and experience and some of those things will only get harder as my human form grows older (unless my friend George solves that whole aging thing).

As I look back over my life to this point I can see dozens of roads not taken. I never imagined I’d be where I am today and I often wonder where I would be had I made different choices. I can say honestly that I’m happy and that’s precious. I have a wonderful husband, some really great friends, an awesome board game collection, and time to pursue interests and hobbies. I have my family close by, a great church community, and really good internet speeds for streaming! That is definitely something!

In the coming days, months, and years I want to travel more within the United States but it’s not cities I want to see. I want to see lakes and rivers and mountains. I want to walk through caves, stargaze where there’s no light pollution, and beachcomb where there’s no human garbage left behind. I want to see monuments and museums. I want to touch the places where human civilization made significant turning points. Of course I also want to travel among the stars and visit alien planets but I’ll have to save that for another life!

I also want to leave some kind of legacy behind. It doesn’t have to be grand and life changing for a lot of people but some kind of mark to show that I was here, that I, J.A. McLendon, lived a good and happy life on Earth. I want my time here to have meant something to the people that matter to me. When my time comes to leave this place, this existence, I want to leave it better than I found it.

Most importantly, moving forward with what I hope to be many more trips around the sun, I want to be deliberate in the everyday choices that I make, to consider how even the smallest simplest gestures can change a moment in someone else’s life. My cumulative effect may not be much but on the off chance it sparks others to do the same, ripples can turn into waves and maybe together we can all change the world. That would be something!

Happy Birthday to me!

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The Bible Tells Me So…or does it?

I’ve recently talked about my faith and it’s no secret I was raised in an ELCA Lutheran church. I admit however that my knowledge of the Bible is atrocious. There are key things I was taught growing up and I’ve used those keys as a measure against anything that tests my faith. While this works well for me, I realize others need a more specific foundation and often turn to the Bible for answers. Note: My ‘keys’ are also in the Bible, see Matthew 22:36-40

My home church is in the process of becoming a Reconciled in Christ congregation. Basically that means we will openly welcome those among the LGBTQ community. Gloria Dei is already a welcoming community but becoming an R.I.C. congregation puts us on a list and makes it known that we accept anyone regardless of sexual identity or orientation. Part of this process involves studying the Bible and understanding what it says and doesn’t say about homosexuality.

Being the good scholarly type that I am, I attended Sunday School on the day all of this was unpacked for us. We talked at length about various Bible passages, what they mean in context to when they were written and how some things don’t culturally apply today. A few days ago I went back over the material and pulled out my own study Bible to see what it had to say. It turns out that not all Bibles are created equal.

One of the verses presented in Sunday School had slightly different verbiage than my own Bible. After a quick BibleHub.com search I discovered most translations had this verse translated one of two ways. The verse in question is Genesis 19:5. Chapter 19 of Genesis is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, a story often used to support the notion that homosexuality is a sin. This particular verse is the instance when the men of Sodom come to Lot’s house and demand he turn over his guests so that they may “know them” in one translation or “have sex with them” in another. The first instance doesn’t necessarily imply sexual intent and the second implies rape not consensual sex between men. I have read and reread that story and found no basis for the notion that homosexual behavior was the reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, Genesis 19 never even mentions sexual immorality of any kind. My study bible had notations about this verse (Gen 19:5) which directed me to other passages in the Bible. Upon reading those verses and looking at the notations for them, the publisher draws what I believe to be a false conclusion and redirects the reader back to Genesis 19:5 as evidence, specifically that homosexuality is a sin.

I used a lifeline and phoned a pastor about my discovery and she laughed at me and told me to get a less conservative study Bible. Up until that point I had never really considered publisher bias in “the Good Book”. I know bias exists everywhere which includes the authors of the various books of the Bible. I had foolishly assumed that since this was a study bible, the notations were written from a scholarly perspective which would include arguments for both sides of an interpretation. In the case of the Zondervan NIV Study Bible copy written in 1984, this is simply not how the information is presented.

I might have been able to dismiss this one instance but I continued with the R.I.C. material and moved on to other verses used as bludgeons against the LGBTQ community. I again found another notation where a conclusion is drawn based on the translated scripture passage without taking into consideration the entirety of the passage, only a single verse! (Romans 1:27)

Ultimately the point I’m trying to make is not that you can’t trust the word of the Lord but that you have to look at more than one translation and more than one publisher’s conclusion about what those words mean. This is by no means an easy task and I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of two additional study Bibles so that I may continue to draw my own conclusions.

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