Hello, Ms. Coulter,

I hope this somewhat lengthy letter finds you well and totally Ebola-free. (And if you can believe it, I’ve never opened a letter with those words.) I wavered on whether or not to write you, not because you don’t know me and probably won’t read this anyway, but because all of my friends told me not to. They said it wouldn’t do any good. That it would be a waste of time. That your post about Dr. Kent Brantly and Ebola contained so much vitriol that a response was beneath me. And that to argue with you wouldn’t change your mind anyway.

But I’m not writing you to change your mind. Well, at least not yet. I have no plans to start a debate. I have no desire to argue. You are entitled to your opinion, even if you stand alone with it. You have a right to express your thoughts, even if no one listens. You can write whatever words you choose, even if no one cares to read them. (Though I’m sure more Americans agree with you than what I personally would like to be true.)

No, I’m not here to wrestle with you. I’m here to invite you. Yes, Ann Coulter, you read that right. I, Heidi Weimer, a sold-out follower of Jesus, lover of humanity, and self-admitted political lefty (oh, the holy horror!), am inviting you to join me in a little bit of danger.

Because I don’t think you’re soulless, Ms. Coulter. I don’t think you’re evil. I don’t think you have no heart. I think you just haven’t seen what I’ve seen. And while you profess some knowledge of what it means to be a Christian, I don’t think you understand what I’ve learned in my journey with that very Christ you mention—that following Jesus is absolutely and entirely dangerous. Following Jesus is not at all safe. In fact, following Jesus is often very, very foolish. And yes, to the world and anyone else who can’t relate, quite “idiotic.”

But before I tell the who, what, when, where, and why of that invitation to be dangerous with me, let me just share some of my own thoughts about the whole “Ebola doctor = idiot” claim.

To begin, your first “proof” of Dr. Brantly’s “idiocy” is the enormity of the money ($2 million, right?) now being spent on his care by the very charity that sent him to Africa in the first place. While on paper (screen?) your logic is, well, actually logical, what you’re missing is the heart, the very mission behind that charity. Samaritan’s Purse‘s entire existence is wrapped up in the belief that we, as followers of Jesus, are to bring “spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world…with the purpose of sharing God’s love.” Is it unfortunate what has happened to the doctor? Yes. Is it ideal that it will end up costing a fortune? No. But again, let’s go back to the heart of the mission, that part about bringing “aid to hurting people around the world.”

Did you get that? Around the world. Not just around the block. To share God’s love. Sometimes, sharing that love just plain costs a lot, and not just financially. It’s risky. Is it worth it? Yes. Would Dr. Brantly do it again? I’d bet heck yeah. Would Samaritan’s Purse send him again? I have no doubt. Because the money isn’t what matters; the mission is. And as the 36-year-old mom of seven adopted kids (yes, all from Africa) and four biological kids, I can tell you that sometimes sharing that love costs more than we have to our names. But that’s okay, because God owns “the cattle on a thousand hills.” We crazy, dependent Jesus-followers like to say that “where God guides, He provides.” (Pardon the cliché, but this one’s a good one.) Whether that’s for our adoptions, our groceries, our vehicles, or our kids to go to college, God’s in the business of taking care of, well, His business. And I have no doubt that Samaritan’s Purse gets that. They understand that it’s all on Him because it’s all because of Him and all for Him. So two million dollars? Yeah, that’s a lot. But that’s entirely not the point at all.

Next, you object to Dr. Brantly (and I’m assuming you’d lump all missionaries in with him, too, though forgive me for assuming as I don’t want to make a rear-end out of you or me) serving Christ overseas, especially when our own country is its own cesspool of problems. You ask “[c]an’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?” And then you answer your own question—No. Well, first, I’ll affirm you just a fraction in your point. Because it’s true that it’s easy to see the striking needs and starving children halfway around the globe and miss the hurting kids living right next door. It’s sometimes more obvious that an entire culture in Africa oppresses girls than to realize our own society has its own crisis with oversexualizing females and objectifying women. How can we be faithful to serving the least of these on another continent and addressing a third world culture’s needs when our own nation is a mess? Good point. Sort of.

Because I’d like to suggest that the two options aren’t mutually exclusive, that ministering in a foreign land doesn’t negate loving our own. I’d like to ask you to see that those who pack up and pick up and leave comfortable America to head overseas—often into the unknown—probably already understand this. Why? Because occupational missionaries live missionally. Period. No matter where they are. In other words, they live their lives on mission for the Kingdom of God. That’s what led them to the occupational part of missions in the first place. So whether on the domestic front and God calls them to serve the poor in inner-city Detroit, the Sudanese refugees in Nashville, or over-indulgent, godless celebrities in Hollywood (Hey, I’d like to take up that cause!) or halfway around the world, wherever they are called to be a light, they do it willingly and openly and without strings attached or expectations made. They do it because it’s who they are and they know it’s not about them anyway. Their lives are not their own. They belong to Jesus Christ.

MLINMO tattoo

My first tat.

You suggested that Dr. Brantly forget about Africa and serve his “own,” people in his own backyard. You even were so helpful as to mention Zavala County, “one of the poorest counties in the nation.” Perhaps your mention will prick people’s hearts to take notice and serve the needs in that community. But what you don’t seem to believe is that if Dr. Brantly were called by God to that very place, he would surely go. Why do I believe this true of him even without having ever met him or knowing much about him at all? Because when God asked him to serve all the way in Africa, Dr. Brantly said yes. But God didn’t ask the doctor to go to Zavala County; he sent him to Liberia. Perhaps God is asking another good doctor to head down to Texas. Let’s pray to that end and while doing so let’s not fault Dr. Brantly for being faithful to his own call.

Here’s the deal. I just got back from my sixth trip to Africa, my fifth to Ethiopia. And while it’s apparently the fifteenth safest country in the world and the safest on the entire continent, I took my twelve-year-old daughter and left behind ten of my eleven children and my hard-working, adorable, Jesus-loving husband to be on mission in a third world nation where I risked disease, danger, and death. Not to mention, it took us twelve months of really hard work at fundraising to afford the trip. So why would I do such a thing? Because it’s the country that has my heart. It’s where Jesus called me to go. It’s worth it to me. Did I realize I might not come home? Yes. But if I drive the 0.9 miles to my local Kroger, I also might not come home. And that’s just to buy a gallon of milk for my kids’ Toasty-O’s cereal in the morning. (It’s true—we can’t afford actual Cheerios.) But if I take that kind of everyday risk, how much more should I risk to be the hands and feet of Jesus to children and women who need His love and light and hope around the world?

Izzy and girls ET 2014

Does any of that negate the fact that my neighbors next door need that same love and light and hope? Absolutely not! Does any of that necessarily mean that I am ignoring the needs around me in my affluent community of Williamson County, Tennessee? No. Does any of that mean that on a daily basis I am not ministering to and witnessing to and loving on the “godless” around me? No. If it’s my heart to pour out myself to love the least of these in Africa, it’s also my heart to love the “lost” here in America. In fact, if you want to know the truth, what pumps my blood as much as sitting in a hut in rural Ethiopia and praying over a widowed mom of six young children is sitting across the table from a homosexual atheist here in America and engaging in profitable dialogue with them. (True story. I love it. Ask my friends.) It’s all for God’s Kingdom. And it’s all because of His love in me and thus my love for people.

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Sieb

So while you might think that I “slink off” to Ethiopia because I’m tired of dealing with the culture war crap here in America, you’re wrong, Ms. Coulter. I fully realize and live by the truth that living in the U.S. isn’t a break from the Great Commission Jesus issued any more than being a public school teacher means that said teacher doesn’t care about their own kids at home. The thing is, your reasoning just doesn’t fly in the face of reality. (Although, if you want me to be honest, it’s so much more pure and simple to live out the gospel in the middle of Africa when you’re 7,000 miles away from tired Hobby Lobby debates and the political circus of American Christianity. But you get my point. I hope. Sigh.) I go not to avoid America. I go because I love the women in Ethiopia. I go because the kids there are worth it. I go because I have been sent. I go because of Jesus.

Heidi and women in ET 2014

And then, by the end of your article, well, you struck a nerve with me. Because if you only knew the heart of so many of us who are passionate about mission work overseas, you’d know that we cannot stand HATE HATE HATE TOTALLY AND 100% ENTIRELY ABHOR the word “hero.” Oh, yes. We certainly do. And while it’s true that Americans are prone to a Messiah complex, to a Savior mentality, many of us would in a heartbeat burn any super-hero cape thrust upon us. A whole slew of us want nothing to do with the hero label. No, if you want to put me on a pedestal, I’ll be happy to throw myself right off of it. In fact, I’ll probably lose my footing and trip down from it anyway. I’m no hero of any sorts, whether ordinary or extraordinary or anything in between. No, I’m just one person living her life to love Jesus, follow Him, and make Him known to as many people as possible wherever I am asked to go for as long as I can before I leave this body and embrace eternity. So, no,—Lord bless—I am SO not a hero for anything I’ve done: adoption, missions, or otherwise. And I firmly believe that if Dr. Brantly wanted to indulge any narcissistic bent in him and don a cape, there are far easier and less dangerous ways to do that than in undesirable conditions in western Africa in the middle of an epidemic.

Finally, Dear Ms. Coulter, I’d like to flip your entire argument on its head. (I know; I’m sorry. But I had to save this until the end.) I have to challenge your suggested premise that Christians are to be a lot less foolish and a great deal more rational. Because if Christians were to live safe lives here in suburbia and settle down in safety, well, you’d be totally right. But the truth is, Ann…The jarring truth is that that is precisely the opposite of the life to which Jesus calls us if we claim to love Him and follow Him. He beckons us to dangerous living. He tells us to count the cost. He calls us to do radical things that we would do for no other reason than our love for Him and thus our love for His people. (Note the key factor being love, because if we fail at that, we totally fail at it all.) {And by the way, since Christian children right this minute are being beheaded over in Iraq, perhaps it’s time we retire the idea that Christianity is supposed to be safe.}

Of course there will always be the naysayers telling us we’re foolish, the confused crowd wondering what we’re up to, the uptighties with one hand on their hip and the other waving a finger to tell us that we’re making a huge mistake, that we’re risking too much, that we are taking this Jesus thing way too seriously or entirely all wrong.

But it doesn’t matter, because it’s not about my safety or about my comfort or about what others think of me. (Psst. They think I’m crazy.) My life is not my own. It’s just not about me. It’s about Jesus. Any danger I can’t foresee and any risks I can are all worth it both now and in the end because Jesus and His Kingdom are worth it.

It’s why my husband and I said TO HECK with mediocrity and comfort and welcomed seven kids into our family, even when others rolled their eyes and warned us not to. It’s why we said YES to an angry, hurting teenage girl and called her our daughter, even when others advised us not to and even when she put our very security and sanity at very real risk. It’s why we brought in a broken, traumatized, little seven-year-old girl, even though she was rejected and abandoned by countless others who didn’t think she was worth it. It’s why we forgo riches and excess and ease, even if others think our finances are a sad state of affairs. (Oh, wait, they are!) It’s why my husband works a full-time job and valet parks cars three nights a week on top of that, even if others say yes to the American Dream. It’s why we say YES to God before we even know the question.

Because living dangerously (in reality and not just metaphorically) is how all followers of Jesus are supposed to be living. And if we’re following the Son of God who made and love all people, it only makes sense that that same God would send us to love all people, whether in suburban America or rural Africa or the streets of the Middle East or, yes, like you mentioned, in the one of poorest counties in the U.S. of A. We live dangerously wherever we are because following Jesus demands it.

And before you object to that claim, let me assure you. No, we’re not foolish for foolish sake. We’re not crazy just to be crazy. We’re not radical just to call ourselves radical. We’re any of those and all of those only if and only when Jesus requires it. (Which, by the way, is often.)

And so all that to explain, Ms. Coulter, that you’re invited. You’re invited to that dangerous living, if you do indeed love and follow Jesus. And you’re also personally invited by me, Yours Truly. You’re invited to come and hop a plane with me. Let’s go be dangerous together for a week or more. Let’s take a walk on the unsafe side. Let’s drop by my favorite places in Ethiopia. Let’s show up in L.A. where no one would expect us. Let’s take a trip, a Where in the World is Ann Coulter?, if you will, and let’s ask the people in the trenches. Let’s talk to the preachers, the teachers, the pastors, the doctors, the nurses, the missionary pilots, and the people on the ground. Let’s not pontificate; let’s participate. And let’s—together—see the needs, both here and afar. Let’s check this out and see what it’s all about, less we risk being the foolish ones for all the wrong reasons.

Because I have a hunch that when you see with your own eyes what I’ve seen with mine and you get a taste of something you’ve never before, you might think differently than to dismiss God’s work as the work of crazed, narcissistic idiots.

So Dear Ann Coulter, you’re officially invited. I’ll even let you have the seat by the aisle.

Sincerely,

Heidi Weimer,

Official and Outspoken Idiot for Jesus

 

P.S. For what it’s worth, I don’t care for “Christian narcissists,” either. I mean, ew. Just ew. I just think you’ve stuck the label on the wrong guy.

And P.P.S. Let’s you and I and everyone else join together in spending more time praying for the end of the Ebola epidemic than we do debating it. Okay? Thanks.

23 thoughts on “Dear Ann Coulter, You’re officially invited…

  1. Roseann

    Yes! And perhaps Ms Coulter would like to come along with us and visit the outreach in devastated east Detroit…it’s pretty scary when you just read stats or see the devastation. However, when you actually accept individuals as human beings, and keep in perspective that Jesus died for each one, it becomes a beautiful place where grace and mercy reign in the name of Jesus. She’s missing the most precious aspect of why we call ourselves “Christians” and why our lives are not our own. She was bought with a price too…

    Reply

  2. Krista Knepp

    Very well written and I wish more of America’s Christians thought this way. Although I do not agree with us picking political parties as believers because I think saying we are liberals or conservatives tends to make an assumption for us that we do not necessarily want. (Besides, I vote people not party.) I truly enjoyed this article and hope she takes you up on your invitation.

    Reply

    1. Heidi Weimer Post author

      Yes, I know what you are saying about political parties. And it’s definitely a real concern. I hate when political labels are used to divide, especially in the Body of Christ. I guess as somewhat of an idealist, I only attach myself to such labels in order to further explain my general perspectives and slant. In other words, “so-and-so is right-leaning and I am left-leaning” helps us all understand the passions and places from which we think and act. And, I tend to vote party and not person, because I generally believe in that party’s ideals and platform. That’s not to say I don’t think there are fine people in both parties. Politics is just, well, politics. And that’s not to say I care what yours or any other person’s party affiliation is. In fact, I think diversity of thought and perspective is extremely beneficial, both as a nation and in the Church. It’s the lack of unity as people (and more importantly as Christians) that is the problem.

      And ALL of that to say, my allegiance is not to a political party or even a political state or nation. It’s to the Kingdom of God, my true citizenship.

      In short, I mostly agree with you. 🙂

      Reply

  3. Liza

    Christian narcissism (in Ann’s article)? I think she should be worried about American narcissism. If America goes down the whole world goes down?

    Thanks for your reply. I have to agree with you.

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  4. Joel Veldt

    Wow. I have been trying to formulate an answer to Ann, and here you went and did it for me. As an MK who has devoted the last 25 years of my life (and my wife’s life, and our marriage, and our family as they grew up) to a ministry aimed at serving career missionaries, I KNEW Ann was wrong, but hadn’t wrassled with things enough to express what I felt. Thank you for doing that for us!

    Wait a minute!!! Did I see that you describe yourself as a “self-admitted political lefty”?? No! I CAN’T be in agreement with you then, can I??? I don’t listen to Rush because he’s too far left for me. Either I’ve completely misunderstood you, or the Grace of God is so great it can reconcile even us. (That’s tongue in cheek, for all you literalists)

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  5. Gillian Tucker

    You are my favorite. (And I mean that in the least hero-y way possible.) keep laying it down, firey one and loving well. May the Spirit of Jesus Christ burn brightly and captivate this ole World!!! ( and thanks for sticking up for us missionaries — especially those of us who are everywhere missionaries saying Y.E.S. To Jesus here at home and anywhere and anyhow He’ll send us!!) love and hugs to you, girl!!!!!

    Reply

  6. Leah nelson

    Love your letter! I wonder where we would be if Paul never left the comfort of Jerusalem. It really is about following the leading of the Holy Spirit and to that there is no room for political labels, or a conditional price tag. Ms. Coulter seems to be full of head knowledge of the Christian faith, but its fairly obvious, there she has no heart for it. Thank you for expressing yours!

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  7. Laurel Gearson

    What a wonderfully written letter! It’s amazing from beginning to end! Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Debbi McReynolds

    I loved reading your response. Delivered with the love that Christ has commanded us to show. I caught myself being fiercely angry this morning at Ms. Coulter after reading her very hurtful and uninformed letter. It struck a sensitive chord with me as my husband and I and God have managed to raise a daughter who has committed her life to missions in Haiti. She recently graduated high school, having taken 3 trips to Haiti and 1 to Nicaragua, and plans to attend college for Occupational therapy and return to practice in Haiti through a missions organization. My daughter is not foolish or a narcissist. She is a Child of the One True King who has prayed and prayed and is doing her best to answer the call she feels from. God. I have had to work to get over my anger with Ms Coulter and come to realize that she just doesn’t get it. Thanks you for inviting her to a place where she can understand. (btw…my neice and soon to be home nephew are from Ethiopia)

    Reply

  9. Jane Thier

    Great Heidi! She went way too far with this. Shame on her. And, I’m very conservative, but right is right. You, were RIGHT ON with this one. I’m disgusted with her.

    Reply

  10. Melissa Irwin

    Oh Heidi – funny I found your blog today from a friend of mine up north only to discover that you and I live in the same town!! Goodness. I’ve been to Zimbabwe 10 times and founded an org to help serve the orphans there and eventually globally. I just brought a Zim kiddo back with me THIS WEEK to begin school here for a while. Would love to connect with you since it sounds like your life isn’t hectic at all. 😉 Your post here is fantastic and I truly hope Ann reads it and is open to all of its truth. Meanwhile, in other news, my org is doing a music fundraiser with Ellie Holcomb on 8/19 in Franklin. Please let me know if you are interested in knowing more about it.

    Reply

  11. Linda Edwards

    You nailed it right on the head, you didn’t miss a beat, excellent! and thank you for saying what so many of us could not have put into words. We have an adopted son from Liberia and I have been there 5 times in the last 10 years. I was just there the last week of May to June 15. I can not believe how things changed in less than a month. When God calls however, it’s a joy to go. He was there with me everyday as I was showing the Jesus film in schools and churches during that 3 weeks. Thanks again for making it clear to those who have no idea. The only way anyone can know is to “go”.

    Reply

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