Seems like we hear too much in the news about how some group of people professing to be Christian has said something hateful about people who are gay.
Most recently the folks at Westboro Baptist Church threatened to protest the funeral of one of the school children killed in the tornado in Moore, OK. And why? Because they say the storm was God’s wrath against a city where an Oklahoma Thunder NBA player publicly supported another NBA player who recently announced that he was gay. Word got out and the group of bikers who have become well known for blocking Westboro’s disruptive tactics stood outside the church building before and during the funeral to protect the family’s privacy. Westboro didn’t show.
Lots of friends of mine are Baptists and I don’t know a one of them who would agree with Westboro.
These actions are always the work of a miniscule group of people – extremists who live on the fringe of normality – as evidenced most recently by the cultish leader’s granddaughter’s public renunciation of the group, exposing some of their misguided teachings.
Teachings that are far from anything I know about the true spirit of Christianity.
But Tweets like this one in response, while understandable, also go against the true message of Christianity….
#OKC & #Moore: #Westboro Baptist will be in Moore on Friday. Refuse any service to them. http://notinmoore.rez.li/ #okwx pic.twitter.com/lp1hl1qNGd
Because the Jesus I know didn’t exclude anyone. He invites us all to the table. No matter what.
When this is the picture of Christianity many are left with, with no countervailing reality, it will take overt demonstrations of love to counteract such messages of hate.
It’s funny, though, that you won’t hear anything on the news about another group of Christians gathering this weekend. Lots of brands of Christianity coming together for the singular purpose of better understanding same-sex attraction and learning a more Christ-like response. Sponsored by CenterPeace, more than 200 people will gather for a two day conference called Peacemakers, with the intent of learning to be just that.
Peacemakers in the ongoing journey of sincerely striving to reconcile Christian faith and homosexuality.
And thanks to the Northside Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas, for hosting this event, we’ll leave on Sunday better equipped to bring peace – to create safe places to talk about same-sex attraction in our churches and in our families.
What will happen as a result? Just imagine….
- Imagine parents better equipped to respond to the questions of a young adolescent son or daughter who’s struggling with the confusion that naturally occurs with the development of our sexuality, only to be compounded by feelings of same-sex attraction.
- Imagine families responding to a son or daughter who identifies as gay or lesbian in ways that convey love, that maintain relationship, and keep the conversation ongoing.
- Imagine church leaders empowered to respond to the needs of families and individuals in their congregations who are impacted by same-sex attraction.
- Imagine safe places for questions to be asked, for doubts to be expressed, without fear of condemnation, without fear of being ostracized from the Body of Christ.
That’s what we’ll be talking about this weekend at the Peacemakers Conference.
We won’t make the news, and so sadly, many will go on believing that all Christians respond like the ones from Westboro. But that’s not true.
Because there are lots of Christians who care deeply about learning a better way.
If you’d like to join us, there’s still time. We’ll always make room.