Thursday, August 23, 2007

Carried by the Spirit

God is so very good, and when we try to listen, God tries to guide us.

After the vandalism, we decided to do a little good in the neighborhood -- clean our sign, but then go out into the streets and ask if anyone needed any little chores done. About 15 people showed up (out of maybe 75 in Worship, usually) and did just that. But they weren't alone: 2 newspapers and 3 tv stations were there too. They were followed through the neighborhood (which was a little disruptive to the task) as they went on their mission of love. (I wasn't there -- was facilitating a meeting in San Francisco.)

Neighbors were shocked by the vandalism, concerned for their own safety, and deeply supportive of us. In fact, the vast majority of feedback and media we've received has been positive. People are generally horrified that anyone desecrates a church, period. Most have responded to folks choosing to do good in response to evil with pleasure and gratitude. Our local Councilman, Evan Low, has been both encouraging and helpful, asking a whole lot of his contacts (and local residents!) to donate to repairing the sign. We got a call from the Anti-Defamation League and an Art Institute teacher offered his class if we needed any design work done. That's just a taste of the love we've gotten back.

It hasn't been all positive, of course. I received one email asking for our justification of welcoming everyone, including lgbt people, which I responded to in good faith. I (and everyone else with an email link on our website) received one email from an anonymous person (who, based on his/her address, works here) simply listing the standard "clobber" Scriptures with an unkind note. Fortunately, no-one has yet said, "Yay! Desecration!"

But all that, though gratifying, isn't the point. Here's the point: the Holy Spirit inspired our folks to do as Jesus taught -- to love our enemies, and return good for evil. Any day we do what Jesus taught us to do is a good day for me.

Above the fray and fatigue, the Spirit has been carrying me this week. God is so very good.

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