Monday, August 20, 2007

Responding to hate

Last Saturday night, the main sign on our church campus was defaced. The perpetrators left a clear message by spray painting "Fags to Hell, God Rules". They also painted out the rainbow fish that proclaim that our church community is welcoming to all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Hate is always distressing and painful. It creates fear, and builds walls. Hate is Evil itself, which is always working to generate the same hatred in us. That is its purpose.

As Jesus-followers, we know the truth: God is love. God loves and cares for each and every one of us as if we were God's only child, God calls us to be people of love, not people of hate. That is our purpose.

Jesus taught us, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." So yesterday, when the church gathered after Worship to figure out how to respond, we decided to share some love in the community.

Tonight participants will bring cleaning and gardening supplies to campus. While we clean up our sign, we will go out into our neighborhood and offer to clean and garden for our neighbors. And then, prayer, celebration, and pizza in the twilight!

We hoisted a rainbow flag yesterday below the US flag on our flagpole. And we're adding a new sign to our main one: "God loves you. We do too". We will also be providing window signs with that same message to anyone who wants them.

I don’t know how many people will participate with this short notice. But whether it’s 1 or 100, we see this act of hate against us and lgbt people as a God-given opportunity to show our community the love we've found in Christ.

1 comment:

Tim said...

I commend you and the folks of your congregation for your response. Hate's greatest power is its capacity to reproduce itself. What frustrates me and angers me is the hate which comes even from within the church -- directed toward homosexual people or those who welcome them, as in your case, or directed against Muslims and any who would try to understand and love them! (See the latest post on my blog.)

Hatred -- of any human being -- is a denial of everything we are and everything we are meant to be as followers of Jesus. Our hope is that love will reproduce itself, and the fact that we have responded to the love of God shown us in Jesus shows that it is working. Now we embrace the love that has embraced us and spread it around!