Apparently, the news that Southminster sent up an overture that will in June expand marriage from a man and woman to two people didn't sit well with these gentlemen. In the spirit of Jesus they responded by shouting obscenities at children.
Their passion was also fueled by the Christian media. Since I wrote my piece on belief-less Christianity for the Friendly Atheist, my Christian sisters and brothers have engaged in name-calling (Satan is a favorite), mud-slinging, and character assassination. These demonstrators read these stories and carried on in similar Christian love.
Ah well. In the meantime, I preached a sermon on what it means to have Jesus in my heart. I like this place. Southminster is a great church filled with courageous, gentle, and friendly seekers.
We turned this into a teaching moment for adults and children about the important mission of our congregation (a mission that is important enough to generate opposition). It was also a teaching moment about free speech. The same right that allows us to worship as we please allows people to voice their disagreement from the sidewalk.
Andrew Maldarelli did a great job with the children. He wrote this on our Southminster Groups Facebook page:
“Despite protests, the children and I had a very fantastic talk this morning during Sunday School. They were all curious about the folks hollering outside. We focused on the words of Martin Luther King Jr..."One day the people of this world are going to need to learn how to get along with one another" And, "Hate cannot drive out hate...only love can do that! If you had a kiddo in Sunday School with me, know that it was a great morning with a lot of love and understanding, and I will look forward to seeing you next week! I thank everyone for being cool under pressure.”The demonstrators might or might not return for Easter Sunday. It doesn't matter if they do or don't, we will demonstrate our Christian witness either way. We will be safe with police presence. We will welcome worshipers in the parking lot with some good tunes from Andrew, our children's minister. His electric guitar this past Sunday was louder than the hateful language and a great deal more pleasant. We will show hospitality to everyone, including the loud gentlemen. Our mission statement is to include, not exclude. We have a great Easter service planned. Join us and bring your friends!