Thursday, September 9, 2010

In the name of Jesus?

At my seminary graduation in 2001, there was a group  who decided to picket outside the building where graduation was taking place.  I'm not sure why they picked "Wartburg Seminary" graduation as a high profile event.  I mean, really.  There were about ten of them as I recall, and as we exited graduation, we were warmly greeted with signs reading things like, "Matthew Shepard is burning in hell," and "Jesus hates fags."  

In the name of Jesus?

Last year in Kansas, a man walked into a church and killed an usher.  The usher was a doctor who had performed abortions.  He was also a father of four and grandfather of ten.  Dr. Tiller's wife was singing in the choir at the time her husband was murdered.  

In the name of Jesus?

I don't have to re-tell the story of the unspeakable going on in Florida right now.  I feel like if I write the words - it will have power it doesn't deserve to have.  

In fact, I remember my seminary president, at the time of the picketing incident, telling us to focus on God's love, not the hate that was being flung in our faces.  He said that evil gets the credit that we give it.  What a great thing to remember.  What an incredibly difficult thing to practice.  

If we focus on God's love, then we have to remember that God loves picketers with hate signs and murderers and book burners.  We have to remember that God's grace goes deep and wide - and that Jesus died, not just for those we deem worthy - but for all who are coming apart at the seams.  I know.  I don't like it either.  But as far as I can tell, Jesus doesn't put boundaries on His love.  And as painful as it is for me to watch these things being done in the name of Jesus - I can't draw a line in the sand because that would be playing tit for tat, and Jesus says no to that.

Believe me, this is as painful for me to write as it is for you to read.  But the hate cycle has to stop somewhere, right?  Why not start with prayers for those who choose hate as a way of life?  Pray that God, who is in the business of bringing life from death, will turn that hate into love.

In the name of Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. I'll always remember the words you wrote on Facebook when we were discussing discrimination... you said, "It's all about the love, baby." That has stuck with me, and I've quoted you over and over. We just need to remember that it's all about the love.