Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Culture War: Be Prepared

Last time I wrote about the incident in the Castro District in San Francisco. I want to relate a similar instance that happened to me. This wasn’t a case of persecution, but instead of how to answer those who would seek to twist my faith for their purposes.

I was part of the wedding party for one of my best friends and his reception was downtown. We had to park in a parking structure across from the reception site. As we were getting ready to cross the street we saw a parade coming our way. It was a Saturday in the summertime, so it could’ve been anything. We rushed as fast as we could to cross the street before the ‘parade’ passed by. As we did so, the crowd gathered opened up in cheers. You see, the parade was a march for gay rights and a group of guys in tuxedos obviously were taking part in the march for the sake of gay-marriage. Um, no.

So we got to the reception, and the Evangelist who ministered the wedding was holding the door for us with his right hand while his left clutched a Bible. As the crowd passed and they saw the Word in his hand, they began to shout obscenities towards him and some even started throwing things at him. Then a gentleman came up to us with a video camera and asked him about his thoughts regarding homosexuality. In my mind, I was itching for a fight, but the brother responded by simply saying that we should love the homosexual community just as much as Jesus does and not treat them any differently because “we all sin and fall short of the Glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) The cameraman jumped on this opportunity to pontificate about the sins of homosexuality. This guy claimed to be a Christian! I figured from his arguments that he was possibly part of Fred Phelps church, but I didn’t see a counter demonstration.

He argued that we should not tolerate sin and should be vocal against it. The evangelist countered by pointing out that we should condemn sin, not the sinner and reach out to others with love. The cameraman responded with the example of Jesus’ harsh words regarding sin and that he wasn’t afraid to get under others’ skin. But the example he used was where Jesus was speaking out against the religious hypocrites in the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law (Matthew 23) and a better example would be how Jesus reached out to the woman at the well (John 4) or the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:1-11). The cameraman then tried to use the example of Jesus losing his temper in the Temple courts (Jn 2:12-17). But again, his righteous indignation was against the religious legalists and those taking advantage of others.

Eventually the cameraman ran out of examples and arguments, thanked the Evangelist for his time, and walked away. This brother earned a new level of respect from me, and humbled me in my attitudes and willingness to fight instead of reason. This was a perfect example of “be[ing] prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15)

No comments: