The Gay Protest That Encountered the Love of Godby Michael Brown
Last week, Scott Volk, one of the pastoral leaders at FIRE Church, my home congregation, received a call from the local police informing him that there would be a gay protest outside our building on Sunday morning.
The leader of the protest announced on Facebook, “We will meet just before service begins, and protest as they gather, we will have a silent protest as service is going and let them have it as they leave for the day. Remember we will be peaceful and respectful, something they don’t understand. We are going to STAND TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY to show that our love is stronger than their hate.”
In response, I wrote on my blog: “On behalf of FIRE Church, I want to extend to you the warmest welcome and let you know that we are thrilled that you are here with us on Sunday. We have been praying for you for a long time!
“As always, you will only meet with love, kindness, and respect from the FIRE leadership and congregants, and we proclaim to you once again the amazing grace of God. Jesus died to save us from our sins, heterosexual and homosexual alike, and only in Him can we find forgiveness, redemption, and transformation. Jesus alone is the Healer, Savior, Deliverer, and Transformer.”
On my radio show, I also encouraged them to come in good numbers so we could greet them, and Scott posted a note on Q-Notes, a local gay website that had announced the protest, saying, “As the pastor of FIRE Church, I just want you to know that you’ll be greeted with the same love and compassion as we always endeavor to show anyone--you are more-than-welcome! You make mention of the ‘hate’ that we show. Yet, in all our years here we’ve only desired to reach out with love to everyone in the local community here whether they are labeled as gay or straight. Hopefully, you’ll see that love demonstrated on Sunday as you protest.”
Not surprisingly, given the suspicion, and misunderstanding that exists, Scott’s gracious invitation drew some hostile responses…
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