Friday, June 5, 2015

When You're Wrong

Hey, people of Westboro Baptist Church, 

Greetings in the name of God, whom we seek to worship and glorify with our words and our works. 

I acknowledge your right to be outside Beau Biden's funeral. You can say whatever you want there. 

It's your right. 

Just because it's your right, though, doesn't make it right. 

You've articulated on your website ( that you feel the need to be outside at that funeral, shouting against the grieving people inside, because the Biden family, as Roman Catholics, will likely pray using the rosary and your congregation perceives that to be idolatry. 

So, on June 6th, you think that the greatest use of your tax-free dollars and God-given energy is to scream about idolatry in the use of the rosary outside of a church wherein a funeral is being held for a 46-year-old husband, son, father, brother, and friend.

Your "press release" quotes several passages about idolatry, including: 

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn from the way that I am commanding you today, to follow other gods that you have not known. Deuteronomy 11:26-28


Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21

I have some Scripture I'd like to quote back to you, not because I want to trump you, but because Scripture is useful for reproof and correction (2 Timothy 3:16). We who are believers are to use it for such a purpose among ourselves, so that we can be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), carrying God's message in him to the world. 

 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:26-27

Our words are the greatest threat to our witness. Is crusading against the rosary at a funeral a good use of your words or your witness? Is that the work in which you are seeking the Spirit’s help? Can you honestly say that it is caring for the widows and the orphaned in their distress, not to mention anyone else who is grieving?

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21

I was going to select some verses from Paul’s letter above, but they all seemed pertinent. You have the zealousness down pat! Good job. However, have you spent that zeal and energy in improving the lives of your fellow Kansans? Are all around you sated, quenched, healed, visited, and accompanied?

Lastly, I want you to consider Jesus’ own words as written in Matthew’s gospel account:

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12

It’s worth noting that Jesus connects this passage to the call to live with a purity of heart, a peacemaking spirit, meekness, and demonstrations of mercy, among other things. If you are doing all of the above and you find yourself persecuted because of your faithfulness in those things, then the words of reward may apply to you.

However, just because people deride what you’re doing… just because people try to keep you away from their gatherings and disdain your motives… just because people don't like what you're doing...

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being persecuted.

Sometimes it just means you’re an asshole.


Unknown said...

Nicely put, Pastor Julia! Thank you.

Unknown said...

Loved the last line!

Amy+ said...

I came back to read this again because I love it so much! Thank you, Julia.