Today, after leaving Sensation/Perception, my friends and I noticed a large crowd gathering outside the KUC and a few people holding signs and people shouting. Instinctively, we were drawn to see what was going on. A girl was yelling “if your daughter was raped, would you ask her what she was wearing?” while she was clearly being ignored. As I got closer to the group I noticed that the guy with the sign had things such as “homosexuals, immodest women, etc JUDGEMENT IS COMING!” and asked the girl standing next to me what was going on. Apparently, she had asked him if a girl was dressed immodestly, then raped, was it the girls fault? He said “yes, because she was dressed immodestly and she is going to hell.” The girl then proceeded to ask the question about the daughter to which he ignored, then she began yelling (which did no good) and he continued ignoring. Apparently, the girl asking, was the girl in the story, adding emotional fuel to the fire.
I stood and listened and observed for a few minutes. They continued yelling while he ignored, he eventually walked away to where she followed along with about a hundred of her closest friends. There was another guy with a sign (see picture) who was talking about how God hates homosexuals and how he had not sinned in 12 years since he became a Christ follower. People began, as they do, to just go nuts. People were yelling “join the church of the spaghetti monster” or “you’re sign is gayer than me” and just useless stuff like that. Not that I in any way defend the sign guys, but yelling incessant things about Christianity like how its all crazy and how Jesus just came to hate, etc., etc. is not helping the case.
Then I began to think…these things are never justified in saying because they are nonsense, but people such as sign guys give people reasons to yell things like this. Sign guys give people reasons to hate Christians and think of religion as crazy and nonsense and old fashioned, etc. etc, we’ve all heard it.
I listened a bit more to see what they were actually saying before I decided if I should ask a question because by this point, with sign guys moving around so much, I had ended up at the front of the crowd with Zack and some other random people I met. Some people were asking legitimate questions that many people who aren’t well read on the Bible will ask and many Christians even wonder. Things like “what about contradictions between old and new testament?”, “well then how do you think we get to heaven?”, etc. etc.
One of Zack’s friends had begun to try to talk with sign guy about why he thought this was a good idea, to come out to a college campus and yell bible verses and proclaim and pass judgement on people? Legitimate question. He proceeds to (in a passive aggressive tone to an extent) talk to her about how Jesus calls Christians to go into the world and preach his word ALL of it, not just the Good News to the world. He talks about how Christians are to tell of the condemnation of God and the death of Jesus and about how Christians are to just try to preach to the sinners. He continues to talk about sinners and how God hates the sin and the sinner as he said Psalm 5 where it talks about how God hates those who do wrong. Sign man discussed with this girl how that means God hates the sinner and the sin but loves the sinner and wants the best for them. I guess if you twist it enough it means that, but he goes on to talk about how Christians do not sin. Sin is not a slip up, sin is sin and those who sin are not Christians. He denies the nature of humans to sin. He says we all choose to sin or not and some of us remain sin-less. Basically, we can be Jesus or something I guess is what He’s saying. Then he asks her if she has sinned recently. She says yes. He asks her if she is a Christian, he says “i don’t want to talk to you because you don’t understand the Bible clearly, go read Matthew” and she walks away.
He continues to tell people that what he is saying is right and that if they have been here listening to him and don’t get it, they clearly have selective listening. He goes on to tell people to read the red letters of the new testament only in the Gospels (sounds like selectiveness to me) and that God is love, but that’s not really the main point because God only said he loved the whole world once in the bible.
After she walked away, I decided to try to frame a question. I simply asked him something to the effect of “if we are called to love the world as God first loved us and to demonstrate his love through a lifestyle of worship, how can simply reading the bible in large crowds with shirts people perceive as hateful be effective” to which he said “God is not about being effective and I’m not about being effective, I’m simply about preaching the word.” I was confused, he made no sense but I remained collected. I asked him if he felt that living a lifestyle demonstrating God’s love was what he thought Christians were called to do, he said “yes we are supposed to do good, but we are supposed to preach the word, all of the word, when I go to WalMart, I don’t just go for Milk and Bread, I go to pass out tracts and preach to all who are there. ” I realized, as I already knew, that this would go in circles, but I continued a little. I simply asked him how he thought simply yelling bible verses on a college campus and proclaiming judgement was going to bring anyone into a relationship with God and he said “it’s not about a relationship, it’s about preaching the world and getting people to heaven.” and i began to ask him if he thought that what he was doing was as effective as sitting down with someone over coffee and getting to know them and their story and sharing not only the word of God but the love of God and what He’s doing in your life and developing a relationship so they may develop a relationship with God. He said “I can’t be friends with everyone in the world, i can’t develop a relationship with everyone in the world, so i preach to the whole world, i’ll be happy to sit and have lunch with someone, but i can’t be friends with everyone, Jesus didn’t do that” To which I asked him about the 12 Disciples and how Jesus had formed relationships with them and counseled them and formed relationships with the people he encountered and he said “well the bible doesn’t talk about eating and talking with people, it talks about preaching the WHOLE word of God to them.” I asked if he wanted to have lunch, he said no. Seemed to prove my point.
I was hungry so I went to eat.
It doesn’t make sense to me how people can twist the love of God so much that they think this is ok to do. They think this is effective. This turns people away. I don’t think tracts or evagicubes are effective any more than this is, but at least they are not actively judgmental. So many people were yelling hateful things back at sign guys and to their credit, the sign guys did not yell back, they simply quoted scripture, I’m not sure which is worse. Yelling curse words back or bible thumping verses out of context.
I backspaced several times to erase the word ‘we’ when referring to what he said Christians should do and found myself wondering why I was doing this. It doesn’t seem to me that he was really living a lifestyle of worship for the Lord. I may be wrong, but I’m just going off what I saw. It’s not our place to judge others, which was the point of this blog. They were at campus to proclaim what sin was by throwing random verses out of context and holding judgmental signs all while saying ‘we’re just proclaiming the judgement that God will have upon you’ and talking about how ‘once you’re a Christian, you don’t sin’ He said to me at one point that if a Christian sins, it’s not a slip up, it just means he/she does not love God enough. What?? Being a Christian doesn’t make you Jesus.
God is love. Fact.
As Christians, we are called to live a lifestyle of Worship of demonstrating His love for us to other people and know and meditate on His word as well. That did not seem to be what was happening today.
No one is perfect, but things like today give Christianity the rap it has, bad. Honestly, it’s warranted. Today’s demonstration was a very active very visible demonstration of the hell fire and brimstone sermons that happen every week in churches across the country, especially here in the Bible belt. The buckle to the belt is 3 miles down the street from me, trust me, it happens everywhere.
Jesus is not about dressing nice on sundays
Jesus is not about bible thumping
Jesus is not about hate
Jesus is not about tracts and “Jesus died for myspace” t-shirts
Jesus is not about fish bumper stickers and bible verses all over every single thing you own at all times
Jesus is not about buildings and separtism
Jesus is not about republicans or democrats or no party or anarchism
Jesus is not about calling people out all the time and acting better than them
Jesus is about love and demonstrating that love through our lifestyles and the people who miss that the most are those who call themselves “Christians” and those who are “religious” and “churchy.”
Not everyone, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes we give ourselves a bad name.
As I was typing, a friend sent me the following links: