Monday, June 20, 2011

What To Do With The Westboro Baptists

On Monday, June 13 a funeral was held in Nashville, TN for Nashville native and Marine Sgt. Kevin Balduf, age 27, killed in combat in Afghanistan one month earlier. News spread quickly that a group from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church were planning to be present to further spew their misguided beliefs and cast a shadow of shame and humiliation on an otherwise reverent moment. Although I was unable to attend the memorial service for Sgt. Balduf I am proudly aware that our community turned out by the thousands to celebrate his life and selflessness and to peacefully counteract the presence of this band of dark marauders.
Having been raised in a small, conservative, Bible reading, memory verse reciting Baptist congregation I must confess total bafflement by the mean-spirited shenanigans of these so-called Christians. In general Baptists can be misunderstood, stern, immovable, harshly conservative on social issues and downright difficult. Believe me, I know. (The ether is full of wonderfully funny perspectives on Baptists morality: Don’t make love standing up or the Baptists will think you’re dancing. Jews don’t recognize Jesus; Protestants don’t recognize The Virgin Mary and Baptists don’t recognize each other at the liquor store; Always invite 2 Baptists to go fishing with you – if you only take one he’ll drink all your beer.) It is also a widely observed phenomenon that Baptists – generally speaking – have an uncanny knowledge of the scriptures. This makes The Westboros particularly hard to understand.
We know that The Holy Bible includes 2 Testaments. In The Old one we encounter a God of foreboding – fierce, powerful, at times very angry and punitive – The Father. And then we open the pages of The New and are introduced to a gentler, kinder, more human, relatable, story-telling, healing, comforting and forgiving God: Jesus, the Son. And with His death, resurrection and ascension we are introduced to a third: The Ever-Present Comforter and Guide – The Holy Spirit. They each have their own identity and role. According to the definition of The Triune God – The Trinity – The Three were together (One in Three, Three in One) in the beginning, are together now and shall be for eternity. Further, the scriptures tell us that none of them has or ever will change. Now, with that simplistic overview I return with basic questions for The Westboro Baptists:
1. Have you read The New Testament?
2. Did you realize that Jesus taught forgiveness?
3. Have you tried to practice grace?
4. What did Christ mean when he said, ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone?’
5. Is heaven going to be filled with people like you?
6. How do your actions live up to these commandments Christ left with us: Love The Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your spirit; love one another; serve one another; repent; love your neighbor as you love yourself; whatever you’ve done unto the least of these you’ve done to me?
And a few humble suggestions:
1. Open up that New Testament.
2. Keep your condemnation to yourselves (it is not your role.)
3. Repent and seek forgiveness.
4. Become less miserable.
5. Dance
6. Do something kind.


Post a Comment

<< Home