Posts Tagged ‘love’

Westboro = Church?

May 26, 2011 7 comments

Westboro “church” is apparently in Joplin to protest. That is mind boggling in and of itself, but goes to show the level of lunacy in this group. Where is this hatred coming from? And why?

Brandon, Mississippi gave them their match according to this article: but I imagine Joplin will come up with some even better way to counter this horrible and deranged agenda.

If you’ve read my other recent posts you know that Joplin is my hometown. I now live 16 hours away, but my heart is broken over the devastation my family and friends are facing. My heart also breaks that a group that calls themselves “church” are driving from Topeka to kick Joplin when their down. Well, they are rising up, and no one, especially not anyone from Westboro can stop them.

I’ve heard many ideas that people have to deal with these loonies. I don’t know what they’re going to do. We’ll have to wait and see. (I’ll post in the comments section whenever the news comes of what happens.) The consensus I hear among those is my circle is to hit them with love, which is the complete opposite of what they spew.

Here’s their flier and accusation of Joplin, painting everyone with a broad brush of hatred and contempt:

Really??? Wow. The Bible College is a whore house? This sarcastic and carefully written document makes me sick. It’s not true at all. That’s not the Joplin I know and love.

Right now Joplin is living up to the name CHURCH and I’m so proud of the way the church at large in Joplin and its surroundings are coming together for the community and making all the difference. Westboro taints the word “church” with all of its awful activities. The other crazy, Harold Camping, taught that the church of today is apostate and is not even saved. I beg to differ!

Last night at our church in Texas, we finished out Kyle Idleman’s series “H20”. In episode 10 Kyle (who last I knew is in Joplin right now helping with the relief effort) explained that the river is purest at its source. Because of this, we should go to the early church at its very beginning in Acts 2:37-47 to see how the church ought to be. “Good” and “strong” churches will do their very best to exhibit these 5 attributes from Acts 2:

1) No irrelevant teaching- but rather Bibl-based, Christ-centered, needs-meeting, transforming doctrine

2) No one left alone- apply the “one anothers” of scripture, accept one another, love one another unconditionally, to name a few.

3) No masks- don’t hide behind any false front or pretense. Be sincere and genuine.

4) No half-hearted worship- strong commitment 7 days a week.

5) No perfect people allowed- No one is better than anyone else, when the standard is perfection. You can’t say someone doesn’t deserve grace, because you don’t either. Nobody’s perfect, only forgiven and changed.

I look at this list, and I see Joplin loud and clear. The church in Joplin is doing all of this, now more than ever. Acts 2 reads,

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

This is taking place right now in Joplin! All I see coming out of Westboro “church” is the complete opposite. I see people who are fake, irrelevant, half-hearted, mask-wearing, think their above everyone else, no love, all hate, hypocrites, and they give the church a bad name. What is wrong with this picture? So very much.

Here’s Kyle Idleman in front of a church building that was destroyed by this natural disaster in Joplin. It was not God’s judgment. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. My point is, tornadoes may destroy church buildings, but the true church can never be destroyed.

God loves Joplin. He even loves Westboro “church”. I’m praying for Joplin. I’ll be there to help rebuild in a few weeks. I’m praying for people to have wisdom in having to put up with the goons from Westboro on top of everything else. Kill ’em with kindness. Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Their claims are baseless and their actions can’t be any lower. Don’t stoop to their level. The true church will come out on top.

Have Enough Faith to Hope in Love

Way back in the first century there lived a Hebrew scholar simply known as Paul. This man was dramatically converted to Christianity and went on to write over half of the New Testament. Among his most famous passages is a section in a letter to the Corinthian church. This “love” chapter is quoted at thousands of weddings even now, two millennia later.

In its essence it is a checklist-type definition of love, true love. The problem is that the list, though short, is too exhaustive. It is impossible to keep it all at all times. Sure, one can be patient and kind for a while, but while demonstrating these characteristics envy or pride may sneak up on the unsuspecting onlooker. This faulty human nature is why so many become disillusioned with love. The “keeps no record of wrongs” bit can be tough as we become unforgiving in our search for this elusive true love. The “always perseveres” clause seems to be far too idealistic to become a tangible reality. Or is it?

While the flawless keeping of this list may be an unattainable goal, it is in the continual striving to display these traits where the magic occurs. When someone fails to meet the standard, forgiveness and grace must come into the equation.

If you have been hurt in the passed because of an investment of love, you might be tempted to tell this ancient Paul guy that his definition is too good to be true. No one can meet the standard. It is a useless attempt to try to love again.

You would be partly right, but mostly wrong. Nobody is perfect, but that’s OK. Without risk, there can be no reward. Many have lived by these words as best they can and have sustained a mutually growing love through service and meeting each others needs- placing the other over themselves. It does work. The alternative, to give up, does no one any good.

Later on, in the same chapter, Paul would go on to say, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”1 Maybe we should give the time-tested wisdom of Paul the benefit of the doubt. We should not give up on love. Maybe we should have enough faith to hope in love.

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