Yesterday we decided to head into Philly for the day to do nothing really, but just be in a new and different environment. We had no plan, agenda, or schedule. It was a gorgeous fall day so we just walked around...
We listened to a band outside on the Avenue of States, ate lunch at Buca's, ogled the giant clothes pin and jumped about on the huge game pieces across from the William Penn Building.We parked in a parking complex that spit us out right at a cool little street festival that was sponsored by local Gay organizations and honored gay pride. So, we walked around at that too. Go figure, what gay-oriented event would be complete without a small but loud ragtag group hanging out right in the middle of it shouting stuff about sinning and repenting into a megaphone. And, for real, can these people hook up with a good P.R. person or learn some better marketing because it's like they all come with these junky white signs with too many words handwritten in black marker crowded on the poster board and it always looks like those serial killer ransom notes where you cut out letters from magazines and tape together some loosely psychotic run-on sentences. No offense.
So, they've set themselves up at a festival acting as the mouthpiece of God. I guess God must have done a bunch of shouting and berating or something... That megaphone was just blaring non-stop with all kinds of antagonistic sounding stuff that's not inviting to ANYONE to listen to; gay, straight, Christian or non-Christian... I mean, this megaphone dude seriously never took a breath. He probably drank a bunch of Red Bull prior to his protesting. Or perhaps, just drank a wee too much of the proverbial Kool Aid.
And you know what I was thinking? Well, many things, but mainly I was having quite a giggle imagining the brilliant "think tank" behind Operation Convert The Heathens:
"Hey guys, I have an awesome idea! Though we go to every gay rights march and parade and we never seem to accomplish anything that puts Christianity in a positive light, let's go down and shout about sin and repenting and stuff. It'll TOTALLY work this time. Yeah, they'll hear us screaming at them in our megaphone... you know, just like how Jesus did... didn't He used to stand on the streets and shout at people as they walked by like a man who skipped too many doses of Lithium? It toooootally worked for him and all... "
Yes, I'm sure God was SO proud looking down at this display...
So, I start wondering if the goal of this group is to evangalize and "spread the good news" and all, ya know, to convince people to follow the Bible and become Christians, then I'm not sure how they're thinking this is the best way to do it. Are people really drawn to a group that is chastizing and shouting non-stop about nothing remotely helpful or loving? That tends to have the reverse effect. I'm wondering why they haven't found a different tactic to acheive their goal and then, it suddenly hits me!!
AH HA! The light bulb goes off. These megaphone shouters are SAYING they're trying to save our souls, bring us closer to God, to the Church, but NO -- that is NOT their true objective at ALL. You see the uber pious, "cast thy judgement" type people NEED us "sinners" or else they have no one to whom they can feel morally superior! And HELLO... that's their whole shtick - without the "heathen liberals" and "gays" and "baby killers" to look down upon, this group can't feel moral and self-righteous. And that's the whole gig - getting off on moral superiority, right? I thought I saw it in their mission statment once.
I mean, the self-righteous need people to sneer at... those who come to church not "dressed appropriately," have a child out of wedlock, or *gasp* voted the "wrong way" at the election! And on top of it all, this subgroup of people give Christians as a whole a bad name. I know quite a few Christians and they don't even OWN megaphones (unless they hide them from me) and are some of the kindest most generous spirits you'll meet.
And speaking of people giving others a bad name. I feel bad for Jesus. Like, seriously, was this innocent, kind hearted man reeeallly hanging on that cross, suffering one of the most torturous, gruesome, and undeserving deaths so we could shout out of megaphones at a gay festival or blow up an abortion clinic? I don't know... I'm only a liberal, non-church-going Episcopalian and all, but I'm going out on a limb here and guessing this wasn't exactly his focus...
I understand that the Bible does indeed address sin and rule following and right and wrong and repenting. But, while I'm no expert, I thought the main focus of the Christian bible was love. L-O-V-E, people. Isn't that the crux of all religious organizations? Isn't love supposed to be more powerful than hate, judgement, condemnation and pride? Isn't it what is supposed to save us all from ourselves and each other? Love. I totally stink at it myself, but I don't profess otherwise. And I certainly can't get down with anything that doesn't help me be a better person. I'm already good at being judgemental. I don't need any help with that.
Love. I wish I could read about it less and see it evidenced more. You want to sell me on something that will save my soul? Sell me on THAT.
And by the way, we had to wait like 20 minutes to get this picture taken so I'm pretending I'm not annoyed the dude cut off the top.