Today I was working the International Friendship House table at the ASU Council Of Religious Advisers (CORA) Religious Fair.
The event itself went well (kudos to Shotsy Abramson from Hillel). IFH was giving away Chipotle cards, tee-shirts and coffee cards for people who took our “Language Quiz.” Good times, good laughs and good conversations.
As I was packing up the table and heading out I took a few moments to drop in on the ever-increasing crowd gathering around some “turn and burn” preachers who had a big sign reading, “WARNING: Masturbators, fornicators, thieves, liars and homosexuals – HELL IS REAL!” They were preaching loud and proud about the damnation of fraternities, loose living and homosexuality. One of the preachers even pointed to a young woman smoking in the crowd and said, “You whore-woman! When I was in a college fraternity we always looked for a woman who smoked. Why? Because we knew if she put a cigarette in her mouth she was likely to put anything in her mouth!”
Preach it brother, preach it (*note sarcasm).
Juxtaposed to this fanfare were the two Muslim women donning burkas and passing out candy to passerby.
Now, I am an ASU student who is searching for truth. Do I a) decide to give my life to Jesus so I too can condemn sinners or b) look into Islam, the peaceful way of submission so I can brigthen someone’s day with free candy at next year’s religious fair?
At my table I was talking to Jordan for a while. Jordan is a practicing homosexual and he asked me where Lutherans stand on homosexuality. He left religion and is an avid agnostic because he was ostracized by the LDS when he came out of the closet. There is some serious hurt there, stuff I couldn’t unpack with him in an afternoon chat, but it was a start. I shared with him my heart and various Lutheran standpoints (from ELCA to LCMS and others in between). He appreciated my candor and thanked me for not being like “those guys over there” as a long-haired and long-dressed woman took to screaming at a girl in a low-cut dress and telling her how she was going to burn for her licentious living.
It grieves me to watch and listen to this stuff.
I can’t judge them, no more than I can judge Jordan. We are all sinners. We are all frail (Romans 3:23).
Thankfully God is forgiving.
There is no point to this blog, I just had to get out some words on this event. This afternoon’s events just got me thinking…and grieving. I just can’t imagine the hurt these people are causing, and that hurts me.
To his credit, Tom from Alleluia Lutheran Student Center was brilliant this afternoon. Alleluia’s table was positioned no more than 10 yards from these raving preachers. At one point the preacher proclaimed that “God told me to preach this news to you the un-righteous!” Not missing a beat, Tom yelled out, “God told me to bake brownies and give them away today. Jesus loves you!”
Brilliant. Ruddy brilliant.