April 30, 2008

"These Are The People I Came For"

I found a story through the Gay Religion blog that fits perfectly with the message I try to convey here at Straight, Not Narrow. Even better, it comes from about as far away from my home base in Maryland as you can get, Sydney, Australia.

The Westboro Baptist Church may think God hates fags, but not all Christians agree. This year 100 clergymen from all over Australia made a formal apology to gays and lesbians for the way they’ve been treated by the churches, and marched with us in the Mardi Gras Parade.

Michael Hercock, the Surry Hills Baptist pastor who started 100 Revs, got the idea for the march and apology after seeing the damage done to some men with HIV by intolerant Christians.

“There were a couple of guys whose stories particularly affected me … and as I came across more guys like them, I thought, we need to have a conscience about this and ask ourselves some hard questions about what we were saying to these guys,” he said.

“I started sharing this with some other ministers and it resonated with them too.”

Pastor Hercock is adamant that the time has come to speak out.

“We have vilified the gay community much more than any other marginalised group. Our silence on First World HIV/AIDS is deafening. We’re all happy to go overseas and help out … with HIV/AIDS, but here there’s nothing. All through the 1990s, we did nothing.”

The 100 Revs included a few Pentecostal pastors, usually thought of as among the most anti-gay. But Pastor Hercock says those who “get outside their own church walls” and engage with marginalised groups such as the homeless, problem gamblers, and gays and lesbians, change their views.

He compares his critics with the Pharisees, who were sticklers for the letter of the law, held themselves to be superior to others, and disdained to engage with ordinary people.

“Jesus was criticised very heavily for the people He engaged with … He went out of His way to spend time with … the equivalent of the people who are marginalised today … accused of having dinner with prostitutes and tax collectors, His response was, ‘Well, actually, these are the people I came for.’”

If you are a GLBT person reading this, you need to know that Jesus came for YOU, not just me. They know that all the way Down Under, and there are people here in the United States that know it also. They may not have the popular radio shows or get a lot of face time on television, but power and/or popularity in society mean nothing when it comes to discerning the truth of God's word and the Holy Spirit. Having a heart like Jesus is what counts.

These ministers in Australia have found the heart of Jesus, one filled with love for EVERYONE.

Click here to read the rest of the article from the Sydney Star Observer.

1 comment:

  1. Great article isn't it.

    You may like to let people know they can read more background
    and see videos of pastor mike and the 100 Revs on my blog