When I first read this article I thought it was some sort of parody.
I honestly had to read through it several times just to make sure I wasn’t missing the punchline somewhere.
To my pleasant surprise this story is not a joke.
Now, granted, the declaration that the protesters gave up because the church was “too nice” does come from the pastor, but, regardless, I hope more churches follow the lead of this one and learn to treat their LGBT neighbors with this same sort of love, grace, and hospitality – the same sort of love, grace, and hospitality that Jesus embodied in the gospels.
LGBT group cancels protest because church is ‘too nice’
By James-Michael Smith – Examiner.com
Over the weekend in Charlotte, NC a local LGBT group set out to protest FIRE Church‘s Sunday service. FIRE is the home congregation of Dr. Michael L. Brown, a leading conservative commentator who is known for speaking against the actions of many LGBT groups and author of the book “A Queer Thing Happened To America“.
According to the group’s organizers’ post at Q-Notes, an LGBT advocacy group in the Carolinas:
“Keep the love going as we peacefully protest Fire church Sunday after pride. During the pride event you will have a chance to hear …representatives of Fire church throwing damnation our way. Lets show them that they cannot come into our community and intimidate us.
We will meet just before Service begins, and protest as they gather, we will have a silent protest as service is going and let them have it as they leave for the day.
Remember we will be peaceful and respectful, something they don’t understand. We are going to STAND TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY to show that our love is stronger than their hate.”
Brown was out of the country over the weekend, but upon hearing of the groups plans to protest via their Facebook page, made the following comments on his blog:
“On behalf of FIRE Church, I want to extend to you the warmest welcome and let you know that we are thrilled that you are here with us on Sunday. We have been praying for you for a long time!
As always, you will only meet with love, kindness, and respect from the FIRE leadership and congregants, and we proclaim to you once again the amazing grace of God. Jesus died to save us from our sins, heterosexual and homosexual alike, and only in Him can we find forgiveness, redemption, and transformation. Jesus alone is the Healer, Savior, Deliverer, and Transformer.
It has been my personal joy to have shared meals together with the last two editors of Q-Notes as well as to have given an open mic to the past editor of Q-Notes so he could share his own story in our church building. Our doors are open to you, our hearts are open to you, and as Jesus gave Himself for your salvation and well being, we are committed to following in His footsteps.
Should you ever want to have an open forum for the purpose of mutually respectful discussion on the issues that divide us, we would gladly host that event in our church building or participate in one of yours. Let us know what we can do to help make that happen.”
FIRE Church’s Pastor, Scott Volk, also posted the following on Q-Notes:
“As the pastor of FIRE Church, I just want you to know that you’ll be greeted with the same love and compassion as we always endeavor to show anyone-you are more-than-welcome! You make mention of the ‘hate’ that we show. Yet, in all our years here we’ve only desired to reach out with love to everyone in the local community here whether they are labeled as gay or straight. Hopefully, you’ll see that love demonstrated on Sunday as you protest.”
After receiving responses labeling him as full of “hate”, Volk invited any of the protestors to his home for a meal one evening to see that this was simply not the case.
Today, Brown recounted how events unfolded via Charisma News:
“On Sunday morning, Aug. 26th, about 10 protesters showed up (we were disappointed there were so few) and some of our FIRE leaders met with them, offering them water and snacks, sharing God’s love and truth with them, and then inviting them to join us in the service. After a few minutes they left, explaining that we were too nice and loving to deserve a protest!”