Pastor Worley and Peaceful Protests


About an hour and a half ago I left the first ever protest I have ever attended. It is hard to believe that was my first protest but it was. I have never before decided to take the time to stand firmly for or against anything. After all, "what good will it do?" has always been my attitude toward protests. I must admit that I was skeptical about the whole thing. Not only was I skeptical, but I was super anxious and conflicted about attending. I really did not know what to expect. I know the protest organizers were billing this a "peaceful protest" but "How could they ensure this would be the case", I wondered. I mean, how could they ensure that the emotions--the raw and hurt emotions--of so many would not manifest in hatred of another kind against the "counter-protesters"? It is easy to assume that the "straight allies" who were there to show support for the maligned and opposition to Pastor Worley would not get too charged because, at the end of the day, we are not the ones who are being hated and harried, but our homosexual brothers and sisters are. There is a point where folks doggedly proclaim, "Enough is enough!" and feel like violence is their only way to be heard. Dr. King said that violence is the voice of the unheard. There is little doubt in my mind that we have drastically and consistently missed the point that many of our gay brothers and sisters try so vehemently to make. Alas, the protest did remain peaceful and had a surprisingly upbeat and congenial feel. 

I attended the protest, as I said above, to say I reject this hatred. I went to the protest to--by raising my shaking and nervous voice--give people permission to raise their equally shaky and nervous voices. I went because for too long, the loudest--and often most offensive--voices have hijacked the message of our loving and merciful God. I went to the protest, finally, because I felt so prompted by the Holy Spirit to say to my LGBT sisters and brother, "I apologize for how the 'Church' has treated you". One voice--in the crowd of so many other voices--may seem insignificant, naive or pointless but I know it is not. 

I lost track of the numbers of people who shook my hand and said, "Thank you." The first random hug that I received was from a lady whom I'd never met. No words were exchanged, just a silent 10-15 second hug and then she continued to walk. As I think about that incredible moment, there are tears in my eyes. What did that hug mean? What was she communicating in that hug. Does she know how sincere the words that I hastily wrote on this board mean to me? Does she know that this is not some gimmick but I really, truly--from a deep place--mean each word? These are all the questions that swirled through my head during that embrace. My mind now drifts to the kid--who could not have been more than 19 years old--who simply shook my hand and said, "Thank you, Reverend." I wonder if that kid, since he called me Reverend, grew up in a church similar to Pastor Worley's that left him feeling such despair and loneliness. Did his Pastor or Youth Pastor ever sit down with him and allow him to ask the scary questions? Did this precious boy know how much God wants him? Does he know how great of a price that Jesus paid for him? I wondered, "Does he know?" Then I heard the street preacher guys. My heart sank. I was pissed. I was sick--pukin' sick. (See what I did there?)

These guys--motivated by only God knows what--were spewing toxic, hate-filled "words from God". From one side of their moths they spoke of love and from the other, they argued with and belittled the gay protesters (they, of course, belittled me, as well). As I walked behind these guys, saying nothing, I prayed for God to touch them and their hearers. I prayed for God to allow people to see that all of "us" are not like "them".

The Gospel must be good news. Our actions and sermons should not build barriers. I trust--as it were--“the hound of Heaven” will convict folks of his or her own sin. I endeavor to always be the arms of God. I believe that love—in fact—is greater than hate. 

STR8 against H8,

Ray S. McKinnon

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Kelly said...

I'm very proud of you. You did a brave thing.

Ray McKinnon said...

Thanks my dear! I love you baby.

Ray McKinnon said...

Thanks my dear! I love you baby.

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