He accepted my invitation to meet him for dinner in the near future, not for the purpose of having a theological argument (I assured him that was not my intent) but to discuss how we could live side by side in the same city with such profound differences dividing us.
On Tuesday, I posted an article in the opinion section of a Christian news site, recounting this narrative and ending with the conviction that it is possible to “reach out and resist,” meaning reaching out to the LGBT community with compassion while resisting the activist agenda with courage. And I quoted Pastor Scott’s invitation to those who doubted his claims to truly love LGBT people to join him and his family for dinner one night. As he wrote, “to call someone hateful without ever meeting them, seeing them, or hearing them speak, is an indication of a heart that needs love. I make myself available.”
The response to my article, which was not triumphant in tone and put an emphasis on Christian grace, was amazing: Within 36 hours of being posted, it had been shared more than 12,000 times, whereas I was told that the average opinion piece there receives about 100 shares.
It looks like a clear pattern had emerged in the responses to my blog, Facebook post, and article. The Christian readers were thrilled to see love in action.
Without a doubt, when we are convinced of the rightness of an issue, as people with strong biblical beliefs, we will take a stand, regardless of cost or consequence. (I know there are cowards and hypocrites among us, but there are plenty of committed Christians who are willing to stand up for what is right, even when it means swimming against the tide and going against the grain.) And there’s no question that some of us are drawn to conflict and controversy.
But for the most part, we would rather be friends than fighters, ambassadors of reconciliation rather than culture warriors. The events of this past week underscore that clearly.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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