Rick Warren's foreword for Should We Fire God?
So, the inevitable piece of news. Westboro Baptist Church is coming to Blacksburg today to protest in front of Cassell Coliseum today just before the
A bully in middle school taught me why.
There was a kid who lived near me (I won’t name a name as I am always surprised to see who reads this) who loved to mess with me. It kind of became his thing. I was a small kid with… ladies prepare yourselves… a bad haircut, bifocals, braces with headgear… That’s right. Add to that an almost complete lack of coordination, and a very smart mouth that often moved a bit faster than my brain.
Needless to say, I talked myself into a lot of situations.
This guy, who was much bigger, decided I would be his bullying muse for the year. I tried to fight back – verbally, physically. I tried being nice. Nothing would work.
Then I decided to simply render his insults irrelevant. He would make a comment and I’d say “not bad.” He would shove me when he walked by and I would say “nice form.” The first thing that did is it calmed me down. The next thing it did was it removed the audience he loved to get by messing with me.
I took his audience away.
In Proverbs 16 we are told that a wise persons’s heart makes their speech wise and more persuasive. I have learned over the years to tame my mouth -most of the time. Sometimes that means overlooking a wrong, other times to speak against it. Both of those pieces of wisdom are given to us in Proverbs and both are right.
But I think of this response as neither overlooking or speaking against.
I think Proverbs 26.4,5 shares the tension we walk in…
4 When arguing with fools, don’t answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are. 5 When arguing with fools, be sure to answer their foolish arguments, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
Both are true. When you understand the proverbial wisdom nature of, well, Proverbs, then you see these aren’t in contradiction. They are both right. Wisdom therefore, needs to guide us into which one we invoke. I think, today, verse four.
People have tried for years to speak wisdom and truth into these folks’ lives. I tried when they last came to Tech. I spoke with Shirley Phelps-Roper, unsurprisingly to no avail. They want the audience, they are somehow energized by the counter-protests. Their revenue stream is dependent on getting big numbers of web-hits, drawing big crowds. So, now, like my middle school bully, let’s move past them.
Let them come.
With the prayer-filled hope that they will just fade away.