Dear Homosexual Friend,
I’m writing you this note because I just ate Chic-Fil-A. Some of my Christian friends around the country also just finished eating Chic-Fil-A. Some of my other Christian friends got mad at those of us who ate Chic-Fil-A because they said that you, my homosexual friend and neighbor, may view us as intolerant, hateful bigots.
I wrote you to personally inform you that my friends who ate chicken today did so not because they hate you but because they hate bullies.
I know that you understand all too well how it feels to be bullied. Sometimes you just have to stand up to the bully by eating a chicken sandwich! All kidding aside, this is a 1st Amendment issue, not an attack on homosexuals. Let me explain.
No one likes to be bullied. It’s not a good look, for anyone. Basically because a Christian man shared his religious views some people with governmental control decided they would intimidate and harass this man’s business by using the power of the government. That’s bullying. Bullying is bad. The 1st Amendment protects personal speech from government punishment. These Mayors weren’t playing nice so a lot of Christians wanted to tell the government to back off. People in government like to count votes and they understand the power of the purse. So a bunch of people ate Chic-Fil-A today.
I’m sure at times you feel that people who claim the name of Christ are bullies. I’m sure you’ve seen that inbred group of people known as Westboro Baptist Church on TV. They are not Baptist and they aren’t a church. They’re bullies. It seems that the 8 of those people have multiplied like zombies because every time a media source wants to show how intolerant, hateful and bigoted my chicken-eating friends are, they show the same 8 people from different angles. They’re always sure to show you the same 8 signs too. Actually they show you file footage as well to make it appear that there are about 200 signs being carried by these 8 people.
Can I let you in on a secret?
I was actually picketed by those hateful people once. My crime? Attending a worship service at Dr. Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. You read that right… Those 8 fruit cakes that the media keeps showing you protested AGAINST another guy the media made out to be a hateful bigot. He wasn’t. I promise. I got to see him up close when I was in college. You would have liked him if you knew him personally. Larry Flint did. Al Sharpton did.
Larry and Al disagreed with Dr. Falwell on social issues but they liked him personally. That is possible. Anyway, do you know what Dr. Falwell had done to deserve getting picketed by the bullies of Westboro? He invited gay leader and president of Soul Force, Mel White, and about 300 homosexual activists to Thomas Road and Liberty University for a discussion. Dr. Falwell fed them and set up civil conversations on the campus. I was there. It was peaceful. Isn’t that crazy? Gasp! Shock! My guess is that you didn’t even know that happened. Funny how that works huh?
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I did eat chicken today. I didn’t do it to be hateful or mean. You know that. You’ve been around me enough to know that I’m aware of your position and you’re aware of mine. We’ve had great discussions and we treat each other with civility.
Okay, so I have another reason for writing. I want to make certain that you know that you’re invited to my church, Captivate Church. I must warn you though, the pastor (me) is a sinner in need of a Savior. He’s said from the pulpit that every day he has to repent and pray for God to lead him because left on his own he was born with a proclivity to disobey God. He said something from the stage before about the Apostle Paul expressing the same feeling in 1 Corinthians 9:27.
Also if you come to Captivate I want you to know that our church is messy. Our people remind me of the box of toys from the movie Toy Story. As you are welcomed in the parking lot it may be by a recovering drug addict. You will almost certainly be greeted along the way by people who have had premarital sex. The usher may or may not be a person who had an affair. Once you sit down you are likely going to be sitting near someone who looked at porn recently. Captivate has tons of stories of what Christ has redeemed people from… prostitution, addiction, abuse, depression, abortion… I hope this doesn’t offend you.
In September we’re actually doing an entire month of sermons based off of the stories of our people. We want to brag on God. He’s cool like that.
Some may consider this embarrassing. We consider it home.
I should warn you though. You may think that because we have so many broken people that Captivate is one of those churches that just tells everyone to ignore their sin and take advantage of God’s grace. We’re not one of those types of churches. Many of those types of churches seem to be satisfied with you showing up. Captivate is about helping people grow up into the promise and potential that God has for every one of us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You see, that guy in the parking lot who is a recovering drug addict knows that God’s perfect plan doesn’t include drugs. The adulterer who is trying to restore his marriage with the woman across the room knows that God’s best plan isn’t found in fulfilling his sexual appetite outside of his home. The girl who had the abortion knows that her true love isn’t found in any man but only in Christ. On and on it goes…
The porn addict, the alcoholic, the prostitute, the promiscuous young woman and the guy who is smoking weed all have something in common: They are in love with God who has a better plan.
So if you can tolerate the messy people you meet along the way to your seat, buckle your seatbelt because the pastor is going to preach from the bible. In our church people joke that they wear steel toe boots because sometimes the holiness of God steps on our toes. It can seem like a strange thing at first but the people who love Captivate aren’t there because they want to be told how great they are.
The people of Captivate want to know how great God is.
The more we learn how great God is, the less we want our own sinful ways to define our lives. At Captivate we don’t label each other by our sin. Chances are, you’re not going to know who struggles with which problem until you get to know them up close, in the context of loving community. At Captivate and at every bible-believing Christian church the people wear a name tag that is above every name; that name is Jesus. It’s tough carrying His name at times because we know that on our best days we are an imperfect picture of Jesus Christ but in spite of that we are called to re-present him to the world.
So anyway, I ate chicken today. I ate chicken because I want the government to know that people don’t like bullies. I also go to church with a bunch of sinners and misfits that celebrate every week because they are made new in Christ. You are free to come visit too, just don’t judge us, we’re all just trying to pursue God’s best plan for our lives.