Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Fred Phelps--Writing His Obituary
First, I'd remind people that Fred Phelps does not represent the church of Jesus Christ. He had only a handful of followers yet this little cluster of less than fifty people made headlines everywhere. One wonders how much damage this man and his little cluster could have done without the TV cameras and the stories that poured out from all our newsrooms. Sometimes all the news--with a little n--is not fit to print.
But back to the obituary. Brandon Wallace, a gay Southern Baptist--with a very fine blog--has written a wise article on how we respond to Phelps' demise. He says we ought to picket his funeral--but with love. He reminded me that Phelps for all his meanness still is a child of God. Instead of surrounding that gravesite with ugly posters and screaming words--we might remember the old simple gospel word: love one another. Who knows what Phelps carried in his very troubled heart. Who knows where all that venom and hatred came from. But Brandon Wallace is on to something--the Christian faith is not squishy and sentimental--the commands of our Lord are sometimes hard to bear. If we place Jesus' words down beside this old mean broken man--what would he say. Who knows? Maybe Jesus would respond as he did when he stood beside Lazarus' tomb. Jesus wept. Perhaps he weeps over this man who never, ever, it seems, understood that Jesus really does love all the children of the world.